ADSL Broadband Guide

Broadband Glossary

ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line and basically provides fast Internet access. It is a Broadband technology that operates over a normal telephone line, transforming it into a high-speed digital line that can be used for downloading information from the Internet or sharing information between offices. It is also an ‘always on’ service and is charged at a flat rate. It is called ‘asymmetric’ because it moves information more quickly to your computer than from your computer

Always on
A connection to the Internet that is permanently available and ready for use. By contrast, a typical modem connection needs to be manually initiated each time you wish to use it.

Application Service Provider (ASP)
A company that rents access to software and services that businesses might otherwise purchase and configure for themselves. Web hosting is the most common service offered by ASPs, although they also offer more complex services such as shopping carts or payment systems. A future role for ASPs may be to rent typical office software on a pay-as-you-go basis: a model that companies making mainframe computers have always used.

Automatic software updates
Software on your computer and even your computer’s operating system can be updated directly over the Internet. The profiles that guide your virus software to guard against attack can also be updated so that you are always protected against the most recent threats.

The rate at which data can move along a connection. For example, a Broadband ADSL connection provides up to 40 times more bandwidth than a normal dial up connection. This means that, for example, Web pages will appear more quickly when accessed over a Broadband ADSL connection,

A device or computer running special software that, correctly configured, can protect your network, and computers on the network, from being accessed without authority.

A service offering storage space, typically for a Web site, on an Internet connected server. A server owned by the client can also be hosted.

Instant messaging
Instant messaging systems were first pioneered by AOL. Which today runs two systems – AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ. Microsoft’s alternative to these is Microsoft Instant Messenger. All the systems allow you to ‘see’ when a colleague is online and available (or not) to be interrupted.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
A way of sending data over a digital connection between a computer and a remote network using a standard telephone line. ISDN connections are very quick to make and appear to be ‘always on’. A basic ISDN moves data about twice as quick as a fast modem, and multiple simultaneous connections can be used to increase speed. ISDN is not practical for hosting. Like phone calls, ISDN calls are billed on time connected.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company offering access to the Internet, typically over a dialup modem or ISDN connection, Broadband, ADSL, or leased line. ISPs often offer Web site hosting and other services such as domain name management.

LAN (Local Area Network)
A network of computers and other devices (including routers and printers) that are in the same geographical location. Connections are typically made over Ethernet, but can be made using wireless technologies.

A device for sending data over an analogue connection between a computer and a remote network using a standard telephone line. The word modem is derived from modulate/demodulate, describing the process of turning digital data into sounds that can be carried along a telephone line

A generic name used to describe access technologies, typically below 500 kilobits per second

PDF (Portable Document format)
A format, also known as Acrobat, created by Adobe software company for exchanging digital documents as facsimiles. Many documents accessible over the Web are in this format and the free Acrobat Reader software can be found at

The devices that direct data traffic around the Internet to ensure that it arrives at its intended destination intact.

Software patch
An incremental update that fixes a problem with a software program

SME (Small and Medium Enterprises)
Independent organizations, typically businesses, with up to 250 employees.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A wide area network that uses connections over public telecommunications infrastructure (including the Internet)

Web server
A computer permanently connected to the Internet running software that allows information placed on it to be accessible on the Web

WAN (Wide Area Network)
A network connecting two or more local area networks that are geographically separate.

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