Network Chico Computer
Some definitions from the Sharpened Glossary
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Fast Ethernet: The 100-Mbps
implementation of standard Ethernet.
Asked Questions" FAQ can be pronounced "fak" or
simply "F-A-Q." An FAQ is a text file that is created
to answer common questions a user may have about a certain software
program or that a newcomer to a web site might have regarding
the site. Web sites will often refer visitors to an FAQ before
asking them to e-mail their questions, which helps cut down on
tech support. While FAQs are common for software programs and
web sites FAQs can be written for other topics such as company
information, computer hardware, technology standards, and video
FAT32: This term refers
to the way Windows stores data on your hard drive. "FAT"
stands for "File Allocation Table," which keeps track
of all your files and helps the computer locate them on the disk.
Even if a file gets fragmented (split up into various areas on
the disk) the file allocation table still can keep track of it.
FAT32 is an improvement to the original FAT system since it uses
more bits to identify each cluster on the the disk. This helps
the computer locate files easier and allows for smaller clusters,
which improves the efficiency of your hard disk. FAT32 supports
up to 2 terabytes of hard disk storage.
Fault tolerance: A feature
of a system which allows it to continue working after an unexpected
hardware or software failure.
Fault-tolerant disk configuration:
An arrangement of physical or logical disks such that if one
disk fails the data remains accessible without requiring restoration
Fax server: A specialized
network server that can send and receive faxes on behalf of the
user community that it supports; receive incoming faxes from
phone lines and direct them to users across the network as well
as accept outgoing faxes across the network and redirect them
over a telephone line.
FCC: "Federal Communications
Commission" Among other responsibilities the FCC regulates
access to broadcast frequencies throughout the electromagnetic
spectrum including those used for mobile computing and microwave
transmissions. Where these signals cover any distance more than
half a mile and require exclusive use of a particular frequency
the FCC requires a broadcast license. Many wireless networking
technologies make use of so-called unregulated frequencies set
aside by the FCC. These frequencies do not require licensing
but they must be shared with others. For more information you
can visit the FCC
FDDI: "Fiber Distributed
Data Interface" A limited-distance linking technology that
uses dual counter-rotating fiber-optic rings to provide 100-Mbps
fault-tolerant transmission rates.
Fiber-optic: A cabling
technology that uses pulses of light sent along a light-conducting
fiber at the heart of the cable to transfer information from
sender to receiver. Fiber-optic cable can send data in only one
direction so two cables are required to permit any two network
devices to exchange data in both directions.
Fiber-Optic Cable: This
is a cable made up of super-thin filaments of glass or other
transparent materials that can carry beams of light. Because
a fiber-optic cable is light-based data can be sent through it
at the speed of light. Using a laser transmitter that encodes
frequency signals into pulses of light representing ones and
zeros sent through the cable. The receiving end of the transmission
translates the light signals back into data which can be read
by a computer. Because fiber-optics are based entirely on beams
of light they are less susceptible to noise and interference
than than other data-transfer mediums such as copper wires or
telephone lines. However, the cables are fragile and are usually
placed underground, which makes them difficult and expensive
to install. Some fiber-optic cables are installed above ground
but if they break, they often need to be completely replaced,
which is not cheap. While copper wires can be spliced and mended
as many times as needed it is much harder to fix glass fiber-optic
File and print server:
The most common type of network server (not considered a specialized
server). It provides file storage and retrieval services across
the network and handles print jobs on behalf of its user community.
Firewall: A computer firewall is used to protect
a networked server or client machine from damage by unauthorized
users. A firewall can be either hardware or software based. A
router is a good example of a hardware device that often has
a built-in firewall. Software programs that monitor and restrict
external access to a computer can also serve as firewalls. A
network firewall allows only certain messages from the Internet
to flow in and out of the network. Can also be defined as a special
Internet server that sits between an Internet link and a private
network which filters both incoming and outgoing network traffic,
limits the Internet resources that in-house users may access
and severely or completely limits incoming requests for access
to the firewall's private network side.
Firewire: This high-speed
interface has become a hot new standard for connecting peripherals
(no pun intended). Created by Apple Computer in the mid-1990's,
Firewire can be used to connect devices such as digital video
cameras, hard drives, audio interfaces, and MP3 players, such
as the Apple iPod, to your computer. A standard Firewire connection
can transfer data at 400 Mbps, which is roughly 30 times faster
than USB 1.1. This blazing speed allows for quick transfers of
large video files, which is great for video-editing professionals.
If 400 Mbps is still not fast enough, Apple Computer released
new PowerMacs with Firewire 800 ports in early 2003. These ports
support data transfer rates of 800 Mbps -- twice the speed of
the original Firewire standard. You may see Firewire referred
to by its technical name, IEEE 1394, since it was standardized
by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Both
terms refer to the same technology. If your computer doesn't
have Firewire and you wish it did, fear not. As long as your
computer has PCI slots you can purchase a PCI Firewire card to
add Firewire ports to your computer.
Flash: When you see the
term "Flash" on the web, it most likely refers to Macromedia's
web animation technology. Flash allows web developers to incorporate
colorful animations with text, shapes, and images into their
web pages. Because the technology is mainly vector-based Flash
animations typically don't take up a lot of disk space. This
means large animations can be downloaded relatively quickly.
To view Flash content in your web browser, you need to have the
Flash plug-in. Fortunately, it comes standard with most browsers
today. If you don't have the Flash plug-in, you can get it directly
Flash Memory: Flash memory
is a type of electrically erasable programmable read-only memory
(EEPROM). The name comes from how the memory is designed; a section
of memory cells can be erased in a single action or in a "flash."
