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Glossary of Internet Terms



ActiveX - ActiveX is a code that defines Microsoft's interaction between web servers, clients, add-ins and Microsoft Office applications. ActiveX is Microsoft's answer to Java technology from Sun Microsystems.

ADSL - (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) - A method for moving data over regular phone lines. An ADSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber's premises are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. An ADSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations, similar to a leased line.

Anonymous FTP - (File Transfer Protocol) – On the Internet , people and companies often place files that can be downloaded; for example software upgrades. To transfer the file you must make a connection to their host machine. Hosts require a username and password to allow access: often the sites allow you access by logging in using the account name anonymous, thus these sites are called anonymous ftp servers.

Applet - A small Java program that can be embedded in an HTML page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not allowed to access certain resources on the local computer, such as files and serial devices (modems, printers, etc.), and are prohibited from communicating with most other computers across a network. The current rule is that an applet can only make an Internet connection to the computer from which the applet was sent.

Archie - A software tool for locating files on anonymous FTP sites . Archie is actually an indexing spider that visits each anonymous FTP site, reads all the directory and file names , and then indexes them in one large index. A user can then query Archie which checks the query against the index. To use Archie , you can Telnet to a server that you know has Archie on it and then enter Archie search commands.

ARPANet - (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) - The precursor to the Internet . Developed in the late 60's and early 70's by the US Department of Defence as an experiment in wide-area-networking that would survive a nuclear war.

ASCII - (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) – ASCII is the most common format for text files in computers and on the Internet. In an ASCII file, each alphabetic, numeric or special character is represented with a 7-bit binary number (a string of seven 0s or 1s). 128 possible characters are defined. UNIX and DOS-based operating systems (except for Windows NT ) use ASCII for text files. Windows NT uses a newer code, Unicode.

ATM - (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) – Is a dedicated connection switching technology that organises digital data into 53 – byte cell units and transmits them over a physical medium using digital signal technology. Individually, a cell is processed asynchronously relative to other related cells and is queued before being multiplexed over the transmission path. The pre-specified bit rates are either 155.520 Mbps or 622.080 Mbps, though speeds on ATM networks can reach 10 Gbps.

AVI - (Audio Video Interleaved ) – An AVI file is a sound and motion picture file that conforms to the Microsoft Windows Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) specification. AVI files (which end with an .avi extension) require a special player that may be included with your Web browser or may


Backbone - Each Internet Service Provider has major high-speed lines or a series of connections that forms their network infrastructure . These connections could be viewed as motorways for Internet traffic with junctions where traffic can join the rest of the network. The size (bandwidth) of connections vary depending on the size of the provider.

Backbone Network - The primary path for network transmission

Backhaul - The term used to describe how switches get data to the backbone network.

Bandwidth - Describes how much data you can send through an Internet connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second. As a rule , increased bandwidth equals faster Internet connections.

BBS - (Bulletin Board System) - A computerised meeting and announcement system that allows people to carry on discussions, upload and download files, and make announcements without the people being connected to the computer at the same time.

BINHEX - (BINary HEXadecimal) - A method for converting non-text files (non-ASCII) into ASCII. This is needed because Internet e-mail can only handle ASCII.

Bit - (Binary DigIT) - A single digit number in base-2, in other words, either a 1 or a zero. The smallest unit of computerised data. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits-per-second.

BITNET - (Bulletin Board System) - An academic computer network that provides interactive electronic mail and file transfer services, using a store-and-forward protocol, based on IBM Network Job Entry protocols. Bitnet-II encapsulates the Bitnet protocol within IP packets and depends on the Internet to route them.

Bps - (Bits-Per-Second) - A measurement of how fast data is moved from one place to another.

BRI - (Basic Rate Interface) – One of two ISDN service offerings, the second being PRI . BRI consists of two 64 Kbps B data channels and one 16 Kbps D signalling channel.

Broadband - The provision of multiple channels of information, over a single link which supports high speed through-put of data, typically using some form of frequency or wave-division multiplexing. The information could consist of voice, video or computer data

Browser - A client software program used for searching and viewing various kinds of Internet resources such as information on a web site. The most popular Internet browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

Byte - A set of Bits that represent a single character. Usually there are 8 Bits in a Byte, though can be more depending on how the measurement is being made.


Cache - Is a place to store something more or less temporarily. Web pages you've visited are stored in your browser's cache directory on your hard disk . Likewise, ISPs cache web pages which speeds up access times for users, as the page is being read from the cache memory and not downloaded from the actual web site.

Central Office - A facility owned by the incumbent operator where subscriber lines are connected to the local switching equipment

Certificate Authority - An issuer of Security Certificates used in SSL connections.

