Networking terms & phrases explained


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Networking Glossary

Terms from the networking world explained

Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) - A Protocol in the TCP/IP suite providing IP Address-to-MAC Address Resolution for IP Packets.

Alerter Service - A Service used by the Server and other Services to notify selected Users and Computers of Administrative Alerts occurring on a Computer. The Alerter Service requires the Messenger Service.

Bridge ( Network Bridge ): A device connecting two LAN segments together. Segments may be of similar or dissimilar types, such as Ethernet and Token Ring. A bridge is inserted into a network to segment said LAN and keep traffic contained within segments to improve performance and provide better security.

Browsing Protocol - Browsing is a mechanism for discovering servers that are running particular services (not just CIFS file services). Servers are organized into named groups called domains, which form browsing scopes. See: Browse Master / Master Browser.

DataGram & Packet - A Block or Unit of Data or Packet of Data, transmitted in a TCP/IP Network. Each DataGram contains Source and Destination Addresses and Data.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) - A standard Protocol which allows a Server to Dynamically distribute IP Addressing and Configuration Information to Clients.

DHCP automatically assigns IP addresses to Client Workstations logging onto a TCP/IP Network. It eliminates having to manually assign permanent IP addresses. DHCP software is also found in Network Devices such as DHCP Routers, ISDN Routers and Modem Routers that can allow multiple Users access to the Internet.

Domains - A Group of Computers in a Network sharing a Common Directory Database. A Domain is organized in levels and is Administered as a Unit with Common Rules and Procedures. Each Domain has a Unique Name. On the Internet, Domains are defined by an IP Address. All Devices Sharing part of the IP address are in the same Domain. In an Internet (Domain Name / IP Number) Address, the Domain is generally the word or number that indicates the type of entity that owns the Address. For example, .com, .net or .org.

Domain Controllers - In a Windows Server Domain, a Computer running Windows Server manages User Access to a Network and includes Logging On, Authentication and Access to the Directory and Shared Resources.

EtherNet LAN Connections - Examples of LAN Connections include 1394, USB, Ethernet - 10BaseT & 100BaseT using RJ45 Connections & CAT5 cabling, Token Ring, Cable Modems & DSL (Broadband), FDDI, IP over ATM, IrDA (Infrared), Wireless, and ATM-emulated LANs & DialUp. Emulated LANs are based on Virtual Adapter Drivers such as the LAN Emulation Protocol.

FoIP - Fax over (IP) Internet Protocol.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) - FTP is used to make files and folders publicly available for transfer over the Internet. FTP can be accomplished either through a web browser or an FTP Client such as Smart FTP or similar.

ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) - With the Internet Connection Sharing feature of Network and Dial-up Connections, you can connect your home Network or Small Office Network to the Internet. By enabling Internet connection sharing on the computer that uses the Dial-Up Connection, you are providing network address translation (NAT), IP Addressing, and Name Resolution Services for all computers on your Home Network.

Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) - A Maintenance Protocol in the TCP/IP suite, required in every TCP/IP implementation. Allows two nodes on an IP Network to share IP status and error information. ICMP is used by the ping utility to determine reachability of a Remote System.

IP (Internet Protocol) - The Messenger Protocol of TCP/IP responsible for addressing and sending IP Packets over the Network. IP provides a best-effort, connectionless delivery system that does not guarantee Packets arrive @ their destination or in the sequence in which they were sent. Internet Protocol is also called IP. Current Version (2005) is IP4 which will soon be relaced by IP6 which will offer more IP addresses as the address space increases from 32 to 128 bits.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) - Increases the address space from 32 to 128 bits, providing for an unlimited (for all intents and purposes) number of networks and systems.

IP Address - A 32-bit address used to identify a Node on an IP Internetwork (LAN - Local Area Network). Each Node on the IP Internetwork (LAN) must be assigned a unique IP Address, which is made up of a Network Identifier and a Host Identifier. This address is typically represented in dotted-decimal notation, with the decimal value of each octet separated by a period, for example,
In Win2000 & WinXP Pro, we can configure the IP Address statically or dynamically through DHCP. 

IPX (Internetwork Packet Exchange) - A Network Protocol native to NetWare that controls Addressing and Routing of Packets within and between LANs. IPX does not guarantee that a message will be complete (no lost packets).

IPX/SPX - Transport protocols used in Novell NetWare networks, which together correspond to the combination of TCP and IP in the TCP/IP protocol suite. Windows 2000 implements IPX through NWLink.

