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An access-control standard for local-area networks (LANs) that is becoming popular for wireless LANs (WLANs), it provides a framework for authenticating users via a central authority. 802.1x can use a variety of authentication algorithms, and it can use a 802.1x-enabled RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) server as the central authority, though this is not required. < Back

802.11 (also known as Wi-Fi) refers to a group of related wireless LAN standards developed by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers). The original specification, adopted in 1997, allowed for 1 or 2 Mbps transmission (about 1/10th to 1/5th as fast as a standard wired LAN), and used the 2.4 GHz band. 802.11 has been extended with a handful of sub-specifications. The details of these extensions are as follows:

  • 802.11a
    Provides up to 54 Mbps in the 5 GHz band, making it about 5 times as fast as a standard wired LAN, or about half as fast as a Fast Ethernet wired LAN. The 5 GHz band is less crowed than the 2.4 GHz, which can help in keeping clear of radio and microwave interference.
  • 802.11b
    Because it was the first wireless specification to be referred to as Wi-Fi, "802.11b" and "Wi-Fi" are sometimes used interchangeably. This standard allows for up to 11 Mbps of throughput in the 2.4 GHz range. This range is shared with microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices, and some cordless phones. The speed of 802.11b is comparable to a standard wired LAN.
  • 802.11d
    Provides wireless devices with a standard means of negotiating communication parameters, such as frequencies, power levels, and bandwidth. 802.11d-compliant devices help facilitate global roaming by adjusting automatically to comply with different countries' wireless regulations.
  • 802.11e
    A proposed standard that will add Quality of Service (QoS) features for wireless LANs, allowing the prioritization of data, voice, and video transmissions. QoS can significantly enhance the quality of VoIP communications, and is an important feature for mixed voice and data networks.
  • 802.11g
    A cousin of 802.11b, this standard offers throughput of 54 Mbps. Like 802.11b, it operates in the 2.4 GHz band.
  • 802.11i (WPA2)
    Provides an enhancement to the security of 802.11-family wireless LANs. This is achieved through improved encryption, using Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). 802.11i enhancements require a dedicated encryption chip, so while they will be compatible with 802.11i devices, older wireless hardware may need to be upgraded to take advantage of 802.11i security. < Back  ::  Top^

Also known as WiMAX, 802.16 is a group of emerging wireless standards for metropolitan area networks (MANs). WiMAX enables wireless technology to reach beyond the LAN and deliver reliable, high-speed bandwidth at low cost to fixed points at a radius of up to 31 miles. WiMAX can serve as a T1 replacement or a channel of redundant or backup bandwidth. The original 802.16 specification operates in the 10–66 GHz spectrum. The 801.16a revision operates between 2 and 11 GHz, and, once the standard is finalized and supported in hardware, will be able to deliver up to 70 Mbps to a single point. < Back  ::  Top^

AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)
Also known as Rijndael (after a combination of the names Rijmen and Daemen, the two Belgian cryptographers responsible for the AES algorithm), this is the encryption standard adopted by the U.S. Government in 2001 for the protection of all sensitive but unclassified data. AES is slated to replace WEP as the standard wireless LAN encryption method. < Back  ::  Top^

Access Point (AP)
In a wireless local area network (WLAN), an access point transmits and receives data to connect wireless users to each other and to resources on the wireless network. Access points are also called wireless transceivers or "base stations." Small WLANs may need only one access point, but larger WLANs use a number of them to provide complete coverage in an area. An access point can also connect the WLAN to the wired LAN. Some wireless access points have additional capabilities, and may function as a NAT router, a DHCP server, or a firewall; these are called "wireless gateways." < Back  ::  Top^

Ad-Hoc mode
Ad-Hoc mode allows two 802.11 wireless devices to connect in a peer-to-peer relationship, without the need for a wireless access point. This allows for the quick setup of wireless communication, but has significant disadvantages: security is weaker than with a properly-configured access point, and each wireless device can only peer with one other device at a time. < Back  ::  Top^

ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter)
A device enabling standard analog phones to make and receive IP telephone calls. < Back  ::  Top^

