Cellular Glossary

New cell phones and cell phone plans appear constantly. This glossary defines many of the technologies and terminologies currently in use in the cellular industry.

1xEV (1xEV-DO)
1xEV technology provides higher speeds implemented in two phases. Phase 1 is Evolution-Data Only (1xEV-DO), which increases the downlink peak data rate to 2.4 Mbps. The average rate a user experiences is between 300 and 600 Kbps. 1xEV-DO Revision A supports IP packets, increases the downlink to 3.1 Mbps and boosts uplink dramatically to 1.2 Mbps.
The first version of CDMA2000 provides data rates of 307 Kbps (downlink) and 153 Kbps (uplink) as well as twice the voice capacity on a single 1.25MHz CMDA channel in new or existing spectrum. The use of the single channel is known as "1X" or "1xRTT" (1X Radio Transmission Technology). It is also known as "IS-2000," "MC-1X," and "IMT-CDMA MultiCarrier 1X."
This is an interim step toward 3G. The newest technologies available to most consumers are considered "2.5G", because they are faster than 2G phones, but much slower than 3G phones.
The wireless phone industry labels various technologies with "G" ratings -- as in "generation." These have technically complex criteria, but to the average consumer they mainly reflect how fast a network, and the phones that use it, can receive and send data, like e-mail and Web pages. Most digital phones today are 2G or 2.5G and receive data very slowly.
This is the Holy Grail of wireless systems, a new third-generation standard that would allow for high-speed, always-on data transmission and reception. It promises to handle e-mail, instant messaging and Web browsing as smoothly as current wired technologies. So far a few carriers outside the U.S. have achieved speeds considered 3G.
802.11 refers to a family of specifications developed by the IEEE for wireless LAN technology. 802.11 specifies an over-the-air interface between a wireless client and a base station or between two wireless clients. The IEEE accepted the specification in 1997. There are several specifications in the 802.11 family: 802.11 -- applies to wireless LANs and provides 1 or 2 Mbps transmission in the 2.4 GHz band using either frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) or direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS). 802.11a -- an extension to 802.11 that applies to wireless LANs and provides up to 54 Mbps in the 5GHz band. 802.11a uses an orthogonal frequency division multiplexing encoding scheme rather than FHSS or DSSS. 802.11b (also referred to as 802.11 High Rate or Wi-Fi) -- an extension to 802.11 that applies to wireless LANS and provides 11 Mbps transmission (with a fallback to 5.5, 2 and 1 Mbps) in the 2.4 GHz band. 802.11b uses only DSSS. 802.11b was a 1999 ratification to the original 802.11 standard, allowing wireless functionality comparable to Ethernet. 802.11g -- applies to wireless LANs and provides 20+ Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.
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 Canada.
Access Fee
An annual, or monthly, charge for the ability to connect to a wireless network. This fee is assessed whether the phone is actually used or not.
Programming of a wireless phone so that it is ready to be used to transmit and receive calls on the wireless network.
Total time that a wireless phone is 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 Canada and the US.
A method of modulating radio signals so that they can carry information such as voice or data.
Any-Key Answer
A phone feature that lets you answer an incoming call by pressing any key on the keypad.
Anytime Minutes
The number of calling plan minutes that can be used any time, any day (peak or off-peak). If you exceed your allotted anytime minutes for the month, you will be charged for additional minutes at the rate specified in your calling plan.
Audible Call Timer
A phone feature that helps you track your airtime usage by alerting you 10 seconds before the end of each minute of use. This allows you to hang up before you’re charged for a full minute of airtime.
A feature used to reduce fraud by confirming the identity of a phone to the wireless network.
Auto Answer
A phone feature that lets you answer an incoming call after a set number of rings without you having to press a single key.
Auto Redial
A phone feature that automatically redials a busy number.
- Indicates of the kind of wireless systems on which your phone will work. Band refers to the phone's ability to operate within specific digital frequency ranges (800MHz digital or 1900MHz PCS). Mode refers to the phone's ability to work with both analog and digital networks. For example, a Tri-Mode phone is both Dual Mode and Dual Band, meaning it will work on analog, digital and PCS networks and can switch to analog when a digital signal is not available.
