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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Networking Terms

For Day 2 of Networking 101, we are going to review some basic networking terminology. This information can be useful when configuring your home network and choosing the right hardware.

A networking standard established by the IEEE for LAN protocols. There are several levels of 802.11 standard: a, b, g, and n. Each represents a different bandwidth, frequency, data rate and network range.  802.11n is the current standard.

Protocol Bandwidth Frequency Data Rate (Mbit/sec) Indoor Range
802.11a 20 5 6-54 35
802.11b 20 2.4 6-54 38
802.11g 20 2.4 7.2-72 38
802.11n 20-40 2.4/5 15-150 70

Refers to the transmission capacity of a network or network device.

Wide band of frequencies for transmitting data. For Internet service, broadband describes the type of service available such as cable or DSL. Broadband cable supports data rates up to 30Mbsp, but DSL is normally limited to only 10Mbps.

DHCP or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is an automatic configuration protocol used for configuration on Internet Protocol (or IP) Networks. This can be a local area network using a router with DHCP, or when connecting to the internet.  DHCP allows a computer to be configured automatically, eliminating the need for human intervention when connecting to a network. DHCP works by keeping a central database and assigning numbered addresses called IP Addresses to computers on the network in order to relay information to and from them, which prevents computers from ending up with the same IP Address, accidentally or otherwise. Without a DHCP server (behind a network switch, for example) each computer must have its IP address configured manually.

Digital Subscriber Line. Type of broadband connection that uses a phone-line to connect to the Internet. Typically, DSL provides only 10Mbps which is slower than cable broadband service.

The process of securing data by converting it into cyphertext so it cannot be easily read while in transmission. This process is based on a key system in which the sender shares a translation key with the receiver to decrypt the data.

A network protocol developed by IEEE that describes how data is placed on and retrieved from a networking device. Ethernet is commonly used for LAN (local area networks).

A device that connects two different networks to one another.  Example: the Internet.

A computer that is connected to a network that provides information and resources.

IP Address
A 32-bit number that identifies a computer or device on a network.

Local Area Network.  Describes the computers and networking hardware within a single home or office.

NAT or Network Address Translation is the name of a process for modifying network addresses information in an IP (Internet Protocol) packet. NAT is done by a router, and it translates incoming packets from the Internet in to local network packets so that they can be transferred to the correct location – one of the computers connected to the router. NAT is typically used by a router to allow multiple host computers to connect to the Internet using a single public IP address, acting as a gateway.

PPPoE is a connection protocol that is used mainly by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to give access to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) High speed internet service. It increases the capability of the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) by allowing a connection over Ethernet. PPPoE also uses the same standards of authentication, encryption, and compression as PPP. PPPoE encapsulates PPP frames inside Ethernet frames to transmit data from the Internet to a DSL modem, which is then translated into data that your computer understands, when using the provided software.


Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.  This is a standard email protocol for transmitting and receiving email.

Subnet  Mask
Part of an IP Address that designates the size of the network. When computers are grouped together into a subnet, each system is identified with a common IP address to determine their location. The default value is normally

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. This is basic communication method for the Internet. TCP/IP requires that the recipient acknowledge the data sent.

Belkin. Support.

D-Link. Help Glossary.

Linksys. Learning Center.

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