Glossary E-J






Digitally scrambling information so it can be transmitted over an unsecure network. At the other end, the recipient typically uses a digital "key" to unscramble the information so it's restored to its original form.

ESN (Electronic Serial Number): A unique number placed on and within a mobile device by its manufacturer. It is used within a wireless network to identify and confirm the device. The ESN standards are were defined by TR45 for AMPS, TDMA and CDMA mobile devices.

Evolution-Data Optimized (EVDO): The third generation CDMA technology.

Executable scripts: Instructions that a program or operating system reads and act on.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC): An independent U.S. government agency responsible with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. This includes all aspects of the wireless industry such as devices, policies, programs and outreach initiatives.

Facility-based Wireless Carrier: A provider of wireless services that owns the physical network used to deliver those services. See contra MVNO, a provider that leases capacity on a facilities-based provider network.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The only federal U.S. agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy. The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers' interests by sharing its expertise with federal and state legislatures and U.S. and international government agencies; develops policy and research tools through hearings, workshops, and conferences; and creates practical and plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses in a global marketplace with constantly changing technologies.

Femtocell: A small cellular base station or access point that is used in homes or offices to deliver wireless traffic to service providers via pre-existing broadband connections. This allows for improvement of coverage in small (typically indoor) areas without requiring the addition of new full-sized cellular sites.

Filters: Most wireless carriers provide parents with the ability to filter Internet content accessed on a wireless phone on their network.

GPS (Global Positioning System): A worldwide satellite navigational system, made up of a constellation of satellites orbiting the earth and their receivers on the earth's surface. The GPS satellites continuously transmit digital radio signals, with information used in location tracking, navigation and other location or mapping technologies.

GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications): A technological approach also based on dividing wireless calls into time slots. GSM is most common in Europe, Australia and much of Asia and Africa. Generally, GSM phones from the United States are not compatible with international GSM networks because the U.S. and many other nations use different frequencies for mobile communications. However, some phones are equipped with a multi-band capability to operate on such other frequencies. In the U.S., GSM carriers include: AT&T, DoCoMo Pacific, GCI Communications, TerreStar, Westlink and T-Mobile.

Handoff: The process when a wireless network automatically switches a mobile call to an adjacent cell site.

HSPA (High Speed Packet Access): The third generation of GSMA technology.

iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network): A specialized mobile technology that combines two-way radio, telephone, text messaging and data transmission into one digital network. iDEN is designed to give users quick access to information on a single device.  Introduced by Motorola, iDEN is used by several carriers including AirTel Montana, Nextel Communications, Nextel Partners and Southern LINC Wireless.

IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifier): A unique number placed on and within a mobile device by its manufacturer. It is used within a wireless network to identify and confirm the device. The IMEI standards are defined by 3GPP in Technical Standard 21.905.

Interconnection: Connecting one network to another, such as a wireless network to a local telephone company's wireline network.

Interoperability: The ability of a network to coordinate and communicate with other networks, such as two systems based on different protocols or technologies.

Jailbreaking: Involves removing software controls imposed by the operating system by manipulating the hardware and/or software coded onto the device.