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Handover (HO)

Last updated: October 10, 2013

What Does Handover (HO) Mean?

A handover is a process in telecommunications and mobile communications in which a connected cellular call or a data session is transferred from one cell site (base station) to another without disconnecting the session. Cellular services are based on mobility and handover, allowing the user to be moved from one cell site range to another or to be switched to the nearest cell site for better performance.

Handovers are a core element in planning and deploying cellular networks. It allows users to create data sessions or connect phone calls on the move. This process keeps the calls and data sessions connected even if a user moves from one cell site to another.


Techopedia Explains Handover (HO)

There are two types of handovers:

  1. Hard Handover: An instantaneous handover in which the existing connection is terminated and the connection to the destination channel is made. It is also known as a break-before-make handover. The process is so instantaneous that the user does not hear any noticeable interruption.
  2. Soft Handover: A substantial handover where the connection to the new channel is made before the connection from the source channel is disconnected. It is performed through the parallel use of source and destination channels over a period of time. Soft handovers allow parallel connection between three or more channels to provide better service. This type of handover is very effective in poor coverage areas.

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