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.Networking Terms Glossary

    10BASE-T cableAn Ethernet cable system using Category 5 twisted-pair wiring with RJ-45 connectors at each end. Used with 100Mbps Fast Ethernet networks. Also works with 10Mbps Ethernet

    10Mbps 10 Megabits per second; standard Ethernet operating speed.

    backbone A central network cable system that connects a number of other networks.

    bandwidth The rate at which a network can transfer data, usually expressed in Megabits per second (Mbps) Standard Ethernet operates at 10 Mbps. Fast Ethernet operates at 100Mbps.

    broadcast A network transmission sent to all nodes on the network.

    broadcast storm Network messages that overload the network capacity. Broadcast storms also occur when old and new TCP/IP routers are on the same network.

    Category 3 cable A 10Base-T unshielded twisted-pair cable type commonly used in 10 Mbps Ethernet networks.

    Category 5 cable A higher grade of unshielded twisted-pair cable required for networking applications such as 100Mbps Fast Ethernet. It is most commonly found in buildings that were wired within the last five years. It can also be used with 10 Mbps Ethernet.

    client A computer connected to a network or shared resource server.

    client/server network A network in which individual computers (clients), use a central computer (server) for such services as file storage, printing, and communications. See peer-to-peer.

    collisions If two computers try to send packets over a network segment simultaneously, they will collide and be rejected. The computers automatically resend them with altered timing to ensure proper receipt.

    crossover cable A cable in which the receive and transmit lines are crossed. Crossover cables are sometimes needed to connect hubs or switches together. On Intelā InBusinessä hubs and switches, the Out to Hub port is a crossover port, so you can use regular Category 5 cable to link to other hubs and switches. To connect two hubs that don't have a crossover port, use a crossover cable between regular ports on each hub

    Driver Software that allows a computer system to communicate with other equipment. The driver manipulates the hardware in order to transmit data to the equipment.

    Entire Network An icon in Network Neighborhood. Double-click it to display other workgroups, and then open a workgroup to see the computers in that workgroup.

    Ethernet Networking standards originally developed in 1973 by Xerox and formalized in 1980 by DEC, Intel, and Xerox. Ethernet networks transmit data at 10 Mbps using a specified protocol. See Fast Ethernet.

    Ethernet address Each networking node has its own unique, pre-programmed Ethernet address. The address is obtained automatically when required by network transmission. This number identifies the node or networking device as a unique communication device and enables direct communications to and from the device.

    Fast Ethernet An Ethernet networking system which transmits data at 100Mbps.

    file server A dedicated network computer used by client computers to store and access software and work files.

    hop count A term used when counting components and sections of wire in an Ethernet network to determine whether Ethernet compliance has been met.

    hub The central connection point for network cables that connect to computers or other devices on a network. With an 8-port hub, you can connect cables to 8 computers.

    Internet A worldwide collection of computer networks that use the TCP/IP protocol and provide connectivity for Web browsing and other network communication.

    Intranet While similar to the Internet, this is a private, network within a company or other organization. For example, the network can include a Web server that the company can use to post policy and information that employees can view in a Web browser.

    IP Internet Protocol. TCP/IP protocol for packet forwarding. See TCP/IP.

    IPX Internet Packet Exchange®) A Novell NetWare® protocol similar to IP (Internet Protocol.

    ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network. ISDN uses digital switching to carry data, voice, computer transmissions, music and video at speeds exceeding that of traditional analog telephone lines.

    kilobit One thousand bits of data. For example, 240 kilobits per second means 240,000 bits of information are being transmitted per second over a network (240 Kbps).

    LAN Local Area Network. A network in a centralized location. The network lets users at that location share files, printers and other services. See WAN.

    mapped drive A drive letter assigned to a folder or drive shared from another computer. You can access the drive just like the disk drives on your computer.

    Megabit One million bits of data. (10 Megabits per second, or Mbps, means that 10 million bits of data are being transmitted over the network per second.)

    modem An acronym from "modulator and demodulator." It converts = analog to digital and digital to analog signals. A communications product that sends computer transmission over a standard telephone line at pre-set speeds.

    Network Neighborhood Windows® places this icon on your desktop when your computer is set up to use the network. Double-click the Network Neighborhood icon to access the other computers on your network.

