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Wireless WAN Glossary

1G - 4G

1G: First generation wide area wireless (WWAN) communications systems (from the 1970s and 1980s) that are characterized as analog and designed for voice transfer. Examples include AMPS, TACS, and NMT. 1G technologies are circuit-switched and use FDMA to communicate.

2G: Second generation WWAN communications (introduced in the 1990s) that are digital and capable of providing voice, data, and other services. Examples include GSM, HSCSD, D-AMPS (TDMA/IS-136), and IS-95A & IS-95B.

2.5G: Sometimes used to refer to newer 2G (or early 3G) technologies, acknowledging the incremental improvements in bandwidth.

3G: Third generation WWAN communications systems that are characterized by high-speed data rates (144 Kbps to 2+ Mbps) suitable for multimedia content. 3G technologies typically are packet-switched and use CDMA to communicate. Examples include GPRS, 1xRTT, EDGE, HDR, W-CDMA.

4G: Fourth generation WWAN communications systems that are characterized by high-speed data rates at 20+ Mbps, suitable for high-resolution movies and television. Initial deployments are anticipated in 2006-2010.


1x Evolution - Data Only. A 3G standard for enhancing cdma2000 networks, based on HDR. Expected to provide speeds up to 2.4 Mbps in 2003-2004. Also known as 1X EV Phase I and IS-2000 Rel A+.


1x Evolution - Data and Voice. A 3G standard for enhancing cdma2000 networks. Provides data rates up to 3+ Mbps (average 1 Mbps). Operates within 1.25 MHz of spectrum. Not yet deployed: anticipated availability is 2004.


1x Radio Transmission Technology. A type of packet-switched 3G communications that increases data transmission rates over existing CDMA IS-95A & IS-95B networks. Provides 144 Kbps of data and voice. Also known as cdma2000 Phase 1, IS-2000 Rel 0, 3G1XRTT, MC-1X, IMT-CDMA MultiCarrier 1X.




IEEE specification for CSMA/CD-based wired Ethernet networks.


IEEE specification for wired Token-Ring networks.


An IEEE standard for wireless local area networks (WLANs) that covers the wireless LAN media access control (MAC) and physical layer specification. 802.11b and 802.11a are extensions of this standard.


Standard that improves upon 802.11b with support for speeds up to 54 Mbps in the less-crowded 5 GHz band by using OFDM. Many existing 802.11b vendors are expected to support 802.11a with products in North America in 2002-2003.


Well-accepted standard for WLANs. Optimized for the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band, with speeds up to 11 Mbps when using DS/SS. See also Wi-Fi.


An IEEE draft specification for enhancing 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g WLANs. This provides quality-of-service (QoS) bandwidth management and error correction for improved handling of multimedia and RF interference.


Pending WLAN standard comparable to 802.11a (uses OFDM for speeds up to 54 Mbps) but operating in the 2.4 GHz spectrum.


IEEE standard for VLANs.


IEEE draft standard for port-based network access control and Extensible Authentication Protocol. Designed for wired Ethernet, but extensible to wireless LAN access points. The protocol allows new keys to be generated for each user and session.

access point (AP) 

As defined in the IEEE 802.11 standard, any entity that has station functionality and that provides access to distribution services via the wireless medium for associated stations. In terms of NetMotion Mobility™, access points may be thought of as providing wireless-to-wired network bridging. This bridging occurs in layer 2 of the OSI model.


The response returned by a message recipient to confirm successful receipt of information. Acknowledgments can be implemented at any level, including the physical level (using voltage on one or more wires to coordinate transfer), the link level (to indicate successful transmission across a single hardware link), or higher levels (for example, to allow an application program at the final destination to respond to an application program at the source). Often abbreviated as ACK.


A device that allows one system to connect to and work with another. The term is commonly used to refer to a network interface card in a PC.


In networking, a numerical identifier for distinguishing one node from another.

address mask

A technique used to select bits from an Internet address for subnet addressing.

address resolution

Conversion of an Internet address into a physical address. Depending on the underlying network, address resolution may require broadcasting on a local network. See also ARP.


Advanced Encryption Standard. See also Rijndael.


In the client-server model, the part of the system that performs information preparation and exchange on behalf of a client or server application.


Advanced Mobile Phone Service. Analog cellular system in North and South America, which uses FDMA and operates in the 800 MHz band. First introduced in the U.S. in 1983.


American National Standards Institute. Organization founded in 1918 that coordinates and facilitates the development of U.S. voluntary national standards for a variety of industries, including telecommunications. For more information, see


Application Program Interface. A set of calling conventions used when an application talks to an underlying software layer. The Windows Sockets interface is an API.


Advanced National Radio Data Service. Packet-switched non-IP terrestrial network in the U.S. that operates in the 806-824 and 851-869 MHz bands (DataTAC) and provides a data rate of up to 19.2 Kbps. ARDIS was the first wireless data network in the U.S. (created by Motorola in the mid-1980s for IBM), spun off as a commerical service, and acquired by American Mobile Satellite Corporation in 1998 (renamed Motient in 2000). Used by RIM Wireless Handheld (BlackBerry) devices.


Address Resolution Protocol. TCP/IP networks use 32-bit Internet addresses while Ethernet networks use 48-bit Ethernet addresses: ARP translates an IP address to an Ethernet address (or MAC address) so that TCP/IP protocols can operate over an Ethernet network.


Application Service Provider.


A procedure for verifying the identity of a user, client, server, or application service.


Refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed period of time, typically measured in bps. It can be helpful to think of this as the size of a data "pipe."

base station

Central radio transmitter/receiver in a communications system that acts as the hub for communicating with mobile/wireless devices (usually within a cell site).


Refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed period of time, typically measured in bps. It can be helpful to think of this as the size of a data "pipe."

base station

Central radio transmitter/receiver in a communications system that acts as the hub for communicating with mobile/wireless devices (usually within a cell site).

best-bandwidth routing

NetMotion Mobility™ automatically switches to the fastest bandwidth network connection when multiple connections are active. This part of our InterNetwork Roaming™ technology is especially useful in public safety and field service markets where maintaining high-speed access to information while traveling between networks and coverage areas is important. Devices equipped with multiple wireless network cards automatically switch to the card that offers the highest bandwidth.

Best-bandwidth routing is available for all of NetMotion Mobility's supported client operating systems except Windows CE/Pocket PC. It works on Windows 98 only with wireless network cards that support interface-assisted roaming. (See Tech note 1491 for details on supported cards.)


Bits per second. Measurement of transmission speed or bandwidth.


A device that connects two or more networks and forwards packets between them.


When describing a network topology, a method of network communication in which all nodes share the same communications channel (referred to as the communications bus). Messages are transmitted to all nodes on the same bus at the same time. IEEE 802.3 networks are broadcast networks.


Broadband Wireless Access.


Certificate Authority.


Consultative Committee for International Telegraph and Telephone. Now known as ITU.


Code Division Multiple Access. Type of radio communications that accomodates multiple signals in the same channel ("multiplexing"). Uses spread spectrum (DS/SS) technology to vary the transmission frequency according to a defined code pattern. CDMA is used by a number of 2G and 3G wireless communications protocols including CDMA IS-95A (14.4 Kbps), CDMA IS-95B (64 Kbps), PCS, 1xRTT, HDR, 1xEV-DO, and W-CDMA. CDMA technologies are considered rivals to GSM and GPRS. For more information, see Compare with FDMA, TDMA.


Cellular Digital Packet Data. One type of wireless wide-area network (WWAN) service. CDPD is a data transmission technology developed for use on cellular phone frequencies. CDPD uses unused cellular channels (in the 800 to 900 MHz range) to transmit data in packets at rates up to 19.2 Kbps.


Short for Microsoft Windows CE ("CE" stands for "consumer electronics"). Operating system used in Handheld PCs, Pocket PCs, and embedded devices (handheld scanners, office appliances, etc.).


A way of detecting transmission errors. The protocol software computes a checksum by taking the sum of the integer values of part of the data in a packet and then appending this sum to the packet when transmitting. Upon reception, the protocol software verifies the contents of the packet by recomputing the checksum and comparing it to the value sent.


Compact Hyper Text Markup Language. A modified version of HTML used by I-Mode phones.

CIFS authentication protocol

See NTLM challenge/response protocol.


A computer that is configured to request services on a network. Also, an application at the "user" end of a connection.


A TCP/IP application that resides on the same physical machine as the NetMotion Mobility Server. Any network application servers (such as FTP Citrix or web) may reside on the same machine as the NetMotion server and still be accessible to NetMotion clients.

cryptographic signature

A transform of a data set, usually smaller than the original, that ensures the integrity of the original data set. It is computationally difficult to apply the transform without knowledge of the related cryptographic key or keys.


Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection. Communications used in wired Ethernet. When a device wants to transmit on the network, it checks to see if the network is quiet. If it is not, it waits a random amount of time before retrying. If the network is quiet and two devices transmit at exactly the same time, their signals collide. When the collision is detected, they both back off and each wait a random amount of time before retrying. Compare with wireless FDMA, TDMA, CDMA.


Digital-Advanced Mobile Phone Service. Digital version of AMPS also known as TDMA/IS-136. Cellular phones transmit in the 824-849 MHz range and receive in the 869-894 MHz range using 30 kHz channels (FDMA), and TDMA is used to create time slots within each channel.


The basic unit of information passed across the Internet. In addition to data, it contains source and destination addresses and a number of fields that define such things as the length of the datagram, the header checksum, and flags to indicate whether the datagram can be (or has been) fragmented.

data link layer

A layer in the seven-layer OSI model. This layer takes data from the physical layer and converts it into data that appears error-free to the next layer up (the network layer). This layer detects transmission errors and either corrects them or retransmits the data.


A type of packet-switched, narrowband network for wide-area communications, providing data rates up to 19.2 Kbps.


Dynamic Channel Selection/Dynamic Channel Allocation.


Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications. Cordless phone standard used in Europe. Uses 1.8 and 1.9 GHz bands, and DCS/DCA and TDMA for frequency sharing. Provides data rates up to 522 Kbps (with 2 Mbps expected in the future). Dual-mode phones can support both cordless DECT and cellular GSM. For more information, see


Data Encryption Standard—a cipher developed by IBM for the U.S. government in the 1970s. DES uses a single 56-bit key to encode and decode data; the key is known only to the sender and receiver. But advances in technology are making DES weaker—it's possible to break the encryption using the "brute force" of faster machines. Modern alternatives are triple-DES, Twofish, and AES.

Both DES and triple-DES are described in FIPS PUB 46-3 (NIST's Federal Information Processing Standards Publication).

device driver

A program that provides an interface between the operating system and a hardware device.


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. A protocol that allows clients to obtain standard network configuration information (such as a network address or subnet mask) from a centralized server. This protocol is defined in RFC 2131. For more information, see


A key exchange used to generate symmetric keys for encrypting data. The server sends the required encryption level, parameters, and a public key. The client receives the parameters and sends its public key. Both sides then generate the symmetric key and subsequent communication is encrypted. The private key is never transmitted.


The meaning of this term depends on the context where it is used:

(1) Microsoft Networking. A collection of computers that share a common domain database and security policy. The domain controller is a Windows NT or Windows 2000 server computer that authenticates domain logons and maintains the security policy and master database for a domain.

(2) Wireless LANs. Some wireless hardware vendors use "domain" to refer to the SSID.

