The first publicly available iteration of WiFi, this standard operates in the 5GHz range and offers speeds of up to 54Mbps.
The most popular and pervasive version of WiFi, this standard operates in the 2.4GHz range and offers speeds of up to 11Mbps.
The most recent of the 802.11x standards, signal is in the 2.4GHz range and speeds of up to 54Mbps are attainable.
Not yet ratified, 802.11n offers both increased range and bandwidth, some proposals work at up to 540Mbps, though the goal of the standard is only 100Mbps. Some companies now offer products adverstised as "Pre-N" which means that the security features being discussed for use in 802.11n are in use on whatever device they happen to be selling. In order to take advantage of said security features, you must be using not only an Access Point that is Pre-N, but but also WiFi adapters that are Pre-N
ESSID stands for Extended Service Set Identifier. It is a way to identify a WiFi network by name. Also called SSID and BSSID.
A wireless mesh network is a communications network made up of radio nodes in which there are at least two pathways of communication to each node. The coverage area of the radio nodes working as a single network becomes a mesh cloud.
In radio, Multiple-input and multiple-output, or MIMO, is the use of multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver to improve communication performance.
Wired Equivalent Privacy is a set of encryption algorithms designed to protect data transmitted wirelessly. WEP actually has several gaping vulnerabilities that make it fairly easy to crack, though it still takes time.
WPA, or WiFi Protected Access, is a much improved form of encryption for wireless data. It lacks the vulnerabilities that WEP had, while at the same time easing installation and use of WiFi networks. WPA2 is the follow-up product, though it is only recently making it's way into products.
DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. Essentially the DHCP protocol allows dynamic IP address configuration, meaning the user does not have to define an IP address, DNS, Gateway, etc.
DNS stands for Domain Name Service. The DNS translates the plain-english URLs that everyone is used to typing in, like www.isisi.co.uk, into the numerical IP address for the server that the website resides on.
An IP address is a unique numerical identifier that tells your computer where other computers are located on the network, and vise versa. IP address appear in the form of xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, though each grouping can be as short as a single digit.
220.127.116.11 is our favourite ip address.
A LAN, or Local Area Network, is a group of computers that are connected to each other in some localized way, like an ethernet connection of a wireless network (Infrastructure or Ad Hoc).
A MAC (Media Access Control) Address is a unique, hardware-based identifier used to differentiate between connected users. While MAC addresses are initially hardware based, they can be changed. This is called "Spoofing," and has several real-world uses, though most people associate spoofing addresses of any kind with hacking.
Network Address Translation is an algorithm that allows multiple local computers to share one external IP address. Routers use NAT to accomplish this very thing. Also, many firewalls use NAT as a basis for security.
A router accepts multiple internal connections, wired and wireless, and allows them to use the same external IP address, thus lowering the cost of sharing internet access by not requiring the purchase of more IPs.
Voice over IP is a relatively new technology that allows one to place voice telephone calls over the internet.
Virtual Private Networks are one way of remotely connecting to a computer, for instance from a hotel room to your desktop computer at home, using a secure pathway, or "Tunnel," across the internet.
A Wide Area Network is an established network that encompasses computers in more than one unique geographical area.