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Mobile Broadband Dictionary

Term Definition
2.5G Often used to describe GPRS or EDGE data networks.
3G 3G is an international standard and is short for 3rd Generation. It refers to the type of mobile phone network being used. In terms of mobile broadband, it generally means speeds up to 384Kbps.
3.5G 3.5G is used to represent faster mobile broadband speeds than 3G and generally refers to HSDPA and HSUPA.
4G 4G is an international standard and is short for 4th Generation. It refers to the type of mobile phone network being used, often LTE or sometimes WiMAX. In terms of mobile broadband, it generally means speeds up to 100Mbps.
ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. A fixed-line broadband technology that provides speeds of several meg over a telephone line.
dongle A small device plugged in to a computer that gives you access to a mobile broadband network. May be referred to as a modem.
EDGE Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution - often known as Enhanced GPRS and 2.5G, it provides faster data rates on 2G networks, a stepping stone to 3G.
FUP A 'fair usage policy' - a document defining what your broadband provider deems fair to use on the broadband connection.
Gig An abbreviation used to refer to both speed and an amount of data. When measuring speed it means gigabits per second. When measuring data, gigabytes. There are 8 bits in a byte so 8 gigabits in a gigabyte. See also: Gigabits, Gigabytes.
Gigabits per second (Gbps) A unit of measurement of speed of data, often referred to as "gigs" or Gbps. See also: Gig, Gigabytes.
Gigabyte (GB) A unit of measurement of data, often referred to as "gig", "gigs" or GB (note, the case is important). 1 Gigabyte is 1000 megabytes. A movie is usually 0.5 - 1 Gigabyte depending on the length and quality of the recording. See also: Kilobyte, Megabyte
GPRS General Packet Radio Service - an older data service that offered Internet access at speeds of around 50-100Kbps (about 70 times slower than current speeds).
GSM Global System for Mobile Communications - the standard technology used across most of the world for basic mobile telephone calls. GSM is a 2G technology.
HSDPA High-Speed Downlink Packet Access - an enhancement over 3G technology to provide faster data speeds up to a theoretical maximum of 14.4Mbps. It is only used in the downstream channel (i.e. from the mobile network to the user).
HSPA High-Speed Packet Access - a combination of HSDPA and HSUPA
HSUPA High-Speed Uplink Packet Access - the sister technology to HSDPA, provides faster data speeds in the upstream direction.
ISP Internet Service Provider - a company who providers Internet access of services (like e-mail or website hosting).
Kilobits per second (Kbps) A unit of measurement of speed of data.
Kilobyte (KB) A unit of measurement of data, often abbreviated to KB (note, the case is important). A text only e-mail will usually be a few kilobytes in size depending on the length. See also: Megabyte, Gigabyte
Latency The time it takes for data to travel between two computers. The quicker the better!
LTE Long Term Evolution. A type of 4G mobile technology that offers fast mobile broadband speeds.
Meg An abbreviation used to refer to both speed and an amount of data. When measuring speed it means megabits per second. When measuring data, megabytes. There are 8 bits in a byte so 8 megabits in a megabyte. See also: Megabits, Megabytes.
Megabits per second (Mbps) A unit of measurement of speed of data, often referred to as "meg" or Mbps. See also: Meg, Megabytes.
Megabytes (MB) A unit of measurement of data, often referred to as "meg", "megs" or MB (note, the case is important). 1 Megabyte is 1000 Kilobytes. A music track is usually 2 - 5 Megabytes in size depending on length and quality of the recording. See also: Kilobyte, Gigabyte
Micro SIM A micro SIM is a very small chip card issued by the mobile network and used in mobile phones or tablets. It is a slimmed down version of a SIM card.
Modem A device that allows one computer to connect to the Internet
Nano SIM A nano SIM is a tiny chip card issued by the mobile network and used in mobile phones or tablets. It is a slimmed down version of a micro-SIM.
NAT Network Address translation - a method of conserving IP addresses often used by mobile networks.
Roaming The ability to use your mobile connection on a different network to your usual one. This is normally only possible when abroad.
Router A device that allows you to share your Internet connection between several people.
SIM A SIM or a SIM card is a small chip card issued by the mobile network and used in mobile phones or data cards containing the user's subscriber information and identifying the user to the network.
Unlimited A term coined by marketing departments to generally means "a large amount" (not to be confused with "no limit"). Most users are expected not to reach the limit on an "unlimited" connection, however heavy users may, and could face penalties if they regularly exceed it. Always read the small print for a definition.
USB A common type of port on a computer in to which you can plug things like mobile broadband dongles (as well as cameras, keyboards, and mice).
VoIP Voice over IP - a way to make telephone calls over the Internet.
WiMAX Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access - WiMAX is a competitor to mobile broadband although more commonly used for fixed-line access. It offers similar speeds to ADSL.