M2M Glossary

There are a lot of specific terms and acronyms involved with M2M and wireless technologies. We have attempted to create a partial glossary of terms with definitions to help shed some light on some of the names and phrases used across our site and webshop.

While it is by no means a definitive list it aims to give newcomers to the industry/technology a bit more context to what is being described and talked about.

M2M, IoT, Networking and Wireless Technology Terminology

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F – O
P – Z

# – E

M2M Glossary # – E

2G The Second Generation of GSM cellular technology brought in improved performance through adding to the cellular radio spectrum, helping to solve coverage issues as well as drops in signal due to urban obstacles. It was also the turning point of moving from analogue transmission methods to digital, adding digital encryption and paving the way of the use of cellular data usage (be it a downlink of 40 kbit/s).
2.4 GHz A short range wireless band which is commonly used in wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee.
3G The Third Generation of GSM cellular technology, offering substantially improved data transfer rates over its predecessor, 2G. While the original release of 3G was using the UMTS method, improvements have been made to improve capacity and data speeds with additional protocols including HSPA.
4G 4th Generation; the latest upgrade to the GSM network, providing greater data transfer speeds which is also referred to as LTE. See LTE for more information.
192 MHz license free RF band commonly used for short range applications. The low frequency allows for better penetration through walls and obstacles; however a low data transfer rate.
868 MHz license free RF band commonly used for short range applications such as thermostats, burglar alarms and industrial use.
AT Commands Attention commands developed by Dennis Hayes which are used to set data connections. The set of short string commands allow developers to set up calls with a modem, as well as performing far more complex tasks. For an example of an AT Command set take a look at Telit’s 3G module, the HE910, AT command directory.
Audio Profile hardware profile used with Bluetooth applications which include custom AT commands and functionality dedicated to wireless streaming of audio. Examples include A2DP which allows for streaming of audio to devices such as speakers, where as an Audio Gateway profile allows for two-way audio communication used in devices such as headsets.
Band A range of frequencies which are used by a technology for communication purposes. For example the 2.4 MHz band is used for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communication.
Bluetooth 4.0 The latest iteration of Bluetooth, offering lower power usage for portable devices and new profiles including Bluetooth Mesh, a new Bluetooth topology which allows devices to be connected together, sending/repeating commands from the hub to any connected device. Has many potential uses for IoT devices and has been seen in applications such as mobile controlled colour changing lighting.
Bluetooth Short range wireless technology standard which operates on the 2.4 MHz band. Bluetooth can be used for sending both data and audio, with popular uses including wireless headsets and cordless keyboards. Bluetooth devices can be set up with different hardware profiles to help perform specific tasks, for example AudioAdapter, AudioHeadset, Serial and Keyboard profiles.
Cellular Modem Allows a device to receive internet access over the cellular mobile networks. Devices can also be configured to remotely connect to a server or device to enable off site access and data collection.
Cellular Router Allows connected devices to access servers and devices by making an IP connection through the cellular mobile network. Routers allow for multiple devices to be connected and controlled, while built in Open VPN, IPSEC, PPTP and L2TP offers extra device and data transfer security to keep your information safe.
Class 1 Bluetooth Offers a greater wireless data transfer distance (over 100m, up to 1km) through using greater power consumption (100mW).
Class 2 Bluetooth Short range wireless data transmission (10 – 20m) which has low power consumption of around 2.5mW.
DIN Rail metal rail used for mounting electrical equipment and racks.
Downlink Notified as DL or D/L, downlink is the process of downloading data onto an end node from a server/target address. In a cellular network this would be seen as data being sent from a cellular base station to a mobile handset.
EDGE Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution is an enhancement made to 2G GSM networks to improve data transfer speeds which provided downlink speeds of up to 1 Mbit/s and uplink speeds of up to 400 kbit/s.

