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Shortcuts to Common Abbreviations and Acronyms:
bpi as in bytes per inch
A trunk cable used to tie sections of a network together. The backbone is often 10base5, fiber optic (FDDI), or 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet. It manages the bulk of the network traffic and it may connect several different locations or buildings.
back-end processor
A secondary processor that performs one specialized task very effectively, freeing the main processor for other, more important work.
background noise
In communications, any unwanted signal that enters a line, channel, or circuit.
A suite of Microsoft programs designed to be run on server computers based on Windows NT Server.
A printed circuit board containing slots or sockets, into which expansion boards are plugged.
backside bus
A special microprocessor bus that connects the CPU to a Level 2 cache. Typically, a backside bus runs at a faster clock speed than the frontside bus that connects the CPU to main memory. For example, the Pentium Pro microprocessor actually consists of two chips -- one contains the CPU and the primary cache, and the second contains the secondary cache. A backside bus connects the two chips at the same clock rate as the CPU itself (at least 200 MHz). In contrast, the frontside bus runs at only a fraction of the CPU clock speed (typically 100 MHz).
A copy of your important files made for safekeeping in case something happens to the original files; something you should make every day. There are several types of backup methods that can be performed:
backup formats
Term denoting the type of format used to backup data. There are several types of backup formats in the backup media markets:4mm and 8mm cartridges, DC-2000 and DC-6000, optical disks, and quarter-inch cartridges.
Fully compatible with earlier versions of the same application program or computer system.
bad sector
An area on a hard disk or floppy disk that cannot be used to store data, because of a manufacturing defect or accidental damage. One of the tasks an operating system performs is finding, marking, and isolating bad sectors. Almost all hard disks have some bad sectors, often listed in the bad track table, as a result of the manufacturing process, and this is not usually anything to worrry about; the operating system will mark them as bad, and you will never even know that they are there.
bad track table
A list of the defective areas on a hard disk, usually determined during final testing of the disk at the factory. Some disk-preparation programs ask you to enter information from this list to reduce the time that a low-level format takes to prepare the disk for use by an operating system.

A fancy page that's printed between each print job so that you can easily separate jobs from one another.
In communications, the difference between the highest and the lowest frequencies available for transmission in any given range.

In networking, the transmission capacity of a computer or a communications channel, stated in megabits or megabytes per second; the higher the number, the faster the data transmission takes place. Bandwidth in a medium can be used in two ways. When the entire bandwidth is devoted to a single data signal, the cable is operating in baseband mode. When the bandwidth of a medium is used to carry several independent signals, the medium is operating in broadband mode. Cable TV is an example of broadband signaling.

bank switching
A method of switching between two sets (or banks) of memory chips in a computer, only one of which can be active at a time. Because of the overhead involved in switching between banks, memory-intensive tasks can take much longer to perform using bank-switched memory than when using main memory. Bank-switched memory is often located on an expansion card plugged into an expansion slot on the motherboard.
Basic Rate Interface(BRI)
BRI is an ISDN interface typically used by smaller sites and customers. This interface consists of a single 16Kbps Data (or"D")channel plus 2 Bearer(or"B") channels for voice and/or data. Aka. Basic Rate Access(BRA)
batch file
An ASCII text file containing operating system commands and possibly other commands supported by the batch processor. The commands in the file are executed one line at a time, just as if you had typed them at the system prompt. You can inlcude program names, operating system commands, batch language commands, and other variables in your batch files. Batch files are used to automate repetitive tasks;almost all DOS users place regulary-used setup commands in a batch file called AUTOEXEC.BAT, which executes every time the computer is started.

In DOS, a file that contains one or more commands that are executed together as a set. You create the batch file by using a text editor (like the DOS EDIT command) and run the file by typing its name at the command prompt. A DOS batch file must have the file-name extension .BAT, while an OS/2 batch file has the extension .CMD.

A measurement of data-transmission speed. Originally used in measuring the speed of telegraph equipment, it i now usually refers to the data-transmission speed of a modem or other serial device.
baud rate
In communications equipment, a measurement of the number of state changes (from 0 to 1 or vice-versa) per second on an asynchronous communications channel.

Baud rate is often mistakenly assumed to correspond to the number of bits transmitted per second, but because in modern high-speed digital communications systems one state change can be made to represent more than 1 data bit, baud rate and bits per second are not always the same. A rate of 300 baud is likely to correspond to 300 bits per second, but at higher baud rates, the number of bits per second transmitted can be higher than the baud rate as one state change can represent more than one data bit. For example, 2400 bits per second can be sent a t 1200 baud if each state change represents tow bits of information.
On the PC, the MODE command is used to set the baud rate of a serial device, perhaps a modem or a printer. Both the sending and the receiving devices must be set to the same baud rate, and in times past, mismatched baud rates were one of the most common reasons for communications failures. These days, intelligent modems can lock onto one of a range of rates, and can even change rates in response to changing line conditions during the course of a transmission

