The A to Z of Wireless Broadband Alliance

0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | G | H | I | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W

3G Third Generation Cellular network standard providing wide area voice and data service as defined by the International Telecommunications Union (
3GPP 3rd Generation Partnership Project (
4G Fourth Generation Cellular network standard providing provisions for very high speed data traffic, with all traffic, including voice traffic, handled as packet switched, Internet Protocol traffic, as defined by the International Telecommunications Union (
802.11 IEEE 802.11 is a set of standards carrying out wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communication in the 2.4, 3.6 and 5 GHz frequency bands. They are implemented by the IEEE LAN/MAN Standards Committee
802.11i IEEE 802.11 standard specifying security mechanisms for Wi-Fi networks
802.11u IEEE 802.11 standard for WLAN interworking with external networks
802.16 IEEE 802.16 is a series of Wireless Broadband standards authored by the IEEE. The current version is IEEE 802.16-2009 amended by IEEE 802.16j-2009. Though officially under IEEE umbrella it is referred to as 802.16 or WirelessMAN, it has been commercialized under the name “WiMAX” (from “Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access”) by the industry alliance called the WiMAX Forum.
802.1x IEEE Standard for port based authentication mechanism for devices attaching to LAN or WLAN. It provides a framework for authenticating users and controlling their access to a protected network
AAA Authentication, Authorization and Accounting. A method for transmitting roaming access requests in the form of user credentials (typically user@domain and password) service authorization, and session accounting details between devices and networks in a real-time manner.
Alliance Members The members of Wireless Broadband Alliance consisting of Operators, WRIX providers, Wi-Fi Infrastructure Vendors, Software Vendors and other ecosystem players.
ANDSF Access Network Discovery and Selection Function
ANQP Access Network Querying Protocol
Broadband router A device that provides access to the internet for multiple computers. Routers typically include a network switch with four or more Ethernet ports for wired connections to desktop and laptop computers. ‘Wireless’ broadband routers include an 802.11 access point. The device switches internet traffic between the computers and a cable or DSL modem, and non-internet traffic between machines. Routers also include a network switch and DHCP server (to assign IP addresses to stations).
Captive Portal A mechanism for Wi-Fi Hotspot network access where an HTTP request from a mobile device is redirected to a server for authentication.
CDMA Code Division Multiple Access; also known as spread spectrum, CDMA cellular systems utilise a single frequency band for all traffic, differentiating the individual transmissions by assigning them unique codes before transmission. There are a number of variants of CDMA (see W-CDMA, B-CDMA, TD-SCDMA et al)
Diameter Authentication, authorization and accounting protocol for computer networks, and a successor to RADIUS [58]. (IETF RFC 3588 [54])
EAP Extensible Authentication Protocol or EAP is used to pass the authentication information between the supplicant (e.g. the Wi-Fi device) and the authentication server (usually a radius server). The actual authentication is defined and handled by the EAP type. It provides an authentication framework and is used in the 802.1X based authentication
EAP-AKA’ Authentication method used with EAP to support authentication of EAP-AKA [10] on networks that are not 3GPP compliant for 3GPP compliant devices, i.e. a device with a USIM wanting to authenticate on a Wi-Fi network would use EAP-AKA’, as standardized in RFC 5448 [13] (
EAP-FAST EAP-FAST (Flexible Authentication via Secure Tunneling)
EAP-SIM Authentication method used with EAP to support authentication using a SIM, as standardized in RFC 4186 [55] (
EAP-TLS Authentication method used with EAP to support authentication through Transport Layer Security, in which secure digital certificates are used to mutually identify a user and a server’s identity, as standardized in RFC 5216 [56] (
EAP-TTLS Authentication method used with EAP to support authentication through Tunnelled Transport Layer Security, in which secure digital certificates are used to identify a server’s identity (and optionally, a device’s or user’s identity), establish a tunnel, and then allow for user identification over the encrypted tunnel, as standardized in RFC 5281 [57] (, Note that there is often an inner EAP method used with EAP-TTLS, such as MSCHAPv2 (see RFC 2759)
EVDO Evolution-Data Optimized or Evolution-Data only, abbreviated as EV-DO or EVDO and often EV, is a telecommunications standard for the wireless transmission of data through radio signals, typically for broadband Internet access. It uses multiplexing techniques including Code division multiple access (CDMA) as well as Time division multiple access (TDMA) to maximize both individual user’s throughput and the overall system throughput. It is standardized by 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) as part of the CDMA2000 family of standards and has been adopted by many mobile phone service providers around the world – particularly those previously employing CDMA networks.
GSM Global System for Mobility, generic name for a series of standards and associated operating practices commonly used in cellular equipment and networks to assure global mobility for users. These standards and associated processes are maintained by the GSMA.
GSMA GSM Association, industry group made up of cellular network operators and associated companies that furthers the use and interoperation of the technology and plays an active role in setting standards for the industry. (
HLR Home Location Register
Hotspot A location where users can access the Internet using Wi-Fi laptops and other Wi-Fi enabled devices. Access may be provided free or for a fee. Hotspots are often found at coffee shops, hotels, airport lounges, train stations, convention centers, gas stations, truck stops and other public meeting areas. Corporations and campuses often offer it to visitors and guests. Hotspot service is sometimes available aboard planes, trains and boats.
