For small businesses, understanding connectivity is crucial. The trouble is, connectivity comes with a whole range of ‘techy’ terms that can be confusing.
To help you get to grips with everything from ADSL to PWAN, here is our handy connectivity jargon buster…
4G is the fourth generation of mobile phone technology and follows on from 2G and 3G. 4G launched in the UK in 2012 and enabled mobile phone users to load web pages quicker and stream video and music without buffering.
5G is the new generation of wireless technology. It follows previous generations of mobile technology, including 4G, and offers much faster data download and upload speeds. 5G is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together, including machines and mobile devices.
ADSL stands for asymmetric digital subscriber line. It's a broadband connection that uses the copper wire system of existing phone lines. ADSL has been the most popular type of broadband in the UK, although fibre optic lines are becoming a popular alternative.
Broadband is a general term for a high-speed internet connection that uses fixed lines or works wirelessly. As opposed to traditional dial-up internet, broadband is ‘always on’.
Cable broadband is delivered using coaxial and fibre cable lines, rather than copper wires. The main cable broadband provider in the UK is Virgin Media, though there are other, smaller providers, too.
Mobile broadband can be accessed wirelessly using 3G, 4G or 5G technology on a phone or tablet. It can also be accessed by connecting to WiFi or using a portable modem.
Fibre Optic Broadband
Fibre optic broadband is a type of high-speed broadband that uses fibre optic cables instead of standard copper cables. These cables are better at transferring data which means users can stream movies and enjoy online gaming faster and with less interruption.
A gigabit is a unit of measurement for digital information. A gigabit is different to a gigabyte. There are eight gigabits in one gigabyte. Gigabits are typically used for estimating local area network connection speed.
A gigabyte is another unit of measurement for digital information. One gigabyte is made up of one billion bytes and represented by the symbol GB. ‘Gigs’ is a common slang term used to mean gigabytes. Gigabytes are typically used for data storage.
IoT stands for the Internet of Things. IoT describes the network of physical objects that are embedded with technology so that they can connect and exchange data with other devices and systems.
IP stands for Internet Protocol, which is a set of rules by which data is sent from one computer to another on the internet.
An Internet Service Provider - or ISP - is a company which supplies customers with access to the internet, usually for a monthly fee. This can be via home, mobile or satellite broadband connection.
Ethernet is a technology that connects wired local area networks (also known as LANs) and enables devices to communicate with each other. Ethernet is a network protocol that has evolved to now transfer data at more than a gigabit per second.
ISDN stands for Integrated Services Data Network. It uses the conventional phone network with copper wires to transfer data as well as voice calls. ISDN was the first replacement for the dial-up analog modem, although its bandwidth is considered too low for business use today. BT has also announced it is remove ISDN lines by 2025.
A wide area network - or WAN - is a network that extends over a large geographic area, connecting multiple local area networks.
PWAN stands for Private Wide Area Network. It is a bespoke private network built to connect various sites. PWAN is a good connectivity option for organisations who need to connect remote workers across different locations.
Software-defined Wide Area Network, also known as SD WAN, is a virtual network architecture that can lower operational costs and help ensure high levels of performance for critical applications without compromising on security.
LAN stands for Local Area Network. A LAN is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area, such as a school or office.
A virtual private network - or VPN - gives internet users privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs disguise IP addresses so that actions online can’t be traced back to an individual.
WiFi is a wireless networking technology that allows computers, mobiles and other tech to wirelessly connect at high speed to the internet.
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It’s a technology that makes voice and multimedia communications possible over the internet.
In the context of connectivity, a server is software that connects users to web pages as they are requested.
A router is a device that receives and sends data on computer networks. As well playing a fundamental role in connecting users to networks, routers can bolster security, too.
MPLS stands for Multiprotocol Label Switching. It’s a technique that prioritises types of data to enable the internet to be used more efficiently.
Post Office Protocol - or POP - is the name given to the process by which email is downloaded from a remote server to a personal device.
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