The BIG Technical Jargon Guide

If you need answers to broadband jargon or technical terminology you're in the right place


Internet Technical Terms Explained

This current page covers the technical terms used in under our internet category. Explore more technical terms by choosing a different topic from our menu or enter a specific query into the search box to get started. Please note that our BIG terminology guide has hundreds of entries so if you use a common word in your search, you may have to scroll through several results to find what you're looking for.

Last modified: February 2024

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What is a website browser?

A web browser is a software application used to access and view websites on the internet. It allows users to enter a website address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and retrieves the website content from the internet, displaying it on the user's device in a user-friendly format. Web browsers provide features such as tabbed browsing, bookmarking and history. They support various technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, enabling websites to display interactive and multimedia content. Popular web browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge. Web browsers are an essential tool for accessing and navigating the internet, and they play a critical role in the user experience of websites and online applications.

What is digital voice?

Digital Voice is a type of phone service that uses the internet to transmit voice calls instead of traditional copper wires. It works by converting your voice into digital packets allowing you to make calls over a broadband connection. Digital Voice can provide clearer sound quality and additional features such as voicemail to email, call forwarding, and caller ID. The UK is currently in the process of switching from an analogue phone system to a digital voice system, the switchover is expected to be completed by 2025.

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What is email?

Email is a form of electronic mail. Emails are a popular and convenient way to send images and small digital files, although file attachments in emails usually have a file size limit of 25MB. There are plenty of free email providers to choose from like; Gmail, Apple Mail, Outlook & Proton Mail.

Use our data breach search facility to check if your email address has been listed in a data breach.

What is an Extranet?

An extranet is a private network that uses the internet protocol (IP) to securely share information and collaborate with external parties, such as customers, suppliers and partners. It is essentially an extension of an organisation's intranet that allows authorised users from outside the organisation to access and interact with certain parts of its internal network.

Extranets typically require authentication and encryption to ensure that only authorised users can access the network and that data is transmitted securely. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as sharing files and documents, collaborating on projects, conducting e-commerce transactions and providing customer service and support.

What is FTP?

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a method of transferring files between two computers over the internet using a client-server model. You can use FTP to upload files to a website or download files from a remote server. While FTP is still used today, it has largely been replaced by more secure and efficient file transfer protocols, such as SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol).

What is HTML?

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the standard language used to create web pages and structure the content within them. HTML uses various tags to define the different elements of a web page, such as headings, paragraphs, images, and links. These tags provide instructions to web browsers on how to display the content of the page, including its layout, text formatting and media elements. HTML also allows for the inclusion of other technologies, such as CSS and JavaScript, to add styling and interactivity to web pages. HTML is a fundamental technology for creating web pages and is essential for anyone looking to build or design websites.

What is IMAP mail?

IMAP stands for 'Internet Message Access Protocol', which is a method used for accessing email messages from a mail server. When you set up an IMAP email account, the email client (such as Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, or Apple Mail) on your device connects to the mail server and displays a list of your email messages without actually downloading them to your device. This means that you can access your email messages from multiple devices and any changes you make to your messages (such as marking them as read or moving them to a different folder) are reflected across all of your devices. We would recommend IMAP mail over the POP mail option if you view your emails across multiple devices.

What is Internet of things (IoT)?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about connecting everyday objects to the internet so they can send and receive information. For example, a smart thermostat in your home might connect to the internet so you can control it from your phone, and it might also send data about temperature and energy use to the cloud so it can be analysed and used to make your home more energy-efficient.

IoT can also include other types of devices, such as wearable fitness trackers, smart locks and even cars. The idea is to make these objects 'smart' by giving them the ability to collect data, communicate with other devices and make decisions based on that data.

Overall, IoT is about making our lives more connected, convenient and efficient by allowing everyday objects to work together in new and innovative ways.

What is an ISP (internet service provider)?

An Internet service provider (ISP) is a company that provides you with access to the internet. When you sign up for broadband with an ISP, you get a connection to the internet that allows you to browse the web, send and receive an email and use online services.

ISPs can offer different types of internet connections, like standard ADSL broadband or Ultrafast full fibre broadband. Your ISP is responsible for providing you with a reliable and secure internet service and for troubleshooting issues that may arise with your broadband connection. Find a local ISP in your area

What is IPTV?

IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television, which is a digital television broadcasting protocol that uses the internet to deliver TV programs and video streams. It works by converting traditional TV signals into digital data that can be transmitted over the internet. The data is then reassembled and displayed on the viewer's screen in real-time. IPTV allows users to access a wide range of TV channels and video content, including on-demand movies and TV shows, through an internet connection rather than a traditional broadcast signal. It requires an IPTV player or set-top box to decode and display the digital data on a TV screen.

