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Glossary

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The following terms and their explanation will help you understanding telecommunications.

Commonly used term

Explanation

2G

second generation mobile telecommunications
Mobile digital telecommunications services that provide voice communications and a relatively low transmission rate for data. GSM and CDMA are 2G technologies used in the Solomon Islands.

3G

third generation mobile telecommunications
Mobile telecommunications systems that can provide global mobile communications and support multimedia applications.

ADSL

asymmetric digital subscriber line
A transmission method allowing high data rate communication over existing copper wires. The downstream data (data downloaded by user) transmission rate is much higher than the upstream data rate.

AM radio

amplitude modulation radio
Method of radio broadcasting where the frequency is modulated or varied by its changing amplitude. AM radio signals travel large distances and have wide coverage areas. Frequencies for AM broadcasts are expressed in kilohertz (kHz).

Bandwidth

In the internet industry, bandwidth refers to the capacity of a connection to carry information, while in radio communications it is the amount of radiofrequency spectrum used for a particular function.

Bit/s

bits per second
Rate of transfer of data communications. See Gbit/s, kbit/s, Mbit/s.

Broadband

Internet access technologies (such as ADSL, HFC cable and WiFi) that offer a data rate significantly higher than narrowband services, are usually ‘always-on’ and do not tie up a telephone line exclusively for data.

byte(s)

Unit of data volume (eight bits). Data volumes are usually measured in bytes, but data transmission rates are measured in bits per second.

CDMA

code division multiple access
Digital coding technique used primarily for mobile telecommunications and satellite services, employing a bandwidth much larger than the original signal. Each signal is uniquely encoded and decoded, allowing many signals to occupy the same spectrum.

Coverage area

Geographic area in which calls are able to be made successfully. For instance, the area between a base station and a mobile phone handset.

FM

frequency modulation radio
Mode of radio broadcasting in which the frequency of the transmitted wave is modulated or varied with the amplitude or pitch of the signal, providing good immunity to electrical interference and consistent quality reception during the day and night. Geographical coverage varies, but for a high-power FM transmitter can be up to 100 kilometres. Frequencies used for FM broadcasts are expressed in megahertz (MHz).

GB

Gigabyte
A billion bytes. See byte(s).

Gbit/s

Gigabits per second
Data transfer rate of a billion bits per second. See bit/s.

GSM

global system for mobiles
Second generation digital cellular network standard that uses a time division multiple access technique to multiplex signals onto a single channel in a rotated sequence of time slots, with each user having exclusive access to a time slot.

HTTP

hypertext transfer protocol
Protocol or process for downloading web pages from the internet

ISDN

integrated services digital network
Digital data access technique, for voice and data. Digital alternative to an analog public switched telephone service.

ISP

internet service provider
Service provider offering internet access services.

ITU

International Telecommunication Union
United Nations agency that coordinates matters of international telecommunications concern.

KB

kilobyte(s)
A thousand bytes. See byte(s).

kbit/s

kilobits per second
Data communication rate of one thousand bits per second. See bit/s.

kHz

kilohertz
One thousand Hertz (see also MHz and GHz).

MB

Megabyte
One million bytes. See byte(s).

Mbit/s

Megabits per second
Data transfer rate of one million bits per second. See bit/s.

MHz

Megahertz
One million Hertz. See also kHz and GHz.

post-paid service

Service where user is charged based on usage during a billing period.

pre-paid

Service where user pays in advance for a certain amount of usage or service credit.

roaming

The use of a wireless phone outside of the ‘home’ service area defined by a service provider. Higher per minute rates are usually charged for calls made or received while roaming.

router

A router is an electronic device that interconnects two or more networks, and selectively interchanges packets of data between them.

routing

Is the process of selecting paths in a network along which to send network traffic. Routing is performed for many kinds of networks, including the telephone network and electronic data networks (such as the Internet).

satellite

A radio relay station that orbits the earth. A complete satellite communications system also includes earth stations that communicate with each other via the satellite. The satellite receives a signal transmitted by an originating earth station and retransmits that signal to the destination earth station(s). Satellites are used to transmit telephone, television and data signals originated by common carriers, broadcasters and distributors of cable TV program material.

scanner

A radio receiver that moves across a wide range of radio frequencies and allows audiences to listen to any of the frequencies.

service provider

A person or company providing telecommunications services.

SIM

Subscriber Identity Module. This is a Smart Card installed in every GSM handset which identifies the user to the network.

slamming The term used to describe what occurs when a customer’s service is switched from one service provider to another without the customer’s permission.
SMS Short Message Service will display a 160 character message in the LCD panel on the phone.
spectrum The range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used in the transmission of sound, data and television.
streaming When data is sent continuously, without waiting to make sure there are no errors.
super high frequency (SHF) SHF refers to radio frequencies in the range of 3 GHz and 30 GHz. Also known as the centimeter band or centimetre wave as the wavelengths range from ten to one centimetre.
tariff The documents filed by a carrier describing their services and the payments to be charged for such services.
T1 Trunk 1. A heavy duty telephone line.
TDMA Time Division Multiple Access. The technique used by the digital GSM network to squeeze more calls onto one channel by dividing a calling channel into a few ’discontinuous’ pieces.
telecommunication(s) This word has no precise definition, but is frequently used. Its definition ranges from "any form of communication over a distance" to "any communication by electric means" to "two computers 'talking' to each other via modems." Methods of communications that probably are considered telecommunications include: telephones, cellphones, TV's and fax machines. The word is used both in singular and plural.
telephony The word used to describe the science of transmitting voice over a telecommunications network.
TTY A type of machine that allows people with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate over the phone using a keyboard and a viewing screen. It is sometimes called a TDD.
Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Designates a range of electromagnetic waves with frequencies between 300 MHz and 3 GHz (3,000 MHz). Digital television and mobile phones work in this band.
Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) A 3G mobile telephone standard
unbundling The term used to describe the access provided by a service provider operating its own network so that other service providers can buy or lease portions of its network elements, such as interconnection loops, to serve subscribers.
universal service The financial mechanism which helps compensate telephone companies or other communications entities for providing access to telecommunications services at reasonable and affordable rates to geographically remote areas or to the economically disadvantaged.
very high frequency (VHF) The part of the radio spectrum from 30 to 300 megahertz, which includes TV Channels 2-13, the FM broadcast band and some marine, aviation and land mobile services.
W3 World Wide Web
WWW World Wide Web. A hypertext system set up on the Internet.