CGI - (Common Gateway Interface) - A set of rules that describe how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the “CGI program”) talks to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard.You can often see that a CGI program is being used by seeing “cgi-bin” in a URL.

Cgi-bin - The most common name of a directory on a web server in which CGI programs are stored.
The “bin” part of “cgi-bin” is a shorthand version of “binary” because originally , most programs were referred to as “binaries”. In reality, most programs found in cgi-bin directories are text files - scripts that are executed by binaries located elsewhere on the same machine.

CHAP - (Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol) – Is a security feature supported on lines using PPP encapsulation that prevents unauthorised access , CHAP does not itself prevent unauthorised access , it merely identifies the remote end, though is a more secure procedure for connecting to a system than PAP. The router or access server then determines whether that user is permitted access.

Client - A node or software program that requests services from a server.

Co-location - Most often used to refer to having a server that belongs to one person or group physically located on an Internet-connected network.

Co-location Facility - A facility which houses, in a secure and monitored environment, telecommunication equipment including building management systems and power supply equipment

Cookie - A cookie is information that a Web site puts on your PC's hard disk so that it can remember something about you at a later time.(More technically, it is information for future use that is stored by the server on the client side of the client/server communication). Typically, a cookie records your preferences when using a particular site.

Cracker - Crackers are often mistakenly called "hackers". Crackers are the "bad guys" who seek to "crack" or gain unauthorized access to computers, typically to do malicious things e.g. to steal credit card information or crash the computer. Crackers might do this by writing a virus, worm, or Trojan horse. Alternatively, they may just exploit weaknesses in the computer's operating system in order to gain entry. Many crackers will install a "backdoor" which allows the cracker to "remote control" your computer over the internet, such as to distribute child porn or perform a denial of service attack against somebody else. Most crackers are just bored, anti-social kids who aren't particularly smart and just take advantage of well-known, existing exploits or the gullibility of the typical internet user.

CREN - (Corporation for Research and Educational Networking) – The result of a merger between BITNET and CSNET. CREN is devoted to providing Internet connectivity to its members, which include alumni, students, faculty and other affiliates of participating educational and research institutions.

CSNET - (Computer Science Network) – Large internet consisting primarily of universities, research institutions and commercial concerns. CSNET merged with BITNET to form CREN.

Cyberspace - Term originated by author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer the word Cyberspace is a common term used to describe the virtual environment that the Internet creates with all the different services that it provides.


Dark Fibre - Fibre optic cable without the necessary equipment to transmit a telecommunication signal over the fibre. A telecommunication network operator can sell the right to use their dark fibre to other carriers or directly to end users, who have the obligation of supplying the necessary electronics to transmit on the fibre

Depending on the type of Cookie used, and the Browser's settings - Cookies might contain information such as login or registration information, online “shopping cart” information, user preferences, etc.

DES - (Data Encryption Standard) - Is a widely used method of data encryption that uses a 40-bit and 56-bit key to encrypt and decrypt data. DES and Triple-DES are used as encryption algorithms by S/MIME.

DHCP - (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) – This is a protocol that lets network administrators centrally manage and automate the assignment of IP Addresses on the corporate network. When a company sets up its computer users with a connection to the Internet , an IP address must be assigned to each machine. Without DHCP , the IP address must be entered manually at each computer . DHCP lets a network administrator supervise and distribute IP addresses from a central point and automatically sends a new IP address when a computer is plugged into a different place in the network.DHCP uses the concept of a ‘lease' or amount of time that a given IP address will be valid for a computer. Using very short leases, DHCP can dynamically reconfigure networks in which there are more computers than there are available IP addresses.

Digital Certificates - A digital certificate is an electronic document that establishes your credentials when doing business or other transactions on the web. They are issued by a certificate authority and contain a user's name, expiration dates, a copy of the certificate holder's public key , and the digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority so that a recipient can verify that the certificate is real. Some digital certificates conform to a standard such as X.509.

Digital Signature - A digital signature is an electronic signature that can be used to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message, or of the signer of a document. It can also be used to ensure that the original content of the message or document that has been conveyed is unchanged.

DMSU - Digital Main Switching Unit, a facility which houses, in a secure and monitored environment, servers and other equipment

DNS - (Domain Name Server) – Used to map names to IP addresses and vice versa. Domain Name Servers maintain central lists of domain name/IP addresses and map the domain names in your Internet requests to other servers on the Internet until the specified web site is found.

Domain Name - The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. A given machine may have more than one Domain Name but a given Domain Name points to only one machine. For example, the domain names:

can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no more than one machine.

Usually, all of the machines on a given network will have the same thing as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names ( in the examples above). It is also possible for a Domain Name to exist but not be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group or business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish a real Internet site.

