03/06/2015

By Neil Armstrong, Director of Business Services, Timico


Walk into any office and you’re bound to hear an array of acronyms, business-babble and industry gobbledegook. Unfortunately, the tech industry is one of the biggest culprits, boasting a packed vocabulary that would dumbfound and confuse most laymen.

But with a large proportion of businesses operating either online, within a network or remotely from a different location, understanding business connectivity jargon proves hugely beneficial. That’s why Timico has created its very own jargon buster, designed to give businesses and customers a fighting chance of understanding what we are actually talking about…

The usual suspects

Megabit (Mb) / Megabyte (MB)

A megabit is the speed at which data can be downloaded and a megabyte is the size or limit of data being downloaded. For instance, you would download a document and the size of this would be measured in MBs. A faster internet connection measured in Mb means you could download this more quickly.

Bandwidth

Refers to the capacity of a network to upstream (upload) and downstream (download) data. The speed of data transmission is measured in Mb of data per second (Mbps).

LAN

A ‘Local Area Network’ usually refers to a wired network connection within an office that has multiple devices connected to it. This usually comprises Ethernet (Cat 5) cabling and network switches which link computers and phones together. Increasingly, new homes are being fitted with data cabling to enable a LAN.

Wi-Fi

Now a part of our everyday vocabulary, ‘wireless fidelity’ allows networks to be accessed without the need for physical connectivity. Secure password protected routers connect electronic devices via a range of radio frequencies, revolutionising the way businesses and consumers share data. Wi-Fi is also frequently referred to as WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) and enables devices to link together without having to lay lots of data cables in the home or office.

WAN

When talking about a ‘wide area network’, this often relates to businesses that require secure internet connections across larger geographical distances.

PWAN (Private Wide Area Network)

Much like WAN, a PWAN allows businesses to build networks across multiple locations. But rather than sharing existing frameworks, some businesses choose to invest in their own private network allowing more bandwidth to be available and full control over its own communications infrastructure and security set-up.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Not to be confused with the above, a VPN is an extension of a private network across a public network. This means that users can securely access their company’s own network without physically being in the office. Think of it as a secure private network hosted within the ‘cloud’ – ideal for regional office access and remote users.

Fibre optic

Heard of ‘superfast’ broadband? Well that’s thanks to the advancements in fibre optic cables which use lasers rather than electrical waves and are capable of transferring data at much faster speeds than standard copper telephone wires. It’s no surprise that fibre connectivity is gradually replacing existing copper lines across the UK.

Ethernet Leased Line

The powerhouse of business connectivity solutions – a direct and private connection capable of delivering up to 50Mbps, 100Mbs and even 1Gbps (upload and download) using fibre optic infrastructure. Whilst often not the lowest priced connectivity option, it is much faster and more reliable than basic broadband or wireless networks.

Advanced class

Now we’ve warmed you up, let’s take a look at a few more specific phrases…

UC (Unified Communications)

UC describes the integration of telephony with multiple communication services such as ‘real-time’ instant messaging, web access, video conferencing and mobility features. Not so much a singular product, UC highlights the need for an integrated user interface and streamlined user-experience across multiple devices.

IP address

This is a unique user IP (Internet Protocol) address for each computer within a network. The IP address dictates the locality and network boundaries of a device, much like a traditional addressing system. Public IP addresses are used globally for networking, whereas Private IP addresses are just used within your own LAN.

Firewall

Available as hardware or software, firewalls are the first line of defence for networks, restricting access for unauthorised devices and blocking any potentially harmful programmes or threats to your network.

DR (Disaster Recovery)

The last thing you want is for business critical applications to crash, leading to costly downtime and lengthy recovery procedures. DR plans can be a lifeline for businesses, but can often be neglected. Some internet providers now offer Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), providing faster, automated solutions.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)

Basic broadband found in homes around the UK - usually with much faster download speeds than upload speeds (Asymmetric). This is a way of sending data at high speeds over copper telephone lines, making it ideal for home-based businesses due to its simple, low-cost installation.

FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)

A broadband product that connects fibre optic cables from the local telephone exchange to the street cabinet, reducing the amount of copper line required. This provides much more bandwidth compared to normal ADSL connections. An existing copper network connects the last part from the cabinet to your premises.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

VoIP enables businesses to optimise their telephony systems through their internet protocol (IP) network. You can call landlines, mobiles and other computers, all from one network - helping to reduce cost and streamline connectivity.