Glossary of Terms and Definitions

HighSpeed.com provides a glossary of terms and definitions used in the high speed Internet industry.

ADSL
See DSL
Bandwidth
Unit of measurement that describes the volume of information being sent through a connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second (bps.)
A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 57,000 bits in one second. Full motion full screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression.
Blog or Weblog
A blog is a journal that is available via a website. The activity of updating a blog is "blogging" and someone who keeps a blog is a "blogger." Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog.
Broadband
Broadband as it relates to Internet access refers to any of the various high speed connections available to consumers today. This would include DSL, Cable, fiber optic, BPL (Broadband over Power Line ), Satellite and WiFi.
BPL - Broadband over Power Line
A new technology that enables high speed Internet to operate over the existing power lines. While still in its early developmental stages once widely available users will be able to simply plug their computers directly into a wall outlet and obtain both electricity and Internet service over the same line.
Cable Internet
High speed Internet delivered over the same coaxial cable as the TV service.
DSL
Generally, most DSL service is one of following 2 types:
ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
A DSL line where the upload speed is different from the download speed. Usually the download speed is much greater. Most residential services are ADSL. The service is offered over a telephone line.
SDSL - Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line
A DSL line where the upload speed is the same as the download speed. More often called business class DSL.
Download
Transferring data (usually a file) from another computer to the computer you are using. The opposite of upload.
Encryption
The process of scrambling data into unreadable code prior to transmitting or storing. The receiver of the data must possess the encryption “key” that will allow them to decipher the code and view the information.
Encryption is especially useful in protecting sensitive customer information such as social security information, credit card numbers, and user passwords.
Ethernet Card
See NIC Card
Fiber Optic
A technology that uses glass or plastic like optical fibers to guide light from one location to another. This allows faster transmission over longer distances without the typical signal loss associated with older technologies.
Fire Wall
A combination of hardware and software that protects a computer (or network) from unauthorized (outside) access.
Gateway
When referring to Internet connectivity devices a gateway is a device that combines the functions of a router and a modem into one.
Home Page (or Homepage)
Several meanings. Originally, the web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up. The more common meaning refers to the main web page for a business, organization, person or simply the main page out of a collection of web pages, e.g. "Check out so-and-so's new Home Page."
Internet
A vast collection of inter connected networks. The Internet connects tens of thousands of independent networks into a vast global Internet and is probably the largest Wide Area Network (WAN) in the world.
Intranet
A private network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet, but that is only for internal use.
LAN - Local Area Network
A computer network limited to the immediate area, usually the same building or floor of a building. Users may also just refer to their “Network” which commonly means they have 2,3 or more computers connected together in their home by way of a router or gateway.
Modem - Cable or DSL
A cable or DSL modem is a device that is needed for your computer to communicate at high speeds with the Internet.
Network Interface Card - NIC Card
A NIC card is a network interface, or is also known as an “Ethernet Adapter” that is inside the back panel of the computer and connects to the cable or DSL modem. Most computers sold in the last 5 years have them pre-installed.
Network
Any time you connect 2 or more computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more networks.
Satellite Internet
High speed Internet service that operates in much the same way as satellite television. The dish is connected to the computer via a modem which converts the signal. Unlike older systems that could only receive data modern satellite Internet newer systems now allow for two way transmission.
Spyware
Software that secretly installs itself onto a users computer and monitors the use of the computer in some way without the users' knowledge or consent. Most spyware tries to get the user to view advertising and/or particular web pages. Some spyware also sends information about the user to another machine over the Internet.
Spyware is usually installed without a users' knowledge as part of the installation of other software, especially software such as music sharing software obtained via download.
Upload
Transferring data (usually a file) from the computer you are using to another computer. The opposite of download.
Virus
A chunk of computer programming code that makes copies of itself without any conscious human intervention. Some viruses do more than simply replicate themselves, they might display messages, install other software or files, delete software of files, etc.
A virus requires the presence of some other program to replicate itself. Most viruses travel by email and can quickly infect thousands of computers.
Virus Protection
Software that blocks the spread of viruses.
Voice over IP or VoIP
A newer technology that allows for voice communication over a high speed connection effectively removing the normal line and per minute charges associated with standard telephone service.
VPN - Virtual Private Network
Usually refers to a network in which some of the parts are connected using the public Internet, but the data sent across the Internet is encrypted, so the entire network is "virtually" private.
Work at home customers routinely order DSL or cable Internet to “VPN” into their corporate computer systems from home. This protects sensitive information from being lost or stolen on the open Internet.
Web Browser
A program (software) that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources. The most commonly used browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.
Website
The entire collection of web pages and other information (such as images, sound, video files, etc.) that are made available through what appears to users as a single web server (such as https://www.yahoo.com/).
Wi-Fi - Wireless Fidelity
A popular term for a form of wireless data communication, basically Wi-Fi is "Wireless Internet".


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