What is WIFi, DSL and Other Computer Related Terms?

We all hear the terms but do we really understand them. Here are some common terms and what you need to know about them.

WiFi & WiFi 802.11 This term is used for Wireless Fidelity, referring to a type of wireless Internet hook up that is commonly used today. This wireless connectivity is at a certain frequency, 802.11 is the term used to specify what type of connection it is. The number is basically a specification that is used for the FCC to keep track of all the different things in the airwaves today. Just like IEEE is 802.3 or as we commonly refer to it as Ethernet. There can be a letter added on to the end of the 802.11 like 802.11a or c to specify which frequency the WiFi is. 802.11a is 5Ghz, 802b or g is 2.4 Ghz.

WiFi for a desk top can be a plug in card for the computer that is located in the back by the other cards plugged into the motherboard. It will have a small antenna that sticks up for the desktop to accept the signal being sent by a provider or from a plugged in base unit that connects over a telephone line. The desktop can also have a unit plugged in through it’s USB ports or the FireWire port. A notebook can have a small card with a similar antenna in a card slot in the side of the laptop or it can have an internal setup that is built into the notebooks motherboard. You can have a base unit for your house or business that sends out the wireless signal for a small area that you can connect a number of computers wirelessly to.

FireWire Also referred to as IEEE 1394 is a data bus connection that uses wires inside a computer or to a device it can plug into, such as a data storage device or a video recorder. This is better at transferring data than a USB cable, it does not require a computer to originate the data like going from a digital video recorder to your home computer. This is very common in things like audio and video devices and for better transfers of data to and from drives.

IEEE Many times I have read about this term and wondered if people really understood what they were talking about, I heard about this when I was in the military. IEEE is merely a standard for data or communications terms, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. This is just a common way for any business, manufacturer or electronics related developer to refer to the same things the same way. The IEEE organization has all kinds of standards that make it easy for all the various manufacturers to have things that all work together. IEEE makes standards that people can refer to so that when they want to make something to those standards, everyone else can buy that product and know what it works with. This has developed into a very nice way for everyone to be able to make products and have them work together. For instance the IEEE standard for FireWire is a certain type of cable connection with a certain number of wires and using the certain sized wires to be able to send a certain voltage through the wires.

DSL Digital Subscriber Line refers to the high speed Internet line that has become the common Internet hookup for many people. It is a faster Internet service than the Modem style Internet and comes in a few different speeds depending on your provider. Usually this is at speeds of 256 KBPS, kilo bytes per second, or faster. To use this type of modem you hook up either a USB or a LAN cable to the modem and then set up an Internet providers address and possibly the program to run the modem. The provider of the service will have specific instructions to hook up and use this type of Internet service. This type of service differs from the regular modem in that it can be used at the same time as any other phone in the house, a modem using 56K Internet service cannot. You can be using the Internet and a phone on the same phone line so you don’t need a separate phone line. It does this by using the same physical line as your phone but at a different frequency than the phone uses, but this type of service is only available closer to the service providers. It is limited to a certain distance from the companies setups and requires you be only so far from them. So it may not be available in some areas. A filter is needed for any other phones in the house to remove noise that the DSL and your computer will add to the phone system. The DSL modem should come with an internal noise filter.

Broadband This term does not differ from some of the others, it merely describes a faster connection. It typically uses a broader range of the frequencies available for the computer to connect to the Internet. This is a term that includes DSL, ADSL, IDSL and many others. Broadband has become a way for companies to market what they claim as a higher connection rate than the regular modem speed around 56k bytes. The term started out as a definition that only included the fact that a signal was broken up and the different parts of the Internet signal were carried at different frequencies, IE voice or audio would be on one frequency while video would be on another. Today this has been simplified by many companies to better sell their Internet service so more and more companies just say they have broadband. DSL is broadband just as any other faster Internet is considered by many to be broadband.

Many companies today try to sell you their service with all kinds of fancy language making themselves sound better. You can find out what these and other terms are by looking them up yourself in simple to understand places like the Internet. Many times they are selling you what everybody else offers, just using fancy terms and confusing language to make themselves sound better. Use Google and other definition places like webopedia to find out what these terms are to end your confusion.

Webopedia : http://www.webopedia.com/

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