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Cable Modems and OS/2: Glossary

To assist those less familiar with cable modems, or modems of any kind, we have prepared the following short list of some of the terms and definitions used in the associated articles. This is not meant to be exhaustive but should cover the basics. If you would like a definition for a term not listed here, please ask us!

The large, permanent connection that connects a network to the larger Internet.

The rate amount of information that can be transferred over a given amount of time. Typically referred to in Kilobytes per second (kBps), Megabits per second (mbps), Bits per second (bps) or some similar measure.

Cable Modem
A newer variation on the traditional idea of telephone modems. A piece of hardware that connects to a high speed WAN (Wide Area Network) to bring Internet access through your cable TV system.

Coaxial Cable
The thick copper wire that the cable TV company runs from the pole into the back of your VCR (and cable modem).

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. A network protocol which dynamically assigns IP addresses to individual workstations as they connect to the network.

Ethernet Card
A type of Network Interface Card (NIC).

Fiber-Optic Cable
A cable made of thin strands of glass that transmits light flashes over great distances at rapid speeds. Typically fiber-optic cable has excellent bandwidth and is uses to supplement the older coaxial network already in place by cable companies.

Internet Protocol. Typically used as in, "IP Address": the numerical address a workstation is referred to on a network. Example: www.os2ezine.com is actually equivalent to the IP address, (notice that there are 4 pairs of numbers in all IP addresses).

Short for Internet Protocol eXchange. A LAN protocol developed by Novell and used as the default protocol in Novell NetWare. Also used widely by game developers for LAN based gaming. Internet gaming that uses IPX will normally encapsulate the IPX packet inside a TCP/IP packet.

Kilo Bytes Per Second. One thousand bytes (of data transferred) per second.

Local Area Network. The term used to describe networks commonly found in homes, small business and even larger businesses. A group of computers (between 2 and ??) connected with a network in one small area.

Mega Bits Per Second. One million bits (of data transferred) per second.

Modulator/Demodulator. Typically used to refer to a piece of electronic hardware that sends and receives data from and to your computer over an external line.

Name Server
A computer on a network that maintains a list of all known IP addresses and their text equivalents.

Microsoft implementation of the NetBIOS protocol. NetBIOS is short for Network Basic Input Output System. NetBEUI is essentially NetBIOS with enough "enhancements" to make it a Microsoft protocol, although it is compatible (and almost indistinguishable) to other NetBIOS derivitives. OS/2 LAN Server 2.X-3.X used a different derivitive called IBM NetBIOS. See Brian L. Juergensmeyer's article on networking OS/2 and Windows for more information.

Network Interface Card
The electronic "card" that fits in your computer's expansion slot to allow it to connect to a network, typically a LAN, but also, in our case, a cable modem. Also referred to as an NIC. NICs are typically supplied in versions for ISA bus and PCI bus computers. Many cable companies are supplying free NICs with cable modem service.

Plain Old Telephone Service. The normal telephone lines that you use to speak on your normal telephone, and sometimes to dial in to your telephone-based ISP.

A device (usually dedicated) on a network that negotiates information requests and transfers between network segments (piece of a network). Used mainly to connect LANs and WANs to each other and the Internet.

A very fast (approximately 1.5 mbps) dedicated connection to a communications network, traditionally very expensive to install and lease.

The most commonly used protocol to send and receive information over the Internet and, increasingly, other networks.

Twisted Pair Wire
A type of cable that is often used to connect Network Interface Cards (NICs).

Wide Area Network. A version of a LAN that is spread over a large geographical area, possibly not entirely in the same building. Cable modem service uses traditional LAN networking technology, but spreads it over a large area, thus making it a WAN.


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