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WIRELESS GLOSSARY


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ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
A standard code used by computer and data communication systems for translating characters, numbers, and punctuation into digital form. ASCII characters can be recognized by computer and communications devices using a variety of applications.

ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode)
A very high-speed transmission technology. ATM is a high bandwidth, low-delay, connection-oriented switching and multiplexing technique. There are efforts underway to develop wireless ATM networks.

Bandwidth
A relative range of frequencies that can carry a signal without distortion on a transmission medium.

BPS (Bits Per Second)
The unit of measurement for the rate at which data is transmitted.

BTA (Basic Trading Area)
A service area adopted by the FCC to promote the rapid deployment and ubiquitous coverage of Personal Communications Services (PCS). Built from county boundaries, BTAs generally cover a city and its surrounding environs. BTAs are component parts of Major Trading Areas (MTAs). There are 493 BTAs in the United States.

CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data)
Technology that allows data files to be broken into a number of 'packets' and sent along idle channels of existing cellular voice networks.

Compression
Reducing the size of data to be stored or transmitted in order to save transmission time, capacity, or storage space.

Digital Modulation
A method of encoding information for transmission. Information is turned into a series of digital bits - the 0s and 1s of computer binary language. Digital transmission offers a cleaner signal and is less immune to the problems of analog modulation such as fading and static.

Encryption
The transformation of data, for the purpose of privacy, into an unreadable format until reformatted with a decryption key.

Extranet
An Intranet-like secure network, which a company extends to conduct business with its customers and/or its suppliers.

HDML (Handheld Device Markup Language)
A modification of standard HTML, developed by Unwired Planet, for use on small screens of mobile phones, PDAs, and pagers. HDML is a text-based markup language, which uses HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and is compatible with Web servers.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
An authoring software language used on the Web. HTML is used to create Web pages and hyperlinks.

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)
The protocol used by the Web server and the client browser to communicate and move documents around the Internet.

IMSI (International Mobile Station Identifier)
A number assigned to a mobile station by the wireless carrier uniquely identifying the mobile station nationally and internationally. See also MIN, TMSI

IMT-2000 (International Mobile Telecommunications-2000)
The standard for third-generation mobile communications systems. In Europe, it is called UMTS and in Japan it is called J-FPLMTS.

Infrared
A band of the electromagnetic spectrum used for airwave communications and some fiber-optic transmission systems. Infrared is commonly used for short-range (up to 20 feet) through-the-air data transmission.

Interconnection
The routing of telecommunications traffic between the networks of different communications companies.

Intranet
An internal network, which is private or employs a firewall to secure it from outside access, that supports Internet technology. The Intranet is used for inter-company communications and can be accessed only by authorized users.

IP (Internet Protocol)
See TCP/IP.

IXC (Interexchange Carrier)
A long-distance phone company.

Java
A programming language from Sun Microsystems which abstracts data on bytecodes so that the same code runs on any operating system. Java software is generally posted on the Web and downloadable over the Internet to a PC. HotJava is installed on a Web browser and enables Java programs to be delivered over the Web and run on a PC.

LAN (Local Area Network)
A data communications network, typically within a building or campus, to link computers and peripheral devices under some form of standard control.

LEC (Local Exchange Company)
The traditional, local, wired monopoly phone company.

MIN (Mobile Identification Number)
A number assigned by the wireless carrier to a customer's phone. The MIN is meant to be changeable, since the phone could change hands or a customer could move to another city. See also ESN, IMSI, TMSI.

MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
The standard format, developed and adopted by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), for including non-text information in Internet mail, thus supporting the transmission of mixed-media messages across TCP/IP networks. In addition to covering binary, audio, and video data, MIME is the standard for transmitting foreign language text which cannot be represented in ASCII code.

Modem (MOdulator/DEModulator)
A hardware device which converts digital data into analog and vice versa to enable digital signals from computers to be transmitted over analog telephone lines.

MTA (Major Trading Area)
A service area adopted by the FCC to promote the rapid deployment and ubiquitous coverage of Personal Communications Services (PCS). Built from Basic Trading Areas (BTAs), MTAs are centered on a major city and generally cover an area the size of a state. There are 51 MTAs in the United States.

Operating System (OS)
A software program, which manages the basic operations of a computer system. These operations include memory apportionment, the order and method of handling tasks, flow of information into and out of the main processor and to peripherals, etc.

Packet
A bundle of data organized in a specific way for transmission. The three principal elements of a packet include the header, the text, and the trailer (error detection and correction bits).

Packet Switching
Sending data in packets through a network to a remote location. The data sent is assembled by the PAD (see definition), often called a 'modem,' into individual packets of data.

PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
Portable computing devices capable of transmitting data. These devices make possible services such as paging, data messaging, electronic mail, stock quotations, handwriting recognition, personal computing, facsimile, date book, and other information-handling capabilities.

PIM (Personal Information Manager)
Also known as a 'contact manager,' is a form of software that logs personal and business information, such as contacts, appointments, lists, notes, occasions, etc.

POS (Point-of-Sale Terminal)
A type of computer terminal used to collect and store retail sales data. Wireless POS terminals are often used for remote and temporary locations.

Protocol
A specific set of rules for organizing the transmission of data in a network.

RSA (Rural Service Area)
One of the 428 FCC-designated rural markets across the United States. There are two cellular carriers licensed in each RSA.

Smart Card
A credit card-sized card with a microprocessor and memory.

Smart Phone
A phone with a microprocessor, memory, screen and a built-in modem. The smart phone combines the some of the capabilities of a PC on a handset.

Synchronization
Also known as 'replication,' it is the process of uploading and downloading information from two or more databases, so that each is identical.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
The standard set of protocols used by the Internet for transferring information between computers, handsets, and other devices.

WAN (Wide Area Network)
A network that uses local telephone company lines to connect geographically dispersed sites. See LAN and MAN.

WAP (Wireless Applications Protocol)
A proposed protocol for wireless applications. The protocol is designed to simplify how wireless users access electronic and voice mail, send and receive faxes, make stock trades, conduct banking transactions and view miniature Web pages on a small screen.

WLL (Wireless Local Loop)
A local wireless communications network that bypasses the local exchange carrier and provides high-speed, fixed data transmission.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language)
XML is rapidly emerging as the global method of choice for creating web content because it allows for industry-specific language definitions and the ability to operate over multiple devices and network platforms.


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