    NIC Network Interface Card, also called network adapter card. It serves as the interface between the computer and the network cable for sending and receiving data.

    node Computing equipment such as a computer, printer, modem, or server, that is connected in a network. Each node can communicate with other network nodes and networking devices such as hubs, switches, routers, bridges, etc.

    Network Operating System A special application that allows computers and other devices on the network to send and receive information.

    packet A unit of transmitted information that follows specific protocols and contains codes that include precise sending and receiving of information from one networked node to another.

    PC Card Communication cards roughly the size of a credit card that fit into the small PC Card slot of portable computers or other networking devices. Formerly called PCMCIA cards, these adapters offer Ethernet access, data/fax/modem capability and other services to portable computers.

    PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect bus architecture. This is a 32/64 bit local bus architecture on the motherboard of a computer. It is used by network interface cards and runs faster than an ISA bus.

    peer-to-peerAll connected computers on this network type communicate directly without the use of a dedicated server. See client/server.

    peripherals Equipment such as disk drives, CD-ROM drives, modems, printers, fax machines, keyboards, etc. that are connected to a computer.

    port A connector on your computer or networking device that is used to attach the network cable. A typical port would be used to connect the adapter card in your computer to the hub.

    protocolA set of procedures or rules for sending and receiving information on a network.

    repeater A network device that regenerates signals so they can extend the cable length.

    RJ-11 connector A standard modular telephone connector.

    RJ-45 connector The connector on each end of 10Base-T or 100Base-TX twisted-pair cable. RJ-45 connectors are slightly larger than RJ-11 modular telephone connectors and connect eight wires instead of the four used in RJ-11 connectors. RJ-45 connectors snap into the RJ-45 jack on a network adapter card and the RJ-45 port on a network hub or switch.

    server A computer that provides shared resources to network users.

    server-based network A network in which all client computers use a dedicated central server computer for network functions such as storage, security and other resources.

    shared Ethernet Standard 10Base-T Ethernet method of sending data to a hub which then rebroadcasts this data to every node or port on the network until it reaches all nodes. See switched Ethernet.

    sharing The way you give other computers access to the files and printers on your computer. When your computer is set up for networking, other computers can access the folders, drives, or printers that you choose to share.

    star topology A networking configuration used with 10Base-T or 100Base-TX cable. Each node on the network is connected to the hub like points of a star. See bus topology.

    store-and-forward The most accurate data transferring technique used by switches. When the network is busy, packets are stored until the network is able to carry the traffic and packets are transmitted without error. The switch examines each packet of a transmission to verify accuracy, and ensure bad or misaligned packets are eliminated, and then sends good packets to their destination.

    subnet A network segment connected by hubs. Subnets can stand alone, or connect to other subnets to form a larger network.

    switch Similar to but more sophisticated than a hub, a switch provides a private line across the network. When two devices communicate through a switch, it sends signals directly from one port to the other port, instead of transmitting to all ports, like on a hub. You can connect a computer or a fully populated hub to each port on a switch.

    switched Ethernet Unlike shared Ethernet, it provides a "private" connection between two nodes on a network, speeding up the rate at which data is sent along the network and eliminating collisions. See Shared Ethernet.

    TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. Originally two separate protocols, now they are almost always used together. The term TCP has evolved to mean the family of common Internet protocols. It is the protocol for the Internet.

    terminator A connector with a 50 ohm resistor, required at each open end of an Ethernet coaxial cable. It is usually attached to an electrical ground at one end.

    thicknet cable Also called standard Ethernet, used with older 10 Mbps baseband networking.

    thinnet cable Usually quarter-inch black coaxial cable, identified by type as RG-58/U. Sometimes called 10Base-2 cable.

    topology A wiring configuration used for a network. Examples are the ring, star, bus, and so on.

    transceiver Derived from transmitter/receiver, a transceiver is a device that sends and receives signals, and can connect a computer to the network, such as a network adapter card. It often provides packet collision detection, too.

    twisted-pair cable A cable used for both network communications and telephone communications. Also known as UTP (unshielded twisted-pair), it comes as 10Base-T and 100Base-TX cable.

    UTP Unshielded twisted-pair. Also referred to as 10Base-T or 100Base-TX network cable.

    WAN Wide Area Network. A very large sophisticated network that extends beyond a single building, and often extends across a city, state or farther.

    workgroup A group of computers on your network. When you open Network Neighborhood, you see the computers in the same workgroup as your computer. To access other computers, double-click Entire Network. You can change the workgroup for your computer in the Network item in the Control Panel