Difference Between UMTS and HSDPA (With Table)

3G cellular technology became immensely popular among the masses when it was released. It also paved the way for the following technological generations. UMTS and HSDPA are both 3G telecommunication techniques that were designed for mobile phones. They are quite similar in terms of design and usage. However, they have subtle differences in their features.

UMTS vs HSDPA

The difference between UMTS and HSDPA is that UMTS stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System which is a 3G cellular system for mobile devices that operate on GSM standard networks whereas HSDPA stands for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access which is a protocol for UMTS networks, with the aim of enhancing speed and capacity

UMTS is developed, released, and maintained by Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). Its aim is to provide mobile network operators with an efficiency of work and larger bandwidths. This is done using the help of W-CDMA, which is a radio access technology. The system includes many features to form up a fast and functional network.

Meanwhile, HSDPA is a protocol for UMTS. It is also commonly known as 3G+ and 3.5G. The aim of this protocol is to enhance data capacity and speed. Like the former, it is developed by 3GPP and uses W-CDMA. The High-Speed Pocket Access family includes HSDPA in its package.

Comparison Table Between UMTS and HSDPA

Parameters of ComparisonUMTSHSDPA
Full-FormThe acronym stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System.The acronym stands for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access.
LaunchIt was first launched in 1999.It was first launched in 2008.
MeaningIt is a 3G cellular system designed for mobile devices.It is a protocol for UMTS.
AimIts aim is to provide efficient and fast working features that make a network system.Its aim is to provide even more efficiency and speed to UMTS.
Download SpeedIt offers a download speed of 2 Mbps.It offers a download speed of 42 Mbps.
Average Download SpeedThe average download speed per user for UMTS is 384 kbps.The average download speed per user for HSDPA is 5 to 8 Mbps.

What is UMTS?

UMTS is a 3G cellular network system that was launched by 3GPP in 1999. It works on networks that are defined by the GSM standards. The system is part of the International Telecommunication Union IMT-2000. Its aim is to provide efficient and fast working features that together form an entire network system.

The system offers a variety of features that stand-out from other cellular systems. These include a core network or MAP and a radio access network or UTRAN. To be able to use these networks, users need to authenticate themselves via a SIM card. In doing so, they can access the system without hassle.

The radio access technology used by UMTS is W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access). This is an interface standard that all mobile telecommunications must have compulsorily. Using this, UMTS can offer a peak download speed of up to 2 Mbps and a peak upload speed of 128 kbps. On average, the download speed that it offers per user is 384 kbps.

There have been many upgrades made since UMTS was first released. Each enhancement adds a new feature such as multimedia messaging, edge radio, improved location services, voice quality features, and even continuous packet connectivity.

What is HSDPA?

HSDPA is essentially a protocol designed to be used on UMTS. It was launched by GPP as well, in the year 2008. It belongs to the HSPA family, under which HSUPA is also categorized. HSDPA aims at enhancing the operations of UMTS by providing larger data capacity and speed. The protocol works in sync with the protocols of W-CDMA.

The protocol is sometimes also called 3G+ and 3.5G. This is because it can offer a download speed of up to 42 Mbps, which is much more than regular UMTS. On average, the download speed amounts up to 5 to 8 Mbps per user. Due to this enhancement, the protocol was widely popular among the masses when it was first released.

Like UMTS, there have been various upgrades made to the protocol. These were often in sync with upgrades to the network system. The first phase of this protocol was specified as Release 5. It added a plethora of new features to the system, that too at a low cost per bit. This ensured high performance and productivity.

The latest form of HSDPA is Evolved HSPA. This follows a wireless broadband standard and is defined under Release 7 phase. It uses the W-CDMA specification as well.

Main Differences Between UMTS and HSDPA

  1. The acronym UMTS stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System whereas the acronym HSDPA stands for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access.
  2. UMTS was first launched in 1999 whereas HSDPA was first launched in 2008.
  3. UMTS is a 3G cellular system designed for mobile devices whereas HSDPA is a protocol for UMTS.
  4. UMTS aims at providing efficient and fast working features that make a network system whereas HSDPA aims at providing even more efficiency and speed to UMTS.
  5. UMTS offers a download speed of 2 Mbps whereas HSDPA offers a download speed of 42 Mbps.
  6. The average download speed per user for UMTS is 384 kbps whereas that of HSDPA is 5 to 8 Mbps.

Conclusion

Even though UMTS and HSDPA are related to each other, there are several differences between them. First and foremost, UMTS is an entire network system for mobile devices that was launched in 1999. On the other hand, HSDPA is merely a protocol for UMTS that was launched years later, in 2008. The aim of HSDPA was to enhance the capabilities of UMTS.

Another notable difference between the two is that UMTS has a much slower downloading speed than HSDPA. While UMTS offers a peak speed of 2 Mbps and an average speed of 384 kbps, HSDPA offers a peak speed of 42 Mbps along with an average speed of 5 to 8 Mbps.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=3kgImjyLBbIC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=UMTS+vs+HSDPA&ots=QYjns46bI_&sig=Wk3awnbwhvuT3oMHZ8aF2q6Feq0
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1371820/
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