Glossary L-P






LAN (Local Area Network): Is a small data network covering a limited area, such as a building or group of buildings. Most LANs connect workstations or personal computers. This allows many users to share devices, such as laser printers, as well as data. The LAN also allows easy communication, by facilitating e-mail or supporting chat sessions.

Location Based Services (LBS): Any wireless service or application that uses the geographical position of a wireless device. CTIA developed voluntary LBS Best Practices and Guidelines to promote and protect user privacy.

LTE (Long Term Evolution): The next-generation network beyond 3G. In addition to enabling fixed to mobile migrations of Internet applications such as Voice over IP (VoIP), video streaming, music downloading, mobile TV and many others, LTE networks will also provide the capacity to support an explosion in demand for connectivity from a new generation of consumer devices tailored to those new mobile applications.

Machine-to-Machine (M2M): Applications or mobile units that use wireless networks to communicate with other machines. These applications may include telemetry and telematic devices, remote monitoring systems (e.g. smart grid, healthcare, transportation, etc) and other devices that provide status reports to businesses' centers (e.g., operations, traffic management, data management, etc).

Malware: Malicious Software is computer language codes created by hackers to access or alter data or interfere with network functions. It may manifest itself as worms, Trojan Horses, spyware, adware, apps, data files or web pages with executable script.

Megahertz (MHz): Is a unit of frequency equal to one million hertz or cycles per second.  Wireless mobile communications within the United States generally occur in the 800 MHz, 900MHz and 1900MHz spectrum frequency bands.

mHealth (Mobile Health): The use of mobile devices and technology in health care. This includes text message reminders to prompt them to take medication, follow a certain diet, engage in physical activity, check glucose levels, monitor blood pressure and more. It can also be used to monitor patients' health and track and guide self-care beyond the doctors' offices.

mLearning (Mobile Learning): Education that takes advantage of the opportunities mobile devices provides, including not being prohibited by location. This includes sending text messages for in-class participation or voting, accessing the mobile Internet for information or conducting homework assignments.

MIN (Mobile Identification Number): The MIN, more commonly known as a wireless phone number, uniquely identifies a wireless device within a wireless carrier's network. The MIN is dialed from other wireless or wireline networks to direct a signal to a specific wireless device. The number differs from the electronic serial number, which is the unit number assigned by a phone manufacturer. MINs and ESNs can be electronically checked to help prevent fraud.

MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator): A company that buys network capacity from a network operator in order to offer its own branded mobile subscriptions and value-added services to customers.

NAM (Number Assignment Module): The NAM is the electronic memory bank in the wireless phone that stores its specific telephone number and electronic serial number.

Non-personally Identifiable Information: Data that may be needed to authenticate (e.g., cookie) a device to use a service, but is generally anonymous and not specific to a person.

Number Pooling: A means by which phone numbers are conserved, and the need to create new area codes is reduced. Unused phone numbers are returned to a central authority which then makes them available to other carriers based on need. Carriers receive numbers in blocks of 1,000, not 10,000 as was originally the case. Smaller blocks of numbers reduce the carriers' cost and maximize the availability of new numbers to meet public demand.

Number Portability: The ability of a customer to retain their telephone number when changing service providers in a specific area, whether changing from one wireless company to another, one wireline company to another or between wirelesss and wireline companies.

Operating System (OS): As of July 2012, there are more than 10 wireless operating system platforms. They include: Android (Open Handset Alliance); BlackBerry OS (Research in Motion); BREW (Qualcomm); Java (Sun Microsystems); LiMo (Open Source Linux for Mobile); iOS (Apple); WebOS (HP); Windows Mobile (Microsoft); Windows Phone (Microsoft); and bada (Samsung).

Packet: A piece of data sent over a packet-switching network, such as the Internet. A packet includes not just the data comprising the message but also address information about its origination and destination.

Packet Data: Information that is reduced into digital pieces or packets, so it can travel more efficiently across networks, including radio airwaves and wireless networks.

Parental Control Features and Tools: Services offered by wireless providers or third parties that allow parents to manage or monitor how their kids use wireless products and/or services. These tools include content filters and password protections that may be built-in or downloaded as an application to a wireless device.

PCS (Personal Communications Services): Defined by the FCC as a broad family of wireless services, commonly viewed as including two-way digital voice, messaging and data services. One set of "PCS" licenses established by the FCC operates in the 1900 MHz band.

PDA (Personal Digital Assistant): A portable computing device capable of transmitting data. These devices offer services such as paging, data messaging, e-mail, computing, faxes, date books and other information management capabilities.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII): Such as a name, address, or birth date, is protected by various laws and industry best practices.

Phishing: is an enticement intended to trick you into sharing confidential information, such as bank account data, passwords, etc. It may send you a link to bogus and/or malicious websites or emails. Phishing is not the same as spam. Spam is a tool used in phishing, but not all phishing relies on spam.

PIN (Personal Identification Number): An additional security feature for wireless phones, much like a password. Programming a PIN into the Subscriber Information Module (SIM) on a wireless phone requires the user to enter that access code each time the phone is turned on.

POPs: For wireless, POPs generally refers to the number of people in a specific area where wireless services are available (the population). For traditional landline communications, a "Point of Presence" defines the interconnection point between the two networks.

Prepaid Plan: A wireless service plan that allows subscribers to purchase for a set price, a predetermined amount of services, such as voice, text and data. CTIA developed a voluntary Consumer Code for Wireless Service to help consumers make informed choices when selecting wireless products and services.

Premium Text: Text to or from a commercial entity that delivers news, information, images, ringtones or entertainment for a fee above standard messaging rates.

Privacy Settings: Ability to determine how personally identifiable information (PII) is used by wireless applications, devices and services. Consumers should always review the privacy policy of a wireless application, device and service so they know when and how their PII will be made available to third parties such as their friends, commercial partners or the general public.

Protocol: A standard set of definitions governing how communications are formatted in order to permit their transmission across networks and between devices.

Provider: Also known as a carrier, service provider or network operator, a provider is the communications company that provides service to end user customers or other carriers. Wireless carriers provide their customers with service (including air time) for their wireless phones.

PSD (Packet Switched Data): A technological approach in which the communication "pipe" is shared by several users, thus making it very efficient. The data is sent to a specific address with a short delay. This delay depends on how many users are using the pipe at any one time as well as the level of priority requested for your information. PSD is the technology used for data communication across the Internet and makes more efficient use of the network.

Public Service/Utility Commission (PSC/PUC): A state government's agency responsible for regulating intrastate communications. Although many states preempt a PSC/PUC's authority to regulate wireless, federal law permits non-preempted states to regulate a wireless carriers' terms and conditions but not rates.