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Glossary of wireless terms

Glossary of wireless terms

Below is a glossary of terms you may come across as you read and learn about wireless communications.

Baud -- A measure of the speed at which a modem communicates. Although there are some subtle differences, generally baud and bps are now used interchangeably. The term Baud is actually obsoleted by bps.

bps (bits per second) -- The number of "bits" (ones and zeros) transmitted per second, which can generally be divided by ten to get the character transmission rate. That is, 9,600bps means about 960 bytes or characters per second.

CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) -- One of two digital technologies being tested by cellular service providers as a possible eventual replacement to the current analog system of cellular call transmission. Digital technology allows data to be transmitted in bursts intermixed with voice calls. However, digital cellular services require special hardware (phones and/or modems) for data connections. (See also GSM and TDMA.)

CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) -- A method of transmitting short bursts of data in between voice calls on the analog cellular network. Developed by a consortium of cellular carriers, CDPD is commercially available in only a few areas in the U.S.A. CDPD requires special radio modems and software.

E-mail -- Electronic Mail is the method of sending information electronically as opposed to using pen, paper and stamps. Wireless systems allow you to receive, and in most cases send, e-mail to anyone with an address on the Internet.

Internet -- A large international communication network that connects government agencies, technical universities and commercial customers. The Internet is currently growing at more than 30% per month. The Internet includes access to e-mail, newsgroup bulletin boards, and the World Wide Web. For wireless communications, the most important part of the Internet is electronic mail.

ISP (Internet Service Provider) -- A company that provides customers access to the Internet. RadioMail and Wynd are examples of ISP's for wireless Internet service.

GSM (Global System for Mobiles or sometimes Group Special Mobile) -- The European and Asian digital cellular system standard. This is the technology used by the HP OmniGo 700 communicator. It is a subset of TDMA.

K (Kilo, or one thousand) -- In data communications, 1K is actually 1,024 which is an even power of 2. Specifically 2 to the 10th power.

Modem (MOdulator/DEModulator) -- The device that converts data into tones, and back again, to allow transmission over standard phone lines. The term has been expanded to include radio modems and other devices which simply allow a computer to send and receive remote data (even when no actual modulation may take place.)

SMS (Short Messaging System) -- The data transmission service used in the OmniGo 700LX to send and receive e-mail and faxes. SMS is an optional service provided by GSM cellular companies.

TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) -- One of two digital technologies being tested by cellular service providers as a possible eventual replacement to the current analog system of cellular call transmission in the U.S.A.

WWW (World Wide Web, or simply The Web) -- A part of the Internet which contains multi-media documents that have links from one to another, making the relationship of information that is common between documents easily accessible and completely independent of physical location. The data on the Web usually contains pictures (and sometimes sound and video) in addition to text. Some wireless services allow you to retrieve the text portion of Web pages.

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