Here are some key terms to help you with understanding the concepts in Home Networking.
Bandwidth (Network Bandwidth)
As compared to Network Speed, bandwidth can be defined as the throughput of your connection to the Internet. Measured in Kbps or Mbps (1.4Mbps for instance).
A term loosely used to describe any of several high-speed methods of delivering internet access to the home. Contrasted with dial-up access, which has a maximum speed of 5Kbps, broadband in the U.S. is generally rated at a speed of between 64Kbps and 768Kbpbs.
A cable modem is a type of modem that provides bi-directional data communication via radio frequency channels on a cable television (CATV) infrastructure. Cable modem speeds vary widely. While cable modem technology can theoretically support up to about 30 Mbps, most providers offer service with between 1 Mbps and 6 Mbps bandwidth for downloads, and between 128 Kbps and 768 Kbps for uploads.
CAT-5 (or CAT5)
Cat-5 refers to a physical cabling standard, sometimes called Ethernet cable. It is a current industry standard for network and telephone wiring. Cat-5 cable is unshielded wire containing four pairs of 24-gauge twisted copper pairs, terminating in an RJ-45 jack
Dynamic Host Control Protocol.
A network application protocol used by devices to obtain network configuration information for operation in a network. This protocol reduces system administration workload, allowing networks to add devices with little or no manual intervention.
Domain Name System.
A DNS server lets you locate computers on a network or the Internet (TCP/IP network) by domain name. The DNS server maintains a database of domain names (host names) and their corresponding IP addresses.
In home networking usage, a domain is analogous to a Workgroup with the differences being that a domain has more rules, restrictions and security aspects. In the larger Internet usage, a domain is the identifier of a web presence. In the URL www.google.com, the google.com portion of the URL is known as the domain of the web presence.
Digital Subscriber Line.
Data lines that are provided by telephone companies to their local subscribers and that carry data at high speeds.
A DSL modem is a type of modem that provides bi-directional data communication via radio frequency channels over standard telephone lines. Service providers advertise speeds that range from 128 Kbps to 3 Mbps.
A type of network technology for local area networks; coaxial cable carries radio frequency signals between computers. The name comes from the physical concept of the “ether”. It defines a number of wiring and signaling standards. Ethernet technology describes the hard wires and connections that exist in our home network.
A part of a PC or network that acts as a barrier for unwanted or unauthorized data. A Firewall can be implemented in hardware or software and is usually built into the network Router.
HyperText Markup Language.
The text-based language used to construct web pages. HTML is interpreted by web browsers to display the final page.
HyperText Transfer Protocol.
The underlying protocol (or definition) used by the World Wide Web. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.
In Windows 7, Microsoft introducced the Homegroup concept. HomeGroup takes the headache out of sharing files and printers on a home network. Connect two or more PCs running Windows 7, and HomeGroup makes it easy to automatically start sharing your music, pictures, video, and document libraries with others in your home. The new “Share with” menu, meanwhile, provides a speedy way to share individual files.
A device similar to a network Switch that us used for connecting multiple twisted pair or fiber optic Ethernet devices together which makes them act as a single network segment. I”n its basic form, a hub receives signals from a server on one “port” and rebroadcasts or duplicates them to all other “ports”.
Internet Protocol address.
The address of a computer attached to a TCP/IP network. Every PC and Server must have a unique IP address. PCs have either a permanent address or one that is dynamically assigned to them by a server. IP addresses are written as four sets of numbers separated by periods; for example, 126.96.36.199.
Internet Protocol Configuration.
In Microsoft Windows, IPCONFIG is a console application that displays all current TCP/IP network configuration values and refreshes Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol DHCP and Domain Name System DNS settings.
A set of rules (protocol) used by computers and other devices for communicating across networks.
Internet Service Provider.
An Internet service provider is a company that offers its customers access to the Internet. The ISP connects to its customers using a data transmission technology such as dial-up, DSL, cable modem, wireless or dedicated high-speed connections.
Local Area Network.
A local computer network for communication between computers; especially a network connecting computers and word processors and other electronic office or home equipment to create a communication system.
Media Access Control.
This is a unique identifier assigned to most networking adapters. It has 6 groups of hexadecimal numbers and looks like this: “01:32:5e:c5:43:fe”.