The high-speed network connecting major metropolitan areas. < Back  ::  Top^

In networking, bandwidth usually refers to the data transfer rate between two points or across a particular connection. Bandwidth is expressed in units of data transmitted per unit of time. Network bandwidth is typically expressed in a multiple of bits per second, (bps). A standard V.90 dial-up modem has a theoretical maximum download bandwidth of 57,600 bps. A standard wired network link (10BaseT) has a half-duplex bandwidth of 10 million bits per second, or 10 Mbps. Wireless 802.11b shares 11 Mbps of bandwidth per access point. 802.11a and 802.11g each provide 54 Mbps of shared bandwidth per access point. < Back  ::  Top^

Bits per second (bps)
A measure of the number of bits (each bit is either a 1 or a 0) transmitted per second. Bits-per-second, abbreviated bps, is often confused with bytes per second, abbreviated Bps. Each byte is comprised of 8 bits. Modern networks operate at speeds which would make bps notation inconvenient, therefore Mbps are often used instead. 10 Mbps equals 10 million bps, and is pronounced "ten mega-bits per second." Dial-up modem speeds are often described in Kbps ("kilo-bits per second"). A 56K modem has a theoretical download speed of about 56 thousand bits per second. < Back  ::  Top^

The fourth version of Border Gateway Protocol, the predominant interdomain routing protocol used on the Internet. BGP4 supports Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) which enables routing between aggregated networks or "supernets." Internet regulating authorities now expect every Internet service provider (ISP) to use CIDR for routing. < Back  ::  Top^

Bluetooth Wireless Technology
A specification for the short-range, wireless linking of devices such as PDAs, computers, and mobile phones. Bluetooth chips are inexpensive and draw little power, making them ideal for mobile devices. Bluetooth uses the unregulated 2.45 GHz band and will allow transmission speeds of up to 2.1 Mbps, though most current devices communicate at a maximum of around 1 Mbps. Frequency-hopping is used to minimize interference from other devices. Bluetooth is not designed for networking applications, and does not compete with 802.11-family products. < Back  ::  Top^

A device that connects different areas or segments of a LAN to each other. The network areas joined by a bridge must use the same communication protocol (such as Ethernet or Token Ring). Wireless bridges can be used to easily connect LAN segments in nearby buildings. < Back  ::  Top^

Burst Rate (Maximum Information Rate — MIR)
The maximum amount of bandwidth that is available to a client on a leased line at their demarcation point. This bandwidth is available unless the total usage on the backhaul pipe exceeds or nearly exceeds its capacity. For example, during periods of less-than-peak usage, an account with a 1.5 Mbps CIR may be able to double its bandwidth and reach 3 Mbps or more.  < Back  ::  Top^

CIR (Committed Information Rate)
The minimum amount of bandwidth that is guaranteed by the service provider to be available on a leased line at the customer demarcation point. The CIR is contrasted with the burst rate, which is the maximum bandwidth available. A leased wireless loop with a 1.5 Mbps CIR is engineered to provide 1.5 Mbps of bandwidth. MultiMeg guarantees that this rate will be available to you at least 95% of the day: 24/7–365. (See the Service Level Agreement for details.) < Back  ::  Top^

A client is a computer or a program running on a computer which requests services from another computer or program. A server is the computer or program that provides the requested services. Most often, this terminology is used to talk about client/server connections over a network. For example, when you read this page in your Web browser, your computer and Web browser are acting as network clients, and is acting as a Web server. Common types of servers include file, Web, authentication, and database servers. Client/server terminology can also be used to describe hardware relationships. The Wi-Fi card in a laptop is a client device, and the access point, hub, or gateway with which the card is associated is "serving" wireless connectivity. < Back  ::  Top^

Codec (Compression-decompression)
A process (algorithm) that defines how data can be compressed for storage or transmission and then decompressed for use. VoIP uses codecs to efficiently transmit voice over a data network. ITU-T G.723.1 and G.729 (AB) are popular VoIP codecs. Each codec has advantages and disadvantages: some require more processing power from for the encoding and decoding in order to achieve high compression, others may require less processing power, but may use more bandwidth. < Back  ::  Top^

Using mathematical manipulation of data to fit the same amount of information into a smaller digital package. VoIP implementations usually use some form of compression in order to free up bandwidth for data traffic or other voice traffic. < Back  ::  Top^

