Network Chico Computer
Some definitions from the Sharpened Glossary
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Back end: A server in
a client/server networking environment.
Backbone: A single cable
segment used in a bus topology to connect computers in a straight
Bandwidth: This refers
to how much data you can send through a network or modem connection.
It is usually measured in bits per second or "bps."
A good analogy for bandwidth is a highway with cars travelling
on it. The highway is the network connection and the cars are
the data. The wider the highway, the more cars can travel on
it at one time. Therefore more cars can get to their destinations
faster. It's the same principle with computer data; the more
bandwidth, the more information that can be transferred at one
Barrel connector: Used
in Ethernet 10Base2 (thinnet) networks to connect two cable segments.
Base I/O port: The memory
address where the CPU and an adapter check for messages that
they leave for each other.
Base memory address: The
memory address at which the transfer area between the computer's
main memory and a NIC's buffers begin, bounded by the size of
A technology that uses digital signals sent over a cable without
modulation. It sends binary values (0s and 1s) as pulses of different
Baseline: A measurement
of network performance over time against which a current performance
can be measured.
Basic Rate Interface (BRI):
An ISDN implementation that provides two 64 Kbps B-channels.
Generally used for remote connections.
Baud: Baud is not a direct
measurement of data transfer speed, but instead it measures how
many electrical signals are sent per second. Baud is used to
measure the rate of electrical signals, or "signaling elements,"
for modems, networks, serial cables, and other data transfer
mediums. Some people think that baud and bits per second are
equal. For example, they'll say a 28,800 bps modem transmits
at 28,800 baud, and act like they know everything. But the fact
is, most modems transmit multiple bits of data per baud, so while
the the two values are related, they are typically not equal.
So the next time your friend says his 56K v.90 modem can transfer
data at 56,000 baud, you can kindly tell him that he is incorrect
and explain to him the difference between baud and bps.
Beaconing: The signal
transmitted on a token ring network to inform networked computers
that token passing has stopped due to an error.
Bend radius: For network
cabling the bend radius describes the maximum arc that a segment
of cable may be bent over some unit length, typically one foot
or meter, without incurring damage.
Beta software: Before
a commercial software program is released to the public, it usually
goes through a "beta" phase. During this stage, the
software is tested for bugs, crashes, errors, inconsistencies,
and any other problems. Though beta versions of software used
to be made available only to developers, they are now sometimes
made available for the general public to test, usually through
the software company's web site. However, because beta software
is free, the programs usually expire after a period of time.
If you choose to test a beta software program, don't be surprised
if it has multiple problems and causes your computer to repeatedly
crash. After all, it is the beta version. You can tell if a program
is still in beta by checking the program's properties. If there
is a "b" in the version number (i.e. Version: 1.2 b3)
that means it's a beta version.
Binary: Binary is a two-digit
(Base-2) numerical system, which computers use to store data
and compute functions. The reason computers use the binary system
is because digital switches inside the computer can only be set
to either on or off, which are represented by a 1 or 0. Though
the binary system consists of only ones and zeros, the two digits
can be used to represent any number.
A single 0 in binary represents zero.
A single 1 represents (2^0) or 1.
10 represents (2^1) or 2.
11 represents (2^1 + 2^0) or 3.
100 represents (2^2) or 4.
101 represents (2^2 + 2^0) or 5.
110 represents (2^2 + 2^1) or 6.
111 represents (2^2 + 2^1 + 2^0) or 7.
1000 represents (2^3) or 8, and so on.
Binary Synchronous (bisync) communications:
A synchronous communications protocol.
Binding: The OS-level
association of NICs, protocols and services to maximize performance
through the correlation of related components.
BIOS: "Basic Input/Output
System" Most people don't need to ever mess with the BIOS
on a computer but it can be helpful to know what it is. The BIOS
is a program pre-installed on Windows-based computers (not on
Macs) that the computer uses to start up. The CPU accesses the
BIOS even before the operating system is loaded. The BIOS then
checks all your hardware connections and locates all your devices.
If everything is OK the BIOS loads the operating system into
the computer's memory and finishes the boot-up process. Since
the BIOS manages the hard drives, it can't reside on one, and
since it is available before the computer boots up, it can't
live in the RAM. So where can this amazing, yet elusive BIOS
be found? It is actually located in the ROM (Read-Only Memory)
of the computer. More specifically, it resides in an eraseable
programmable read-only memory (EPROM) chip. So, as soon as you
turn your computer on, the CPU accesses the EPROM and gives control
to the BIOS. The BIOS also is used after the computer has booted
up. It acts as an intermediary between the CPU and the I/O (input/output)
devices. Because of the BIOS, your programs and your operating
system don't have to know exact details (like hardware addresses)
about the I/O devices attached to your PC. When device details
change, only the BIOS needs to be updated. You can make these
changes by entering the BIOS when your system starts up. To access
the BIOS, hold down the proper key (delete, F2, etc.) as soon
as your computer begins to start up.
Bis: A French term for
second which describes the second version of an ITU standard.
