2.4GHz: Older WiFi frequency band. This band has a longer range than 5GHz at the cost of slower speeds and lower speed threshold.
5GHz: Most commonly utilized WiFi frequency band. This band has a shorter range than 2.4GHz, but has significantly faster speeds.
WiFi 6 (Including WiFi 6e): Latest generation of WiFi band. This offers faster speeds and range than both signals, along with improved performance for managing multiple users and connections.
API (Application Programming Interface): A set of protocols and tools that allows external software applications to communicate and interact with each other.
Software with “API Support” allows you to extract key data in order to develop additional features, reporting, or functions to the service.
Authentication Failure: When an attempt to login or access a service is unsuccessful. Authentication failures predominantly are errors in the provided login information or indicate an access issue on the account.
Bandwidth: The maximum data transfer rate of a network or internet connection, usually measured in bits per second (bps) or MBpS (Megabytes Per Second). Better phrased, this is the capacity at which a network can transmit data to a single device.
If your Internet Service at home has a 500 Megabyte bandwidth, then your device will never exceed that rate when downloading files. As additional devices join the network and access the internet, the transfer rate will be affected and go down. Remember, the bandwidth is the maximum rate if all settings are optimal. Most users will never see the max speed, even on secure private networks.
Bluetooth: A wireless technology standard used for short-range communication between devices. This technology operates using radio waves in the 2.4 GHz frequency range.
Cache: A temporary storage area that holds frequently accessed data or files. Cache’s are usually hidden from normal file locations and should be cleared whenever an application is slow or having odd issues when normally functional.
When people mention “Clearing the Cache” they are performing essential maintenance on a system or device. Cleaning frees up storage space, improves response performance, and in cases of application issues this is a go to troubleshooting method. Downloading new files to the cache may resolve issues if any files become corrupted as often seen with internet browsers.
Cloud: The delivery of a service or application over the internet.
“X is in the cloud” is a very common phrase indicating that the service or file is accessible via your web browser connected to the internet. Google Drive is a common example of a Cloud based service.
Connection Timeout: The amount of time a system waits for a connection request to be acknowledged before providing an error. While we may not know the exact cause of the timeout without investigation, this helps us understand there is a communication issue either on the connecting device or the destination.
Example Error Message: “Connection Timeout: The server took too long to respond”
Cybersecurity: The practice of protecting computer systems, networks, and data from theft, damage, or unauthorized access.
dBm (decibel-milliwatts): Unit used to indicate the power level or signal strength of a connection. Remember the closer you are to 0., the better the signal strength.
Great Signal: -60 dBm or lower is considered optimal and should provide a reliable network experience with minimal issues depending on the bandwidth of the connection.
Good Signal: -70 dBm to -90 is considered good or fair. You may experience a slightly slower average speed with occasional disturbances to your connectivity.
Poor Signal -90 dBm or higher is considered poor where you most likely will experience connection and reliability issues. If you are streaming video or conferences, there may be stuttering or drops in your connection. Check if there are better signals in your area and if not, attempt to move closer to the nearest access point in order to improve experience.
DNS (Domain Name System): The system that translates human-readable domain names (www.joindigital.com) into IP addresses used by computers and servers to identify each other on a network.
Example: 22.214.171.124 is the direct IP for google search
When you enter the domain name (google.com) a DNS reads that known website name and translates it to the connecting IP address automatically.
Data Center: A remote facility used to house computer systems and related components. This commonly includes servers, storage systems, and networking equipment. Data Center’s are known to have top notch security and access restrictions.
DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol): A network protocol that automatically assigns IP addresses and other network configuration parameters to devices on a network.
Ethernet (Wired Connectivity): Networking technology for wired local area networks (LANs), which defines the standards for how data packets are placed on the network medium and how they are transmitted. There are many types of Ethernet cables (Cat 5, Cat6, Cat6e) that provide different speeds.
Encryption: The process of converting data into a secret code in order to prevent unauthorized access. This ensures that only those with the decryption key can access the original data.
Encryption is recommended for sensitive messages and data privacy. Whenever sending private data such as your address or banking information. Check if your mail service offers secure or encrypted mail to protect your valuable information.