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.
Bluetooth is a specification for a small form-factor, low-cost radio solution providing links between mobile computers, mobile phones and other portable handheld devices, and connectivity to the Internet. It will enable users to connect a wide range of computing and telecommunications devices easily and simply, without the need to buy, carry, or connect cables.
Built-in Micro browser
Some newer digital phones have a built-in micro browser that allows you to access and view specially modified Web sites. While surfing on a wireless phone is not exactly like surfing on a computer, (the screen is a lot smaller, its not in colour etc.) you gain the freedom to access information anywhere, anytime.
Call Display
A feature that displays a caller's telephone number and/or name before the call is answered.
Call Following
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.
Call Forwarding
A feature that allows the transfer of incoming calls to another number of the users choice.
Call Waiting
- A calling plan/phone feature that alerts you if a call comes in while you’re on the phone. Some carriers charge an additional fee for this service.
Caller ID
A calling plan/phone feature that displays the names and numbers of incoming callers on your phone LCD. Some carriers charge an additional fee for this service.
Cancellation Fee
A fee charged by the carrier for terminating your phone service before the end of your agreed-upon contract.
A company that provides telecommunications services.
CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access)
A digital communication technology used by some carriers to provide PCS service. Other technologies used are TDMA and GSM.
The area surrounding a cell site. The area in which calls are handled by a particular cell site.
Cell Site
The transmission and reception equipment, including the base station antenna, that connects a cellular phone to the network.
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'. Cellular calls are transferred from base station to base station as a user travels from cell to cell.
Cigarette Lighter Adapter
An adapter that lets you use power from your car’s battery to use and recharge your wireless phone. The adapter plugs into the cigarette lighter outlet in your car. Also referred to as a Car Charger.
Conference Calling
- A calling plan feature that lets you talk with two or more people at the same time.
Coverage Area
The geographic area served by a wireless system. Same as Service Area.
CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC
A forum for parties, with CRTC assistance, to resolve local competition implementation issues of a technological, operational or administrative nature and to resolve other telecommunications issues.
Decibel (dB)
A unit of measure used to express relative difference in power or intensity of sound.
A method of encoding information using a binary code of 0s and 1s. Most newer wireless phones and networks use digital technology.
Digital PCS
Digital PCS (Personal Communications Service) combines a variety of advanced features and enhanced services. Features include Call Display, which displays the phone number or name of an incoming call; and Text Messaging, which allows you to receive numeric and/or text, messages on your phone display. Digital PCS also provides you with increased call privacy and security and increases battery stand-by time.
Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
Computer manipulation of analog signals (commonly sound or image), which have been converted to digital form (sampled). Digital Signal Processing Chips usually have more then one clock, whereas microprocessor chips usually have only one. Also DSP chips usually have particularly wide busses and higher clock speeds. DSP chips typically have a single cycle instruction, Harvard architecture, and multiply and accumulate instructions. They can either be fixed point or can also include floating point arithmetic. Microprocessors are more general purpose CPU’s with a math processor jumping in when they see an instruction that the main CPU cannot handle. One key phrase behind most of the designs for DSP is “ think everything is for speed.”
DoCoMo (meaning "anywhere" in Japanese) is a NTT subsidiary and Japan's biggest mobile service provider, with over 31 million subscribers as of June, 2000. In February, 2000 NTT DoCoMo launched its i-mode service. With over 7 million subscribers, it has overtaken traditional Japanese Internet service providers to become Japan's biggest Internet access platform. DoCoMo's i-mode is the only network in the world that now allows subscribers continuous access to the Internet via mobile telephone. The service lets users send and receive e-mail, exchange photographs, do online shopping and banking, download personalized ringing melodies for their phones, and navigate among more than 7,000 specially formatted Web sites. The current i-mode data transmission speed is just 9.6Kbps, but in spring 2001 NTT DoCoMo will introduce its next-generation mobile system, based on wideband CDMA (W-CDMA), that can support speeds of 384Kbps or faster, making mobile multimedia possible.
