The following terms are some of the most widely used in the wireless communications industry. For more information, see each full definition in this publication.|
First generation wireless: analog cellphones. See cellular generations.
Second generation wireless: digital cellphones. See cellular generations.
Interim stage between 2G and 3G, providing faster data services. See cellular generations.
Third generation wireless: digital plus high-speed data and global roaming. Known as IMT-2000 by the ITU and implemented in Europe as UMTS and CDMA2000 in North America. Goals are high-quality multimedia and advanced global roaming (inhouse, cellular, satellite, etc.). See cellular generations.
Fourth generation wireless. WiMAX and LTE are the two major 4G technologies. See WiMAX, cellular generations and LTE.
IEEE standard for authentication. See 802.1X.
IEEE standards for wireless LANs.
IEEE standard for wireless LANs at 5 GHz with speeds up to 54 Mbps. See 802.11.
IEEE standard for wireless LANs at 2.4 GHz with speeds up to 11 Mbps. See 802.11.
IEEE standard for wireless LANs at 2.4 GHz with speeds up to 54 Mbps. See 802.11.
IEEE standard for wireless security. Supersedes WEP and WPA. See 802.11i.
IEEE standard for wireless LANs at 150 Mbps and higher. Uses MIMO technology. See 802.11n and MIMO.
IEEE standards for wireless PANs (WPAN). See 802.15.
IEEE standards for fixed wireless ("last mile"). See 802.16.
A base station that plugs into an Ethernet hub, switch or server. Like a cellular phone system cell, users can roam between access points. See wireless LAN.
A cellular wireless adapter. See wireless adapter.
An air modulation scheme, equivalent to physical layer in OSI model. See air interface.
Analog Mobile Phone System - Analog cellphone system in U.S. See AMPS.
A wireless modem designed for analog cellular phones. See AMPS.
Prior name of DataTAC network. See DataTAC.
A server that contains usernames and passwords and authorizes access to the network. See 802.1X.
The device that allows or blocks access to the network. See 802.1X.
Wireless personal area network (PAN) standard geared for home and office. Uses 2.4 GHz band at 720 Kbps within 30 foot range. See Bluetooth and Bluetooth glossary.
High-speed wireless transmission. See wireless broadband.
(Code Division Multiple Access) QUALCOMM's spread spectrum air interface method. It codes each conversation expanding it 128 times, which makes it easier to decipher at receiving end. See CDMA.
The CDMA Development Group's trademark for CDMA networks. See IS-95.
A 3G technology that provides up to 2.4 Mbps for voice and data. See CDMA2000.
(Cellular Digital Packet Data) Packet overlay on analog cellphone network. Provides 19.2 Kbps and deployed by AT&T and several other carriers. See CDPD.
Low-speed packet data network from Motient noted for its deep penetration within buildings (formerly ARDIS). See DataTAC.
European cordless telephone standard. See DECT.
Two-way radio used for taxis, trucks and fleets. Always on. See two-way radio.
Cellphone that switches from analog to digital or from land based to satellite or from cordless to cellular.
(Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution) Increased data throughput in GSM and TDMA systems to 384 Kbps. See cellular generations.
(Free Space Optics) Using infrared lasers to transmit through the air. See FSO.
Second major LEO-based global communications system. Initially for voice, it was launched in late 1999. See Globalstar.
(General Packet Radio Service) Adding IP packets to GSM. See cellular generations.
(Global System for Mobile Communications) Digital TDMA-based cellphone system that started in Europe. Introduced SIM card and short messaging (SMS). See GSM.
(Handheld Device Markup Language) Forerunner of WML, developed by Phone.com.
(High Data Rate) A high-speed CDMA data technology from QUALCOMM for existing cdmaOne voice networks or new data networks. Provides 2.4 Mbps/384 Kbps asymmetric operation. See HDR.
European wireless LAN standard at 24 Mbps in the 5 GHz band. Similar to Ethernet but with quality of service (QoS). See HIPERLAN.