Google offers a “Confidential Mode” when composing emails, that allows you to restrict access and remove the email entirely from both parties if you feel the data has been compromised.
Firewall: A security device or virtual software that filters incoming and outgoing network traffic based on security rules. Join deploys a Firewall as a requirement for all network deployments.
Firewall Blocking: Occurs when a firewall restricts or denies incoming or outgoing network traffic, leading to connectivity issues. This can be any form of restriction set by the administrator whether it be blocking an application, website, or port such as Port 25 which is commonly used to send automated emails.
Firmware: Software embedded into hardware components, firmware-related problems can cause hardware malfunction or unexpected behavior.
Frequency (Frequency Band): All Wi-Fi signals operate on radio frequency (RF) signals, and these signals are transmitted over specific frequency bands. Knowing the differences in each band (2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz) will help you understand the trade off between speed and range of coverage. Each of these bands have an entry in our glossary to learn more.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): A protocol used to transfer files over a network. Usually via an application such as Filezilla. You will most likely require a server address and login credentials in order to access the server to transfer files.
High Latency: Delays in data transmission, often resulting in slow network performance or lag in online applications. The lower the latency in your testing, the more likely you are to have a full speed connection. Ideally best for network intensive applications such as gaming, video streaming, or conferencing.
20ms or less is considered low latency or virtually lagless if network speeds are high
100-200ms is considered moderate latency where you may experience issues
200ms+ is critical or high latency. This will impact all forms of network traffic making loading web pages take longer than normal. Some core services may have network errors and file downloads may have errors or cancel entirely.
IP Address (Internet Protocol Address): A numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.
Example: Most home routers have a default private IP address (Gateway) of 192.168.1.1
When remoting or accessing a device like the above example. You would open your internet browser of choice and enter the address into the navigation bar to access the device on your computer.
IP Conflict: When two devices on a network are assigned the same IP address, leading to communication problems. This can happen for a multitude of reasons. Adding a new network device such as a router, access point, or switch can cause an IP conflict.
When experiencing an IP conflict, it is always recommended to check your network and connecting device. Try to forget and rejoin the network or try to restart your network devices in order to acquire a new IP address that hopefully does not conflict.
Interference: Signal interference from other devices or sources, causing connectivity issues in wireless networks. Interference can happen for physical and wireless related reasons.
2.4GHz networks have a larger coverage than normal 5GHz signals. If there are a high number of wireless networks (especially 2.4) it can cause interference.
Interference can also come in the form of physical interference. If there is a large metal or concrete wall in between you and your WiFi access point. You will get a slower or less stable connection based on the interference between the wireless signal and your device.
ISP (Internet Service Provider): A company that provides users with access to the internet and related services. We refer to ISP’s commonly as the group who runs network fiber into a building in order to plug into our network switches. Once routed, the building will have network access once configured.
LAN (Local Area Network): A network that connects computers and devices within a limited geographical area, such as a home, office, or campus.
Latency: The amount of time it takes for a data packet to travel from its source to its destination on a network.
Load Balancing: The process of distributing network traffic or computing load across multiple servers to ensure efficient resource utilization and improved performance.
Log Files: A digital record of system events and activities, which are crucial for diagnosing issues and troubleshooting. Log files are often simple text based and require experience or a supporting application in order to read the data.
Loopback Test: A diagnostic test that checks a computer's network interface by sending data and receiving it back, helping identify hardware issues or errors in configuration.
Malware: A broad term referring to malicious software, including viruses, worms, trojans, and ransomware. All Malware is designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems.
Monitoring: A catch all phrase for all the tools and services utilized to monitor performance or system status. Commonly involves a special software or web service that gathers or reports continuously for a team to proactively respond to errors or outages.
MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit): The maximum size a packet can be transmitted over a network in a single transmission. Problems arising from mismatched MTU settings, can lead to packet fragmentation and overall slow network experience.
