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Jargon Buster - Connectivity, Broadband and Wireless

Complicated technical jargon and IT industry acronyms can make weighing up your options and choosing the right solution for you hardwork. 


 

Language used in the IT industry is constantly evolving and being added to, particularly as new technologies are developed.  

We’ve created the following guide to explain some of the most common terms you’ll hear or read about when looking at your connectivity options. Read on and become a terminology wizz!

 


Access Point Name (APN)

The name of a gateway between a mobile network and another computer network, often the public internet. Any mobile device that is making a data connection must have an APN to present to the carrier which is used to provide the device with the information needed to connect to the carrier’s service.

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)

ADSL delivers internet connectivity using existing copper telephone lines. ADSL is both the most common and most basic of broadband services - capable of reaching download speeds of up-to 8Mbps. It is ‘asymmetric’ because its download and upload speeds are not always the same. 

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line 2+ (ADSL2+)

ADSL2+ is an enhanced version of ADSL which allow greater bandwidth to be delivered over existing copper telephone lines with a maximum download speed of 24Mbps.

Broadband

A telecommunications service that allows users to connect to the internet over a shared fixed infrastructure in the ground. Broadband refers to any internet service that is faster than traditional dial-up services over a telephone line.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

DSL refers to a group of technologies used to provide an internet connection over telephone lines which allows user to make calls and use the internet at the same time. DSL technologies include ADSL, VDSL and SDSL.

Dual Band

In wireless networking, dual-band devices can transmit using two different standards of frequency ranges. For most applications, this means the 2.4GHz and 5Ghz channels that can be used simultaneously - it is commonly seen in dual-band wireless routers and modems.

Ethernet Broadband

A dedicated business grade service which often comes in the form of Ethernet First Mile (EFM), Generic Ethernet Access (GEA), Ethernet-over-FTTC (EoFTTC), and Leased Lines. In most circumstances ethernet broadband speeds are symmetrical which means download and upload speeds are the same.

Fibre Broadband

A type of high-speed broadband which uses fibre optic cables to transmit data - most commonly seen in FTTC and FTTP (see our definitions below).

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)

FTTC is a form of connectivity which uses a combination of copper and fibre-optic cables to deliver superfast broadband. Fibre is typically run from a telephone exchange to a roadside cabinet. A copper cable is then run from the cabinet into your property. The maximum download speed of FTTC is 80MBps. It can also be used with Ethernet - this is called Ethernet-over-FTTC (EoFTTC).

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)

FTTP is similar to FTTC (see our definition for FTTC above) but features a fibre optic cable run from the roadside cabinet into your property. This means you can receive download speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Generic Ethernet Access (GEA)

An entry level Ethernet product, it uses copper between your property and the roadside cabinet, and then fibre between your premises and the exchange. It then transmits data to the Ethernet network.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

ISDN is a high-speed internet service, which uses copper telephone lines to deliver an internet connection.

Internet Protocol (IP)

These are the rules which govern and the methods by which data is sent over the internet from one computer to another.

Last Mile

This refers to the last part of the telecommunications network between a telecommunications provider and a customer’s premises. For rural customers, the last mile can be a significant distance and can mean that they receive slow broadband speeds.

Local Area Network (LAN)

A computer network which interconnects a small area such as a building or a home.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

A MAN interconnects several LAN networks in the same geographical location - for example several buildings owned by the same company in the same city.

Megabit (Mb)

The unit of measure for digital information which is normally usually used to describe internet download and upload speeds (for example: 40Mbp per second or 40Mbps).

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)

A technology which speeds up data traffic flows and that allows users to link sites and manage the flow of data across a Wide Area Network.

Point of Presence (POP)

This is the point at which different communication devices or networks connect. A POP normally refers to the local access point through which users connect to the internet, for example a WiFi hotspot.

Quality of Service (QoS)

QoS is a method of measuring network performance, particularly that seen users. Several aspects are often considered, such as link availability, bit errors, latency and jitter. QoS is also often used as a verb - to QoS something means to implement measures which improve performance.

Single Order (SO)

This is a new technology being released by Openreach in response to the PSTN switch-off in 2025. It provides internet connectivity without using telephone lines and comes in the following forms: SOGEA, SOTAP and SOG.

Software Defined Networking (SDN)

SDN is an approach to network management which uses technology that is designed to enhance network performance and make networks more flexible, agile, and more like cloud computing than traditional network management. 

Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN)

SD-WAN is SDN (see above) across a Wide Area Network. It uses Cloud-based WAN infrastructure that simplifies network management by allowing organisations to manage networks across multiple sites using a centralised function.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

An encrypted connection over a public network that may not be secure. A VPN uses tunnelling protocols to encrypt data and to act as if devices are connected to a private network.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A telecommunications network which connects several LANs and extends over a large area, although it is not restricted to a geographical location.

WiFi / Wi-Fi

There is some debate as to whether WiFi is short for ‘Wireless Fidelity’ or a nonsensical term. Regardless, it is used to refer to the wireless network technology which use 802.11 standards to enable local area networking of devices and internet access.

Many people often confuse WiFi with the internet and broadband. It is important to remember that WiFi is a method of providing connectivity between devices and to the internet, it is not the internet itself.

Wireless Broadband

Broadband connectivity which is not delivered via fixed lines under the ground can be considered to be wireless broadband. Wireless broadband is often a useful and faster alternative in rural locations where fixed line infrastructure has not yet been upgraded and broadband speeds are slow. 

Wireless Access Point (WAP)

A device which allows other WiFi devices to connect to a wired network.

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

A wireless method which uses wireless technology to link devices to form a local area network within a limited space - for example a school, a home, or a hospital.

 


 

If you need advice on your connectivity options please feel free to contact us or take a look at our YorWiFi and YorMobile services.

 

 

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