Dual band
A feature on some wireless phones that allows the handset to operate using either the 800 MHz cellular or the 1900 MHz PCS frequencies.
Dual band / dual mode
A feature on some wireless phones that allows the handset to operate on both analog and digital systems, using either the 800 MHz cellular or the 1900 MHz PCS frequencies.
Dual mode
A feature on some wireless phones that allows the handset to operate on both analog and digital networks.
Dual-Tone Multifrequency (DTMF)
The keypad signaling technology that generates two distinct tones when each key is pressed. This system of “tone dialing” allows navigation of businesses’ voice menus and other advanced calling services. All wireless phones use DTMF dialing. Also referred to as TouchTone.
As in ordinary telephone service, a characteristic of a communications system where simultaneous transmission and reception is possible.
EDGE is the Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution standard that is part of the GSM capabilities, and increases packet data delivery speed to up to 384 kb/s while mobile. EDGE has, in itself, been accepted by the ITU as a 3G standard.
The ability to send and receive text messages through a wireless handset.
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.
First Incoming Minute Free
A calling plan feature that waives airtime charges for the first minute of all incoming calls. This allows you to answer all incoming calls, find out who’s calling, and talk for up to a minute without using up any of your allotted airtime.
Fixed Wireless
Fixed wireless refers to wireless devices or systems that are situated in fixed locations, such as an office or home, as opposed to devices that are mobile, such as cell phones and PDAs. Fixed wireless devices normally derive their electrical power from utility mains, as opposed to portable wireless devices that normally derive their power from batteries. The point-to-point signal transmissions occur through the air over a terrestrial microwave platform rather than through copper or fiber cables; therefore, fixed wireless does not require satellite feeds or local phone service. The advantages of fixed wireless include the ability to connect with users in remote areas without the need for laying new cables and the capacity for broad bandwidth that is not impeded by fiber or cable capacities.
GPRS is the General Packet Radio Service that is part of the GSM standard and delivers "always-on" wireless packet data services to GSM customers. GPRS can provide packet data speeds of up to 115 kb/s. GPRS achieves faster connection speeds thanks to two cutting-edge technologies. The first is the General Packet. Rather than sending information in a steady stream through a single channel as current phones do, a GPRS-enabled phone (or other device) breaks the information down into "packets" and sends them over multiple channels (up to eight). Each packet travels by the quickest available route to the recipient, where it is reassembled into the original message. Sending packets by several different channels increases the speed of transmission and cuts down on signal errors. The second big idea in GPRS is Radio Service. Like a radio, a GPRS-enabled phone or data device is "always on". As long as you have your Motorola GPRS phone switched on, you have an open channel for sending and receiving text messages, updates from the web and other data. You'll be able to exchange files and browse the web with your mobile phone as easily as you do now with your PC at home or at work. You won't even have to log on – with GPRS you'll always be on.
GSM (Global System for Mobile)
GSM is the Global System for Mobile, by far the most broadly deployed digital wireless standard in the world, with over 400 million customers to-date in over 150 countries and with service provided by over 400 operators. Other technologies used are CDMA and TDMA.
The transfers 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.
Home Coverage Area
In a calling plan, this is the “local” area in which there are no long-distance or roaming charges – and where phone usage is least expensive. Generally, it’s the geographic area where you live or work most of the time. When you call a phone number outside your Home Coverage Area, it counts as a long-distance call. When you travel outside your Home Coverage Area and place a call, you are roaming. You’ll notice that your wireless Home Coverage Area is broader than your home phone’s local calling area. Also referred to as the Home Calling Area, Home Service Area, Local Calling Area, Local Coverage Area, Local Service Area, Primary Service Area or Primary Coverage Area.
