protocol for sending data packets of a CDMA network.
Supports speeds up to 144 Kbps. This is part of a family of so-called
2.5G (G for Generation) protocols.
is a similar protocol for GSM systems.
radio protocols. Typically used as a transport for Internet Packets (IP).
Think of it as simply being part of the Internet
Advanced Research Protects Agency Network. This was the precursor to the
Internet and established the viability of packet networking. While the
Internet itself directly evolved from the ARPANET, the Internet
represents a fundamentally different philosophy in that the transport
level (the IP
protocol) is decoupled from the application protocols such as TCP and
Originally stood for "Basic IO System". In practice it is the code that
is built into a system, especially a PC, that provides very low level
services and handles the initial system start it. It takes control when
the system is powered up. In more recent PC operating systems, many of
the functions are taken over the the OS itself.
similar to 802.11 but very different in practice.
The least important difference is that it uses a different kind of radio
but the real difference is that the term "Bluetooth" applies to both the
radio and the application protocols. Thus it is not a flexible substrate
and thus it gives you the answers rather than asking what you might want
to do. We work around some of this but ultimately it's limited by its
Division Multiple Access. This is a more sophisticated approached based
on spread spectrum (frequency hopping this case). It also demonstrated
the viability of spread spectrum even though the technology itself had
been around for a long time. 802.11 and Bluetooth uses flavors of spread
comes from the innovation of using overlap "cells". In the analog (AMPS)
version each phone had an assigned channel. Because of the accidental
properties of FM (Frequency Modulation) each tower would only pick up
the strongest signal. Thus you could increase the capacity of the
network by adding antennas (or towers) and support many two-radios. This
allowed the creation of cellular telephone. Today we use digital systems
and more effective protocols but the idea of using cells still defines
the business. See
Consumer Electronics Bus. An
ambitious attempt to create a protocol for home control. Unfortunately,
it exhibits the fundamental flaws of creating a world unto itself and
shows little understanding of the world the of
Subscriber Line. A general term for technologies that use digital
signaling to send data over existing phone lines without affect "normal"
telephone calls. Specific forms include:
ADSL. Asynchronous DSL, usually high speed from
the central office to the subscriber and lower speed for the return
SDSL. Symmetric DSL
ISDL. Actually ISDN DSL, a form of ISDN with
different gear at the central office
CDSL, or UAWG or G.Lite.
Consumer DSL which doesn't require a splitter. The signal is decoded
in by a DSL modem.
technologies use the wire from the central office to the home. See
HomePNA for in-home technologies.
Domain Name System. This is the
system used for names such as Joe.Smith.Com or London.Gov.UK. Each name
is registered with the next higher level name. In this case, Smith is
registered under Com. The a DNS entry can contain various "records" of
information such as the IP address or how to route
mail to a given system. The DNS is just a registry and says nothing
about the actual location of the host or entity that is named. See
Name is simply a name registered in the DNS. In some
case can one use an actual IP address as in sending
email to email@example.com.
for a full discussion. Very simple put, what matters is whether
information is exchanged between communication applications. Reliability
at the network level doesn't guarantee end to end integrity. Thus the
applications must take this responsibility. At best, network reliability
adds efficiency. At worst, it interferes with the applications by
imposing unnecessary performance requirements.
||Part of a
family of so-called 3G mobile technologies. Other flavors are
EDGE (2.75G?). Currently deployed by
Verizon in the United States as an upgrade for 1xRTT.
||This is a
device (or program) that is meant to protect a local network from the
rest of the Internet. See my comparison with the
Maginot line for a more complete discussion.
||This is a
term from accounting that means interchangeable. When you buy corn or
salt you don't care which grains you get, just how many. The same is
true for bits -- the bits themselves have no special meaning. There are
no Verizon bits nor SBC bits. This is the essential problem that the
carriers face " since the bits have loyalty the carriers must assure the
bits rid their channels and it is not in their nature to stay confined.
