Here is a helpful explanation of the Jargon and Acronyms used when discussing Wi-MAN technology and architecture:
Wireless networks are classified in various ways. Some wireless networks are fixed, meaning that antennas do not move frequently. Other wireless networks are mobile, meaning that the antenna can move constantly. The major types, technologies and acronyms are classified in the passages that follow, based on their ranges and the technology used:
Wireless Personal Area Networks (Wireless PAN)
In a wireless personal area network, devices are interconnected within a small area like a room. The Bluetooth protocol is an example of a radio technology that is used in short ranges, usually of some meters. For example, Bluetooth is used to wirelessly connect a headset to a PC or laptop.
The Infrared Data Association (IrDA) specifies protocol standards for data transfer using infrared rays in Wireless PANs.
Wireless Local Area Network (Wireless LAN)
A Wireless Local Area Network is the wireless implementation of local area networks (LANs). Data is transmitted between computers by using radio waves sent across areas like large homes, office areas or schools. The wireless LAN protocols are standardized under the IEEE 802.11 series.
Wi-Fi, a standard for “wireless fidelity” is widely used for networking personal computers and the Internet. The Wi-Fi technology brand, which is owned by the Wi-Fi Alliance, is used to certify products to establish interoperability between the products using IEEE 802.11 standards.
Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (Wireless MAN, Wi-MAN)
Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks connect several Wireless LANs together. Various technologies are used to construct a Wireless Metropolitan Area Network including Microwave, Millimeter Wave (MMW), WiFi, Free Space Optics (FSO) and 4G/LTE.
WiMax is defined by the IEEE 802.16 Standard for implementations of Wireless MAN. WiMax, which stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is an example of such an implementation. The coverage can reach up to a radius of over 30 miles around the WiMax tower. WiMAX has largely been superseded by 4G/LTE cellular networks and is no longer an active technology
MMDS (Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service) is a broadband wireless MAN technology that uses point-to-multipoint transmission using Ultra High Frequency (UHF). Its range can reach up to 70 miles. MMDS typically uses a base station and subscriber units in a Point to Multipoint architecture
LMDS (Local Multipoint Distribution Service) is another point-to-multipoint technology that uses microwaves and reaches a shorter range of up to 5 miles from the base station. LMDS typically uses a base station and subscriber units in a Point to Multipoint architecture
The above three wireless networks, PAN, LAN and WAN run on their own physical layer networks, utilizing anything from antennas built into handlheld devices to large antennas mounted on towers. However, some wireless data networks run over wireless voice networks, such as mobile telephone networks. The key types of mobile networks that are used for data exchange are outlined below:
HSCSD (High Speed Circuit Switched Data). HSCSD is a specification for data transfer over GSM networks.
GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). GPRS is a radio service designed to run on the Global Systems for Mobile (GSM), which is a global standard for cellular communication.
CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). CDMA refers to the several protocols of the 2G and 3G wireless communications. The CDMA-2000 1xRTT, a 3G wireless technology based on the CDMA platform, is widely used in cellular and data communication networks.
HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access). HSDPA is an enhanced 3G mobile communication protocol that allows Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) networks to facilitate high data transfer speeds.
EVDO (Evolution-Data Optimized). EVDO is a telecommunications standard for using radio signals to transmit data for broadband Internet access. With the help of both Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technologies, it maximizes data exchange speeds.
EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution). EGDE is a global radio-based mobile data transfer standard that facilitates high speeds of up to 384 Kbps in packet-switched mode.
3G, shorthand for Third Generation, is the third generation of mobile telecommunications technology. 3G is based on a set of standards used for mobile devices and mobile telecommunications use services and networks that comply with the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) specifications by the ITU. 3G finds application in wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, fixed wireless Internet access, video calls and mobile TV. 3G telecommunication networks support services that provide an information transfer rate of at least 200 kbit/s. Later 3G releases, often denoted 3.5G and 3.75G, also provide mobile broadband access of several Mbit/s to smartphones and mobile modems in laptop computers. This ensures 3G can be applied to wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, fixed wireless Internet access, video calls and mobile TV technologies.
4G/LTE. LTE, an abbreviation for Long-Term Evolution, commonly marketed as 4G LTE, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements. LTE is the natural upgrade path for carriers with both GSM/UMTS networks and CDMA2000 networks. The different LTE frequencies and bands used in different countries mean that only multi-band phones will be able to use LTE in all countries where it is supported.
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