High-Speed Downlink Packet Access: With HSDPA, expect initial throughput rates of between 400Kbps and 600Kbps, with a peak rate of 14.4Mbps. HSDPA technology is the key feature of the Release 5 specification approved in 1999 by the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project). The technology offers several significant improvements over R99 networks. Unlike R99, HSDPA introduces an additional transport channel, called the high-speed downlink share channel. Up to 15 of these channels can operate in the WCDMA (Wideband CDMA) radio channel, allowing multiple users to share the entire downlink channel. The additional channel is designed to take advantage of bursty data traffic, typical in data networks, through multiplexing. For example, once your data has been dispatched, other users can gain access to the network in much the same way they do with DSL technology. Another feature is adaptive modulation and coding (AMC), a technique used to compensate for variations in radio conditions. With this technique, a network node schedules the transmission of data packets to a user by matching the user's priority and estimated channel operating environment with the appropriate coding and modulation scheme, thus increasing throughput under favorable conditions. In addition, HSDPA offers a retransmission mechanism for quick error correction. In spread-spectrum networks such as WCDMA, handsets confirm when they receive data and communicate key information such as channel condition and power back to the network. While this process is handled by the Radio Network Control (RNC) system in R99 networks, with HSDPA, it is processed directly in the base station, enabling a much faster response.
Now the Web is on your digital phone. The i-Web service allows you to retrieve Internet content from your digital phone. Visit websites, check stock quotes, sports scores, or movie listings, even send and receive email all from your digital phone.
This system, developed by Motorola and used by Nextel, adds a walkie-talkie feature to phones.
Abbreviation of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, pronounced I-triple-E. Founded in 1884 as the AIEE, the IEEE was formed in 1963 when AIEE merged with IRE. IEEE is an organization composed of engineers, scientists, and students. The IEEE is best known for developing standards for the computer and electronics industry. In particular, the IEEE 802 standards for local-area networks are widely followed.
IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity)
The IMEI number is a unique 15-digit serial number on each phone that can normally be found behind the battery in the phone, or by keying in *#06#.
Japan's NTT DoCoMo developed iMode, which delivers Web connections on a cell phone. The service is very popular in Japan, but has only limited availability in the U.S.
Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC):
A company that, prior to the introduction of competition, provided monopoly local telephone service.
Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR)
A telecommunications system, prevalent with PBX and voice mail systems, that uses a prerecorded database of voice messages to present options to a user, typically over telephone lines. User input is retrieved via DTMF tone key presses. When used in conjunction with voice mail, for example, these systems typically allow users to store, retrieve, and route messages, as well as interact with an underlying database server that may allow for automated transactions and data processing.
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.
Li-Ion (Lithium-Ion) Battery
A newer type of rechargeable battery used in wireless phones that is lightweight and lasts longer than Ni-Cad and NiMH varieties. Li-Ion batteries do not suffer from the “memory effect” found in Ni-Cad batteries that would prevent them batteries from accepting a full charge.
Li-Poly (Lithium-Polymer) Battery
The newest type of rechargeable battery used in wireless phones. Li-Poly batteries are lighter, smaller and longer lasting than Li-Ion and other varieties. Li-Poly batteries do not suffer from the “memory effect” found in Ni-Cad batteries that would prevent them from accepting a full charge.
Local Number Portability (LNP)
The ability for customers to retain their telephone numbers when they change local service provider.
mAh (Milliampere-Hours)
The unit of measurement for the capacity of a wireless phone battery. A bigger mAh number means longer battery life.
Memory Effect
A limitation of Ni-Cad (Nickel-Cadmium) rechargeable batteries that causes a reduction in battery life if you recharge your phone before it is completely discharged, or use the phone before it is completely recharged. The battery develops a “memory” of the length of time between chargings, and shorter charging periods can reduce the call and standby time you get from a single battery charge.
Message Waiting Indicator
An envelope shaped indicator to let you know that someone has left a message. In some cases, you phone will inform you how many new messages are waiting.
Mini Browser
A phone feature, similar to a conventional Web browser, that allows access to the Wireless Internet on your phone’s LCD.
Multimedia Messaging Service is a new version of SMS designed to handle photos, video and audio clips in addition to text. So far, in the U.S., it has been poorly and inconsistently implemented, making the exchange of multimedia complicated and unreliable.
NAM (Number Assignment Module)
A component of a wireless phone that holds in electronic memory the telephone number and ESN of the phone.
