University Libraries

Wireless Glossary

Andy West
Mobile Computing Developer
Library Data and Discovery Solutions
1X or 1XRTT
See CDMA2000 1X
2G
Most common type of wireless telephone communication today. Its primary focus is voice, but it allow very slow data communication suitable for simple text messages (SMS) and e-mail.
2.5G
Bridging standard between 2G and 3G. As fast as dial-up, it provides wireless digital communication that allows e-mail and simple Web browsing.
3G
Third-generation high-speed wireless communications, which will in time allow speeds comparable to cable or DSL. It is becoming more available throughout the world.
802.11
A group of wireless specifications developed by the IEEE. It details a wireless interface between devices to manage packet traffic (to avoid collisions, etc.).
802.11a
Operates in the 5-GHz frequency range (5.125 to 5.85 GHz) with a maximum 54Mbit/sec. signaling rate. The 5-GHz frequency band isn't as crowded as the 2.4-GHz frequency because it offers significantly more radio channels than the 802.11b and is used by fewer applications. It has a shorter range than 802.11g, is actually newer than 802.11b and isn't compatible with 802.11b.
802.11b
Operates in the 2.4-GHz Industrial, Scientific and Measurement (ISM) band (2.4 to 2.4835 GHz) and provides signaling rates of up to 11Mbit/sec. This is a very commonly used frequency. Microwave ovens, cordless phones, medical and scientific equipment, as well as Bluetooth devices, all work within the 2.4-GHz ISM band.
802.11e
Due to be ratified by the IEEE sometime in 2004, the 802.11e quality-of-service specification is designed to guarantee the quality of voice and video traffic. It will be particularly important for companies interested in using Wi-Fi phones.
802.11g
Similar to 802.11b, but this standard supports signaling rates of up to 54Mbit/sec. It also operates in the heavily used 2.4-GHz ISM band but uses a different radio technology to boost overall throughput. Compatible with older 802.11b.
802.11i
Also called WPA 2, 802.11i was ratified on June 2004. 802.11i supports AES, along with 802.1x authentication and key management features.
802.11k
Due for ratification in 2005, the 802.11k Radio Resource Management standard will provide measurement information for access points and switches to make wireless LANs run more efficiently. It may, for example, better distribute traffic loads across access points or allow dynamic adjustments of transmission power to minimize interference.
802.11n
The Standard for Enhancements for Higher Throughput is designed to raise effective WLAN throughput to 100Mbit/sec. But the group handling this task is still in the very early stages of its work.
A Carrier
Most areas of the USA have two cellular carriers, each of which operates on a different frequency band. One is designated the "A" carrier (non-wireline carrier) and the other is designated the "B" carrier. In some markets there may be only one carrier which may be "A" or "B".
A/B Switching
Most cellular phones have the ability to switch to the "A" or the "B" frequency bands. This feature is useful when roaming outside your home coverage area.
Access Fee
A monthly charge for the ability to connect to a wireless network. This fee is assessed monthly whether the phone is actually used or not.
Access point
A WLAN transceiver or "base station" that can connect a network to one or many wireless devices. APs can also bridge to one another.
Activation Fee
A one-time up-front charge for activation of a wireless phone.
Activation
Configuration of a wireless phone so that it is ready to be used to transmit and receive calls on the wireless network.
Ad hoc mode
A wireless network framework in which devices can communicate directly with one another without using an AP or a connection to a regular network. Contrasts with an infrastructure network, in which all devices communicate through an AP.
AES
Advanced Encryption Standard, the U.S. Government's new 128-bit cryptography algorithm, which replaces its earlier DES and 3DES algorithms. It is used in such standads as 802.11i in securing wireless LANs and cellular networks.
Airtime
Total time that a wireless phone is in connected and in use for talking. This includes use for calls both received and placed.
Alphanumeric Display
A display, usually LCD, that has the ability to display both text and numbers. Most often found on the front of a wireless handset or pager.
