Compass Communications



1.5-way paging

Refers to guaranteed message receipt or advanced messaging, ensuring subscribers receive messages sent when they are out of range, but users cannot send text pages. “One-and-a-half way” also allows for automatic roaming.  

Air interface

The standard operating system of a wireless network; technologies include AMPS, ReFLEX, FLEX, POCSAG, TDMA, CDMA and GSM. 


A display, message or readout that contains both letters and numbers. Synonymous with text messaging.  


Advanced Mobile Phone Service: The analog cellular air interface standard used in the United States and other countries.  


The classic use of the word “bandwidth” means “width of the band,” the “width of the signal” or the “amount of spectrum occupied.” This is not the same as the rate of transmission. While it is generally true that the faster the rate–the wider the spectrum requirement or “bandwidth,” there are some good examples of exceptions. One of these being the sending of four FLEX™ phases in parallel through one radio channel, and the other being the ever-increasing MODEM speeds through plain old telephone lines. The voice bandwidth of a standard (unconditioned) telephone line has not changed over many years. A few years ago, 300 BPS was the fastest a MODEM could operate over a standard telephone line. Today, most Modems operate at 28,800 BPS and many at higher speeds (30 to 50K BPS). The voice bandwidth of the telephone line has not changed but the speed of the data transmitted over it has increased dramatically. This is accomplished with special modulation techniques that essentially send the serial data information in separate parallel paths to increase the overall speed or throughput–but not the bandwidth.  


Using a wide-bandwidth channel for voice, data and/or video services.  


A pager’s electronic identity. A carryover from the days when the code was printed or typed on a pager’s “cap” or the top of the case. Some pagers have more than one capcode, including individual messaging codes, group-call codes, and maildrop codes—used for transmitting information such as news, weather, and sports. 


Code Division Multiple Access: A spread spectrum air interface technology used in some digital cellular, personal communications services and other wireless networks.  


The newest form of wireless communications that takes all voice transmissions and converts them to computer language (zeros and ones, or “binary” language) and then reconstructs them into the original voice format at the other end. More secure than its original sibling, analog, and also relatively impervious to static or fading signals.  


Digital Signal Processor: A specialized microprocessor that performs mathematical operations on a data stream in real time to produce a second (modified) data stream.  


Federal Communications Commission: The United States federal agency responsible for commercial and private spectrum management.  

Frame Relay

A packet-based interface used to transmit bursts of data over a network.  

Frequency reuse

The ability of specific channels assigned to a single zone to be used again in another zone, when there is enough distance between the two zones to prevent co-channel interference from affecting service quality. The technique enables a wireless system to increase capacity with a limited number radio of channels.  


The radio term applied to transmissions such as telephone calls or wireless data that allow talking and listening at the same time by using two frequencies to create one channel. Each frequency is used solely for either transmitting or receiving.  


Gigahertz: One billion radio waves, or cycles, per second. Equal to 1,000 megahertz, which is equal to 1,000 kilohertz, which is equal to 1,000 hertz. The abbreviations used are: GHz, MHz, KHz, and Hz.  


Global Positioning System. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS satellites circle the earth twice a day in a very precise orbit and transmit signal information to earth. GPS receivers take this information and use triangulation to calculate the user’s exact location. Essentially, the GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received. The time difference tells the GPS receiver how far away the satellite is. Now, with distance measurements from a few more satellites, the receiver can determine the user’s position and display it on the unit’s electronic map. [GARMIN] 


Hertz: A unit of measurement of one cycle per second, or one radio wave passing one point in one second of time. Named in honor of Heinrich Hertz, the discoverer of the theory of radio waves.  


Interim Standard: A designation of the American National Standards Institute–usually followed by a number–that refers to an accepted industry protocol; e.g., IS-95, IS-136, IS-54.  


Kilohertz: One thousand radio waves, or cycles, per second.  


Radio spectrum in the 10.9 GHz to 17 GHz range used by satellite communications systems.  


Local Multipoint Distribution Service: Located in the 28 GHz and 31 GHz bands, LMDS is a broadband radio service designed to provide two-way transmission of voice, high-speed data and video (wireless cable TV). US FCC rules prohibit incumbent local exchange carriers and cable TV companies from offering in-region LMDS.  


