Wireless Technology Terms

If you are new to the wireless and mobile industry, it’s easy to get lost in the alphabet soup of acronyms. To help you out, we are providing a helpful list of terms and technologies that you should know.

 

1G Technology - Analog voice mobile network technology such as AMPS, N-AMPS, TACS, and ETACS

 

2G Technology - Digital voice mobile network technology such as D-AMPS, GSM, CDMA, PDC & PHS

2.5G Technology Digital voice and data mobile network technology such a GPRS, EDGE, and CDMA1xRTT

 

3D MIMO- MIMO using antenna elements in both horizontal (H) and vertical (V) polarizations

 

3GPP - 3rd Generation Partnership Project

 

3G Technology - Refers to UMTS air interfaces and compliant to 3GPPP Rel 99 and Rel 4 specifications

 

3.5G Technology - Refers to UMTS air interfaces and compliant to 3GPPP Rel 5, Rel 6, and Rel 7 specifications

 

4G Technology - Refers to LTE air interface and compliant to 3GPPP Rel 8 and Rel 9 specifications

 

4.5G Technology - Refers to LTE air interface and compliant to 3GPPP Rel 10, Rel 11, and Rel 12 specifications, also known as LTE-Advanced

 

4.9G Technology- Refers to LTE air interface and compliant to 3GPPP Rel 13 and Rel 14 specifications, also known as LTE-Advanced Pro

 

5G Technology - Refers to NR air interface and compliant to 3GPPP Rel 15 and beyond specifications, also known as 5GNR

 

5GNR - 5G New Radio (Different air interface than LTE for 4G)

 

AIA- Active Integrated Antenna

 

AMPS - Advanced Mobile Phone Service (1G mobile standard)

 

AAU - Active Antenna Unit (similar to sAIA in having one or more RRU integrated internally/externally to a passive antenna)

 

BBU - Baseband Unit (The modem that processes baseband signals in the BTS, NodeB, eNodeB, & gNodeB)

 

BTS - Base Transceiver Station (2G term for network equipment that transmits and receives wireless communications between UE and a mobile network)

 

CA - Carrier Aggregation

 

C-Band - Refers to frequency spectrum ranging from 4-8GHz

 

CC - Component Carrier (single RF carrier bandwidth between 1.4-20MHz that is used for carrier aggregation)

 

C-RAN - Centralized RAN or Cloud RAN

 

CDMA - Code Division Multiple Access

 

CoMP - Coordinated Multipoint

 

D-Band - Refers to frequency spectrum ranging form 110-170GHz

 

D-AMPS - Digital AMPS (is a 2G mobile standard specification)

 

DL - Downlink (data link from mobile network to UE)

 

D-RAN - Distributed RAN

 

E-Band - Refers to frequency spectrum ranging from 71-76, 81-86, 92-95GHz

 

EDGE - Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (also known as 2.5G is a specification supporting 1Mbps data rates)

 

eLTE - Evolved LTE (Refers to LTE technology compliant to 3GPP Rel 15 specification)

 

eMBB - (enhanced Mobile Broadband)

 

eMBMS - Enhanced Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services

 

EPC - Evolved Packet Core (4G core network)

 

eNodeB - (also known as eNB 4G term for network equipment that transmits and receives wireless communications between UE and a mobile network)

 

ETACS - Extended Total Access Communication System (1G mobile standard)

 

ETSI - European Telecommunications Standards Institute

 

E-UTRA - Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access (also known as 4G

 

FDMA - Frequency Division Multiple Access

 

FDD - Frequency Division Duplexing (a mode of LTE specification for paired spectrum)

 

Femtocell - Small cell with typical RF output power per channel of 20mW and supporting on average between 4-8 users

 

eFemtocell - Enterprise small cell with typical RF output power per channel of 250mW and supporting on average between 16-64 users

 

Gbps - Gigabits per second (1 billion bits/second data rate)

 

GSM - Global System for Mobile communication (also known as 2G is a specification supporting 9.6kbps data rates)

 

GHz - Gigahertz (1 Billion Hz)

 

gNodeB - (also known as gNB is a 5G term for network equipment that transmits and receives wireless communications between UE and a mobile network)

 

gNB - gNodeB

 

GPRS - General Pacet Radio Service (also known as 2.5G is a specification supporting 114kbps data rates)

 

HetNet - Heterogeneous network describes a mobile network that is comprised of different cell types (e.g. macrocell, microcell, picocell, or femtocell)

 

HNB - Home NodeB (3G femtocell)

 

HeNB - Home eNodeB (4G femtocell)

 

HSDPA - High Speed Downlink Packet Access (also known as 3.5G is a specification supporting 14Mbps data rates)

 

HSPA - High Speed Packet Access (also known as 3.5G is a specification supporting 21.1Mbps data rates)

 

HSPA+ - High Speed Packet Access Plus (also known as Evolved HSPA, is a specification supporting 42.2Mbps data rates)

 

Hz - Hertz

 

IF - Intermediate Frequency

 

IMT2020 - ITU term for a 5G standard to be ratified by the year 2020

 

IPR - Intellectual Property Rights

 