DSL - (Digital Subscriber Line) – A local loop access technology that provides high-speed connections over copper wire to deliver data, voice and video information over a dedicated digital network. Variations of DSL services are also known as ADSL, HDSL, SDSL, VDSL and ISDN . DSL will be a more popular alternative to ISDN and low end Leased Lines, being faster than ISDN and less costly than traditional Leased Lines.

DSLAM - (Digital Subscriber Line Access Mutiplexor) – The equipment that contains a high concentration of central office splitters, DSL modems and other electronics to connect data traffic from the local loop to a WAN.

DWDM - Dense Wave Division Multiplexing, the technology by which the frequencies of light carried on a single optical fibre are subdivided into discrete wavelengths allowing for the greater transmission of data.

Dynamic IP - The term used to describe how IP address is dynamically assigned to computers as and when needed. Unlike Static IP addresses, the IP address is temporary e.g. when you connect to your ISP using a dial-up connection , you PC or router will be dynamically assigned an IP address whilst you are on-line.


E-1 - Is the European term used to describe a 2 Mb leased line (or 2.048 million bits per second or 32 channels of 64Kbps to be exact).

E-2 - Is the European term used to describe a line which carries four multiplexed E1 signals with a data rate of 8.448 million bits per second.

E-3 - Is the European term used to describe a line which carries 16 E1 signals with a data rate of 34.368 million bits per second.

E-4 - Is the European term used to describe a line which carries four E3 signals with a data rate of 139.264 million bits per second.

E-5 - Is the European term used to describe a line which carries four E4 channels with a data rate of 565.148 million bits per second.

E-mail - (Electronic Mail) - E-Mail is the mail system that is used on the Internet to pass messages from one person or group of people to another. The systems also permits the transmission of pictures and sounds .

Ethernet - A very common method of networking computers in a LAN using copper cabling . Ethernet will handle about 10,000,000 bits-per-second and can be used with almost any kind of computer.

Extranet - An extranet is a private network that uses the Internet protocols and the public tele-communication system to share a business's information , data or operations with external suppliers, vendors or customers. An extranet can be viewed as the external part of a company's Intranet.


Fast Ethernet - A faster version of Ethernet . Instead of the network running at 10Mbps, the performance is increased ten fold to 100Mbps.

Finger - An Internet software tool for locating people on other Internet sites. Finger is also sometimes used to give access to non-personal information, but the most common use is to see if a person has an account at a particular Internet site. Generally sites do not allow incoming Finger requests, though some do.

Firewall - A combination of hardware and software that secures access to and from the LAN . There are three main types of firewall architecture; Stateful Inspection, Proxy based and Packet Filtering, whereby the former provides the highest level of access control. Firewalls can also be used to secure internal network resources from internal network users too.

Frequency - The rate of signal oscillation, measured in hertz (Hz)

FTP - (File Transfer Protocol) – Allows the transfer of one or more files from one machine to another across the Internet .


Gateway - The technical meaning is a hardware or software set-up that translates between two dissimilar protocols, for example a machine that connects a UUCP network with the Internet so that mail can be transferred between them.

Gbps - Gigabits per second, a measure of speed of transmission of data

GIF - (Graphic Interchange Format) - A common format for image files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same colour. GIF format files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic images as well as JPEG.

Gigabyte - 1000 or 1024 Megabytes, or approximately a billion bytes, or two to the power of 30, or 1,073,741,824 bytes to be precise.

Gopher - A widely successful method of making menus of material available over the Internet. Gopher is a Client and Server style program, which requires that the user have a Gopher client program. Although Gopher spread rapidly across the globe in only a couple of years, it has been largely supplanted by Hypertext, also known as WWW (World Wide Web). There are still thousands of Gopher Servers on the Internet and we can expect they will remain for a while.


Hacker - When used properly, this term refers to an elite breed of "good guys" who are talented computer programmers. They enjoy solving challenging problems or exploring the capabilities of computers. Like a carpenter wielding an axe to make furniture, the hacker does good things with his skills. True hackers subscribe to a code of ethics and look down upon the illegal and immoral activity of crackers (defined above). When the press uses "hackers" to describe virus authors or computer criminals who commit theft or vandalism, it is not only incorrect but also insulting to true hackers.

HDML - (Handheld Devices Markup Language) – Is now called the Wireless Markup Language (WML) which is the language that allows the text portions of Web pages to be presented on cellular phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) via wireless access.

HDSL - (High bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line) – The earliest variation of DSL . The main characteristic of HDSL is that it is symmetrical or in other words an equal amount of bandwidth is available in both directions.

Hit - As used in reference to the World Wide Web, “hit” means a single request from a web browser for a single item from a web server; thus in order for a web browser to display a page that contains 3 graphics, 4 “hits” would occur at the server: 1 for the HTML page, and one for each of the 3 graphics.

