Mobile Glossary

Monday, September 24, 20070 comments

3G (Third Generation Wireless)
Refers to planned developments in mobile communications. Increased Bandwidth, from 128 Kbps while moving at high speeds to 2Mbps for fixed stations, will enable multimedia applications and advanced roaming features.
A family of wireless data standards commonly used to connect devices in wireless Local Area Networks (LANs). 802.11 was developed by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Air Interface
The standard operating system of a wireless network; technologies include AMPS, TDMA, CDMA and GSM.
(advanced mobile phone service) - A term used for analog technologies, the first generation of wireless technologies.
Traditionally referred to the amount of data that can be carried by a wired computer network.
A communications specification designed to enable PDAs, mobile phones, computers, and other devices to share information and synchronize data. This technology requires a transceiver chip in each device. Devices operate in the 2.4Ghz band, sending data at 720 Kbps within a 30 foot range.
CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access)
Using military technology originally developed by the Allies in WWII, it spreads transmisions over all available frequencies. Conversations are assigned a code which is used to reassemble it upon arrival. This allows multiple calls to be carried over one channel.
CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data)
A digital data transmission technology developed for cellular networks. Operating at 19.2 Kbps, it sends data over constantly changing open intervals in voice channels. If the system is busy, the data is sent when a channel opens up.
A stand or bracket designed to hold a phone or handheld computer in place on your desktop, or mounted to your dashboard. It may incorporate recharging or data transfer functions.
Digital Phones
A digital phone is a type of wireless phone that transmits and receives digital (rather than analog) signals. Digital phones have the ability to receive messages on its screen containing text and numbers. This technology is known as short message service (SMS) or alphanumeric paging.
FCC regulation that requires U.S. wireless carriers to identify a user's location for faster response in case of a 911 emergency call. This location data may also be used by the carriers for commercial purposes such as advertising and commerce.
EDGE (Enhanced Data GSM Environment)
Intended as incremental step toward 3G services. It operates at 384 Kbps, and enables multimedia transmissions and broadband applications for mobile phones and computers.
An operating systems for handheld computers and mobile phones with Web access. It's an open operating system developed by Psion, and now licensed by Symbian. EPOC's main competitor is Windows CE.
GPRS (General Packet Radio Services)
Provides packet-based, rather than circuit-switched connections on mobile networks. Data rates should range from 56 up to 150 Kbps. The as-needed (rather than dedicated) connections should bring down the cost of data services. Based on the GSM standard, this is an incremental step toward Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) and 3G services.
GPS (Global Positioning System)
A satellite-based system for determining your location within 10 to 100 meters, depending on the accuracy of the equipment. Originally used for military and scientific applications, GPS receivers are now widely available in everything from cars to wrist watches.
GSM (Global System for Mobile communication)
The standard digital cellular system in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world. It is a variation on TDMA, with a data transfer rate of 9.6 Kbps.
HDML (Handheld Device Markup Language)
A language that formats information for mobile phones or handheld computers in the same way that HTML does for PCs. It was originally developed by Unwired Planet (now and is considered to be the forerunner of WML (Wireless Markup Language). Most current HDML browsers are capable of interpreting WML sites.
A packet based mobile phone service from Japan's NTT DoCoMo. I-Mode operates at 9.6 Kbps and uses a simplified version of HTML rather than WML. Its next generation system should support rates of 384 Kbps, enabling multimedia applications.
Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN)
Air interface technology developed by Motorola that allows users to access phone calls, two-way radio transmissions, paging and data transmissions. iDen is used by Nextel in the U.S.
Internet-enabled (or ready) phone
Wireless telephones that allow you to access information on the Internet. Internet sites and content are optimized to make for easier viewing on small screens. (See WAP.)
Kbps (kilobits per second)
A measurement of bandwidth in the United States.
A form of e-commerce which allows users to complete or initiate purchases using their mobile phone or other device.
Microbrowser (or Mini-browser)
Refers to the software application that Internet-enabled wireless phones use to access Web content.
MMS (Multimedia Message Service)
The ability to send messages comprising a combination of text, sounds,images and video to MMS capable handsets.
MSA/RSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area/Rural Service Area)
MSAs are cities with at least 50,000 people, or urban areas with at least 100,000, and the counties that include these areas. RSAs are all areas not included in MSAs. The FCC licenses and assigns frequencies in these areas, allowing multiple carriers.
The fusion of different types of data from/to different I/O devices, and the temporal constraints imposed on information processing from/to I/O devices.
Packet-switched network
Networks that transfer chunks or packets of data. Packet-switched networks are "always on," eliminating the need to dial-in to send or receive information. (See circuit-switched network)
Palm OS
The operating system originally designed for the Palm series of PDAs. Palm has since been purchased by 3Com, but they still develop and license the OS. Unlike operating systems used by other handhelds, the Palm OS is built to function on a particular type of device.
PCS (Personal Communications Services)
An all-digital set of cellular services operating in the 1850-1990 MHz bands. PCS technologies include CDMA, TDMA, AND GSM.
PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
A small handheld device commonly used as a mobile computer or personal organizer. Many PDAs incorporate small keyboards, while others use touchscreens with handwriting recognition. Some of these devices have Internet capabilities, either through a built-in or add-on modem. |
Pocket PC (formerly Windows CE)
An upgraded version of Windows CE that offers greater stability and a new interface. Features include Mobile Internet capabilities, an e-book reader, and handwriting recognition.
A mobile, digital telephone that has features not associated with traditional home or mobile phones. These features include Internet access, simple text messaging, and data services.
SMS (Short Messaging Service)
Originally part of the GSM system, it refers to any text messaging service available on digital mobile phones.
T9 Text Input
Software available on nearly 180 mobile phones worldwide that enables easy text input. T9 Text Input allows mobile phone users to easily type messages using just one key press per letter.
TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access)
Divides cellular channels into three time slots, increasing data capacity. This lets multiple users or conversations to be carried on the same channel.
Two-way paging/Interactive paging/Two-way Messaging
Sending and receiving data over the Web, via the paging network.
WAP (Wireless Access Protocol)
A set of standards that allows Web access on mobile devices. WAP is supported by most wireless networks and operating systems. It supports HTML and XML, but is designed for WML.
Web Clipping
The process of pulling specific information from a web page so that it can be displayed on a web phone or PDA.
Web-Enabled Phones
A web-enabled phone is a digital phone that has a built-in browser that supports the wireless application protocol (Wireless Web). This browser enables you to access internet pages that have been specially created for browsing on web-enabled phones.
Windows CE
A version of Windows designed to run on PDAs or other small devices. CE was renamed Pocket PC with the version 3.0 release.
Wireless LAN
A wireless LAN can serve as a replacement for or extension to a wired LAN. It uses radio frequency technology to transmit network messages through the air for relatively short distances. (See 802.11)
Wireless Phone (or mobile phone)
Term used to describe phones not bound by wired connections.
Wireless Web (Internet)
Refers to accessing the Internet with a mobile device that does not require wired connectivity (ex. mobile phones or wireless PDAs). Internet sites and content are optimized to make for easier viewing on small screens and compliant with specific "wireless web" technologies
WML (Wireless Markup Language)
A language developed to control the presentation of web pages on mobile phones and PDA in the same way that HTML does for PCs. Part of the Wireless Access Protocol (WAP), WML is an open standard, and is supported by most mobile phones.
A reworking of HTML 4.0 designed to work as a application of XML. It allows anyone to create sets of markup tags for new purposes.
XML (Extensible Markup Language)
A standard for creating expandable information formats that allow both the format and the data to be shared. XML is similar to HTML in that both use tags to describe the contents of a document. However, while HTML only describes how the data should be displayed or used, XML describes the type of data. This allows anyone who can interpret those tags to use the data they contain.