AMPS
Advanced Mobile Phone Service, an analog cellular phone service standard used in the USA and other countries, although it is being phased out as newer digital technologies become available.
Analog
A method of modulating radio signals so that they can carry information such as voice or data.
APC
Adaptive Power Control, a feature of some wireless handsets that helps reduce power consumption to increase battery charge life.
Area Code
A three-digit telephone number prefix assigned to a calling area in North America.
Authentication
A feature used to reduce fraud by confirming the identity of a phone to the wireless network.
Automatic Call Delivery
A service feature that allows a user to receive calls when roaming outside of the phone's home coverage area.
B Carrier
Most areas of the USA have two cellular carriers, each of which operates on a different frequency band. One is designated the "A" carrier and the other is designated the "B" carrier (wireline carrier). In some markets there may be only one carrier which may be "A" or "B".
Bandwidth
Describes the transmission capacity of a medium in terms of a range of frequencies. A greater bandwidth indicates the ability to transmit a greater amount of data over a given period of time.
Base Station
A transmission and reception station for handling cellular traffic. It usually consists of at least one antenna, a microwave dish, and electronic circuitry.
Blackberry
A wireless platform for handheld devices developed and marketed by Research In Motion. Also, a line of wireless handhelds that can access the platform; they are distinguished by their keyboard-like input pads.
Bluetooth
A low-cost, short-range wireless link between laptops, mobile phones, network access points and other devices. Bluetooth can replace cables and can be used to create ad hoc networks and provide a standard way to connect devices anywhere in the world. Named after a Viking king who unified Denmark.
BREW
Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless, a Qualcomm programming platform designed to ease the development and use of data applications that can function on any CDMA-based wireless device. Common applications include games and software for corporate functions. See J2ME for a similar technology from Sun Microsystems.
Broadband
Describes a high-bandwidth communications medium capable of transmitting a relatively large amount of data over a given period of time.
BTA
Basic Trading Area, a geographic region defined by a group of counties that surround a city, which is the area's basic trading center. The boundaries of each BTA were formulated by Rand McNally & Co. and are used by the FCC determine service areas for PCS wireless licenses. The entire USA and some of its territories is divided into 493 non-overlapping BTAs.
Call Forwarding
A feature that allows the transfer of incoming calls to another number of the user's choice.
Call Setup
Activity that occurs in order to establish a call connection between a wireless handset and the wireless system.
Call Waiting
A feature that allows a user to be notified of another incoming call while a call is already in progress, and gives the user the ability to answer the second call while the first call remains on hold.
Caller ID
A feature that displays a caller's telephone number and/or name before the call is answered.
Carrier
A company that provides telecommunications services.
CDMA2000 1X
(Also 1xRTT) A 3G wireless communications standard evolved from CDMA technology. It has double the voice traffic capacity of CDMA and provides peak data rates of 153 kbps.
CDMA2000 1xEV-DO
(Also 1xEV-DV) A 3G wireless communications standard further evolved from CDMA2000 technology. It is a standard optimized for data transmission providing a peak data rate of 2.4 Mbps with a typical user experience of 300-800 kbps. 1xEV-DV is optimized for both data and voice transmissions.
CDMA
Code Division Multiple Access is a digital cellular technology that uses spread spectrum techniques that, instead of separating users by frequency, separates them through digital frequency codes across the full available spectrum. Also known as IS-95A or cdmaOne, it competes with GSM and TDMA.
CDPD
Cellular Digital Packet Data, a technology for transmitting data to users over unused analog cellular networks in the event of overuse in a given cell. Requires a special modem and the wireless carriers' network must be upgraded to accommodate such data transmissions.
Cell Site
The transmission and reception equipment, including the base station antenna, that connects a cellular phone to the network.
