First Generation wireless technology. Based on analog or AMPS technology, 1G wireless networks were designed to carry voice traffic only. See Also: Analog, AMPS
1X - a.k.a. CDMA2000 1X, 1XRTT
Third-generation wireless technology that offers enhanced voice and data capacity and higher data rates than previous, second-generation wireless technologies. 1X is an evolution of cdmaOne®. See Also: CDMA2000 1X
Second-generation wireless technology. Based on digital technology, 2G wireless networks offer increased voice quality and capacity over 1G systems. 2G systems traditionally supported voice and circuit-switched data service. 2G systems are being replaced today by 2.5G and 3G networks. See Also: Circuit-Switched Network
Based on digital technology, adding 2.5G wireless technology to a 2G network provides packet-data service and improved data rates. 2.5G technology has been implemented as GPRS. See Also: GPRS
Triple Data Encryption Standard. A private key symmetric cryptographic algorithm, that protects computer data by encoding the data three times for greater security. 3DES was issued as a Federal Information Processing Standard and is an updated version of DES. See Also: DES
Third-generation wireless technology. Based on digital technology, 3G wireless networks offer increased voice capacity and provide higher data rates than 2G and 2.5G networks. As defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 3G technology has been or will be implemented as CDMA2000®, CDMA2000 1xEV-DO, WCDMA/UMTS and HSDPA/HSUPA.
Third Generation Partnership Project, the standards body that oversees WCDMA. See Also: WCDMA
Third Generation Partnership Project 2, the standards body that oversees CDMA2000. See Also: CDMA2000
Fourth-Generation Vocoder™. Enables operators to prioritize voice quality and network capacity. Can be used to improve delay-sensitive applications such as VoiP (Voice over internet Protocol). See Also: VoiP
802.11 - a.k.a. Wi-Fi
802.11 refers to the body of standards issued by the IEEE for WLANs (wireless local area networks). 802.11 technologies use an over-the-air interface to connect a device (for example, a Wi-Fi enabled laptop) and an access point to another network. The 802.11 family of technologies includes 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n. See Also: Access Point, Hot Spot, IEEE, Wi-Fi, WLAN
Access Control
The physical layer that allows the handset to talk to the network, i.e., AMPS, TDMA, CDMA. Also used for the protocol that network security systems use to restrict or allow individuals to obtain data from, or place data in, the network storage device.
Access Point
A network device, or communication hub, that connects wireless devices to a wired local area network (LAN).
Advanced Encryption Standard. A standard for encryption intended to replace the DES (Data Encryption Standard). AES supports key lengths ranging from 128 to 256 bits. See Also: DES
Assisted-Global Positioning System. A technology used to determine an end-user’s position in urban areas or dense outdoor environments. Differs from traditional GPS by adding an assistance server, which shares tasks with the A-GPS receiver to expedite position location. Commonly associated with location-based services (LBS). See Also: E911, LBS, GPS, gpsOne
Air Interface
The radio frequency portion of the circuit (“connection”) between the cellular handset or wireless modem and the active base station (cell tower).
A wireless modem that can be used in a laptop or other mobile computing device to connect to the internet. Aircard® has become synonymous with wireless wide area network (WWAN) card, PCMCIA card and wireless PC card and is a registered trademark of Sierra Wireless. See Also: PC Card
In telecommunications, an early wireless network technology involving the modulation of radio signals, which transmit information as sound waves over radio signals allowing one call per channel. Most wireless transmission is now done digitally. See Also: AMPS, 1G
The American National Standards Institute. A standards setting, non-governmental organization that develops and publishes standards for transmission codes and protocols for use in the United States. ANSI serves as the official U.S. member body to the world’s leading standards bodies, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). See Also: ISO
Application Programming Interface. A set of standard methods or functions that application programs can use to access a particular set of services or tools, such as network services and program-to-program commands.
Average Revenue Per User. The monthly revenue generated by a consumer’s wireless device usage. ARPU is commonly used by wireless network operators and telecommunications/wireless analysts to estimate ROI (return on investment) measures for investments in network infrastructure and end-user services.
Communication signals that do not rely on a shared timing mechanism to transmit and receive information. Examples are GSM and WCDMA networks.
The process of verifying a user’s identity before providing access to a system, typically using key algorithms. Authentication is used to verify the user before placing calls or accessing data or other pay-per-use services.
The process of verifying a user’s ability to place calls and access services before providing these services. The network typically accesses a validation database to perform authorization.
Refers to transporting data or voice between the wireless network and the PDSN (packed data serving node, in wireless communications), or between the wireless network and the internet (in a wireless local area network implementation). See Also: PDSN, WLAN
In wireless communications, a frequency or contiguous range of frequencies.
In wireless communications, the width or capacity of a communications channel. Analog bandwidth is measured in hertz (Hz). Digital bandwidth is the volume of data that a channel can carry and is measured in bits per second (bps). See Also: bps, Channel, Hertz
Base Station
Often called a cell tower or a cell site, a base station is a transmitter/receiver location that establishes radio links between the wireless system and the wireless device. The base station includes an antenna tower, transmission radios and radio controllers. Each geographic area in a cellular network requires a base station. See Also: BSC, BTS
Broadcast Multicast Service. A standard being developed for third-generation (3G) cellular networks. Provides transmission of multimedia data from a single source to all subscribers in a specific area. Examples of multicast content could include video and movie clips, news, sports or stock quotes. See Also: Gold Multicast
A short-range wireless technology that interconnects devices such as phones, computers, keyboards, microphones and mice. Bluetooth supports both voice and data communications.
