mHealth - Definitions

Access Point (AP) - Access points join wireless users to a wired Ethernet network. APs act as a central transmitter and receiver of wireless local area network radio signals, also known as Wi-Fi.

Android - Android is an open-platform, Linux-based mobile phone operating system developed by Google.

App Store - An online marketplace for the purchase of applications used with smart phones and tablets.

Bluetooth - Bluetooth is one of many technologies that can create a wireless personal area network (WPAN). Bluetooth uses short-wavelength radio transmissions to exchange data over a short distance, such as from an earpiece to a cellular phone, or from a dedicated telehealth device to a tablet. The reach of Bluetooth can span approximately 33 feet (10 meters).

Body Area Network - A body area network (BAN) consists of technologies for communications on, in and near the human body. While still under development, BANs are expected to appear initially in the healthcare field, for continuous monitoring of a patient's physiological status.

Bricked or Brick (slang) - used to describe the result of tampering with the insides of a phone or other device and their operating systems, and causing irreversible damage. As a noun, a brick is a former piece of technology that, due to tampering, has been rendered useless and irreparable.

CDMA - CDMA is one standard for providing cellular service, geographically limited to North America and some parts of Asia. CDMA phones are capable of working on any CDMA network, though carriers often install software locks on the phones to deter customers from switching carriers. CDMA is an acronym for Code Division Multiple Access.

Cellular (‘Cell’) Communications – This refers to technologies that support roaming wireless communications. The geographical area reached by a wireless network is referred to as a cell. The area of a cell is defined by transmission coverage of the cellular tower. When cells overlap, the wireless communications network coverage is uninterrupted over wide areas.

Cloud, or The Cloud – ‘The cloud’ is another name for the Internet. The Cloud got its name from the cloud icon used in computer-networking diagrams to represent the Internet.

Dongle – Dongle refers to a cable or small USB or serial-based device that connects a mobile product to a wireless network, another computer, or a phone line.

EDGE (network) – EDGE is a digital mobile telephone technology that delivers higher bit rates per radio channel over a GSM cellular network, resulting in increased capacity when compared to ordinary GSM.

GSM – GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications, and is the most common cellular network type in the world. Users can easily distinguish GSM from CDMA phones because GSM phones use a removable SIM card to identify the customer to the carrier, where CDMA customers are identified by their phone’s internal serial number. Theoretically, customers can insert and use their SIM card with any GSM phone, however, many GSM carriers sell phones that are locked to their service only.

Hotspot – A hotspot is an area where a WLAN allows wireless access to the Internet. Hotspots are common now in many public areas, such as coffee shops, libraries, airports, and even on some flights. Hotspots sometimes provide the Wi-Fi signal for free, while others require user payment.

Internet – a series of large computer networks that are networked together, creating one global network. Originally created by the United States Government to communicate and share information with university researchers, it was commercialized in the early 1990’s. Since then, the Internet has revolutionized global commerce and culture, allowing instant communication between people and their ability to access information.

iOS – Operating system used by Apple products, such as the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone.

Jailbreak – The successful unlocking of a cellular telephone that was originally restricted to work on only one carrier’s network.

Local Area Network – Also known as a LAN, a local area network is a one that links computers and associated devices to one another in a limited area, such as an office building.

Locked – Cellular carriers will often restrict the phones they sell in order to prevent their use on competitor’s networks. Such a mobile phone is considered locked.

MicroSD Card – The smallest (11mm X 15mm) of the SD cards (see SD Card)

Network – a network ties things together. Computer networks connect computer terminals and peripheral equipment together. A cellular network connects fixed-location radio transceivers together to provide uninterrupted mobile communications over a large area. A social network ties together friends, colleagues, or groups with common interests.

OS – An acronym for operating system. An OS is a computer program that manages the way a computer or phone runs software, receives and stores input, displays output or connects to the Internet.

Personal Area Network - also known as a PAN. A personal area network links devices in or around a small area, such as a person’s workspace, to one another. PAN devices can be connected with cables or wirelessly.

RIM – also known as Research in Motion, RIM is the company behind the BlackBerry wireless product line.

Root / Rooted / Rooting (slang) – To ‘root’ a phone means to gain unauthorized administrative rights to the phone’s operating system. Once this is obtained, the user can delete any unwanted, pre-loaded apps, or change settings on the handset that the manufacturer didn’t intend to be changed.

SD Card – An SD card is a secure digital memory card commonly used in cellular telephones, as well as in e-readers, cameras, digital audio players, and other portable devices.

Service Contract – A term commitment to a mobile phone carrier, usually for one to two years, where the consumer agrees to remain a customer in good standing for the length of the contract, or face stiff penalties for early termination of service.

Service Provider – A service provider is an entity that provides some kind of communications service to consumers. Examples include Internet service providers, local or long distance telephone companies, application service providers (those that provide software as a service), and digital storage service providers.

SIM Card – A SIM card is a removable chip that stores a GSM customer’s account information, so that when calls are placed, the carrier knows who to bill. It also contains memory and software, which provides the user greater storage and functionality. 

Smartphone – A smartphone is one which has an operating system similar to that of a computer, allowing the user to do more than place calls. Common features that distinguish a smartphone from other cellular phones include email access, document editing capability, and video streaming.

Tablet – A tablet is essentially an enhanced laptop, differentiated by the integration of touch-screen technology.

Unlocked - Cellular carriers will often restrict the phones they sell in order to prevent their use on competitor’s networks. Such a mobile phone is considered locked. An unlocked phone is manipulated to remove any restrictions placed by the original service provider, allowing a consumer to use the phone on any like-type network.

USB – USB is an acronym for “Universal Serial Bus”, and it is currently the most widely used method for attaching peripheral devices to computers.

WebOS – WebOS is a mobile operating system based on Linux kernel. It was originally designed to run Palm devices, and is now HP’s universal platform for all of its devices.

Wide Area Network – A wide-area network (WAN) is a communications network covering a very large geographical area, such as a city, a state, or an entire nation. The Internet can be considered the largest WAN on the planet.

Widget – A small, specialized application, usually used in smartphones or tablets, that displays abbreviated data from an existing website. For example, a weather widget might query and display the temperature for your local area from a national weather website.

Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi is a low-powered wireless signal emitted from an access point that allows Internet connectivity in a small area, such as a home or a coffee shop.

Wireless – an adjective describing the provisioning of signal transmission without the use of cords or cables.

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) – A wireless local area network is a one that links computers and associated devices to one another in a limited area, such as an office building, without the use of cables or wires.

3G Network – 3G stands for 3rd Generation, and represents a set of standards for mobile communications that surpass the data rate of predecessor wireless mobile networks.

4G Network – 4G stands for 4th Generation cellular wireless network. The higher speed and bandwidth on a 4G network allows for much greater capability, such as high-quality, two-way mobile video chat.

802 Standards of the IEEE - The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, is an international non-profit organization that promotes standardization in technical disciplines. As the use of LANs caught their attention in the late 1970’s, the IEEE recognized that the physical components of a network needed standardization. Project 802, named for the year and month it began (1980, February), set standards for area networks, their components, and their security. Standard 802.11 applies to wireless local area networks. As wireless network speeds increase, so have the standards evolved as specified in 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n.