Home Page (or Homepage) - 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, organisation, person or simply the main page out of a collection of web pages.

Host - Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers/nodes on the network.

HTML - (HyperText Markup Language) - The coding language used to create Hypertext documents for use on the WWW. Basically it is a set of ‘markup' symbols or codes inserted in a file that tells the Web browser how to display a Web page's words and images for the user. The individual mark up codes are referred to as elements.

HTTP - (HyperText Transfer Protocol) - The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web .

Hyperlinks -

Hypertext - Generally, any text that contains links to other documents - words or phrases in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which cause another document to be retrieved and displayed.


IEEE - (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) – A professional organisation whose activities include the development of communication and network standards. IEEE LAN standards are the predominant LAN standards today.

IMAP (4) - (Internet Message Access Protocol) – Is a standard protocol for accessing e-mail from your local server. IMAP is a client/server protocol in which e-mail is received and held for you by your Internet server. You can view just the heading and the sender of the mail and then decide whether to download the mail. You can also create and manipulate folders or mailboxes on the server, delete messages etc. A less sophisticated mail protocol is POP3.

Incumbent Operator - The national telecommunication operator, such as BT in the UK and France Télécom in France.

Indefeasible Right of Use” or “IRU” - A right in capacity (an unconditional right to use a specified amount of voice or data transmission capacity) or a right in an asset (an exclusive right to use the specified telecommunication infrastructure but generally any one or a combination of duct, sub-duct and dark fibre) for an agreed term.

Internet - (Upper case I) A worldwide system of computer networks in which any one computer can get information from/or talk to any other connected computer using the TCP/IP protocols. The Internet evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60's and early 70's.

internet - (Lower case i) Any time you connect 2 or more networks together, you have an internet.

Intranet - A private network within a company or organisation that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet, but that is only for internal use. As the Internet has become more popular many of the tools used on the Internet are being used in private networks, for example, many companies have web servers that are available only to employees. Note that an Intranet may not actually be an internet, it may just be a network

IP - (Internet Protocol) – Network layer protocol in the TCP/IP stack offering a connectionless internetwork service. IP provides features for addressing, type-of-service specification, fragmentation, type-of-service specification and reassembly and security.

IP Address - (Internet Protocol Address) - Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots
Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.

IP-VPN - Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network

IPSec - (Internet Protocol Security ) – IPSec is a standard for security at the network or packet processing layer of network communication. IPSec essentially encrypts data to create secure data transmissions across private and public networks such as the Internet and allows companies to implement VPNs (Vitual Private Networks) across the Internet as a cost effective alternative to dedicated connections.

IRC - (Internet Relay Chat) - Essentially a huge multi-user live chat facility. There are a number of major IRC servers around the world which are linked to each other. Anyone can create a channel and anything that anyone types in a given channel is seen by all others in the channel. Private channels can (and are) created for multi-person conference calls.

ISDN - (Integrated Services Digital Network) – A digital subscriber line network with circuit and packet switching capabilities for voice and data communications. ISDN services are currently available in the UK as BRI (Basic Rate ISDN) consisting of 2 x 64 Kbps B data channels and one 16 Kbps D channel, and PRI (Primary Rate ISDN) consisting of 30 x 64 Kbps B channels and one D channel.

ISO 9001 - The quality management and assurance standards for design, development, production, installation and services set by the International Standards Organisation.

ISP - (Internet Service Provider) - An institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money.

ITSEC - (Information Technology Security Evaluation & Certification Scheme) – A European initiative to provide a set of internationally accepted security standards. The security features of IT systems and products are independently tested. This security evaluation is carried out against standardised criteria to a formalised methodology. Certificates are becoming increasingly recognised in many countries and across Europe.

ITU-T - (International Tele-communication Union Tele-communication Standardisation Sector) – The international body that develops world-wide standards for tele-communications technologies.


Java - Java is a network-oriented programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs that can be safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet and immediately run without fear of viruses or other harm to your computer or files. Using small Java programs (called "Applets"), Web pages can include functions such as animations, calculators etc.

JBOD - "Just a Bunch Of Disks" - a series of disks not utilizing a mass storage architecture such as RAID

JPEG - (Joint Photographic Experts Group) - JPEG is most commonly mentioned as a format for image files. JPEG format is preferred to the GIF format for photographic images as opposed to line art or simple logo art.


Kbps - Kilobits per second, a measure of speed of transmission of data.

Kilobyte - A thousand bytes, OR more precisely 1024 bytes.


LAN - (Local Area Network) – LANs are networks of computers that are local to the immediate area, usually the same building or floor of a building. LANs allow files and information and resources to be shared or stored centrally for all users that have a connection to it.

