Here's a handy guide to take you through the alphabet soup that is wireless today.

Bluetooth -- A short-range wireless connection protocol that is mainly used to allow easy connection of peripherals (earphones, microphones, keyboards, etc.) to computers/devices.

CDMA -- Stands for code division multiple access. It is a first-generation cellular-phone standard used primarily in North America by Sprint ( S) and Verizon ( VZ).

EDGE -- Also known as EGPRS, it is the 2.5G data standard used primarily by North American GSM cellular networks.

EV-DO -- Stands for evolution-data optimized. It is a higher-speed, 3G data standard primarily used by Sprint and Verizon in the U.S. Latest version is called Rev. A.

4G -- The next frontier for high-speed, broadband cellular communications. Currently there are two competing standards: WiMax (backed by Intel ( INTC), and Sprint) and LTE (backed by AT&T ( T), T-Mobile ( DT), MetroPCS ( PCS), Verizon, Rogers, Telus, and others).

GPRS -- Stands for general packet radio service. It is a second-generation cellular data standard used by GSM networks worldwide.

GSM -- Stands for groupe spécial mondial or global system for mobile. It is a first-generation cellular-phone standard used worldwide, and by AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.

HSDPA -- Stands for high-speed downlink packet access. It is a fast, worldwide, 3G data standard used by AT&T in the U.S. Works on GSM-based UMTS (universal mobile telecommunications system) networks.

LTE -- Stands for long-term evolution. It is a future, 4G broadband communication standard backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. First U.S. networks expected to go online by 2010.

TDMA -- Stands for time division multiple access. It is a second-generation cellular phone standard used by a number of cellular standards including iDEN handsets on Nextel's (Sprint) North American network.

3G -- The third-generation wireless telecom standard. Enables network operators to offer a wider range of faster services while achieving greater network capacity through improved efficiency.

Wi-Fi -- Is a medium-range wireless connection protocol trademarked by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Based on the IEEE 802.11 (a/b/g/n) standard, Wi-Fi allows a number of computers/devices to wirelessly share an Internet connection at the same time.

WiMax -- Has little to do with Wi-Fi. Stands for worldwide inter-operability for microwave access. It's a 4G broadband communication standard backed by Sprint and Intel. WiMax networks are operated in Baltimore and Portland, Ore.
Gary Krakow is's senior technology correspondent.