What is an ISDN line?

ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. It is a type of communication technology that was commonly used in the 90s and early 2000s to transmit voice, data and video over digital phone lines.

ISDN works by converting analogue signals into digital signals, which allows for faster and more reliable communication over phone lines. It offers features such as faster call setup times, higher quality voice and video calls and the ability to transmit data over the same line as voice calls.

What is LTE?

LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution, which is a type of wireless communication technology used by mobile networks to provide fast internet access to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It is also known as 4G, which means fourth generation and is an improvement over older 3G technology. LTE allows users to access the internet at high speeds, download and upload files quickly and stream videos with minimal buffering. It works by using advanced techniques to transmit data wirelessly over the airwaves, allowing users to connect to the internet from virtually anywhere with cellular coverage. LTE has become the standard for mobile data services in many countries around the world. Compare UK mobile broadband deals.

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a term used to describe a fully immersive, shared virtual space that is created by the convergence of multiple virtual and augmented reality technologies. It is a kind of virtual universe that can be accessed and experienced by users through various devices and platforms, such as virtual reality headsets (e.g. Oculus), smartphones or desktop computers.

In the metaverse, users can interact with each other and with virtual objects and environments in real-time, creating a new kind of social and economic space that blurs the line between physical and digital reality. It can include features such as virtual real estate, virtual currencies, virtual goods and services and even virtual jobs and businesses.

The metaverse is still a relatively new concept, but it has already gained attention from tech companies, investors and entrepreneurs as a potentially transformative platform for entertainment, education, commerce and social interaction. Some experts believe that the metaverse could become a new form of the internet, creating new opportunities and challenges for individuals, businesses and society as a whole.

What is POP mail?

'POP' is an acronym that stands for 'Post Office Protocol', which is a method used for retrieving email messages from a mail server.

When you set up a POP email account, the email client (such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail) on your device connects to the mail server and downloads your messages to your device. Once the messages are downloaded, they are typically removed from the server. However, some email clients can be configured to leave a copy of the messages on the server for a specified period of time.

POP mail is one of the most common methods used for retrieving email messages, and it is supported by most email services and email clients. However, there are some limitations to using POP mail, such as the fact that it only retrieves messages from the server rather than syncing them across multiple devices. Additionally, because messages are typically downloaded and then deleted from the server, it can be difficult to access your messages from another device or to recover messages that have been accidentally deleted.

POP mail is a widely-used method for retrieving email messages. Although it may not be the best choice for everyone. We would recommend IMAP mail if you use email across multiple devices.

What is a search engine?

A search engine is a website or online tool that helps you find information on the internet. It works by indexing and cataloguing web pages and other online content so that it can be searched and retrieved by users.

When you type a word or phrase into a search engine, it looks through its database of indexed pages and returns a list of results that are relevant to your query. The search engine uses complex algorithms and ranking factors to determine which pages are the most useful and relevant to your search.

The most popular search engines are Google & Bing and they can be used for a variety of purposes, such as finding information on a particular topic, researching products or services, or looking up directions or maps. It's probably how you ended up on

What is a smart TV?

A smart TV is a type of television that has internet connectivity and built-in apps like ITV-X and BBC iPlayer, allowing you to stream films and TV shows, browse the web, play games and access other online content directly on your TV screen. With a smart TV, you can connect to your home Wi-Fi network and access streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video without the need for a separate device like a streaming stick or gaming console.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for 'Voice over Internet Protocol'. It is a technology that allows people to make phone calls over the internet instead of using traditional phone lines. With VoIP, voice signals are converted into digital data packets and transmitted over the internet to the recipient, where they are reassembled and converted back into speech. VoIP can be used with a variety of devices, including computers, smartphones and dedicated VoIP phones. VoIP is often cheaper than traditional phone service and can offer additional features such as video calling and voicemail-to-email transcription.

What is the World Wide Web?

The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly referred to as the 'web,' is a vast network of interconnected documents and resources accessible through the internet. It was created by British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and has since revolutionised the way we access and share information. The web consists of millions of websites, each containing web pages with text, images, and multimedia content that can be accessed using a web browser.

The web has become an essential tool for communication, entertainment, education, business and many other areas of life. It has enabled people from all over the world to connect, share ideas and collaborate on projects, regardless of their location. The web continues to evolve and expand, with new technologies and trends emerging regularly, shaping the way we interact with information and with each other online.

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