In networking, a collision occurs when two devices try to communicate over the same network segment at the same time. Certain network connections are like party lines shared by an entire neighborhood; everyone can hear everyone else's conversations. When more than one device at a time talks on a "party line" network segment, a collision occurs, and no communication can get through. Network devices must use some means to minimize collisions or recover from them after the fact. Networks with too many collisions become unusable, so proper design techniques must me used to build a low-collision network. < Back  ::  Top^

Occurs when the traffic attempting to access the network is greater than the available bandwidth or capacity. Congestion manifests itself in decreased network performance, and can cause latency and jitter, adversely impacting VoIP communication. Proper network design and maintenance can reduce or eliminate congestion problems. < Back  ::  Top^

Crossover cable
A network cable that directly connects the transmit pins of one device to the receive pins of another device. These cables are needed to connect two computers in a peer-to-peer Ethernet network, and may also be needed to connect a cable or DSL device to a wireless gateway or access point. < Back  ::  Top^

CSMA/CA (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Avoidance)
802.11 WLANs use CSMA/CA to minimize collisions by listening and waiting for a clear channel before transmitting. If the channel is not clear, devices wait for a random timer to expire before listening again. The timer will be reset as many times as necessary. < Back  ::  Top^

CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection)
Wired Ethernet LAN devices use this protocol to minimize collisions and then recover from them when they do occur. First, each device waits for a clear line before beginning to transmit. If two devices begin to transmit simultaneously, a collision occurs. When devices detect a collision, they set a random timer and wait to re-send until it has expired. < Back  ::  Top^

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
Allows a server to automatically assign network settings to client devices. Without DHCP, a technician would have to manually configure every device on the network, and manually reconfigure any device whenever changes were needed. DHCP also allows two or more devices to share the same IP address, by assigning the address automatically to whichever device is in use. < Back  ::  Top^

Demarcation Point (Demarc)
The point along a line of network service where the equipment owned by one organization (such as MultiMeg) interfaces with equipment owned by another organization (such as your own). < Back  ::  Top^

Diffserv (Differentiated Services)
A protocol for classifying network traffic and prioritizing traffic by its type. VoIP traffic can be allotted a higher priority than regular data, helping to reduce latency and jitter and preserve voice quality even when the network is under heavy load. < Back  ::  Top^

DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)
A host (computer) or small subnetwork that is configured to sit between a trusted internal network, such as an office LAN, and an untrusted external network, typically the Internet. The DMZ is often used to contain company web servers or other devices which need to be accessable from the Internet. Placing these services in the DMZ isolates them from the more sensitive areas of a network, providing an additional layer of security.  < Back  ::  Top^

DNS (Domain Name System)
The protocol that provides "friendly names" such as for looking up Internet resources. Without DNS, Internet users would need to know the unique IP address of any device on the Internet in order to connect to it. < Back  ::  Top^

Dynamic Jitter Buffer
A feature of some VoIP devices which averages the latency of voice packets so that jitter is reduced. < Back  ::  Top^

Encryption Key
A series of letters, numbers, or other characters that enables data to be encrypted or decrypted. Encrypting data allows it to be safely shared in a network. WEP uses the same key at both ends of the communication, encrypting the data at transmission and decrypting it upon receipt. Some encryption types use two keys: a public key to encrypt the data and a private key to decrypt it. Public keys are available to all, but each private key is kept secret so that only its owner can use it to decrypt messages encoded with the matching public key. < Back  ::  Top^

ESSID (often referred to as SSID — Service Set Identifier)
All data sent through an 802.11 wireless network is tagged with an SSID that identifies the data as belonging to that network. SSIDs allow the areas of wireless networks to overlap while allowing users to connect only to their preferred access point. Wireless clients must be set up with the correct SSID in order to use the wireless network. < Back  ::  Top^

By far the most widely deployed LAN technology in the world. Ethernet has several implementations, the most common of which is 10Base-T, offering maximum transmission speeds of 10 Mbps over the wire. 802.11 wireless networks are also known as "wireless Ethernet." Other common varieties of Ethernet include Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps), and Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Mbps). See also Metro Ethernet. < Back  ::  Top^