(3) Domain Name Service. In this context, "domain" can refer to a top-level or subdomain (such as or

domain name server

A node that resolves Internet addresses for network hosts. When connecting to any network server, Domain Name Service (DNS) translates host names (such as into IP addresses (such as DNS is designed to work as a distributed system of name servers. Each DNS name server has a database that contains information about a subset of local host names, and each DNS server can find information about other names through a process of referral and recursion. For security reasons, an enterprise DNS administrator may choose to keep certain intranet host names private. For example, the DNS server may be configured so that an internal accounting system host name cannot be resolved from the public Internet, but a public web server host name can be.

Another mechanism used to resolve Internet addresses is a Hosts file.

downgrade attack

A security attack that tries to "downgrade" an encrypted connection in order to discover passwords. When more than one security protocol or encryption type is available, a downgrade attacker tries to force selection of the weakest one. For example, if an attacker can force a 40-bit encryption key rather than a 128-bit one, cracking the session is much easier.


A software module that can be used to control a network interface or an input/output port.


Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum. A type of spread spectrum radio transmission that spreads its signal over a wideband channel. This allows a range of frequencies to support more transmissions. 802.11b generally uses DS/SS. Compare to FH/SS.


Extensible Authentication Protocol. Defined by RFC 2284, EAP is an IETF standard proposed by Cisco, Microsoft and other organizations to the IEEE 802.1x committee that allows wireless hardware manufacturers and RADIUS server vendors to develop interoperable security software. The 802.1x/EAP standard provides scalable, centralized security management, authentication, accounting, and dynamic key management (it uses dynamic single-session, single-user encryption keys that are integrated with network logon, which overcomes the deficiencies of WEP key management).


Enhanced Digital Access Communications System. Integrated voice and data private radio system by Ericsson.


Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution. An enhancement to GSM and TDMA that increases data throughput to 384 Kbps.


Equipment Identifier. A number used by cellular service providers to identify a CDPD network card. Compare to NEI.


The technique used by layered protocols in which a layer adds header information to the protocol data unit from the layer above. For example, a packet would contain a header from the physical layer, followed by a header from the network layer (IP), followed by a header from the transport layer (TCP), followed by the application protocol data.


A pair of related algorithms. Encryption obscures a data set, and decryption recovers it. The process is computationally difficult without knowledge of the related cryptographic key or keys. Examples are DES, 3DES, Twofish, and AES.


A communications method for LANs that uses a coaxial cable to connect different kinds of computers. An Ethernet does not require switching logic or a central computer. The term may be applied to both standard Ethernet and the 802.3 variation.


European Telecommunications Standards Institute.


Federal Communications Commission. US government agency (established 1934) that regulates communications via radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. For more information, see


Frequency Division Multiple Access. Type of radio communications that assigns connections to specific frequencies. This type of transmission has been used by early analog mobile phones (AMPS, TACS) by dividing the spectrum into 30 kHz channels. Compare with TDMA, CDMA.


Fixed End System. A third-party system running network applications, generally considered to be a system that is not mobile-aware. An FES transparently uses the NetMotion Mobility Server to communicate with the mobile devices running NetMotion client software.


Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. A type of spread spectrum radio transmission where the transmitter and receiver hop from one frequency to another to minimize interference. HomeRF and OpenAir use FH/SS. The advantage of this over DS/SS is that it needs only a narrow band for communication, whereas a DS/SS receiver has to listen over an entire wideband channel. See also WBFH.


A network node that prevents traffic from one segment of a network from crossing over into another. Firewalls are used to protect internal systems from unauthorized external access.

"flat" network

A network where all of the nodes are on a single IP subnet; also called a "dedicated" or "non-routed" network.


The process by which an IP datagram is broken into smaller pieces to fit the requirements of a given physical network. The reverse process is called reassembly.


A frame is what a packet is called as it is transmitted across a serial line. The term derives from character-oriented protocols that add special start-of-frame and end-of-frame characters when transmitting packets.


Global Area Network. Uses satellites in geosynchronous orbit above Earth to provide coverage. See also Inmarsat.


A node on a network that serves as a common access point for other nodes. The Internet addresses for all nodes accessed through a particular gateway have the same network portion but different node portions. For example, a node on Internet network 192.1.2 must go through a gateway to communicate with a node on Internet network 192.3.4.


Gigahertz. One billion cycles per second (hertz). Measurement of electromagnetic energy and transmission rates.


General Packet Radio Service. Packet-based data service. An enhancement to GSM. Provides data rates to 150+ Kbps (comparable to 1xRTT).


Global Positioning System. System for determining position on the Earth's surface by comparing radio signals from several satellites. The GPS receiver samples data from up to six satellites and uses the difference in reception times to determine its location.


Global System for Mobile Communications. GSM variations are used in Europe, Asia, and North America. WWAN protocol that operates in 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz bands with a typical maximum data rate of 14.4 Kbps. Uses TDMA with 200 kHz channels divided into eight time slots, with two slots (in different channels) used to send and receive. GSM and GPRS are considered rivals to CDMA technologies.


High Data Rate. A wide-area wireless technology by Qualcomm that provides a data rate of up to 2.4 Mbps in a 1.25 MHz-wide channel. As an enhancement to existing CDMA networks, a combination of TDMA and CDMA is used. HDR can also be used as a standalone 3G technology for 1xRTT.

hertz (or Hz)

Measurement of electromagnetic energy, equivalent to one "wave" or cycle per second. Named after Heinrich Hertz, who identified electromagnetic waves in 1883. A kilohertz (kHz) is 1,000 Hz.

hierarchical routing

Routing based on a hierarchical addressing scheme. Most Internet routing is based on a two-level hierarchy in which an address is divided into a network portion and a node portion. Gateways use only the network portion. Subnetting introduces additional levels of hierarchical routing.


High Performance Radio LAN Type 1. WLAN technology designed to support up to 20 Mbps in the 5 GHz band. Developed by European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute (ETSI) in 1991-1998.