Cell
The basic geographic unit of a cellular system and the basis for the generic industry term "cellular." A cell is an area where calls are handled by a particular cell site, which is equipped with a low-powered radio transmitter/receiver or base station.
Cellular
The type of wireless communication that is most familiar to mobile phones users. Called "cellular" because the system uses many base stations to divide a service area into multiple "cells", to which cellular calls are transferred as a user travels from cell to cell.
Clone
A wireless phone that has been programmed to mimic another wireless phone. Often used to defraud a wireless carrier by placing illegal calls without any intention of payment.
CO
Central Office, a connection point between the wireless phone system at the MTSO and the landline phone system at the PSTN.
Codec
Short for "compressor/decompressor"; refers to the hardware in a cell phone and in the cell network that compresses digitized voice prior to transmission and takes received compressed voice and decompresses it prior to passing it to either a cell phone speaker or into a wireline system.
Control Channel
A channel used for transmission of digital control information from a base station to a cellular phone (forward control channel) or from a cellular phone to a base station (reverse control channel).
Coverage Area
The geographic area served by a wireless system. Same as Service Area.
Cross-talk
A signal leak from one channel to another — often the cause of noise and distortion.
CTIA
Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association is the international organization that aims to represent all elements of wireless communication — cellular, personal communications services, enhanced specialized mobile radio and mobile satellite services — and serve the interests of service providers, manufacturers and others.
Decibel
(dB) A unit of measure used to express relative difference in power or intensity of sound.
Digital
A method of encoding information using a binary code of 0s and 1s. Most newer wireless phones and networks use digital technology.
Dual mode
A feature on some wireless phones that allows the handset to operate on both analog and digital networks. Dual band phones allow you to access different frequencies in the same or different geographic regions, essentially giving your phone a wider coverage area.
Duplex
As in ordinary telephone service, a characteristic of a communications system where simultaneous transmission and reception is possible.
E-mail
The ability to send and receive text messages through a wireless handset.
EDGE
Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution, a further development of the GSM protocol designed to handle data at speeds up to 384 Kbps. Considered to be 3G wireless technology.
ESMR
Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio, using frequency bands originally allocated for two-way dispatch services, companies such as Nextel and Southern LINC have built digital mobile phone services similar to cellular and PCS systems.
ESN
Electronic Serial Number, the unique serial number of a cellular phone that identifies it to the cellular system for the purpose and placing and receiving calls.
FCC
Federal Communications Commission, the USA government agency responsible for regulating communications industries and managing the radio spectrum.
Fingerprinting
See Radio-frequency fingerprinting.
Follow-Me Roaming
The ability of a wireless system to forward incoming calls to a handset that is roaming outside its home service area without any pre-notification to the wireless carrier.
Frequency reuse
The ability to use the same frequencies repeatedly across a cellular system, made possible by the basic design approach for cellular. Since each cell is designed to use radio frequencies only within its boundaries, the same frequencies can be reused in other cells not far away with little potential for interference. The reuse of frequencies is what enables a cellular system to handle a huge number of calls with a limited number of channels.
GPRS
General Packet Radio Service, a technology standard associated with GSM phones that allows faster speeds of data transmission and efficient use of limited bandwidth.
GPS
The Global Positioning System is a "constellation" of 24 satellites that orbit the Earth at a height of 10,900 miles, making it possible for people using ground receivers to determine their geographic location within 10-100 meters. The satellites use simple mathematical calculations to broadcast information that is translated as longitude, latitude and altitude by Earth-based receivers.
GSM
Global System for Mobile Communications is a digital cellular system based on TDMA narrowband technology, which gives users access to time slots on the same frequency bands. It allows up to eight simultaneous communications on the same frequency and is designed to support 16 half-rate channels. GSM is used throughout Europe and competes with CDMA in other parts of the world.
Handoff
The transfer of a wireless call in progress from one transmission site to another site without disconnection.
Hands-Free Speakerphone
A feature of some wireless phones that allows the users to talk and listen to calls without holding the phone against their head.
