Network Glossary Definition
Network Glossary Definition - Ethernet, Backbone, Cable, CSMA/CA, Bridge and more.
10Base2 - Ethernet specification for thin coaxial
cable, transmits signals at 10 Mbps (megabits per second)
with a distance limit of 185 meters per segment.
10Base5 - Ethernet specification for thick coaxial
cable, transmits signals at 10 Mbps (megabits per second)
with a distance limit of 500 meters per segment.
10BaseF - Ethernet specification for fiber optic
cable, transmits signals at 10 Mbps (megabits per second)
with a distance limit of 2000 meters per segment.
10BaseT - Ethernet specification for unshielded
twisted pair cable (category 3, 4, or 5), transmits signals
at 10 Mbps (megabits per second) with a distance limit of
100 meters per segment.
100BaseT - Ethernet specification for unshielded
twisted pair cabling that is used to transmit data at 100
Mbps (megabits per second) with a distance limit of 100
meters per segment.
1000BaseTX -Ethernet specification for unshielded
twisted pair cabling that is used to transmit data at 1 Gbps
(gigabits per second) with a distance limitation of 220
meters per segment.
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) - A network
protocol that transmits data at a speed of 155 Mbps and
higher. It is most often used to interconnect two or more
local area networks.
AppleTalk - Apple Computer's network protocol
originally designed to run over LocalTalk networks, but can
also run on Ethernet and Token Ring.
AUI Connector (Attachment Unit Interface) - A 15
pin connector found on Ethernet cards that can be used for
attaching coaxial, fiber optic, or twisted pair cable.
Backbone - A cable to which multiple nodes or
workstations are attached.
Bit - Binary digit in the binary numbering system.
Its value can be 0 or 1. In an 8-bit character scheme, it
takes 8 bits to make a byte (character) of data.
BNC Connector (Bayone-Neill-Concelman) - Standard
connector used to connect 10Base2 coaxial cable.
Bridge - Devices that connect and pass packets
between two network segments that use the same
Cable - Transmission medium of copper wire or
optical fiber wrapped in a protective cover.
Client/Server - A networking system in which one
or more file servers (Server) provide services; such as
network management, application and centralized data storage
for workstations (Clients).
CSMA/CA - Carrier Sense Multiple Access Collision
Avoidance is a network access method in which each device
signals its intent to transmit before it actually does so.
This prevents other devices from sending information, thus
preventing collisions from occurring between signals from
two or more devices. This is the access method used by
CSMA/CD - Carrier Sense Multiple Access Collision
Detection is a network access method in which devices that
are ready to transmit data first check the channel for a
carrier. If no carrier is sensed, a device can transmit. If
two devices transmit at once, a collision occurs and each
computer backs off and waits a random amount of time before
attempting to retransmit. This is the access method used by
Coaxial Cable - Cable consisting of a single
copper conductor in the center surrounded by a plastic layer
for insulation and a braided metal outer shield.
Concentrator - A device that provides a central
connection point for cables from workstations, servers, and
peripherals. Most concentrators contain the ability to
amplify the electrical signal they receive.
DIN - A plug and socket connector consisting of a
circular pattern of pins in a metal sleeve. This type of
connector is commonly seen on keyboards.
Dumb Terminal - Refers to devices that are
designed to communicate exclusively with a host (main frame)
computer. It receives all screen layouts from the host
computer and sends all keyboard entry to the host. It cannot
function without the host computer.
E-mail - An electronic mail message sent from a
host computer to a remote computer.
End User - Refers to the human executing
applications on the workstation.
Ethernet - A network protocol invented by Xerox
Corporation and developed jointly by Xerox, Intel and
Digital Equipment Corporation. Ethernet networks use CSMA/CD
and run over a variety of cable types at 10 Mbps (megabits
Expansion Slot - Area in a computer that accepts
additional input/output boards to increase the capability of
Fast Ethernet - A new Ethernet standard that
supports 100 Mbps using category 5 twisted pair or fiber
Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) - A
network protocol that is used primarily to interconnect two
or more local area networks, often over large distances.
Fiber Optic Cable - A cable, consisting of a
center glass core surrounded by layers of plastic, that
transmits data using light rather than electricity. It has
the ability to carry more information over much longer
File Server - A computer connected to the network
that contains primary files/applications and shares them as
requested with the other computers on the network. If the
file server is dedicated for that purpose only, it is
connected to a client/server network. An example of a
client/server network is Novell Netware. All the computers
connected to a peer-to-peer network are capable of being the
file server. Two examples of peer-to-peer networks are
LANtastic and Windows for Workgroups.