LDAP - (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) – Is a software protocol enabling anyone to locate organisations, individuals and other resources such as files and devices in a network, whether on the Internet or on a corporate intranet.

Leased Line - Refers to a dedicated phone line that is rented for exclusive 24-hour, 7 -days-a-week use from one location to another location. The highest speed data connections require a leased line.

Lighting Programme - The provision of equipment to enable the transmission of large volumes of data down a pair or optical fibres

Lit Fibre - Fibre optic cable with the necessary equipment to enable transmission of a telecommunication signal over the activated fibre

LLU - (Local Loop Unbundling) – The process whereby incumbent tele-communications companies allow potential competitors to rent the twisted-pair copper wire that connects individual subscribers or households to the local telephone exchange.

Local Loop - The Line from a subscriber to the telephone company's local exchange.

Local Telephone Exchange - A facility that contains the lowest node in the hierarchy of switches that comprise the public telephone network


Managed Bandwidth Services - The provision of bandwidth to a customer under a service management contract.

Masts - Mobile and fixed wireless telecommunication installations and associated telecommunication apparatus for use by mobile and fixed wireless network operations.

Mbps - Megabits per second, a measure of speed of transmission of data.

Megabyte - A million bytes. Technically, 1024 kilobytes.

MI5 - Britain's Security Service.

MIME - (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) - The standard for attaching non-text files to standard Internet mail messages. Non-text files include graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, sound files, etc. An email program is said to be MIME Compliant if it can both send and receive files using the MIME standard. When non-text files are sent using the MIME standard they are converted (encoded) into text , although the resulting text is not really readable.Besides e-mail software, the MIME standard is also universally used by Web Servers to identify the files they are sending to Web Clients, in this way new file formats can be accommodated simply by updating the Browsers' list of pairs of MIME-Types and appropriate software for handling each type.

Mirror - Generally speaking, “to mirror” is to maintain an exact copy of something. Probably the most common use of the term on the Internet refers to “mirror sites” which are web sites, or FTP sites that maintain exact copies of material originated at another location, usually in order to provide more widespread access to the resource or resilience for a web server that requires maximum uptime. If one server fails the second will still be able to service client requests.

Modem - (MOdulator, DEModulator) - A device that you connect to your computer and to a phone line, that allows the computer to talk to other computers through the phone system.

Mosaic - The first WWW browser that was available for the Macintosh, Windows, and UNIX all with the same interface. Mosaic really started the popularity of the Web. The source-code to Mosaic has been licensed by several companies and there are several other pieces of software as good or better than Mosaic, most notably, Netscape.

MP3 - (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3) – Is the standard technology and format for compressing a sound sequence into a very small file while preserving the original level of sound quality when it is played.

MPEG - (Moving Picture Expert Group) – This is the group that develops standards for digital video and digital audio compression. MPEG standards are an evolving series, each designed for a specific purpose.


Narrowband - A communication channel with a bandwidth of typically less than 64 Kbps.

NAT - (Network Address Translation) – Is the translation of an IP Address used within one network to a different IP Address known within another network. Typically a company maps its local inside network addresses to one or more global outside IP Addresses and unmaps the global IP Addresses on incoming packets back into local IP addresses. This helps ensure network security since each outgoing or incoming requests must go through a translation process that also provides the opportunity to qualify or authenticate the request or match it to a previous request. NAT also conserves on the number of global IP Addresses that a company needs by letting a company use a single IP Address to communicate with the world. NAT is also a feature of most routers and firewalls.

Netscape - A WWW browser and the name of a company. The NetscapeÔ browser was originally based on the Mosaic program developed at the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Netscape provided major improvements in speed and interface over other browsers, and has also engendered debate by creating new elements for the HTML language used by Web pages, though the Netscape extensions to HTML are not universally supported.

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 together and you have an internet.

Network Operating Centre” or “NOC - A central location for monitoring and maintaining a network.

Newsgroup - The name for discussion groups on USENET.

NNTP - (Network News Transport Protocol) - The protocol used by client and server software to carry USENET postings back and forth over a TCP/IP network. If you are using any of the more common software such as Netscape, Internet Explorer, etc. to participate in newsgroups then you are benefiting from an NNTP connection.

Node - Any single computer or device connected to a network.


OPSEC - (Open Platform for Secure Enterprise Connectivity ) – An initiative launched by Check Point Software Technologies ( the authors of FireWall-1Ô) to provide interoperability between multi-vendor security products, technologies and secure network applications.


Packet - When data is distributed around a network or the Internet, it is broken down into chunks or packets, that are more manageable than an entire file. Each packet has both the destination and source address, as well as error correction for error free transmission.

