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Jargon Buster

3G (third generation)—The third generation of mobile phone standards and technology, often called mobile broadband, enables faster data-transmission speeds, greater network capacity and more advanced network services than 2G and 2.5G technologies. 3G services include wide area wireless voice and data coverage, real-time video and Internet access—all in a mobile environment.

802.11a - An IEEE wireless networking standard that specifies a maximum data transfer rate of 54Mbps and an operating frequency of 5GHz.

802.11b - An IEEE wireless networking standard that specifies a maximum data transfer rate of 11Mbps and an operating frequency of 2.4GHz.

802.11g - An IEEE wireless networking standard that specifies a maximum data transfer rate of 54Mbps, an operating frequency of 2.4GHz, and backward compatibility with 802.11b devices.

802.11—A set of standards for carrying out wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communication in the 2.4, 3.6 and 5 GHz frequency bands. These standards are implemented by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Committee. 802.11 was the first WLAN standard implemented in 1997 by IEEE, and it supported a maximum network bandwidth of 2 Mbps (megabits per second), which is too slow for most of today’s applications. For this reason, ordinary 802.11 wireless products are no longer manufactured. The 802.11 family of standards, including 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n, are offshoots of the original standards.


Access Point

Device that allows wireless-equipped computers and other devices to communicate with a wired network. Also used to expand the range of a wireless network.

Ad-hoc - A group of wireless devices communicating directly with each other (peer-to-peer) without the use of an access point.

AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) - A method that uses up to 256-bit key encryption to secure data.


Backbone - The part of a network that connects most of the systems and networks together, and handles the most data.

Bandwidth - The transmission capacity of a given device or network.

Beacon Interval - The frequency interval of the beacon, which is a packet broadcast by a router to synchronize a wireless network.

Bit - A binary digit.

Bridge - A device that connects two different kinds of local networks, such as a wireless network to a wired Ethernet network.

Buffer - A block of memory that temporarily holds data to be worked on later when a device is currently too busy to accept the data.


Cable Modem - A device that connects a computer to the cable television network, which in turn connects to the Internet.

CSMA/CA (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Avoidance) - A method of data transfer that is used to prevent data loss in a network.

CTS (Clear To Send) - A signal sent by a device to indicate that it is ready to receive data.


DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name System) - The capability of having a website, FTP, or e-mail server-with a dynamic IP address-use a fixed domain name.

Default Gateway - A device that forwards Internet traffic from your local area network.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) - A protocol that lets one device on a local network, known as a DHCP server, assign temporary IP addresses to the other network devices, typically computers.

DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) - Removes the Router's firewall protection from one PC, allowing it to be "seen" from the Internet.

DNS (Domain Name Server) - The IP address of your ISP's server, which translates the names of websites into IP addresses.

Domain - A specific name for a network of computers.

Download - To receive a file transmitted over a network.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) - An always-on broadband connection over traditional phone lines.

DSSS (Direct-Sequence Spread-Spectrum) - A type of radio transmission technology that includes a redundant bit pattern to lessen the probability of data lost during transmission. Used in 802.11b networking.

DTIM (Delivery Traffic Indication Message) - A message included in data packets that can increase wireless efficiency.

Dynamic IP Address - A temporary IP address assigned by a DHCP server.


EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) - A general authentication protocol used to control network access. Many specific authentication methods work within this framework.

EAP-PEAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol-Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol) - A mutual authentication method that uses a combination of digital certificates and another system, such as passwords.

EAP-TLS (Extensible Authentication Protocol-Transport Layer Security) - A mutual authentication method that uses digital certificates.

Encryption - Encoding data to prevent it from being read by unauthorized people.

Ethernet - An IEEE standard network protocol that specifies how data is placed on and retrieved from a common transmission medium.


Finger - A program that tells you the name associated with an e-mail address.

Firewall - Security measures that protect the resources of a local network from intruders.

Firmware - 1. In network devices, the programming that runs the device. 2. Programming loaded into read-only memory (ROM) or programmable read-only memory (PROM) that cannot be altered by end-users.

Fragmentation - Breaking a packet into smaller units when transmitting over a network medium that cannot support the original size of the packet.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) - A standard protocol for sending files between computers over a TCP/IP network and the Internet.

Full Duplex - The ability of a networking device to receive and transmit data simultaneously.


Gateway - A system that interconnects networks.


Half Duplex - Data transmission that can occur in two directions over a single line, but only one direction at a time.

Hardware - The physical aspect of computers, telecommunications, and other information technology devices.

HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol) - The communications protocol used to connect to servers on the World Wide Web.


IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) - An independent institute that develops networking standards.

Infrastructure - Currently installed computing and networking equipment.

Infrastructure Mode - Configuration in which a wireless network is bridged to a wired network via an access point.

IP (Internet Protocol) - A protocol used to send data over a network.

IP Address - The address used to identify a computer or device on a network.

IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) - A VPN protocol used to implement secure exchange of packets at the IP layer.

ISM band - Radio band used in wireless networking transmissions.

ISP (Internet Service Provider) - A company that provides access to the Internet.


LAN (Local Area Network) - The computers and networking products that make up the network in your home or office.

LEAP (Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol) - A mutual authentication method that uses a username and password system.


MAC (Media Access Control) Address - The unique address that a manufacturer assigns to each networking device.

