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Ethernet Buzzword Guide


Ethernet has a zillion buzzwords, plenty of strange abbreviations, acronyms and “short hand”. For example,“10BASE-T” means 10 Megabits per second, baseband, twisted pair. This glossary is a collection of the mostcommon terms that you encounter when working with Ethernet and networking, in general.

1000BASE-CX - Gigabit Ethernet on twin-ax copper cabling
10BASE-FL - 10Mbps fiber optic Ethernet
100BASE-FX - 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet with two strands of multi-mode, short-wave fiber optic cable(popular for vertical or backbone connections)
1000BASE-LX - Gigabit Ethernet for vertical or campus backbones; single or multi-mode fiber
1000BASE-SX - Gigabit Ethernet for low cost, short backbone, or horizontal connections
100BASE-T - Standard “Fast Ethernet” based on twisted-pair copper wire; 10 Mbps Ethernet 
communications over Category 3 or better cable.
100BASE-TX - 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet communications over Category 5 or better cable.
10BASE2 - Old “Cheapernet” with thin coaxial cable and trunk/drop topology
10BASE5 - Old “Thicknet” with thick coaxial cable and trunk/drop topology
100BASE-T4 - Fast Ethernet version with four pairs standard UTP cabling
7 Layer Networking - Concept of viewing data in layers: physical, data link, network, transport, session, presentation,application
802.11x - IEEE standard for wireless LAN/WAN 
communication. Commonly known as “Wi-Fi”.
Ad Hoc - Temporary computer-to-computer network connection without requiring a Wi-FI 
access point or router.
Application Layer Protocol - The layer of information that gives meaning to transmitted data.
ARP Protocol - Address Resolution Protocol - translates TCP/IP addresses to physical MAC addresses
Auto-Negotiation - Ethernet standard protocol allowing devices at either end of a link segment to 
automatically advertise and negotiate modes of operation such as bit rate, link speed, half or full-duplex operation and full-duplex flow control.
Bandwidth - Amount of data that can be transmitted over a server in a given time. The higher the bandwidth, the more data traffic that can be handled.
BIOSBasic Input / Output System” (BIOS is the code that runs when a computer is turned onto initialize, configure hardware and operating system. BIOS is stored in memory on the motherboard.
Bridging - Bridging combines two network segments into a network. Ethernet bridges do not use routing; they communicate between two segments via broadcasting.
Bridging Router - Router that automatically forwards a message it does not understand
Broadcasting - Broadcasting sends data packets to all devices in a subnet, within the broadcast domain, only computers able to communicate without a router.
CGI - Common Gateway Interface (CGI) is a small script that processes data from a user.CGI scripts are stored in the “CGI “bin.”
Classless Subnet Masks - Block of IP addresses with a specified notation to indicate how many bits are within a subnet (e.g.
Cloud - Computing resources that can be configured, provisioned and shared at local to global levels via a network connection often accessing the internet, WAN, data centers.
Crossover Cable - Cable with transmit/receive pairs reversed so one hub or switch can link directly to another.
CSMA/CD - Carrier Sense Multiple Access / Collision Detection - arbitration mechanism for competing Ethernet messages
Device - Individual hardware components such as 
DHCPDynamic Host Configuration Protocol – permits auto-assignment of temporary IP addresses for new devices logging into a network
DNS - Domain Name Server - associates names with IP addresses
Duplex - Communication traveling between two nodes in both 
EAD - Ethernet Access Direct – provides point-to-point data connectivity between sites, extends networks, supports backhaul requirements
EAP - Extensible
Authentiation Protocol – frequently used in wireless networks and point-to-point protocol connections
EMI - Electro-Magnetic Interference – also called Radio-Frequency Interference (RFI)
Encryption - Process of changing data from meaningful information “plain text” to encrypted data “ciphertext” to secure the data
EtherNet/IP - Application layer protocol based on (Control and Information Protocol) from DeviceNet/ControlNet
Fiber Optic - Fiber optic technology is the transmission of data as light via glass or plastic strand fiber. Fiber can carry more data 
than standard copper wire; is inherently immune to electromagnetic interference. Fiber cable requires protective jacketing and may require repeaters at intervals in longer distances.
Firewall - Security software or hardware to protect web servers from unauthorized access
Flow Control - Mechanism used by switches and routers to regulate receipt of heavy traffic loads
Foundation Fieldbus HSEHigh Speed Ethernet (100Mbps) implementation of the Foundation Fieldbus protocol 
for process control
FTP - File Transfer Protocol - the most popular mechanism for bulk movement of files on TCP/IP
Full Duplex - Messages can be sent and received 
simultaneously between two nodes
Gateway - Device that links Ethernet to dissimilar networks and transfers data at the application layer level
Half Duplex - Two nodes can send and receive messages 
between each other, but only one at a time
Hub - Repeater that indiscriminately broadcasts messages to all connected nodes
IGMP - Internet Group Management Protocol – allows a switch to listen or “snoop” on 
network multicasts. The switch then routes traffic to ports when the attached device signals that it is available to listen to the broadcast.