A network security device that filters communications between networks. Firewalls are primarily used to protect LANs from unwanted or malicious communications coming in from the Internet. Firewalls can be hardware or software based, and can be installed to protect entire LANs, individual computers, or both. Firewalls are often used in conjunction with intrusion detection systems, which report suspicious network traffic. < Back  ::  Top^

Free-Space Optics (FSO)
Refers to point-to-point network connections using beams of light sent freely through the air, rather than within an optical cable. FSO can reach high speeds (100 Mbps) over significant distances (several kilometers). FSO works well in most weather conditions, including rain and snow, but can have trouble with fog. < Back  ::  Top^

Gateways are devices that provide an entrance to a network. Often gateway devices provide additional services, such as NAT, DHCP, firewalls, and encryption. Access points provide an entrance to a wireless network, and when they are configured with additional services, they are often called "wireless gateways." < Back  ::  Top^

An umbrella recommendation from the ITU-T that outlines standards for multimedia communications over a packet network (such as the Internet). H.323 is used in VoIP. An alternative to H.323 is SIP. < Back  ::  Top^

Hosted IPPBX
See IPPBX. < Back  ::  Top^

Providing a network service from a remote location. Web hosting means providing hardware and network connectivity for a company's Web site. The Web server is physically located off of the client company's premises, allowing better network access and ease of administration. In addition to Web services, email, phone systems, and indeed any service that is accessed over a network can be hosted. < Back  ::  Top^

Hot Spot
Someplace where one can access Wi-Fi service, for free or for a fee. Common Hot Spot locations are coffee shops, hotels, and airport lounges. < Back  ::  Top^

A multiport signal repeater for a wired Ethernet network, or else a wireless access point. In either case, a hub is a device which allows multiple computers to connect through it to a network. Hubs differ from switches in that all devices connected through a particular hub share bandwidth. < Back  ::  Top^

Hz ("hertz")
A unit of frequency, equal to cycles per second. A cycle is one alternation between two states, such as between sound and silence. A clock ticks at 1 Hz, or once per second. One kilohertz (kHz) is one thousand hertz, one megahertz (MHz) is one million hertz, and one gigahertz (GHz) is one billion hertz. Wireless 802.11b devices broadcast at in the 2.4 GHz range. < Back  ::  Top^

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
Pronounced "eye-triple-ee," this professional organization develops and publishes many important standards used in computing and networking. The standards published by IEEE include those for Firewire, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and WiMAX, among others. < Back  ::  Top^

IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force)
An open, volunteer organization that develops and promotes Internet standards. IETF standards are published in RFCs (Requests for Comments). < Back  ::  Top^

Infrastructure mode
Mode of wireless connectivity in which client devices connect to the network through an access point (AP). The alternative method of wireless networking is Ad-Hoc mode. < Back  ::  Top^

IP (Internet Protocol) address
IP addresses are used to uniquely identify devices on the Internet or on any smaller network running the Internet Protocol. IP addresses are usually written as numbers in the dotted quad format (e.g. PCs or other network devices see IP addresses in binary format, like this: 01111111000000000000000000000001. IP addresses are used much like phone numbers or postal addresses to allow computers in a network to find each other. < Back  ::  Top^

A PBX-like device that uses VoIP rather than traditional telephone switching in order to provide its services. IPPBX systems offer next-generation features such as voice and data integration. MultiMeg offers hosted IPPBX solutions, which offer the power of an in-house IPPBX without the maintenance overhead. < Back  ::  Top^

IP Telephony
Sending voice or fax telephone calls over an IP network, such as the Internet. By treating voice as data, IP telephony can offer integrated communications services, such as unified messaging. < Back  ::  Top^

The telecom standardization committee within the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). < Back  ::  Top^

As data is sent across a network, it is broken down into pieces called packets, then reassembled when it reaches its destination. Jitter refers to the variation in delivery delay for packets crossing a network. This is an important measurement for VoIP networks because voice quality will suffer if the packets that make up a voice transmission do not arrive in an orderly, predictable fashion. A properly tuned network is necessary to prevent jitter and allow clear VoIP calls. < Back  ::  Top^

LAN (Local Area Network)
A group of devices such as PCs, printers, and servers that are inter-connected either wirelessly (WLANs) or with cabling such as Ethernet. LANs are limited to a small area, such as an office building, but can be connected to the Internet or distant offices using leased WAN (Wide Area Network) connections, such as a T-1 or WiMAX. < Back  ::  Top^