Mbps (Megabits Per Second) - One million bits per second; a unit of measurement for data transmission.

Multicasting - Sending data to a group of destinations at once.


NAT (Network Address Translation) - NAT technology translates IP addresses of a local area network to a different IP address for the Internet.

Node - A network junction or connection point, typically a computer or work station.

NTP – Network Timing Protocol


OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) - A type of modulation technology that separates the data stream into a number of lower-speed data streams, which are then transmitted in parallel. Used in 802.11a, 802.11g, and powerline networking.


Packet - A unit of data sent over a network.

Passphrase - Used much like a password, a passphrase simplifies the WEP encryption process by automatically generating the WEP encryption keys for Linksys products.

Ping (Packet INternet Groper) - An Internet utility used to determine whether a particular IP address is online.

POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) - A standard protocol used to retrieve e-mail stored on a mail server.

Port - 1. The connection point on a computer or networking device used for plugging in a cable or an adapter. 2. The virtual connection point through which a computer uses a specific application on a server.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) - A technology enabling an Ethernet network cable to deliver both data and power.

PPPoE (Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet) - A type of broadband connection that provides authentication (username and password) in addition to data transport.

PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) - A VPN protocol that allows the Point to Point Protocol (PPP) to be tunneled through an IP network. This protocol is also used as a type of broadband connection in Europe .

Preamble - Part of the wireless signal that synchronizes network traffic.


RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) - A protocol that uses an authentication server to control network access.

RJ-45 (Registered Jack-45) - An Ethernet connector that holds up to eight wires.

Roaming - The ability to take a wireless device from one access point's range to another without losing the connection.

Router - A networking device that connects multiple networks together, such as a local network and the Internet.

RTS (Request To Send) - A packet sent when a computer has data to transmit. The computer will wait for a CTS (Clear To Send) message before sending data.


Server - Any computer whose function in a network is to provide user access to files, printing, communications, and other services.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) - The standard e-mail protocol on the Internet.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) - A widely used network monitoring and control protocol.

Software - Instructions for the computer. A series of instructions that performs a particular task is called a "program".

SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) - Type of firewall that inspects incoming data packets to make sure that they correspond to an outgoing request. Unsolicited (and possibly harmful) packets are rejected.

Spread Spectrum - Wideband radio frequency technique used for more reliable and secure data transmission.

SSID (Service Set IDentifier) - Your wireless network's name.

Static IP Address - A fixed address assigned to a computer or device that is connected to a network.

Static Routing - Forwarding data in a network via a fixed path.

Subnet Mask - An address code that determines the size of the network.

Switch - Device that is the central point of connection for computers and other devices in a network, so data can be shared at full transmission speeds.


TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) - A network protocol for transmitting data that requires acknowledgement from the recipient of data sent.

Telnet - A user command and TCP/IP protocol used for accessing remote PCs.

TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) - A wireless encryption protocol that periodically changes the encryption key, making it harder to decode.

TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) - A version of the TCP/IP FTP protocol that uses UDP and has no directory or password capability.

Throughput - The amount of data moved successfully from one node to another in a given time period.

Topology - The physical layout of a network.

TX Rate - Transmission Rate.


UDP (User Datagram Protocol) - A network protocol for transmitting data that does not require acknowledgement from the recipient of the data that is sent.

Upload - To transmit a file over a network.


VPN (Virtual Private Network) - A security measure to protect data as it leaves one network and goes to another over the Internet.


WAN (Wide Area Network)

A computer network that covers a broad physical area, such a city, state or country. WANs are used to connect local area networks (LANs) and other types of networks to allow computers in one location to communicate with computers in other locations. The largest and most popular WAN is the Internet.

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)

A method of encrypting data transmitted on a wireless network for greater security.


A wireless Ethernet network, Wi-Fi uses a wireless access point to connect mobile devices, such as laptops or handheld devices, to a local area network (LAN). These wireless access points or “hotspots” are commonly used in homes, coffee shops, airports and other public places to share an Internet connection.

Wi-Fi hotspot

A location that offers high-speed Internet access over a wireless local area network (WLAN) for free or for a minimum fee per day. Wi-Fi hotspots are commonly used in coffee shops, airports or other public spaces that frequently have Internet users. A Wi-Fi hotspot usually has a range of 300–500 feet and can provide access for up to 20–50 users, depending on the access point installation. Also see Wi-Fi and WLAN.

Wireless router

A hardware device that combines a wireless access point (WAP), a wired local area network (LAN) switch and a modem with connections to a cable or DSL Internet service. Wireless routers provide a convenient way to connect computers to the Internet without running cables from the computers to the router. Internet connectivity is dependent on the strength of the wireless signal.

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)

Also known as Wi-Fi, WLAN uses a wireless access point to connect mobile devices, such as laptops or handheld devices, to the local area network. These wireless access points or “hotspots” are commonly used in homes, coffee shops, airports and other public places.

WWAN (wireless wide area network)—Also known as mobile broadband, WWAN is provided by cellular tower technology from mobile operators via 3G (third generation) wireless networks. Because of the vast geographical coverage provided by cell phone companies, WWAN can provide high-speed wireless connections in places where Wi-Fi may not be available.


Oracle Vision Networks Ltd, The Cedars, Barnsley Road, Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, WF9 4PU Tel: 0870 758 7676 Fax: 0870 758 7944