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A heterogeneous network (HetNet) is one which connects computers and other devices with different operating systems or protocols. For instance, the network (LAN) that connects Microsoft Windows and Linux based computers with Apple Macintosh computers is HetNet. Heterogeneous network is a cost effective way of handling the increasing demand for mobile data. Increase in the costs associated with mobile data handling created the need for cost effective methods for data handling. The traditional methods for resolving issues related to coverage and capacity require operators for installing a number of macro base stations contained in the cell site, thus making traditional methods expensive and unsustainable. Heterogeneous networks are considered to be the most cost effective solution for improving the coverage and capacity of mobile networks.
Heterogeneous networks are proving helpful to mobile operators in enabling novel network deployment models and provide a high quality experience for customers. Heterogeneous networks also help to accommodate the growing requirement for hot-spot distribution and spectral efficiency. Some of the major factors driving the market growth for HetNets include increase in mobile data traffic, cost reduction through mobile data offload and an insufficient spectrum. Also, the growth in mobile data traffic has created potential opportunities for delivering additional coverage and capacity cost effectively which is also expected to drive the market growth for heterogeneous networks to a great extent in the coming years.
The global heterogeneous network small cells and carrier Wi-Fi market is segmented based on product segments such as carrier Wi-Fi, femtocells, picocells, and microcells. This market is also segmented depending on service types into:
  • Integration
  • RF Planning
  • Design and Consulting
  • Testing
  • Training
The application segments of the HetNets market include consumer and residential, commercial and office buildings, utilities such as energy, oil and gas, public safety and security, transportation and logistics, academia and education, and travel and hospitality, among others.
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Companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Siemens, and Qualcomm are the leading players in the HetNets market. Other major players in the HetNets small cells and carrier Wi-Fi market include Airhop Communications, Airvana LLC, Alvarion, AT&T, Blinq Networks, Cambridge Broadband Networks, Cisco Systems, Cloudberry Mobile, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, IP Access, Mindspeed Technologies Inc., NEC Corporation, Netgear Inc, Radisys Corporation, Ruckus Wireless, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Telefonica O2, and ZTE Corporation.