Top 10 Tech Terms Explained
The fact that almost every day there are new technology terms to know and understand can be a bit overwhelming. More often than not you may recognize a word but you may not know exactly what it means in regards to your network or your device, so below we have identified and explained a few of those terms in order to help out.
A router is the physical device that joins multiple wired or wireless networks together. The router is the middle man between your modem and your connected devices helping translate the broadband signal from the modem and deliver it throughout the area as a wireless signal. The router also allows you to secure your network, by logging into the device you are able to adjust connectivity settings and set up a password, keeping hackers and uninvited guests out.
2. The Cloud Network
For most people the cloud is this thing you hear about all the time but aren’t really sure how it works. Are you in the cloud? Can you see the cloud? Where is your cloud? To be honest the cloud has actually made storing and accessing your files incredibly easy. Simply put it’s basically a storage device that can follow you anywhere but you don’t have to carry it or even see it. By storing photos, videos and documents in the cloud you can wirelessly access them over a network, thus saving space on your phone, laptop or tablet and eliminating the need to physically connect to a storage device. The cloud also allows users to manage their networks from anywhere with their mobile devices, giving them the ability to block unwanted devices, set up schedules or just check in to see who has been connecting while they are away.
Bandwidth is your system’s transfer rate, meaning how quickly, in bits per second (bps), your network connection is able to transfer data to your device from a website. A common analogy to explain bandwidth is a drain pipe, a larger pipe allows more water to drain and for it to drain faster, just as having a broader connection allows more data to flow through and faster.
Just as every 10 years or so there is a new standard in safety or cars, 802.11AC is the newest standard for high-speed wireless networking. As our technology changes, our need to support it has to be adjusted. With the ability to handle multiple devices on one network 11AC, being up to 3x faster than its predecessor 802.11n, is particularly great for streaming, gaming and large file download. For a detailed look at 802.11AC check out this article.
Dual-band has become significantly more important as more and more devices require a wireless connection. The meaning of dual-band is that the device supports both the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz, band allowing more devices to connect, stream, game and surf the web without slowing the connection. Since smaller appliances like cordless phones and household appliances use the 2.4 GHz band it can get a bit congested but with a dual-band router many applications used for streaming and gaming can be offloaded onto are the 5 GHz band.
A cookie is what allows your web browsing to be personalized, so when you show interest in those brown boots you’ve been wanting for a while by clicking on a link or visiting a website, the ads that you see as you search the web change to show you other brown boots or other similar items you may be interested in, shopaholics beware. By saving a small bit of data from websites you’ve visited the server is then able to tailor the page toward a particular user. Knowing this, every time I see the word cookie, no matter the context, I still do a double take to make sure there is no mention of chocolate chips or Girl Scouts.
To keep up with quick paced technology, network protocols and the newest security mechanisms, your router’s firmware (firmware being the software embedded inside a router) sometimes needs an update. Most people are aware of computer and phone updates but not many know or remember that your router can be updated as well, though it is not as commonly required as it may be with other devices.
8. IP Address
An IP address is as simple as it sounds; it is an address for your computer. Just as you would need someone’s home address in order to send them a letter, one computer needs the other devices IP address in order to start communicating. Any device connected to the internet has a unique IP address to identify it; the number not only shows ownership but also allows communication.
9. Local Area Network (LAN)
LAN is the network that supplies connectivity to computers and devices in a specific area such as a home, office or school. By using a LAN you can easily share files and applications across the server as well as connectivity to other devices like a wireless printer.
When looking for a Wi-Fi connection, what you use to identify it is the Service Set Identity or SSID which is the name of a specific wireless network. Every wireless network has an SSID and in order for wireless devices to connect to one another they must be on the same SSID. Most people set and personalize their SSID to make it easier to identify but every network will have a default one when set up.
(Thanks to the D-Link folks)