HS2.0 Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) Hotspot 2.0 solution based on IEEE 802.11u and WFA extensions
HSS Home Subscriber Server
HTTPS Hyper Text Transfer Protocol over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
IETF Internet Engineering Task Force, a body for the development and promotion of standards for and related to the Internet. (
LTE 3GPP Long Term Evolution, a beyond-third-generation mobile broadband standard
MITM Man in the Middle
NAT Network Address Translation
NGH Next Generation Hotspot
OMA DM Device management protocol specified by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Device Management (DM) Working Group and the Data Synchronization (DS) Working Group
PDA Personal Digital Assistant
PMF Protected Management Frames (see IEEE 802.11w)
RADIUS Remote Access Dial-Up User Service. A standard technology used by many major corporations to protect access to wireless networks. RADIUS is a user name and password scheme that enables only approved users to access the network; it does not affect or encrypt data. The first time a user wants access to the network, secure files or net locations, he or she must input his or her name and password and submit it over the network to the RADIUS server. The server then verifies that the individual has an account and, if so, ensures that the person uses the correct password before she or he can get on the network. RADIUS can be set up to provide different access levels or classes of access. For example, one level can provide blanket access to the Internet; another can provide access to the Internet as well as to e-mail communications; yet another account class can provide access to the Net, email and the secure business file server. Like other sophisticated security technologies, RADIUS comes in a variety of types and levels, as defined in IETF RFC 2865 [58] and its many associated RFCs (
RFC Request For Comments, the acronym used to identify IETF standards.
Roaming The ability to move seamlessly from one area of Wi-Fi or cellular phone coverage to another with no loss in connectivity. Roaming also refers to the ability to wirelessly connect to the Internet from different hotspots without confronting the array of schemes used by different providers to authorize use and track billing. Roaming agreements among providers allow mobile professionals to a single authentication and authorization scheme to have all charges resolved to a single bill.
SIM Subscriber Identity Module, earlier a chip-based module that provides the identity for a mobile subscriber which is included in mobile phones using the GSM system. Nowadays an application that resides in UICC
SMS Short Message Service
SS7 Signalling System No. 7 set of telephony signalling protocol
SSID A unique 32-character network name, or identifier, that differentiates one wireless LAN from another. All access points and clients attempting to connect to a specific WLAN must use the same SSID. The SSID can be any alphanumeric entry up to a maximum of 32 characters.
SSL SSL-Secured Sockets Layer. A protocol used to secure Internet communications. SSL is commonly used to encrypt transactions on online retail and banking. SSL encrypts the exchange of information between a user’s browser and Web server so only the intended parties can read it. When an SSL session begins, the server sends its public key to the browser. The browser then sends a randomly generated secret key back to the server in order to have a secret key exchange for that session.
TAP Transferred Account Procedure
TLS Transport Layer Security
UICC Universal Integrated Circuit Card is the smart card used in mobile terminals in GSM and UMTS networks.
UMTS It is one of the third-generation (3G) mobile telecommunications technologies, which is also being developed into a 4G technology.
USIM Authentication application that resides on UICC and provides AKA authentication for UMTS networks
VLR Visitor Location Register
VPN Virtual Private Network
WBA Wireless Broadband Alliance, industry group made up of primarily Wi-Fi network operators and equipment vendors to further the use of wireless technologies. (
WCDMA It is an air interface standard found in 3G mobile telecommunications networks
Wi-Fi Wireless Fidelity, industry name maintained by the Wi-Fi Alliance to indicate that equipment and services adhere to the various IEEE 802.11 standards for wireless networking in unlicensed band. (
WiMAX WiMAX, the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a telecommunications technology aimed at providing wireless data over long distances in a variety of ways, from point-to-point links to full mobile cellular type access. It is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard, which is also called WirelessMAN.
WIPS Wireless Intrusion Prevention System
WISPr Wireless Internet Service Provider roaming
WISPr 1.0 “Wireless Internet Service Provider roaming”. This is a best practices document available in the public domain. This protocol defines the Smart Client to Access Gateway interface. This Universal Access Method (UAM)protocol has become widely used to access public IEEE 802.11
WISPr 2.0 This document contains release 2.0 of the Annex D “Smart Client to Access Gateway Protocol” defined in WISPr 1.0 best practices document which has been available in the public domain. WISPr 2.0 scope is limited to the specification of client software to public WLAN network interface. The WISP 2.0 is designed for “non” IEEE 802.1x networks as it requires IP communication with the AGW prior to the authentication of the user. WISPr offers authentication services based on layer 3 networking. It is designed as a front-end to authentication protocols such as Radius, Diameter and the WBA WRIX specification.
WLAN A local area network that transmits over the air typically in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz unlicensed frequency band. It does not require line of sight between sender and receiver. Wireless base stations (access points) are wired to an Ethernet network and transmit a radio frequency over an area of up to several hundred metres through walls and other non-metal barriers. Roaming users can be handed off from one access point to another like a cellular phone system.
WPA2 Wireless Protected Access 2, as defined by the Wi-Fi Alliance certification program
WRIX Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange, a series of recommendations and operating procedures defined by the WBA to assist in the facilitation of roaming traffic on public Wi-Fi hotspots. WRIX-I defined the interchange portion, dealing with operation aspects of hotspot operation and AAA. WRIX-d deals with data exchange of traffic related information, and WRIX-f deals with financial aspects of settlement and clearing. WRIX–l deals with the maintenance and exchange of location information.
WRIX – L This document defines the format and data the operators shall exchange for feeds of partner service locations. This specification includes both the file format and file exchange method. It clearly describes the Mandatory verses Optional fields in the WBA Location database so that there is uniformity of information across all the WBA Members.