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Networking Terms

10BaseT - An Ethernet standard that uses twisted wire pairs.

- IEEE physical layer specification for 100 Mbps over two pairs of Category 5 UTP or STP wire.

- A device that interconnects different networks together.

- ANSI/EIA (American National Standards Institute/Electronic Industries Association) Standard 568 is one of several standards that specify “categories” (the singular is commonly referred to as “CAT”) of twisted pair cabling systems (wires, junctions, and connectors) in terms of the data rates that they can sustain. CAT 5 cable has a maximum throughput of 100 Mbps and is usually utilized for 100BaseTX networks.

CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection)
- The LAN access method used in Ethernet. When a device wants to gain access to the network, it checks to see if the network is quiet (senses the carrier). If it is not, it waits a random amount of time before retrying. If the network is quiet and two devices access the line at exactly the same time, their signals collide. When the collision is detected, they both back off and each wait a random amount of time before retrying.

Default Gateway
- The router used to forward all traffic that is not addressed to a station within the local subnet.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol)
- A protocol that lets network administrators centrally manage and automate the assignment of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in an organization's network. Using the Internet's set of protocol (TCP/IP), each machine that can connect to the Internet needs a unique IP address. When an organization sets up its computer users with a connection to the Internet, an IP address must be assigned to each machine. Without DHCP, the IP address must be entered manually at each computer and, if computers move to another location in another part of the network, a new IP address must be entered. DHCP lets a network administrator supervise and distribute IP addresses from a central point and automatically sends a new IP address when a computer is plugged into a different place in the network. DHCP uses the concept of a “lease” or amount of time that a given IP address will be valid for a computer. The lease time can vary depending on how long a user is likely to require the Internet connection at a particular location. It's especially useful in education and other environments where users change frequently. Using very short leases, DHCP can dynamically reconfigure networks in which there are more computers than there are available IP addresses. DHCP supports static addresses for computers containing Web servers that need a permanent IP address.

- The Domain Name System (DNS) is the way that Internet domain names are located and translated into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. A domain name is a meaningful and easy-to-remember “handle” for an Internet address.

- A workstation or server software module that provides an interface between a network interface card and the upper-layer protocol software running in the computer; it is designed for a specific NIC, and is installed during the initial installation of a network-compatible client or server operating system.

Dynamic IP Address
- An IP address that is automatically assigned to a client station in a TCP/IP network, typically by a DHCP server. Network devices that serve multiple users, such as servers and printers, are usually assigned static IP addresses. Encryption - A security method that applies a specific algorithm to data in order to alter the data's appearance and prevent other devices from reading the information.

- IEEE standard network protocol that specifies how data is placed on and retrieved from a common transmission medium. Has a transfer rate of 10 Mbps. Forms the underlying transport vehicle used by several upper-level protocols, including TCP/IP and XNS.

Fast Ethernet
- A 100 Mbps technology based on the 10Base-T Ethernet CSMA/CD network access method.

- Programming that is inserted into programmable read-only memory, thus becoming a permanent part of a computing device.

HomePlug™ Powerline Alliance
- A nonprofit organization established to provide a forum for the creation of specifications for home powerline networking products and services.

Hot Swap
- The ability to replace a card or other hardware part in a hardware device without turning it off or losing functionality.

- The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The IEEE describes itself as “the world's largest technical professional society-promoting the development and application of electrotechnology and allied sciences for the benefit of humanity, the advancement of the profession, and the wellbeing of our members.” The IEEE fosters the development of standards that often become national and international standards. The organization publishes a number of journals, has many local chapters, and has several large societies in special areas, such as the IEEE Computer Society.

IP Address
- In the most widely installed level of the Internet Protocol (Internet Protocol) today, an IP address is a 32-binary digit number that identifies each sender or receiver of information that is sent in packets across the Internet. When you request an HTML page or send e-mail, the Internet Protocol part of TCP/IP includes your IP address in the message (actually, in each of the packets if more than one is required) and sends it to the IP address that is obtained by looking up the domain name in the Uniform Resource Locator you requested or in the e-mail address you're sending a note to. At the other end, the recipient can see the IP address of the Web page requester or the e-mail sender and can respond by sending another message using the IP address it received.

- A utility that provides for querying, defining and managing IP addresses within a network. A commonly used utility, under Windows NT and 2000, for configuring networks with static IP addresses.

- An ISP (Internet service provider) is a company that provides individuals and companies access to the Internet and other related services such as website building and virtual hosting.