Bit: The computer term
"bit" comes from the phrase "Binary DigIT."
A bit is a single digit number in base-2 (a zero or a one) and
is the smallest unit of computer data. A full page of text is
composed of about 16,000 bits. It is important not to confuse
bits with bytes. Both are used to measure amounts of data, but
it takes eight bits to make one byte. The most common area where
bits are used intstead of bytes is in measuring bandwidth (as
in bits per second). Abbreviation: "b".
Bitmap: The images you
see on your computer are composed of bitmaps. A bitmap is a map
of dots, or bits (hence the name), that looks like a picture
as long you are sitting a reasonable distance away from the screen.
Common bitmap filetypes include BMP (the raw bitmap format),
JPEG, GIF, PICT, PCX, and TIFF. Because bitmap images are made
up of a bunch of dots, if you zoom in on a bitmap, it appears
to be very blocky. Vector graphics (created in programs such
as Freehand, Illustrator, or CorelDraw) can scale larger without
Blog: Short for "web
log," this term refers to a list of journal entries posted
on a web page. Anybody who knows how to create and publish a
web page can publish their own blog. Some web hosts have made
it even easier by creating an interface where users can simply
type a text entry and hit "publish" to publish their
blog. Because of the simplicity of creating a blog, many people
(often young kids and adults) have found a new presence on the
web. Instead of writing confidential entries in a book that no
one is supposed to see, people now can share their personal feelings
and experiences with thousands of people around the world. Blogs
are typically updated daily, monthly, or anywhere in between.
"Blog" may also be used as a verb, as in "Wow,
Matt sure blogged a lot last week."
Bluetooth: This is a technology
that enables wireless communication between Bluetooth-compatible
devices. It is used for short-range connections between desktop
and laptop computers, PDAs (like the Palm Pilot or Handspring
Visor), digital cameras, scanners, cellular phones, and printers.
Infrared once served the same purpose as Bluetooth, but it had
a number of drawbacks. For example, if there was an object placed
between the two communicating devices, the transmission would
be interrupted. (You may have noticed this limitation when using
a television remote control). Also, the Infrared-based communication
was slow and devices were often incompatible with each other.
Bluetooth takes care of all these limitations. Because the technology
is based on radio waves, there can be objects or even walls placed
between the communicating devices and the connection won't be
disrupted. Also, Bluetooth uses a standard 2.4 GHz frequency
so that all Bluetooth-enabled devices will be compatible with
each other. The only drawback of Bluetooth is that, because of
its high frequency, its range is limited to 30 feet. While this
is easily enough for transferring data within the same room,
if you are walking in your back yard and want to transfer the
address book from your cell phone to your computer in your basement,
you might be out of luck. However, the short range can be seen
as a positive aspect as well, since it adds to the security of
Bookmark: Similar to a real-life
bookmark an Internet bookmark acts as a marker for a web site.
(In Internet Explorer they're called "Favorites".)
When using a web browser, you can simply select a bookmark from
the browser's Bookmarks menu to go to a certain site. This way,
you don't have to go through the redundant process of typing
in the Internet address (URL) each time you visit one of your
favorite sites. Also, who remembers those 200-character addresses
anyway? In most browsers, to create a bookmark, you simply choose
"Add Bookmark" from the Bookmarks menu when you're
at a page that you'd like to bookmark.
Boolean: This is the logic
that computers use to determine if a statement is true or false.
There are 4 main boolean operators: AND, NOT, OR, and XOR. Below
are some examples of how the 4 operators work:
- x AND y retuns True if both x and y are true, otherwise the
expression returns False.
- NOT x returns True if x is false (or null) and False if x
- x OR y returns True if either x or y or both are true; only
if they are both false will it return False.
- x XOR y returns True if either x or y are true, but not both.
If x and y are both true or false, the statement will return
While boolean expressions are what drive the CPUs in computers,
they can also be used by computer users. For example, when searching
for information on the web, many search engines accept boolean
operators in the search phrases (i.e. "Yamaha AND piano
NOT motorcycle"). Programmers often use boolean expressions
in software development to control loops and variables as well.
Boot PROM: A special programmable
chip that includes enough software to permit a computer to boot
sufficiently and access the network. From there it can download
an operating system to finish the boot process.
Boot up: The process a
computer goes through when starting.
Bot: This is an automated
software program that can execute certain commands when it receives
a specific input (like a ro-"bot"). Bots are most often
seen at work in the Internet-related areas of online chat and
web searching. The online chat bots do things like greet people
when they enter a chat room, advertise web sites, and kick people
out of chat rooms when they violate the chat room rules. Web
searching bots, also known as spiders and crawlers, search the
web and retrieve millions of HTML documents, then record the
information and links found on the pages. From there they generate
electronic catalogs of the sites that have been "spidered."
These catalogs make up the index of sites that are used for search
bps: "Bits Per Second"
The "b" is lowercase because it stands for bits, not
bytes. Bits per second is the standard way of measuring how fast
data moves across a network or phone system. For example, a 56K
modem can hypothetically transfer data at 56,700 bits per second.
