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Heterogeneous Network (HetNet)

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A radio access network that comprises layers of different-sized cells ranging from big (macrocells) to small (picocells and femtocells).

The concept has emerged in the context of Long Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced. In order to reach the full bandwidth capacity of either protocol, it is thought that operators will need to supplement their traditional large macrocells with many different-sized small cells.

The importance of the HetNet concept and the work that's going on in standards bodies, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) and 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) , is that it will define how all those different-sized cells will work together, how hand-off among them will be achieved, and how interference among them will be minimized.

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