Earlier wireless personal area network (PAN). Used 2.4 GHz band at 1 or 2 Mbps within 150 foot range. See HomeRF.
(Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) A wireless system from Motorola that integrates voice, data, short messages and dispatch radio. Used by Nextel and others. See iDEN.
Packet-based information service for mobile phones from NTT DoCoMo (Japan). First to provide Web browsing from cellphones. See i-mode.
3G wireless from the ITU. See IMT-2000.
The first LEO-based global communications system. Launched in 1998, went into Chapter 11 in 1999 and resurrected in 2000. See Iridium.
First-generation TDMA in 1991. See TDMA.
Standard for CDMA networks. See CDMA and IS-95.
Second-generation TDMA in 1994. Also called "Digital AMPS" or "D-AMPS." See IS-136.
(Industrial, Scientific and Medical band) Unlicensed spectrum typically in the 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.7 GHz bands. Requires spread spectrum techniques at 1 watt. See ISM band.
(Instructional TV Fixed Service) Licensed spectrum in the 2.5-2.6 GHz band.
(Local Multipoint Distribution Service) Licensed spectrum above 20 GHz. Range is about four miles. See LMDS.
4G cellular tecnology. See 4G and cellular generations.
(Multipoint Distribution Service) Licensed spectrum in the 2.1 GHz band.
A Web browser specialized for a smartphone or PDA. See smartphone.
mobile broadband router
Device that creates a hotspot from 3G/4G service. See mobile broadband router.
(Multipoint Multichannel Distribution Service) Licensed spectrum in the 2.5-2.6 GHz band. Range is 30 miles or more. See MMDS.
(Metropolitan Service Area) An urban area with at least 50,000 people plus surrounding counties. There are 306 MSAs and 428 RSAs in U.S.
Nationwide wireless operator that acquired numerous SMR companies. See Nextel.
(Nordic Mobile Telephone) First analog cellphone system in 1979 in Scandinavian countries.
Wireless division of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Japan. See NTT DoCoMo.
Earlier wireless LAN standard based on Proxim's RangeLAN2 products. See OpenAir.
Openwave Systems (formerly Phone.com)
Major contributor to WAP and leader in microbrowsers and WAP gateways/application servers. See Openwave.
(Personal Area Network) A wireless network that serves an individual user. See WPAN.
(Personal Communications Service) Digital cellphone systems in 2 GHz range. Mostly GSM. See PCS.
(Personal Digital Communications) Digital cellphone system in Japan. See PDC.
Former name of Openwave Systems. See Openwave.
(Personal Handyphone System) Microcellular phone service introduced in Japan in mid-1995. See PHS.
Earlier name for BellSouth Network. See BellSouth Intelligent Wireless Network.
Earlier wireless LAN geared for office from Proxim. See RangeLAN.
Wireless Internet service initially deployed in Silicon Valley, Seattle and Washington, D.C. See Ricochet.
rogue access point
An unauthorized access point either put in place by employees or attackers. See rogue access point.
(Rural Service Area) There are 428 RSAs and 306 MSAs in the U.S. See MSA.
Sending small text messages to cellphones. GSM pioneered Short Message Service (SMS), now used in all digital cellphones. See SMS.
Smart card that gives GSM phone its user identity. Allows phones to be easily rented or borrowed. See GSM.
A digital cellular phone that, along with voice calling, has Web access and other data services. See smartphone.
(Specialized Mobile Radio) Dispatch radio for taxis, trucks and fleets. Nextel aggregated many SMR companies. See SMR and Nextel.
(Short Messaging Service) GSM coined the phrase, but similar text messaging is used in most digital cellphone systems. See GSM.
The client in a wireless authentication session. See 802.1X.
(Shared Wireless Access Protocol) Protocol used in HomeRF. See HomeRF.
Wireless LAN geared for the home from Proxim. See Symphony.
(Total Access Communications System) Analog cellphone system in Europe based on AMPS. See TACS.
