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Networking Glossary

AAUI Port
Apple's version of the AUI Port qm_icon picture; it's somewhat smaller than a standard AUI port.

Apple Built-in Ethernet
Some Macs with built-in Ethernet ports need this extension to use Ethernet. See also Ethernet (Built-in) qm_icon picture.

AppleTalk
A communications protocol qm_icon picture created by Apple that handles file sharing qm_icon picture and print sharing qm_icon picture in a user-friendly, icon-based user interface. All Macs support AppleTalk networks through the system software. AppleTalk is usually called a "chatty" network because there is constant low-level flow of information between the connected computers, which facilitates the ease-of-use but limits network performance somewhat because of the extra traffic.

AppleTalk Port
A serial port on a Mac or other AppleTalk-ready device available for networking. Typically, this is the printer port, which I use in my setup instructions for consistency.

AUI Port
A type of Ethernet port that requires the use of a transceiver qm_icon picture between the Mac and the Ethernet cable. An AUI port is sometimes very similar to a Mac's monitor port; make sure not to confuse the two. See also AAUI port qm_icon picture.

BNC Connector
The style of connector used by 10Base2 qm_icon picture networks. The connector is circular and about 1/3 inch across, similar to the female end of a standard cable television connector.

Backbone
A network topology qm_icon picture made up of an unbroken length of cable with mutiple connection points spaced along its length. Many companies or offices run backbone cable (phone line or Ethernet cable, usually) through their walls and mount wall jacks to provide access to the network. A backbone is visually conceptually similar to a clothesline.

Branch
A length of cable in a star qm_icon picture or backbone qm_icon picture network that goes from the center of the network to a wall jack or hub qm_icon picture.

Bridge
A device that connects two separate networks and makes it possible for them to communicate. You can also use bridges to divide a larger network into smaller, interconnected networks.

Category 5
The highest standard in the classification (which is analogus to a quality rating) of network wiring, also called cat 5. Cat 5 wiring is typically used in Ethernet networks.

Coaxial
The type of cable used in 10Base2 qm_icon picture networks, very similar in appearance to a standard television cable.

Crossover Cable
A type of 10BaseT qm_icon picture cable used to construct a two-system, hubless Ethernet network. The advantage of such a network is cost, since you don't need to buy a hub to handle the packet qm_icon picture switching. There are disadvantages, though: You cannot expand beyond two systems, crossover cable networks tend to take more hand-holding and troubleshooting, and you often need to start up both systems at the same time. For additional information, see the Setting up a Crossover Ethernet Network page.

Daisy Chain
A network topology qm_icon picture where multiple devices are connected one to another in sequence and terminated at the ends.

Ethernet
See the What is Ethernet? page for information.

Ethernet (Built-in)
Some Macs with built-in Ethernet ports need this extension to use Ethernet. See also Apple Built-in Ethernet qm_icon picture.

EtherTalk
Another name for an AppleTalk qm_icon picture network operating across Ethernet qm_icon picture wiring.

Farallon
Farallon is a company that makes a wide variety of networking products, including Ethernet adapters and PhoneNet qm_icon picture connectors.

Fast Ethernet
See 100BaseT qm_icon picture.

File Sharing
A network service qm_icon picture that allows the user to make selected folders and volumes accessible to other network users, as well as access the folders and volumes of another user.

Gateway
A device that connects two or more networks that use different protocols, such as LocalTalk qm_icon picture and Ethernet qm_icon picture. Gateways translate the network data from one format to the other as needed. See also bridge qm_icon picture.

Gigabit Ethernet
See 1000BaseT qm_icon picture.

Hub
A piece of hardware that handles the data transfer in an Ethernet qm_icon picture network. A hub has a number of port qm_icon pictures that connect to Ethernet devices. A hub is analagous to a stoplight at an intersection; information reaches the hub, which then passes the it off to the rest of the network in an orderly manner and keeps the data from running into other data. Each hub connects directly to a number of computers or other hubs, allowing the size of the network to grow as needed.

Internet
A TCP/IP-based network that spans more than one geographic area. Corporate internets have a lower-case i and the world-wide network has the captial i.

Intranet
A network that transmits data using TCP/IP. See the What is an Intranet? page for more information.

IP address
IP stands for Internet Protocol. An IP address identifies a specific machine on a TCP/IP-based network, such as an intranet qm_icon picture or the Internet qm_icon picture.

Job
A print (or fax) session. Basically, it's a job from the point it reaches the printer until the last piece of paper comes out.

LAN
See Local Area Network qm_icon picture.

Local Area Network
A network that communicates across a relatively small geographic area, such as a home or office building. See also Wide Area Network qm_icon picture.

Local Bridge
A device that connects two networks in close proximity to each other, such as networks that are in the same building but on different floors. Not to be confused with "LocalTalk Bridge," which is a LocalTalk-to-Ethernet adapter made by Apple.

LocalTalk
A network protocol qm_icon picture that transmits AppleTalk qm_icon picture data using serial cables or special connectors. See What is LocalTalk? for more information.

Mixed Network
A network that contains more than one type of computing platform, such as Macs and Windows-based PCs.

Multihoming
A single computer that supports multiple IP address. The Mac OS doesn't support this natively yet, so to use multihoming you need to use software such as IPNetRouter.

Network
A group of interconnected computers (or other network devices, such as printers) that can communicate among themselves and share the same service qm_icon pictures.

Node
Any device on the network, such as a Mac, a printer, etc. Every device on a network has its own node number qm_icon picture, a unique address that distinguishes it from other devices.

Node Number
A unique address that identifies each node qm_icon picture on the network. On AppleTalk qm_icon picture networks, each node automatically receives a node number when it logs on to the network. This address is typically only important at the hardware level and users rarely need to concern themselves with it.

