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Computer, Telephony & Electronics
Industry Glossary

network attached connection, NAC

A particular type of connection that allows a connection directly to the active part of a network.

nail up

A slang phrase in the telephony industry. The process of dedicating a telecommunications circuit for a particular use; the physical or logical dedication of a line for a particular use. See also Leased Line.


A term to signify a "negative acknowledgement". This was most commonly used with serial printer and terminals. See ACK.

name space

An option found on some NOS software to allow certain types of directory, and file name structures to co-habitate on non-native systems. Originally, it was designed for Apple and MAC computers to be able to store and use Novell servers. Later, IBM's and Microsoft's long names were supported by Novell. Other structures are also supported for certain computers and operating systems in the UNIX family.


A Boolean operator. For details see Boolean.


A measurement of time. There are 1,000,000,000 (a billion) nanoseconds in a second. For more information on both common and uncommon timely tidbits, see our displays of time and time zone conversions on our listing of various converters and calculators.


1. An acronym for Network Attached Storage. This is similar to SAN but is not a network in itself. It is some sort of storage capability attached to a network for the purpose of providing storage or backup to the network.
2. An acronym for Network Application Support, a term and action originated by DEC. It was the way the industry came to support applications integration across a distributed multivendor environment.


A disapproving or flaming piece of E-Mail.


An acronym for Network Address Translation, a technique used to share a single IP address to provide Internet access to a LAN. The process is usually handled by a router, firewall or another computer, usually a server of some type. NAT associates an internal network address to an appropriate outside published network IP. For instance, a computer on a LAN has the dynamic or static address of internally but is seen as by the outside world. See PAT.


A web browser application from Netscape. See Netscape.


1. An acronym for Network Broadcast Name Schema.
2. An acronym for NetBIOS (or NetBEUI) Name Service.


An acronym for Network Broadcast Protocol.


Netware Core Protocol. The set of procedures that Novell NOSs use to handle all network client requests.


See Non-Disclosure Agreement.


Network Device (or Driver) Interface Specifications (or Services). Although developed by Microsoft and 3COM, NDIS is the standard of the industry for network device drivers as to how they are written and what is in them, and in what order. It also defines the standard for Plug and Play (PNP), often known as Plug and Pray. Windows 95 and 98 both utilize NDIS in the autorecognition of system hardware devices. Networking industry leader Novell has played a great part in the driver development standards as well as being a leader in variations of the technology.


Pioneered by Intelliguard and Network Appliance, Network Data Management Protocol defines a common architecture for the way heterogeneous file servers on a network are backed up. The new protocol will allow the creation of a common agent used by the central back-up application to back up different file servers running different platforms and platform versions. With NDMP, network congestion is minimized because the data path and control path are separated. Back up can occur locally, from file servers direct to tape drives, while management can occur from a central location. NDMP is an open standard protocol promoted and supported by server vendors, back-up software vendors, and back-up device vendors.


Netware Directory Services. Novell's name for the tree structured hierarchy within Novell NOSs that includes all network resources and services. This radical change began with revision 4.0 and replaced the Novell Bindery Services.


An Ethernet and Netware compliant standard for 8 bit NICs. In the first days of Ethernet networks, Novell designed and built its own network interface cards to make the system work. They then placed the design up for second sourcing and many companies produced "look and act alike" cards. The NE1000 became the "always works with Novell" card and/or driver. All cards made to the NE1000 standard would run with the NE1000 driver.


An Ethernet and Netware compliant standard for 16 bit NICs. In the first days of Ethernet networks, Novell designed and built its own network interface cards to make the system work. The first was the NE1000. They then placed the design up for second sourcing and many companies produced "look and act alike" cards; they did the same with 16 bit cards. The NE2000 became the "always works with Novell" card and/or driver in the 16 bit world as did the NE1000 before it. All cards made to the NE2000 standard would run with the NE2000 driver.