Network Protocol: A set of rules and conventions that govern how data is formatted, transmitted, received, and interpreted across a network. Most commonly TCP and IP are referenced as these protocols are foundational to navigating the internet. Other common protocols include SMTP (Mail), DNS (Domain Name System), and DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol)
NAT: NAT (Network Address Translation) is a networking service that is utilized to join multiple devices on a local network sharing a single Public IP. Issues with NAT mean issues translating private IP addresses to public ones, often causing connectivity problems in certain network setups.
Network Congestion: A situation where excessive data traffic causes slow performance or communication issues. Most solutions in these cases will need to be explored by your network administrator as the issues are most likely with the network rather than the connecting device.
Power Cycling: Rebooting or restarting a device to resolve various issues, often used as an essential troubleshooting step. “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” ~IT Crowd
Router: A networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks, typically connecting a local network to the internet. Commonly the terms “Router” and “Modem” are commonly used interchangeably but have different meanings.
NAS (Network Attached Storage): A storage device that connects to a network, allowing multiple users and devices to access shared storage resources. A common example would be a personal media server such as PLEX, which connects storage to a network service in order to access and view files.
Packet: A unit of data that is transmitted over a network, containing both the actual data and control information for routing and delivery.
Packet Loss: The failure or error in one or more data packets reaching their destination, leading to degraded performance or communication issues.
Patch: A software update designed to fix bugs, vulnerabilities, or improve functionality in an existing program.
Passphrase: Alternate term used for “password” or characters used to authenticate an application or service.
Router: A device that connects different networks together and forwards data packets between them.
Routing Issues: Problems with how data is routed between different network segments, causing communication failures.
Signal Strength: The measure of the strength of a wireless signal, weak signal strength can result in poor connectivity. Signal strength is commonly measured in -dBm (decibel-milliwatts) . This means the closer you are to Zero, the better signal and therefore speeds you will experience with the network.
Switch: A networking device that connects devices within a local network and uses MAC addresses to forward data only to the intended recipient. Switches manage most network items from the connecting ports, to the individual firewall settings.
SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security): Protocols that provide secure communication over a computer network, commonly used for secure web browsing.
Server: A computer or software that provides services or resources to other computers, known as clients, over a network.
Server Downtime: When a server is unavailable or inaccessible due to maintenance, hardware failure, or other issues.
Traceroute: A diagnostic tool used to track the path and measure transit delays of packets across an IP network, helping to identify network issues. Results normally display the results of each hop in MS (milliseconds).
Example (Windows): Open Command Prompt on your windows device. This can be done via the start menu on windows and typing “CMD” or command prompt. Once opened, you can run the command below followed by the destination or website as seen below.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) & IP (Internet Protocol): Networking protocols that form the foundation for communication on the internet and most private networks. It governs how data is transmitted, routed, and received between devices.
USB Hub: Any device that adds additional USB ports via a physical connection to a single USB port. Be sure to note what USB standard (USB 2.0, 3.0, etc) the port is configured for as plugging in older USB versions will result in slower transfers. Conversely, plugging in a USB 3.0 hub to a 2.0 port may have issues or not work entirely.
UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply): A device that provides a physical battery to protect an electronic device in the event of power outages or fluctuations. Most UPS devices will remain on standby until the power source has issues. Once the power source is lost, the UPS will provide power until the battery is fully depleted.
VLAN: A virtual network configuration that separates devices on the same network via settings.
Example: Company A and Company B share the same office and network. Both companies want to keep their devices and network traffic private from each other. A separate VLAN will be created for both companies to ensure that connected devices only see other devices on that VLAN.
VPN (Virtual Private Network): A technology that establishes a secure, encrypted connection over a public network (like the internet), enabling users to access resources privately. VPN’s filter or route traffic which may cause a slight degradation of normal speeds. If you are having network performance issues, try testing the network with a VPN disabled in order to verify if the VPN settings are the cause of the issue.
Wi-Fi: A wireless technology that allows devices to connect to a local area network using radio waves, eliminating the need for physical cables.
WPA/WPA2/WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access): Security protocols used to secure wireless computer networks. WPA2 is the most commonly utilized security profile for wireless networks. WPA 1 networks can have shorter and more insecure encryption methods than the more robust WPA3 which uses the most up to date encryption methods.