High Performance Radio LAN Type 2. Next generation WLAN technology designed to support 54 Mbps speeds in the 5 GHz band by using OFDM. Similar to, but potentially incompatible with, the 802.11a standard. Developed by European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute (ETSI). HiperLAN2 products are expected in 2002-2003.


Wireless LAN networking standard which operates in the 2.4 GHz band using FH/SS (incompatible with the 802.11/Wi-Fi standard)..


Public area where wireless LAN Internet access is likely to be used (for high-speed access to e-mail, web sites, etc.). Users of these areas are traditionally unproductive while waiting. Examples are convention centers, hotels, airports, train stations, bus stations, restaurants, and coffee shops.

HPC (or H/PC)

Handheld PC. Mobile device powered by Microsoft Windows CE.


High Speed Circuit Switched Data. An upgrade to GSM (introduced in 1999) that allows data rates of up to 57.6 Kbps.


High Speed Downlink Packet Access. Enhancement to W-CDMA. Provides data rates up to 8 to 10 Mbps.


Inter-Access Point Protocol. This specification defines how access points from different vendors communicate with each other to support mobile stations that roam across cells. The IEEE 802.11 standard addresses the physical and MAC (media access control) layers of the OSI model, while the IAPP specification is at the data link layer.


Internet Control Message Protocol. A protocol used by the Internet Protocol to report errors, give limited routing advice, and provide simple low-level services over TCP/IP networks. ICMP checks and generates messages on the status of devices on the network, and can be used to inform other devices of a failure in a particular machine. The Ping utility generates ICMP packets.


Integrated Digital Enhanced Network. Wireless communications technology developed by Motorola. Operating in the 800 MHz and 1.5 GHz bands and based on TDMA, iDEN can deliver 64 Kbps over a 25 kHz channel. Each channel can be divided to transmit a mix of voice, data, dispatch (two-way radio), or text message (SMS).


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. For more information, see


Internet Engineering Task Force. For more information, see


Internet Key Exchange. Protocol for use by IPsec-enabled VPNs to authenticate endpoints, negotiate algorithms, and manage encryption keys.


Digital packet-based information service, developed by NTT DoCoMo for use on mobile phones. Widely adopted in Japan after its introduction in 1999. The transfer rate is 9600 bps, but is expected to increase to 384 Kbps with W-CDMA. Text is formatted using cHTML (not WML).


Internet Mobility Protocol, used for communication bewteen the NetMotion Mobility client and server. Used as transport for RPC, session management for InterNetwork Roaming, data encryption, etc. By default IMP uses UDP and port 5008.


International Maritime Satellite. Organization founded in 1979. Provides global satellite communications service to ships, planes, trains, offshore rigs, and mobile phones up to 64 Kbps.


(Lowercase "i") A collection of packet switching networks connected by gateways, along with the protocols that allow them to function logically as a single network.


(Uppercase "I") A collection of networks and gateways (including the ARPANET and NSFnet) using the TCP/IP protocol suite and functioning as a single cooperative virtual network. The Internet reaches many commercial institutions, universities, and government research labs.

InterNetwork Roaming™

InterNetwork Roaming technology provides continuous and secure connections between wired and wireless data networks, regardless of the network type, enabling application persistence no matter where a user roams. InterNetwork Roaming technology is unique to NetMotion Mobility and is a trademark of NetMotion Wireless, Inc.


Internet Protocol. The Internet Protocol sends data packets, called datagrams, across multiple networks, but does not ensure that they arrive at their destination reliably (TCP ensures reliable delivery). Each IP datagram has a header containing source and destination information, allowing each datagram to travel independently to its destination directly or through gateways, with each datagram perhaps traveling a different route to reach its destination.

IP address

(Also called "Internet address.") The 32-bit address assigned to hosts using TCP/IP. Most Internet addresses consist of a network portion and a node portion. The address for each device must be unique on the network.

IP datagram

The fundamental unit of information passed across the Internet. Contains source and destination addresses along with data and a number of fields which define such things as the length of the datagram, the header checksum, and flags to say whether the datagram can be (or has been) fragmented.

IPsec (or IPSec)

Internet Protocol Security. A developing framework of standards, developed by IETF, for security at the IP layer. Provides options for sender authentication (Authentication Header, or AH), or authentication plus encryption (Encapsulating Security Payload, or ESP). Uses Diffie-Hellman for session keys and DES for encryption. IPsec is expected to be useful for implementing VPNs.

IPv6 (or IPng)

Internet Protocol version 6 (or IP "next generation") is the next version of IP (it is in review by the IETF standards committees). It has better security and increases Internet addresses from four to 16 bytes, to accomodate the rapid growth of the Internet. It will also let users keep the same IP address even when they physically connect to different places on the Internet.


Native protocol for Novell NetWare file/print services.


Infrared. Line-of-sight wireless communications medium used by television remote controls, laptops, PDAs, and other devices. Operates in the spectrum from mid-microwave to below visible light.


Infrared communications standards adopted by Infrared Data Association, such as Serial Infrared (SIR). For more information see


International Organization for Standardization. ISO was founded in 1946 and consists of standard organizations from more than 75 countries. U.S. member body is ANSI. For more information, see


Industrial Scientific Medical. Bands of regulated, unlicensed spectrum: 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz.


International Telecommunications Union. This is a standards body formerly known as CCITT.


Kilo (thousand) bits per second. Measurement of transmission speed or bandwidth.


Kerberos is a network authentication protocol for client/server applications which uses strong cryptography. Kerberos protects against password sniffing and password attacks which can lead to an attacker masquerading as a valid user. It involves communication between a Kerberos client, Kerberos server, and Kerberized application service. This technology was developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is defined by RFC 1510. Its name originates from the three-headed dog in Greek mythology that guarded the entrance to Hades.