What is WAP?

WAP stands for 'Wireless Application Protocol' and is a miniature version of the internet optimised for handheld devices, usually a mobile cell phone, but also handheld or palmtop mini computers. WAP is used for providing information and services to your mobile cell phone wherever a signal is available. WAP is also the means of delivering much content such as ringtones, logos and games to mobiles.

What WAP is not, is an information superhighway of unlimited proportions. WAP is excellent though for providing up to date real time information services such as news headlines and sports reports, or a city guide.

If you do not have a WAP compatible mobile phone you can still use an online emulator.

How to use Wap?

All new handsets are wap compatible but may require the settings sent from your network operators to authorise. Please be aware of the costs involved, as some operators charge up to 10p per minute for a dial up connection. Connecting with GPRS does not incur a time based charge, instead the cost is for the amount of data sent to your phone. Check the costs with your network before connecting.

Once connected, using WAP is a cross between using the Internet on PC and reading a text message. Due to device limitations only one page, know as a card on WAP, is open at a time. Scroll through the WAP text and images in the same way as an SMS message. Unlike on a PC where you use a mouse to point at any area of the screen to click, WAP browsing is a vertical experience scrolling up and down. Links between pages are always highlighted in a different way to surrounding text, choose the link you require by scrolling up and down between them. Click the links to move between pages, just as on a PC.

The main item to note when using WAP are action buttons. All WAP phones have two buttons beneath the screen. The actions produced by these buttons will vary depending on what is on screen. You will often have a description of the action, at the bottom of the screen, just above the buttons. Examples of actions would be 'select' or 'back', which would obviously move you back to the previous screen. In all cases one button on your handset will always be allocated to 'back'. The best way of finding out how it works is to try it.

Save time by bookmarking pages you will use often. The best WAP site to bookmark: obviously!


GPRS stands for General Packet Radio Service. It is merely a way to transmit data to your phone. It does this in small 'packets' without requiring a phone call connection and so is always on.

In ideal conditions GPRS can deliver data at three times the speed of a dial up connection. In practice it takes the same time as a dial up connection to receive the data, especially the initial parts.

The main advantage is the cost. You only pay for the data downloaded, not the time connected. You could write a long email at your leisure for example. Generally your network provider will allow thousands of WAP pages per month for just a few pounds. Additionally if you receive a call whilst using GPRS the phone will still ring, and you can immediately return to your WAP session after the call. All new handsets are GPRS enabled, but you must check your handbook.

GPRS and WAP problems

The mobile nature of WAP especially when used with GPRS can sometimes prevent a true transmission of the entire code to a phone. Sometimes only a part of a file is received. When this happens your phone will display an error message on all occasions. This is unlike using a web browser on your pc. The large processing power of your pc is able to smooth over any problems with the code and still show some results. Your phone simply does not have sufficient processing power to cope with any code problem, no matter how small.If this happens your first option is to reload the WAP page. This will rectify most problems. On some occasions the cache memory on the phone will retain the bad code, and you will need to clear the cache or in some circumstances it is necessary to switch the phone off and back on to clear the memory completely. If you have followed these steps and still cannot view the WAP content then we must assume there is a problem with the code as stored on the server, and no amount of reloading will cure the problem.

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