- A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and associated devices that share a common communications line and typically share the resources of a single processor or server within a small geographic area (for example, within an office building).

MAC Address
- The MAC (Media Access Control) address is a unique number assigned by the manufacturer to any Ethernet networking device, such as a network adapter, that allows the network to identify it at the hardware level.

- A system that transmits any combination of voice, video and/or data between users.

Network Mask
- also known as the “Subnet Mask.”

- The ability of a computer system to configure expansion boards and other devices automatically without requiring the user to turn off the system during installation.

- The basis for the HomePlug™ Powerline Alliance 1.0 specification, PowerPacket is a robust, secure, and reliable means of transferring data. This technology reduces interference generated by appliances, electronic devices, and halogen lights. PowerPacket also has encryption techniques built into the hardware to prevent neighbors on the same power grids from gaining access to sensitive data or the Internet connection.

Powerline Networking
- Data transmission over powerlines.

- A connector similar to a telephone connector that holds up to eight wires, used for connecting Ethernet devices.

- Protocol-dependent device that connects subnetworks together. Routers are useful in breaking down a very large network into smaller subnetworks; they introduce longer delays and typically have much lower throughput rates than bridges.

Static IP Address
- A permanent IP address that is assigned to a node in a TCP/IP network.

STP (Shielded Twisted Pair)
- Telephone wire that is wrapped in a metal sheath to eliminate external interference.

Subnet Mask
- The method used for splitting IP networks into a series of subgroups, or subnets. The mask is a binary pattern that is matched up with the IP address to turn part of the host ID address field into a field for subnets.

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
- A method (protocol) used along with the Internet Protocol (Internet Protocol) to send data in the form of message units between computers over the Internet. While IP takes care of handling the actual delivery of the data, TCP takes care of keeping track of the individual units of data (called packets) that a message is divided into for efficient routing through the Internet.

- Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is the basic communication language or protocol of the Internet. It can also be used as a communications protocol in a private network (either an intranet or an extranet). When you are set up with direct access to the Internet, your computer is provided with a copy of the TCP/IP program just as every other computer that you may send messages to or get information from also has a copy of TCP/IP.

UDP (User Datagram Protocol)
- A communications method (protocol) that offers a limited amount of service when messages are exchanged between computers in a network that uses the Internet Protocol (IP). UDP is an alternative to the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and, together with IP, is sometimes referred to as UDP/IP. Like the Transmission Control Protocol, UDP uses the Internet Protocol to actually get a data unit (called a datagram) from one computer to another. Unlike TCP, however, UDP does not provide the service of dividing a message into packets (datagrams) and reassembling it at the other end. Specifically, UDP doesn't provide sequencing of the packets that the data arrives in. This means that the application program that uses UDP must be able to make sure that the entire message has arrived and is in the right order. Network applications that want to save processing time because they have very small data units to exchange (and therefore very little message reassembling to do) may prefer UDP to TCP.

USB (Universal Serial Bus)
- A “plug-and-play” interface between a computer and add-on devices (such as audio players, joysticks, keyboards, telephones, scanners, and printers). With USB, a new device can be added to your computer without having to add an adapter card or even having to turn the computer off. The USB peripheral bus standard was developed by Compaq, IBM, DEC, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Northern Telecom and the technology is available without charge for all computer and device vendors. USB supports a data speed of 12 megabits per second. This speed will accommodate a wide range of devices, including MPEG video devices, data gloves, and digitizers. It is anticipated that USB will easily accommodate plug-in telephones that use Integrated Services Digital Network and digital private branch exchange. Since October, 1996, the Windows operating systems have been equipped with USB driver or special software designed to work with specific I/O device types. USB is integrated into Windows 98. Today, most new computers and peripheral devices are equipped with USB. A different “plug-and-play” standard, FireWire/IEEE 1394, is designed to support much higher data rates and devices such as video camcorders and digital video disk (digital versatile disk) players. Both standards are expected to exist together, serving different device types.

- Unshielded twisted pair is the most common kind of copper telephone wiring. Twisted pair is the ordinary copper wire that connects home and many business computers to the telephone company. To reduce crosstalk or electromagnetic induction between pairs of wires, two insulated copper wires are twisted around each other. Each signal on twisted pair requires both wires. Since some telephone sets or desktop locations require multiple connections, twisted pair is sometimes installed in two or more pairs, all within a single cable.

- Configuration utility based on the Win32 API for querying, defining, and managing IP addresses within a network. A commonly used utility, under Windows 95, 98, and Millennium, for configuring networks with static IP addresses.

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