Common Internet Terms Explained
Being an internet service provider, many of these terms are used in our daily vocabulary. This is not the case for everyone, and we know it can be intimidating for some when discussing their internet service. One of the cornerstones of NETSPECTRUM’s customer service, is to ensure our customers feel comfortable and confident communicating with us. We’ve put together this list of the top 10 internet terms to help you strengthen your internet knowledge and vocabulary.
Your internet browser is a program on your computer, mobile device, gaming console, etc. that allows you to open pages on the internet. You would be using a browser right now to view this article.
There are different browsers available and what you use comes down to how you like the layout and added functionalities of the browser (such as syncing between phone and computer, reading modes, available add-ons, etc.). Some of the most popular internet browsers include:
- Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer: these are the default browsers installed on Windows Machines.
- Safari: This is the default browser install on Apple computers, iPads, iPods and iPhones
- Google Chrome: This is the default browser installed on Android phones and tablets and Google Chromebooks.
- Mozilla Firefox
A router allows for multiple devices to connect to the network at once. Nowadays routers include a built in modem (modems are what connect you to your ISP service and the ISP connects you to the internet). Routers provide you with wireless (wifi) access for your devices – note that not all routers are wifi enabled. If the router is wifi enabled, you will normally see the wifi logo on the router somewhere.
IP stands for Internet Protocol. An IP Address is the unique address that your computer uses to connect to the internet. Think of an IP address like your home address, it indicates where information is sent and received. Each device you use that connects to the internet would have its own unique IP address.
Often, your computer will randomly generate an IP address (this is call dynamic IP), but you can have a constant IP address with what’s called a static IP address at an additional cost from your ISP (NETSPECTRUM offers static IPs for $10/month). Static IP addresses are needed for some networked devices, but are not normally required in the average home.
In the past few years, you may have heard the term “cloud” coming up more often. iCloud, Google Drive (currently rebranding to Google One), DropBox and OneDrive are examples of popular cloud storage services.
Cloud storage just means you upload your information online and it’s then stored on servers owned by the company whose service you’re using. These servers (servers are essentially super high powered, high capacity computers with additional management and networking features) fill up entire buildings, called datacenters.
Think of cloud storage like an external hard drive that you don’t physically have in front of you. This is a good way to store your files as external hard drives can be damaged or stolen and the cost to repair or extract data from a damaged hard drive can be very high.
Bandwidth, Upload, Download
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be sent and received over an internet connection, most often expressed in Mbps (megabits per second), Kbps (kilobits per second) or Gbps (gigabits per second).
Download speeds are how fast you receive information from the internet (ie loading a webpage, streaming Netflix, downloading a file).
Upload speeds are how fast you send information to the internet (sending an e-mail, posting a picture or video to social media, making a video call, etc.).
Bandwidth is not to be confused with data. Some providers “cap” your monthly usage allowance to a certain amount of data, usually expressed in Gigabytes (GB) and if you go over that allowance, you are charged overages or your bandwidth speeds are slowed down. With NETSPECTRUM, you won’t find data limits listed on our plans, because we don’t have any! All our plans include unlimited monthly usage.
See this link for bandwidth requirements and average data usage for common online applications.
Malware is malicious software that is put on someone’s computer in order to steal information, encrypt or delete files, monitor computer activity without the user being aware, or hijacking core functions of the users’ computer.
See some of the common types of malware here.
Wireless refers to how you’re connecting the device you’re using to the internet. Your router would still have wires (needed to connect to the internet), but the device you’re connecting to your router over a wifi signal would be a wireless connection.
With NETSPECTRUM you may hear or see us refer to our wireless internet service. The service is considered wireless because instead of getting your internet signal through a phone, cable or fibre line that runs in the ground or through the power poles, the signal is transmitted wirelessly from our tower to a radio on your home. You can see more info about the different types of rural services in this blog and the process for getting NETSPECTRUM service to your rural location in this blog article.
If you have a gamer in the house, you’ve likely heard the terms latency or lag. Latency is the time it takes for a task to be executed after the command is given (toddlers, have high latency…it takes a lot of time after you’ve given a command before the task is completed).
Latency is measured in milliseconds. High latency causes lag (slow down). The reason this is so important to a gamer is when they press a button/key they need low latency so the action they want to perform is done right away (like trying to jump out of the way of something in a game…if there’s high latency, the lag time can cause your character to be hit by whatever the player is trying to dodge).
Internet traffic can be a lot like street traffic, the more people you have on the road, the more congested it becomes and the slower you move along.
It is up to your ISP to manage the internet traffic on their connections to ensure traffic keeps moving at the speed it’s supposed to. At NETSPECTRUM, we consistently monitor our connection points and can redirect traffic if we find there are any bottlenecks forming. Some providers will temporarily throttle customer speeds, but this is not a practice NETSPECTRUM does, or ever plans to do, to our customers.
Find our blogs helpful? Our customer service reps are helpful too! Make the switch to NETSPECTRUM. We offer Cable Internet, DSL and Wireless. NETSPECTRUM is an internet service provider servicing Sudbury, Sturgeon Falls, North Bay, Sundridge, Temiskaming Shores, Kapuskasing, Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Parry Sound, and surrounding rural areas.