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Below is a table which contains terms that are used when describing particular areas of the Internet and its components. Our aim here is provide you with the ability to understand more about the Internet and the jargon used when describing and its many components.

Glossary of Terms

applet
 
A small self-contained application which can run on its own or inside another program (e.g. Web browser)

attachment
A file attached to email in the format it was created in, useful for documents and graphics in particular.

backbone
Main high speed Internet links between a country's major Internet providers, e.g. There is an Australian backbone and a US backbone.

bandwidth
The amount of stretch in a network connection -- the amount of data that can be transferred at any one time.

baud
Modem speed measurement of one signal per second. 300 baud = 300 bits per second, but higher than 300 baud one signal may contain more than one bit.

binary
A file in pure data form, with no text

bit
A binary unit.

bps
Bits per second; data movement speed on a modem, also Kbps (Kilobits per second) and Mbps for mega bits per second.

broadband
A high bandwidth network. Generally used to describe connections greater than 256Kbps.

cache
Memory store for regularly accessed or recently used data.

client
An individual's computer and the program it uses to request information from a server computer/program.

compression
Making a file smaller by condensing data. It is used for faster transfer and/or storage of files.

cookie
A packet of data stored on your hard drive by a Web site, which is sent back to the Web server when information is required.

domain
 A part of the address hierarchy a machine is placed in; e.g.. berk.com.au here 'berk' is in the com.au domain.

domain name server
Computer that listens and forwards data to specific addresses.

domain name system
System of converting numeric IP address to domain names and back again.

download
Loading information from another computer into your own; the opposite is "upload".

encryption
Method of coding data so that it can only be read by the people it is intended for (in theory).

firewall
Network hardware and software that limits access between an internal network and the rest of the Internet. Generally achieved by blocking tcp ports.

freeware
Software and utilities made freely available. Although you don't have to pay any fees, freeware is still covered by copyright.

FTP
File Transfer Protocol. The most common way of transferring files over the Internet.

gateway
A machine connected to two networks; acts as a transfer point.

gopher
An information retrieval system, common in the early days of the Net but now superseded by the WWW.

header
The top of an email or newsgroup message that lets you know where the message came from and when it was posted.

hyperlink
Link on a web-page pointing to a different Web-page. Commonly appears as blue, underlined text.

hypertext
Text that includes hyperlinks to other documents.

imagemap
Menu options/links are hidden under a graphic, so that you can click on an imaginary button and it actually does some thing.

Linux
A free, UNIX-like operating system

mailing list
A list of subscribers to a discussion group, who all receive the discussion by mail; also used as a way of distributing newsletters.

mirror site
A net site that contains exactly the same information as another elsewhere in the world. Used to spread the load on popular sites.

modem
Modulator/demodulator. A device which converts digital signals to analogue signals, suitable for transmission over a phone line

moderator
A moderator ensures all contributions to a newsgroup are suitable before posting them.

newbie
A term for those who are new to the Internet.

newsgroup
A discussion group on a specific topic.

ping
A data packet sent out from one computer to another to test the availability and performance of a connection. The response is referred to as a pong.

plug-in
An add on feature for your browser that increases functionality, such as providing multimedia capabilities.

port
The specific channel used by a network service, e.g. the Web typically uses port 80.

proxy
A server used to seek requests on behalf of another computer.

router
A device used to transfer packets from a computer on one network (LAN) to other computers on other networks via the fastest and most efficient route.

search engine
A program that searches indexes of addresses using keywords; the depth of the search is up to you and/or the extent of its index.

server
Any computer that stores information and makes it available to outside users.

shareware
Copyright protected software that is publicly distributed on the condition that if a user trials a program and decides to keep using it, they must pay for it.

spam
Not spiced ham, but just as repulsive to most people. Spam is an unsolicited piece of advertising sent via email or posted to a newsgroup.

sysadmin
System administrator. An individual who maintains a computer network.

streaming
A method of delivering data in a steady flow to perform a task 'live', such as playing sounds or tracking action in a networked game.

telnet
A service which allows your computer to remotely login to another machine via a command line.

USENET
The world-wide network of newsgroups.

World Wide Web
A system of interlinked, multi-media pages used to disseminate information. The most widely-used Internet service.

WWW
See World Wide Web

.zip
A software compression format, files can be unzipped with applications such as WinZip
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