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Not sure of a term we referenced? We break down all the various internet definitions you may encounter when learning about broadband service. We’ve also included commonly used acronyms and added in-depth explanations for the more complex terms that are helpful to understand when buying internet.
Numbers and symbols
302: HTTP status code for found and is used to temporarily redirect visitors
400: HTTP status code for bad request
401: HTTP status code for unauthorized access
403: HTTP status code for forbidden access
404: HTTP status code for error or page not found
500: HTTP code for any unexpected error
502: HTTP code for bad gateway server error response
503: HTTP code for service unavailable
504: HTTP code for gateway timeout
AI: Artificial intelligence (machines performing tasks that normally require human intelligence)
Algorithm: A procedure for solving computer science problems
Anti-malware: A type of software program that helps prevent computers and other technology from malicious software (known as malware)
Anti-spyware: A type of software program designed to remove spyware, which is software that spies on a user’s computer activities
Anti-virus: A type of software that eliminates computer viruses
Bandwidth: Bandwidth measures the total number of frequencies, or capacity, a network connection can handle at any given moment. With more bandwidth, more data can be transferred through a specific network at a time. This is significant for determining how many devices can connect to the network at a time.
Bluetooth: A short range wireless interconnection between electronic devices
Broadband: Broadband tells you how quickly data can be transferred, which is your overall measurement for the speed of your internet connection. This is significant for determining the speed at which your internet can perform certain tasks, such as streaming a movie.
Cable internet: An internet service type that uses coaxial cables to transmit data
Cache/caching: Stored data through a software component in order for that data to be accessed more efficiently in the future
Capping: Also known as data capping. When you have a limit of how much data you can use in a month.
Cloud computing: Data storage centers available over the internet
Cookies: Data stored in a text file that’s used to identify a user’s computer
Data cap: A monthly limit in the amount of data a user is allowed to use when accessing the internet
Dial-up internet: A type of internet service that works by taking over the signal of an existing phone line and changing it from communicating voice to communicating data
Download: Receiving data from a server onto one’s electronic device
Download speeds: The speed it takes to download data from a server in the form of images, videos, text, files and audio. This is the type of speed most people think of when they think of internet speeds.
DSL: Digital Subscriber Line. A type of internet service that utilizes telephone lines to transmit data
E-commerce: Short for electronic commerce. The buying and selling of goods via the internet.
Encryption: Converting data into code for privacy purposes
Ethernet: A way to connect computers to a Wi-Fi network through a wired connection
Extender: Short for a Wi-Fi extender. A device that connects with your router (either wirelessly or through a wired connection) to help extend your internet signal into rooms that are Wi-Fi dead zones due to walls, furniture obstructions or general spacing.
FCC: Federal Communications Commission. An independent agency of the U.S. government responsible for implementing and enforcing America’s communications law and regulations
Fiber internet: A type of internet service that utilizes fiber optic cables to transmit data
Firewall: A network security system that blocks unauthorized access and controls outgoing and incoming communication with predetermined security rules
FTP: File Transfer Protocol. The protocols computers follow to transfer files from one system to another
Gigabit: A unit of measurement equivalent to 1,000 Mbps
Gigabit broadband: Internet speeds of up to 1 Gigabit. These speeds are some of the fastest available
High-speed internet: The FCC defines high-speed internet as 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 upload speeds, but this definition will likely increase in speed as technology advances
HTTP vs HTTPS: The beginning of a website URL and the protocol used to transfer data over the web. HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is more common but HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is more secure because it uses encryption
IMAP: Internet Message Access Protocol. Standard email protocol that stores email messages onto a mail server.
Internet of things: Physical objects, such as smart home security systems, that are able to collect and transfer data over a wireless network without any human interference
IP Address: Refers to the unique string of numbers that identifies your devices. The IP address is commonly referred to as the ZIP codes of the internet.
ISP: Internet Service Provider. A company that provides internet services.
Jitter: Small intermittent delays during data transfers
KB/KBPS: Kilobit or Kilobit per second is a measure of data transfer speed. 1,000 KBPS equals 1 Mbps, which is the typical form of measurement for internet speed
Latency: Latency measures the delay in data transfer, telling you how fast data gets from a source to its destination.
