What is an Access Point?
An access point is a type of hardware, such as a wireless router, that acts as a connection portal for other devices in the network. Another definition pertains to an access point as a standalone device that serves as a link between routers and local area networks (LANs) to enable device connections.
Think of an access point as an airport. An airport houses the branches of global airlines that fly their passengers to several locations around the world. In other words, the airport serves as a gateway for people to reach other destination countries.
What is Analog?
Perhaps the best way to describe analog is to compare it to digital. A digital signal, simply put, will look like intermittent bursts of energy. The energy is either present or there is none. An analog signal, on the other hand, is a continuous wave that either rises or falls depending on the amount of input.
Analog is used in applications that need to measure a steady stream of inputs. For example, most speedometers in cars are analog. They constantly measure a vehicle's change in speed, which is a continuous input as long as the vehicle is moving.
What is Bandwidth?
Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data which can be sent through a network at any given time. The more bandwidth available, the faster a person can do things on the Internet, such as play video games or stream a movie.
It is measured by how much data passes through it in one second. If 4 billion bytes of data gets through, then your network's bandwidth is 4 gigabytes, or 4Gb.
Think of bandwidth as a water hose. The wider the hose, the more water gets through, and the faster the job of watering the plants gets done.
What is Bandwidth Management?
Bandwidth management or bandwidth control is the process of regulating the amount of data on a network by setting allocations to every data-consuming application and device on the network. It helps alleviate network congestion or bottlenecks and ensures enough bandwidth for critical applications within an organization.
The concept behind bandwidth management is similar to rationing. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, some countries had to set a fixed number of commodities like paper towels, rubbing alcohol, and canned goods, for every consumer.
Rationing ensures that everyone gets what they need, and any supply shortage will not have detrimental effects on consumers. In bandwidth management, bandwidth is “rationed” to each device or application.
What is a Beam Splitter?
A beam splitter refers to any device that can split light beams in two different directions. Beam splitters are usually made of glass, which is formed into a cube. Half of the beam goes through the glass when light is shone onto the cube, while the other half is reflected.
Beam splitters have been used in physics experiments, such as those that involve measuring the speed of light. One of its real-world applications is in the field of fiber optic telecommunications. Your broadband Internet connection might be problematic without a beam splitter. Beam splitters are also present in optical equipment, such as microscopes, binoculars, cameras, and telescopes.
What is Broadband?
Years ago, Internet access was mainly through the slow and unreliable dialup telephone connection. When high-speed cable access became available, it was called "broadband" to highlight that it was better than the "narrowband" dialup access.
So "broadband" loosely defines a network's capability to transmit large volumes of various data formats at high speeds. To put it simply, it's like a bigger pipe through which more water can. Such pipe makes it possible to have faster Internet access that is always available.
What is COMINT?
COMINT or Communications Intelligence refers to any intelligence gleaned by intercepting channels, such as text messaging, telephone, email, instant messaging, and other online and electronic means of communication. Armed forces used it in World War II and continue to do so as part of national security protection.
COMINT is part of a larger type of intelligence called “Signals Intelligence (SIGINT),” which is intelligence gathered through the interception of signals. Aside from COMINT, SIGINT also includes Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), a type of intelligence gained from intercepting electronic signals that are not necessarily used in communication.
What is CTI?
CTI is a communication technology that allows users to perform and manage call functions through their computers. Instead of a physical telephone handset, people can use an on-screen panel to perform call functions, such as answering calls, putting callers on hold, and disconnecting calls. What does “CTI” stand for? “CTI” is an acronym for “computer telephony integration.”
CTI is typically used in call centers to enable businesses to have more control over calls. With CTI, they can route, monitor, and record calls. They can also analyze call center agents’ performance. CTI’s signature on-screen popup helps track customer data, improving customer experience and client relationships.
What is Dark Fiber?
Let’s say you got really excited when fiber optic communication became available and decided to lay extensive lines throughout your company.
Before long, however, you realize that you only need a few and wonder what to do with the rest.
