Home  ›  Glossary  ›

Base Station



A fixed station in a cellular wireless network, used for communicating with mobile terminals (phones). A base station is what links mobile phones to a wireless carrier's network.

A base station provides local coverage (an area where mobile phones will work) for a wireless network. The area of coverage may be many miles or just a few city blocks. The coverage can be in all directions, or the antennas may be aimed only in one direction.

Each base station is typically owned by one wireless company (carrier) and only provides coverage for that company's network, although it may also provide roaming coverage for other networks, if the technology is compatible and the carriers have a roaming agreement. However, a single location (building or pole) often hosts multiple base stations, each owned by a different carrier. Each base station at that location has its own antennas and electronic equipment.

A base station consists of an electronic equipment cabinet connected by large cables to a group of antennas. The equipment is sometimes large enough to require its own small building. The antennas may be mounted on a dedicated tower structure, or on an existing structure, such as the top of a building, water tower, smoke-stack, or church steeple.

Smaller types of base stations include microcells, picocells, and femtocells.

See: Microcell

See: Picocell

See: Femtocell

Last updated Oct 18, 2015 by Rich Brome

Editor in Chief Rich became fascinated with cell phones in 1999, creating mobile web sites for phones with tiny black-and-white displays and obsessing over new phone models. Realizing a need for better info about phones, he started Phone Scoop in 2001, and has been helming the site ever since. Rich has spent two decades researching and covering every detail of the phone industry, traveling the world to tour factories, interview CEOs, and get every last spec and photo Phone Scoop readers have come to expect. As an industry veteran, Rich is a respected voice on phone technology of the past, present, and future.

Still confused? Spot a mistake? Give us your feedback on this definition.

back to Glossary Index

Subscribe to Phone Scoop News with RSS Follow @phonescoop on Threads Follow @phonescoop on Mastodon Phone Scoop on Facebook Follow on Instagram



All content Copyright 2001-2024 Phone Factor, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content on this site may not be copied or republished without formal permission.