Braiding: A woven mesh
or metallic wires, usually either copper or steel, wrapped around
the outside of one or more conductive cables. It provides shielding
against EMI, RFI and crosstalk from other cables.
Bridge: In computer networking
bridges connect two or more local area networks (LANs) together.
Data uses the bridge to travel to and from different areas of
the network. The device is similar to a router but it does not
analyze the data being forwarded. Because of this, bridges are
typically fast at transferring data, but not as versatile as
a router. For example, a bridge could not be used as a firewall.
A bridge can transfer data between different protocols (i.e.
a Token Ring and Ethernet network) and operates at the "data
link layer" or level 2 of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection)
networking reference model.
Bridging table: A reference
table created by a bridge to track hardware addresses and which
network segment each address is on.
British Naval Connector (BNC):
Also known bayonet nut connector, bayonet navy connector or bayonet
Neill-Councelman connector. This is a matching pair of coaxial
cable connectors, male and female. The female connector consists
of a ferrule around a hollow pin with a pair of guideposts on
the outside. The male connector consists of a rotating, locking
wire nut, with an inner sleeve with two channels that match the
female connector's guideposts. A pin profects from the center
of the male connector and mates with the hollow pin in the center
of the female connector, while the guideposts and locking wire
nut ensure a tight, well-seated connection.
Broadband: This refers to
high-speed data transmission in which a single cable can carry
a large amount of data at once. The most common types of Internet
broadband connections are cable modems (which use the same connection
as cable TV) and DSL modems (which use your existing phone line).
Because of its multiple channel capacity, broadband has started
to replace baseband, the single-channel technology originally
used in most computer networks.
Broadband optical telepoint network:
An implementation of infrared wireless networking that supports
broadband services equal to those provided by a cabled network.
An analog transmission technique which may use multiple communication
channels simultaneously. Each data channel is represented by
modulation on a particular frequency band for which sending and
receiving equipment must be tuned.
Broadcast: A technique
that uses a transmitter to send signals, such as network data,
through a communications medium. For wireless networks this involves
sending signals through the atmosphere rather than over a cable.
Broadcast packet: A packet
type whose destination address specifies all computers on a network
or network segment.
Broadcast storm: Phenomenon
that occurs when a network device malfunctions and floods the
network with broadcast packets.
Brouter: A networking
device that combines the best functionality of a bridge and a
router. It routes packets that include Network layer information
and bridges all other packets.
Browser: It's what you're
probably using to read this right now. A web browser, often just
called a "browser," is the program people use to access
the World Wide Web. It interprets HTML code including text, images,
the HTML code, the browser displays a nicely formatted page.
Some common browsers are Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet
Explorer, Netscape Communicator, and Apple Safari.
Buffer: This is a small
amount of data that is stored for a short amount of time, typically
in the computer's memory (RAM). The purpose of a buffer is to
hold data right before it is used. For example, when you download
an audio or video file from the Internet, it may load the first
20% of it into a buffer and then begin to play. While the clip
plays back, the computer continually downloads the rest of the
clip and stores it in the buffer. Because the clip is being played
from the buffer, not directly from the Internet, there is less
of a chance that the audio or video will stall or skip when there
is network congestion. Buffering is used to improve many other
areas of computer performance as well. Most hard disks use a
buffer to enable more efficient access to the data on the disk.
Video cards send images to a buffer before they are displayed
on the screen (known as a screen buffer). Computer programs use
buffers to store data while they are running. If it were not
for buffers computers would run a lot less efficiently and we
would be waiting around a lot more.
Burn: This term is used
to describe writing data to a CD or DVD. If you were taking an
SAT test, the analogy would look something like this:
Hard Disk : Write ::
CD/DVD : Burn
The reason the term "burn" is used is because the
CD-writer, or burner, literally burns the data onto a writable
CD. The laser in a CD-writer can be cranked up to a more powerful
level than an ordinary CD-ROM laser. This enables it to engrave
thousands of 1's and 0's onto a CD. So that is why people talk
about "burning" songs or files to CDs. They could just
say they are "writing" the data to a CD, and it would
make sense, but people seem to think "burning" sounds
Bus: 1. A major network
topology in which the computers connect to a backbone cable segment
to form a straight line. 2. Also called the bus architecture,
a specialized collection of parallel lines in a PC used to ship
data between the CPU and peripheral devices and, occasionally,
from one peripheral device to another. One or both adapters involved
must have bus-mastering capabilities.
Bus-mastering: The quality
of an adapter card's circuitry that allows it to take possession
of a computer's bus and coordinate data transfers without requiring
any service from the computer's CPU.
Bus width: The number
of parallel lines that make up a particular kind of computer
bus. For example, ISA supports 8-bit and 16-bit bus widths, EISA
and MCA support 16-bit and 32-bit bus widths, and PCI supports
32-bit and 64-bit bus widths.
Byte: This is a set of
8 bits that represent a single character in the computer's memory.
Bytes are typically used to measure hard disk storage and computer
memory (megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, exabytes, etc.) Abbreviation:
Network Chico Computer
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