(Time Division Multiple Access) Air interface for digital cellphones that interleaves data in time slots. See TDMA.
A compact device for creating hotspots from cellular service. See mobile broadband router.
(Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) European implementation of 3G. See UMTS.
Former name of Openwave's microbrowser. Versions for HDML and WML are available. See Openwave Mobile Browser.
Former name of Openwave's WAP gateway and application server. See Openwave Mobile Access Gateway.
3G data rates for TDMA. See UWC-136.
voice over Wi-Fi
Sending voice over an 802.11 network. See voice over Wi-Fi.
(Wireless Access Protocol) A wireless communications environment for delivering Web data to wireless terminals with minimal screen display. See WAP.
Software that takes raw WML data and compiles it for the microbrowser and vice versa. See WAP.
(Wideband CDMA) A 3G data service for GSM carriers. See WCDMA.
(Windows Connect Now) A simpler method for configuring new devices in a Wi-Fi network. See Windows Connect Now.
(Wireless Communications Service) Licensed spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band.
Excerpting relevant information from a Web page for display on a smartphone or PDA.
First 802.11 security protocol, which was superseded by WPA and 802.11i. See WEP.
(Wireless Bree) Ultra-low power version of Bluetooth. See Bluetooth.
(Wireless Fidelity) Certification for 802.11 wireless compliance. See Wi-Fi Alliance.
Transmitting multimedia signals wireless at 60 GHz within a room. See WiGig.
(World Interoperability for Microwave Access) High-speed 4G broadband service (IEEE 802.16 standard). See WiMAX and wireless broadband.
(Wireless Intelligent Network) Transaction processing infrastructure for wireless systems. See WIN.
A device that adds wireless capability to a desktop or laptop machine. Different varieties plug into the PC Card slot, USB port or PCI bus.
A device used to transmit and receive radio frequencies over the air between two LANs.
High-speed wireless transmission. See wireless broadband.
wireless energy transfer
Transmitting power to a device over the air. See wireless energy transfer.
A wireless base station that allows sharing of a single Internet connection. See wireless gateway.
Transmitting multimedia signals wireless at 60 GHz within a room. See WirelessHD.
A telephone headset that transmits wireless to a base station. See headset.
A local area network that uses radio frequency transmission over the air. Works like a cellular phone system with roaming between cells. See wireless LAN.
Modem and antenna for analog and digital cellphones, CDPD, DataTAC, BellSouth Intelligent Wireless Network, etc. See wireless modem.
A Web site that supports users with smartphones or alphanumeric pagers. See wireless portal.
A device that extends the range of a wireless signal. See wireless repeater.
An organization that sells wireless services under its own name, but uses the mobile networks of other service providers.
A network device that combines an access point, LAN switch and router. See wireless router.
wireless service provider (WSP)
Any organization that delivers wireless services to its customers.
wireless USB (WUSB)
Wireless version of USB using ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. See wireless USB.
A wide area network that uses radio frequency transmission of data over the air. It is typically provided by the cellular carriers. See wireless WAN.
An ISP that provides wireless connectivity. See WISP.
Technology for making wireless LANs function like a cellphone system. See WISPr.
See wireless LAN.
(Wireless LAN Interoperability Forum) Earlier membership group that endorsed OpenAir. See WLIF.
(Wireless Markup Language) Language used to design WAP Web pages. See WML.
(Wi-Fi Multimedia) Prioritization of data in Wi-Fi networks. See Wi-Fi Multimedia.
(Wi-Fi Protected Access) Wi-Fi Alliance standard for wireless security. Supersedes WEP. WPA provides partial support of 802.11i; WPA2 provides full support. See WPA.
(Wireless Personal Area Network) A wireless network that serves an individual user. See WPAN.
(Wireless PBX) A PBX that supports cordless telephone calls.
(Wi-Fi Protected Setup) A simpler method for configuring new devices in a Wi-Fi network. See Wi-Fi Protected Setup.
End of Wireless Glossary