Link: Short for hyperlink. When a user can click on a highlighted section and be transferred to a new website
Log in: How users access their own personal account
LTE: Long-Term Evolution. The broadband standard for wireless devices. The most common mobile broadband standard is currently 4G LTE.
Malware: Also known as malicious software. Software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.
Megabyte: A unit of measurement. Internet speeds are typically measured in megabytes per second.
Mesh Wi-fi: A group of devices throughout a home that act as a single Wi-Fi network. Each device is called a point and the purpose of having multiple points is to provide better coverage for more areas of the house.
Mobile broadband: Another term for wireless internet access, which means internet access delivered over a mobile network
Modem: A modem receives signals from your internet service provider and translates them for your devices to use.
MP3: A stored audio file (only able to store audio and images)
MP4: A stored multimedia file (able to store video, stills, subtitles or text)
Net neutrality: The principle that ISPs should provide all online content equally without favoring or blocking specific products, websites or types of content.
Network: Two or more computers (or other devices) that are linked together in order to share resources. This can mean a Wi-Fi network or even just the internet.
Operating System: The software that manages a computer’s basic functions
OSS: Open Source Software. When the copyright holder of a software grants users the ability to use, modify or distribute the software through licensing agreements
Phishing: A form of fraud where someone pretends to be someone else online in order to acquire personal information from another person or to deploy malware onto the victim’s computer or other device
Ping: A ping is a test which determines if a server is reachable. The test sends a data packet to the server to see if the data comes back.
Piracy: The unauthorized use, copying or distribution of something that has been copyrighted
POP3: Post Office Protocol is a protocol used by email users in order to receive emails by downloading it to a computer from a mailbox of a server
RAM: Random access memory is short term computer memory where working data is stored. Since it is short term, it is not stored on a computer’s hard drive
Remote desktop: A centralized server that allows users to access their personal profile on a separate device
Router: Takes the internet signals provided by a modem and converts them into a Wi-Fi signal so that devices can connect to the internet wirelessly
Satellite internet: An internet service type that relies on satellites to transmit data into the home
Search engine: A program that allows a user to search for information in a database. The most well-known search engine is Google.
SIM: A Subscriber Identification Module is a card inserted into a mobile device that securely stores personal data, including a international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number
Spam: Unsolicited messages over the internet received by a high volume of recipients
Spyware: Software that allows someone to covertly obtain information regarding another person’s computer activities
Static IP: When the IP address stays the same over time
Streaming: Media content available for immediate watching or listening via any electronic device over the internet
Throttling: When your internet provider limits your bandwidth or slows your connection to certain online activities after you’ve reached a monthly limit
Traffic: The flow of data within an internet network
Trojan Horse: Malware that downloads to a computer disguised as legitimate software
Ultrafast: Internet access with exceptionally fast speeds
Unique user: An IP address, plus a further identifier
Unlimited: When there are no data caps for internet use
Uploading: Sending information from your computer to another device or server on the internet. Common examples include email, Zoom and live-gaming
Upload speeds: This tells you how quickly information from your network is sent to external networks
Virus: A malicious piece of code designed to steal data from a device or damage the device entirely
VOIP: A Voice over Internet Protocol is technology that allows a user to make voice communications over the internet instead of through a phone line
VPN: A Virtual Private Network is a secure connection method that allows verified users to connect to a private network that has been extended across a public network
WAN: A Wide Area Network is when multiple networks communicate with one another (a network of networks). The internet is the world’s largest WAN
Wearable: Smart electronic devices you can physically wear
Web browser: Any application software that can access the World Wide Web (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.)
Wi-Fi: Short for a wireless fidelity and is the technology that allows your devices to wirelessly connect to the internet
WLAN: A Wireless Local Area Network is a network of two or more devices that can connect to the internet wirelessly and exist in close proximity to each other (a home, school, library, etc.)
XML: Extensible Markup Language is sets of codes or tags that describe the text in a document (ex: HTML)
Zip file: A file format that compresses one or more documents into a single zip file
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Written by:Ari Howard
Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content
Ari is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team, focusing on broadband and wireless news, as well as broadband and TV provider deals. She recently graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor’s degree in… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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