Synonymous with text paging, “texting,” e-mail or short messages, received on alphanumeric pagers and two-way wireless devices.  


Megahertz: One million radio waves, or cycles, per second. Equal to one thousand Kilohertz. The abbreviations used are: GHz, MHz, KHz, and Hz.  

Narrowband PCS (nPCS)

The latest generation of wireless messaging networks, including two-way, acknowledgment and automatic roaming. Now able to offer many wireless telemetry services. The “n” in “nPCS” is not narrow at all when compared to traditional paging, it can only be considered to be narrow when compared to broadband PCS telephones.  


A display, message or readout that contains numerals only, such as in paging.  


Over-The-Air Programming: The ability of carriers to add new types of services to a customer’s device by using the wireless network instead of requiring the customer to bring in the device for reprogramming.  


Personal Communications Services: A two-way, 1900 MHz digital voice, messaging and data service designed as the second generation of cellular telephones.  


Referring to a standard paging protocol developed by the UK’s Post Office Code Standardization Advisory Group [note the English spelling]. Also known as CCIR Recommendation 584, and Radio Paging Code (RPC) No. 1.  


Radio Frequency is more often used to mean Radio Energy than the actual frequency. “RF” is a common term used when referring to the radio transmitter, receiver, or antenna portions of a communications system.  


The frequency spectrum near 2 GHz used for land based microwave and some mobile satellite communications.  


Specialized Mobile Radio: A dispatch radio and interconnect service for businesses. Covers frequencies in the 220 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands. Also called Trunking 


Short Message Service: Usually refers to wireless alphanumeric text messages sent to a PCS telephone. The GSM protocol was the first and only protocol to support text responses from a PCS telephone. Several competing protocols support the receiving of these messages but not the transmitting, or the responding back to the sender. The supporters of these other protocols are now adding on the ability to initiate or respond to text messages. Sometimes SMS is incorrectly used to refer to any short electronic text message on a wireless network. Its original and correct meaning simply was, a short text message to a PCS telephone.  


Simple Network Paging Protocol: is fully supported via the Internet. This is a network/Internet protocol that allows for a simple and efficient means of sending paging data from a PC to a paging switch. This protocol acts as translator between the Internet and the older TAP/IXO protocols. The most obvious benefit is the elimination of the need for modems and phone lines to produce alphanumeric pages, and the added ease of delivery of pages to terminals in other cities or countries. 

Spread spectrum

Jamming-resistant and initially devised for military use, this radio transmission technology “spreads” information over greater bandwidth than necessary for interference tolerance and is now a commercial technology.  


Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol: Internet protocol suite developed by the US Department of Defense in the 1970s. TCP governs the exchange of sequential data. IP routes outgoing and recognizes incoming messages.  


Spectrum-efficient technology that establishes a queue to handle demand for voice or data channels.  


Ultra High Frequency: Referring to radio channels in the 300 MHz to 3 GHz band.  

Unified messaging

Software technology that allows carriers and Internet service providers to manage customer e-mail, voice and fax messages from any phone, PC or information device.  


Very High Frequency: Referring to radio channels in the 30 to 300 MHz band.  

Voice recognition

The capability for cellular phones, PCs and other communications devices to be activated or controlled by voice commands.


Wireless Application Protocol: A protocol designed for advanced wireless devices allowing the easy transmission of data signals, particularly Internet content, to micro-browsers built into the device’s software.  


Wireless Communications Transfer Protocol: is specifically aimed at creating an easy means of passing alphanumeric and binary messages to and from wireline systems and two-way capable wireless devices. WCTP is an XML-based standard for communicating between disparate wireless messaging systems. It was designed to address some of the issues with legacy protocols such as TAP, TNPP and SMTP as applied towards wireless communication networks. 


Using the radio-frequency spectrum for transmitting and receiving voice, data and video signals for communications.  

Wireless Internet

An RF-based service that provides access to Internet e-mail and the World Wide Web.  

Wireless IP

The packet data protocol standard for sending wireless data over the Internet.  

Wireless IT

Wireless Information Technology: The monitoring, manipulating and troubleshooting of computer equipment through a wireless network.  

Wireless LAN

Local Area Network: Local area network using wireless transmissions, such as radio or infrared instead of phone lines or fiber-optic cable to connect data devices.