The unused optical fibers are what are called “dark fiber.” Dark, because the fibers are unlit, unlike optical fibers that send light pulses while transmitting the information.
Strands of dark fiber can be sold or leased to individuals or companies wishing to set up fiber-optic communication channels.
Over the years, the definition of dark fiber has evolved. Now, it refers to the growing process of leasing fiber optic cables from a network provider or fiber infrastructure that is not operated by big carriers. Even if they are in use, they are still called “dark fiber.”
What is a Data Plane?
The data plane is a part of the telecommunications infrastructure that carries user traffic. It is a critical network layer that enables data transmission. Because of its core function, the data plane is also called the “forwarding plane,” “user plane,” or “carrier plane.”
The data plane works the same way as a mail or postal carrier whose job is to carry parcels from one place to another. Postal workers don’t have to know what the packages contain. Similarly, the data plane forwards traffic from one device to another without caring about what the traffic is all about.
What is Ethernet?
Ethernet is a type of communication protocol that connects computers within what’s called a “local area network (LAN)” and a “wide area network (WAN).” LAN and WAN connect various devices, such as laptops and printers, within homes, buildings, and even small neighborhoods.
Users closely associate the term “Ethernet” with the physical connection between a computer or a router. That is because your laptop usually has an Ethernet port where you plug in one end of a cable and connect the other to a router. However, as mentioned, the word refers to the communication standard itself.
What is eTOM?
The Business Process Framework (eTOM) is a catalog of processes required to run a service-focused business. The processes need to be performed one after another, depending on their importance, to be effective.
eTOM has three components that pertain to critical focus areas of typical organizations—strategy, infrastructure, and product (SIP); operations; and enterprise management.
What is a Fiber Optic Cable?
Our bodies consist of veins that are used to carry the right level of blood oxygen to the places where it is needed. Fiber optic cables are similar to veins.
A fiber optic cable is a data transmission cable made from thin strands of glass. Instead of electrical current, it relays light pulses. It transmits more information faster than metal cables. It also has lower power loss, which lets it shoot data to longer distances.
What is Fibre Channel?
Fibre Channel is a high-speed data transfer protocol that delivers raw data blocks from computers, mainframes, and supercomputers to storage devices. Commercial data centers primarily use it for storage area networks (SANs).
First used in 1988, Fibre Channel was standardized through the T11 Technical Committee of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS).
What is Firmware Over-the-Air?
Firmware Over-the-Air (FOTA) is a technology that allows manufacturers to wirelessly upgrade and update device firmware. FOTA-capable devices download upgrades and updates directly from the service provider, usually taking 3–10 minutes, depending on the user’s connection speed and the file’s size.
A device’s firmware is the software that gives basic machine instructions to enable the hardware to function and communicate with other software (typically apps) running on the device. It thus performs low-level hardware control, meaning the device won’t work without it.
What is Forward Error Correction (FEC)?
Forward error correction (FEC) is a technique used in data transmission that enables the recipient to correct common errors without asking the sender to resend the affected message. This error correction technique is commonly used when transmitting data over unreliable communication channels where data errors are expected to occur.
When using FEC, the sender encodes redundant data so the receiver can still make sense of the message despite the noise. The sender does not have to retransmit the message.
FEC is similar to ordering furniture online. The store would include extra bolts, screws, and nuts so you can assemble the piece even when a bolt is accidentally lost during shipment. You do not need to wait for a replacement because there are extra bolts in the package.
What is the Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum?
The Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) is a data signal transmission method where data signals rapidly “hop” between frequencies to avoid interference and interception. The changes in frequency are determined by an algorithm only the transmitter and receiver know, making the pattern difficult to discern and the data signals resistant to eavesdropping.
The military uses FHSS in some of its radios. It is also used in consumer products, such as radio-controlled model drones and cars.
What is Headphone Virtualization?
Headphone virtualization is a sound-processing technique where a user gets a surround sound experience despite utilizing standard stereo headphones by embedding a digital signal processing (DSP)-based chip or sound card on his/her computer. The user then enables the surround sound capability through the computer’s operating system (OS) or sound card firmware or driver.
