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Glossary

Glossary

Reviews icon Handoff

Handoff

The process of transferring an ongoing mobile phone call or data session from one base station to a geographically adjacent base station as the user is in motion. In a properly functioning network, handoff occurs smoothly, without gaps in communications and it is usually not noticed by the cellular user. There are three different forms of handoff: Hard handoff – used in GSM and analog cellular networks, which allow active connection to one tower at a time. It requires the connection to the original tower to be broken for a brief period of time before establishing connection with the new tower. Soft handoff – used in CDMA networks, does not require the original connection to be broken as the network allows simultaneous active connection to multiple base stations. It offers a smoother transition with less chance of a dropped signal. Inter-technology handoff – refers to transferring a cellular phone call between two base stations, employing different technologies (e.g. a call transfer from GSM to W-CDMA).

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