High-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) is a mobile telephony protocol. An HSDPA network uses a combination of different channels that allows users to achieve connection speeds that are much faster than previous protocols. The quality of the signal is a primary factor in how fast the user's connection is.
An HSDPA network provides a variety of features not available through other types of networks. The primary advantage is in its ability to give users a fast and reliable wireless connection in locations where they are able to receive cell phone signal. This is also a downside to the network, as it may prevent users from using it within a building in some areas.
Another advantage to an HSDPA network is the speed of the connection. An HSDPA network can obtain speeds as high as 84 megabits per second (Mbit/s). This would enable a user to download a feature length film in as little as one minute. Even the slower HSDPA networks allow for download speeds several times faster than dial-up.
Users may take advantage of the fast connection speed to create a Wi-Fi® network for their local area. Using an HSDPA router, users may create a connection that can be accessed by any computer with a standard 802.11 Wi-Fi® card. This can be extremely cost effective for users who will need to access the connection through multiple computers.
Many users may worry that an HSDPA network has a latency too high to be usable for many applications, such as gaming or video conferencing. The HSDPA protocol was created in order to maximize both the speed and latency of a connection. As a result, the typical latency for many HSDPA networks has been found to be between 80 milliseconds and 120 milliseconds. This latency is low enough that the vast majority of gamers and video conference software users would not notice a difference compared to wired connections.
The advantages of using an HSDPA network make it not only a viable option but also a necessary choice for many users. The speed of many wired connections are often comparable to the speed of HSDPA. This makes it an appealing alternative for users seeking to replace their wired connection. There are routers that use the HSDPA network and allow users to plug their land line phones into the router. This essentially enables the user to utilize the high quality digital network when making phone calls.