Handset
Any hand held device used to transmit and receive calls from a wireless system. Also known as a wireless phone, a cellular phone, a mobile phone, a PCS phone and many other terms.
Handshake(ing)
Signals between a wireless phone and a wireless system to accomplish call setup.
Hertz
The metric unit of frequency, equal to one signal cycle per second. AMPS (analog) cellular phones in Canada and the USA use the 800 MHz band. Digital phones use either the 800 MHz or 1900 MHz (or 1.9 GHz) frequencies. Specifically, CDMA and TDMA use either 800 or 1900 MHz; iDEN uses only 800 MHz; GSM uses either the 850 or the 1900 MHz spectrum in North America. GSM uses 900, 1800, and/or 1900 MHz on other continents.
Home Coverage Area
A designated area within which cellular calls are local and do not incur roaming or long distance charges.
HomeRF
A digital wireless communications protocol designed for the transport of voice and multimedia content between consumer electronic devices (including PCs) in a residential setting. Operates at 2.4 GHz.
Hot spot
A place, such as a hotel, restaurant or airport, that offers Wi-Fi access, either free or for a fee.
I-Mode
A popular wireless Internet service rolled out in 1999 by NTT DoCoMo Inc. in Japan. It's based on a simplified form of HTML and delivers packet-based information — such as games, e-mail and even business applications — to handheld devices.
iDEN
A modified TDMA technology used by Motorola. iDEN phones operate at 800 MHz and are offered by Telus Mobility in Canada and by Nextel in the US. Some of the newer iDEN phones also are hybrid with GSM technology and may roam overseas.
IEEE
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. is a nonprofit, technical professional association of more than 360,000 individual members in approximately 175 countries. It is an authority in technical areas such as computer engineering and telecommunications. It developed the 802.11 specifications.
IMT2000
A set of proposals for standards defining 3G wireless network performance. An effort from the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), an organization of the United Nations.
Interconnection fee
A fee charged for calls from wireless phones that must be routed to landline phones.
J2ME
Java 2 Micro Edition, a Java environment optimized to run applications on devices small devices with limited processing power and memory. See BREW for a similar technology from Qualcomm.
Landline
Traditional wired telephone service.
LCD
Liquid Crystal Display, a flat panel screen used to display numbers and/or characters. Often found on a wireless handset.
LED
Light Emitting Diode, a light on a handset to alert the user of various conditions.
LMDS
Local Multipoint Distribution System, a fixed, broadband wireless system used for voice and interactive data. Generally used as a lower cost alternative to landline connections for businesses and others requiring high bandwidth connections to public networks.
MAC
Media Access Control, a unique hard-corded address assigned to every wireless 802.11 device. This unique identifier can be used to provide security for wireless networks. When a network uses a MAC table, only the 802.11 radios that have had their MAC addresses added to that network's MAC table are able to get onto the network.
Memory Dialing
A feature of a wireless phone that allows multiple numbers to be stored in the phone itself for quick dialing by pressing one or two buttons.
MMDS
Multipoint Multichannel Distribution Service, which is often referred to as "wireless cable" as it is a wireless system used to distribute cable television and other broadband signals to multiple users by way of a single transmitter.
MMS
Multimedia Messaging Service, similar to SMS, but in addition to plain text, MMS messages may include multimedia elements such as pictures, video and audio. These multimedia elements are included in the message, not as attachments as with e-mail.
Monophonic Ringtones
Ringtones made up of a series of sequential beeps at different frequencies. These sound like the beeping of a computer, and the tunes are simple because the phone can only produce one sound (beep) at a time.
MSA
Metropolitan Statistical Area, an urbanized area defined by the U.S. government for use in grouping census data and other statistics. The FCC uses MSAs in licensing cellular telephone service carriers.