A value used by cryptography algorithms to encrypt or decrypt a message. Some encryption schemes use the same secret key to encrypt and decrypt a message, but public key encryption uses a "private" (secret) key and a "public" key (known by all parties).


Layer 2 Transport Protocol. An extension of PPTP.


Greek character used to represent wavelength. Wavelength is the inverse of the frequency (measured in Hz).


Local Area Network. Any physical network that operates at high speed (usually tens of megabits per second through several gigabits per second) over short distances (up to a few thousand meters).


Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. Software protocol for locating resources on a network (organizations, people, files, devices). Directory entries are organized in a hierarchical tree structure. Microsoft has implemented LDAP as part of Active Directory.


Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol. Similar to standard EAP, but only supported by Cisco Aironet wireless LAN hardware.

Least-cost routing

See best-bandwidth routing.


Local Multipoint Distribution Services. A line-of-sight WLL technology operating at 45 Mbps in the 28 GHz band over distances up to 4 kilometers.


Mobile Commerce. Business transactions conducted with online mobile devices.

MAC address

Media Access Control address. Unique 6-byte number burned into many types of network adapters (Ethernet, Token Ring, 802.11, etc.). Often refered to as "hardware address" or "physical address". Before data is sent to a particular IP address, its MAC address must be determined (see ARP).


Metropolitan Area Network. Interconnection of LANs within a geographic region (such as a campus network). Smaller than the scale of a WAN. See also NAN.


Mega (million) bits per second. Measurement of transmission speed or bandwidth.


Code name for Pocket PC 2002 operating system, successor to Microsoft Windows CE 3.0 for Pocket PC. Provides Windows XP look-and-feel and improved wireless support.


Mobile End Station. Sometimes used to refer to the NetMotion Mobility Client.


Megahertz. One million cycles per second (hertz). Measurement of electromagnetic energy and transmission speed (such as a CPU's internal clock).


Low-power wireless technology that operates in a "microcellular" topology. Each cell area covered by a radio transceiver is smaller than traditional cellular telephone service. Examples are PHS, PACS, and Ricochet.


FCC's Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service. WLL technology operating around 10 Mbps in the 2.5 GHz band over distances up to 30 miles.


(1) Mobility Management Server. Sometimes used to refer to the NetMotion Mobility Server.

(2) Multimedia Messaging Services. Considered a successor to SMS in Europe.

Mobile IP

Mobile IP (RFC 2002) is a set of standards developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that gives mobile nodes access to IP network resources. It enables devices to move from one point of network attachment to another without having to change IP addresses. NetMotion uses a different approach to handle the same addressing issues that Mobile IP does. For more detail, see NetMotion and Mobile IP.


A type of packet-switched, non-IP, narrowband network in North America and Europe that operates at 8 Kbps in the 900 MHz band. Originally deployed in Sweden in 1986 by Ericsson and Swedish Telecom and later deployed in the US and UK by RAM Mobile Data (acquired in 1998 by BellSouth, now a unit of Cingular Wireless). Used by some models of RIM Wireless Handheld (BlackBerry) devices.


Mobile Telephone Switching Office. The central computer that connects a wireless phone call or Internet request to the public telephone network. The MTSO monitors calls and handles handoffs between coverage cells.

multi-homed host

A computer connected to more than one physical data link. For example, a machine with a network card interface and a serial interface is a multi-homed host. The data links may or may not be attached to the same network.


Motorola Wireless Communication Software. Private DataTAC radio service by Motorola, used by many public safety agencies, offering data rates as high as 19.2 Kbps in the 800 MHz band.


Neighborhood Area Network, sometimes known as "Nanny Network". Interconnection of LANs in a community, often referring to Internet-connected WLAN APs to create public access hotspots. An example of this is the Seattle Wireless Network. Same as MAN.


Network Address Translation. NAT converts between different IP addresses on different networks. Systems on a private network may share a single proxy IP address on the Internet. For more information, see RFC 3022.


NetBIOS Enhanced User Interface. An enhanced version of the NetBIOS protocol used by network operating systems such as LAN Manager, LAN Server, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, and Windows NT.


Network Driver Interface Specification. The description of how network protocol modules interoperate in a Microsoft Windows operating system.


Network Entity Identifier. IP address used by a CDPD network card. This must be provided by the cellular service provider. Compare to EID.


Network Basic Input Output System. A common interface specification for PC local area networks. Application programs use NetBIOS for client/server or peer-to-peer communications. One common example is Microsoft Networking (Client for Microsoft Networks) file and print services.

NetMotion Mobility Client

The NetMotion designation for a mobile node in a distributed network. The NetMotion Mobility Client is typically running on a laptop, pen-based computer, or data-collection device that connects to the network from many different physical locations, and may go out of range or suspend operation during use.

NetMotion Mobility Server

The NetMotion designation for a fixed node in a distributed network that manages connections between NetMotion clients and other fixed nodes on the network. The server software is hosted by a Windows NT server.


Network Interface Card. Refers to your networking hardware adapter (wired Ethernet, wireless LAN, etc.).


NetMotion Mobility Server.


Nordic Mobile Telephone. An analog cellular phone system deployed in more than 40 countries in Europe. NMT was the first analog cellular phone system (launched in the Scandinavian countries in 1979) and uses 450 or 900 MHz.


In a cryptographic protocol, a nonce is a number that is used once and then discarded. The one-time use ensures that an attacker cannot inject messages from a previous exchange and appear to be a legitimate user (also see replay attack).

NTLM challenge/response protocol

The CIFS (Common Internet File System) authentication protocol (also known as the NTLM challenge/response protocol) is used to validate the user without transmission of clear text passwords. The client sends the user name and domain information, and the server challenges the client with an 8-byte nonce. The client then uses the challenge, password, and other information to generate a 24-byte response. The connection is disallowed if this response does not match the value calculated by the server. If the values match, the user is successfully authenticated.


