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What's the difference between a "Soft Handoff" and a "Hard Handoff"?

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Let's begin by defining the term "Handoff" first. In any mobile phone conversation your call is passed from one cell to another in order to keep the signal strong. This process of handing the call from one cell to another is called a handoff (or handover in some countries). It is how this transfer takes place that defines the difference between soft and hard. In all non-CDMA systems, including analog, IS-136, GSM, and iDEN, the handoff process is an all-or-nothing affair. At some point in time the switch instructs the phone to change from one cell to another. The phone does this by terminating its connection with the old cell and then establishing a connection with the new cell. The term "hard" comes from the sharp-edged nature of this process. In a CDMA system, all cells and all callers operate on the same frequency. Each conversation is distinguished from the next by the encoding sequence used to modulate the bits onto the wide carrier. The receiver in each CDMA phone has the ... more
arcx.com
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Let's begin by defining the term "Handoff" first. In any mobile phone conversation, your call is passed from one cell to another in order to keep the signal strong. This process of handing the call from one cell to another is called a handoff (or handover in some countries). It is how this transfer takes place that defines the difference between soft and hard. In all non-CDMA systems, including analog, IS-136, GSM, and iDEN, the handoff process is an all-or-nothing affair. At some point in time the switch instructs the phone to change from one cell to another. The phone does this by terminating its connection with the old cell and then establishing a connection with the new cell. The term "hard" comes from the sharp-edged nature of this process. In a CDMA system, all cells and all callers operate on the same frequency. Each conversation is distinguished from the next by the encoding sequence used to modulate the bits onto the wide carrier. The receiver in each CDMA phone has the ... more
angelfire.com
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