Glossary of common I.T. terms

Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line
A technology that enables high-speed Internet access over existing phone lines.

ADSL modem
A device that connects your computer to the Internet using ADSL technology.

Asymmetric connection
A connection where the upload and download speeds are different. Typically upload speeds are slower than download speeds

A unit of data containing either a 1 or a 0.

Any type of fast Internet access.

A unit of data containing 8 bits.

Cable Internet
High speed Internet access over the pay T.V. cable network.

Cable modem
A device that connects a computer to the cable network and allows data to be sent and received.

A small text file created on your computer when you visit some web sites. A cookie identifies your computer to the web site and lets the site know that you have been there before.

Domain name
An address on the Internet.

Download speed
The speed at which you download, or receive, information from the Internet.

Dynamic IP address
An IP address that is automatically assigned to your computer when you access the Internet.

Electronic mail - the transmission of messages in electronic form.

A piece of software (or hardware) that blocks unauthorised traffic between your computer and the Internet.

Giga-byte (1000 million bytes).

Giga-bits per second (1000 million bits per second). A measure of the speed at which data travels.

A person who gains unauthorised access to a computer, often with the intention of causing harm.

Internet service provider (ISP)
An organisation that provides access to the Internet, and possibly also email and web-hosting facilities.

IP address
Internet protocol address. A number that uniquely identifies a computer connected to the Internet.

Kilo-byte (1000 bytes).

Kilo-bits per second. (1000 bits per second). A measure of the speed at which data travels.

Mega-bytes (1 million bytes).

Mega-bits per second (1 million bits per second). A measure of the speed at which data travels.

(MOdulator-DEModulator) A device that adapts a computer to an analog telephone line by converting digital pulses to audio frequencies and vice versa.

Proxy server
A computer which stores a copy of the most frequently downloaded web sites, in order to give faster access to these pages.

A device that transmits data from one local or wide area network to another. Routers can perform such functions as: making decisions on the most expedient route by which to send the data; balancing traffic on the network and filtering traffic for security purposes.

Satellite connection
A connection to the Internet using a satellite dish.

A computer that is shared by multiple users. Some servers have specific purposes e.g. file servers, mail servers, web servers etc.

Unsolicited email.

Static IP address
An IP address that is permanent. Static IP addresses are usually given to servers and printers.

Trojan horse
A computer program that allows hackers unauthorised access to your computer.

Upload speed
The speed at which you upload, or send, information to the Internet.

Universal Resource Locator - an address on the world wide web.

USB port
Universal Serial Bus port - an external interface for connecting devices to your computer e.g. scanners, printers etc.

A program that performs some undesired action on your computer and generally propagates itself to other computers.

Virus checker
A program that scans your computer for known viruses.

A secure encrypted connection between a user's distributed sites over a public network (e.g., the Internet).

Web hosting
Placing a customer's web site on a commercial web server.

Wireless broadband
An connection to the Internet using wireless technology i.e. there is no physical, wired link.