MTA
Major Trading Area, an area consisting of two or more Basic Trading Areas as defined by Rand McNally & Co. These large areas are used by the FCC determine service areas for some PCS wireless licenses. The USA is divided into 51 MTAs.
MTSO
Mobile Telephone Switching Office, the central switch that controls the entire operation of a cellular system. It is a sophisticated computer that monitors all cellular calls, tracks the location of all cellular-equipped vehicles traveling in the system, arranges handoffs, keeps track of billing information, etc.
NAM
Number Assignment Module, a component of a wireless phone that holds in electronic memory the telephone number and ESN of the phone.
.NET Compact Framework
A smaller version of the Microsoft .NET Common Language Runtime, optimized for the deployment of mobile applications running on resource-constrained devices such as PDAs. .NET CF supports only devices running Microsoft operating systems, specifically Windows CE and Pocket PC.
No Answer Transfer
A feature of a wireless service that if a call is not answered in a specified number of rings, it will be transferred to another phone number of the user's choice.
No Service Indicator
A feature of wireless phones that tells the user that wireless service is unavailable in a particular location. Usually an LED on the handset.
Off Peak
Any time of day, as determined by a wireless carrier, when there is lower communications traffic on the system. Carriers make this distinction to offer lower rates during these periods when demand is low.
Paging
A feature of a wireless device that allows reception of a signal or alphanumeric message. Also, the act of seeking a cellular phone when an incoming call is trying to reach the phone.
PCS
Personal Communication Services, used to describe a newer class of wireless communications services authorized by the FCC. PCS systems use a different radio frequency (the 1.9 GHz band) than cellular phones and generally use all digital technology for transmission and reception.
Peak period
Any time of day, as determined by a wireless carrier, when there is high levels of communications traffic on the system.
Polyphonic Ringtones
Phones that play polyphonic ringtones have the ability to produce 16 separate sounds at once. This makes for music that is much richer and the tunes sound more like the music you know.
POTS
Plain Old Telephone Service, another name for traditional wired, land-based telephone service.
Prepaid Cellular/Wireless
A service plan offered by some wireless carriers that allows subscribers to pay in advance for wireless service.
PRL
Preferred Roaming List, a list of SID's kept inside a phone to permit roaming on other wireless networks. A service provider may set up roaming agreements with other service providers in different geographic regions and the PRL will try to locate one of these service providers' networks first when the home service provider is unavailable.
PSTN
Public Switched Telephone Network, a formal name for the world-wide telephone network.
Radio-frequency fingerprinting
An electronic process that identifies each individual wireless handset by examining its unique radio transmission characteristics. Fingerprinting is used to reduce fraud since the illegal phone can not duplicate the legal phone's radio-frequency fingerprint.
Registration
The procedure that a cellular phone initiates to a base station to indicate that it is now active.
RF Noise
See RFI.
RF
Radio Frequency, a radio signal.
RFI
Radio Frequency Interference, an undesired radio signal that interferes with a radio communications signal causing extraneous noise and/or signal dropouts.
RFID
Radio frequency identification uses low-powered radio transmitters to read data stored in a transponder (tag) at distances ranging from one inch to 100 feet. RFID tags are used to track assets, manage inventory and authorize payments, and they increasingly serve as electronic keys for everything from autos to secure facilities.
Ringback Tone
The tone you hear (in the earpiece) when you place a call and are waiting for the phone to be answered. The standard tone is usually an on and off ringing sound. On some wireless systems, users have the ability to choose the tone heard when other users dial their number.
Ringtone
A sound from your phone used to signal an incoming call or message. On most newer phones additional sounds can be downloaded from the wireless system or by data cable. These sounds can take the form of anything you want, the most popular sounds are music. See monophonic ringtones and polyphonic ringtones.
Roaming Agreement
A agreement among wireless carriers allowing users to use their phone on systems other their own home systems. A roaming fee is usually charged for roaming.