Original Equipment Manufacturer. A type of business partner.


Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing. Used by 802.11a, 802.11g and HiperLAN2. A high-speed signal is split into a number of low-speed signals transmitted in parallel, thus more efficiently using bandwidth but decreasing wireless range from an access point.


Wireless LAN networking standard used by Proxim. OpenAir devices use FHSS RF in the 2.4 GHz frequency band at a data rate of 1.6 Mbps. This is similar to, but not compatible with, the 802.11/Wi-Fi standard.

OSI model

Open Systems Interconnection model. The standard seven-layer reference model developed by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) that describes how messages are transmitted between any two points in a telecommunications network. The OSI layers are:

  • Physical
  • Data Link
  • Network (IP)
  • Transport (TCP, UDP)
  • Session
  • Presentation
  • Application

A communication begins at the application layer when, for example, a user runs an application and sends a request. The request is passed from layer to layer until it reaches the physical layer, where the actual transmission of bits takes place. On the receiving end the communication passes through the same layers, from physical through application.


The unit of data transmitted on a network. A packet contains information that enables computers on a network to determine whether to receive it, in addition to the data being transmitted.


Personal Access Communications System. PACS operates in a microcellular topology. It is an ANSI standard and operates within the PCS band. Wireless PACS modem speeds reportedly support data speeds of up to 57.6 Kbps or more.


Personal Area Network. Examples of wireless PAN technologies are Bluetooth and IrDA.


Personal Communication Services. Wireless services that emerged after the U.S. government auctioned commercial licenses in 1994 and 1995. This radio spectrum in the 1.8 to 2 GHz (1850-1990 MHz) range uses CDMA to provide digital cellular telecommunications services (voice, messaging, etc.).


Personal Digital Assistant. Handheld device that usually includes calendar, phone book, calculator, notepad, and telephone or networking communications.


(1) Personal Digital Communications. PDC is a 2G digital cellular phone system widely used in Japan. Based on TDMA, it uses the 810-826 and 1477-1501 MHz bands.

(2) Primary Domain Controller. Microsoft Windows NT service that manages security for its local domain with a database of usernames, passwords, and permissions.


Personal Handyphone System. PHS was launched in Japan in 1995 and is now used in Asia, South America, and elsewhere. Microcellular technology operating in the 1880 to 1930 MHz band. Supports voice and data with service available at 32, 64, or 128 Kbps. Uses DCA and TDMA.


Personal Information Manager. Software that lets you organize names, addresses, telephone numbers, appointments, and random notes. PIM functionality is usually provided by PDAs.


Packet Internet Groper. A type of network test to determine if a particular system is responding. A Ping utility generates requests and waits for a responses to determine if a system is reachable or "alive." Standard Ping uses ICMP packets.


Public Key Infrastructure. Systems that allow the use of digital certificates (public keys) for distributed security (authentication and encryption). PKI includes certificate authorities and directory services. Examples of technologies that can use PKI: SSL (HTTPS) web encryption, software file digital signatures, IPsec, and e-mail.

point-of-presence (POP) address

The address the NetMotion Mobility Server uses to communicate with a NetMotion client. The POP address changes as the mobile device moves from one location to another on the network. The POP address is similar to a Mobile IP foreign address.


Plain Old Telephone Service. Traditional no-frills circuit-switched wired dial-up analog telephone service.


In TCP/IP and UDP networks, a port is the endpoint to a logical connection. It is used to identify an application process (the source and destination specified in TCP segments or UDP packets). The port number identifies its type; port 80, for example, is used for HTTP traffic.


Point-to-Point Protocol. Used over dial-up telephone lines, direct serial connections, ISDN, and other wireless and wired mediums. PPP provides password authentication security and can encapsulate IP, IPX, and other protocols.


Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. PPTP is a version of PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) that was developed by the PPTP Forum (Microsoft Corporation, U.S. Robotics, and a number of remote access vendors). The packets of data formatted for one network protocol (like TCP/IP) are encapsulated in packets that are used by another protocol. Because the packets are secure, PPTP is used to create Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), where messages are transmitted securely using the public Internet as an intermediary.


The mechanism whereby one system "fronts" for another system when responding to protocol requests. Security applications in firewalls use proxy services to screen the secured network from users on the Internet. The NetMotion Mobility Server acts as a network-level proxy for each mobile device running the NetMotion Mobility Client software, maintaining the state of the device and its sessions with host network applications on Fixed End Systems (FES). When a mobile device becomes unreachable, shuts down, or changes its point of presence, the NetMotion server maintains the connection to the FES host by acknowledging receipt of data and queuing requests.


Private Radio Service. Examples are EDACS and MWCS.


Public Switched Telephone Network. The worldwide, circuit-switched voice telephone system.


Remote Authentication Dial-In User Services. A client-server security authentication protocol described in RFC 2138. Provides centralized authentication, authorization, and accounting. NetMotion Mobility supports RADIUS authentication as of version 4.0:

  • EAP-MD5 and LEAP authentication
  • Failover to alternate RADIUS servers if the primary server is unreachable or unavailable
  • User filtering so that only a subset of RADIUS users is given permission to use the Mobility network
  • Packet signing for security against man-in-the-middle attacks


Regional Area Network.


Remote Access Service. Windows NT service that supports PPP dial-in.


A physical device that passes signals from one transmission medium to another without alteration.

replay attack

A security attack where a valid data transmission is repeated and retransmitted, often in an attempt to circumvent an authentication protocol (the authentication messages from a valid client are copied and then resent as part of the attacker's authentication). Also see nonce.


Radio frequency. Refers to any spectrum between 9 kHz and 300 GHz.


