The Beginning of the Convergence Era
Cellular networks have evolved from the legacy coverage era, where networks of high-power macro cell towers were built to provide service to a maximum portion of the population in a given geographic area, to the second era: that of densification. Densification offers overall system spectral efficiency gains and frequency reuse with low power transmitters and is responsible for bringing antennas closer to users and moving mobile service indoors. Densification has typically taken place through cell splitting—when a three-sector cell is split into six, or even nine, sectors—or small cell deployments that densified the footprint of cellular base stations considerably.
Now we stand at the threshold of the third, or convergence, era, where multiple advances in technology and architecture alternatives, along with millimeter wave (mmWave), unlicensed, and shared spectr...
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