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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Trends in Small Cell Enhancements in LTE Advanced

Explosive demands for mobile data are driving changes in how mobile operators will need to respond to the challenging requirements of higher capacity and improved quality of user experience (QoE). Currently, fourth generation wireless access systems using Long Term Evolution (LTE) are being deployed by many operators worldwide in order to offer faster access with lower latency and more efficiency than 3G/3.5G. Nevertheless, the anticipated future traffic growth is so tremendous that there is a vastly increased need for further network densification using small cells to handle the capacity requirements, particularly in high traffic areas (hot spot areas) that generate the highest volume of traffic.

To optimize performance and provide cost/energy-efficient operation, small cells require further enhancements and in many cases need to interact with or complement existing macrocells. In this regard, a number of solutions have been specified in recent releases of LTE (i.e., Release [Rel]-10/11, and more solutions are to be studied in coming releases (Rel- 12 and beyond). Network densification using small cells has been of great interest in 3GPP since Rel-10, with techniques such as coordinated multipoint (CoMP) transmission/reception and enhanced intercell interference coordination (eICIC) being introduced. This article discusses the recent trends and the state-of-the-art technologies related to the design of small cells.

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