A repeatable test you use to judge the performance of your network. It attempts to quantify hardware or software performance---usually in terms of speed, reliability, or accuracy. One of the majore problems in determining performance is deciding which of the many benchmarks available actually reflects how you plan to use the system. For best results, you should evaluate performance using the same mix of applications and system commands that you expect to use in your day-to-day work. So in short, The best benchmarks are the ones that closely duplicate the type of work you routinely do on your network.
Bernoulli box
A high-capacity data storage device featuring a removable cartridge, developed by Iomega Corporation.
BERT-Bit Error Rate Test
In the field of DSL, BERT is a test that reflects the ratio of errored bits to the total number transmitted. Usually shown in exponential form10-6 to indicate that one out of a certain number of bits are in error.
beta software
Software that has been released to a cross-section of typical users for testing before the commercial release of the package.
Any scheme that uses two different states, components, conditions or conclusions. In mathemathics, the binary or base-2 numbering system uses combinations of the digits 0 and 1 to represent all values. The more familiar decimal system has a base of 10 (0-9).
Computers and other digital devices are designed to work with information (internally) in the form of binary numbers, because it is relatively simple to construct electronic circuits that generate two voltage levels ("on" and "off", corresponding to 1 and 0)
Unlike computers, people find binary numbers that consist of long strings of 0s and 1s difficult to read, so most people who work at this level use hexadecimal (base-16) numbers instead.
binary-coded decimal
Abbreviated BCD. A simple system for converting decimal numbers into binary form, where each decimal digit is converted into binary and then stored as a single character.
In binary numbers, the largest value that can be stored in a single 8-bit byte is 255, and this obviously represents severe limitation to storing larger numbers. BCD is a way around this limitation that stays within the 8-bit storage format. For example, the decimal number 756 can be broken down so that the numbers 7, 5, and 6 are represented by one byte each. In BCD, each decimal digit occupies a byte, so three bytes are needed for a three-digit decimal number. There is no limit to the size of the stored number; as the number increases in size, so does the amount of storage space set aside to hold it.
The big database where user accounts and other related info are stored on a NetWare server.
The associatons of network drivers and hardware or you can also describe bindings as a chain of drivers that are linked to a given service. The order of these bindings determines the order in which the computer will search for information via the bindings that are specified.
Acronym for basic input/output system. In the PC, a set of instructions, stored in read-only memory (ROM), that let your computer's hardware and operating system communicate with application programs and peripheral devices such as hard disks, printers, and video adapters. These instructions are stored in non-volatile memory or as a permanent part of your computer. They are always available at a specific addresses in memory, so all programs can access them to perform their basic I/O functions.
IBM computers contain a copyrighted BIOS that only their computers can use; however, other companies such as Phoenix, Award, and American Megatrends have developed BIOSes for other manufacturer's computers that emulate or mimic the IBM instructions without using the same code. If you use non-IBM computer, the BIOS company's copyright message and BIOS version number are displayed every time you turn on your computer.
BIOS enumerator
Responsible in a non-ACPI Plug and Play system for identifying all hardware devices on the motherboard of the computer. The BIOS supports an API that allows all Plug and Play computers to be queried in a common manner.
BIOS extensions
In the PC, extensions to the main BIOS(basic input/output system) that enable the computer to work with add-on devices such as hard disk controllers and EGA or VGA adapters. The ROM chips containing these extensions do not have to be located on the motherboard; they can also be on expansion boards plugged into the expansion bus. Any BIOS extensions needed to run these expansion boards are loaded automatically when you boot your computer.
BIOS parameter block
Abbreviated BPB. In the PC, a part of the boot record contained on every formatted disk, that contains information about the disk's physical characteristics. This information includes the version number of the operating system used to format the disk, the number of bytes per sector, the number of sectors per cluster, per track, and per disk, an is provided for use by device drivers.
Contraction of BInary digiT. A bit is the basic unit of information in the binary numbering system, representing either 0 (for off) or 1 (for on). Bits can be grouped together to make up larger storage units, the most common being the 8-bit byte. A byte can represent all kinds of information including the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0 through 9, and common punctuation symbols.
Representation of characters or graphics by individual pixels arranged in rows (horizontal) and columns (vertical). Each pixel can be represented by either 1 bit (simple black and white) or up to 32 bits (high-definition color).
bit-mapped font
A set of characters in a specific style and size, in which each character is defined by a pattern of dots. The computer must keep a complete set of bitmaps for every font you use on your system, and these bitmaps can consume large amounts of disk space.
bit-mapped graphic
A graphic, created using a paint program like MacPaint or PC Paintbrush, composed of a series of dots, or pixels, rather than a set of lines or vectors.
bit specifications
Number of colors or levels of gray that can be displayed at one time. Controlled by the amount of memory in the computer's graphics controller card. An 8-bit controller can display 256 colors or levels of gray; a 16-bit controller, 64,000 colors; and a 24-bit controller, 16.8 million colors.
bits per inch
The number of bits (binary digits) that a tape or disk can store per inch of length.
Bits per pixel
The number of bits used to represent the color value of each pixel in a digitized image.
bits per second
(bps) The number of binary digits, or bits, transmitted every second during a data transfer. A measurement of the speed of operation of equipment such as a computer's data bus, or a modem connecting a computer to a transmission line.
