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Glossary of Terms


Bandwidth The measure of information that can be transferred between computers or over networks in a given amount of time. The rates are expressed in kilobits per second.

Broadband A general term used in reference to high-speed Internet services, including those provided through cable, DSL, and/or satellite.

Cable Modem This piece of hardware allows digital cable signals to be used to connect computers to high-speed Internet services provided by cable companies. The modem is connected to the cable outlet and to the computer.

DSL - DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It refers to one type of high-speed Internet access which uses existing phone lines to transfer data. The technology utilizes frequencies along the phone line that are not used with voice communication so that DSL users can access the Internet and talk via the telephone at the same time.

Encryption The terms refers to a process of converting data into code that is unreadable so that it can not be viewed by unauthorized individuals. Encryption is a valuable tool because it allows individuals to send sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, over the network securely.

Ethernet This term refers to the most common technology used to connect computers over a LAN (Local Area Network). Ethernet is popular because it can be used with almost any computer, because it can transfer around 10 million bits per second, and because its components are readily available.

Modem The term is a shortened version of Modulator-Demodulator and refers to a device that is used to allow computers to communicate with one another over the phone line or through a cable network.

Network Interface Card These cards are installed in computers to allow them to recognize and communicate with a network. The term is often shortened to just NIC.

PCI Plug-in Card This term refers to the standardized slots on computers used for connecting high-speed peripherals, such as graphics cards, so that they are recognized by the system's motherboard. PCI stands for Peripheral Connect Interface.

PSTN This acronym stands for Public Switched Telephone Network and refers to the traditional system of telephone lines that the majority of businesses and consumers currently use for voice communication.

Satellite Internet High speed Internet service that is provided via satellite. A special modem is connected to the computer, and this modem is connected to a satellite dish. Data can be sent and received through through the satellite dish.

USB This acronym stands for Universal Serial Bus and refers to a standardized port on computers that allows for the connection of peripheral devices, such as printers, scanners, and digital cameras. USB ports were designed to replace serial and parallel ports because they allow for faster communication and the connection of multiple devices. USB ports are sometimes referred to as plug-and-play interfaces.

Voice Over IP - Usually referred to as VoIP, this term refers to technology that allows for voice communication over a broadband connection. VoIP can be used instead of PSTN networks.

Wireless Network This term refers to a connection between computers that is made through radio frequencies instead of through cables.


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