MAC Address ( Media Access Control address ) - Every EtherNet LAN card (NIC - Network Interface card) has a unique serial number hardware MAC address to identify each Network Device from all others.

MADCAP (Multicast Address Dynamic Client Allocation Protocol - This Protocol automates distribution of Multicast Address Configurations for Network Clients. MADCAP replaces MDHCP in the DHCP Protocols. Built on Client-Server model. Allows hosts to request Multicast Address Allocation Services from Multicast Address Allocation Servers.

Messenger Service - A Service for sending and receiving messages sent by Administrators or by the Alerter Service.

Multicast Routing Protocol - A Routing Protocol supporting Multicast Packets (one to many).

NCP (NetWare Core Protocol) - The file-sharing protocol that governs communications about resource (such as disk and printer), bindery (A Database in Novell NetWare 3.x containing organizational and security information about Users and Groups.), and NDS operations between server and client computers on a Novell NetWare network. Requests from client computers are transmitted by the IPX protocol. Servers respond according to NCP guidelines.

NDS (Novell Directory Services) - On Networks running Novell NetWare 4.0, a Distributed Database maintaining information about every Network Resource and provides access to said Resources.

NetBEUI (NetBIOS Enhanced User Interface) - A network protocol native to Microsoft Networking. Usually used in small, department-size Local Area Networks (LANs) of 1 to 200 clients. Can also use Token Ring source Routing as its only method of Routing. NetBIOS Enhanced User Interface is also called NetBEUI. NetBEUI is the Microsoft implementation of the NetBIOS standard. 

NetBIOS (Network Basic Input/Output System) - An Application Programming Interface (API) used by Programs on a Local Area Network (LAN). NetBIOS provides Programs with a uniform set of commands for requesting lower-level services required to manage names, conduct sessions, and send datagrams between Nodes on a Network.

NetWare Core Protocol (NCP) - The file-sharing protocol that governing communications about Resources (such as disk and printer), Bindery, and NDS Operations between Server & Client Computers on a Novell NetWare Network. Requests from Client Computers are transmitted by the IPX Protocol. Servers respond according to NCP Guidelines.

NTP (Network Time Protocol) -  "NTP provides the mechanisms to synchronize time and coordinate time distribution in a large, diverse internet operating at rates from
mundane to lightwave. It uses a returnable-time design in which a distributed subnet of time servers operating in a self-organizing, hierarchical-master-slave configuration synchronizes local clocks within the subnet and to national time standards via wire or radio. The servers can also redistribute reference time via local routing algorithms and time daemons. This is an Internet Standard Recommended Protocol." Contrasted with SNTP outlined below.

NWLink - An implementation of the Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX), sequenced packet exchange (SPX), and NetBIOS protocols used in Novell networks. NWLink is a standard network protocol that supports routing and can support NetWare client-server applications, where NetWare-aware Sockets-based applications communicate with IPX/SPX Sockets-based applications.

Print Servers - A Print Server provides Printer Services to the Network. A Print Server can be a separate PC or Printer Hardware Device connected to the Network and dedicated to providing Printer Services to the Network. Advantages of a Print Server include providing Network access to Printer Resources anywhere on the Network without tying up other valuable Workstation Resources for Spooling Print jobs. A Printer Server = File Server + Printer.

SNTP (Simple Network Time Protocol) - Simplified version of NTP - A standard protocol used to synchronize system clocks on Routers and Computer Systems throughout the Internet.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) - THE Networking Protocol used on the Internet providing communications across Interconnected Networks made up of Computers with diverse hardware architectures and various Operating Systems. TCP/IP includes Standards for how Computers communicate and conventions for Connecting Networks & Routing Traffic.

TCP/IP Components: TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and IP (Internet Protocol). TCP - A connection-oriented protocol passing its data to IP, which is a connectionless one. TCP sets up a connection at both ends and guarantees reliable delivery of the full message sent. TCP tests for errors and requests retransmission if necessary, because IP does not. See: Win-TCP/IP Tweaking for Windows.

UDP (User Datagram Protocol) - A Protocol within the TCP/IP Protocol suite used in place of TCP when a reliable delivery is not required. UDP is used for real-time Audio and Video Streaming traffic where lost packets are ignored, because there is no time to retransmit.

VoIP - Voice over (IP) Internet Protocol a.k.a. Internet Telephony.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) - A secure Private Network tunnel configured within a Public Network (Internet). Adds an extra layer of Security.