Intel best known for Moore's law.
System for Mobile communications (the actual words are French since
that's a tradition for such acronyms). It is a digital system introduced
in Europe in 1991. The design associated the service with a SIM card
rather than the hone itself.
http://www.homepna.org. A set of
technologies that allow existing phone wire within the home to be used
for networking. The other created the initial version this technology
Tut Systems. Newer, higher speed
versions were created by Epigram.
The technologies can coexist and interoperate.
Domain Name associated with a given computer system (or set of
systems). Typically used in a mail address as in User@Host.
Hypertext Markup Language. It is
the basic way to markup a page for the World Wide Web. For example,
<b>is used to indicate bold face.</b>. The ability to create it directly
without special tools has been an important factor in its widespread use
and in the ability extend it.
||Hypertext Transport Protocol.
The protocol that is used to exchange HTML between
systems. It is of interest only to the very technical.
||(Also called Firewire) Protocol for high speed connectivity home entertainment and other
audiovisual devices. Sony and Apple a prime sponsors. Unfortunately all
the assumptions about the protocol are built into the physical layer.
You can see the
SkipStone site for more
||Internet Engineering Task Force.
Quoting from their site: "The Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF) is a large
open international community of network designers, operators, vendors,
and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet
architecture and the smooth operation of the
||This is the term for the collection of local networks and their
interconnection using the Internet Protocol (IP).
Unfortunately the term has become popularized and is often confused with
the Web and other applications. To avoid confusion, I will often refer
to the "IP Infrastructure".
|the Internet Protocol
||Internet Protocol. This is the "low level" protocol
used to transport messages on the Internet.
||Intellectual Property. Don't confuse the two uses
of the acronym
||Information Provider. Less common but another use
of these initials.
||This is a term I prefer to the Internet
in order focus on the underlying technology rather than the applications
that use this infrastructure. It is the layer below protocols such as
||IP Security Protocol. More
||Version 4 of IP has been the primary protocol in
use since the 1970's. Unfortunately, there was a major failure of
imagination and only 32 bits were set aside for the address. This leaves
a limit of 4 billion addresses which is too small for the number devices
we can expect on the net in the next few years. The problem is
exacerbated by the need to preallocate large numbers of addresses for
network management and routing purposes.
||The main advantage of IP Version 6 over
Version 4 is in the expansion of the address from 32
to 128 bits. With this large an address, not only are there enough
addresses for many more devices, it is also easier to move devices since
the routing information can be readily updated. The
Organization is focused on support V6 deployment.
||Infra-Red. Used like RF for communications but
limited to line-of-sight.
||The Infrared Data Association.
General used for protocols defined by this organization. Unfortunately
IrDA protocols tend to be smart and focus on the data transport rather
than enabling general connectivity. There are, however, IP
IR implementations available for connecting systems.
||Layers are traditional way of describing protocols. The Internet
inverts this paradigm by decoupling the applications from how we exhange
bits. This is an insight I had since first writing this glossary over
ten years ago and has not yet been integrated into the definitions.
||Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. This is the
protocol used to extend the preexisting text-only email system so that
it could be used to carry messages with formatting, images, multimedia
||Based on Gordon Moore's observation that
the price of semiconductors halved every 18 months. It's a bit of a
cheat in that he used that rule to set Intel's prices. More generally
the term is used for any example of prices of hardware dropping rapidly
due to rapid development and innovation.
Intel's description for more details.
||Modifying electronic games. Also used for hacking PC hardware for
those who value form as well as function.
||Moving Picture Expert Group. Standards
body creating compression technologies.