A clock timer chip, made originally by Signetics. See 555.


A leading manufacturer and supplier in all commercial electronics industries worldwide. They have several International manufacturing and operations locations. See them at HTTP://WWW.NEC.COM.


1. The "n" word, this term is derogatory when used by outsiders, but acceptable when used to describe a fellow nerd. While geeks must be born, nerds are made, the most famous case being Bill Gates.
2. A term usually meant to be derogatory, describing someone who does not have to use the glossary to know the meanings of computer terms. This person also most often carries a HEX calculator (in years past, it was a slide rule and a shirt pocket pen protector), programs in three or four languages (including assembler), spends at least 8 hours a day on the Internet and has a computer beside the bed. The term is considered complimentary or derogatory based on the source, as today, many of the typical current nerds are handsome, well rounded, near genius, modest, attractive and are socially sophistocated and acceptable individuals, such as yours truly. Only a few are experts on "oldies music" while still knowing how to do multiplication and division of HEX numbers, octal numbers and binary numbers WITHOUT a calculator. Even fewer still know how to use a slide rule and have one that still works. Ok, OK already! So maybe those are not as important as they used to be; but, knowing that Chet Atkins recorded "Walk Don't Run" before the Ventures did, is a mandatory fact of life!


This term refers to programming commands that are inside of another command. The term does not lend itself to any single language but generally to all that support nesting. Not all commands can be nested and not all combinations of commands can be nested. Often nesting is the same command issued multiple times. For instance in BASIC (and other languages), the IF - THEN command can be nested to look like IF - THEN - IF - THEN - IF - THEN; each condition tested to be true or false based on the previous condition's true or false result. That is an example of the same command being nested. Commands can be nested in loops to act as an exit or decision point. In HTML, commands can be nested to display combinations of tags, such as BOLD and ITALIC at the same time. Nesting can be difficult to predict the ACTUAL result as opposed to the ANTICIPATED result; it is always difficult to debug. Much testing should be done to anticipate and verify all possible conditions of nesting. While often difficult to use, it is, however, a very powerful tool.


The common abbreviation for the Internet. Also a common name of any network, such as a WAN, MAN, LAN or VPN.


NetBIOS Extended User Interface. This is a network protocol, often used in networks not expected to grow to a large number of stations. It allows peer-to-peer connections for file and printer sharing, most often on Microsoft based networks. It is very fast but lacks many of the sophisticated features of other protocols and networks. It generally does not have provisions for good security features. See TCP/IP and Novell's IPX. NetBEUI implements the OSI LLC2 protocol.


This is a BIOS patch to the original single user PC OS made popular by IBM and Microsoft. It is termed the Network Basic Input/Output System. Certain applications require that it is present in order to run. The current implementations are for mildly sophisticated network operations and are in a greatly ammended and expanded set of procedures called NetBEUI, again, pioneered by Microsoft.


An individual who has achieved an exalted status due to notable technical accomplishments. This accolade is most frequently applied to those who have played a role in creating and developing USENET or the Internet. See nerd, as they often picture themselves as these.


Those who feel it's their appointed role to flame perceived violations of Netiquette.


This is a new up and comer in the networking business products marketplace. They are a spinoff from Nortel but really seem to have their act together in pricing, design, support and attitude. We have tried and tested more than 50 individual pieces in our own network and laptops with NETGEAR equipment, replacing other equipment of similar capability with major brand names, often priced 5 times as much. We had good luck with them but found that dealing with them personally and for warranty repair a major nightmare! (Please remember that we are not a store and we don't sell equipment across the counter; this is NOT a sales pitch. We only sell what we install and what we back up with service, support and our own warranty. The equipment is good; the support and technical assistance is really not good!) Check them out at HTTP://WWW.NETGEAR.COM.


Network etiquette, or the set of informal rules of behavior that have evolved in Cyberspace, including the Internet and online services. Good online manners.