Roaming
Movement of a mobile device from one wireless network location to another without interruption in service or loss in connectivity. There is usually an additional charge for roaming outside a wireless phone's home coverage area.
RSA
Rural Service Area, an area not included in an MSA. Generally such an area is one of the rural areas of the USA. The FCC uses RSAs to license cellular carriers in areas not included in MSAs. There are 428 RSAs in the USA.
Sensitivity
A measure of a receiver's ability to viably receive weak radio signals.
Service Area
The geographic area served by a wireless system. Same as Coverage Area.
Service plan
A contract between a wireless carrier and a wireless subscriber that details the terms of the wireless service including rates for activation, access and per minute usage.
SID
System Identification. A five digit number that indicates which service area the phone is in. Most carriers have one SID assigned to their service area.
Signal-to-noise ratio
A measure of the power of a signal versus noise. A lower ratio means there is more noise relative to signal.
SIM card
A small memory card not much bigger than half the length of your thumb; used in GSM phones to hold your phone numbers and other information. It can be removed and inserted into other GSM phones, allowing you to keep your numbers and to place and receive phone calls.
Site survey
Done at the location for a new WLAN in an effort to avoid what could be time-consuming and costly problems down the road. It involves diagramming the network, checking the building and testing the equipment.
Smart phone
A wireless phone with text and Internet capabilities. Smart phones can handle wireless phone calls, hold addresses and take voice mail and can also access information on the Internet and send and receive e-mail and fax transmissions.
SMS
Short Messaging Service, a feature which allows the transmission of short text messages among mobile devices such as cellphones, fax machines and BlackBerry devices. Messages — up to 160 alphanumeric characters but not containing images or graphics — appear as text on the display screen of the receiving device. It works with GSM networks.
SP-lock
A lock placed on a cellular phone by some service providers to ensure that you can only use the phone with their services.
Spectrum
The entire range of electromagnetic frequencies, including X-rays, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, and radio.
Spread Spectrum
A communications technology where a signal is transmitted over a broad range of frequencies and then re-assembled when received.
SSI
A Service Set Identifier is a sequence of characters unique to a specific network or network segment that's used by the network and all attached devices to identify themselves and allow devices to connect to the correct network when more than one independent network is operating in nearby areas.
Standby time
The amount of time you can leave your fully charged cellular phone turned on before the phone will completely discharge the batteries.
Subscriber
A cellphone user.
Symbian
A joint venture among LM Ericsson Telephone Co., Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp. and Psion PLC to develop new operating systems based on Psion's EPOC32 platform for small mobile devices for wireless devices such as phones and handhelds.
System Selection Switch
A feature of some cellular phones that allows switching between "A" carriers and "B" carriers. This feature is often used when roaming.
T9® Text Input
A feature built into many phones that allows you to use one key press per letter when entering text on your wireless phone. T9 helps make entering text on a limited keypad quick and easy.
Talk Time
The time a cellphone is on and actively transmitting or receiving a call; also the length of time (in minutes) you can talk on a cellphone without recharging the battery.
TDMA
Time Division Multiple Access, a digital communication technology used by some carriers to provide PCS service. It divides radio frequency bands available to a network into time slots and then allocates slots to multiple calls. Other technologies used are CDMA and GSM.
Telecommunications Act of 1996
Federal legislation passed in 1996 intended to increase competition among wireless and wireline carriers for the benefit of consumers.
Toll Charges
Charges for placing long distance calls.
Toll-Free Calling Area
An area in which calls can be placed without incurring long distance charges.
UMTS
Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, an evolution of GSM technology to 3G. The underlying transmission standard is WCDMA.
UWB
Ultrawideband, also called digital pulse, a wireless technology for transmitting digital data over a wide swath of the radio frequency spectrum with very low power. Because of the low power requirement, it can carry signals through doors and other obstacles that tend to reflect signals at more limited bandwidths and a higher power. It can carry large amounts of data and is used for ground-penetrating radar and radio locations systems.
