WiMAX Glossary

3G technology- commonly described as graceful enhancements to the GSM cellular standards; the GSM networks are intended to be upgraded to 3G networks without service interruption.

3GPP- (Third Generation Partnership Project) : A collaboration agreement that was established in December 1998 by standards bodies in Europe, Japan, China, North America and South Korea. The scope of 3GPP was to create a globally applicable 3G mobile-phone system that would fit into the International Telecommunications Union's International Mobile Telecommunications

802.16d - 802.16 is Commonly referred to as WiMAX or less commonly as WirelessMAN or the Air Interface Standard, IEEE 802.16 is a specification for fixed broadband wireless metropolitan access networks (MANs) that use a point-to-multipoint architecture. Published on April 8, 2002, the standard defines the use of bandwidth between the licensed 10GHz and 66GHz and between the 2GHZ and 11GHz (licensed and unlicensed) frequency ranges and defines a MAC layer that supports multiple physical layer specifications customized for the frequency band of use and their associated regulations. 802.16 supports very high bit rates in both uploading to and downloading from a base station up to a distance of 30 miles to handle such services as VoIP, IP connectivity and TDM voice and data.

802.16e - Just as 802.16d has never existed, a standard called 802.16e did not exist either. It is an amendment to 802.16-2004, so is not a standard in its own right. It is properly referred to as 802.16e-2005.

802.11 - IEEE standards for wireless LANs with specs for 1-2, 11 and 24 Mbps with access points typically covering 50-100 meters each.

Antenna - A metallic device used in the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves. An antenna is a passive or an active device, which permits transmission.

Antenna Diversity - The use of two or more antennas to improve signal quality. In most designs, the baseband processor automatically selects the antenna that is providing the best quality signal.

Air Interface - In mobile phones, the "air interface" denotes the specification of the radio transmission between base station and mobile phone. It defines the frequency use , the bandwidth of the individual radio channels, the encoding methods used (W-CDMA, TD-CDMA, cdma2000) and other quantities used by the radio technology.

Access Point - A stationary device that acts as a base station for wireless LAN users. Unlike a network interface card that connects to a mobile device, the access point connects directly to a wired network.

ATM - Asynchronous Transfer Mode . Very high-speed data transmission technology. ATM is a high bandwidth, low-delay, connection-oriented, packet-like switching and multiplexing technique.

Broadband Access - Many companies are closely examining WiMAX for "last mile" connectivity at high data rates. The resulting competition may bring lower pricing for both home and business customers, or bring broadband access to places where it has been economically unavailable. Prior to WiMAX, many operators have been using proprietary fixed wireless technologies for broadband services. Broadcast : The simultaneous transmission of data or voice to a number of stations.

Base station - In a cellular communication system, a base station could be considered a central mode of transmission and reception for the network. Currently, this station includes an ominidirectional antenna or several sectoral antennas.

Beamwidth - The angle of signal coverage provided by an antenna. Beamwidth typically decreases as antenna gain increases.

Bluetooth - A radio technology built around a new chip that makes it possible to transmit signals over short distances between computers and handheld devices without the use of wires. A global initiative by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba to set a standard for cable-free connectivity between mobile phones,

CDMA (code division multiple access) : A packet-based wireless-access technology that was improved and commercialized by Qualcomm. CDMA is used in certain cellular phone systems and in some wireless local-area networks, or WLANs. The major benefit of CDMA is increased capacity, up to 20 times that of analog service. CDMA increases capacity through more efficient use of spectrum. Specifically, it permits many radios to share the same frequency channel.

Core Network - The switching part of the UMTS network. It provides call control and performs mobility and high-level security functions such as location updating and authentication. Core network includes a radio access network, terminals and applications.

Core router - Core routers are switching computers used on the main connection links (backbone) of a network. These switching computers are particularly powerful, and specialize in the transfer of huge data volumes over the information highway.

CTIA- (Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association) : CTIA is the international organization that represents all sectors of wireless communications-cellular, personal communication services and enhanced specialized mobile radio.

DAMA (Demand Assigned Multiple Access) : a technique for sharing satellite bandwidth among many users.

Digital : The newest form of wireless communications that takes all voice transmissions and converts them to computer language (zeros and ones, or "binary" language) and then reconstructs them into the original voice format at the other end. More secure than its original sibling, analog, and also relatively impervious to static or fading signals.

Dual Band - Dual band phones are capable of using two different frequencies of the same technologies. For example, a TDMA or CDMA phone that can use either the 800 or 1900 MHz band. There are also Triple Band phones in the GSM market that support 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz. Dual band phones allow callers to access different frequencies in the same or different geographic regions, essentially giving their phone a wider coverage area.