Industrial Ethernet - IEEE 802.3 Ethernet and TCP/IP with provisions for harsh physical and electrical 
IP Address - Address of a TCP/IP enabled device on an Intranet or Internet - in form
IP Protocol - Internet Protocol – 
a portion of TCP/IP
IP v.4 - Version of the IP protocol, uses 32-bit 
IP v.6Version of the IP protocol with provisions for 128-bit addresses and advanced broadcast features
LAN - Local Area Network – networks in smaller physical areas such as an office, building or school campus
Latency - Amount of time required for a data packet to get from one point to another on the network. Latency may be measured as one-direction or round-trip.
MAC - Media Access Control - physical components that disassemble Ethernet message frames
MAC Address - The physical address of an Ethernet node
Magnetics - Transformer that provides voltage isolation and protection for Ethernet hardware
Managed Hub - Hub that can be externally programmed to accept/reject specific types of messages
MDI - Medium Dependent Interface. The name for the connector used to make a physical and electrical connection between a transceiver and a media segment. For example, the RJ45style connector is the MDI for 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX.
MDI-X - An MDI port on a hub or a media converter with an internal crossover function. A “straight-through”cable can be used to connect a station to this port since the signal crossover is performed inside the port.
Mesh - Network topology in which messages can use a variety of routes to reach a destination
Modbus/TCP - Application layer protocol for automation based on Modbus ASCII/RTU
Multi-mode Fiber - Fiber optics that carries multiple light ray modes simultaneously, each at a different reflection angles along a fiber cable. Conducive to shorter distance runs.
Multiplexing - Sending multiple data signals together at the same time in a single, complex signal then separating the signals at the receiving end.
Netstat - Utility that reports active TCP connections, state of servers & sockets, and IP routingtables in use
PHY - Physical component that decodes data and produces signal levels that drive magnetics and cable
PING - Packet InterNet Groper - useful utility that probes for the existence of a TCP/IP host
Port - A number in TCP/IP to which services are assigned; e.g. FTP is port 21; SMTP is port 25; HTTP is port 80
PROFINet - Application layer protocol from Profibus Trade Organization
Private IP Addresses - Range of IP addresses not recognized by Internet routers, designated for private LANs
Protocol - Agreed-upon format for transmitting or storing data
QoS - Quality of Service - some switches support QoS (per 802.1p and 802.1Q standards)wherein tagged messages can be assigned one of eight levels of priority. QoS can be important where time-critical applications can be affected by data delays
Redundancy - Redundant, mission-critical components, connections and/or processes are duplicated for fail-safe operations to prevent downtime
Repeater - Buffer that cleans up, strengthens and re-transmits a signal
RFI - Radio-Frequency Interference (also known as Electro-Magnetic Interference or EMI)
Router - Repeater that selectively re-distributes messages based on IP address
Serial Server - Device that converts serial data to Ethernet
SFP - Small Form-Factor Pluggable – hot-pluggable transceiver that interfaces with a network device (switch, router, media converter) motherboard to fiber optic or copper cable
Simplex - Communication between two devices that can only travel in one direction
Single-mode Fiber - Fiber optics that carries a single light ray mode along the fiber cable. Conducive to long distances
SNMP - Simple Network Management Protocol – allows monitoring and management of a network
Socket - Specific instance of an IP address and Port number that represents a single connection between two applications
SSL - SSL protocol “https” addresses protect sensitive information. A typical example is protecting credit card numbers for e-commerce.
Star Topology - Topology that allows only one device at each end of a wire and requires repeaters for more than two devices
Structured Cabling - A set of cabling standards for design, installation, performance 
and testing provides a“structure” for Ethernet. (Refer to EIA/TIA 568 and ISO11801)
Switch - Repeater that selectively re-distribute messages based on hardware MAC
TCP Protocol - Transmission Control Protocol -– mechanism in TCP/IP that ensures data arrives intact and in the correct order
TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol – a suite of protocols and delivery mechanisms for Internet data
Telnet - Standard interface through which a client may access a host as though it were local
Topology - Physical format of a network
Traceroute - Utility that tells which 
routers / servers exist between a source and destination
Trunk/Drop Topology - Topology that allows many devices on one cable
Twisted Pair - Standard wire format for Ethernet cables
UDP - User Datagram Protocol - lower overhead alternative to TCP protocol which does not guarantee message delivery
UTP - Unshielded Twisted Pair (ex, Category 3 or 4 or 5 or 5E cabling). The “Twisting” of two conductors in a single circuit helps cancel out electromagnetic interference.
VLAN - Virtual Local Area Network – allows multiple IP networks and subnets to reside on the same switched network; maps stations on a basis other than location (department, user type, application).
VPN - Virtual Private Network – private network that communicates over a public network
WAN - Wide Area Network – spans a large geographic area. A store chain may have LANs a teach physical location but use a WAN to connect to other stores in distant cities.
WAP - Wireless Access Point connects a wired LAN and their devices, to a wireless network or the internet. Also implements wireless security encryption.
WEP - Wired Equivalent Privacy – a (lower-) security algorithm for 802.11 wireless networks
Wi-Fi - IEEE 802.11x standards of wireless (LAN) networking
WPA / WPA2 - Wi-Fi Protected Access – a type of encryption for securing wireless networks.