Narrowband Services
a service enabling the two-way transmission of voice or data communications with speed in either direction not exceeding 64 Kbps.
Ni-Cad (Nickel-Cadmium) Battery
An older type of rechargeable battery used in many wireless phones and cordless phones. NiCad battery life was often shortened by the “memory effect.” See Memory Effect.
NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) Battery
A newer type of rechargeable battery used in wireless phones that lasts longer and retains its charge better than Ni-Cad battery packs. NiMH batteries do not suffer from the “memory effect” so common in Ni-Cad batteries. See Memory Effect, Ni-Cad Battery.
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 users 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.
A feature of a wireless device that allows reception of a signal or alphanumeric message.
PCS (Personal Communication Services)
Used to describe a newer class of wireless communications services recently 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(s)
Any time of day, as determined by a wireless carrier, when there is high levels of communications traffic on the system.
PIM (Personal Information Manager)
A software feature that organizes frequently used information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers and appointments. Many wireless phones come with built-in PIMs.
Predictive Text Input (T9)
Predictive text input is designed to make easier to enter words when sending short messages. It can be used with SMS. When you start entering the word, you only have to press the key once for each letter and the phone will guess what word you are typing.
Prepaid Cellular/Wireless
A service plan offered by some wireless carriers that allows subscribers to pay in advance for wireless service.
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.
Radiofrequency Emissions
SAR (specific absorption rates) monitors the amount of radiation absorbed by human tissue when using your cell phone. SAR is the measure used by clinical researchers studying the potential relationship between wireless phones and cancer. It is important to know that there has been no known link to cancer in countless studies, however, there continues to be controversy and discussion around the link between cellular phones and health issues. Starting in November, 2000 the Federal Communications Commission in the United States has mandated the posting of the SAR data for consumer information. In the United States, SAR levels on new phones (manufactured after August of this year) are found printed inside the cellular phone box. In the United States, the phones maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6 watts per kilogram as mandated by the FCC. The FCC forbids the sale of handsets that exceeds government SAR limits. There is no requirement in Canada at this time to post SAR information for consumer information. The government of Canada has no requirement to regulate maximum safety SAR levels in Canada. All SAR levels submitted by the manufacturers are certified on a volunteer basis only. There is no requirement to print information on boxes or make it easily available. Only new phones manufactured after August of this year post SAR information in the United States. Canadians interested in finding out SAR ratings for their older phones can try these steps: · go to www.fcc.gov/oet/fccid (To search for an SAR value on this site consumers will need the FCC ID number for a phone, this is not the same as the manufacturer's model number for the phone. The FCC ID number for a phone is usually found on a sticker on the phone under the battery.) · fill in the Grantee Code search box with the first three numbers and/or digits of the FCC ID number · fill in the Equipment Product Code search box with the rest of the numbers in the ID · run the search click on Display Grant on the search results page and the SAR values can be found towards the bottom of the page. These results are the highest rating with the phone next to the ear. N/A -The FCC did not put on their website SAR data on phones certified before 1998. The manufacturers still have not given us any SAR numbers on the old models.
RF (Radio Frequency)
A radio signal.
RF Noise
Undesired radio signals that alters a radio communications signal causing extraneous sounds during transmission and/or reception.
RFI (Radio Frequency Interference)
An undesired radio signal that interferes with a radio communications signal causing extraneous noise and/or signal dropouts.
Roam Access Numbers
A Roam Access number is a 7-digit (if local) and a 10-digit number (area code + a 7-digit number) that will connect your caller, with your specific location. If you are within the area that the Roaming Access Number serves, then the caller will pay the long distance. If you have traveled outside this area then the Roaming Access Number will still locate you, but you and the caller will both pay long distance.
Using your wireless phone in an area outside its home coverage area. There is usually an additional charge for roaming.
Roaming Agreement
A agreement among wireless carriers allowing users to use their phone on systems other their own home systems. Roaming Fee charged for roaming.
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.
Short Messaging Service
SMS Short Message Service is a feature available with some wireless phones that allow users to send and/or receive short alphanumeric messages.
