What is an HSDPA Modem?

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  • Written By: Adrem Siratt
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
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  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2019
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A High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) modem is a device used for connecting to an enhanced wireless 3G network. An HSDPA modem is part of the High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) family which may also be referred to as a 3.5G or 3G+. This is because it allows higher transfer rates and data capacity than traditional 3G data transfer systems.

An HSDPA modem allows users to connect to the cellular wireless network in areas that support HSPA. In areas that do not support HSPA, the HSDPA modem may not connect at all or may connect at slower speeds. This depends on the model of modem.

Once the HSDPA modem is connected, users can enjoy speeds of as high as 14.0 Megabits per second (Mbit/s). The speed of the connection is dependent on many variables. The key concern when trying to obtain the fastest connection is usually the signal level. In areas with higher 3G signal, the connection speed will be faster.

There are many types of HSDPA modems available. HSDPA USB modems are often the most portable and convenient of the types available. This allows for a high speed connection to be established to any computer with a USB port in areas with 3G coverage. This makes it popular for use with laptops to provide Internet connection in many different places.


Another popular type of HSDPA modem is available in the form of an HSDPA router. These routers work just like most wireless routers, creating a WiFi network. Rather than using DSL or cable Internet, these routers use HSPA to connect to a wireless 3G network. This enables users to create a WiFi network anywhere that can receive a 3G cellular signal. This can allow computers without an HSDPA modem to share in the wireless connection.

HSDPA USB modems and routers allow users a high degree of portability for their Internet connection. HSDPA landline replacements take a different approach. These devices function just like an HSDPA router, creating a WiFi network, as well as allowing for connection through Ethernet lines. In addition to this, HSDPA landline replacements offer ports that enable users to plug their traditional landline phones into the router. This allows "landlines" to use the high-quality HSPA system that previously only cell phones could use.

The advantages to using an HSDPA modem are clear. The primary downside to these devices is that they rely entirely upon the ability to get a cellular signal. This can be a particular burden when attempting to use these devices indoors.


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