Bits Per Second. The standard for measuring the smallest unit of information in digital communications and data processing.
Generic term for high-speed digital internet connections, such as wireline, DSL or cable modems and wireless third-generation technologies, such as WCDMA (UMTS), CDMA2000® 1xEV-DO and HSDPA.
Base Station Controller. A component of a base station, the BSC supervises the functioning and control of multiple base transceiver stations and acts as a small switch. See Also: Base Station
Base Transceiver Station. Includes the electronic equipment and the antenna that comprises a PCS (personal communications services) facility or single base station. See Also: Base Station
Capital Expenditure. An expenditure connected to acquiring or upgrading physical assets such as equipment, property or buildings.
A specification for laptop module cards that became dominant in laptops between 1999 and 2005. CardBus offered faster throughput, lower power consumption and better video performance compared with the older PCMCIA standard from the early 1990s. CardBus now competes with the newer ExpressCard standard by PCMCIA. See Also: ExpressCard, PCMCIA
In wireless communications, an electromagnetic pulse or radio wave transmitted at a steady base frequency. Used to transmit radio signals to a radio receiver. Also commonly used to refer to a wireless network operator or service provider that provides mobile telecommunications services.
Carrier Switching Application (CSA)
A Carrier Switching Application (CSA) DVD preloaded with ATT, Sprint and Verizon connection managers and associated firmware is shipped with each Gobi™-enabled Toughbook. Once installed, the CSA allows users to quickly and easily load a carrier's connection manager, providing users the flexibility to choose or change carriers at any time.
CDMA Development Group. An international consortium of companies working together to lead the adoption and evolution of CDMA-based wireless systems around the world. See Also: CDMA
Code Division Multiple Access. A digital wireless technology that works by converting analog information, such as speech, into digital information, which is then transmitted as a radio signal over a wireless network. CDMA uses spread-spectrum technology, decreasing potential interference while achieving privacy. CDMA technology is the basis for third-generation (3G) wireless technologies.
CDMA2000® 1xEV-DV
CDMA2000 1X Evolution Data and Voice. Third-generation wireless technology that supports high-speed voice and data on the same channel. Enables internet connectivity for cellular phones, PDAs and other mobile devices.
The geographic area encompassing the signal range from one base station. Wireless networks are comprised of many overlapping cells to efficiently use radio spectrum for wireless transmissions. See Also: Base Station
Cell Site
A fixed transmitter/receiver location, also known as a base station or a cell tower, which establishes communications between a wireless system and a wireless device using radio links. The cell site includes an antenna tower, transmission radios and radio controllers. See Also: Base Station
Cell Tower
A fixed transmitter/receiver location, also known as a base station or a cell site, which establishes communications between a wireless system and a wireless device using radio links. The cell tower includes an antenna tower, transmission radios and radio controllers. See Also: Base Station
Analog or digital communications that provide a consumer with a wireless connection from the mobile device to a relatively nearby transmitter (base station). The transmitter’s coverage area is called a cell. See Also: Base Station
The amount of wireless spectrum occupied by a specific technology implementation. For cellular communications, there is a transmit side and a receive side. For example, a 5 MHz channel uses 5 MHz to transmit and 5 MHz to receive, using a total of 10 MHz of wireless spectrum. See Also: Cellular
Circuit-Switched Network
Networks that temporarily establish a physical circuit "connection" and keep that circuit reserved for the user until a disconnect signal is received. A dial-up modem is an example of a circuit-switched connection. In contrast, packed-switched networks are connectionless or "always on," eliminating the need to initiate a connection for data transfer. See Also: Packet-Switched Network
CompactFlash Card
One of a variety of small removable flash memory cards used in mobile devices to provide additional storage capacity. See Also: Flash Memory
Coverage Area
Geographic area served by a cellular system in which service is available to wireless users. See Also: Cell, Base Station
Cell On Wheels. A complete mobile base station used to provide cellular coverage where coverage is unavailable. Often used to enhance coverage for special events or as a temporary backup service.
Customer Relationship Management. An integrated information management system that is used to plan, schedule and control the pre- and post-sales activities within an organization to improve customer tracking and communication. Enterprises can wirelessly extend their CRM solutions, enabling sales professionals to remotely access timely customer data for increased productivity and improved customer service.
The Carrier Switching Application from Panasonic provides IT professionals and users the ability to customize the Gobi module to work with a specific carrier's network, as well as change carriers at any given time.
Data Encryption Standard. Protects unclassified computer data using a 56-bit, private key, symmetric cryptographic algorithm; issued as a Federal Information Processing Standard. See Also: 3DES
A form of transmission that transforms analog signals, such as voice, into a series of electrical or optical pulses that represent the binary digits 0 and 1. This numerical data is then converted into various forms depending on the type of network, such as radio waves for wireless transmission, electronic pulses for a wired network or optical light waves for fiber optics. Digital networks offer superior Quality of Service (QoS), secure transmission and more bandwidth than analog lines. See Also: QoS
Department of Telecommunications. The India government body that covers policy, licensing, and coordination of telegraphs, telephones, wireless, data, facsimile and telematic communications.
Digital Rights Management. Technology for copyright protection of digital media, including ring tones, music, graphics and video. Developed to prevent the illegal distribution of purchased content over the internet.
Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum. A spread spectrum technique used in radio transmission systems, such as CDMA, wireless local area networks (WLAN) and some personal communications services (PCS) systems. DSSS converts a data stream into a stream of packets, which are then transmitted over a wide range of frequencies using a "scattering" approach.
Digital Video Broadcasting - Handhelds. A multicast technology standard specified by the DVB Project for the multicast delivery of TV-like programming to wireless devices. With DVB-H, one signal is sent from the base station and received by all subscribing devices within range. See Also: Base Station, DVB Project, Multicast
DVB Project
Digital Video Broadcasting Project. A consortium of broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers, regulatory bodies and others committed to designing global standards for the delivery of digital television and data services.
Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution. A software/hardware enhancement for existing GSM networks designed to provide higher data rates to enhance the delivery of multimedia and other broadband applications for wireless devices. See Also: GSM
In wireless communications, used to describe capabilities, such as internet access, that are contained within a device.
In security, encryption is the ciphering of data by applying an algorithm to plain text. Types include Asymmetric, Symmetric and Public Key. See Also: Asymmetric Encryption, Symmetric Encryption
End-to-End Security
In wireless communications, safeguarding information in a network by encryption to ensure secure data transmission from the point of origin to the point of destination. See Also: Encryption
Enhanced 911
A U.S. Government-mandated capability that automatically provides the caller’s geographic location and wireless phone number to the 911 call center. The goal of the FCC’s wireless E911 rules is to improve the effectiveness of wireless 911 service by providing emergency dispatchers with location information to within 50 to 300 meters of the caller’s exact location.
Enterprise Resource Planning. A business management system that integrates all major facets of a business, such as manufacturing, finance, sales and human resources functions. ERP software links together various back-office computer systems, including SFA (sales force automation) and CRM (customer relationship management) applications. ERP software typically incorporates heavy use of telecommunications, including providing wireless access to these systems to enable real-time information requests.
The newest PCMCIA standard for removable module cards. ExpressCard replaces the old PCMCIA standard and provides for smaller, lighter cards; faster throughput; and lower costs due to the card’s simple design and lack of need for a separate controller in the host device. ExpressCard technology is useful for wireless devices due to its smaller size and lower power consumption than CardBus. See Also: CardBus, PC Card, PCMCIA
Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. government agency responsible for regulation of the communications industry.
Field Force Automation. Information technology solutions that help companies improve communication with employees in the field. Wireless FFA solutions increase productivity by enabling mobile employees to remotely access centralized databases, finalize service calls, update time/expense reports and schedule appointments.
Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. A technique used in radio transmission systems, such as wireless local area networks (WLAN) and select mobile networks. FHSS converts a data stream into a stream of packets, which are then sent in short bursts via transmitters and receivers that move or “hop” from one frequency to another.
A combination of hardware and software that protects a computer or group of computers from an attack by an outside network or computer user. A firewall enforces a boundary between two or more networks.
Flash Memory
A type of memory that can be erased and reprogrammed (rewritten). Commonly used in mobile phones, digital cameras, audio players and removable memory cards, such as Memory Sticks or Secure Digital (SD) Cards.
In video, frames per second.
Frame Relay
Uses a form of packet-switching and multiplexes data. A frame relay network is able to accommodate data packets of various sizes associated with virtually any native data protocol. An access standard defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). See Also: Packet-Switched Network, ITU
The rate at which an electromagnetic waveform alternates. Usually measured in hertz (Hz) or megahertz (MHz).
File Transfer Protocol. An application layer of TCP/IP, FTP lets users quickly transfer large text and binary files between computing devices connected to the internet. See Also: Internet Protocol, IPv4, IPv6, TCP/IP, VoiP
A network point that acts as an entrance to another network.
Gigabyte. A measure of computer data storage capacity. Measured as approximately a billion bytes or 1,073,741,824 in decimal notation.
Gigahertz. A measure of frequency equal to a billion hertz or a thousand megahertz (MHz). Gigahertz is often used to measure UHF (ultra-high frequency) or to express microprocessor clock speed in some computers. See Also: Hertz, MHz.
Gobi™ (Mobile Broadband)
A new wireless chipset from Qualcomm, Gobi™ Mobile Broadband solution brings two previously incompatible 3G wireless technologies, cdma2000 EV-DO Rev. A and W-CDMA/HSPA, together in a software-defined configuration that allows connection to the best available wireless network in an area. Gobi offers consumers the opportunity to purchase any Gobi-enabled notebook computer, turn it on and get virtually instant wireless broadband Internet access almost anywhere on Earth.
Global Positioning System. A worldwide radio-navigation system developed by the U.S. Department of Defense to enable users to determine their exact location anywhere on the globe from land, air or sea. GPS works via radio signals sent from orbiting satellites to receivers on the ground. GPS receivers are used in a wide range of commercial applications from fleet management to rural navigation. See Also: E911, LBS, gpsOne
A category of enterprise software that allows employees to work more collaboratively. Groupware includes email and PIM (personal information management) functionality such as calendar, to-do lists and contact information; and allows employees to share data. Examples include Microsoft® Exchange/Microsoft Outlook® and Lotus® Domino/Lotus Notes. See Also: PIM
Global System for Mobile Communications. A second generation wireless telecommunications standard for digital cellular services first deployed in Europe. GSM is based on TDMA technology and provides circuit-switched data connections. See Also: TDMA
Graphical User Interface. The interface that allows the user to interact with a particular device, such as a wireless phone or personal computer. Elements include pull-down menus, buttons, scroll bars, iconic images, windows, and help wizards. Sometimes pronounced "gooey". See Also: UI
A video compression standard developed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for transmitting video over limited bandwidth connections, such as mobile networks. Supports only the visual portion of the video stream; the audio portion is handled separately. See Also: ITU
H.264 - a.k.a. MPEG-4 AVC
A high-compression, digital video standard that offers greater compression than previous standards. Considered an option for transmitting full-motion video over wireless and internet connections. Jointly developed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the ISO Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). See Also: Base Station, Hard Handoff, Soft Handoff
A wireless device that contains a transmitter and receiver. Also known as a cell phone or mobile phone.
