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Increase in system capacity and data rates can be achieved efficiently in a wireless system by getting the transmitter and receiver closer to each other. Femtocells deployed in the macrocell significantly improve the indoor coverage and provide better user experience. The femtocell base station called as Femtocell Access Point (FAP) is fully user deployed and hence reduces the infrastructure, maintenance and operational cost of the operator while at the same time providing good Quality of Service (QoS) to the end user and high network capacity gains. However, the mass deployment of femtocell faces a number of challenges, among which interference management is of much importance, as the fundamental limits of capacity and achievable data rates mainly depends on the interference faced by the femtocell network. To cope with the technical challenges including interference management faced by the femtocells, researchers have suggested a variety of solutions. These solutions vary depending on the physical layer technology and the specific scenarios considered. Furthermore, the cognitive capabilities, as a functionality of femtocell have also been discussed in this survey. This article summarises the main concepts of femtocells that are covered in literature and the major challenges faced in its large scale deployment. The main challenge of interference management is discussed in detail with its types in femtocells and the solutions proposed over the years to manage interference have been summarised. In addition an overview of the current femtocell standardisation and the future research direction of femtocells have also been provided.
Date of Publication: First Quarter 2013