[Chapter 10] [Home] [Glossary]


Glossary: Chapter 10

analog signal
A signal often transmitted over telephone lines in the form of electronic waves.

ARPANET
The grandfather of the Internet, founded in the 1960s by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Defense Department to network selected universities and defense research contractors.

backbone
A term applied to a high-speed communications channel that links several LANs or computer installations in an institution like a college.

baud rate
A measure of the speed at which data are transmitted over communications lines by a modem, expressed as bits per second.

bits per second (bps)
The measure expressing the transmission speed of a modem; usually, but not always, synonymous with its baud rate.

bridge (gateway)
A hardware interface for interconnecting similar computer networks.

client/server
A computer environment in which applications on a file server are sent out to client machines as needed. The client machine can access and display information sent out from the server.

coaxial cable
A common metallic cable used for hardwired communications channels because it can carry large amounts of data.

Communications Decency Act
A 1996 federal law that makes it a crime to distribute sexually explicit materials over a computer network that might be seen by minors.

communications software
A program that enables a computer to be connected to other computers or that allows a document to be set up in fax format.

digital signature
A term for a secure transaction code used to encode sensitive personal information sent over a network so that the decoder will know that it is unique to the sender.

downloading
Transferring files from a host computer on a network to remote machines, typically microcomputers.

encryption software
A category of computer programs to encode a document so that it cannot be read if it is intercepted by unauthorized users in a network transaction.

fiber optic cable
A modern communications channel using light impulses traveling through clear glass fibers to transmit data safely at very high speeds.

file server
A term applied to both a host computer and its special software that makes programs and data available to individual workstations on a network.

FTP (file transfer protocol)
A common Internet standard which supports transfer of files over the network.

Gopher
A popular text-based worldwide document search and retrieval protocol developed for the Internet.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
The standard formatting language for creating World Wide Web pages with text, graphics, and other media.

home page
A term for the opening Web document that one sees at a site, which may contain links to other pages.

information utility
A term applied to a commercial network information service like CompuServe or Prodigy, which sells access to its wide variety of files and public forums.

Java
A programming language now being used to create small, self-contained applications, called applets, suitable for being distributed on the World Wide Web and run on the client machine.

local area network (LAN)
A system of networked computers and other hardware, like printers, that are in relatively close proximity to one another.

netiquette
A term for acceptable manners on electronic mail.

network protocol
A set of technical specifications that allow different computers to receive and transmit Internet messages through their interconnected communication channels.

network
A group of computers or other devices, like printers, connected to form a system that can communicate with each other directly through a physical link.

parallel transmission
Method of transmitting data within a computer in which a bundled set of bits is sent over a data bus all at the same time.

public key (PK) cryptography
A kind of software algorithm based on pairs of numerical keys, one public and one private, for encrypting e-mail and other network transactions.

search engine
Any of the many indexing programs created for searching for information on World Wide Web pages, usually based on Boolean search strategies.

serial process
The transmission of data in a communications channel like a phone line one bit at a time.

site license
A fee paid to a software company to allow multiple users at a site to access or copy a piece of software.

smiley
A set of keystrokes that can be included in e-mail to express emotion in a kind of graphical shorthand.

snail mail
Computer jargon for surface mail, which is normally slower than electronic mail.

telecommuting
The use of personal computers and data communications at home to do work without being physically present at the office.

Telnet
An Internet protocol that permits a user to log onto a remote computer on the Net and work on it at long distance.

twisted-pair wire
Two copper wires twisted together, often used for home telephone lines and for computer connections in a LAN.

uploading
Transferring files to a central computer on a network from a remote machine such as a personal computer.

USENET
A general term for the thousands of user discussion groups on the Internet devoted to many subjects, including some that are strictly for adults.

value-added network (VAN)
A communications channel leased from a telephone company to offer customers with modems access to network services through a local or toll-free number.

Web page
The name for a document formatted to contain information for distribution on the World Wide Web. It may contain hypertext links to other pages and various multimedia resources.

wide area network (WAN)
A geographically dispersed communications network, with many owners, linking computers for the purpose of communicating with each other, such as a national network for airline reservations.


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