Hard Handoff
A video compression standard developed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for transmitting video over limited A handoff is the process, invisible to the user, of transferring a cellular phone conversation from one base station (cell tower) to another without interruption to the call. Hard handoffs require that the connection of a cellular phone call be broken in the original base station before the connection can be made in the next base station. A hard handoff may result in a dropped call. See Also: Handoff
The international unit for measuring frequency, equivalent to cycles per second. One megahertz (MHz) is one million hertz. One gigahertz (GHz) is one billion hertz.
Hot Spot
A location, such as a coffee shop, airport or bookstore, where a consumer can establish a WLAN (wireless local area network) or Wi-Fi connection. Hot spots provide a wireless access point for the user and limited coverage (approximately 100 feet), depending on the location. See Also: 802.11, Wi-Fi, WLAN
High-Speed Downlink Packet Access. An enhancement to WCDMA networks that provides higher data speeds in the downlink to support applications such as VPN access, video downloads and large file transfers. See Also: WCDMA, Downlink
High-Speed Uplink Packet Access. An enhancement to WCDMA networks that provides higher data speeds in the uplink to support applications such as VPN access and large file transfers. See Also: WCDMA, UplinkI
High-Speed Uplink Packet Access. An enhancement to WCDMA networks that provides higher data speeds in the uplink to support applications such as VPN access and large file transfers. See Also: WCDMA, UplinkI
Internet Engineering Task Force. The body that defines standard internet operating protocols such as TCP/IP.
Instant Messaging. Instant, real-time, text-based communication between two or more people over a network such as the internet.
Internet Mode. A proprietary cell phone service based on cHTML technology developed by Japan’s NTT DoCoMo. i-mode supports Web content and services, such as mobile banking, email and news reporting for cellular phones.
IP Multimedia Subsystem. An open industry standard for voice and multimedia communications over packet-based IP networks. Supports technologies such as IM (instant messaging), VoiP (Voice over internet Protocol), push to talk (PTT) and video calling. See Also: IM, Packet, PTT, VoiP
International Mobile Telecommunications for the Year 2000. A set of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) specifications for third-generation wireless networks comprised of five wireless standards including CDMA2000 and WCDMA. See Also: 3G
Intellectual Property - a.k.a. IP
Refers to property rights created through intellectual and/or discovery efforts of a creator that can generally be protected under patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, trade dress or other law. Also commonly used as an abbreviation for internet protocol.
Internet Protocol - a.k.a. IP
The method of sending data from one computer to another on the internet. IP is part of the TCP/IP protocol and is an integral component of the internet. Also commonly used as an abbreviation for intellectual property. See Also: TCP/IP, VoiP
IP Datacasting
Simultaneous transmission of content from a single source to a large number of wireless subscribers. Usually refers to the delivery of a wide variety of TV-like programming to wireless devices, and can also include IP-based content such as games or video and audio files.
Intellectual Property Rights.
Internet Protocol Security. A collection of protocols for secure exchange of packets at the internet protocol (IP) layer. IPsec supports two encryption modes: transport mode encrypts only the data portion of each packet; tunnel mode encrypts the data portion and header of each packet.
Version 4 of the internet protocol (IP). Like all IP versions, IPv4 provides unique computer addresses to all computers on the internet, to ensure that two computers can identify one another. IPv4 was the first protocol widely deployed and is the dominant protocol in use today. See Also: IETF, Internet Protocol, IPv6, TCP/IP, VoiP
Version 6 of the internet protocol (IP). Like all IP versions, IPv6 provides unique computer addresses to all computers on the internet, to ensure that two computers can identify one another. However, IPv6 provides for far more addresses than IPv4. This allows IPv6 to handle the explosion in mobile devices connected to the internet. Both IPv4 and IPv6 are supported today. See Also: IETF, Internet Protocol, IPv4, TCP/IP, VoiP
Interim Standard 2000. The interim standard for CDMA2000®, the third-generation (3G) wireless mobile standard for CDMA2000-based cellular networks. See Also: CDMA2000
International Organization for Standardization. Chartered by the United Nations, ISO was formed to define and promote the development of various international standards.
Internet Service Provider. A vendor that provides access to the internet and often provides internet utilities and services. Also, Integrated Service Provider. A vendor that provides all or many of the different data and voice services, including VoiP, internet service, wireless phone service and wireline services. See Also: VoiP
International Telecommunications Union. An agency of the United Nations with the goal of establishing telecommunication standards. J
A standard file format for image compression, typically for photographic images. Commonly used to store and transmit photographs over the internet. The most common file extensions for this format are .jpg or .jpeg.
Kilobyte. A measure of computer memory or storage. Measured as 1,024 bytes in decimal notation.
Kilobits Per Second. Commonly used as a speed for data transmission. Measured as 1,000 bits per second.
