A hardware device that serves as a communications hub to provide
a wireless connection to a wireless-enabled computer. The
range of an AP can be up to 1000 feet.
Specifies the amount of the frequency spectrum that is usable
for data transfer. It identifies the maximum data rate that
a signal can attain on the medium without encountering significant
loss of power, and specifies the amount of the frequency spectrum
that is usable for data transfer.
The rate at which data is transferred.
Bits per second (bps)
A measurement of how fast data moves over a communication
line. A bit is the basic measure of data.
A high-speed, high-capacity transmissions channel. Broadband
channels are carried on coaxial or fiber-optic cables that
have a wider bandwidth than conventional telephone lines,
giving them the ability to carry video, voice, and data simultaneously.
Broadband is often used to send different types of signals
Any computer connected to a network that requests services
(files, print capability) from another member of the network.
'Client' also refers to the software that makes this connection
Digital Subscriber Line
A Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is a connection type that
uses the existing 2-wire copper telephone wiring to allow
for a simultaneous, constant Internet connection and standard
telephone service. DSL comes in various forms that allow for
speeds ranging from 32 Kbps upwards of 25 Mbps.
Direct Sequence Spread
A wireless LAN technology, Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum
(DSSS) uses a radio transmitter to spread data packets over
a fixed range of the frequency band, spreading its signal
continuously over a wide frequency band.
A dial-up connection is a connection from a computer to a
server over standard telephone lines, establishing a direct
connection to the Internet.
A driver is a program that controls a device; it acts as a
translator between the device and programs that use the device.
The most widely used LAN access method, which is defined by
the IEEE 802.3 standard. Ethernet is normally a shared media
LAN meaning that all devices on the network segment share
One billion hertz. A Hertz is the international unit for measuring
frequency, equivalent to the older unit of cycles per second.
The standard U.S. electrical power frequency is 60 Hz and
wireless 802.11 LANs operate at 2.4 GHz.
A computer connected directly to the Internet that provides
services to other local and/or remote computers. It functions
as the beginning and end of data transfers. A host is also
a computer to which an expansion device attaches. When a LAN
card is installed in a PC, that PC is the host to that adapter.
Institute of Electrical
and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
A membership organization based in New York that includes
engineers, scientists, and students in electronics and allied
fields. It has more than 300,000 members and is involved with
setting standards for computers and communications. www.ieee.org
IEEE 802.xx is a set of specifications for LANs from the Institute
of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). 802.11 defines
the standard for wireless LANs encompassing three incompatible
(non-interoperable) technologies: Frequency Hopping Spread
Spectrum (FHSS), Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS), and
A global network of computer networks, evolved from the ARPANET
that use TCP/IP to communicate and share information. Often,
the Internet refers to a group of Local Area Networks (LAN)
connected by wire, radio, satellite signals or some other
form of communication.
Internet Protocol (IP)
A method or protocol by which data is sent from one computer
to another on a network or over the Internet. IP provides
the basis of the Internet.
A 32-bit number that identifies each sender or receiver of
information that is sent across the Internet. An IP address
has two parts: the identifier of a particular network on the
Internet and an identifier of the particular device (which
can be a server or a workstation) within that network.
Internet Service Provider
An organization that provides access to the Internet. Small
ISPs provide service via modem and ISDN while the larger ones
also offer private line hookups (T1, fractional T1, etc.).
Kilobytes per second (Kbps) It is 1,000 bits per second, a
measure of the speed in which data can be transmitted from
one device to another.
Local Area Network (LAN)
A high-speed, privately owned computer network covering a
limited geographical area, such as an office or a building.
The benefits include the sharing of Internet access, files,
and equipment such as printers and storage devices. Wireless
LANs use wireless communications in a home or office to network
all PCs together.
Local Service Area
Much like a 'home calling area', a customer can get unlimited
access in all locations within a specific local area.
A megabyte (MB) is a standard measure of data size. A megabyte
is equal to 1024 kilobytes (KB).
A device used to connect a computer to a phone line, which
converts signals between a digital form and an analog form.
Two or more computers connected together in order to share
Personal Computer Memory
Card International Association (PCMCIA) card
A credit-card sized device that was originally designed as
a platform for add-on memory for portable computers, but later
expanded to include a wide range of peripherals including
pagers and radio modems.
Radio Frequency (RF)
A generic term for radio-based technology. The international
unit for measuring radio frequency is Hertz (Hz), which is
equivalent to the older unit of cycles per second.
A linear measure of the distance that a transmitter can send
Moving seamlessly from one AP coverage area to another with
no loss in connectivity.
The computer or software that holds information and responds
to requests for services from other computers known as clients.
Service Set Identifier
A common identifier that all computers on the same wireless
A radio transmission technology that "spreads" the
user information over a much wider bandwidth than otherwise
required in order to gain benefits such as improved interference
tolerance and unlicensed operation.
A telephone company's high-speed, leased-line connection for
A protocol used with the Internet Protocol (IP) to send data
in the form of individual units called packets between computers
over the Internet. While IP takes care of handling the actual
delivery of the data, TCP keeps track of the packets that
a message is divided into for efficient routing through the
Wide Area Network (WAN)
A wide area network connects local area networks together.
Typical WAN interfaces include plain old telephone system
(POTS) lines, digital subscriber lines (DSL), cable, T1/T3,
The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance. WECA's mission
is to certify interoperability of Wi-Fi 802.11 products and
to promote Wi-Fi as the global wireless LAN standard across
all market segments. www.wi-fi.org
Wireless Local Area Network
A flexible data communication system implemented as an extension
to or as an alternative for a wired LAN within a building
or campus. Using electromagnetic waves, WLANs transmit and
receive data over the air, minimizing the need for wired connections.
Wireless Internet Service Provider. Like a traditional Internet
Service Provider (ISP), a WISP provides access to the Internet
to its customers for a fee. A WISP provides a wireless connection
and provides faster speeds than a dial-up connection.
Value Added Reseller
A VAR is a company that resells products and services with
extra components added (for example, a laptop) that help compliment
Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a non-public connection
between two computers that sends private corporate data over
a shared or public network such as the Internet. VPNs can
also be used to give subscribers, clients and consultants
access to corporate resources with security features that
can include encryption, authentication and tunneling.