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Call On Ultra-Fast 3G Network Uses Standard PC Card

Two vendors claimed Thursday that they have completed the first call on an ultra-fast 3G network using a PC data card that will be commercially available.

Nortel and Sierra Wireless said they completed the call over an experimental High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) 3G network. HSDPA is a technology that, proponents claim, will speed normal 3G UMTS networks from typical speeds of about 300 Kbps to typical speeds of more than 1 Mbps. UMTS is being deployed by a number of wireless operators worldwide including Cingular in the U.S., which has said it will upgrade to HSDPA.

While HSDPA experiments have been completed previously, the vendors claimed this is the first time a call was completed using a PC add-in card that will be commercially available. The card was the Sieraa Wireless AirCard 850, which the vendor said will be available in the second half of 2005. Nortel developed the infrastructure 3G infrastructure.

In statements, the vendors claimed that this was an important milestone toward providing HSDPA, which they claimed is an easy upgrade for wireless operators.

"A tested, interoperable HSDPA solution allows network operators to upgrade their networks to support true broadband speeds with confidence," Jason Cohenour, Sierra Wireless' COO, said in a statement.