Technology Glossary

by | Nov 7, 2016

  • 802-11ac_no-reflection802.11(a/b/g/n/ac): or IEEE 802.11 is a set of standards for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communication in the 2.4, and 5 GHz frequency bands. They are created and maintained by the IEEE LAN/MAN Standards Committee (IEEE 802). The base current version of the standard is IEEE 802.11-2007. These standards provide the basis for WiFi wireless networks.  More information can be found at
  • 802.3(af/at): Standards for Power over Ethernet.  802.3af delivers 48V DC up to 15W.  802.3at delivers 48V DC up to 30W.  802.3at is also known at PoE+ (Power over Ethernet Plus).
  • AP: Acronym for “Access Point” – Provides a bridge between Ethernet wired LANs and the wireless network. Access points are the connectivity point between Ethernet wired networks and devices (laptops, hand-held computers, point-of-sale terminals) equipped with a wireless LAN adapter card.
  • Band: Refers to radio frequency bands or defined ranges of frequencies.  Current WiFi technology works in 2 bands.  Dual-Band refers to both of these bands.  See “Channel” below.
  • BSSID: Acronym for “Basic Service-Set IDentifier.”  Is the physical address of a wireless access point radio interface for a particular SSID.  See SSID below.
  • Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6A: Standardized categories of twisted pair ethernet cable.
  • Channel: In the 802.11 definition, a channel represents a specific frequency in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz wireless bands.  In North America, channels 1, 6, and 11 are the only three non-overlapping channels available in the 2.4 GHz band.  In Canada, the 5 GHz band can include between 8 and 38 non-overlapping 20 MHz channels in up to 4 bands, depending on what equipment is connecting to the network.  
  • DFS: Acronym for “Dynamic Frequency Selection.”  Access points automatically select frequency channels with low interference levels.  Also mandated in the 5470-5725 MHz U-NII band for radar avoidance
  • dB: The decibel (dB) is a logarithmic unit that indicates the ratio of a physical quantity (usually power or intensity) relative to a specified or implied reference level.
  • dBm: Is an abbreviation for the power ratio in decibels (dB) of the measured power referenced to one milliwatt (mW). It is used in radio, microwave and fiber optic networks as a convenient measure of absolute power because of its capability to express both very large and very small values in a short form.
  • DSSS: Acronym for “Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum,” is a method of spread spectrum modulation for digital signal transmission over the airwaves. In direct sequence spread spectrum, the stream of information to be transmitted is divided into small pieces, each of which is allocated across to a frequency channel across the spectrum. A data signal at the point of transmission is combined with a higher data-rate bit sequence (also known as a chipping code) that divides the data according to a spreading ratio.
  • Duty Cycle: is the measure of the fraction of the time a signal is transmitting, or the amount of available time occupied by a single transmission.
  • Ethernet: The family of computer networking technology used in Local Area Networks (LANs).
  • GBIC: Acronym for “GigaBit Interface Converter.” A module for network switches which converts electrical signals to optical for long-distance transmission.  Allows connections to fibre-optic cables.
  • HSRP: Acronym for “Hot Standby Router Protocol” is a Cisco proprietary redundancy protocol for establishing a fault-tolerant default gateway, and has been described in detail in RFC 2281.
  • ICMP: Acronym for “Internet Control Message Protocol.”  ICMP is one of the core protocols of the Internet Protocol Suite. It is chiefly used by the operating systems of networked computers to send error messages indicating, for example, that a requested service is not available or that a host or router could not be reached.
  • ISM:  Stands for “Industrial, Scientific and Medical”.
  • LAN: Acronym for “Local Area Network.”  A system that links together electronic office equipment, such as computers and word processors, and forms a network within an office or building.
  • MiMo: Acronym for “Multiple input, Multiple output” is an antenna technology in which multiple antennas are used for sending or receiving data at the same time to increase communications speeds or minimize errors.
  • mW: (milliwatt) abbreviation for one one-thousandth of a watt.   1mW = 0dBm; 10mW = 10dBm.
  • NEMA: Acronym for “National Electrical Manufacturers Association.  This association develops technical standards for enclosures used to protect sensitive devices.  See for more information.
  • OFDM: Acronym for “Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing.”  A digital transmission technique that uses a large number of carriers spaced apart at slightly different frequencies. First promoted in the early 1990s for wireless LANs, OFDM is used in many wireless applications including WiFi, WiMAX, LTE, ultra-wideband (UMB), as well as digital radio and TV broadcasting in Europe and Japan. It is also used in land-based ADSL.  Although frequency division multiplexing (FDM) implies multiple data streams, orthogonal FDM carries only one data stream broken up into multiple signals. Hundreds or thousands of carriers, known as “subcarriers,” are used for a single data channel.
  • OSPF: Acronym for “Open Shortest Path First,” is an adaptive routing protocol for Internet Protocol (IP) networks. It uses a link state routing algorithm and falls into the group of interior routing protocols, operating within a single autonomous system (AS). It is defined as OSPF Version 2 in RFC 2328 (1998) for IPv4.
  • PoE/PoE+: Acronym for Power over Ethernet.  A system of delivering electrical power along with data on twisted pair Ethernet cabling.
  • PVST+: Acronym for “Per VLAN Spanning Tree Plus,” a Cisco proprietary protocol which permits a spanning tree instance per VLAN.
  • RF: Acronym for “Radio Frequency.”
  • SNR: Acronym for “Signal-to-Noise Ratio” – The ratio of the level of an RF signal, to the level of the background noise on the same frequency.
  • SSID: Acronym for “Service Set Identifier” – A string of up to 32 characters identifying a wireless network.
  • STP: The Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) is a network protocol that ensures a loop-free topology for any bridged Ethernet local area network.
  • VLAN: A virtual local area network, virtual LAN or VLAN, is a logical grouping of hosts or the network resources connected to a administratively definable switch port with a common set of requirements that communicate as if they were attached to the same broadcast domain, regardless of their physical location.
  • VoWLAN: Acronym for “Voice over Wireless LAN” is the use of a wireless broadband network according to the IEEE 802.11 standards for the purpose of vocal conversation. In essence, it’s VoIP over a Wi-Fi network.
  • WLAN: Wireless LAN.

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