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Talkin’ Tech: Wireless and Routing

July 21, 2011 - 1 Comment

Defining key terms for understanding the basics of the technology that keeps your small business connected

You probably rarely think about it, but every time you receive an email from a colleague who’s travelling or a request for information from a customer via your website, you have a router to thank for making that connection. Likewise, wireless routers let you access the company network from anywhere in the office, allowing you to be more productive. Routers are essential for keeping your company connected to your business partners, customers, and remote employees.

In this installment of our Talkin’ Tech series, we define key terms to help you understand the basics of wireless and routing. If there’s a term we didn’t include that you’d like defined, please let us know!

Wireless and Routing Glossary

  • 802.11n: Also referred to as “wireless-n,” 802.11n is a communications standard used by wireless routers and access points that provides increased speed (up to 600Mbps in some models), range, and reliable connectivity with less interference.
  • Dual-band: A router that operates in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz communication bands. Selectable dual-band routers can operate in either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band; simultaneous dual-band routers can operate in both bands at the same time.
  • Hybrid VPN: A virtual private network that supports two kinds of connection—Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
  • Internet Protocol Security (IPsec): A protocol that provides secure access to a network by encrypting data traveling between an IPsec gateway installed on a router and an IPsec remote access client installed on a user’s laptop or smartphone. For example, with an IPsec VPN, you can have remote access to the entire network as if you are physically connected to it.
  • Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6): The next-generation Internet protocol, IPv6 provides a unique 128-bit IP address for each device that connects to the Internet. Replacing the current IPv4 protocol, IPv6 allows a total of 340 billion, billion, billion addresses.
  • Wireless Router: a physical device that connects multiple wired or wireless networks together and can function as a network firewall as well as have an integrated access point for providing wireless connectivity to various wireless devices.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): Provides the ability to prioritize different kinds of network traffic, such as voice and video, so that quality isn’t affected by other traffic on the network.
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): The most commonly used protocol for managing secure transmissions on the Internet. In a VPN environment, SSL allows users to securely access specific applications and services on the network via a web browser.
  • Service Set Identifier (SSID): Also referred to as “network name,” SSID is a unique 32-character identification for naming wireless networks and devices.
  • Single-band: A router that operates only in the 2.4GHz communication band.
  • Single WAN/Dual WAN: All wireless routers provide a single WAN port for connecting to the Internet. A dual-WAN router provides a second WAN port that will take over in the event the first WAN port fails, ensuring that connectivity to the Internet isn’t disrupted. In some routers, the second WAN port can be used as a DMZ port to connect to a web server or FTP server, providing an additional layer of security to a company’s LAN.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): A connection that uses encryption and authentication to create a private tunnel for protecting your data as it traverses the Internet, allowing secure access to network assets and data at remote locations.
  • Wireless access points: An intermediary device that exchanges information between wireless devices and a wireless LAN using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other related standards.
  • Wireless LAN (WLAN): a network in which a mobile user can connect to a local area network (LAN) through a wireless (radio) connection.
  • Wireless LAN Controller: a hardware device that provides a single point of management for all of the access points in your network.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Talkin’ Tech series the week of August 15 when we’ll take a look at the terms behind cloud computing.

Is there a technology category you’d like us to focus on in the future? Let us know!

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  1. Would work great on my new system.