Glossary of Terms

 

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The telecommunications and fiber industries are full of terms and acronyms. Our glossary of terms attempts to capture some of them.

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L

Last Mile: Describes the final leg of a connection between a service provider and the customer. In DSL and cable systems, this is the most frequent bottleneck and the most expensive to resolve. The service provider may run a faster fiber-optic network into the neighborhood but deliver the last mile (which could be considerably less than a mile -"last" is the operative term) with phone lines that cannot sustain fast speeds or coaxial cable that is shared with many subscribers.

LATA: See Local Access and Transport Area.

Latency: The amount of time it takes for a bit to get from point A to point B. In the words of Dr. Stuart Cheshire: "If you want to transfer a large file over your modem it might take several seconds, or even minutes. The less data you send, the less time it takes, but there's a limit. No matter how small the amount of data, for any particular network device there's always a minimum time that you can never beat. That's called the latency of the device."

Levelized: A method, often used in regulatory proceedings, to calculate the annuitized equivalent—i.e., the effective annual value of cash flows—of the costs and revenues associated with building and operating a network. A “levelized” calculation provides a steady cash-flow stream, rather than trying to model or guess the timing of largely unpredictable yet sizable real-world payouts like those for upgrading and repairing equipment. The (net) present value of a levelized cash flow is equal to the (net) present value of actual cash flows.

Link Budget: A calculation involving the gain and loss factors associated with the antennas, transmitters, transmission lines and propagation environment used to determine the maximum distance at which a transmitter and receiver can successfully operate.

Local Access and Transport Area (LATA): One of 196 local geographical areas in the U.S. created by the Modified Final Judgment in which a divested Regional Bell operating company (RBOC) was permitted to offer exchange telecommunications and exchange access services.

Long Term Evolution (LTE): A high performance air interface for cellular mobile communication systems. LTE technology increases the capacity and speed of wireless networks relative to current 3G deployments.

LTE: See Long Term Evolution.


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