The time it takes for a data packet to make a round trip from source to destination and back is the latency. In networking, latency is usually measured in milliseconds (ms). Certain network applications are especially sensitive to latency, especially multimedia, fast-paced online games, and VoIP. Changing latency between network endpoints can introduce jitter, degrading VoIP call quality. Latency can be reduced by proper network design and configuration. < Back  ::  Top^

MAC (Media Access Control)
Network devices each have unique hardware addresses, known as MAC addresses. In a wireless network, access points can be configured to only accept connections from wireless clients with their MAC addresses listed in a pre-approved table, which provides a measure of additional security. < Back  ::  Top^

Managed Email
A hosted service that offers email functionality with personalized features, plus security, anti-virus, or other enhancements. Managed Email is a cost-effective alternative to administrating email services in house. < Back  ::  Top^

See bps. < Back  ::  Top^

Metro Ethernet
Using Ethernet technology to inter-connect LANs in a metropolitan area, Metro Ethernet offers a cost-effective and highly flexible means of delivering bandwidth and connectivity to businesses within a Metro Ethernet Network service area. Metro Ethernet and WiMAX are two technologies positioned to greatly enhance the flexibility and afforability of high-speed Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) access. MetroET is used by MultiMeg for emphasis: Metro Ethernet for Tacoma. < Back  ::  Top^

MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group)
Prounounced em-peg. Usually refers to the digital compression standards and file formats developed by the group rather than to the group itself. MPEG technology allows video to be significantly compressed while retaining quality, making transmission of video over the Internet much more efficient. MPEG and similar technologies have made live Web cameras and streaming network video possible. < Back  ::  Top^

NAT/PAT (Network Address Translation/Port Address Translation)
A feature of some routers and wireless gateways that allows several devices on a LAN to share one Internet IP address. This is beneficial for two reasons: Internet IP addresses can be costly to obtain, and NAT translation hides your internal network from the larger Internet, making your whole LAN look like one device. Hiding a LAN behind a NAT device offers very significant security benefits. < Back  ::  Top^

NIC (Network Interface Card)
An adapter that is installed in a PC, laptop, or other device to allow it to access a network. Wired Ethernet and Wi-Fi both require a NIC or an equivalent hardware to be installed on each device that accesses the network. More than one NIC can be installed in some machines, allowing them to join multiple networks simultaneously. < Back  ::  Top^

OSI model (Open Systems Interconnection Reference Model)
A model for how networks should transmit data from point to point, using 7 layers to describe different stages of preparing (or "encapsulating") data for transmission. The seven layers are:

  1. Application
  2. Presentation
  3. Session
  4. Transport
  5. Network
  6. Data Link
  7. Physical
 IEEE 802.11 wireless specifications pertain to the Physical and Data Link layers. < Back  ::  Top^

Fundamental unit of data handled by networks. When large files are sent over a network, they are first broken down into several smaller packets. The packets are then re-assembled at the remote end. < Back  ::  Top^

PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
A telephone system housed and maintained within an enterprise that switches internal calls on local lines and mediates shared access to external lines for outside calling. See IPBX. < Back  ::  Top^

PCI adapter
Most PCs incorporate a PCI adapter, which allows hardware add-ons to be installed for added functionality. Desktop PCs that don't have Ethernet or wireless networking capability built in can easily add it by installing a PCI NIC. < Back  ::  Top^

Small hardware add-on card that can be plugged into PCs, laptops, PDAs, and other devices to add functions. PC cards are commonly used as NICs in laptops, enabling them to access wireless or Ethernet networks. < Back  ::  Top^

Peer-to-peer network
A network without a server or any central control or administration in hardware or software. In wireless networking, these are often called Ad-Hoc networks. Peer-to-peer networks are easy to set up, but lack features and performance compared to client/server networks. < Back  ::  Top^

Plug and Play
Refers to hardware that is self-configuring and requires minimal input from users or administrators in order to get it installed, up and running. Much currently available hardware makes use of plug and play functionality, making it easier to add a NIC to a device and bring it onto the LAN or WLAN. < Back  ::  Top^

