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Home Wireless Tutorials Wireless Glossary
Wireless Glossary

2G An older mobile phone standard that primarily stands for 'second generation' and was mainly used for voice communications. Data services were limited to simple text messages (SMS) and email, but not much else.

 

2.5G An intermediate standard between 2G and 3G phones. 2G phones are purely digital and can transmit wireless data at about the same rate as a dial-up connection with a fast modem, as found with GPRS. 2.5G is suitable for email, sending small pictures and Web browsing.

 

3G A third generation high-speed mobile phone that provides data at rates similar to cable or ADSL. Local exmaples of 3G in Australia are Telstra's Next G offering and the 3 network by Hutchinson. Data rates vary from carrier to carrier but in their nominated broadband zones it can be measured in Mbps making it a viable alternative to wired broadband for many. The new iPhone 3G released recently by Apple in Australia is a good example of a 3G capable device.

 

802.11 The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers standard for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) interoperability. There are varying standards with different capabilities including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g and more recently 802.11n. This family of wireless technologies are commonly known as WiFi, Wireless LANs or WLANs.

 

Bluetooth A short-range wireless specification for radio connections between devices within a ten metre range of each other. Typically used as a cable replacement for wireless headsets, keyboards, mouse devices and mobile phone car kits.

 

CDMA Code Division Multiple Access. A spread spectrum air interface technology used in some mobile phone networks. It is particularly popular in rural areas. Locally Telstra has recently retired there CDMA network in preference for their new 3G NextG service which was received with varying degrees of enthusiasms in the bush.

 

GPRS General Packet Radio Service. A technology standard for high speed data transmission over GSM networks. Much of this bandwidth is used to provide data services via mobile. The original iPhone launched in North America last year supported GPRS whereas the new iPhone released here in Australia supports the carrier's new 3G networks and hence higher download speeds.

 

GSM Global System for Mobile Communication. A digital mobile telephone system standard that is traditionally used in Australia and other parts of the world. However, it mainly functions as a voice system as data services are restricted to 9600b/s.

 

Hotspot A specific geographic location in which an organisation provides public wireless broadband network services to mobile visitors. Hotspots are often located in heavily populated places such as airports, train stations, libraries, marinas, convention centres and hotels. Also many retail chains are taking advantage of their geographic locations to provide the service in restaurants and coffee houses.

 

ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network. A set of CCITT/ITU standards for broadband digitial transmission over ordinary telephone copper wire as well as over other media.

 

Kbps Kilobits per second. A measure of bandwidth - data is transferred at a rate of one thousand bits per second.

 

LAN Local Area Network. A communications network that serves users within a defined geographical area, such as an office. LANs are normally supported by Ethernet adaptors and switches.

 

Mbps Megabits per second. A measure of bandwidth - data is transferred at a rate of one million bits per second.

 

MMS Multimedia Messaging Service. A messaging service that allows you to send small images, taken with a camera equipped mobile phone, across a GPRS network to be viewed by the recipient's phone.

 

PC Card An expansion card standard supported in most notebooks, which allows you to add extra functionality, such as a WiFi or 3G wireless network card. Often known as PCMCIA or a newer smaller form factor variant known as an Express Card.

 

UWB Ultra Wide Band. A wireless communications technology that can transmit data at speeds up to a gigabit per second.

 

VPN Virtual Private Network. A network that is constructed by using the Internet to connect nodes. VPNs use encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorised users can access the network and that the data cannot be intercepted. VPNs are typically recommended to be used when transmitting sensitive data whilst connected to a public Hotspot.

 

WAN Wide Area Network. A wide area network connects local area networks together. Typical WAN interfaces include telephone lines, digital subscriber lines (DSL), cable, Frame Relay & E1/E3.

 

WAP Wireless Application Protocol. A global protocol used in mobile phones that allows the user to view and interact with data services. Generally used as a means to view Internet Web pages using the limited transmission capacity on traditional carrier networks and small display screens on portable wireless devices.

 

WEP Wired Equivalent Privacy. WEP data encryption is defined by the 802.11 standard to prevent access to network by 'intruders' using similar wireless LAN equipment. Several famed articles on the Internet have publised the inherent weaknesses in the WEP encryption algorithm and is now largely not recommended for securing anything but a simple home network.

 

WiFi Wireless Fidelity. A wireless data networking protocol generally used to connect PCs and laptops to a network. Also known as 802.11 or WLAN, WiFi is the basis for cross vendor compatibility testing performed by the industry body WECA. This basically ensures that if a user purchases a WiFi Access Point and a WiFi compliant laptop they will be able to work together.

 

WLAN Wireless Local Area Network. An extension of the LAN using wireless technology such as 802.11a/b/g/n.

 

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