The SMB Guide: Jargon buster

This is a contributed post from Neil Armstrong, Director of Business Services at Timico

Walk into any office and you’re bound to hear an array of acronyms, business-babble and industry gobbledegook. Unfortunately, the tech industry is one of the biggest culprits, boasting a packed vocabulary that would dumbfound and confuse most laymen.

But with a large proportion of businesses operating either online, within a network or remotely from a different location, understanding business connectivity jargon proves hugely beneficial. That’s why Timico has created its very own jargon buster, designed to give businesses and customers a fighting chance of understanding what we are actually talking about…

The usual suspects

A ‘Local Area Network’ usually refers to a wired network connection within an office that has multiple devices connected to it. This usually comprises Ethernet (Cat 5) cabling and network switches which link computers and phones together. Increasingly, new homes are being fitted with data cabling to enable a LAN.

When talking about a ‘wide area network’, this often relates to businesses that require secure internet connections across larger geographical distances.

PWAN (Private Wide Area Network)
Much like WAN, a PWAN allows businesses to build networks across multiple locations. But rather than sharing existing frameworks, some businesses choose to invest in their own private network allowing more bandwidth and full control over its own communications infrastructure and security set-up. 

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Not to be confused with the above, a VPN is an extension of a private network across a public network. This means that users can securely access their company’s own network without physically being in the office. Think of it as a secure private network hosted within the ‘cloud’ – ideal for regional office access and remote users.

Ethernet Leased Line
The powerhouse of business connectivity solutions – a direct and private connection capable of delivering up to 50Mbps, 100Mbs and even 1Gbps (upload and download) using fibre optic infrastructure. Whilst often not the lowest priced connectivity option, it is much faster and more reliable than basic broadband or wireless networks.

Top Level Domain (TLD)
The term TLD stands for Top Level Domain, and refers to the last portion of a domain name.  For example, the domain name EXAMPLE.COM is part of the .COM Top Level Domain and the domain EXAMPLE.ORG is part of the .ORG Top Level Domain.

Advanced class

Now we’ve warmed you up, let’s take a look at a few more specific phrases…

UC (Unified Communications)
UC describes the integration of telephony with multiple communication services such as ‘real-time’ instant messaging, web access, video conferencing and mobility features. Not so much a singular product, UC highlights the need for an integrated user interface and streamlined user-experience across multiple devices.  

DR (Disaster Recovery)
The last thing you want is for business critical applications to crash, leading to costly downtime and lengthy recovery procedures. DR plans can be a lifeline for businesses, but can often be neglected. Some internet providers now offer Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), providing faster, automated solutions.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)
Basic broadband found in homes around the UK - usually with much faster download speeds than upload speeds (Asymmetric). This is a way of sending data at high speeds over copper telephone lines, making it ideal for home-based businesses due to its simple, low-cost installation.

FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)
A broadband product that connects fibre optic cables from the local telephone exchange to the street cabinet, reducing the amount of copper line required. This provides much more bandwidth compared to normal ADSL connections. An existing copper network connects the last part from the cabinet to your premises.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)  
VoIP enables businesses to optimise their telephony systems through their internet protocol (IP) network. You can call landlines, mobiles and other computers, all from one network - helping to reduce cost and streamline connectivity.

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
Also known as a Municipal Area Network, it constitutes a computer network that covers a larger geographical area – such as a city. Falling between a WAN and LAN, Ethernet-based connections are most common, with organisations often renting or leasing networks from carriers. 

Double Data Rate 2 (DDR2)
DDR2 RAM is an improved version of DDR memory that is faster and more efficient. DDR2 is a type of SDRAM which allows it to run faster than conventional memory.

Like standard DDR memory, DDR2 memory can send data on both the rising and falling edges of the processor's clock cycles. This nearly doubles the amount of work the RAM can do in a given amount of time.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME)
Now an internet standard, MIME helps support email formatting to allow the exchange of different types of data files. Some servers have the extension built into their network or browser, such as GIF and JPEG, whilst some file types may need to be downloaded in order to view content.

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA)
In computing architecture, this refers to a communications system that transfers data between computers. Serial Advanced Technology Attachment is an interface that plays a pivotal role in the connection of hardware to mass storage devices.

InfiniBand (IB)
An alternative network transport technology to Ethernet and Fibre, InfiniBand is a commonly used for interconnecting supercomputers with very high-level computational capacity. It’s extremely high throughput (rate of production) combined with its very low latency (time delay between stimulation and response) of just 0.5 microseconds saw it become the most popular internal internet technology in 2014.

Why is it important to understand?

Whilst our jargon buster only scratches the surface, it reiterates the need for businesses to have an understanding of the different connectivity options available. And, for the times it all sounds like a foreign language, having a provider that offers premium tech support will make life a lot simpler.


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