802.11b/a/g/n (see Wi-Fi)

Access Point - also known as a "wireless access point" or WAP, this is a Wi-Fi network device which connects Wi-Fi enabled computers and PDA's to traditional ethernet networks; a WAP typically has a range of 300 feet, but can be used in conjunction with other WAP's to extend the range of a Wi-Fi network.

Bandwidth - the amount of data which can be transferred in a given period of time; Internet connection speeds are rated in "bits per second" and vary by connection type:

  • dial-up modem access is usually rated at 56Kbps (or slower)
  • ISDN at 128Kbps 
  • cable or DSL access can be 256Kbps to 3Mbps

Broadband - broadband is a generic term for high-speed Internet access; in general, to be considered broadband an Internet connection must be rated at least twice the speed of the fastest traditional modem connection speed.

CPE - Customer Premise Equipment. This is non network equipment such as Wi-Fi access point routers, range extenders, and gain antennas that are purchased and installed by the customer ( Wi-Fi network user).

Hotspot - an area serviced by a wireless access point; a hotspot is an area where users with Wi-Fi network devices can connect to a WLAN; Corpus Christi Cellular network hotspots, also known as "nodes", are used to provide network, Internet, and VPN access to subscribers.

Hotzone – a large geographic area seamlessly serviced by a group of hotspot access points; seamless hotzones can span across city blocks, neighborhoods, or the entire city.

ISP - Internet service provider; company which provides a connection to the Internet at a home or business.

LAN - local area network; a network generally consists of a group computers and network-enabled devices (such as printers, copiers, network appliances, etc.) which are connected to one another via network interface cards (NICs) and network cable; devices on a network are able to share data with one another; a local area network is a private network which may or may not be connected to the Internet or a WAN; a LAN is typically confined to a single physical location (an office, for instance).

NIC - network interface card; also known as a network adapter, a NIC is used by computers to access networks; traditionally a NIC requires a physical connection to the network (i.e., a cable); Wi-Fi network adapters use wireless technology to connect to a network. locations to access the corporate LAN via the Internet; a VPN connection is encrypted, meaning that data is securely passed back and forth between the user's computer and server.

Node (see hotspot)

PC Card - also known as PCMCIA; a form factor designed specifically for laptop and notebook computers; portable computers often come equipped with a "PC card slot"; in order for a laptop to connect to a Wi-Fi network, it will generally need a PC card wireless network adapter.

PDA - personal digital assistant; PDA's are handheld computers, the most common of which run either the Palm OS or Microsoft Windows CE; most mid-level and above PDA's are capable of connecting to a Wi-Fi network.

SSID - service set identifier; this is the name of the Wi-Fi network, as configured on a WAP; the SSID for all Corpus Christi Cellular network access points is "CCTEXAS".

VPN - virtual private network; a business which allows VPN access to its server(s) is allowing users in various

WAP (see access point)

WAN - wide area network; a WAN generally consists of a group of LAN's which are interconnected and able to share data with one another; an Internet connection grants access to your ISP's WAN.

WEP - wired equivalent privacy; this is a method of encrypting a wireless network connection to provide a level of security for the transmission of data.

Wi-Fi - "Wireless Fidelity"; an international standard for wireless networking, Wi-Fi is a radio-based networking technology; often using the same frequencies as standard cordless phones, Wi-Fi is an evolving technology with a range of networking standards:

802.11a - this standard, not widely adopted, is also a high speed wireless standard similar to 802.11g; however, 802.11a equipment does not work with 802.11b or g devices

802.11b - this is the original Wi-Fi standard, and the most common and affordable one to date; it has a transmission rate of 11Mbps (far faster than most broadband Internet connections).

.802.11g - a more recent standard, 802.11g allows transmission rates of up to 54Mbps, and is backward compatible with 802.11b, meaning network devices for the "g" standard can function on a "b" network.

802.11n - this is an upcoming industry standard for high-speed Wi-Fi networking. 802.11n allows transmission rates greater than 100Mbps. The City's Cellular Wi-Fi network will provide 802.11g access but has no plan (at this time) to provide 802.11n access. 802.11n is compatible with 802.11g/b/a and may provide improved network “connection” range and performance.

WLAN - a wireless LAN, or local area network; a WLAN is a LAN which has one or more WAP's installed (aka Hotzone).

Wireless Range Extender (Expander) - A wireless range extender works as a relay or network repeater, picking up and reflecting Wi-Fi signals from a network's base router or access point. Several different forms of wireless range extenders are available. These products are sometimes called "range expanders" or "signal boosters."