Packet Switching - The method used to move data around on the Internet. In packet switching, all the data coming out of a machine is broken up into chunks, each chunk has the address of where it came from and where it is going. This enables chunks of data from many different sources to co-mingle on the same lines, and be sorted and directed to different routes by special machines along the way. This way many people can use the same lines at the same time.

PAP - (Password Authentication Protocol) – Authentication protocol that allows PPP peers to authenticate one another. The remote router attempting to connect to the local router is required to send an authentication request. PAP does not itself prevent unauthorised access, but merely identifies the remote end. The router or access server then determines if that user is allowed access. PAP is only supported on PPP connections.

PDF - (Portable Document Format) – Is the file format that encompasses all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print and distribute.

Peering Arrangement - An agreement between carriers of IP traffic whereby no charge is made for interconnection of networks.

Ping - (Packet Internet Groper) – PING is a command that can be used to check if communication can be established between two devices. The information that is returned includes how long it takes for the data to make the journey , how many hops across the Internet it took ( or router path) and much of the traffic gets through.

PKI - (Public Key Infrastructure) – A PKI enables users of a basically unsecure public network such as the Internet to securely and privately exchange data and money through the use of a public and a private cryptographic key pair that is obtained and shared through a trusted authority. The public key infrastructure provides for digital certificates that can identify individuals or organisations and directory services that can store and, when necessary, revoke them. Although the components of a PKI are generally understood, a number of different vendor approaches and services are emerging.

Plug-in - A piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of software. The idea behind plug-in's is that a small piece of software is loaded into memory by the larger program, adding a new feature, and that users need only install the few plug-ins that they need, out of a much larger pool of possibilities. Plug-ins are usually created by people other than the publishers of the software the plug-in works with.

Point-to-point - Point-to-point protocol provides a standard method for transporting multi-protocol datagrams over point-to-point links.

POP - (Point of Presence) - A Point of Presence usually means a city or location where an Internet Service provider provides local access to connect to the Internet using dial up phone lines and leased lines.

POP-3 - (Post Office Protocol ) – Is a client/server protocol whereby e-mail is received and stored by Internet Service Providers for subscribers. With POP-3 e-mail, the entire message is forwarded and stored at the client PC when the user dials in to the ISP to check and retrieve their e-mail - as opposed to IMAP based e-mail, where messages are stored, read and manipulated on the ISP's mail servers.

Portal - Usually used as a marketing term to described a Web site that is intended to be the first place people see when using the Web. Typically a "Portal site" has a catalogue of web sites, a search engine, or both. A Portal site may also offer e-mail and other services to entice people to use that site as their main "point of entry" (hence "portal") to the Web.

Posting - A single message entered into a network communications system.
e.g. A single message posted to a newsgroup or message board.

PPP - (Point to Point Protocol) – A protocol that allows packet based communications between two locations. A successor to SLIP, PPP provides and establishes router-to-router and host-to-network connections over synchronous and asynchronous connections.

Private Key - An encryption key used in asymmetric encryption, which allows both decryption and creation of digital signatures. A private key is known only to the user in a public key cryptography system and is used in conjunction with a public key.

Protocol - A pre-defined format for computer language which enables dissimilar computers or devices to communicate.

Provision - The end-to-end process of adding a customer.

PSTN - (Public Switched Telephone Network) - The regular old-fashioned telephone system.

Public Key - An encryption key used in asymmetric encryption, which allows both decryption and creation of digital signatures. A public key is known to everyone in public key cryptography system and is used in conjunction with a private key.


RADIUS - (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) – RADIUS is a client/server protocol and software that enables remote access servers (RASs), to communicate with a central server to authenticate dial-in users and authorise their access to the network. RADIUS allows a company to maintain user profiles in a database that all remote servers can share and allows a company to set up a remote access policy that can be applied at a single administered network point.

RAID - Redundant Array of Independent Disks. A collection of disk drives that offers increased performance and fault tolerance. There are a number of different RAID levels. The three most commonly used are 0, 1, and 5: Level 0: striping (spreading out blocks of each file across multiple disks). Level 1: disk mirroring. Level 3: Same as Level 0, but also reserves one dedicated disk for error correction data. It provides good performance and some level of fault tolerance Level 5: data striping at byte level, also stripe error correction information. This results in excellent performance and good fault tolerance.

RAS - (Remote Access Server) – A piece of hardware which remote users dial-in to, to gain access to a particular service or resource. i.e. The corporate LAN

RFC - (Request For Comments) - The name of the result and the process for creating a standard on the Internet . New standards are proposed and published on line, as a Request For Comments. The Internet Engineering Task Force is a consensus-building body that facilitates discussion, and eventually a new standard is established, but the reference number/name for the standard retains the acronym RFC, e.g. the official standard for e-mail is RFC 822.