ITU - International Telecommunications Union

 

Kbps - Kilobits per second (1 thousand bits/second data rate)

 

LAA - Licensed Assisted Access (LTE technology deployed in unlicensed 5GHz WiFi spectrum)

 

LTE - Long-Term Evolution ( also known as 4G refers to 3GPP Rel.8 and Rel 9 specifications and supports data rates  )

 

LTE-A - Long-Term Evolution-Advanced

 

LTE-A Pro - Long-Term Evolution-Advanced Pro

 

LTE-U - LTE Unlicensed (LTE technology deployed in unlicensed 5GHz WiFi spectrum)

 

Macrocell - Radio cell with typical RF output power per channel of 20-80W

 

Massive MIMO - Any MIMO configuration with at least 64 antennas

 

Mbps - Megabits per second (1 million bits/second data rate)

 

Microcell - Small cell with typical RF output power per channel of 2 - 5W

 

MIMO - Multiple input multiple output (refers to antenna technology for LTE, LTE-A, LTE-A Pro and NR air interface radio configurations)

 

MHz - Megahertz ( 1 Million Hz)

 

mmwave (Millimeter wave frequency spectrum from 30-300GHz)

Mobile Radio Access Market Trends

 

mMTC (massive Machine Type Communications)

 

MulteFire- LTE small cell network using unlicensed & shared frequency spectrum

 

MU-MIMO - Multi-user MIMO

 

N-AMPS - Narrowband Advanced Mobile Phone Service (1G mobile standard)

 

NodeB - (also known as NB is a 3G term for network equipment that transmits and receives wireless communications between UE and a mobile network)

 

OFDMA - Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access

 

PDC - Personal Digital Cellular (2G mobile network deployed in Japan)

 

PHS - Personal Handy Phone System (mobile network system deployed in Japan, China, Taiwan and other Asian countries)

 

Picocell - Small cell with typical RF output power per channel of 250mW - 1W

 

QAM - Quadrature Amplitude Modulation

 

RAN - Radio Access Network

 

RF - Radio frequency

 

RRH - Remote Radio Head (same as RRU)

 

RRU - Remote Radio Unit (same as RRH, containing one or more radio TRx)

 

sAIA - Semi-Active Integrated Antenna (one or more RRU integrated internally/externally to a passive antenna)

 

S Band - Refers to frequency spectrum ranging from 2-4GHz

 

S-CDMA - Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (3G specification supporting 2.048Mbps data rates)

 

SDL - Supplemental Downlink the definition is "Unpaired frequency spectrum used for DL tranmission only from mobile network to UE"

 

Small Cells - Any radio unit with RF power between 20mw to 5W that is connected to a mobile network via an S1 interface.

 

TACS - Total Access Communication System (1G mobile standard)

 

TDD - Time Division Duplexing (a mode of LTE specification for unpaired spectrum)

 

TDMA - Time Division Multiple Access

 

TD-CDMA - Time Division - Code Division Multiple Access (3G specification supporting 2.048Mbps data rates)

 

TD-SCDMA - Time Division - Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (3G specification deployed in China supporting 2.048Mbps data rates)

 

TRx - Radio Transceiver supporting RF/IF transmit and receive functions

 

UE - User Equipment the definition is "e.g. mobile phone or tablet"

 

UL - Uplink (data link from UE to mobile network)

 

UMTS - Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (also known as 3G and part of ITU IMT-2000 mobile standard)

 

URLLC (Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications)

 

UTRA - UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access (3G air interfaces including W-CDMA, TD-CDMA, & TD-SCDMA)

 

V-Band - Refers to frequency spectrum ranging from 40-75GHz with a focus on unlicensed spectrum blocks from 57-64GHz and 64-71GHz

 

V5GTF - Verizon 5G Technology Forum (pre-5G partnership consisting of Verizon Wireless, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Intel Corp., LG, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung focusing on 28/39GHz fixed wireless access trials/deployments in United States)

 

vBBU - Virtual BBU

 

vRAN - Virtual RAN

 

VoLTE - Voice over LTE

 

W-Band - Refers to frequency spectrum ranging from 75-110GHz

 

W-CDMA - Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (also known as 3G is an air interface specification supporting 1.92Mbps data rates)

 

 

 

Regardless of your experience with these terms, EJL Wireless Research can help you make sense of it all -- particularly the history of wireless business trends, what the wireless market is forecasting, and how the data related to each one can affect your business and product development.

 

If you wish to discuss these terms and technologies in more detail, we invite you to connect with Earl J. Lum directly at (650) 430-2221 or elum@ejlwireless.com. Also, we encourage you to subscribe to our Email Updates, or meet with us at upcoming wireless conferences and events. Discover why EJL Wireless Research is the preferred choice for wireless market intelligence.

 

For more information on our detailed reports, consulting services, and design analysis services, contact Earl J. Lum directly at (650) 430-2221 or elum@ejlwireless.com. We invite you to subscribe to our Email Updates, or meet with us at upcoming wireless conferences and events. Discover why EJL Wireless Research is the preferred choice for wireless market intelligence.

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