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Glossary of Wireless Terms and Definitions

Glossary of Wireless Terms and Definitions

Appendix 2: Glossary of Terms and Definitions

Access Point: A radio transmitter and receiver that transmits and receives information between a wireless device, such as a wireless LAN card or PDA, and a wired network.

Backbone: A hard-wired network cable, usually copper or fiber, that connects a computer room to wiring rooms, sometimes called vertical cables. These cables carry the signal of many devices and usually operate at high transmission rates.

Bandwidth: The amount of information that can be transmitted in a unit of time.
Bluetooth: A short-range wireless network technology intended to replace cables between user devices such as

a keyboard connection to a PC.
Channel: A section of the radio spectrum intended for a specific radio transmission purpose.

Encryption: The process of scrambling information so that it is not easily decrypted by third parties listening in on a transmission. Usually a code or key is used to encrypt and decrypt.

Ethernet: The standard protocol for data transmission on a network both wired and wireless. FCC: (U.S. Federal Communications Commission) U.S. government agency that regulates most

wireless technology.

Frequency: The radio or wireless spectrum is made of many frequencies. In order to create a wireless or radio signal, the transmitter creates a signal that oscillates or varies at a given frequency. Thus, the frequency of an AM radio station might be 89 kilocycles (899 thousand cycles per second) and an FM radio station might be 91 megacycles or (91 million cycles per second).

Frequency Hopping: The wireless device operates by rapidly changing frequencies, a technique to minimize interference.

GHz: (Gigahertz) 1 GHz = 1 billion cycles per second; a measure of radio frequency. Gbps: (Gigabits per second) A measure of bandwidth. 1 Gbps = 1 billion bits per second.

GPRS: (General Packet Radio Service) A standard for transmitting data via cell phones and other wireless devices.

IEEE: (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) An organization that sets standards for network and wireless technology.

MAC Address: (Media Access Control) An identification number of a PC or other device used for security control in small WLANs.


24 Wireless Systems in the Facility © 2005 IFMA Foundation

Mbps: (Megabits per second) A common measure of bandwidth. 1 Mpbs = 1 million bits per second. MHz: (Megahertz) 1 MHz = 1 million cycles per second; a measure of radio frequency.

NetPOP: A room usually in the basement for termination of service entrance cables from a telecommunications service provider.

PAN: (Personal Area Network) A short-range computer network for connecting devices such as laptops, printers and cameras often via Bluetooth.

PDA: (Personal Digital Assistant) A handheld device that may have a wireless connection such as a Palm Pilot or Blackberry.

Plenum Ceiling: An interstitial space where the cavity above the drop ceiling is part of the ventilation system (air plenum). This is significant to the installation of cable and wireless devices in the ceiling, as there are fire codes in many jurisdictions about what can be installed in such a ceiling.

Receiver: A device for receiving a wireless transmission that may also amplify or process the signal. RF: (Radio Frequency) Radio waves or wireless, a form of electromagnetic energy.

Satellite: A device launched and orbiting the earth. Satellites for wireless systems are designed to send and in some cases receive wireless signals form the earth.

SMS: (Short message service) A system for sending short text messages, up to 160 characters, on handheld wireless devices.

Spread Spectrum: A type of radio transmission that uses a wide section of the radio spectrum; a technique for minimizing interference.

SSID: (Service Set Identifier) A security technique for wireless LANs.

Station Cables: Hard-wired cable from wiring room to workstation, sometimes called horizontal cables. These cables carry the signal of one or two devices including wireless access points and usually operate at slower speeds than backbones.

Tablet Device: A type of wireless handheld device where the user can write, draw or select buttons on the screen with a stylus.

Transmitter: A device for transmitting wireless signals.
UHF: (Ultra High Frequency) A section of the radio spectrum from 300 MHz to 3 GHz. VHF: (Very High Frequency) A section of the radio spectrum from 30 MHz to 300 MHz.


© 2005 IFMA Foundation Wireless Systems in the Facility 25

VOIP: (Voice Over Internet Protocol) Often confused with voice over Internet, VOIP is really voice over a local area network which uses Internet Protocol (IP). VOLAN would have been a clearer term. The confusion is additionally caused by the fact that the Internet is now often used for long distance rfvoice service.

VPN: (Virtual Private Network) A type of software for creating a secure connection from a mobile computer to a network via the Internet.

WAP: (Wireless Application Protocol)
WEP: (Wired Equivalent Protocol, also WEP2) A security encryption protocol for wireless networks. WLAN: A Wireless Ethernet Local Area Network.
WPA: (Wi-Fi Protected Access) A Wi-Fi security protocol.

Wi-Fi: Short for wireless fidelity; this is a term for 802.11 wireless networks (originally for 802.11b). This is the most common wireless standard and is used in Internet hot spots. However, this term is now so wide-spread in the public that it is sometimes used to refer to any wireless network.

Wi-Max: New standard for wireless point to point system.
WLAN: (Wireless Local Area Network)
WMAN: (Wireless Metropolitan Area Network)
WMTS: (Wired Medical Telemetry Service) Area of the radio spectrum set aside for medical systems.


26 Wireless Systems in the Facility © 2005 IFMA Foundation

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Established in 1990 as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, and separate entity from IFMA, the IFMA Foundation works for the public good to promote priority research and educational opportunities for the advancement of facility management. The IFMA Foundation is supported by the generosity of the FM community including IFMA members, chapters, councils, corporate sponsors and private contributors who share the belief that education and research improve the FM profession.

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(281) 974.5600

©2005 IFMA Foundation All rights reserved. ISBN 1-883176-61-1

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