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Wireless Networking Glossary

Terms relating to Wireless Networking explained

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.

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.

Adapter - This is a device that adds network functionality to your PC.

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.

Boot - To start a device and cause it to start executing instructions.

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

Broadband - An always-on, fast Internet connection.

Browser - A browser is an application program that provides a way to look at and interact with all the information on the World Wide Web.

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.

Daisy Chain - A method used to connect devices in a series, one after the other.

Database - A collection of data that is organized so that its contents can easily be accessed, managed, and updated.

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.

IPCONFIG - A Windows 2000 and XP utility that displays the IP address for a particular networking device.

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.

mIRC - An Internet Relay Chat program that runs under Windows.

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.

Network - A series of computers or devices connected for the purpose of data sharing, storage, and/or transmission between users.

NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol) - The protocol used to connect to Usenet groups on the Internet.

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

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 - 1. 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. 2. A device for making, breaking, or changing the connections in an electrical circuit.

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.

Upgrade - To replace existing software or firmware with a newer version.

Upload - To transmit a file over a network.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) - The address of a file located on the Internet.

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) - The Internet.

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) - A method of encrypting data transmitted on a wireless network for greater security.

WINIPCFG - A Windows 98 and Millennium utility that displays the IP address for a particular networking device.

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) - A group of computers and associated devices that communicate with each other wirelessly.