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Frequently Asked Questions

Glossary of Internet Terms

Basic Rate Interface Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
Bits Per Second (BPS) Internet
Browser IP address (internet Protocol address)
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Modem
Domain Net mask
Domain name server Ping
Domain name system Point to Point Protocol (PPP)
File Transfer Protocol Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
Gateway Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
Hyper Text Mark-up Language
World Wide Web
Hyper Text Transport Protocol  

Basic Rate Interface
An ISDN circuit consisting of two B (data) channels and one D (signaling) channel, providing in most applications a total of 128 kbps of available bandwidth.

Bits Per Second (BPS)
A measurement of data speed that refers to the number of data bits being transferred across a circuit every second. Abbreviated "bps."

The general term for WWW client software. The most popular browsers include Netscape, Mosaic, and Internet Explorer.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
Uses existing copper telephone lines for high-speed, digital internet access. The closer you are to your local telephone company's main office or node, the higher the connect speed is. The current range for DSL extends about 36,000 feet from the telephone company's main office or node.

In the Internet, a human-readable name that generally refers to a specific organization or enterprise with the network, and for which a distinct entry exists in the appropriate root server. For example, is a domain name; refers to a system called www within the domain.

Domain name server
A server that maintains zero or more database records in the domain name system, and which is capable of performing DNS resolution upon request by accessing other domain name servers elsewhere in the domain name system hierarchy.

Domain name system
A hierarchical, distributed system of servers that exist to maintain databases enabling the conversion of human-readable domain name (e.g., into IP addresses for computer use (e.g.,, and vice-versa.

File Transfer Protocol
An Internet client/server protocol, generally called FTP that allows the transmission of files between computers and that presents a file system interface to the user.

Generally a reference to the demarcation point between a local area network and a wide area network; a router generally provides the gateway function by sending data destined for locations outside the local network to an outside system for further processing.

Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML)
The standard coding format for WWW documents also called web pages. It allows for formatting of text and graphics, the display of which is the responsibility of the userís web browser.

Hyper Text Transport Protocol (HTTP)
The protocol used on the World Wide Web to transfer data between server and browser.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
A type of digital telephone service that allows the transmission of voice and/or data, generally consisting of multiple, independent channels together form a single ISDN "line." Most ISDN applications have three separate channels in a service type known as the "basic rate interface."

The largest internetwork of its kind, a global collection of tens of thousands of computer systems and networks including government, educational, and private systems, that originated as a government and defense research network in the United States in the early 1970ís.

IP address (internet address)
A 32-bit number assigned to individual networking interfaces (and hence, usually individual computers) in a TCP/IP network. The address is generally written as four single byte numbers separated with periods, the so-called "dotted decimal" format, such as for example. Each single byte refers to an 8-bit section of the address, totaling the 32 bits of the address.

Originally a contraction of "modulator/demodulator," now an accepted term indicated a device that serves as an interface between digital signals (such as data streams on a computer) and analog signals (which are audible sounds suitable for transmission over a conventional telephone line).

Net mask
A bit combination or "mask" used to describe which portion of an IP address refers to the net or subnet, and which portion refers to the individual host computer within that net or subnet. Primarily used by routers during the processing of data packets, to discern the proper routing of those packets. Newsgroups A series of public discussion areas, each on a particular topic, distributed over the Internet.

A method by which an ICMP packet is sent over a TCP/IP network to a particular address and echoed back to confirm that a particular site can be reached via the network.

Point to Point Protocol (PPP)
An encapsulation protocol for TCP/IP network connections that can be used in both dial-up (largely asynchronous) and dedicated (largely synchronous) environments. For dial-up, it is viewed as a sort of successor to the SLIP protocol with a broader set of features, and thought by many to be technologically superior to SLIP.

Post Office Protocol
Known as POP or POP3. A protocol that allows a remote user on a TCP/IP LAN to retrieve e-mail messages from a mailbox. These messages can be retrieved and read with a mail reader, such as Outlook Express.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
The standard electronic mail exchange protocol of the Internet.

Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
A series of networking protocols used on the global Internet.

World Wide Web (www)
A network that uses the HTTP protocol commonly referred to as WWW. Users connect to WWW servers using a client called a browser, the most popular of which include Netscape, Mosaic, and Internet Explorer, to examine multi-media documents.

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