Mobile Phones Glossary

1xRTT: 1 times Radio Transmission Technology. It is an enhancement to CDMA networks. It provides speeds somewhat better than dial-up service, about 30 Kbps to 90 Kbps.

1G: 1st Generation. The original analog networks.

2G: 2nd Generation. The first wireless digital networks that eventually replaced analog networks. 2G networks provide voice and data communications at higher rates than analog networks but are too slow to support large data transmissions such as streaming video and music.

2.5G and 2.75G: They provide rates higher than the 2G networks but do not reach the rates of the 3G networks. These networks include 1xRTT, GPRS and EDGE.

3G: 3rd Generation. Data transfer at high speeds, which gives the ability to handle streaming video, music and other data-intensive features. There are several different types of 3G networks. They are: EV-DO, UMTS, and HSDPA.

4G: 4th Generation networks. These networks are faster than 3G networks. Claimed speeds range between 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps. Examples of 4G networks are WiMax and LTE.

CDMA: Code Division Multiple Access. CDMA networks are more common in the US than in the rest of the world. CDMA phones do not use "SIM" cards, which make it more difficult to move your mobile phone number to another phone. CDMA typically has the best sound quality and data throughput. If you have no plans to take your boat outside the US and no need to use your mobile number on different phones, a CDMA network will work fine for you.

EDGE: Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution. It also offers data rates between 30 Kbps and 90 Kbps, and is slightly faster than GPRS.

EV-DO: Evolution-Data Optimized. It is an enhancement to CDMA networks that increases the data speed to between 144 Kbps and 2 Mbps. This allows it to handle streaming video and music.

Gbps or Gbit/s: Gigabits per second, equal to 1 billion bits per second. It can also be abbreviated as Gbit/s. It should not be confused with GB, which stands for gigabyte another measure of data storage.

GPRS: General Packet Radio Service. It is an enhancement to GSM networks. GPRS can give you data rates between 30 Kbps and 90 Kbps.

GSM: Global System for Mobile Communications. This is the most common networking standard for mobile phones in the world. If you travel internationally and need to use your network this is the type of service you should consider. A GSM phone will come with a SIM card that is used to identify your phone on the network. You can move your SIM to another GSM phone and your mobile number is now active on that phone.

HSDPA: High-Speed Downlink Packet Access. This is an upgrade to GSM networks. HSDPA is faster than UMTS with data rates theoretically capable of up to 8 to 10 Mbps. Actual rates have been shown to be as high as 3.6 Mbps. This determines how quickly you are able to download information from the Internet.

HSUPA: High-Speed Uplink Packet Access. HSUPA provides high-speed data transfer from a phone back up to the Internet. HSUPA has peak upload rates as high as 5.8 Mbps.

Kbps, kbit/s, kb/s, or kbps: Kilobits per second. It is a unit of measure for data transfer rates and is equal to 1,000 bits per second. This term is often confused with kilobytes which is a unit of data storage such as information stored to a hard drive.

Locked Phone: A locked mobile phone will only work with an account for a particular provider. Inserting a SIM from another provider will not work on a locked phone (See Unlocked).

LTE: Long Term Evolution: A high-speed network based on the "3GPP" Release 8 standard (3rd Generation Partnership Project). The 3GPP is an international standard for the support of high-speed 3G mobile networks. The standard claims download speeds of up to 100 Mbps and is expected to begin appearing in 2009.

Mbps, Mbit/s or mbps: Megabits per second or 1 million bits per second. It is not to be confused with MB, which stands for megabytes and is a measure of data storage.

MHz: MHz is an abbreviation for megahertz - one million cycles per second. The number of cycles per second is a measure of a waveforms frequency.

SIM: Subscriber Identity Module. This is a small plastic card about the size of a postage stamp that slides into your phone and identifies you to the network. The SIM card has a very small microchip on it, and, in addition to identifying you, it encrypts the voice and data transmissions making them more secure.

UMTS: Universal Mobile Telecommunications System. This is an upgrade to GSM networks and, like EV-DO, supports data transmissions of up to 2 Mbps.

Unlocked Phone: An unlocked mobile phone can be used with more than one service provider, making it easy for a user to switch from one cellular carrier to another. An unlocked GSM phone allows you to insert a SIM from another provider to create a new phone number and account. It is often possible to purchase software that will unlock a locked phone (See Locked).

WiMax: Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. This is a trade name for new wireless technology based on the IEEE 802.16 standard. It has the potential for very long distances, between five and 30 miles, at very high speeds. This technology is expected to begin appearing in 2008.