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Networking Concepts - Technology Acronyms

Networking Concepts - Technology Acronyms



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ACL - Access Control List - a list that specifies what operations users can perform on files and directories. ACLs are part
of the security subsystem of a network OS and are used to grant or deny access to various functions of the OS.
Active X - a Microsoft specification that defines how programs can share information. Active X controls may be written in
any programming language, but will only run on the Windows OS.
ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line - the latest in connection technology, at least as fast as cable modems, but
uses your existing phone line.
AES - Advanced Encryption Standard - a lightweight encryption algorithm for securing VPNs
AP - Access Point - a device used to connect wireless networks to a wired network.
API - Application Programming Interface - programmers writing applications for an OS will use these to take advantage
of already existing capabilities within that OS to make their programs look familiar to the users.
APNIC - Asia Pacific Network Information Centre - the Internet registry organization for the Internet in Asia and the
Pacific RIM.
ANSI - American National Standards Institute - for a complete explanation, see the ANSI web site.
ARIN - American Registry for Internet Numbers - the Internet registry service for North and South America, as well the
Carribean and sub-Saharan Africa.
ARP - Address Resolution Protocol - the protocol used to convert an IP address to a MAC address.
ARPANET - the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (kind of a hybrid, compound acronym/shortened-word

form) - the beginnings of the Internet. In 1969, the DOD established four nodes outside the military; at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA, SRI International, and the University of Utah. For a nice timeline history of the Internet with lots of acronyms, see Robert H Zakon's page at the Internet Society web site.

ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange - pronouncedask-ee - ASCII is the code that represents

characters as numbers so computers can understand them. For example, the upper case letter "A" is 65, which to a computer looks like this - 1000001 - (computers only "understand" 0's and 1's, which is the binary numbering system.) The lower case letter "a" is 97, which is 1100001 in binary.

ASP - Active Server Pages - a Microsoft specification for dynamically created web pages with the .asp extension, which
allows programmers to use either Visual Basic or JScript to create web pages "on the fly".
ATM - Asynchronous Transfer Mode - technology that allows much faster data transfer rates than Ethernet - as much as
six times as fast.
authentication - the process of identifying an individual through the use of a username and password combination. This
ensures that the individual logging in is who they claim to be.
ACKComputer/Internet Terminology; "ACK" is short for acknowledgment. In other words, it's the signal your modem
sends back to a server whenever it receives a complete, correct data packet therefrom. (If the data doesn't come
through as it was supposed to, the modem sendsback a negative acknowledgment, or "NAK.")

AFAIRChat Room Acronym; As Far As I Recall.
ATTYChat Room Acronym; AThousand Thank Yous.
AWGTHTGTWTAChat Room Acronym; Are We Going To Have To Go Through With This Again? It often shows up

when someone asks a question that has already been answered time and time again, or when someone attempts to
start an argument that's already been hashed and re-hashed.
Active MatrixComputer Terminology; An active matrix display is an LCD that is refreshed more frequently than a

passive matrix display. The most common type of active matrix display is a TFT (or "thin filmtransistor") display, in which
every LCD pixel is controlled by as many as four tiny transistors. The most important thing to know about an active
matrix display is that it remains sharp and viewable from
almost any angle--much like the display on a desktop computer

AgentComputer/Internet Terminology; An agent (also called an intelligent agent) is a program that, when triggered by

specified circumstances or events, runs all by itself and performs tasks for you. Your e-mail program, for example, might have an agent (or let you create one) that automatically deletes month-old messages or alerts you when you receive a message from a particular person. Server-side agents are agents that run on a network server and automate network administration tasks.

Artificial intelligence (AI)Computer Terminology; Artificial intelligence is computer technology designed to imitate the

human brain--specifically, to solve problems by learning and reasoning. Originally, in the early 1950s, AI was called
"computer intelligence," which you have to admit is a much more accurate term; interestingly, it was an MIT professor,
and not a marketing weenie, who renamed it artificial intelligence in 1956. AI is still a ways from replacing human brains,
but as Deep Blue's victory of Gary Kasparov demonstrated, it can sure play a mean game of chess.

