The Top In-Building Wireless Acronyms You Need to Know

The technology world has some of the best-known acronyms around. How about “CPU” for Central Processing Unit or “LAN” for Local Area Network. And of course, social media is the king of acronyms with LOL, BTW and OMG (see, we don’t even need to explain those!).

“With any new type of technology or business innovation comes a new set of terms and jargon that only insiders understand at first,” says Mark Horinko, president of Airwavz. “The in-building wireless infrastructure market is still relatively new for commercial real estate owners and managers, so we wanted to share a few they can keep handy as they read more about it.”

One thing is for sure, building owners and operators will need to understand the new technology terms associated with an in-building wireless infrastructure investment. What are the various components that make it work? Why can’t WiFi and a simple wireless router handle the job in my building?

Hang onto this cheat sheet the next time your IT Director rolls by and blow her away with your wireless technology acronym expertise.

Top In-Building Wireless Acronyms

3PO (3rd Party Operator) – what Airwavz is. We operate an end-to-end, unique, secure and proprietary in-building wireless mobile network for our customers.

AA (agency agreement) – a bit like a real estate agent listing agreement where Airwavz becomes the designated broker for our customer and works with the wireless carriers on their behalf to secure service agreements.

BBU (base band unit) – a device that processes the original wireless frequency range of a signal before it is modulated or changed into something useful in a distributed antenna system.

BTS (base transceiver station) – a piece of equipment that connects mobile devices to the wireless provider’s network and covers a defined area known as a cell.

CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) – not the local phone company (ILEC’s such as AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink, etc.), but rather one of the many that popped up in the market following deregulation in the 1990’s.

C-RAN (centralized/cloud radio access network) – a centralized, cloud computing-based network architecture supporting wireless communication standards like 3G, 4G/LTE, 5G etc.

DAS (distributed antenna system) – a series of active connected antennas inside of a commercial building.

D-RAN (distributed radio access network) – similar to a DAS, but passive antennas connected to carriers’ radios inside of building instead of elsewhere.

DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) – a technology that puts data from different sources together on an optical fiber, with each signal carried at the same time on its own unique light wavelength.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) – like other “_aaS” acronyms, this represents any type of business model where the actual infrastructure needed to perform a business function becomes part of the service itself.

ILEC (incumbent local exchange carrier) – the phone company, or whichever local telephone company ‘owns’ the rights to serve a particular area.

Macro Cell (cell tower) – basically one of the big cell towers we see dotting the landscape that have trouble penetrating tall commercial buildings in dense metro areas.

MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) – pronounced “my-moe”, is where multiple antennas are used at both the source (transmitter) and at the destination (receiver). Helps reduce errors and optimize data speed.

MNO (mobile network operator) – a fancy acronym/name for spectrum-owning wireless service providers like Verizon, AT&T, TMobile, Sprint and other smaller regional and discount players.

MSO (multiple system operators) – the local cable company (e.g. Comcast, Spectrum, et al) when they own more than one franchise (as almost ALL do today).

MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) – a fancy name for a wireless provider that does NOT own their network but resells another’s under their own brand name (ex: Straight Talk, Consumer Cellular, Virgin Mobile, etc.)

PIM (passive intermodulation) – interference in a wireless system that drives building tenants crazy and keeps wireless network engineers busy. Well-meaning tenants putting femtocells in their offices are a big cause of PIM.

RRH or RRU (remote radio head or unit) – a radio transceiver that connects to an operator radio-controlled panel via a wired or wireless interface. For Airwavz these would be units inside of our data center that would connect to wireless carriers’ networks.

SC/LC (connector types for fiber) – two types of fiber connectors, with LC being a smaller connector about half the size of the SC.

SISO (single input, single output) – like MIMO but only single antenna at transmitter and single antenna at receiver end.

SLA (site license agreement) – the agreement that shows the building owner means business and Airwavz has the green light to get wireless carriers onboard.

Small Cell – not a big antenna like the macro cell, but a smaller one typically found on a building or streetlight focusing on providing cellular service in a small area.

Wi-Fi – not an acronym for anything, and not a substitute for in-building wireless.

Download your own copy of the acronym list here.

Airwavz provides a turnkey solution as your total wireless infrastructure provider, with 24/7 system monitoring, maintenance, change/move services and stellar customer service. For more information and to receive a customized plan for your building, please call us at 1-833-AIRWAVZ, or submit our contact form.

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