In headphone virtualization, therefore, standard stereo headphones are made surround sound-capable without physically changing it. The feature addition is done on the system it’s connected to instead.
What is the Leaky Bucket Algorithm?
The leaky bucket algorithm is an algorithm that works on the premise that even a bucket with a hole will overflow if the amount of water poured into it is greater than that leaked out. It is used to determine how to control a sequence of events to match the container’s limit without overflowing. In simple terms, it regulates the traffic that goes to a system for processing.
That seems complicated. Think of it this way instead. You have a plant that should be watered at a specific rate; otherwise, it will die. You drill a hole in a bucket to control the amount of water it gets. You then put the bucket with a hole over it and fill it with water. So long as the bucket with a hole doesn’t spill water onto your plant when it overflows, the plant will never get more water than it needs and end up dying.
What is a Network Bottleneck?
A network bottleneck is a condition wherein data flows experience delays due to limitations in computer resources. It typically occurs when a system’s bandwidth is not enough to support the volume of data relayed at the speed at which it should be received.
Imagine a highway with four lanes that merge into one eventually. As more vehicles approach the merged road, the traffic flow slows down because its size can’t accommodate the volume of cars passing through it.
What is an NFC Tag?
An NFC tag is a smart tag that lets users pay for goods or services by simply tapping a nearfield communication (NFC)-capable device to it.
NFC doesn’t differ much from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth in that it is a wireless radio technology communication standard. It is based on radio frequency identification (RFID), which sellers typically use for inventory monitoring and companies to manage the comings and goings of employees.
What is NVOD?
NVOD, short for “near video-on-demand,” is a means of delivering videos that lets viewers choose from restricted or subscription-based broadcast video channels. Pay-per-view service providers use NVOD channels to allow subscribers to watch videos following a designated schedule. They typically broadcast videos at staggered intervals (e.g., 20 minutes) on specific channels to let viewers choose the most suitable start time.
You can thus compare NVOD to the way movies are scheduled for showing in theaters. You can choose the start time that works best for you because each film is offered in several theaters at different slots.
What is an Optical Carrier?
An optical carrier is the standard unit used to measure the transmission bandwidth rate for the data carried by Synchronous Optical Networking (SONET) fiber-optic networks. Simply put, it’s a fiber-optic network speed abbreviated as “OCx,” where “x” represents a multiplier with a base rate of 51.85Mbps. So, an OC-3 fiber-optic network has a transmission rate of 155.52Mbps. That said, the higher the fiber-optic network rating, the faster it transmits data.
What is Over the Top (OTT)?
"Over the Top" (OTT) is a media streaming service that delivers content via the Internet. It does away with traditional media distribution channelsб such as television and traditional telephone networks. Instead, viewers directly access content from the provider.
Before OTT came to be, users were required to subscribe to a cable, satellite, or pay-TV provider to watch feature films and TV shows. And they had to pay for enormous phone bills, especially for international phone calls and text messages.
What is Packet Loss?
Packet loss refers to the failure of transmitted data to reach its destination. Data is usually transmitted through a network in chunks, then assembled back together when it gets to the other end. Some of these data packets tend to get lost. Users will see this as disruptions in the network or the complete loss of connectivity.
Imagine cars traveling down the road toward the mall. Along the way, some of the drivers get lost and never make it to the destination. That's like packet loss.
What is a PBX Network?
PBX network stands for “Private Branch Exchange network,” an internal telephone system that allows users within an organization to have their own phone lines. However, these phone lines are connected to the PBX network, not directly to a phone company’s network. In contrast to home phones that telecommunications companies manage, an enterprise operates a PBX network.
In the past, calling a company that uses a PBX network would direct you to an operator who then connects you to the department or person you’re calling. These days, a PBX network can be attached to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, such as that you encounter when calling customer service hotlines, to automate call routing.
What is Radio Frequency?
Radio frequency refers to a group of electromagnetic radio waves that is used for commercial broadcasting and transmitting wireless telecommunications signals.
