The BIG Technical Jargon Guide

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


Networking Technical Terms Explained

This page explains fundamental networking terms, simplifying the jargon to make it more understandable. 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 an ad hoc network?

An ad hoc network is a type of wireless network that is created on the spot, without the need for any pre-existing infrastructure or centralised router. In an ad hoc network, devices such as laptops, smartphones, or tablets can connect directly to each other and communicate without the need for a Wi-Fi router or access point. Ad hoc networks are often used in situations where there is no existing network infrastructure available, such as in remote locations or emergency situations. They can also be used to set up a temporary network for sharing files or collaborating on projects with others who are nearby. Overall, ad hoc networks provide a flexible and convenient way to connect devices without the need for a centralised network infrastructure.

What is Cisco?

Cisco Systems, Inc. is a multinational technology company that designs and sells networking and communications equipment, such as routers, switches and firewalls. They also offer a range of software and services, including security solutions, cloud-based software and collaboration tools. Cisco is considered one of the industry leaders in networking and communications technology.

What is ethernet port?

An ethernet port is a socket on a computer or other device that allows you to connect it to the internet using an ethernet cable. An ethernet cable is a type of network cable that is used to transfer data between devices, such as between your computer and your router. When you plug an ethernet cable into your computer's ethernet port, you can connect to the internet and start browsing the web, checking email or streaming videos. Ethernet ports are commonly found on computers, routers and other devices that connect to the internet.

What is a NAS drive?

NAS stands for 'Network Attached Storage'. Connecting a NAS drive to your home or office broadband will allow multiple devices to connect and share the same files. A NAS drive at home would typically be used for computer backup storage, remote file access & sharing multimedia content to a smart TV.

What is computer network?

A computer network is a group of interconnected devices, such as computers, servers and other hardware, that communicate with each other to share resources and information. Networks can be small, like a home network with a few devices, or large, like a corporate network with thousands of devices. Networks allow users to share files, access the internet and work collaboratively on projects. They can be connected using different types of technology, such as ethernet cables or wireless connections.

What is packet loss?

When information is transmitted across a network, it is sent in small packets of data. When one or more of these packets travelling across the network fail to reach their destination, this is known as 'packet loss'. If you experience disjointed video calls, robotic break up of VoIP calls or jolting picture frames during online gaming, then you are probably experiencing packet loss. If this is affecting you, we recommend that you contact your internet service provider..

What is Ping?

Ping is the reference used when measuring the latency (time delay) it takes to send a round trip message (referred to as a ping) to a remote computer and back again. The results are measured in milliseconds (ms). A ping test might be used to detect if a remote device is still connected to a network or to test if a network connection is suitable for online gaming, where a fast ping time is critical.

What is Power over Ethernet (PoE)?

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is an incredibly useful networking feature. PoE is a method used to supply power as well as data to network devices via ethernet cable. The power would typically be supplied by a PoE injector or a PoE switch. This convenient network power can then be used to supply low-voltage to PoE-enabled devices like wireless access points (AP), VoIP phones, IP cameras, intercoms and additional switches.

What is QoS (Quality of Service)?

QoS stands for 'Quality of Service'. It's designed to prioritise traffic sources on a data network. Implementing QoS on a network is critical if you have time-sensitive (real-time) data like online gaming and audio calls (VoIP). Without implementing QoS, a busy network might experience a glitch in a live video call or robotic audio. QoS does not make your network faster, but it will help prioritise congestion.

What is a server?

A server is a computer designed to provide services or resources to other computers or devices on a network. It acts like a central hub or a kind of 'middleman' that helps different devices communicate with each other and access the same resources.

For example, if you want to access a website on the internet, your computer sends a request to a server that hosts the website, sending the web page back to your computer so you can view it. Similarly, if you want to share files with someone on your office network, you might save the files on a file server from which other people on the network can access and download.

Servers can come in many different forms and serve many functions, such as hosting websites, managing email, storing data, or running applications. They are typically more powerful than regular desktop computers or laptops and are designed to be always on and accessible to other devices on the network.

What is a Ubiquity smart queue?

A terminology used by Ubiquity for prioritising traffic and reducing delays when the router's bandwidth becomes overloaded. A feature that is not recommended for connections faster than 300Mbps. This practice is similar to QoS (Quality of Service).

What is a static IP?

A static IP is the name given to an IP address that is fixed and will not automatically change. It is not required for most domestic broadband applications. Static IP addresses are typically, used by businesses that require remote access to office equipment, VoIP phones, security cameras and hosting servers.

What is network switch?

A network switch is a device that connects multiple devices together in a computer network, allowing them to communicate with each other and share information.

What is a VLAN?

VLAN stands for (Virtual Local Area Network). In simple terms it's used to separate a larger network of devices into smaller networks. For example, a school might use a VLAN to separate staff and student devices. This might be done so that students are not able to connect to a printer in the staff room or gain access to files that are shared with staff only.

The advantage of using a VLAN

There are many advantages of splitting a large network into multiple VLAN's, it is typically done to improve network performance and reduce the amount of data each network has to manage. Creating a VLAN can also offer significant security benefits. VLAN's are often used to separate traffic types like video and VoIP (Voice over IP) calls.

What is the WAN port for on my router?

The WAN port on a router is a special type of network port that allows the router to connect to the internet or a Wide Area Network (WAN) beyond the local network. It's like a gateway that connects your local network to the larger network outside, such as the internet. The WAN port is typically located on the back of the router and is used to connect the router to a modem or other device that provides internet access. The other ports on the router are used for connecting to devices within the same network, such as computers, printers, or mobile devices. The WAN port is specifically designed for connecting to external networks beyond the local network.

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