Dual Mode - Dual mode phones are phones that support more than one technology. Typically, this is either CDMA and AMPS or TDMA and AMPS, but other dual mode phones are starting to appear on the market, such as GSM and TDMA.

Fixed Access : A terminal access to the network that users wired technology.

FDMA- Frequency division multiple access : Division of the frequency band allocated for wireless cellular telephone communication into 30 channels, each of which can carry a voice conversation or, with digital service, carry digital data. FDMA is a basic technology used in the analogue AMPS the most widely-installed cellular phone system installed in North America. With FDMA, each channel can be assigned to only one user at a time.

Fixed WiMAX- WiMAX is arguably even more important for the fixed broadband wireless segment than mobile broadband, at least internally to that industry. It seems clear that mobile broadband wireless holds the loftier long term monetary and customer growth potential. However, the fixed wireless segment has been fragmented essentially since its inception. There are no cohesive standards for outdoor metropolitan area networks beyond the adapted Wi-Fi technologies. Wi-Fi as a standard has been accepted in broad strokes by the industry and the public. However, it is not a well conceived citywide technology.

This industry has languished due to the inability to foment a cohesive technology strategy. Innovative features were restricted to individual brands with the result that numerous innovations if combined would have greatly improved results for all. Since most fixed broadband wireless systems in the US rely primarily upon unlicensed band technology, the potential for WiMAX to impact this segment, albeit a small segment did not appear very good. However, the advent of fixed WiMAX radio systems in the 3.65 GHz bands in the US that have been adapted from licensed band 3.5 GHz technology originally designed for European and Asian markets offers real hope for WiMAX impact in the US. Due to the number of adherents for the technology LTE will certainly play a major if not dominant part in the mobile broadband wireless equation.

Fixed Wireless Broadband - Service similar to traditional fixed-line broadband, but delivered wirelessly

FLO- Forward Link Only : A technology developed by Qualcomm and commercialized by a division of the company called MediaFlo. FLO is a multicast technology that was designed to increase the capacity and reduce the cost of delivering video, audio and other content to large numbers of users simultaneously.

Frequency Modulation - also called FM , A technique for adding information to a carrier signal (e.g. a radio wave) whereby variations in the input are reflected by varying the frequency of the transmitted signal. This is the basis for FM radio.

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.

Frequency Spectrum - Spectrum available for communication. Regulatory agencies monitor the occupancy of the radio spectrum and allocate to individual/group users, enabling a large number of services to operate within specific limits of interference.

GHz (Gigahertz) - A frequency measurement. One hertz equals one cycle per second. GHz = One Billion hertz.

GPRS - General Packet Radio Service : A mobile data service available to users of GSM mobile phones. It is often described as 2.5G- that is, a technology between the second generation (2G) and third generation (3G) of mobile telephony. It provides moderate-speed data transfer by using unused TDMA channels in the GSM network.

GSM- Global System Mobile Communications : The standard digital cellular phone service that you will find in Europe, Japan, Australia and elsewhere. GSM is also used in the U.S., but it uses a different frequency than that in other parts of the world.

HSDPA High-Speed Downlink Packet Access : A new mobile-telephony protocol that is often called 3.5G or 4G Internet. Its purpose is to increase the download speeds of the WCDMA networks. Other technologies it competes with include CDMA2000 1x (or CDMA2000 1xEV-DO), as well as data communication standards such as WiMax.

HSUPA- High-Speed Uplink Packet Access : A data access protocol for mobile-phone networks that aims to increase upload speeds of WCDMA networks. As they do with HSDPA, some people refer to HSUPA as 3.5G or 4G mobile Internet. While most Internet applications, such as Web surfing, music and video downloads, and e-mail, rely heavily on downlink speeds, applications such as video conferencing also require fast upload speeds. The specifications for HSUPA are still under development.

IEEE- (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) : is an international non-profit, professional organization for the advancement of technology related to electricity. IEEE's Constitution defines the purposes of the organization as "scientific and educational, directed toward the advancement of the theory and practice of electrical, electronics, communications and computer engineering, as well as computer science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences."

IP (Internet Protocol) : The Internet Protocol (IP) is the method or protocol by which data is sent from one computer to another on the Internet.

IP Address : The unique digital identifier of a device communicating over the Internet or other data network using similar technology. Today's addresses consist of a 32-bit string of 1's and 0's and are analogous to postal addresses.

MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) : Refers to the use of more than one antenna to send and receive two or more unique data streams over the same channel simultaneously in wireless devices, resulting in networks with long ranges and high throughputs. It is currently the primary basis for the proposed 802.11n wireless transmission standard. In some cases, wireless networks using MIMO technology can reach more than 300 feet and still send and receive data at 30mbps.

Mobile Broadband - Brings fixed broadband services into new environments (portability). It allows one to connect to a network for various locations via different base stations. It also allows one to maintain connections while moving at vehicular speeds.


Mobile WiMAX :
A phrase frequently used to refer to systems built using 802.16e-2005 as the air interface technology. “Mobile WiMAX” implementations are therefore frequently used to deliver pure fixed services.

Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) : is a technology being developed by IEEE 802.20 and is aimed at wireless mobile broadband for operations from 120 to 350 km/h. The 802.20 standard has taken on many of the methods behind Mobile WiMAX, including high speed dynamic modulation and similar scalable OFDMA capabilities. It apparently retains fast hand-off, Forward Error Correction (FEC) and cell edge enhancements. The Working Group was temporarily suspended in mid 2006 by the IEE-SA Standards Board since it had been the subject of a number of appeals, and a preliminary investigation of one of these “revealed a lack of transparency, possible ‘dominance,’ and other irregularities in the Working Group”. In September 2006 the IEE-SA Standards Board approved a plan to enable the working group to continue under new conditions, and the standard is now expected to be finalized by Q2 2008.

Modulation : Modulation is the process by which some characteristics of the message signal are varied in accordance with the modulating wave.

Micro Cells : In large cities, mobile phone operators are increasingly converting their networks to small cell structures (cells). Larger mobile phone cells with diameters from 10 to 20 miles are “macro cells”. Radio cells in the mid- range (with a diameter of about one mile) are “micro cells”. Even smaller are pico cells, which often only range a few hundred meters. The miniaturization of radio cells allows more subscribers to be supplied over a given area.

Microwaves : The electromagnetic waves of very high frequency used for heating and communication purpose.

QoS (Quality of Service) : QoS  refers to the capability of a network to provide better service.

Radio interface : System enabling a mobile terminal to communicate with the network. Numerous discussions were held within ETSI in 1997 on the standardization of a radio interface for UMTS. On 29 January 1998 the SMG committee adopted the UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access standard (UTRA). UTRA was adopted by the ITU in March 1999 as a radio interface standard for IMT 2000.

Radio Frequency (RF) : RF stands for “Radio Frequency” and is a commonly used acronym to refer to a radio link, e.g. “goes over RF to the cell”.

RFDC/RFID  (Radio Frequency Data Communications / Radio Frequency Identification) : Radio Frequency Identification, a technology used to uniquely identify objects. A transceiver sends out a signal that activates a transponder, which sends data back to the transceiver.

Roaming : The ability to move between cells of the same network. The ability to use a cellular phone outside one’s providers’ home service area. Providers often set up Roaming Agreements with other providers in different geographic locations. A roaming agreement lets a caller seamlessly make calls in the other provider’s geographic service area without operator intervention.

Router : A data switch that handles connections between different networks. A router identifies the addresses on data passing through the switch, determines which route the transmission should take and collects data in “packets” which are sent to their destinations. A router is a network resident computer whose job it is to route data traffic to and from other points on the networks to which it has access. It accomplished this through the use of special addressing and routing protocols such as IP.

RTS (Request to send) : RTS a signal from the transmission station to the receiving station requesting permission to transmit data. In wireless networks a station sends a RTS frame to another station as the first phase of a two-way handshake necessary before sending the data.

SDMA (Space Division Multiple Access) : A technique makes it possible to increase the capacity of a cellular mobile radio system by taking advantage of spatial separation between users. The base station does not transmit the signal to the entire cell area, as in conventional access techniques, but concentrates power in the direction of the mobile unit for which the signal is directed, reducing it in the directions where other units are present.

Sectoral Antenna : A directive antenna with a radiation pattern aperture (3 dB beamwidth) larger than 45°. Sectoral antennas are generally used for point-to-multipoint systems or combined with several antennas to create a base station.

Smart Antenna : It solve the capacity problems of mature mobile cellular networks. By directing radio signals to an intended target rather than broadcasting throughout the entire cell area, they increase the network’s capacity. The more elaborate smart antenna systems can communicate with multiple mobile stations in the same cell, on the same channel, thereby exploiting their spatial separation.

Spectrum : The range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used in the transmission of sound, data and television

SSID (Service Set Identifier) : it’s a unique name shared among
all clients and nodes in a wireless network. The SSID address is
identical for each clients and nodes in the wireless network.

TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) : A 3G standard developed by Siemens and Datang of China. TD-SCDMA has spectrum efficiency (a measure of the number of users that can receive a transmission in a given geographic area) that makes it appropriate for densely populated regions. The spectral efficiency is three to five times better than GSM.

Triple-band (Tri-Band) : It means phone understand the American 1900MHz frequency band as well as the European 900MHz and 1800MHz.

UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) : This is almost universally subscribed to standard for the third generation and is generally based on W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access). UMTS will launch in 2002, but full services for the general public will not arrive until around 2005. It promises a permanent internet connection of at least 384kbps and up to about 2mbps, combined with highly integrated devices and a super-fast back end.

  • Visit UMTS Forum for more information about UMTS

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) : VoIP is not simply for voice over IP, but is designed to accommodate two-way video conferencing and application sharing as well. Based on IP technology, VoIP is used to transfer a wide range of different type traffic.

WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access) : Another name for UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), a cellular network also referred to as 3GPP. As the name suggests, WCDMA is based on CDMA technology and was envisioned for the next generation of GSM. It’s a European standard designed to support data transmission rates of 144kbps for use in vehicles, 384kbps for pedestrian use and up to 2mbps for use indoors.

WiBro (Wireless Broadband) : A wireless broadband Internet technology being developed by Korean telecommunications companies. In February 2002, the Korean government allocated 100MHz of electromagnetic spectrum in the 2.3GHz band, and in late 2004, WiBro Phase 1 was standardized by the TTA (Telecommunications Technology Association) of Korea. WiBro base stations will offer an aggregate data throughput of 30mbps to 50mbps and allow Internet usage within a radius of 3.1 miles. WiBro uses only licensed radio spectrum, which all but eliminates the chance of interference from other transmissions. SK Telecom and Hanaro Telecom have announced a partnership to roll out WiBro nationwide in Korea, excluding Seoul and six provincial cities, where independent networks will be installed.

Wi-Fi or WLAN (Wireless Local Area Networks) : A wireless network based on a series of specifications from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) called 802.11. Wi-Fi uses unlicensed radio frequency, mostly in the 2.4GHz band. It enables a person with a wireless-enabled computer or PDA to connect to the Internet via a wireless access point. The geographical region covered by one or several access points is called a hot spot. Wi-Fi was intended to be used for mobile devices and local-area networks, but it is now often used for Internet access outdoors. Several cities, including Philadelphia and San Francisco, plan to install citywide Wi-Fi systems for use by all citizens in each municipality. There are several types of Wi-Fi:

  • 802.11a (offering transmission speeds of 24mbps to 54mbps)
  • 802.11b (6mbps to 11mbps) and 802.11g (24mbps to 54 mbps)
  • 802.11n (50mbps to 100mbps) is a proposed specification that will become a Wi-Fi standard once it’s finalized by the IEEE, and the Wi-Fi Alliance completes its interoperability testing.

WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) : Also known as the IEEE 802.16 group of standards, defines a packet-based wireless technology that provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances. WiMax can be used for a number of applications, including “last mile” broadband connections, hotspots and high-speed connections for businesses. The mobile standard 802.11e was just ratified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a standards-making body, in January 2006. WiMax is similar to Wi-Fi in concept, but it has certain features aimed at improving performance and that should permit usage over much greater distances. WiMax supports peak data speeds of about 70mbps, with average user data rates between 1mbps and 10mbps. It uses a combination of licensed and unlicensed bandwidth. Intel, along with several corporate sponsors, is working with the wireless industry to drive deployment of WiMax networks.

Wimax applications : The bandwidth and reach of WiMAX make it suitable for the following potential applications: Connecting Wi-Fi hotspots with each other and to other parts of the Internet. Providing a wireless alternative to cable and DSL for last mile (last km) broadband access.
Providing high-speed data and telecommunications services. Providing a diverse source of Internet connectivity as part of a business continuity plan. That is, if a business has a fixed and a wireless Internet connection, especially from unrelated providers, they are unlikely to be affected by the same service outage. Providing nomadic connectivity.

WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network) : Wireless personal area networks (WPANs) are short range wireless networks that can be used to exchange information between devices in the reach of a person and his personal space within 10-20 meters.

WirelessMAN : WirelessMAN is the official name trademarked by the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access Standards for its wireless metropolitan area network standard (commercially known as WiMax), which defines broadband Internet access from fixed or mobile devices via antennas. Subscriber stations communicate with base-stations that are connected to a core network. This is an alternative to fixed line networks that is simple to build and relatively inexpensive.


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