Here's a handy guide to take you through the alphabet soup that is wireless today.
-- A short-range wireless connection protocol that is mainly used to allow easy connection of peripherals (earphones, microphones, keyboards, etc.) to computers/devices.
-- Stands for code division multiple access. It is a first-generation cellular-phone standard used primarily in North America by
-- Also known as EGPRS, it is the 2.5G data standard used primarily by North American GSM cellular networks.
-- 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.
-- The next frontier for high-speed, broadband cellular communications. Currently there are two competing standards: WiMax (backed by
, and Sprint) and LTE (backed by
, and others).
-- Stands for general packet radio service. It is a second-generation cellular data standard used by GSM networks worldwide.
-- 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.
-- 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.
-- 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.
-- 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.
-- 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.
-- 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.
-- 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 TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.