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This comprehensive resource explores state-of-the-art advances in the successful deployment and operation of small cell networks. A broad range of technical challenges, and possible solutions, are addressed, including practical deployment considerations and interference management techniques, all set within the context of the most recent cutting-edge advances. Key aspects covered include 3GPP standardisation, applications of stochastic geometry, PHY techniques, MIMO techniques, handover and radio resource management, including techniques designed to make the best possible use of the available spectrum. Detailed technical information is provided throughout, with a consistent emphasis on real-world applications. Bringing together world-renowned experts from industry and academia, this is an indispensable volume for researchers, engineers and systems designers in the wireless communication industry.
Femtocell access points (FAPs) are foreseen to play a key role in the development and deployment of future orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA)-based cellular networks, e.g., Long Term Evolution (LTE)  and Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) , since they may deliver improved indoor coverage and network capacity . Femtocell access points are low-cost, low-power, user-deployed small base stations (BSs), which provide wireless coverage of a cellular standard, and are connected to the network operator via a broadband connection, e.g., digital subscriber line (DSL), fiber optics, etc. Femtocells, as explained in the introductory chapter, offer a large number of advantages to future cellular networks. They may enhance indoor coverage, deliver both high data rates and new applications to users, and offload traffic from existing macrocell networks . However, since FAPs are expected to be deployed in large numbers and because they may be installed by users in an uncoordinated manner, including self-organizing network (SON) capabilities in FAPs may be a key aspect for their successful operation of these devices .
A SON, defined as a network that requires minimal human involvement due to the automatic and/or autonomous nature of its functioning, integrates the processes of planning, configuration, optimization, and healing in a set of in-built automatic/autonomous functionalities. By using SON capabilities, operator intervention for network operation and maintenance can be reduced, thus minimizing deployment and operational costs of future cellular networks, which are major concerns of current mobile operators.
Driven by a new generation of wireless user equipment and the proliferation of bandwidth-intensive applications, user data traffic and the corresponding network load are increasing in an exponential manner. Most of this new data traffic is being generated indoors, which requires increased link budget and coverage extension to provide satisfactory user experience. As a result, current cellular networks are reaching their breaking point and conventional cellular architectures, which are devised to cater to large coverage areas and optimized for homogeneous traffic, are facing unprecedented challenges to meet these user demands.
In this context, there has been an increasing interest to deploy small cellular access points in residential homes, subways, and offices. These network architectures, which may be either operator deployed and/or consumer installed and are comprised of a mix of low-power cells underlying the macrocell network, are commonly referred to as small cell networks. By deploying additional network nodes within the local area range and bringing the network closer to end users, spatial reuse and coverage can be significantly improved, thus allowing future cellular systems to achieve higher data rates, while retaining the seamless connectivity and mobility of cellular networks.
Inspired by the attractive features and potential advantages of small cell networks, their development and deployment are gaining momentum in the wireless industry and research communities during the last few years. It has also attracted the attention of standardization bodies such as the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Long Term Evolution (LTE)-Advanced (see Chapter 14) and the IEEE 802.16 Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks.