Internet Knowledge Guide

  • Internet – A worldwide network of computers (servers) connected by cable that can be accessed by individual computers through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) – see below.
  • WWW – World Wide Web. Internet servers that conform to a standardized set of rules that facilitate access and navigation using industry standard browsers. Not all Internet servers are part of the WWW system.
  • Browser – A program that can display and navigate the Internet. Netscape and Internet are the most popular. America On Line (AOL) has its own browser.
  • Web Site – A web site or web page is a series of files on the Internet conforming to the World Wide Web standards that are accessible through an ISP using a computer and a browser or an Internet appliance (see page 2). Each site has a home page and is accessible via a Universal Resource Locator (URL) – see below. Web sites are usually owned by a company or organization and can reside on an ISP server or a server owned and located at the establishment.
  • ISP – Internet Service Provider. Furnishes link to Internet. Tier one ISPs have the highest speed connections – T3 lines (see page 2) operating at up to 43Mbps. This is the same speed the Internet uses to transmit data. You must have a connection to an ISP to be able to connect to the Internet. ISPs usually charge a monthly fee for access, web hosting and e-mail addresses. Normally there are no usage charges based on time. Depending on the type of connection and equipment has a company can host their own web site and e-mail accounts.
  • TCP/IP – Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. This is the standard way of handling data on the Internet. It is also used for Local Area Networks (LAN).
  • IP Address – A unique number in the form XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX that identifies a site or device on the Internet. Numbers between the periods can be from 0 to 255.
  • URL – Uniform Resource Locator. The address of a web site – for example “ourcompany.com”. The extension usually indicates what type of establishment it is, “com” – company, “org” – organization, “net” – a company involved with the network such as an ISP, “gov” – government, “edu” – educational, “mil” – military, “ca” – Canadian and “th” for a Thailand site. The URL translates into an IP address. A URL is also referred to as a domain name. The URL is usually preceded by the protocol designator (ftp or http) and www for a World Wide Web site. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and these sites are used to transfer files back and forth to users. HTTP means HyperText Transfer Protocol and is the standard for accessing web sites using a browser. Examples of full address for a web site are “http://www.ourcompany.com” or “ftp://www.ourcompany.com”. All domain names are unique and registered by one company at this time – InterNic.
  • Bit – Smallest unit of data – a 1 or 0. Eight bits make up a byte.
  • Byte – A character such as an “A”, “1”, “/”, etc.
  • Kbps – Kilobits per Second – 1000 bits per second.
  • Mbps – Megabits per Second – 1,000,00 bits per second.
  • MB – Megabytes – 1,048,576 bytes when used in relation to data storage. 1,000,000 bytes when used in relation to data transfers.
  • MBps – Megabytes per Second – 1,000,000 bytes per second.
  • Bandwidth – Measurement of how much data can be passed through a connection usually measured in Kbps (Kilobits per Second), Mbps (Megabits per Second) or MBps (Megabytes per Second). For comparisons common network data transfer speeds are 10Mbps or 100Mbps (Megabits per Second), hard disk drives at 10 to 160MBps (Megabytes per second) while Internet connections range from 56Kbps to 1.5Mbps (Megabits per second). Even the fastest commonly available Internet connections is almost 7 times slower than a 10Mbps network and 50 times slower than the slowest hard drives.
  • Router – A device that makes the connection between a computer or network and the line going to the Internet. Required for T1, ISDN and DSL connections. A modem is used for analog lines.
  • Modem – Stands for Modulator/Demodulator. This device translates data in digital format to analog format and vice versa. Required for analog connections between computers.
  • Analog Line – Data is handled as stream of information like a sound wave. Data must be translated from digital to analog then back to digital to communicate between two computers. A standard telephone line is analog with a maximum speed (bandwidth) 56Kbps for data. This is the most basic way to access the Internet. Regular telephone charges are incurred. Requires a modem.
  • Digital Line – Data is handled in discrete units (bits) same as a computer. Does not require translation to be used by a computer. Most modern electronic equipment use digital technology.
  • ISDN Line – Integrated Services Digital Network line. A digital service with a maximum speed of 128Kbps for a dual channel line. Can be dedicated or a dial up. Expensive to install and use. Can have monthly charges from both the phone company and the ISP plus usage charges from both. Requires a router. Equipment is expensive and reliability is poor. Difficult to setup and maintain.
  • T1 Line – Dedicated digital connection point to point. Can be used to connect two or more locations or as a connection to the Internet. Various speeds are available up to a maximum speed of 1.5Mbps. Lines with bandwidths less than the maximum are called fractional T1s. Very expensive to install and lease – usually over $1,000.00 per month. No usage charges. Requires a router. T3 lines are basically the same but operate at up to 43Mbps.
  • DSL – Digital Subscriber Line. Can be a dial up or most likely a dedicated connection. Various speeds are available up to 7Mbps but most top out at 1.5Mbps. They can be synchronous (SDSL – same speed both directions) or asynchronous (ASDL – different speed each direction). The majority of connections are SDSL. Most important is the speed from the ISP to the user. Dedicated lines have a setup charge but normally no usage charges from either the telephone company or the ISP. This type of connection is usually the most cost efficient connection if Internet usage is more than just sporadic. Line costs are based on bandwidth – higher speeds are more expensive. The connection requires a router.
  • Cable Modem – Allows Internet access using television cable connections. Fairly fast but speed can be degraded if number of users is high. Fairly inexpensive in light of its bandwidth. Requires a cable modem and an Ethernet card for the computer. A monthly fee is charged.
  • Internet Appliances – Hardware items with integrated programs that access or control access to the Internet. They can screen information, track usage, block sites, host web sites and e-mail addresses plus other functions. Most devices have firewalls which block unauthorized access to the users computer and/or network. WebTV is an example of an Internet appliance that can directly access the Internet.

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