A common use of flash memory is to store the BIOS settings in
a computer's ROM. When the BIOS needs to be changed, the flash
memory can be written in blocks, rather than bytes, making it
easy to update. Most modems use flash memory for the same reason.
Though flash memory was originally used inside computers, it
has invaded many other areas outside the box. Flash memory cards
used for digital cameras, cellular phones, networking hardware,
and PC cards. Though the memory's read/write speed is not lightning
fast, it is nice to be able to tote around a little card rather
than a cumbersome hard drive.
Flow control: An action
designed to regulate the transfer of information between a sender
and a receiver. Most often flow control is necessary when a speed
differential exists between sender and receiver.
Format: In order for storage
media, such as a hard drive, to be recognized by your computer,
it needs to be formatted. Formatting a disk involves testing
the disk and writing a new directory structure, or "address
table," onto the disk. If you would like to erase or initialize
a hard drive you can use a disk utility program to reformat it.
This will create an blank, empty disk for storing your files.
While the disk appears to be empty most of the files on the disk
are actually untouched by the formatting process. When you format
a disk it creates a new address table making the entire disk
available for writing. However the files are still on the disk,
they just don't show up since the are no longer part of the directory
structure. So if you accidentally format a disk (which is pretty
hard to do) you can still retrieve most of your files using an
advanced disk utility such as Norton Disk Doctor or DiskWarrior.
The term "format" can also be used to describe the
layout or style of text in a text document. When you format the
layout you choose the page margins and the line spacing. When
you format the text you choose the font, the size, and the styles,
such as bold, italic, and underlined.
FPU: "Floating Point
Unit" The first computer processors were far better at dealing
with integers than with real numbers (a.k.a. floating point numbers).
So a separate FPU processor was developed to handle the floating
point calculations. That way, when the CPU
encountered a floating-point expression (ie. 1.62 * 0.87359),
it would send the calculation to the FPU. Since the FPU is specifically
designed to handle floating-point math, it computes expressions
involving real numbers more efficiently. While the first floating
point units used to be manufactured as individual chips they
are now typically integrated into the CPU.
Fractional T1: A segmented
T1 line where a customer uses or leases one
to 23 channels of a T1 to achieve transmission rates in increments
of 64 Kbps.
Fragmentation: The process
of breaking a long PDU from a higher layer into a sequence of
shorter PDUs for a lower layer ultimately for transmission as
a sequence of data frames across the networking medium.
Frame: In the computer
world, a frame can be several different things. Used interchangeably
with "data frame" it is the basic package of bits that
represents a PDU sent from one computer to
another across a network. In addition to its contents a frame
includes the sender's and receiver's network addresses plus control
information at the head and a CRC at the
tail. Some different definitions of "frame" are listed
Some Web sites use HTML frames, where the pages are
broken up into various areas. Each area consists of an independent
Web page. Frames allow the multiple Web pages to all show up
in the same page.
Graphics and desktop publishing programs also use frames.
In these programs, frames are rectangular areas meant for inserting
graphics and text. They allow users to place objects wherever
they want to on the page.
In video and animation, frames are individual pictures
in a sequence of images. For example, a Flash movie you see on
the Web may play 12 frames per second, creating the appearance
of motion. Most video is shot at 24 or 30 frames per second,
or FPS. FPS is often measured in 3D games as a way of checking
the speed of the graphics processor of a computer.
Frame relay: A WAN
technology that offers transmission rates of 56 Kbps to 1.544
Mbps. Frame relay uses no error checking.
Frame type: One of four
standards that defines the structure of an Ethernet packet; Ethernet
802.3, Ethernet 802.2, Ethernet SNAP or Ethernet II.
Freeware: Like shareware,
freeware is software you can download, pass around, and distribute
without any initial payment. However, the great part about freeware is that you never have
to pay for it. No 30 day limit, no demo versions, no disabled
features; it's totally free. Things like minor program updates
and small games are commonly distributed as freeware. Though
freeware does not cost anything
it is still copyrighted so other people can't market the software
as their own.
type of spread-spectrum data transmission that switches data
across a range of frequencies over time. Frequency-hopping transmitters
and receivers must be synchronized to hop at the same time and
to the same frequencies.
Front end: A client in
a client/server networking environment.
FTP: "File Transfer
Protocol" FTP is a common
method of transferring files via the Internet from one computer
to another. Some common FTP programs are "Fetch" for
the Mac and "WS_FTP" for Windows. However, you can
also use a web browser like Netscape or Internet Explorer to
access FTP servers. To do this, you need to type the URL of the
server into the location field of the browser. For example: "ftp://ftp.servername.com/"
will give you a listing of all the directories of the FTP server,
"ftp://ftp.servername.com/directory/" will give you
a listing of all the files available in that directory, and "ftp://ftp.servername.com/directory/filename"
will download the actual file to your computer. Many FTP servers
are "anonymous FTP" servers which means you can log
in with the user name "anonymous" and your e-mail address
as the password. Other FTP servers require a specific login in
order to access the files. FTP is a TCP/IP-based networked file
transfer application with an associated protocol widely used
on the Internet to copy files from one machine on a network to
Full backup: A copy of
data that resets the archive bit on all copied files.
A type of network communication in which a pair of networked
devices can send and receive data at any given time providing
two-way communications. Full-duplex usually increases effective
utilization of bandwidth between the pair and usually requires
special network interfaces and equipment.
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