Finally! Super-Fast 3G Devices

Imagine a laptop data card that offers three times the speed that the current 3G options provide. One that’s faster than Wi-Fi, even. Well, road warriors, rejoice: That’s exactly what Sierra Wireless will be offering you in the first half of the year.

The gear-maker’s new USB modems, USB 306 and USB 307, are made for HSPA+ networks, which allow peak download speeds of 21mbps. That means great support for data-intensive applications like video conferencing, for instance. Operators worldwide, from AT&T Inc. to Telstra in Australia are upgrading their GSM-based 3G networks to support faster throughputs with HSPA+, but the problem has been the lack of devices that can take advantage of them. The coming months will seemingly change that.

“We recognize that the way people use the Internet has evolved,” said Greg Speakman, vice president of marketing for Sierra Wireless. “Most people require higher bandwidth from their connections now than they did even two years ago. Sierra Wireless is working hard to stay at the forefront of mobile technology to ensure that our customers can get online and do whatever they need to do, whether from home, work, or somewhere in between.”

Sierra Wireless isn’t alone in diving into the HSPA+ market: Huawei Technologies has demonstrated commercial-ready HSPA+ products on PCCW’s network in Hong Kong. Huawei, which also is providing network gear for PCCW’s 21mbps upgrade, said its HSPA+ mobile broadband terminal E182E will be ready to go live in the first part of 2009.

The specs: Sierra Wireless’ USB 306 is designed for North American and Asia-Pacific regions, operating on the 850, 1900 and 2100 MHz bands, and the USB 307 is optimized for Europe, operating on the 900 and 2100 MHz bands. Global roaming capabilities support connections around the world, with backward compatibility to HSPA, UMTS, EDGE, and GPRS networks where HSPA+ coverage is not available.

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