SIM A Subscriber Identity Module is a card commonly used in a GSM phone. The card holds a microchip that stores information and encrypts voice and data transmissions, making it close to impossible to listen in on calls. The SIM card also stores data that identifies the caller to the network service provider. A pair of numbers that are unique within the entire GSM system identify each SIM. These numbers, IMSI (international mobile subscriber identity) and Ki (Subscriber Authentication Key) are the basis for user authentication on different mobile networks throughout the world.
Smart Phone
Largely a marketing term, a "smart phone" is a phone that has extra features built in -- such as the scheduling functions of a PDA, or the ability to play mp3 music files.
Short Message Service (SMS) is the transmission of short text messages to and from a mobile phone, fax machine and/or IP address. Messages must be no longer than 160 alpha-numeric characters and contain no images or graphics. Once a message is sent, it is received by a Short Message Service Center (SMSC), which must then get it to the appropriate mobile device. To do this, the SMSC sends a SMS Request to the home location register (HLR) to find the roaming customer. Once the HLR receives the request, it will respond to the SMSC with the subscriber's status: 1) inactive or active 2) where subscriber is roaming. If the response is "inactive", then the SMSC will hold onto the message for a period of time. When the subscriber accesses his device, the HLR sends a SMS Notification to the SMSC, and the SMSC will attempt delivery. The SMSC transfers the message in a Short Message Delivery Point to Point format to the serving system. The system pages the device, and if it responds, the message gets delivered. The SMSC receives verification that the message was received by the end user, then categorizes the message as "sent" and will not attempt to send again. The number of mobile-phone users expects to reach 500 million worldwide by 2003, and with the help of SMS, 75 percent of all cellular phones will be Internet-enabled
Specific Absorbtion Rates (SAR)
Specific absorption rates (SAR) measure the amount of radio frequency emissions absorbed by human tissue when using your cell phone. SAR data is used by clinical researchers studying the potential relationship between wireless phones and cancer. It is important to know that there has been no known link to cancer in Government and independent agency studies, however, there continues to be controversy and discussion around the link between cellular phones and health issues. Starting in November 2000 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States has mandated the posting of the SAR data for consumer information. In the United States, SAR levels on new phones (manufactured after August of this year) are found printed inside the cellular phone box. In the United States, the phones maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6 watts per kilogram as mandated by the FCC. The FCC forbids the sale of handsets that exceed government SAR limits. There is no requirement in Canada at this time to post SAR data for consumer information. All SAR levels submitted by the manufacturers are certified on a volunteer basis only. There is no requirement to print information on boxes or make it easily available. The results posted indicate the highest level of radio frequency absorption that occurs when the phone is next to the ear. N/A (not available) - SAR data on phones certified before 1998 has not been posted on the FCC Web site. The manufacturers have not provided any SAR numbers on the older models.
The the entire range electromagnetic frequencies.
Spread Spectrum
A communications technology where a signal is transmitted over a broad range of frequencies and then re-assembled when received.
Standby Time
The time a phone is on but not actively transmitting or receiving a call.
A cellular phone user.
System Selection Switch
A feature of some cellular phones that allows switching between 'A' and 'B' cellular carriers. This feature is often used when roaming.
Talk Time
The time a phone is on and actively transmitting or receiving a call.
TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access)
A digital communication technology used by some carriers to provide PCS service. Other technologies used are CDMA and GSM.
Tethering means sharing the Internet connection of an Internet-capable mobile phone with other devices. This sharing can be offered over a wireless LAN (Wi-Fi), or over Bluetooth, or by physical connection using a cable. In the case of tethering over wireless LAN, the feature may be branded as a mobile hotspot. The Internet-connected mobile phone acts as a portable router when providing tethering services to others.
Toll-Free Calling Area
An area in which calls can be placed without incurring long distance charges.
TriMode phone operates on two frequency bands, such as 800MHz and 1900MHz, as well as operating in both digital and analog networks.
UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) is the world's choice for 3rd Generation wireless service delivery, as defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). UMTS will speed the convergence between the telecommunications, information technology, media, and content industries. This will facilitate the delivery of new services and capabilities in low-cost, high-capacity mobile communications, with data rates of up to 2 Mbit/sec and worldwide roaming.