Packet
A basic chunk of network information; it contains the data itself, as well as the address of the sender, the address of the receiver, and any needed additional information.

PhoneNet
A type of LocalTalk qm_icon picture networking hardware manufatured by the Farallon company. PhoneNet adapters connect in a daisy chain qm_icon picture topology qm_icon picture.

Print Sharing
A network service qm_icon picture that allows the user to make one or more printers available for use by other users.

Protocol
A set of "rules" (engineers call it a specification) that determines how information moves around the network, including how the information is addressed, sent, and received by the network. AppleTalk qm_icon picture is one such protocol, supporting service qm_icon pictures such as file sharing qm_icon picture and print sharing qm_icon picture.

QuickNet
A type of LocalTalk qm_icon picture networking hardware manufatured by the Belkin company. QuickNet adapters connect in a daisy chain qm_icon picture topology qm_icon picture.

Remote Bridge
A hardware device that connects two networks in different geographic areas by modem or sattelite link. See Wide Area Network qm_icon picture.

RJ-11
The connector used on the end of standard phone wires. Used in PhoneNet qm_icon picture networks.

RJ-45
A larger version of the RJ-11 qm_icon picture, this cable has eight wires, rather than RJ-11's four. 10BaseT qm_icon picture wiring uses these connectors.

Router
A device that directs traffic from one section of a network to another in a shared Ethernet qm_icon picture network.

Screen Sharing
The use of software to allow your computer to see the actual desktop of another computer on the network and control it using your own mouse and keyboard. Often used for troubleshooting or training purposes.

Serial Cable
A cable with 8-pin mini-DIN connectors on each end that connect to a Mac's serial ports (printer or modem), typically used with printers, modems, and the like.

Service
A particular function of the network, such as file sharing qm_icon picture or print sharing qm_icon picture on an AppleTalk qm_icon picture network or email and ftp on an intranet qm_icon picture.

Shared Ethernet
An Ethernet network where all systems on the network share a common transmission pathway, as opposed to switched Ethernet qm_icon picture. Shared networks tend to less efficient than switched networks.

Shared Folder
Any folder accessible by other Macs on the network. You create shared folders using the Sharing command under the File menu in the Finder.

Star
A network topology qm_icon picture that has a central connection point for one or more branch qm_icon picturees that connect to network devices.

Straight-Through Cable
A cable whose internal wires have identical connections at both ends. See also crossover cable qm_icon picture.

Switch
A device that directs traffic from one section of a network to another in a switched Ethernet qm_icon picture network.

Switched Ethernet
An Ethernet network where the data transmission pathway is directed between the sending and receiving computers only, as opposed to switched Ethernet qm_icon picture. Switched networks tend to more efficient than shared networks.

10Base2
A type of Ethernet qm_icon picture network that uses t-shaped, terminated connectors and coaxial qm_icon picture wiring and transmits data at up to 10 megabits per second.

10BaseT
A type of Ethernet qm_icon picture network that uses twisted-pair qm_icon picture wiring and hub qm_icon pictures and transmits data at up to 10 megabits per second. Came built-in to many Mac models and is available for most others.

100BaseT
A type of Ethernet qm_icon picture network that uses twisted-pair qm_icon picture wiring and hub qm_icon pictures and transmits data at up to 100 megabits per second. It comes built-in to newer Mac models such as the iMac and G3 Pro series and is also available for PCI-based Macs.

1000BaseT
A type of Ethernet qm_icon picture network that uses twisted-pair qm_icon picture wiring and hub qm_icon pictures and transmits data at up to 1000 megabits per second.

Terminator
PhoneNet qm_icon picture and 10Base2 qm_icon picture networks use small resistors that "terminate" the ends of the network. These resistors absorb the electronic data that reaches the ends and prevent it from bouncing back to the network (where the resulting duplicate information would cause problems). PhoneNet uses 120-ohm resistors connected to wires 1 & 3.

Thinnet
See 10Base2 qm_icon picture.

Topology
The physical layout of network devices (Macs, printers, and so forth) and the wiring that connects them. There are a number of topologies, which are usually named after the geometric shape they resemble; star qm_icon picture, ring qm_icon picture, and daisy chain qm_icon picture are the most common.

Transceiver
Macs with an AAUI port qm_icon picture require this special connector to connect to Ethernet qm_icon picture networks.

TurboNet
A type of LocalTalk qm_icon picture networking hardware manufatured by the Focus company. TurboNet adapters connect in a daisy chain qm_icon picture topology qm_icon picture.

Twisted-pair
The type of cable used in 10BaseT qm_icon picture networks. Why twisted-pair? The short story is that you don't need to know; just remember that 10BaseT networks use it. The long story has to do with the construction of thecable itself. There are eight wires in 10BaseT cable, twisted together into four pairs; the twisting reduces signal interference, for a cleaner signal.

Ethernet is a broadcasting medium, similar to television and radio. Unlike those signals, of course, Ethernet signals stay confined to the wires. "Baseband" (Base, for short) means that you're only running one frequency on the wire. "Broadband" means you're running several channels (again, like radio and TV) on several frequencies on the same wire. There are two kinds of twisted-pair cabling, shielded and unshielded. Darned if I know the difference, at least for now. There is a special type of twisted-pair called a Crossover Cable qm_icon picture, that is typically used to set up a direct-connection two-system Ethernet network.

WAN
See Wide Area Network qm_icon picture.

Wide Area Network
A network that communicates across a relatively large geographic area, such as across a state or country. Setting up a wide area network usually requires a Remote Bridge qm_icon picture.

Contents of Three Macs & a Printer are ©1996-1999 Matthew Glidden (except for the bits that aren't).

Questions or feedback? Feel free to send mail.

[This page was last updated on 3/7/99; 2:13:53 PM.]



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