Net­work­ing terms ex­plained

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802.11

The pro­to­col for trans­mit­ting data wire­lessly over dif­fer­ent fre­quency bands, in­clud­ing 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The let­ter(s) af­ter the num­ber in­di­cates a spe­cific stan­dard that de­ter­mines the fre­quency, speed and range. The lat­est stan­dard is 802.11ac.

DHCP (Dy­namic Host Con­fig­u­ra­tion Pro­to­col)

A network man­age­ment tool used by routers to au­to­mat­i­cally as­sign unique IP ad­dresses to each de­vice that’s con­nected to a network.

DNS (Do­main Name Sys­tem)

A nam­ing sys­tem which trans­lates user-friendly do­main names — such as ap­ple.com — into their ac­tual pub­lic IP ad­dress (17.178.96.59 in ap­ple.com’s case), mak­ing it eas­ier for you to browse the web. A DNS server sup­plies this in­for­ma­tion, act­ing like a ‘tele­phone book’ for the in­ter­net.

IPv4 and IPv6

Th­ese are dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the In­ter­net Pro­to­col (IP) stan­dard for rout­ing in­ter­net traf­fic us­ing IP ad­dresses. IPv4 re­mains the most com­mon, but IPv6 of­fers a greater pool of ad­dresses and should even­tu­ally replace it.

Pub­lic IP ad­dress

The IP ad­dress that iden­ti­fies a web­site or your own network to the in­ter­net. Your own pub­lic IP ad­dress is al­lo­cated to you by your in­ter­net ser­vice provider. Each de­vice on your network is then al­lo­cated a pri­vate IP ad­dress by your router.

Noise

The amount of in­ter­fer­ence af­fect­ing your de­vice’s Wi-Fi sig­nal due to range and other de­vices. The greater the noise, the more likely you’ll suf­fer con­nec­tion or per­for­mance prob­lems.

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