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802.11 – A set of standards for wireless networking, also known as Wi-Fi.
1G – First generation of wireless technology that employs analog technology.
2G – Second generation of wireless technology that employs digital technology.
3G – Third generation of wireless technology, offering higher data access speeds.
4G – Fourth generation of wireless technology designed to support data intensive mobile applications such as interactive TV.
Accelerometer – A hardware component of a mobile device that measures tilt and motion. Often used to rotate a device’s screen by detecting whether a device is being held upright or sideways. Also employed as a method of controlling some games or applications.
Access Fee – A fee paid by mobile subscribers for the right to connect to the local phone network.
Activation – The process of making a phone or device active on a cellular network by connecting a device with a specific account and phone number. Usually only applies to devices operating on a CDMA network (GSM devices use a SIM card).
Airplane Mode – A manually activated feature on some cellular devices that temporarily disables the wireless radio components of the device while on board an aircraft to prevent interference with communication and navigation systems.
Airtime – Actual time spent talking on a mobile device in a billing period. Billing is usually based on minutes used in a billing period, or a specific number of minutes are allotted per period, with a per-minute charge for each minute of airtime used over the allotted amount.
Analog – The transmitting technology used in earlier cellular networks. Often synonymous with 1G. Replaced by 2G digital technologies.
Analog Roaming – Many modern mobile devices are capable of operating on an on analog network if a 2G or 3G digital network is unavailable.
Antenna – Any component of a wireless device that is designed to transmit or receive wireless signals. Antennas can be many different sizes and shapes, and some may be external or built internally into a device.
Bandwidth – Refers to the capacity of a cellular network or cellular line to receive and transmit data in a given period. Usually measured in bits per second.
Bluetooth – A short-range wireless communication technology that enables connectivity between mobile devices and accessories. Enables phone-to-phone data transmission, Bluetooth headset connectivity, mobile phone to computer synchronization, and any number of other applications.
Broadband – Used to describe high-speed data transmission where bandwidth can be shared simultaneously by multiple devices or subscribers.
Browser – Software on a mobile device that enables access in some capacity to web sites on the internet. Mobile browsers vary dramatically in the way they can display web pages. Some browser allow for web pages to be displayed as they would appear on a desktop computer, while other only allow access to a limited “mobile” version of a web page.
Bundling – The grouping of various wireless or wired telecommunications services or products together for a predetermined, usually reduced rate. Often used by telecom and wireless companies to attract new customers or entice subscribers to use more of the company’s services. An example is the bundling of TV, internet, and wireless cellular service.