From a combination of Modulater and Demodulater.
A Modem is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information.
Network Address Translation.
The process where a network device, usually a firewall or router, assigns a public address to a computer (or group of computers) inside a network. The main use of NAT is to limit the number of public IP addresses an organization or company must use, for both economy and security purposes.
Network Interface Card
Refers to your PCs ethernet adapter. It may be an add-in card on your PC or built in to the motherboard. The NIC connects to other devices on your network through CAT5 cables.
A specially formed unit of data which contains transmission control information and data. Data transmitted over the internet is broken up into packets and each packet is sent individually based on its control information. The packets are re-assembled at the destination. The use of packets allows multiple users to access the data network at the same time.
A computer network tool used to test whether a particular host is reachable across an IP network.
Remote Desktop Connection.
A method for remotely controlling another computer. See RDP – Remote Desktop Protocol.
Remote Desktop Protocol
A protocol designed for secure communications in networks using Microsoft Terminal Services technology. RDP is available for most versions of the Windows operating system. In 2006, RDP 6.0 was released for Microsoft Vista.
A router is a device that forwards data along networks. A router is connected to at least two seperate networks, commonly two LANs (Local Area Network) or WANs (Wide Area Network) or a LAN and its ISP’s network. Routers are located at gateways, the places where two or more networks connect, and are the critical device that keeps data flowing between networks and keeps the networks connected to the Internet.
A server is any combination of hardware or software designed to provide services to clients. When used alone, the term typically refers to a computer which may be running a server operating system, but is commonly used to refer to any software or dedicated hardware capable of providing services
Speed (Network Speed)
The speed at which data is transmitted. Typically, Ethernet based networks can come in 3 speeds – 10 Mbps, 100Mbps and 1000Mbps. For us, it is a measure of how quickly a webpage loads from request to rendering.
Usually audio or video files played as they are being downloaded over the Internet instead of users having to wait for the entire file to download first. Streaming media requires a media player program.
Its technical definition may be too advanced for this series, but it basically defines which bits in the host portion of the IP address can be used to define a subnet. You may need to know it when setting up your network cards.
A device nearly identical to a network Hub that is used for connecting multiple twisted pair or fiber optic Ethernet devices together which makes them act as a single network segment. A switch generally contains more intelligence (and a slightly higher price tag) than a hub. Unlike hubs, network switches are capable of inspecting data packets as they are received, determining the source and destination device of each packet, and forwarding them appropriately. By delivering data only to the connected device intended, a network switch conserves network bandwidth and offers generally better performance than a hub.
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. An expansion of Internet Protocol, TCP/IP operates with more specific systems, usually web browsers and servers.
T1 line (and T2, etc)
A type of serial line that transmits data. T1 lines are often used to link large computer networks, such as those that make up the Internet
T1 transmits data at a rate of up to 1.544 Mbps (megabits) per second.
T2 transmits data at a rate of up to 6.312 Mbps per second
T3 transmits data at a rate of up to 44.736 Mbps. A T3 line is equal to 28 T1 lines
Uniform Resource Locator.
The global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web. A URL can be thought of as the “address” of a web page and is sometimes referred to informally as a “web address.”
URLs take the form of: “http://www.pcuserclinic.com”
Universal Serial Bus
A serial bus standard to connect devices to a host computer. USB was designed to allow many peripherals to be connected using a single standardized interface and to improve plug and play capabilities by allowing hot swapping; that is, by allowing devices to be connected and disconnected without rebooting the computer or turning off the device. USB is intended to replace many varieties of serial and parallel ports. USB can connect computer peripherals such as mice, keyboards, PDAs, gamepads and joysticks, scanners, digital cameras, printers, personal media players, flash drives, and external hard drives.
Wide Area Network.
A network that links computers at different physical locations, perhaps hundreds of miles apart, so that they can share information.
A workgroup is Microsoft’s terminology for a peer-to-peer PC computer network. PCs in the same workgroup may allow each other access to their files, printers, or Internet connection. Members of different workgroups on the same local area network and TCP/IP network can only access resources in workgroups to which they are joined. Workgroups can be used only if Microsoft Network is enabled.