15 Common Networking Terms That You Need To Know!

Thursday, June 26, 2014: Computer networking is full of different terms. If you’re an active computer and internet user, you are bound to come across many unknown terms everyday. Some of the most common terms are decoded here for you.
1. ISP

ISP is Internet Service Provider, it’s the company that provides you internet service. For example, your ISP can be BSNL, Airtel, Tata, Reliance, Tikona, You Broadband etc. It’s the company that you pay for internet services.

2. LAN

LAN stands for Local Area Network. As name suggests, it is limited to local area, which can be your home network, office network. LAN connections are used to improve efficiency at the work.

3. WAN

WAN stands for Wide Area Network, this type of network covers larger area. For example, your ISP has WAN network, you are part of ISP’s WAN network.

4. IP

IP is Internet Protocol address. It is unique numerical address of your computer on the network. IP address differs from computer to computer.

5. Router

A router is a device that passes network traffic. Passing on going traffic from connected devices to the internet and vice versa is the router’s job.

6. Gateway

Gateway is used to route the traffic in networks. For example, home router acts as gateway between LAN and WAN.

7. Hostname

A hostname is human readable label that is associated with device on the network. For example, other devices on your home network can connect to your primary PC using it’s hostname. In this case, devices will be pointed to PC’s IP address.

8. Domain Name

Internet domain name is base name for websites. Domain names are type of hostname.
When you type facebook.com in web browser, your computer contacts DSN server of Facebook, it replies with IP address of Facebook, your PC gets connected to the facebook’s server. Domain name is the medium that computers use to convert human readable domain names and hostnames to IP address. You use ISP’s DNS server to surf Internet, but you can always use third party DNS servers if you want to.

9. Ethernet

Ethernet is standard wire used in networking. The cable is used in Ethernet port on computer. It’s the medium using which computer is connected to a network.

10. Network Interface / Network Adapter

Wired Ethernet connection or WiFi are just network interfaces. Each network interface has unique IP address. Network interfaces can be entirely in software, they don’t necessarily be corresponding to hardware devices every time.

11. localhost

localhost is the hostname which corresponds to your device. This uses loopback network interface to connect directly to your PC. localhost points to the IPv4 address or the IPv6 address ::1.

12. MAC

MAC address stands for Media Access Control address, which is known as physical address. This is a unique identifier. MAC addresses are assigned by manufacturer while creating the network device.

For example, in an airport, you will be refused to access free WiFi after first free 30 minutes get over. The airport’s WiFi network notes your device’s MAC address, using which they track your device in order to prevent you from taking advantage of more free minutes of the service.

MAC address is not the most secured networking option. You can easily change your device’s MAC address.

13. Firewall

A firewall is a software or hardware which is used to block certain type of traffic. It can be used to block incoming traffic from specific IP address.

14. HTTP

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, this is the standard protocol used in all web browsers. There are other alternative protocols like FTP, BitTorrent which are used to communicate on network.

15. URL

URL is Uniform Resource Locator, it is also known as a web address. For example, htttp://google.com/image-search guides your computer to use hypertext transfer protocol to connect to DSN of google.com and look for file named image-search in root directory.


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