Kilohertz (KHz)
One thousand hertz. A measurement often used to reference radio frequencies. See Also: Hertz
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol. A tunneling protocol that enables the operation of a virtual private network (VPN) over the internet. See Also: VPN
Local Area Network. A small communication network covering a limited area, such as within a building or group of buildings. See Also: 802.11, WiFi, Hot Spot
Last Mile
Commonly used in telecommunications to refer to the final delivery of communications connectivity between the network and the end user’s point of access (home or business).
Location-Based Services. Enables operators to offer personalized services based on the user’s location. Examples of LBS include regional map information for real estate agents and asset tracking solutions for service representatives at logistics and transportation companies. See Also: E911, GPS, gpsOne
Liquid Crystal Display. A thin, flat display screen consisting of numerous color or monochrome pixels arranged in front of a light source. LCDs are used in many mobile and other battery-powered electronic devices because of relatively low energy requirements and easy readability.
Megabyte. A measure of computer processor storage and real and virtual memory. Measured as 1,048,576 bytes in decimal notation.
Multimedia Broadcasting Multicasting Service. Enables one source to simultaneously send data, such as video or audio programming, to multiple users who subscribe to the service. See Also: BCMC
Megabits Per Second. Measured as one million bits per second. A measurement of the amount of data transferred in one second between two telecommunication points.
Occasionally used to refer to the multicast delivery of a wide variety of TV-like programming to wireless devices. See Also: Multicast
Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems. A technology that combines computers with tiny mechanical devices (such as sensors, valves or gears) for integration with integrated circuits. MEMS devices refer to mechanical components that are one micrometer (one millionth of a meter) in size.
Mesh Network
A networking technique that effectively extends a network by sharing access to higher-cost network infrastructure. Nodes connect with other nodes and act as repeaters for the data being transmitted, similar to packet-data transmission over the internet. Wireless mesh networks are relatively inexpensive and thus are increasingly popular. See Also: WLAN
Megahertz. One million hertz or cycles per second. A measurement often used to describe the speed of digital and analog signals. See Also: Hertz
A type of software that connects or "glues together" two or more otherwise separate types of software and translates information between them. For example, middleware is used to allow access between two different databases on a network.
Multiple Input, Multiple Output. In wireless communications, an antenna technology that uses multiple antennas at the source (transmitter) and the destination (receiver). Antennas at each end are combined to reduce errors and improve data speed. Can be used in conjunction with OFDM. See Also: OFDM
A small embedded module for wireless networks used in laptops, often as a build-to-order option but increasingly available in mainstream models. MiniCards provide access to high-speed wireless networks such as CDMA2000® 1xEV-DO or HSDPA.
Multimedia Messaging Service. Allows wireless device users to send multimedia, such as video or digital photos, from one device to another.
MPEG-3 - a.k.a. MP3
Moving Picture Experts Group-3. A standard for compressing audio into a compact file without losing a significant amount of its quality. Used for the mobile transmission and storage of audio files. See Also: CMX
MPEG-4 - a.k.a. MP4
Moving Picture Experts Group-4. A standard for compressing video into a compact file without losing a significant amount of its quality. Used for the transmission and storage of images and video clips.
Mobile Switching Center. A sophisticated telephone exchange that provides mobility management services, such as circuit switched calling, and coordination between base stations cell towers, networks and mobile users within a network. See Also: Base Station
Refers to the ability for a device to communicate in multiple radio frequencies (RF) for wider coverage. Multiband capability is needed to ensure that wireless devices can roam. Because countries allocate bands independently, RF-band compatibility is required along with mode (CDMA2000, WCDMA, GPS, Bluetooth etc.) compatibility for international roaming. See Also: Dual Band, Multimode, RF
Simultaneous transmission of content from a single source to large numbers of wireless subscribers. Usually refers to the delivery of a wide variety of TV-like programming to wireless devices.
The multiple paths a radio wave may follow between transmitter and receiver. In cellular communications, refers to a radio signal reaching the receiving antenna by two or more paths. See Also: Multipath Fading
Multipath Fading
Interference during wireless signal reception caused by the deflection of a radio signal off obstacles such as buildings, mountains and other large obstructions. See Also: Multipath
Refers to the ability to transmit and receive in multiple modes, such as CDMA2000® 1X, GSM, Bluetooth®, analog, Wi-Fi and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO. Multimode capabilities are critical to ensuring that a wireless device can roam and access legacy networks.
A point of connection into a network. In packet-switched networks, a node is one of the many packet switches that form the network’s backbone.
Node B
Denotes the base transceiver station (BTS) in WCDMA technology. The transmitter(s) and receiver(s) used to communicate directly with wireless devices. See Also: BTS, WCDMA
OEL Display
Organic Electroluminescent Display. A type of display technology that enables very bright flat screens. OEL displays are often used in small portable devices because they do not require a backlight, resulting in a lower power draw.
Original Equipment Manufacturer. The manufacture of a device (often a consumer electronics product) that is sold to another company, which in turn sells the device to the end consumer under its own name.
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing. A wireless communications technology and modulation technique that divides available spectrum into multiple radio frequency (RF) channels. In OFDM, a single transmitter transmits on many different, independent frequencies, which typically results in a signal with high resistance to interference. See Also: FLASH-OFDM, OFDMA, Channel
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access. Wireless technology based on OFDM that offers forward- and reverse-link communications and broadband data speeds to support applications such as VPN access, video downloads and large file transfers. See Also: FLASH-OFDM, OFDM
Open Mobile Alliance. A standards body that develops open standards for wireless information and telephony services on digital mobile phones and other wireless terminals.