Router - A router is a piece of hardware that essentially connects two or more networks together. Routers forward packets of data between networks based on network layer information, or in other words, it looks at the destination addresses of the packets passing through it and decides which route to send them on.


S/MIME - (Secure Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions) – A secure version of MIME. It is the industry-standard for encryption of e-mail between similar and dissimilar e-mail systems. S/MIME can use a number of different signature and encryption algorithms.

SDH or Synchronous Digital Hierarchy” - High speed, synchronous network standard designed to run on fibre at digital transmission rates of 155.52 Mbps 9STM-1).

SDSL - (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line) – A DSL service that transmits and receives data at the same speed in both directions.

Security Certificate - A chunk of information (often stored as a text file) that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a secure connection. Security Certificates contain information about who it belongs to, who it was issued by, a unique serial number or other unique identification, valid dates, and an encrypted “fingerprint” that can be used to verify the contents of the certificate.
In order for an SSL connection to be created both sides must have a valid Security Certificate.

Server - A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running, e.g. Our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't getting out. A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network.

SLIP - (Serial Line Internet Protocol) – The standard protocol for point-to-point serial connections using a variation of TCP/IP, and is the predecessor of PPP.

SMDS - (Switched Multimegabit Data Service) – High-speed, packet-switched , datagram-based WAN networking technology offered by telephone companies.

SME - (Small/Medium Enterprise) – Term used to classify a business that has typically 50 to 250 network users.

SMTP - (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) - The main protocol used to send electronic mail on the Internet. SMTP consists of a set of rules for how a program sending mail and a program receiving mail should interact. Almost all Internet email is sent and received by client and servers using SMTP, thus if one wanted to set up an email server on the Internet one would look for email server software that supports SMTP.

SMTP Mail Feed - A service forwards all e-mail received for a particular domain name, or group of domain names to the mail server on another network as and when it is received.

SNMP - (Simple Network Management Protocol) – This is the protocol used almost exclusively in TCP/IP networks providing the means to monitor and control network devices and to manage configurations, statistics collection, performance and security.

Socket - When your computer is connected to the Internet, it does so through the use of sockets; each Internet session requiring one socket. For example, you could be doing an FTP session, which would be taken care of by one socket, with another socket communicating with a different machine to collect or send e-mail.

SOHO - (Small Office Home Office) – Term used to classify a business that typically has 50 or less network users.

Spam (or Spamming) - Spam is unsolicited or junk e-mail from the Internet. It is often in the form of the same piece of information (i.e. advertising) sent to a large number of people who didn't ask for it.
The e-mail addresses may have come from a list of subscribers to a newsgroup or supplied by a company who specialise in producing e-mail lists.

SQL - (Structured Query Language) - A specialised programming language for sending queries to databases. Most industrial-strength and many smaller database applications can be addressed using SQL. Each specific application will have its own version of SQL implementing features unique to that application, but all SQL-capable databases support a common subset of SQL.

SSL - (Secure Sockets Layer) - A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet. SSL is used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between web browsers and web servers. URLs that begin with “https” indicate that an SSL connection will be used. SSL provides 3 important things: Privacy, Authentication, and Message Integrity.

Stateful Inspection - Term used to describe one particular type of firewall architecture, whereby the firewall intercepts, analyses and takes action on all communications before they enter the operating system of the gateway machine, ensuring maximum security and integrity of the network.

Static IP - The term used to describe a PC or network device that has a permanent IP address as opposed to a dynamic IP address.

Switch - A device used to establish a path used to move information between two or more users in a network.


TCP - (Transmission Control Protocol) – Connection orientated transport protocol that provides reliable full-duplex data transmission. TCP is part of the TCP/IP protocol stack.

TCP/IP - (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) – Common name for the suite of protocols developed to support and unify the construction of world-wide internetworks such as the Internet. TCP and IP are the best known protocols in the suite.

Telnet - The command and program used to login from one Internet site to another. The telnet command/program gets you to the login: prompt of another host.

Terabyte - 1000 gigabytes.

Terminal - A device that allows you to send commands to a computer somewhere else. At a minimum, this usually means a keyboard and a display screen and some simple circuitry. Usually you will use terminal software in a personal computer - the software pretends to be (emulates) a physical terminal and allows you to type commands to a computer somewhere else.

Terminal Server - A special purpose computer that has places to plug in multiple modems on one side, and a connection to a LAN or host machine on the other side. Thus the terminal server does the work of answering the calls and passes the connections on to the appropriate node. Most terminal servers can provide PPP or slip services if connected to the

To light - To activate an optical fibre for use by commissioning transmission equipment at each end.

Token Ring - Is a type of local PC network whereby all computers are connected in a ‘ring' and a ‘token' passing scheme is used in order to prevent the collision of data between two computers that want to transmit data at the same time ( as is the case with Ethernet and Fast Ethernet networks).

