10 Common Network Terms and What They Mean

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Here are some of the most common home networking terms, and why you need to know them.

Network illustration

We live in each other’s world related. New technologies are constantly appearing in our lives and markets.

Unless you’re constantly reading networking, computing, or hacking news, you may come across terms you don’t understand.

So here are some common networking terms and where you’re most likely to find them.

10 Common Network Terms and What They Mean

1. WLAN

Logo wlan

WLAN stands for Wireless Local Area Network.

Wireless Local Area Networks connect two or more devices via wireless distribution. WLANs typically operate within a limited area, providing only connectivity to those devices within their limits. Any device that moves outside the coverage area will lose connection to the network.

It’s possible that you operate a WLAN in your home: your home Wi-Fi network. WLAN refers to a wireless local area network that is exactly like your Wi-Fi network.

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2. WPAN

Wpan

WPAN stands for Wireless Personal Area Network.

A Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) describes a network used to communicate between intrapersonal devices. When you sit at your desk using a Bluetooth mouse, Bluetooth headphones, wireless mouse and keyboard, you are using WPAN. It’s the same as when you connect your phone to a PC via Bluetooth.

WPAN describes communication between devices over short distances. However, it can also refer to devices within a wider range, i.e., connected via a Wireless Local Area Network.

3. IPV4 and IPV6 Protocol

The Internet uses a variety of standard protocols that enable network communication. Internet protocol packets are known as TCP / IP, which stands for Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol.

The first major version of TCP/IP was Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4). Its successor is Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), although both protocols are in use.

The two protocols define the transmission of data over the internet. Furthermore, the type of IP address determines the number of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses available for use. For example, you may have seen an IP address that looked something like “192.19.254.1“.

Ip adrres 1

Range Internet. Every site, router and device connected to the internet is assigned a specific IP.

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IPv4 limits the number of available IP addresses to 4,294,967,296. Sounds like a lot, right? IPv4 address exhaustion has long since passed, since February 2011. This is because IPv4 IPs are designed as 32-bit integers, limiting the number of addresses available. See the image below for a brief explanation.

The IPv6 standard was launched to address this problem with the introduction of 128-bit hexadecimal IP addresses, providing a 3,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 address space for the internet to grow. The IPv6 IP address also looks different to its IPv4 counterpart: 4532:1cb8:75a3:4942:1771:9e2c:1350:8331

Ip address 2

4. NAT

Nat

Network Address Translation is most commonly used by routers to share a single IP address (see above for information on IPv4 and IPv6 protocols) across multiple devices. If you have a wireless router in your home, chances are that it uses NAT to enable each of your connected devices to access the internet through a single gateway (see below for more information on Gateways).

From the outside, your router only has one IP address. Your router can assign individual IP addresses to devices on your home network, creating a Local Area Network.

5. Gateway

Gateway

Gateway refers to devices on your network that allow traffic to move freely from one network to another. Your router acts as a gateway, allowing data to be routed from the internet to your connected devices.

6. Packets

A packet is the common format for most of the data carried over the internet. It cannot store large amounts of data. At most, a packet can contain 65,535 bytes (or 0.065 megabytes) of information in it. However, your average internet plan won’t even be this big. Typically, internet plans only store 1,500 bytes (0.0015 megabytes) of data.

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A packet traditionally consists of two types of data: control information and user data.

Control information refers to the data the network needs to transmit user data: source and destination addresses, sequence information, and error detection codes.

User data refers to the actual data being transferred, whether it’s searching a website, clicking a link, or transferring a file.

7. P2P

Peer to peer

Peer-to-Peer refers to any network that connects users directly in a distributed network. Each connected computer is known as a peer. Peers are simultaneously users and network providers, enabling P2P networks to engage in more powerful activities while remaining beneficial to all connected users.

For example, many Linux distributions use P2P to keep operating costs down, while cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin use P2P to ensure network integrity. Additionally, overlay and anonymity-focused networks such as Tor and I2P also use a peer-to-peer model, while Microsoft Windows 10 uses a proprietary Delivery Optimization peer to peer network to make delivery of updates more efficient.

8. Protocol: TLS / SSL — HTTPS

tls/ssl & hhtp/https protocol

Transport Layer Security and its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer, are an important part of keeping your data safe on the internet. They are cryptographic protocols that allow you to securely communicate sensitive data with various websites, such as online banking portals, retailers, and government gateways.

TLS / SSL works by layering encryption onto the existing Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) we use to surf the web. This provides us with Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which you may have noted when accessing banking or purchasing through an online retailer.

9. DDoS

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service.

A Distributed Denial of Service is a type of cyber attack that takes over a service by request, forcing it offline. Attackers target specific websites, services, or video games and flood running servers with data requests. The number of requests can quickly overwhelm the infrastructure of the server hosting the service, forcing it offline.

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DDoS is not always dangerous. If too many users try to access the same IP address at the same time, it can overload the website hosting server, causing access to the service to be denied. This unintentional denial of service is a common occurrence when websites with large user bases link to much smaller user bases.

Indeed, when someone posts an interesting link to Reddit and the user base builds up, often smaller sites go offline. This is known as “Reddit’s embrace of death.”

At any one time, there may be several DDoS attacks happening around the world. You’re more likely to hear about them when they tap a major service offline, but you can use the Digital Attack Map as an estimate of what’s going on.

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10. DNS

Dns

DNS stands for Domain Name System.

The Domain Name System is how our computers translate our ordinary, everyday text into network readable IP addresses. When you type www.coretantekno.my.id. in your browser’s address bar and pressing enter, your computer contacts its DNS server. The DNS server responds with the appropriate IP address of www.coretantekno.my.id, connects and displays great technology content for your enjoyment.

You can set your DNS server to be different from the default, as several alternative DNS providers exist, such as Google Public DNS or OpenDNS. In some cases, switching to an alternative DNS provider can provide minor speed benefits when loading web pages, increase reliability with your Internet Service Provider, and provide additional security benefits.

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You don’t need to take a comp-sci course or be a network engineer to learn about common networking terms.

But in this connected world we need to understand some of the more basic and commonly used terms to help you get online.