AvatarInternet Terminology; In techno-speak, an avatar is an icon that represents a real person in an online game,
forum, or other area of cyberspace. An avatar can range from a simple picture to an animated 3-D graphic that moves
and morphs to reflect what the person it represents is doing. See alsoAvatar.
API (application programming interface) A set of subroutines or functions that a program, orapplication, can call to

tell the operating system to perform some task. The Windows API consists of more than 1,000 functions that programs written in C, C++, Pascal, and other languages can call to create windows, open files, and perform other essential tasks. An application that wants to display an on-screen message can call Windows'MessageBox API function, for example.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) Pronounced "ass-kee." A standard developed by the

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) describing how characters can be represented on a computer. The ASCII character set consists of 128 characters numbered from 0 to 127 and includes numerals, punctuation symbols, letters, and special control codes such as end-of-line characters. The letter A, for example, is represented by the number 65. Most personal computers use some form of the ASCII character set. (One exception: computers running Windows NT, which uses the newer and more expansive Unicode character set.)

ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) An integrated-circuit chip designed for a particular use rather than
general use. Many video boards and modems use ASICs.
ATA (AT attachment) The specification, formulated in the 1980s by a consortium of hardware and software

manufacturers, that defines the IDE drive interface. AT refers to the IBM PC/AT personal computer and its bus
architecture. IDE drives are sometimes referred to as ATA drives or AT bus drives. The newer ATA-2 specification
defines the EIDE interface, which improves upon the IDE standard. See alsoIDE andEIDE.

ABI Applications Binary Interface. This is the innermost programming code that ensures the compatibility of an
application program with a computer system at the lowest level -- the system hardware.
ABIOS Advanced Basic Input Output System. The usual BIOS in a PC is a set of program routines whose job is to

bootstrap the operating system (which means it loads part of it from disk and then the part loaded looks after the rest)
and to manage the system hardware such as the disk drives and the communication ports. ABIOS was the version used
in the IBM PS/2 type computers which used the OS/2 operating system. The OS/2 system, unlike DOS, doesn't require
the BIOS to manage the system hardware, but the BIOS is retained for compatibility when running DOS programs.

ABT Advanced Backplane technology. From a company called Graphite, ABT is a method of making computers easier

and cheaper to upgrade as technology changes. The idea is to put the main components such as the microprocessor onto a circuit board which plugs into a "backplane bus". This consists of a set of connectors on a circuit board. Unused connectors or "slots" are available for other boards such as modems, sound boards and so on. Updating the technology should then simply be a matter of changing the microprocessor board, rather than exchanging the whole system.

ABT Advanced BiCMOS technology. An extension of the BCT method of making logic chips by combining two

technologies: bipolar transistors (for high speed) and CMOS transistors (for low power consumption) -- thus getting the best of both types. These logic chips are used with the latest 16- and 32-bit microprocessors which operate at such high speeds that traditional logic chips would not be suitable.

AC Advanced CMOS. Logic circuits made using CMOS (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) technology using
very little power, but originally were not very fast. AC chips can now nearly match the speed of TTL (Transistor
Transistor Logic), which was built for speed but has relatively high power consumption.
ACIA Asynchronous Communications Interface Adaptor. A chip which can provide the facilities for serial commincation
in a computer. It supplies the signals which go to the RS-232 interface, performs parallel/serial data leaving the machine.
See UART for more information.
ACE Advanced Computing Environment. A consortium of computer hardware and software companies including
Compaq, DEC and Microsoft.

ACT Advanced CMOS with TTL inputs. A version of the AC logic chips allows easy connection to TTL logic chips.
A/D Analog to Digital converter.
ADC Analog to digital converter. In the "real world", quantities such as temperature, sound pressure, light intensity and

so on have values which are continuously variable -- these are called analogue quantities. A digital computer, however, requires its information in digital form -- as 1s and 0s. It is the job of the ADC to convert the one sort of information into the other. For example, temperature information can be given to a computer as follows: a therocouple will produce a small output voltage which is proportional to the temperature it senses. This voltage can then be amplified and fed to the ADC unit. The ADC ouputs a digital code (8 bits, for example) whose value is proportional to the size of its analog input. This code can now be used by the computer. To convert music to CD-quality digital form, it is turned into a 16-bit code (called a sample) 44 100 times per second.

ADPCM Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation. Sound cards are circuit boards which greatly improve the PC's

sound output quality. They use sound stored in digital form. One method for producing sound in this form is PCM. The
sound amplitude is frequently sampled by a circuit called an analog to digital converter (ADC), each sample being
represented by, say, a 12-bit code. PCM works out the code for each sample "from scratch" each time. ADPCM uses a
more efficient coding method which notes the difference in sound amplitude between one sample and the next.AFTP
Anonymous File Transfer Protocol. Many remote sites (computers) on the Internet allow you to copy files from them

without giving a password -- hence anonymously. The file transfer protocol is the communication program, and the set of
rules it must follow, to allow files to be transferred to your system.
AGP Accelerated (Advanced) Graphics Port. a bus, or set of electrical paths, that gives a PC's graphics controller (the

specialist chip that updates the display) fast access to the system memory chips. This isparticularly important when
complex displays -- such as 3D scens which occupy large lumps of memory -- need to be updated without cloggin up the
existing system buses.

AI Artificial Intelligence. The name given to computers that appear to exhibit human intelligence such as "understanding"
the spoken or written word, reasoning or the ability to respond to their physical surroundings and adapt their response
AI Adobe Illustrator. A file extension (letters added to a filename to aid identification) indicating a file produced by this
AIX Advanced Interactive Executive. IBM's implementation of the UNIX operating system -- a program that manages the
resources of a computer.
Algol Algorithmic language. A computer language for scientific computation dating from the late 1950s which influenced
the design of later languages such as C and Pascal.
ALSTTL Advanced Low-power Schottky Transistor Transistor Logic. A method of making TTL digital logice chips which
results in the minimum power consumption for this technology at present.
ALU Arithmetic and Logic Unit. The part of a microprocessor chip which is capable of performing simple arithmetic (e.g.
add, subtract, multiply) and logic operations on binary numbers.

Amstrad Alan Michael Sugar Trading
ANSI American National Standards Institute.
A/N Alpha/Numeric -- literally letters and numbers. used to describe keyboards and displays.
AOL America Online. A company which offers subscribers a connection to the Internet.
APA All Points Addressable. used to describe computer display sytems where each picture element (pixel) may be

individually controlled.
AP/DOS Advanced Pick/Dos Operating System. This is a version of the Pick operating system (originally written for

minicomputers by Dick Pick in the late 1960s) which will run on a PC using the normal DOS directory structure for
storing files, rather than having to use a specially reserved section of the hard disk. Pick has a built-in database, virtual
memory (VM) management and is easy to use.

API Apllications Programming Interface. Part of the operating system software, this type of interface sits between a

piece of system hardware (such as a graphics or sounds card) and the application software that is using it. It allows applications to be developed which are not dependant upon the particular hardware used -- the device manufacturer providing the final "driver" routines.

APL A Programming Language. A computer programming language devised by Kenneth Iverson, with applications such
as engineering design and business planning.
Arcnet Attached Resource Computing architecture network. A relatively low-cost method of connecting small numbers
of computers together in a network.

ARLL Advanced Run Length Limited. A method of squeezing data onto a hard disk. Also known as ERLL.
ARM Acorn RISC machine. Acorn's RISC microprocessor, as used in the Archimedes computer.
Arpanet Advanced Research Projects Agency network. This is an American computer network installed to link together

establishments that were working on government research, so that information can be easily exchanged. Arpanet is an
example of a wide area network, or WAN, and became the basis for the development of the Internet.
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A standard arrangement of seven binary digits (an eighth
can be added as an error check) used to represent the characters to be entered into a computer, for example from the
ASIC Application-Specific Integrated Circuit. A "custom-built" integrated circuit that has been designed for a specific

purpose. The idea is that one ASIC might replace several other chips in a system and hence lower the manufacturing
costs. At one time this would only have been economical with very large production quantities, but now specialist
software is available to assist with design, and a number of cheaper, "semi-custom" methods are also available.

ASN.1 Abstract Syntax Notation 1. If different computers are to exchange information across "open" networks, then a
common system of representing this information (the syntax) must be used. ASN is one such way of describing data and
its properties.
ASPI Advanced SCSI Programming Interface. SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) is an industry standard means

of connecting peripherals such as tape drives and CD-ROMs to a computer. ASPI is an "open" standard (people don't have to pay for the privilege of adopting it) to encourage software developers to adopt a similar approach to the control of SCSI hardware so that compatibility can exist across products from different manufacturers.

ASR Automatic Send and Receive.
ASTTL Advanced Schottky Transistor Transistor Logic. TTL logic chips are chosen for their fast operation and this
branch of the TTL family offers the fastest speed so far.
AT Advanced Technologies, as in IBM-AT. A computer, introduced in 1984, based upon the 16-bit Intel 80286

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