Operating System - a.k.a. OS, O/S
Software that manages the basic operations of a computer system. Examples include UNIX, Windows, Palm OS and Mac OS X.
A wireless network operator, also often referred to as a carrier or service provider, that provides mobile telecommunication services.
Operational Expenditure. An expenditure connected to operating a business, including R&D, sales and marketing, and administrative costs.
Open Systems Interconnection. A reference model established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to provide a network design framework that allows equipment from different vendors to be able to communicate. See Also: ISO
A digital "package" of data that enables efficient use of radio spectrum and routing over a network, such as the internet or wireless networks. Each packet is numbered separately and includes the internet address of the destination.
Packet-Switched Network
Networks that transfer digital packets of data. Packet-switched networks are connectionless or "always on," eliminating the need to connect to a network to send or receive data. In contrast, circuit-switched networks require a dedicated circuit, or connection, for the duration of the data transmission. See Also: Packet, Circuit-Switched Network
Personal Area Network. A small network with a reach of only a few feet, which is used to connect multiple devices for syncing data or connecting with the internet. Bluetooth is an example of PAN technology. A typical PAN might include a user’s mobile phone and wireless earpiece, PDA, digital music player and laptop. See Also: WPAN
PC Card
A wireless modem that can be used in a laptop or other mobile computing device to connect to the internet. Synonymous with PCMCIA card, WWAN (wireless wide area network) card and Aircard®. See Also: Aircard®, PCMCIA
Peripheral Component Interconnect. A standard for attaching peripheral devices to a motherboard, such as on a mobile phone or laptop. The PCIExpress (PCIe) standard is the new version of PCI.
Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. An international association that standardizes credit-card sized wireless modems which can be inserted into laptops or other mobile computing devices to connect to the internet. A Type II PC card is the most common PCMCIA card. See Also: PC Card
Personal Communications Services. Refers to the 1900 MHz cellular frequency band. More commonly used as a marketing term to describe digital wireless services in the Americas, regardless of the particular frequency band being used.
Personal Digital Assistant. A portable personal computing device used for text messaging, email, calendar, contacts and a wide range of other applications.
Personal Digital Cellular. The second-generation TDMA-based wireless technology used in Japan. PDC is incompatible with other wireless networks. See Also: 2G, TDMA
Packet Data Serving Node. Refers to the routers used in CDMA2000 wireless networks that comprise the backbone of the network.
Physical layer. Transmits raw bits of data by establishing and terminating connections to a networked communications resource. Refers to network hardware, physical cabling or a wireless connection. Considered layer one of the seven-layer OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model of data communications. See Also: OSI
Pilot Interference Cancellation. Increases the reverse link capacity of CDMA-based technologies by removing interference from the pilot signal. See Also: Reverse Link, Uplink
Personalized Information Manager. Software for keeping track of contact addresses and phone numbers, appointments, project schedules and task lists. Sometimes called a contact manager. See Also: Groupware
One of the many tiny dots that represent a picture in a computer’s memory. Because pixels are so small and so numerous, they appear as a smooth, single image when displayed on paper or a computer monitor. Pixels vary in color and intensity.
Portable Network Graphics. A file format for image compression. A lossless format, which maintains all image information (such as number of pixels) when the image is viewed. In contrast, lossy formats such as JPEG may lose image information when decompressed for viewing. See Also: JPEG
Persons of Population. Refers to total population coverage according to a wireless service provider’s license. In wireline communications, POP means Point of Presence, which is defined as the connectivity point between two networks.
Plain Old Telephone Service. The basic wired telephone line that supports standard single-line telephones, telephone lines and access to the PSTN (public switched telephone network). See Also: PSTN
Pay Per Call. In contrast to flat rates offered by operators for monthly service under a contract. Also a commonly used abbreviation for the Pocket PC.
Point-to-Point Protocol. A protocol for communication that allows two devices to transport packets over a data connection, such as a personal computer connected by phone line to a server. See Also: Packet
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. A protocol for communication that facilitates virtual private networking to enable secure remote access to corporate networks via the internet. See Also: PPP, TCP/IP, VPN
Within the context of data communications, a specific set of rules related to data transmission between two devices. Protocols set standard procedures that enable different types of data devices to recognize and communicate with each other.
Quality of Service. A measure of network’s transmission reliability and efficiency. QoS is commonly used by network operators to indicate a higher level of service guarantee to customers.
Rake Receiver
A radio receiver designed to counter the effects of multipath fading; commonly used in devices such as mobile phones. Uses several sub-receivers, each slightly delayed, to tune into the individual paths a radio wave follows (multipaths). Each component is later combined to effectively strengthen the signal. See Also: Multipath, Multipath Fading
Receive Diversity
A method of using two separate handset-based antennas to improve signal reception, increase data rates and improve network capacity. May also be used when a single device supports two different services, such as GPS for location-based services and CDMA for voice and data transmission.
Rev. A
Short for CDMA2000® 1xEV-DO Revision A. Rev. A provides up to 10 times faster reverse-link speeds compared to EV-DO and better support for streaming video and VoiP, which alleviates potential bandwidth conflict between voice and high-speed data services. See Also: CDMA2000 1xEV-DO, Reverse Link, VoiP
Radio Frequency. Measured in Hertz, MHz and GHz. Wireless and cordless telephones, radio and television broadcast stations, satellite communications systems and two-way radio services all operate using radio frequencies.
