Going Mobile, A Simple Guide To High Speed Wireless Internet

Author xlxmarketing 20.7.2009. | 19:27


It doesn’t matter if you go wireless with a Wi-Fi Modem, HSPA or some other wireless internet method, the options are out there.

What is EDGE, if not the guitarist for U2 and how does HSDPA differ from UMTS?

More and more people want the ability to use their smart phone or notebook away from a internet terminal an option that is becoming more and more available at faster and faster speeds.

But it’s not always easy to understand what specific wireless modems do when their names are confusing acronyms attached to bewildering numbers.

So to help reduce some of the confusion we are going to give you a brief introduction to some of the more commonly used wireless technologies to get you better informed and put you in a better position to shop around for the wireless modem that is right for you.

Below we will answering the questions:

  • What is HSDPA?
  • What is HSUPA?
  • What is UMTS?
  • What is Edge?
  • What is GPRS?
  • What is Wi-Fi?


Strictly speaking HSDPA (or High Speed Download Packet Access) is an update of the UMTS network (more on that below) which works on GSM phones.

What this means for the average user is that if you use a phone or a wireless modem on a GSM network with HSDPA capabilities then you can expect to get speeds of around 1.8Mbps and 14.4Mbps depending on your carrier.


While there aren’t that many unlocked wireless modems out there that will get you HSDPA speeds (Network providers hate to lose their high-value users) Some, like our HSUPA Wireless USB Modem for Laptops (CVBJ-K35) are fully unlocked for global roaming on multiple global accounts.


They don’t sacrificed performance or usability for accessibility either.

HSDPA technologies are often referred to as 3.5/4G due to high connection speeds and advanced capabilities.

HSDPA Details

  • Definition:High Speed Download Packet Access
  • Generation: 3.5-4G
  • Technology Type: GSM
  • Download Speeds: 1.8Mbps – 14.4Mbps
  • Coverage: worldwide
  • Networks: hspa.gsmworld.com/networks/ copy and paste this link into your browser


HSUPA, or High Speed Uplink Packet Access is another member of the High Speed Packet Access Family (much like HSDPA) and in most cases it works in tandem with HSDPA.

This is only available in a few countries so far, although authorities plan to increase the area of availability.

HSUPA has been focused mainly on uploads (unsurprisingly) and, according to the GSM association, can upload at 57Mbps

Even though it has yet to take off Chinavasion has already got the latest in HSUPA technology with the HSUPA Wireless USB Modem for Laptops (CVBJ-K35).


HSUPA Details

  • Definition:High Speed Uplink Packet Access
  • Generation: 3.5 -4G
  • Technology Type: GSM
  • Upload Speeds: 57Mbps
  • Coverage: worldwide
  • Networks: hspa.gsmworld.com/networks/ copy and paste this link into your browser

What Is UMTS

UMTS, or the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System is a network system which is related to GSM and relies heavily on the GSM technologies. UMTS is seen as the first generation of HSDPA.

The same that goes for HSDPA when it comes to the rarity of capable unlocked modems goes for UMTS, thankfully there are modems like Chinavasion’s Wireless USB Modem for Laptops + Netbooks + Computers (CVBJ-K36).


UMTS transmitters and technologies are put together so that they are extremely compatible with each other so if you have a multi band capable phone/modem and the country works on one of those bands you shouldn’t have a problem getting a high speed internet connection through UMTS.

UMTS Details

  • Definition:Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
  • Generation: 3G
  • Technology Type: GSM
  • Download Speeds: 384 kbit/s
  • Coverage: worldwide
  • Networks: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Deployed_UMTS_networks copy and paste this link into your browser

What Is EDGE

EDGE, or Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution, is essentially GPRS technology (more on GPRS below) that has been updated to work faster and more efficiently on the current level of equipment.

If you are familiar with the Chinavasion blog then you would have seen a few pieces we have put together on this from time to time including a detailed explanation of what is EDGE in a comprehensive FAQ on the subject.

EDGE connection speeds are no longer limited to iPhone, Blackberry and other smartphone owners with several unlocked modems being available including Chinavasion’s EDGE Wireless Modem for Laptops, Notebooks and Netbooks (CVBJ-K34) or EDGE Quad-Band Wireless PCMCIA Modem – SIM Card Internet Tool (CVSBJ-6403).


EDGE Details

  • Definition:Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution
  • Generation: 2.75-3G
  • Technology Type: GSM
  • Download Speeds: 70-135kbps
  • Coverage: worldwide
  • Networks: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_EDGE_networks copy and paste this link into your browser

What Is GPRS

GPRS (or General Packet Radio Service) is something of the grand daddy of internet connectivity, one that is commonly available these days.

If you are using a WAP capable phone, one that sends Multimedia Messages (MMS) or is WAP capable then there is a good chance it is using GPRS technology.

However, download speeds over this service are in no way as fast as HSDPA, UMTS or EDGE but it can still be enough to get you connected.

If you’re away from a Wi-Fi connection, in the back of beyond having a GPRS mobile dongle like Chinavasion’s GPRS Modem Dongle (CVSB-028) can sometimes be the answer to your connectivity problems.


GPRS Details

  • Definition:General Packet Radio Service
  • Generation: 2-2.5G
  • Technology Type: GSM
  • Download Speeds: – 110kbps
  • Coverage: worldwide

What Is Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi may or may not stand for Wireless Fidelity depending on who you talk to and when you talk to them but essentially it is a technology which allows wireless connection in one point or multiple points depending on the circumstances.

Where it differs from technology like EDGE and HSDPA is they are based on cellular signals and technology while Wi-Fi is terrestrially based and coverage is by no means as uniform.

What this means is if you’re living in a city where there’s many WiFi hotspots (Starbucks is famous for offering Wi-Fi services) then you should never be too far away from an internet connection but if you are in a more rural area then it is by no means guaranteed.

However, you probably won’t have to pay the same data fees that people using HSDPA, EDGE and GPRS powered internet connections will.

CVSAX-4601-WhiteCVEL K20

There has been several Wi-Fi protocols with the most recent one being 802.11n. Wi-Fi download speeds are now reaching over 100Mbps

Wi-Fi Details

  • Definition:Wireless Fidelity (allegedly)
  • Technology Type: W-Lan
  • Download Speeds: 100Mbps +
  • Coverage: worldwide

So now that you understand a little more about how high speed wireless internet works there should be nothing stopping you from getting the modems to help speed up your internet connection when you are on the road.

Check out our range of HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS and Wi-Fi and see if we can’t help you get the internet connection you need to keep your life on track.


Author xlxmarketing 20.7.2009. | 19:27
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