WWAN service provided by Metricom during 1995-2001. Ricochet 1 provided 28.8 Kbps service; Ricochet 2 provided 128 Kbps service. Laptops and handhelds used Ricochet modems to communicate over frequency-hopping channels in the 902-928 MHz band. Within a 10- to 20-square mile cell, approximately 100 microcell radio transceivers (attached to public utility poles) would use the 2.3 GHz (WCS) and 2.4 GHz bands to communicate with a wired access point connected to the Internet.

Metricom was founded in 1985, conducted years of research and development, had its first public offering in 1992, started Ricochet service operations in 1995, obtained $600M in financing in 1999, grew to 500+ employees, and reached annual revenues of $18.5M in 1999. Despite expanding coverage to 15 U.S. metropolitan areas (primarily airports, hotels, and business districts), the service obtained only 51,000 subscribers which could not sustain its costly expansion, or compete with emerging WLAN technology and hotspot services. Metricom filed for bankruptcy protection and ceased operations in summer 2001.


Rijndael (pronounced "Rine-doll") is the official Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). It was developed by Belgian researchers Vincent Rijmen and Joan Daemen, selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2000, and approved as a U.S. government standard (FIPS 197) in December 2001. AES is much stronger than the Data Encryption Standard (DES), and offers an excellent trade-off of strength and performance.


Movement of a mobile device from one network location to another. This may be between two microcells on the same subnet or between access points on different IP subnets.


Remote Procedure Call. A mechanism described in RFC 1057 for allowing a process on a local system to initiate and control a process on a remote system. Typically the local system is not aware that the procedure call is executed on a remote system.


A program or device offered by a network server.


A mobile device running an instance of a network application on a Fixed End System (FES) or application server. A mobile device with NetMotion client software and an active connection to the NetMotion Mobility Server can run multiple application sessions simultaneously.


Systems/Solution Integrator. A type of business partner.


Subscriber Identity Module. A "smart card" used with GSM phones/devices. The SIM card contains mobile service profile information (including the mobile telephone number). The SIM card must be inserted in the device in order for it to operate, and is interchangable between devices.


Session Initiation Protocol. Draft IETF protocol for setting up telephony and multimedia sessions.


Serial Infrared. Originally defined a half-duplex connection of up to 115.2 Kbps, but extensions allow up to 16 Mbps. See also IrDA.


Serial Line IP. Provides IP access over dial-up modem and serial lines. Today PPP is more commonly used than SLIP.


Short Messaging Service. Text messaging used by alphanumeric two-way pagers.


Simple Network Management Protocol.


On a network, a socket is the endpoint for exchanging data between computers, and the socket address (the IP address plus a port number) identifies a single, unique network process.


Wireless Service Set Identifier. Network security name or ID used by wireless LAN hardware. The wireless devices must be configured for the same identifier in order to communicate. May also be referred to as "Network Name" or "Domain" by some wireless LAN hardware vendors.


Codename for Microsoft "smart phone" platform based on Windows CE version 3.0. Provides PIM functionality and communications over 2.5G and 3G broadband wireless networks.


A way of dividing an Internet network into a number of subnetworks. To create a subnet, some of the bits in the node portion of the Internet address are used to designate the subnetwork. From outside a subnetted network, the subnetworks do not exist—a subnetted network appears to be a single network. From within a subnetted network, the network consists of several smaller networks that can only communicate with each other through gateways.

The purpose of subnetting is to take a large address space (such as that found in a class A or class B network) and to divide it into several smaller address spaces, making them better suited to the physical network medium and easier to manage.


A network environment in which a single physical network supports two or more logical networks. Supernetting allows a network to accommodate additional IP addresses without reconfiguring existing devices.


Total Access Communications System. Modified version of AMPS used primarily in the U.K., Japan, and China.


Codename for Microsoft Windows CE .NET. Devices running Talisker are becoming available during 2002. The codename reportedly originates from a type of single-malt Scotch whiskey distilled on Scotland's Isle of Skye.


Transmission Control Protocol. TCP ensures that datagrams arrive at their destination process without error, without loss or duplication, and in sequence. User programs such as Telnet and FTP pass their data to TCP, which encapsulates the data and passes it to IP. IP, in turn, packages the data into datagrams. The datagrams are sent to their destination, where the receiving TCP checks the data for errors, acknowledges the receipt of error-free data, and reassembles the packets. Data that arrives with errors is not acknowledged and is retransmitted.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. Specifically denotes the combination of TCP and IP; more generally, it refers to the Internet Protocol Suite, which includes TCP and IP as well as several other protocols


Transport Driver Interface. As defined by the Microsoft Windows networking architecture, provides a transport-independent programmatic interface for network applications.


Time Division Multiple Access. Type of radio communications that accomodates multiple signals in the same channel ("multiplexing"). The signal is broken into pieces of defined length and transmitted at specific intervals. TDMA Interim Standard 136 (TDMA/IS-136) is also known as D-AMPS. TDMA is also used in other communications such as GSM, GPRS, EDGE, iDEN, and PDC. Compare with CDMA, FDMA.


A standard protocol, used in conjunction with TCP/IP, that allows a computer to act as a terminal on a network. Telnet uses TCP to deliver its data. Telnet is part of the Internet Protocol Suite.


Temporal Key Integrity Protocol. An emerging IEEE standard that is being embraced by WECA as a successor to WEP. The implementation results in each packet being encrypted with a different key. Because the encryption still uses RC4, TKIP is expected to be supported by 802.11b vendors through firmware updates available after mid-2002.


Device designed to both transmit and receive signals.

transit network

A combination of public and/or private networks with varying, or unknown, levels of security.


A method of improving the strength of the DES algorithm by using it three times in sequence with different keys.

Prior to the adoption of a new standard (AES), the (U.S.) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recommended use of triple-DES.


Data encapsulation and encryption (such as by VPN software) for transit through a public or unsecure network.


