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The Network/LAN Alphabet Soup


There are many terms (and acronyms!) in networking; here are just a few. If you're interested in exploring further, see the Internet "Request for Comments" Answers to Commonly Asked "New Internet User" Questions. This particular RFC is also an Internet For Your Information (FYI) and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, asking and answering common questions about the Internet.

Also, if you're looking for a particular term that you don't find here, check out's PC Webopedia, a very useful online dictionary/reference for computer and Internet technology terms.

See also the ACCC Glossary of Computer Terms.

A suite of transport protocols introduced and maintained by Apple. System 7 includes software that supports AppleTalk protocols.
A medium speed (10 Mbps) LAN hardware standard, using CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection). CSMA/CD explains how data move at the lowest level on the network hardware.
FDDI Fiber Distributed Data Interface
FDDI also defines a type of LAN hardware; it is a high-speed (100Mb) token passing LAN.
The global collection of interconnected local, mid-level, and wide-area networks that use IP as the network layer protocol. Also, an "nternet" which is a collection of networks interconnected by routers that function as a single network. The ADN-ii is an internet in this sense.
IP Internet Protocol
The network layer protocol use on the ADN-ii and on the Internet.
IPX Internetwork Packet Exchange
The network layer protocol used on Novell NetWare networks.
LAN Local Area Network
A network that takes advantage of the proximity of computers to offer efficient, higher- speed communications than long-haul or wide-area networks.
Apple Computer's proprietary low-speed (230 Kbps), CSMA/CD LAN hardware standard. Macintosh computers connected with LocalTalk cables form a LocalTalk LAN using System 7's AppleTalk software. LocalTalk networks use Apple's DDP, Datagram Delivery Protocols.
Novell, Inc.'s distributed file system, which provides transparent remote file access and other distributed services for LANs.
The unit of data sent across a network. Also known as frame, datagram, segment, or message, sometimes with a little different meaning. Sometimes "packet" is used more specifically to refer to a unit of data on a physical network.
A formal description of message formats and the rules two computers must follow to exchange those messages. Protocols can describe low-level details of machine-to-machine interfaces (e.g., the order in which bits and bytes are sent across a wire) or high-level exchanges between allocation programs (e.g., the way in which two programs transfer a file across the Internet).
A special-purpose dedicated computer that attaches to two or more networks and routes packets from one network to the other; also known as gateways. In particular, an Internet gateway routes IP datagrams among the networks it connects. Gateways route packets to other gateways until they can be delivered to the final destination directly across one physical network.
TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
This is a common shorthand that refers to the suite of application and transport protocols which run over IP. These include FTP, TELNET, and SMTP.
Token Ring
A medium-speed token passing LAN hardware standard developed by IBM; very similar to IEEE 802.5 LANs, which are also sometimes referred to as "token ring LANs".
Wide Area Network
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2000-9-15  ACCC documentation
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