Enstep Explains Common Network Terminology

What does that mean? Is a question we sometimes get when discussing networking issues with our clients. Computer networking is filled with jargon that isn’t always easy to understand. But Enstep Technology Solutions in Houston, Texas is here to help…

Here’s a basic overview of many of the terms you’ll see when you review the network status of your computer, smartphone, tablet, or printer:

ISPInternet Service Provider – this is the company that provides you with your Internet connection. For example, Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, Verizon, or Suddenlink.

LANLocal Area Network – this is a small network that’s confined to a local area, like your office network or home network.

WANWide Area Network – a larger network that covers a wider area. Your ISP provides you with a connection to their own WAN, which connects to the Internet.

IP AddressInternet Protocol address – this is a numerical address that corresponds to your computer on a network. When a computer wants to connect to another computer, it connects to that computer’s IP address.

Router – a device that passes traffic back and forth. The router passes outgoing traffic from your local devices to the Internet, and passes incoming traffic from the Internet to your devices.

Gateway – this is a device that routes traffic between networks. Your router is your gateway at home.

NAT – Network Address Translation – is used by routers to share a single IP address among several devices. You probably have a wireless router at home that creates a Wi-Fi network for your smartphones, laptops, PCs, tablets, and printers.

DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol – this permits computers to automatically request and be assigned IP addresses and other network settings. When you connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to your Wi-Fi network, your device asks the router for an IP address using DHCP and the router assigns an IP address.

Hostnames – is a human-readable label that points to a device connected to a network. On your home network, your Windows computer’s hostname may be WINDOWSPC.

Domain Name – is the base part of a website’s name, like google.com or enstep.com.

We hope these explanations have given you a better understanding of networking processes and will help you in the future. We have a lot more terminology to cover but we’ll do that in later blog posts.

If your business is experiencing networking problems or if you need cloud based services, access control/security services, or web design and marketing services, please contact Enstep Technology Solutions today!