Voice Channel
A channel used for transmission of voice data from a base station to a cellular phone (forward voice channel) or from a cellular phone to a base station (reverse voice channel)
Voice Mail
A system that answers calls and allows users to reply to, save, delete or forward messages.
Voice-activated Dialing
A feature that allows users to speak words into a wireless phone to cause it to dial pre-programmed telephone numbers without using the buttons.
WAP
Wireless Application Protocol, a standard for web sites and information services to deliver simple web page layouts to mobile phones. It is developed by the WAP Forum—now the Open Mobile Alliance—to work in the constraints of limited hardware, tiny screens, low bandwidth and erratic connections.
War chalking
Marking buildings or sidewalks with chalk to show others where it's possible to access an exposed company wireless network. These access points are typically found through war driving.
War driving
Typically refers to driving around with a wireless-enabled laptop and antenna to find places where it's possible to access exposed wireless networks. These are usually company networks that extend beyond the physical infrastructure of the company and are left unprotected.
WBMP
An image format for WAP, optimized (no compression, monochrome, limited size) for mobile computing devices.
WCDMA
Wideband CDMA, a 3G wireless communications standard evolved from CDMA. The standard, often called UMTS, uses wider 5 MHz channels (as opposed to 1.25 MHz for CDMA) for increased voice traffic capacity and peak data rates of 384 kbps.
WEP
Wired-Equivalent Privacy protocol was specified in the IEEE 802.11 standard to provide a WLAN with a minimal level of security and privacy comparable to a typical wired LAN, using data encryption. It's now widely recognized as flawed because of an insufficient key length and other problems and can be cracked in a short time with readily available tools.
Wi-Fi Alliance
A nonprofit international association formed in 1999 to certify interoperability of WLAN products based on the IEEE 802.11 specification. Currently, the Wi-Fi Alliance has over 200 member companies from around the world, and over 1,000 products have received Wi-Fi certification since certification began in March of 2000. The goal of the Wi-Fi Alliance's members is to enhance the user experience through product interoperability.
Wi-Fi
A wireless data networking protocol generally used connect PCs and laptops to a network; a generic term for 802.11 technology.
WiMax
Popular name of the 802.16 wireless metropolitan-area network standard that's currently being developed. WiMax, which will have a range of up to 31 miles, is primarily aimed at making broadband network access widely available without the expense of stringing wires (as in cable-access broadband) or the distance limitations of Digital Subscriber Line.
Wireless Carrier
A company that provides wireless telecommunications services.
Wireless Data
A service that allows you to send digital data over a cellular phone. Analog phones require a cellular modem; digital phones do not. Not offered by all providers.
WLAN
Wireless local-area networks use radio waves instead of a cable to connect a user device, such as a laptop computer, to a LAN. They provide Ethernet connections over the air and operate under the 802.11 family of specifications developed by the IEEE.
WLL
Wireless Local Loop, a wireless system meant to bypass a local landline telephone system by connecting a home or business to the public network by a wireless carrier.
WML
Wireless Markup Language is like the Web page language HTML. It delivers Internet content to small wireless devices, such as browser-equipped cellular phones and handheld devices, which typically have very small displays, slow CPUs, limited memory capacity, low bandwidth and restricted user-input capabilities.
WPA
Wi-Fi Protected Access is a data encryption specification for 802.11 wireless networks that replaces the weaker WEP. It improves on WEP by using dynamic keys, Extensible Authentication Protocol to secure network access, and an encryption method called Temporal Key Integrity Protocol to secure data transmissions.
XHTML
EXtensible Hypertext Markup Language, HTML rewritten into XML. Version two of WML is XHTML with wireless-specific tags.
XML
EXtensible Markup Language, a generalized tag language used for describing data for other applications or for making other markup languages (such as WML).

Maintained by Andy West for University Libraries. Updated on Tuesday, July 05, 2005.