You can think of electromagnetic waves as a filing cabinet. There is one drawer labeled "Radio Frequency." Inside it are dividers describing how the frequency will be used. One is tagged "FM Radio and TV". Another is assigned to "Electronic communication devices" (which includes WiFi).
Specific radio frequencies are assigned to different applications so they do not overlap. Otherwise, the applications could step on each others' toes, and telecommunications would be a mess.
What is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless technology that lets devices detect objects with special tags embedded in them. The tagged objects need to be near the RFID reader. For instance, many train stations use it to sense the microchip in your transport card. The gate lets you through even when the card is in your wallet or purse because it has identified it using RFID.
In a way, it's like bringing a magnet near some iron shavings. When brought close enough, the iron detects the presence of the magnet and starts moving toward it.
What is Radio over Internet Protocol (RoIP)?
Radio over Internet Protocol (RoIP) uses the Internet Protocol (IP) standard in transmitting radio communications. In the past, radio users communicated through microwave equipment or leased telephone lines. But with the widespread adoption of IP technology, it made sense for radio communications to ride the tide, too.
Radio over Internet Protocol systems is helpful for users who are spread over a large geographical area. Instead of telephone calls that rely on network providers, some organizations opt to use RoIP. For example, the U.S. military convoys deployed in broad geographical areas use the technology to communicate and protect one another.
What is a Router?
A router is a networking device that receives, analyzes and relays chunks of data packets exchanged between two or more different networks. A router is responsible for ensuring that the traffic between systems gets to where they are needed.
It's like a post office that receives packages from the local area, ships these out to local depots which are then received by the mailmen and delivered to their intended destinations.
What is Telecommunications?
You're having a party and wish to invite all your friends to come and have fun.
- Send them smoke signals about the date and time
- Send out pigeons to deliver the invitations
- Beat on really big drums to catch their attention
- Send them a message with your phone
That last one is an example of telecommunication. It's the transmission of information over a vast distance through the use of electronic means. For sure, telecommunication has made the world seem a lot smaller.
What is Telematics?
Telematics refers to the transfer of information over long distances using modern telecommunications devices and networks. It is generally used to track a vehicle or to monitor the status of an asset such as an electronic device installed in a remote location.
The process of transferring water from a tap to a bucket using a hose is similar to how telematics works to shoot information from one computing device to another.
What is VoIP?
VoIP, short for “voice over Internet Protocol,” is a technology that lets users place phone calls over an Internet connection. It came alive with the rise of broadband to become the top way individuals and companies communicate over the phone.
VoIP calling doesn’t differ much from using the analog phones of yesteryears to talk to people across long distances. The only difference is the lines that connect one phone to another, giving VoIP phones more features than standard ones.
What is WiFi?
WiFi is a wireless technology that lets computers, smartphones, and other devices connect to the Internet or communicate with one another within a particular area, called a "hot spot."
It's like a shed in the middle of the dessert. You'll be protected from the hot sun, but only if you can stay underneath the shade provided by the shed. Similarly, you'll get wireless Internet access but only if you can find a WiFi hot spot.
What is Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)?
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a security protocol. It is part of the Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) 802.11b standard of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). IEEE, of course, is the largest professional association of electronic and electrical engineers headquartered in New York City. It operates primarily from New Jersey. Wi-Fi 802.11b, meanwhile, provides a wireless local area network (WLAN) a certain level of security and privacy that is comparable to that of a wired LAN.
WEP encrypts data transmitted over a WLAN. Its data encryption feature protects vulnerable wireless links between devices and access points. It makes LAN security mechanisms like password protection, end-to-end encryption, virtual private network (VPN) use, and authentication possible on WLANs to ensure privacy.
What is Wireless?
The telecommunications industry began when we used cable to carry messages back and forth. But it takes a lot of cable to wire the whole world. And so we've taken it away and gone wireless.
"Wireless" refers to communication technologies that transmit data through the air using radio or microwave signals. It offers many advantages over conventional wired connections. It's easier, quicker, neater, and less costly to install. And users do not need to be tethered to a single spot. However, wireless networks are generally slower and considered less secure.