Posted September 4, 2019

Internet 101

An overview of common wifi terms and lingo

ISP– That’s us! Better known as your Internet Service Provider, an ISP is a company that provides access to the Internet.

Bandwidth– The amount of information that can be transmitted over a given connection. Think of a network connection as a tube and each bit of data as a grain of sand. If you pour a large amount of sand into a skinny tube, it will take longer for the sand to flow through it. If you pour the same amount of sand through a wide tube, the sand will finish flowing through the tube much faster. Similarly, a download will finish much faster when you have a high-bandwidth connection rather than a low-bandwidth connection.

IP Address– Just like snail mail is sent to and from your home address, an IP address is similar in the fact that it corresponds to your computer on a network. When a computer wants to connect to another computer, it connects to that computer’s IP address.

Router– Think of a router as Route 66. You heard that right. Much like a highway, a router is a device that passes traffic back and forth. Your home router’s job is to pass outgoing traffic from your local devices to the Internet, and to pass incoming traffic from the Internet to your devices.

Modem– Unlike a router that brings Internet to your devices, a modem brings Internet to your home. The modem takes signals from your ISP and translates them into signals your local devices can use, and vice versa.

Ethernet– The standard network technology that connects computers to each other and to the Internet via cables.

Interference– Much like basket interference in a basketball game, wifi interference is a block of Internet transfer resulting in intermittent connectivity or unexpected disconnections, delays in connection and data transfer, slow network speeds, and poor signal strength.

*Tech tip on reducing wireless interference: Avoid using your wireless devices near common sources of interference like power cables, microwave ovens, fluorescent lights, wireless video cameras, and cordless phones.

2.4 vs. 5 GHz– What’s the difference, anyway? Simply put, the 2.4 GHz band provides coverage at a longer range but transmits data at slower speeds. The 5 GHz band provides less coverage but transmits data at faster speeds.

The range is lower in the 5 GHz band because higher frequencies cannot penetrate solid objects, such as walls and floors. Higher frequencies allow data to be transmitted faster than lower frequencies, so the 5 GHz band allows you to upload and download files faster.

ONT– The Optical Network Terminal is a box that resides on the side of your home or business. This box takes the fiber optic cable that comes from the alley and turns the signal into a language that your router can talk to.

AP Access Point– An access point connects to a wired router, switch, or hub via an Ethernet cable, and projects a Wi-Fi signal to a designated area. These are typically used to extend your internet beyond your standard router coverage- think a garage or basement.

LAN– With a single router and a few Ethernet cables, you can create a local area network (LAN), allowing all connected devices to communicate with each other.

Channel– We aren’t talking about the cartoon vs. sports channel- we’re talking about your wifi channel. The wifi channel you’re on will determine the amount of interference and how well your Wifi signal performs. It is best to choose a different channel with fewer people and devices on it.

Mac Address– Nope, not just for Apple users. A MAC address is a hardware identification number that uniquely identifies each device on a network.

SSID– Better known as your wifi name. When you set up a wireless home network, you give it a name to distinguish it from other networks in your neighborhood.

QOS– Quality of Service products manage delay, jitter, bandwidth, and packet loss on the network to improve performance.

Clear as mud, right? Study up: you never know when we might quiz ya!