Unified Messaging
Unified Messaging is a service that stores all of your wireless voice, email and fax messages in one mailbox. By combining the power of the Internet with the mobility of cellular technology, it allows subscribers to retrieve, compose and manage their messages while remaining mobile. In addition to traditional voice mail features, Unified Messaging also allows you to: · Listen to emails on your wireless handset (through text to speech translation) · Listen to your voice messages over your PC (with Internet connection and speakers) · Listen to an email over the phone and reply to it with a voice message · Receive your own ten-digit fax number and forward faxes from your Inbox to another email address of your choice.
Vibrating Alert
Vibrating Alert is a feature of some phones that lets you know, silently, that you have a call coming in. Some phones allow you to incorporate various combinations of ring tones and vibration depending on your preference.
Voice Mail
A system that answers calls and allows users to reply to, save, delete or forward messages.
Voice over the Internet (VoIP)
VoIP stands for voice over Internet protocol. It is based on a standard called Internet protocol (IP), which transports packets of voice signals and data together instead of over separate networks. Unlike circuit-switched networks, IP doesn't require a dedicated connection for an entire call. Instead, voice signals are converted into packets that are sent across the network and reassembled in the correct order when they reach their destination. Depending on the service provider, some VoIP services go over the public Internet while others go over private IP networks. VoIP is offered by more than a dozen companies. VoIP providers include smaller competitors such as babyTel, Vonage Canada Inc., Primus Telecommunications Canada, and Yak Communications, cable-TV companies such as Shaw Communications and Vidéotron Ltée, and phone giants like Bell Canada. VoIP service usually requires a special terminal, and often a high-speed connection. There is quite a range of prices, starting at less than $20 for basic deals and going up to $65 for packages that also include unlimited long-distance calling in North America.
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 stands for Wireless Application Protocol. It is a global standard developed to make Internet services available for mobile users. Even though WAP is based on Internet technology, WAP and the Internet live side by side. A company or a person that has an Internet site can make the information available for mobile users by transforming the pages into WAP pages. To access WAP services you need a WAP compatible phone. Besides the WAP compatibility, WAP products have a large full graphic display and include a micro browser.
Wi-Fi is short for wireless fidelity and is another name for IEEE 802.11b. It is a trade term promulgated by the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA). "Wi-Fi" is used in place of 802.11b in the same way that "Ethernet" is used in place of IEEE 802.3. Products certified as Wi-Fi by WECA are interoperable with each other even if they are from different manufacturers. A user with a Wi-Fi product can use any brand of access point with any other brand of client hardware that is built to the Wi-Fi standard.
Refers to wireless LAN products based on the IEEE 802.11a specification that operate in the 5 GHz radio frequency band. Only products that have passed WECA's interoperability testing are allowed to display the Wi-Fi5 certification logo.
Wireless Broadband
Wireless broadband is the use of a wireless network to deliver portable high-speed Internet services to customers. From the customer’s perspective, service performance is similar to that of Cable or DSL.
Wireless Carrier
A company that provides wireless telecommunications services.
Acronym for wireless local-area network. Also referred to as LAWN. A type of local-area network that uses high-frequency radio waves rather than wires to communicate between nodes.
Short for Wireless Transport Layer Security. WTLS is the security layer of the WAP, providing privacy, data integrity and authentication for WAP services. WTLS, designed specifically for the wireless environment, is needed because the client and the server must be authenticated in order for wireless transactions to remain secure and because the connection needs to be encrypted. For example, a user making a transaction with a bank over a wireless device needs to know that the connection is secure and private and not subject to a security breach during transfer (sometimes referred to as a man-in-the-middle attack). WTLS is needed because mobile networks do not provide complete end-to-end security. WTLS is based on the widely used TLS v1.0 security layer used in Internet. Because of the nature of wireless transmissions, modifications were made to the TLS v1.0 in order to accommodate for wireless' low bandwidth, datagram connection, limited processing power and memory capacity, and cryptography exporting restrictions.

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