Standard for compressing video or television. See
||There is no MPEG-3, MPEG-4 is the next in the series. This left a
vacuum so filled by using it as a synonym for MP3.
||Formally, MPEG-2 Layer III; an audio compression standard that has
become the focus for making music available on the Internet. Sometimes
incorrectly called MPEG-3. Corrected entry thanks to
|No New Wires
||A term I started using for networking approaches that take advantage
of existing wires (such as phone wires) or no wires (wireless). These
approaches are aimed at enabling networking without a large upfront
HomePNA is a phone-wire implementation.
||In the context of these essays, it stands for personal computer. The
usage is ambiguous. It usually refers to any personal computers
including those from Apple. Sometimes
it is used to differentiate "IBM compatible" systems from Apple systems.
||Public Switched Phone Network. The legacy phone network that your
grandparents knew. Highly tuned for voice traffic and patched to support
fax and tolerate modems.
||Radio Frequency. Generally used for wireless communications. Also
see IR. It's really just a mathematical construct that the naive confuse
and treat as if it were a real resource thus creating a scarcity and
thwarting free speech. Used in what I now call
Single Frequency Shouting
||Request For Comments. This is the main series of
memos on Internet architecture and protocols. They started out as memos
for discussion and the series title helps preserve the atmosphere of
open technical discussion. You can find documents in the
RFC Archive. Also see
for the current list of standards. ZVon
has the doucments with better formatting
||A term I coined to refer to the system of regulations centered on
the FCC. We need a term so that we can talk about the whole ball of wax
rather than finding ourselves engulfed in it arguing within it's laws.
The Regulatorium has become a reality unto itself detached from the real
||Small Computer Systems Interface. This is a standard for connecting
external devices, such as disk driver and scanners to a PC. It has
evolved over the years to allow fairly high speed connections.
||Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This a very simple
protocol for transferring mail. So simple that one can send mail just by
connecting to the SMTP port on a machine and typing the message. See
(ZVON). for the specification.
||A term for unsolicited email, typically sent to large distribution
lists. It is like paper "junk" or bulk mail. The main difference is that
since the cost is so low it tends to contain really stupid offers though
not always. But the reputation tends to taint even potentially
interesting information. The term derives from Hormel's Spiced
Ham product via Monty Python's generalization of the term.
||Transmission Control Protocol. This is a standard
protocol to provide a reliable data connection over the IP
transport. While using TCP simplifies many applications, it doesn't
guarantee end to end reliability since there may be other kinds of
failures. Often UDP is the preferred protocol.
||Television and Hollywood are essentially the same industry these
||Three Letter Acronym
||Universal Resource Locator on the World Wide Web. See the
W3C site for more detailed information.
||User Datagram Protocol. A simple protocol for
sending packets over the Internet. There is no guarantee of delivery and
no relationships between packets. Since this reflects the nature of the
IP transport itself, UDP allows the application to define its own form
of reliability without incurring the assumptions and inherent overhead
TCP. When sending audio, for example, there is no
value in late delivery but there is the cost of the delays.
||Unix to Unix Copy
Protocol. The protocol used to transport email (and
other files) between Unix system. Originally mail would traverse many
intermediate systems on its way to its destination. Most UUCP addresses
no conform to the domain naming conventions.
||A term for computer programs that can "infect" a system by
installing themselves into the operating system or attaching themselves
to programs. They then repeat the process on other systems.
Unfortunately the term has become overused to the point of being applied
to anything bad.
||The first electronic spreadsheet.
Look here for more
||Voice over IP. A general term for technologies that send voice
conversations over the Internet. Often used for specific technologies
Jeff Pulver is a good source of expertise on VoIP.
||A product line and a 1970's vintage protocol for "home control". See
http://www.x10.com for more details.
It's advantage is that it is very simple. It's disadvantage is that it
is very slow and unreliable.
||International Standard for Electronic Mail. Though supported
internationally by essentially all the governments and
telecommunications companies it failed of its own weight against the
trivially simply SMTP
||Extended Markup Language. Meant
as a successor and/or extension to HTML. Allows more
extensive description of data beyond how it should look on the screen.
Is the basis for exchanging data between programs rather than just
displaying it for humans.