Radio Frequency Identification. A method of remotely retrieving data from and storing data associated with animals, people, products or equipment. Requires an RFID tag, which contains an antenna to enable the tag to send and receive queries from an RFID transceiver. See Also: RFID Tag
Radio Frequency Identification Tag. A small radio frequency device used to identify and track people, animals, commercial products or corporate assets.
Radio Network Controller. Equipment in third-generation (3G) wireless networks that interfaces with the core network, controls the radio transmitters and receivers in Node Bs, and performs mobility functions. See Also: Node B
The process of using mobile phone service while outside of the cellular provider's coverage area.
Return on Investment. A financial performance measure to determine the relative attractiveness of a proposed investment. ROI is typically measured in dollars but can also be measured by less quantifiable benefits such as increased customer satisfaction.
R-UIM - a.k.a. CDMA SIM card
Removable User Interface Module. A removable card that can be inserted into certain CDMA phones and other mobile devices that makes global roaming possible across CDMA and GSM wireless networks. The R-UIM card identifies the user’s subscriber information, such as handset number and wireless features, and can also store data, including telephone numbers and addresses. See Also: SIM, Virtual SIM
Supply Chain Management. The communications link between a company and its suppliers, distributors and customers. Wireless SCM solutions are deployed to allow mobile access to the internet and private corporate intranets to more efficiently manage inventory.
Software Development Kit. A set of software tools, usually designed for use with a particular operating system, that enables software developers to write programs that will work on the target operating system.
Service Provider
A "carrier" or "network operator" that provides mobile telecommunication services. See Also: Operator
Sales Force Automation. A system that allows salespeople to record account and contact information, send form letters and schedule future activities. Wireless SFA solutions provide mobile employees with access to web-based SFA databases via the internet.
Simultaneous-Global Positioning System. In telecommunications, the simultaneous operation of GPS location capabilities and CDMA2000 voice calls. See Also: LBS, GPS
Subscriber Identity Module. A removable card built into all GSM phones and other mobile devices. The SIM identifies the user’s subscriber information, such as handset number and wireless features, and can also store data, including telephone numbers and addresses. See Also: Virtual SIM
Session Initiation Protocol. A standard protocol defined by the internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Used to initiate an interactive multimedia user session such as chat, video, voice or gaming. See Also: IETF
A category of mobile phones that supports both wireless data and voice capabilities. Smartphones include enhanced software and applications, including operating systems such as Palm OS and Windows Mobile. In addition to telephone functionality, features on a smartphone might include email, internet access and remote access to corporate databases. See Also: Palm OS, Windows Mobile
Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language. A programming language used to easily define and synchronize multimedia elements, such as video, sound and still images, for internet usage. Pronounced smile.
Short Message Service. A store-and-forward message service available on many second-generation and all third-generation wireless networks that allows users to send and receive short text messages over wireless devices.
Soft Handoff
The process, invisible to the user, of transferring a cellular phone conversation from one base station (cell tower) to another without interruption to the call. There are two types of handoffs: hard and soft. Soft handoffs do not require the original connection to be broken when transferring to an adjacent base station. See Also: Handoff
Software Defined Module
The ability for a single modem module to work with different cellular carriers by loading different firmware into the module memory.
Software Defined Radio (SDR)
A radio communication system that uses software for modulation and demodulation. Wireless networks use SDR systems because of their ability to adapt to changing radio protocols by using a software update.
Spread Spectrum
A method of transmitting a radio frequency (RF) signal by “spreading” it over a broad range of frequencies. This facilitates reduced interference and increased capacity within a particular radio frequency band. CDMA technology is based on spread spectrum. See Also: CDMA
Signaling System 7. The protocol used in public-switched telephone systems for establishing calls and providing services such as 800 numbers, call forwarding, caller ID and number portability.
Secure Sockets Layer. A protocol for managing the security of message transmission on the internet, for example, between a Web server and a Web browser.
Super Twisted Nematic Liquid Crystal Display. A low-power LCD flat-panel display technology that requires each pixel to be refreshed many times per second, resulting in low response times. Requires less power and is less expensive than TFT technology. See Also: LCD, TFT
In wireless, a user of a mobile telecommunication service.
Symmetric Encryption
A secure method of converting data for transmission that uses the same cipher, or “key,” to encrypt and decrypt the message. See Also: Asymmetric Encryption
Communication transmissions that are timed by a clocking signal and occur with equal time intervals between them. An example is the constant transmission of time-sensitive data, such as real-time voice.
Total Cost of Ownership. A financial measure commonly used by enterprises to calculate total relevant costs of a particular project. TCO includes the actual purchase price or cost of implementation plus relevant costs such as administration, maintenance, support, software and training.
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. A communications protocol that has become the de facto standard protocol for the internet. “TCP” provides transport functions, ensuring that the total amount of data sent is correctly received. “IP” provides the routing mechanism, ensuring the information reaches the correct destination.
Time Division Duplexing. The application of time-division multiple access (TDMA) to separate inbound and outbound signals. Allows devices to transmit and receive on a single frequency at different time intervals. See Also: TDMA.
Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access. A third-generation, (3G) wireless standard that offers enhanced voice and data capacity and higher data rates than previous second-generation wireless standards. One of the three international CDMA technology-based standards accepted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for third-generation wireless communications. See Also: ITU, 3G
Time Division Multiple Access. A second-generation, digital wireless communication technology that increases the amount of data that can be delivered by dividing each cellular channel into time slots. Wireless standards that use TDMA technology include GSM, PDC and iDEN. See Also: GSM, PDC, iDEN
A device, such as a laptop or cell phone, used to access a network.
