Connectivity jargon buster

Many of the terms used when discussing connectivity can be confusing.  Whilst some are easy to work out, others aren’t.  To save misunderstandings, we have put together a connectivity jargon buster to explain many of the common terms.  So dig in and find out more about connectivity and its many acronyms:

ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) – a traditional broadband connection that uses the copper wire system of phone lines.  This is gradually being phased out and replaced by fibre optic lines.

APN (access point name) – this refers to the settings that your phone makes use of when creating a connection between a computer network and a mobile network.

Broadband for business – this is a high-speed internet connection that is always on. It enables a business to transfer data without loss of quality. The connections used for broadband include DSL, Wi-Fi, satellite and fibre.

Business leased line – if you use a leased line for your business, you will have an exclusive connection that is speedy, secure and not shared with anyone. Peak times will show no loss of speed and breakdowns are attended to without delay. With no limits on the amount of data you can transfer, this is a good choice if your business relies heavily on the internet i.e. when you have an online store.

Ethernet – technology used to connect devices in a wired local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN).  Devices can link via a protocol (common network language).

LAN (local area network) – devices connected in the same physical location or building. This ranges from one user up to thousands.

Mobile broadband – this makes use of the mobile phone network to gain an internet connection. It is something that you will use regularly if you have a mobile phone and want to browse the internet. The technology used will be the same as your phone i.e. 3, 4 or 5G. You can connect to the internet at any time and from any location using your mobile.

Modem – this is the hardware that sits between your Wi-Fi router and internet connection. It efficiently provides access to the web, accepting information from the ISP via either phone lines, fibre or cable. This is then converted into a digital signal.

SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) – a step up from WAN, this virtual network provides high-performance levels that are secure. Used for cloud-based management and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

SoGEA broadband (single order generic ethernet access) – this is new terminology for many, referring to business broadband without a phone line. This provides the same performance as standard ‘fibre-to-the-cabinet’ minus the phone line. Speeds can hit as much as 80Mbs. It’s a good fit for business phone systems – VoIP (voice over internet protocol) – and doesn’t need a PSTN line.

VPN (virtual private network) – users are provided with total privacy and anonymity.  The VPN hides the IP address, preventing tracking back to the user.

WAN (wide area network) – the opposite of LAN, this covers a large area and not purely a single location. Useful for sharing information worldwide, it is commonly used by international businesses.

So there you have it – a list of the most commonly used terms that will be used by your connectivity provider.  By understanding their meanings, discussions about your business use will be much easier to follow.  You will also be able to make your own list of questions about how your business is currently operating online, how improvements can be made and your needs for the future. By achieving full comprehension, you will be more able to decide which is right for your business.

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