PLEASE NOTE: This is a very short list of the terms most commonly used when discussing wireless networking for computers as it relates to the WiFi network at the Library. You can find much more information about wireless connectivity by doing a google search on 'wifi terminology'. Many of the definitions below were derived from various Internet sources.
Thanks to the Friends of the Library for providing the funding necessary to purchase the equipment used to create this network. Without their support, this would not be possible.
Encryption - The translation of data into a secret code. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. Unencrypted data is called plain text ; encrypted data is referred to as cipher text. The Library does not use encryption on our wireless networks.
PDA - Short for Personal Digital Assistant, a handheld device that combines computing, telephone/fax, Internet and networking features. A typical PDA can function as a cellular phone, fax sender, Web browser and personal organizer. Unlike portable computers, most PDAs began as pen-based, using a stylus rather than a keyboard for input. This means that they also incorporated handwriting recognition features. Some PDAs can also react to voice input by using voice recognition technologies. PDAs of today are available in either a stylus or keyboard version. PDAs are also called palmtops, hand-held computers and pocket computers.
Protocol - Basically, a protocol is a means of communication between two devices, such as a language is used as a means of communication between two people. More specifically, it is an agreed-upon format for transmitting data between two devices. The protocol determines the type of error checking to be used; data compression method, if any; how the sending device will indicate that it has finished sending a message and how the receiving device will indicate that it has received a message. There are a variety of standard protocols from which programmers can choose. Each has particular advantages and disadvantages; for example, some are simpler than others, some are more reliable, and some are faster. From a user's point of view, the only interesting aspect about protocols is that your computer or device must support the right ones if you want to communicate with other computers. The Library utilizes the IEEE 802.11b protocol for our wireless networks.
SSID - Short for Service Set IDentifier, a 32-character unique identifier attached to the header of packets sent over a wireless network that acts as a password when a mobile device tries to connect. A device will not be permitted to join the network unless it can provide the unique SSID. Because an SSID can be sniffed in plain text from a packet it does not supply any security to the network. An SSID is also referred to as a network name because essentially it is a name that identifies a wireless network. The SSID for the FFLD Woods Branch Library is: woodswifi
USB Memory Key (aka USB Memory Stick) - A USB (Universal Serial Bus) adaptor that can hold files much like a floppy disk or cd-rom. The capacity of these devices can range from 16mb up to and over 1gigabyte. They are read-write devices so you can copy files to them and then delete them when you no longer need the files, freeing up more space to store more files.
WEP - Short for Wired Equivalent Privacy, a security protocol for wireless local area networks defined in the 802.11b standard. WEP is designed to provide the same level of security as that of a wired LAN. The Library does not use WEP on our wireless networks.
WEP Key - The "Key" or password used to encrypt and decrypt information sent over a wireless network. Just like the key to a lock, it is used to lock and unlock data being transmitted over a wireless network. The Library does not use WEP, therefore, we do not have a WEP key.
WiFi - Short for Wireless Fidelity. It is meant to be used generically when referring to any type of 802.11 wireless network. The term is promulgated by the Wi-Fi Alliance.
December 7, 2004
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