Gigabit Ethernet - An Ethernet protocol that
raises the transmission rates to 1 Gbps (gigabits per
second). It is primarily used for a high speed backbone of a
Gigabyte (GB) - One billion bytes of information.
One thousand megabytes.
Hub - A hardware device that contains multiple
independent but connected modules of network and
internetwork equipment. Hubs can be active (where they
repeat signals sent through them) or passive (where they do
not repeat but merely split signals sent through them).
Infrared - Electromagnetic waves whose frequency
range is above that of microwaves, but below that of the
Intranet - Network internal to an organization
that uses Internet protocols.
Internet - A global network of networks used to
exchange information using the TCP/IP protocol. It allows
for electronic mail and the accessing ad retrieval of
information from remote sources.
LAN (Local Area Network) - A network connecting
computers in a relatively small area such as a building.
Linear Bus - A network topology in which each node
attaches directly to a common cable.
LocalTalk - Apple Corporation proprietary protocol
that uses CSMA/CA media access scheme and supports
transmissions at speeds of 230 Kbps (Kilobits per second).
MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) - A network
connecting computers over a large geographical area, such as
a city or school district.
MAU (Multistation Access Unit) - A Token Ring
Modem (Modulator/Demodulator) - Devices that
convert digital and analog signals. Modems allow computer
data (digital) to be transmitted over voice-grade telephone
Multiplexer - A device that allows multiple
logical signals to be transmitted simultaneously across a
single physical channel.
Network - A network consists of two or more computers that are linked in order to
share resources (such as printers and CD-ROMs), exchange files, or allow
electronic communications. The computers on a network may be linked through
cables, telephone lines, radio waves, satellites, or infrared light beams.
Network Modem - A modem connected to a Local Area
Network (LAN) that is accessible from any workstation on the
Network Interface Card (NIC) - A board that
provides network communication capabilities to and from a
Network Operating System (NOS) - Operating system
designed to pass information and communicate between more
than one computer. Examples include AppleShare, Novell
NetWare, and Windows NT Server.
Network Protocol -A protocol is a set of rules that governs the communications
between computers on a network. These rules include guidelines that
regulate the following characteristics of a network: access method,
allowed physical topologies, types of cabling, and speed of data
Networking Hardware - Networking hardware includes all computers, peripherals,
interface cards and other equipment needed to perform data-processing and
communications within the network. CLICK on the terms below to learn more
about those pieces of networking hardware.
NetBIOS - Network Basic Input/Output System. API
used by applications on a LAN to request services from lower-level network
processes. These services include session establishment and termination, and
information transfer. NetBIOS is used by network operating systems such as LAN
Manager, LAN Server, Windows for Workgroups, and Windows NT.
NetFlow - A Cisco Systems optimization technique
that identifies traffic flows and speeds the forwarding of traffic for a flow.
When a flow is identified, the switching, security, QoS, and traffic-measurement
services required for the flow are used to build an entry in a NetFlow cache.
Subsequent packets in the flow are handled via a single streamlined task that
references the cache. Also refers to NetFlow export records, which provide
details of the traffic in a network.
Network Address - Network layer address referring
to a logical, rather than a physical, network device. Used by the network layer.
Compare with MAC address.
Network Layer - Layer 3 of the OSI reference
model. This layer provides connectivity and path selection between two end
systems. The network layer is the layer at which routing occurs.
NetWare - Popular distributed network-operating
system developed by Novell. Provides transparent remote file access and numerous
other distributed network services.
NFS - Network File System. A distributed
file-system protocol suite developed by Sun Microsystems that allows remote file
access across a network.
NHRP - Next Hop Resolution Protocol. Protocol
used by routers to dynamically discover the MAC address of other routers and
hosts connected to an NBMA network. These systems can then directly communicate
without requiring traffic to use an intermediate hop, thus increasing
performance in ATM, Frame Relay, and SMDS environments.
NIC - 1. network interface card. Board that
provides network-communication capabilities for a computer system. 2. Network
Information Center. Organization that served the Internet community by supplying
addressing, naming, documentation, training, and other services.
NLM - NetWare Loadable Module. Individual program
that can be loaded into memory on a NetWare server and function as part of the
NetWare network operating system.