Triple DES - An enhanced version of DES that allows for more security than DES alone. Triple DES uses three keys and encrypts three times – hence ‘triple'.

Trojan Horse - This is a very general term, referring to programs that appear desirable, but actually contain something harmful. The harmful contents could be something simple, for example you may download what looks like a free game, but when you run it, it erases every file in that directory. The trojan's contents could also be a virus or worm, which then spread the damage.

Twisted-pair - Telephone system cabling that consists of copper wires loosely twisted around each other.


UDP - (User Datagram Protocol) - One of the protocols for data transfer that is part of the TCP/IP suite of protocols. UDP is a “stateless” protocol in that UDP makes no provision for acknowledgement of packets received.

UMTS - Universal Mobile Telecommunications System is a so-called third generation or 3G broadband, packet-based transmission standard for text, digitised voice, video, and multimedia at data rates up to and higher than 2 Mbps, aimed at offering a consistent set of services to mobile computer and phone users around the world.

UNIX - UNIX is a computer operating system designed to be used by many people at the same time and has TCP/IP. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.

URL - (Uniform Resource Locator) - The standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (WWW).

USENET - A world-wide system of discussion groups, with comments passed among hundreds of thousands of machines. Not all USENET machines are on the Internet. USENET is completely decentralised, with over 10,000 discussion areas, called newsgroups.

UUENCODE - (Unix to Unix Encoding) - A method for converting files from Binary to ASCII (text) so that they can be sent across the Internet via e-mail.


VDSL - (Very high Data rate Subscriber Line) – A DSL service operating at data rates from 12.9 Mbps to 52.8 Mbps.

Virus - A virus is a program that propagates itself by infecting other programs on the same computer. Viruses can do serious damage, such as erasing your files or your whole disk, or they may just do silly/annoying things like pop up a window that says "Ha ha you are infected!" True viruses cannot spread to a new computer without human assistance, such as if you trade files with a friend and give him an infected file (such as on a floppy or by an email attachment).

VOIP - (Voice Over Internet Protocol) – In short , this means sending voice information using the Internet Protocol(IP) whereby voice information is sent in digital packet form, rather than in the traditional circuit-committed protocols of the Public Switched Telephone Network(PSTN). An advantage of VOIP is the cost savings to be made on long distance phone calls, by utilising the Internet and local access charges as opposed to the standard long distance phone costs levied by the phone companies.

VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol delivers voice traffic over IP.

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.


W3C - (World Wide Web Consortium) – The W3C is an industry consortium which seeks to promote standards of the evolution of the Web and interoperability between WWW products by producing specifications and reference software. Although W3C is funded by industrial members, it is vendor-neutral and its products are freely available to all.

WAIS - (Wide Area Information Servers) - A commercial software package that allows the indexing of huge quantities of information, and then making those indices searchable across networks such as the Internet. A prominent feature of WAIS is that the search results are ranked (scored) according to how relevant the hits are, and that subsequent searches can find more stuff like that last batch and thus refine the search process.

WAN - (Wide Area Network) – A geographically dispersed network

WAP - (Wireless Application Protocol) – Is the specification for a set of communication protocols to standardise the way that wireless devices such as mobile phones can be used for Internet access and utilise services such as e-mail, browsing, newsgroups and IRC.

Wayleave - A right granted by the owner or occupier of land whereby equipment is permitted to be installed on, over or under the land so owned or occupied in return for one or more payments.

Web -

Web-hosting - The outsourced provision of facilities to locate (host) web sites or servers.

When a Server receives a request from a Browser that includes a - Cookies do not read your hard drive and send your life story to MI5.


Worm - Like a virus, a worm is also a program that propagates itself. Unlike a virus, however, a worm can spread itself automatically over the network from one computer to the next. Worms are not clever or evil, they just take advantage of automatic file sending and receiving features found on many computers.

WWW - (World Wide Web) - Frequently used (incorrectly) when referring to "The Internet", WWW has two major meanings - First, loosely used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools. Second, the universe of hypertext servers (HTTP servers) which are the servers that allow text, graphics, sound files, etc. to be mixed together.


X.21 - The ITU-T standard for serial communications over synchronous digital lines. The X.21 protocol is used primarily in Europe and Japan.

X.509 -

XDSL - The generic term used to refer to the various forms of DSL technologies.

XML - (Extensible Markup Language) – A flexible way to create common information formats and share both the format and the data on the World Wide Web, intranets and elsewhere. Currently a formal recommendation from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). XML is similar to the language of today's Web pages, HTML. Both XML and HTML contain markup symbols to describe the contents of a page or file where XML describes the content in terms of what data is being described.

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