Network Glossary of Terms
I have written several posts regarding networking your home computers to the Internet. With more and more people using broadband as their Internet connection, it is becoming more common to see home LANs to allow multiple computers to connect to one Internet connection. To setup a network, it is also important to understand some of the terminology used so you have a better understanding of what is involved in establishing a home LAN.
In this post I will provide a glossary of networking terms (alphabetically) that you will see when creating a home network. This will be helpful when you configure your router but are unsure of a specific networking term.
AES – An acronym for Advanced Encryption Standard. A symmetric encryption algorithm used to protect data. This is aimed at replacing DES. It is one of the encryption options for a wireless network when WPA or WPA2 is used.
DHCP – An acronym for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. This is a communications protocol that allows network administrators manage and automate the assignment of IP addresses through a network. Every time a device connects to the network with DHCP it can be assigned a different address.
DNS – An acronym for Domain Name System. This is a system that translates the Internet domain names into their respective IP addresses. This information is usually stored in a database and a service will then lookup the IP address for a specific domain name. When an address is type in a Web browser, a DNS lookup is performed to find the actual IP address.
Gateway – A network point that acts as the entrance to another network. The router acts as the gateway to your local network, when you access the Internet through the router.
IP Address – Short name for Internet Protocol Address. This is a series of four numbers separated by dots, for example 192.168.1.1. Every computer connected to a network has its own unique IP address.
LAN – An acronym for Local Area Network. This is a network that covers a small, local area such as a home or office. A LAN network can be configured to transfer data at a high rate of speed.
SSID – An acronym for Service Set Identifier. A unique keyword of up to 32 characters (letters or numbers) that a wireless network card can connect to. For home users, this identifier can be set within a wireless router. This SSID of a wireless network can be broadcast to all computers within range of the signal to allow the computers to connect to the network.
TKIP – An acronym for Temporal Key Integrity Protocol. A security protocol designed to replace WEP on wireless networks without replacing legacy hardware. If can select TKIP when you specify WPA within your wireless router.
WAN – An acronym for Wide Area Network. Unlike a LAN, a WAN covers a much larger geographical area, and is usually comprised of one or more LANs.
WEP – An acronym for Wired Equivalency Protocol. A security protocol that provides a minimal level of security for a wireless network. It has flaws that skilled hackers can exploit. Use WPA if both your router and computers of capable of using it.
WPA – An acronym for Wi-Fi Protected Access. This is a replacement data encryption method that replaces the much weak WEP protocol. It is an improvement over WEP because it uses dynamic keys when encrypting the data. This is done by utilizing TKIP to encrypt the data.