NLSP - NetWare Link Services Protocol. Link-state
routing protocol based on IS-IS used in Novell networks.
NMS- Network management system. System
responsible for managing a network. An NMS is generally a powerful and
well-equipped computer such as an engineering workstation. NMSs communicate with
agents to help keep track of network statistics and resources.
NNI - Network-to-Network Interface. ATM Forum
standard that defines the interface between two ATM switches that are both
located in a private network, or are both located in a public network.
Node - End point of a network connection. Nodes
include any device attached to a network such as file
servers, printers, or workstations.
Node Devices - Any computer or peripheral that is
connected to the network.
PCMCIA - An expansion slot found in many laptop
Peer-to-Peer Network - A network in which
resources and files are shared without a centralized
Physical Topology - The physical layout of the
network; how the cables are arranged; and how the computers
Point-to-Point - A direct link between two objects
in a network.
Ports - A connection point for a cable.
Protocol -A formal description of a set of rules
and conventions that govern how devices on a network
RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) - A
configuration of multiple disks designed to preserve data
after a disk casualty.
RAM (Random Access Memory) - The working memory of
a computer where data and programs are temporarily stored.
RAM only holds information when the computer is on.
Repeater - A device used in a network to
strengthen a signal as it is passed along the network cable.
RJ-45 - Standard connectors used for unshielded
Router -A device that routes information between
interconnected networks. It can select the best path to
route a message, as well as translate information from one
network to another. It is similar to a super intelligent
SCSI (Small Computer Serial Interface) - An
interface controller that allows several peripherals to be
connected to the same port on a computer.
Segment - Refers to a section of cable on a
network. In Ethernet networks, two types of segments are
defined. A populated or trunk segment is a network cable
that has one or more nodes attached to it. A link segment is
a cable that connects a computer to an interconnecting
device, such as a repeater or concentrator, or connects a
interconnecting device to another interconnecting device.
Sneaker-Net - Refers to a manual method of sharing
files in which a file is copied from a computer to a floppy
disk, transported to a second computer by a person
physically walking (apparently wearing sneakers) to the
second computer, and manually transferring the file from
floppy disk to the second computer.
Speed of Data Transfer - The rate at which
information travels through a network, usually measured in
megabits per second.
Star Topology - LAN topology in which each node on
a network is connected directly to a central network hub or
Star-Wired Ring - Network topology that connects
network devices (such as computers and printers) in a
Tape Back-Up - Copying all the data and programs
of a computer system on magnetic tape. On tape, data is
stored sequentially. When retrieving data, the tape is
searched from the beginning of tape until the data is found.
Terminator - A device that provides electrical
resistance at the end of a transmission line. Its function
is to absorb signals on the line, thereby keeping them from
bouncing back and being received again by the network.
Thicknet - A thick coaxial cable that is used with
a 10Base5 Ethernet LAN.
Thinnet - A thin coaxial cable that is used with a
10Base2 Ethernet LAN.
Token - A special packet that contains data and
acts as a messenger or carrier between each computer and
device on a ring topology. Each computer must wait for the
messenger to stop at its node before it can send data over
Token Ring - A network protocol developed by IBM
in which computers access the network through token-passing.
Usually uses a star-wired ring topology.
Topology - There are two types of topology:
physical and logical. The physical topology of a network
refers to the configuration of cables, computers, and other
peripherals. Logical topology is the method used to pass the
information between workstations. Issues involving logical
topologies are discussed on the Protocol chapter
Transceiver (Transmitter/Receiver) - A Device that
receives and sends signals over a medium. In networks, it is
generally used to allow for the connection between two
different types of cable connectors, such as AUI and RJ-45.
Tree Topology - LAN topology similar to linear bus
topology, except that tree networks can contain branches
with multiple nodes.
Twisted Pair - Network cabling that consists of
four pairs of wires that are manufactured with the wires
twisted to certain specifications. Available in shielded and
USB (Universal Serial Bus) Port - A hardware
interface for low-speed peripherals such as the keyboard,
mouse, joystick, scanner, printer, and telephony devices.
WAN (Wide Area Network) - A network connecting
computers within very large areas, such as states,
countries, and the world.
Workgroup - A collection of workstations and
servers on a LAN that are designated to communicate and
exchange data with one another.
Workstation - A computer connected to a network at
which users interact with software stored on the network.
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