Proxy server
A specialized device, often made by installing proxy server software on a common PC, which acts as a LAN's representative to the larger Internet, so that Web pages or other remote resources are requested "by proxy." Proxy servers can increase network security and performance. Security is increased by placing an intermediary between sensitive internal devices and the Internet resources that they access. Performance can be increased by using the proxy server to store local copies of regularly requested information (files, data, images, etc.) < Back  ::  Top^

QoS (Quality of Service)
A measure of the quality of a network connection, factoring availability, latency, speed, and reliability. Using QoS-aware protocols, networks can guarantee certain QoS levels on a by-service basis, allowing sensitive traffic priority over less urgent traffic. See Diffserv. < Back  ::  Top^

Wireless range is measured by how far from an access point a device can be located and still receive a usable signal. Most Wi-Fi configurations allow for about 100 feet of range. Range can be extended by the use of antennas up to about one mile. < Back  ::  Top^

Residential gateway
A network device designed to share broadband connectivity among home PCs and provide a central hub for the connection of network-capable peripherals such as printers and Webcams. Presidential gateways can offer access to wired or wireless networks, or both. Most of them also provide DHCP and NAT services. < Back  ::  Top^

Connectors used when cabling wired Ethernet networks. These look like the ends of a regular phone cable, but are somewhat larger and will not fit in a telephone jack. < Back  ::  Top^

Moving from one wireless access area to another without losing connectivity. < Back  ::  Top^

A device that connects two networks, and keeps track of the routes needed to travel from one network to another. In order to communicate with a distant network, a Web page on the Internet for instance, your request for the page must be handled by a series of routers, passing it from one network to the next until it reaches its destination. Many home and most office networks need at least one router (sometimes combined in one device with the gateway or wireless access point) in order to communicate with other networks. < Back  ::  Top^

RTP (Real-Time Transport Protocol)
An Internet standard that helps handle multimedia and other delay-sensitive data as efficiently as possible. VoIP transmissions are handled by RTP. < Back  ::  Top^

See Client/Server

Site survey
An analysis of the physical characteristics and user requirements of a site in order to determine the best way to install, expand, or secure a wired or wireless network. This includes determining the optimal placement of wireless access points. < Back  ::  Top^

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)
An IETF standard for establishing a multimedia session between network users. SIP is the leading VoIP signaling protocol, gradually superseding H.323. < Back  ::  Top^

Software used to bridge a VoIP system over into the public switched telephone network. The softswitch knows which part of a data stream is voice traffic, and switches this over to the telephone network, allowing VoIP phones to connect to regular telephones. < Back  ::  Top^

SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection)
A type of firewall architecture that inspects packets in detail as they pass through the firewall, allowing filtering decisions to be made dynamically and to be based on the established context of traffic in that network. SPI firewalls are the industry standard at this time and provide particularly strong protection from unwanted or malicious traffic. < Back  ::  Top^

See ESSID above.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
An encryption protocol developed by Netscape that has become the most commonly used method of securing transmissions across the Internet. Online retail and banking sites typically use SSL to protect sensitive data in transit. SSL can also be used to create Web-based VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), allowing remote offices and roaming employees secure access to the company LAN. Web pages using SSL have address that start with https:// rather than http://. SSL has been evolving into Transport Layer Security (TLS), which may become the next standard for the encryption of Web traffic. < Back  ::  Top^

Static IP
A static IP address is a permanent Internet Protocol address. Devices that need to be connected to the Internet long-term benefit significantly from having a permanent address. < Back  ::  Top^

Subnetwork or Subnet
A logical division of a larger Internet Protocol (IP) network. Small offices will use only one subnet to provide addresses for all the devices on the LAN; large enterprise networks may use hundreds of subnets. Each subnet is a logically independent network, and therefore routers or Layer-3 switches are needed in order to allow devices on different subnets to communicate. < Back  ::  Top^

A device similar to a hub in that it connects multiple devices on a LAN, a switch has additional hardware that allows it to intelligently pass or filter network traffic, greatly increasing the speed and efficiency of the LAN. Switches allow more complex or heavily trafficked LANs to operate smoothly. < Back  ::  Top^