BNC connector
The connector that's used with 10base2 cable. It is small and has a half-turn locking shell used with coax. You install it by twisting angled slots in one connector over pins in the matching connector.
b-node resolution name
One of the four modes of name resolution used on Windows networks. B-node relies exclusively on broadcast messages and is the oldest name resolution mode. A host needing to resolve a name request sends a message to every host within earshot, requesting the address associated with a host name. B-node has two shortcomings:broadcast traffic is undesirable and becomes a significant user of network bandwidths, and TCP/IP routers don't forward broadcast messages, which restricts b-node operation to a single network segment.
A feature of Web browser software that allows you to selectively tag Web sites of interest. As with a traditional bookmark, the feature provides instant connection to the tagged Web page whenever chosen.
An automatic procedure begun when you first turn on or reset your computer, that loads an operating system into memory, usually from hard disk. A set of constructions contained in ROM begin executing, first running a series of power-on self tests (POST) to check that devices such as hard disks are in working order, then locating and loading the operating system, and finally, passing control of the computer over to that operating system.
bootable disk
Any disk capable of loading and starting the operating system, usually alluding to a floppy disk.
Boot drive
The drive that the operating system first loads from. (Usually A: or C). Normally, a PC will try to boot from the A: drive (the floppy drive.) If there is no disk in that drive, it will boot from the C: drive (the hard drive.)
boot record
That part of a formatted disk containing the operating system loading program, along with other basic info needed by the computer when it starts running.
The slowest link in your network, which causes work to get jammed up. The first step in improving network performance is identifying the bottlenecks.
A device that enables you to link two networks together. Bridges are smart enough to know which computers are on which side of the bridge, so they only allow those messages that need to get to the other side to cross the bridge. This device improves performance on both sides of the bridge.
Bridge tap
An accidental connection of another local loop to the primary local loop. Generally, it behaves as an open circuit at DC, but becomes a transmission line stub with adverse effects at high frequency. It is generally harmful to DSL connections and should be removed. Extra phone wiring within one's house is a combination of short bridge taps. A POTS splitter isolates the house wiring and provides a direct path for the DSL signal to pass unimpaired to the ATU-R modem.
broadband network
In communications, a technique for transmitting a large amount of information, including voice, data, and video, over long distances.
The transmission capacity is divided into several distint channels that can be used concurrently, normally by using frequency-division multiplexing, and these individual channels are protected from each other by guard channels of unused frequencies. A broadband network can operate at speeds of up to 20 megabits per second, and is based on the same technology used by cable television.
Broadcast Architecture
The set of technologies that enable PCs to receive broadcast data.
In networking, a device that combines the attributes of a bridge and a router. A brouter can route one or more specific protocols, such as TCP/IP, and bridge all others.
A short period of low voltage often caused by an unusually heavy demand for power. It can cause your computer to crash, so invest in an uninterruptable power supply (UPS)
An application program used ot explore internet resources.
An indexed file access method commonly used on NetWare networks.
An area of memory that's used to hold data enroute to somewhere else. For example, a disk buffer holds data as it travels between your computer and the disk drive.
A line in CONFIG.SYS that sets up buffers used for disk I/O. If a disk cache is used, specify a low number for BUFFERS, like 2 or 3.
A logical or programming error in hardware or software that causes a malfunction of some sort.
A release of hardware or software that corrects known bugs but does not contain additional new features
bulletin board system
(BBS) A computer system, equipped with one or more modems, acting as a message-passing system or centralized information source, usually for a particular special interest group.
burst mode
A data transmission mode in which data is sent faster than normal. There are a number of techniques for implementing burst modes. In a data bus, for example, a burst mode is usually implemented by allowing a device to seize control of the bus and not permitting other devices to interrupt. In RAM, burst modes are implemented by automatically fetching the next memory contents before they are requested. This is essentially the same technique used by disk caches.
The one characteristic that all burst modes have in common is that they are temporary and unsustainable. They allow faster data transfer rates than normal, but only for a limited period of time and only under special conditions.
A type of network topology in which network nodes are strung out along a single run of cable called a segment. 10base2 and LocalTalk networks use a bus topology. Bus also refers to the row of expansion slots within your computer.
bus enumerator
In a non-ACPI Plug and Play system, a bus device driver that detects devices located on a specific bus and loads information about devices into the hardware tree.
bus mastering
A technique that allows certain advanced bus architectures to delegate control data transfers between the CPU and associated peripheral devices to an add-in board. This gives greater system bus access and higher data transfer rates than conventional systems.
bus mouse
A mouse connected to the computer using an expansion board plugged into an expansion slot, instead of simply connected to a serial port as in the case of the serial mouse.
Contraction of BinarY digiT Eight. A group of 8 bits that in computer storage terms usually holds a single character, such as a number, letter, or other symbol.
Because bytes represent a very small amount of storage, theya re usually grouped into kilobytes (1024 bytes), megabytes (1,048,576 bytes), or even gigabytes (1,073,71,824 bytes) for convenience when describing hard disk capacity or computer memory size.
bytes per inch
(bpi) The number of bytes that a tape or disk can store per inch of length.
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