F – O

M2M Glossary F – O

FAKRA Fachnormenausschuss Kraftfahrzeugindustrie; a type of SMB connector used in the automotive industry for connecting coaxial RF connectors which uses snap on connectors.
Form Factor The physical size, pin-out and configuration of a component. A family range of module, for example, my include 2G, 3G and 4G variants to allow PCB designers to design in one module but allow for future upgrades through the product family’s road map.
Galileo Developed by the European Union and Space Agency, Galileo is a global positioning constellation of satellites which is still in development and will be made up of 30 satellites (27 operations and thee active spares).
GLONASS Global Navigation Satellite System; Russian alternative to the GPS constellation made of 24 satellites orbiting Earth. Multi-constellation GPS modules allow you to access multiple satellite networks, accessing extra satellites allows for faster and more accurate positioning as well as offering greater resilience when satellites are obscured in areas such as cities.
GNSS Acronym for Global Navigation Satellite System, used when talking about different constellations of satellite navigation systems
GPS Global Positioning System, gives you location information using a satellite network in Earth’s orbit. GPS modules allow you to embed location functionality into your application so you can communicate with satellite system.
GSM Global System for Mobile Communications is the standard that was brought in help standardise protocols for digital cellular networks which were made possible by 2G.
HSDPA High Speed Downlink Packet Access increased the capacity of UMTS/3G bandwidth to allow for faster download speeds for connected devices.
HSPA High Speed Packet Access was an improvement made to transfer speeds over 3G technology through the addition of two new protocols; HSDPA and HSUPA. It offers potential downlink speeds of 14 Mbit/s and downlink of 5.76 Mbit/s.
HSUPA High Speed Uplink Packet Access was an improvement made to UMTS to enable faster uploading of data from devices, increasing capacity & throughput while reducing delay.
IoE Internet of Everything; see IoT. Phrase coined by Intel referring to their developments in IoT technology.
IoT Internet of Things; networks of devices which can talk to or be controlled by other devices. IoT devices allow users to be able to control them remotely through an IP network, such as through the Internet.
IPSEC Internet Protocol Security is a set of protocols which provide authentication and encryption to IP packets, adding an extra layer of security on Internet Protocol (IP) communications.
IRIDIUM Satellite communication constellation which provides global voice and data coverage through their satellite network, operating on the 1618.85 to 1626.5 MHz frequencies.
ISM Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) bands are a range of frequencies which are reserved for industrial, scientific and medical purposes. There are different ranges of the radio spectrum which have been reserved for these purposes, including 433MHz, 915MHz and 2.4MHz.
L2TP Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is a tunnelling protocol used to support virtual private networks (VPNs) or as part of the delivery of services by ISPs. It does not provide any encryption or confidentiality by itself, relying on an encryption protocol that it passes within the tunnel to provide privacy.
LTE Long Term Evolution, or more commonly known as 4G, is the latest cellular network type which offers far superior data transfer speeds than its predecessor, 3G, and is part of the GSM upgrade path. Portable devices can now access data at high speed broadband speeds. Depending on where in the world you are LTE may be implemented using different frequency bands, for example European LTE uses 700/800/900/1800/2600 MHz bands where North America uses 700/750/800/850/1900/1700/2100(AWS)/2500/2600 MHz
M2M Machine-to-Machine; the technology that allows machines to talk to each other and share information, allowing for the creation of intelligent systems and greater automation.
OpenVPN OpenVPN is an open-source software application that implements virtual private network (VPN) techniques for creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities. This is a security method which can be implemented on devices such as cellular routers

P – Z

M2M Glossary P – Z

PCB Printed Circuit Board
PPTP Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol is a method for implementing Virtual private Networks (VPNs).
Python is a widely used open-source programming language which can be implemented in variety of ways, including in embedded applications. There is a large library base which can be used by Python applications, helping minimise code and speed up development time.
Python Script Interpreter gives you the ability to run Python code, something which is now being seen embedded directly into devices such as cellular modules.
RFID Radio Frequency Identification chips are widely used to contain information which can be retrieved through different methods, including electromagnetic induction, offering low (if any) power usage. Their usage is wide spread and potentially tiny form-factor, including warehousing for tracking stock, toll road usage billing, pet tagging and in passports.
Serial Port Profile (SPP) hardware profile used with Bluetooth applications which include custom AT commands and functionality dedicated to wireless data connections and serial cable replacement.
SIGFOX Low bandwidth wireless protocol which offers excellent range and obstacle penetration for short messages, giving a new low-powered and cost-effective wireless transmission medium for IoT and M2M technologies.
SMA SubMiniature version A, are connectors commonly used with antenna, giving you male and female coaxial cable connectors which connect with a screw type head.
TETRA Terrestrial Trunked Radio, operates as a two-way transceiver and is popularly used by the emergency services as well as on transport such as rail and on marine vessels. It operates on a low frequencies split over 4 channels (ranging between 380 and 400 MHz for emergency services and higher for civilian use). The use of low frequencies allows for far greater transmission distances but lower data transfer rates.
Uplink Notified as UL or U/L, uplink is the process of sending data from your device/computer to a server or target address. In a cellular network this would be seen as data being sent from a mobile handset to a cellular base station.
UMTS Universal Mobile Telecommunications System is also referred to as 3G cellular technology and is the third iteration of the GSM. It achieves improved data transfer speeds over 2G by adding additional higher frequency bands (2100MHz).
Wi-Fi Wireless Fidelity is a common form of local area network which operates on the 2.4 GHz band. Its popularity has led to a wide variety of devices to become Wi-Fi enabled, including smartphones, cameras, vehicles and house hold appliances. Wi-Fi can be embedded into a device through designing in a Wi-Fi module.
ZigBee Small range wireless networking protocol that primarily operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency spectrum. ZigBee devices connect in a Mesh topology, forwarding messages from controlling nodes to slaves, which repeat commands to other connected nodes. Due to its low power consumption and low data rate ZigBee has been used in applications such as traffic management, wireless light switches and industrial device monitoring.

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