TFT - a.k.a. Active Matrix Display Technology
Thin-Film Transistor. The technology used to make liquid crystal display (LCD) display screens. Commonly used in notebook and laptop computers. See Also: LCD
Thin Client
A computer (client) in a client-server architecture network that has little or no application logic or processing ability, so it must rely on the server to handle processing.
The rate at which a device or network sends and receives data, usually expressed as bits per second (bps). While a useful metric, throughput is not the only measure of responsiveness, which is how quickly the network responds to the user. Responsiveness is equally determined by latency and throughput. See Also: Mbps
Telecommunications Industry Association. A U.S. trade association representing the communications and information technology industry. Responsible for certain technical standards covering both wireless and wireline phone technology.
Tri-Mode - a.k.a. Triple Mode
Triple Mode. Functionality that allows a mobile phone to transmit in three modes for wider coverage area. For example, a mobile phone may be equipped to use analog, 800 MHz cellular and 1900 MHz PCS frequencies to make and receive calls.
Standard TV interface used to connect a mobile device to a compatible external device, such as a television or computer. Used to view images, watch video or play games.
Two-Way Paging - a.k.a. Interactive Paging
The ability to send and receive data via the internet by way of a paging network.
UMTS - a.k.a. WCDMA
Universal Mobile Telecommunications System. A third-generation (3G), CDMA-based wireless communication standard that offers enhanced voice and data capacity and higher data rates than previous, second generation wireless technologies. See Also: WCDMA
The transmission of content from a single source to a single receiver over a network.
UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network. The Node Bs and radio network controllers that make up a UMTS network. Enables connectivity between the user equipment and the core network. See Also: Node B, UMTS
Ultra Wideband. A wireless technology for transmitting large amounts of digital data over a wide spectrum of frequency bands across relatively short distances.
Virtual SIM
A virtual copy of most of the data on a mobile phone’s physical SIM (Subscriber Identity Module), such as phone number, contact lists and SMS messages. See Also: R-UIM, SIM
Voice Recognition
The technology found on some wireless phones, PCs and other communication devices that enables the device to respond to spoken commands.
Voice over internet Protocol. The routing of voice conversations, sent as digital packets of data, over the internet or other IP network. See Also: Packet
Virtual Private Network. A network that is constructed using public wires to connect remote offices or individual users to their organizations’ network. VPNs use encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure network access to authorized users. VPNs are an essential component of secure wireless computing for the enterprise. See Also: Encryption
Wide Area Network. A geographically dispersed telecommunications network. A WAN may be privately owned or rented, but the term usually refers to a public network.
Wireless Application Protocol. A set of standards that enables a wireless device to browse content from specially coded Web pages over wireless devices such as mobile phones.
WCDMA - a.k.a. UMTS
Wideband CDMA. A third-generation (3G), CDMA-based wireless communication technology that offers enhanced voice and data capacity and higher data rates than previous, second-generation wireless technologies. See Also: CDMA, IMT-2000, 3G, UMTS
Wired Equivalency Privacy. An optional feature for Wi-Fi and 802.11b that offers privacy by using an encryption algorithm that scrambles data before any data is transmitted. See Also: Wi-Fi, 802.11
Short for "Wireless Fidelity" and another name for WLAN (wireless local area network). Allows a mobile user to connect to a local area network (LAN) through a wireless connection. Wi-Fi has been deployed in airports, universities, bookstores, coffee shops, office campuses and private residences. See Also: 802.11, Hot Spot, WLAN
Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access. A group of proposed wireless standards for high-throughput broadband connections over long distances. Applications include "last mile" broadband connections and hot spots. Trade name for a new family of IEEE 802.16 wireless standards. See Also: Broadband, Hot Spot, IEEE, Last Mile
Wireless Metropolitan Area Network. Enables broadband network access with exterior antennas that communicate with base stations that are connected to core network. An alternative to fixed-line networks. Developed by the IEEE 802.16 Working Group. See Also: Broadband, IEEE
Wireless Node
A device equipped with wireless network interface capability.
Wireless Spectrum
A band of frequencies in which wireless signals travel carrying voice and data.
Wireless Local Area Network. Allows a mobile user to connect to a local area network (LAN) through a wireless connection. WLANs have been deployed in airports, universities, bookstores, coffee shops, office campuses and private residences. See Also: 802.11, Hot Spot, Wi-Fi
Wireless Personal Area Network. A computer network that wirelessly connects devices in a short range (about 30 feet), such as a mobile phone to a wireless mouse or keyboard. Bluetooth® is a WPAN technology. See Also: Bluetooth, UWB
Wireless Wide Area Network. Geographically separate computer networks joined through a wireless connection. A WWAN is similar to a WLAN (wireless local area network), but typically covers an entire metropolitan or nationwide area. See Also: CDMA2000, WCDMA, OFDM, OFDMA
eXtensible Markup Language. A computer language developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) designed to improve the functionality of the internet by providing a more flexible way to share basic data, such as phone numbers or addresses. For example, XML may be used to share data between desktop computers and wireless devices.
ZIF - a.k.a. Direct Conversion
Zero Intermediate Frequency. A radio frequency architecture that eliminates the entire intermediate frequency section of the cellular phone, resulting in smaller-sized wireless devices. See Also: radioOne