Free public domain encryption algorithm that was developed by Counterpane Systems and has been well-studied by cryptographers. Performance testing has shown this option offers an excellent trade-off for encryption strength and processing performance. It was one of the finalists for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) in 2000. Compare with Rijndael.


User Datagram Protocol. A transport layer in TCP/IP networks. UDP is a low-overhead protocol that uses IP to deliver its packets.


Universal Mobile Telephone System. 3G system based on W-CDMA.


FCC's Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure. WLL band at 5.7 MHz.


UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access.


Ultrahigh frequency range of the radio spectrum. This band extends from 300 MHz to 3 GHz.


Ultra Wideband. Signals characterized as fast and short pulses outside of the traditional radio spectrum. UWB technology can accomodate higher bandwidth with low-powered devices. It is the subject of continuing research and development, and scrutiny by the FCC.


Value-Added Reseller. A type of business partner.


Very high frequency range of the radio spectrum. This band extends from 30 to 300 MHz.

virtual address

A proxy address assigned to a mobile device running NetMotion Mobility Client software and connecting to a fixed end system (FES). This address is similar to a home address as defined by the Mobile IP protocol.


Virtual Local Area Network. A VLAN divides a local area network using software rather than by reconfiguring hardware. Though a VLAN might be physically located on a different segment of a LAN, it behaves as if it were connected to the same wire.


Voice over IP.


Virtual Private Network. A VPN connects network components and resources through a secure protocol tunnel so that devices actually residing on separate networks appear to share a common, private backbone. The tunnel traverses a wireless or other public network in a manner that provides security services formerly available only in private networks. Before a tunnel is established cryptographic methods are used to establish the identities of the tunnel participants.

NetMotion can encrypt information traversing the tunnel for the duration of the VPN connection.


Wide area network. A network that extends over a relatively large geographical area. A WAN is connected through public networks (for example, the telephone system) or privates ones (for example, leased lines or satellites). The largest WAN is currently the Internet.


Wireless Application Protocol. WAP is a protocol designed to transmit data over low-bandwidth wireless networks to devices such as mobile telephones, pagers, and PDAs. There are two key components: a WAP gateway and a "micro-browser." The gateway connects the mobile device to the Internet, and the micro-browser uses an XML document format called wireless mark-up language (WML) to display pages.


Wideband Frequency Hopping. Modification of FH/SS (approved by FCC in 2000) that allows wider (5 MHz) hopping channels, thus increasing throughput to 10 Mbps. Expected to be adopted by HomeRF vendors.


Wideband Code Division Multiple Access. Type of 3G radio communications capable of providing a data rate of 2 Mbps over GSM systems by using CDMA. Implementations are occurring during 2001-2002 in Japan, Europe, and North America. See also HSPDA.


Wireless Communications Systems. Spectrum in the 2.3 GHz range which is licensed by the FCC. Used internally within the Ricochet microcell network.


Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance which promotes Wi-Fi products.


Wired Equivalent Privacy. Optional security mechanism defined within the 802.11 standard. It is designed to make the link integrity of the wireless medium equal to that of a cable. If implemented, it provides two optional levels of security: authentication and privacy.

  • Authentication: Wireless devices can only access the network with a valid password. Without a password, connection requests are rejected by the access point.
  • Privacy: If configured to do so, the wireless device and access point will also encrypt data before transmitting it. Without the correct password, other wireless devices are then unable to eavesdrop on the conversation.

WEP applies this security at the MAC (Media Access) level of the network. The core algorithm used by WEP is RC4, a stream cipher from RSA Data Security. For additional analysis on WEP, see also the NetMotion Security white paper and Using NetMotion Mobility with WEP.


Codename for Microsoft Windows XP, the successor to Windows 2000.


Wireless Fidelity interoperability certification for IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN products. For more information, see


Windows Internet Name Service. A name resolution service that resolves Windows NT networking computer names to IP addresses in a routed environment. A WINS server handles name registrations, queries, and releases. Also known as NetBIOS Name Service (NBNS).


Windows Sockets API. A standard networking API for Microsoft Windows operating systems, described in the Microsoft SDK. The Windows Sockets interface can be implemented as a DLL file and is typically used on TCP/IP networks.


Wireless Internet Service Provider. Provider of WWAN or WLAN hotspot services.


Wireless Internet Service Provider Roaming initiative by WECA.


Wireless local area network. A WLAN uses radio frequency (RF) to transmit and receive data (as opposed to using a wireline network). A WLAN can either stand alone or be an extension to a LAN. WLANs generally provide higher bandwidth capabilities than WWANs. Examples of WLAN technologies are IEEE 802.11b, OpenAir, HomeRF, and HiperLAN2.


Wireless Local Loop. Interconnection of non-mobile wired networks using wireless technology. WLL can provide cost-effective telecommunications service between towns in developing countries or short-distance BWA between buildings in an urban area. Examples are LMDS, MMDS, and UNII.


Wireless Markup Language. Programming language used in the WAP protocol. (This is analogous to how HTML is used with HTTP.)


Company of origin for NetMotion Wireless, Inc. WRQ was established in 1981 and is a global leader in enterprise integration and connectivity software solutions.


Wireless Transport Layer Security. Provides security (authentication, encryption, and integrity) for WAP, somewhat analogous to SSL (HTTPS).


Wireless wide area network. A WWAN uses various devices—telephone lines, satellite dishes, and radio waves—to service an area broader than that which can be covered by a WLAN, although typically with lower bandwidth. Examples of WWAN technologies are CDPD, ARDIS, and GPRS. WWAN technologies are often categorized into "generations" 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G.


The X.25 protocol suite allows systems on different networks to communicate through a public data network. X.25 was adopted as a standard by CCITT, later ITU, and approved by ISO. X.25 defines the physical, data link, and network layers in the OSI model.


Extensible Markup Language.



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