A digital line that provides 1.544 Mbps of bandwidth. T-1s can be used to carry voice, data, or multimedia content, or any combination of these. T-1s can provide Internet access or connect offices directly, forming a WAN (Wide Area Network). < Back  ::  Top^

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
Provides the means for establishing a connection between two Internet endpoints or hosts. Once a connection is established, TCP ensures that messages are sent and received reliably, so that no information is lost. This is accomplished by breaking transmissions into discrete parts or "segments," numbering the segments, and then putting them back together at the receiving end, always in their original order. If there is a transmission error, TCP knows to resend the segment or segments that were lost in transit. Only when the complete series of segments has been acknowledged as received does TCP break down the host-to-host connection. < Back  ::  Top^

A group or suite of protocols, including but not limited to TCP and IP, that provides the logical framework for all communication on the Internet. TCP is responsible for establishing a reliable connection between two hosts (such as your PC and the office file server) and IP is responsible for ensuring that each Internet host has its own unique address. TCP/IP has become by far the most popular networking protocol suite, and is commonly used on LANs of all sizes, as well as the Internet. < Back  ::  Top^

TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol)
Part of the WPA system to enhance wireless network security, TKIP dynamically changes the keys used to encrypt each packet of data on the wireless network. TKIP also uses a message integrity check to ensure that the keys have not been tampered with. < Back  ::  Top^

A line that carries multiple simultaneous voice or data signals. < Back  ::  Top^

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
A protocol for sending voice traffic (telephone conversations) over the Internet rather than the PSTN (public switched telephone network). VoIP can offer substantial savings over traditional voice service by bypassing the access and service fees associated with the legacy voice network. < Back  ::  Top^

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Creating a private connection or "tunnel" that passes through a public network, such as the Internet. VPNs allow secure and private communication across insecure or public-access media. VPNs can be created within wired or wireless networks, as well as by using dial-up modem connections over the telephone network. VPNs allow businesses with remote offices or remote employees to leverage existing public network infrastructure while at the same time keeping transmissions secure. There are several varieties of VPN, including SSL, SSH tunneling, and IPSec. < Back  ::  Top^

WAN (Wide Area Network)
A communications network connecting geographically distant points. T-1 leased lines or WiMAX can provide the connections that establish a WAN. < Back  ::  Top^

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)
The original security standard defined for wireless networks in the IEEE 802.11 specification. Because wireless networks use radio broadcasts rather than copper wire to transmit information, they are inherently more vulnerable to intrusion than wired networks. WEP was designed to give wireless networks "equivalent" security to wired networks, by using encryption. WEP offers two levels of encryption: 40/64-bit or 108/128-bit. While WEP may provide sufficient security in some circumstances, it has proved ineffective in deterring determined snooping. WEP has therefore been superseded by Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and 802.11i, which offer much-improved security. < Back  ::  Top^

Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity)
A catch-all term for wireless networks built on the 802.11-family specifications. The term was coined by the Wi-Fi Alliance (, which certifies Wi-Fi devices for interoperability. Devices branded with the Wi-Fi logo are certified to be interoperable. < Back  ::  Top^

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)
A Wi-Fi standard designed to address the security weaknesses of WEP, while remaining compatible with existing Wi-Fi hardware. The principle improvements over WEP are improved encryption through TKIP, which checks keys for tampering and dynamically changes keys during communications, and the addition of user authentication. WPA2 will include even more security features, but requires specialized hardware and may not be compatible with existing Wi-Fi devices. < Back  ::  Top^

WiMAX is the marketing name given to the wireless IP data technology based on the IEEE 802.16 standard currently in development. It was initially developed to support point-to-multipoint broadband wireless access sytems operating in the 10 to 66 GHz waveband. WiMAX is targeted principally at the metropolitan area (MAN). Currently available implementations allow up to 70 Mbps to be delivered at a range of 10 to 20 miles. < Back  ::  Top^

Wireless Mesh Network
A wireless network with multiple access points allowing free mobility with connectivity within the meshed area. Wireless meshes can be used to share LAN and Internet connectivity over a wide area, such as a business park, warehouse, or industrial yard. < Back  ::  Top^

WLAN (Wireless LAN)
A Local Area Network that uses radio waves rather than or in addition to wires to provide the physical-layer connection between notes. < Back  ::  Top^


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