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In this paper, a new handover procedure for OFDM-based multi-hop relay systems is proposed to reduce handover overhead by distinguishing an inter-cell handover event from an intra-cell handover event at the level of the physical layer using a preamble with a hierarchical design. A Subcell ID concept that identifies RS in a cell is proposed in the hierarchical design that works in conjunction with the existing Cell ID that identifies BS. The proposed handover procedure can simplify the scanning procedure and skip/simplify the network re-entry procedure, resulting in a significant reduction of handover overhead.
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