A condition that occurs on the Internet in which response time is greatly slowed due to heavy traffic. This wears the users down, tires him out. Something like jetlag.

net lingo

The slang commonly used on the Internet.


The content of USENET. See also USENET.


The first popular commercial WWW Browser, Netscape's Navigator software can be used with most ISP's software. The only serious competition in the browser market to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Because Microsoft began to package IE in such a manner that they made its use mandatory, Netscape has taken Microsoft to court in a landmark U. S. government backed battle. While the battle was heavily in process, AOL made an offer to Netscape and has now bought them completely. They still contend that they will continue to use IE in the AOL package plan. Go figure! The Netscape company can be accessed on the Internet through its web site HTTP://WWW.NETSCAPE.COM . Navigator is a Mosaic derivative. You can see more information about browsers and capability on our website by viewing our browsers page.

net surfing

Browsing or exploring a network or the World Wide Web to find places of interest, usually without a specific goal in mind. Analogous to channel surfing with a TV remote control.


An IBM program product that is used to monitor and control a network and diagnose problems. Generally regarded as the industry standard for such monitoring programs. Used both in computer networks and telephony networks.


A trademarked name of the Novell NOS. As the NOS has moved into more modern capabilities for the business network, it is now also known as Internetware and Intranetware.


A set of computers linked to one another for data sharing, or the link itself. When you connect to an ISP or the Internet, you are connecting to a network. Most networks are used for business applications but some, such as home networks, are generally a way to share applications legally or share a connection to the Internet. Networks are not required to have a "dedicated" server, however, those that do, usually for business functions, are far more adept at the ability to handle large numbers of users with reasonable efficiency. See Net.

network address

The network layer address referring to a logical, rather than a physical, network device. Also called a protocol address. Compare with MAC address. See also application layer, LLC, physical layer, PQ, presentation layer, session layer, and transport layer.

network computer

A "trimmed down" version of a PC that has certain restrictions and is used only on a network or Internet. It generally does not have a local disk drive, floppy or hard disk. It generally boots from the server or NIC.

network connection device

A card or built in device to allow the computer to connect to a network, any network (LAN, WAN or the Internet), in some manner. Ofter, these are called network adapter cards (NADs) or network interface cards (NICs). Cable modems, DSL and ADSL modems, ISDN modems and just general standard and hig speed modems can be network connections devices. Each card or adapter has at least one protocol, a type of connection and speed or speed range in the design of the card's function. Some use wires or cables to hook to the network while others use some sort of wireless interface. 3COM, Accton, SMC and others make many different types of such devices.

network layer

Layer 3 of the OSI reference model. This layer provides connectivity and path selection between two end systems. The network layer is the layer at which routing occurs. Corresponds roughly with the path control layer of the SNA model. See also application layer, LLC, MAC, physical layer, PQ, presentation layer, session layer, and transport layer.

Network News

A message sent across the ISP system to inform users of an up coming event. It is used mainly to inform members and users that the system is about to be taken down for maintenance.


A universal ISP keyword that informs and updates members and users on new services.


A term to describe anyone new to an area, whether it be a particular forum online, the ISP service in general, or the Internet.


Internet message boards, also known as Usenet. There are tens of thousands of these available on all topics at most ISP's services.


A program that will allow you to view Usenet Newsgroup messages. Most ISP software can act as a newsreader, as can most current generation browsers.


A channel of most online services that contains dozens of magazines and newspapers, or links to them.


An abbreviation for Near End Cross (X) Talk. This is a term used in network cable troubleshooting. It is a displayed symptom of electrons traveling the network and returning to the source for lack of anywhere else to go.


An acronym for Network File System. A networking and access protocol developed by Sun Microsystems that makes it possible for a computer to access files over a network, regardless of machine make and type, the operating system, or the network architecture, as if the files were on the local disk.


See byte.


1. An acronym for Network Interface Card. The physical card that plugs into a computer to allow it to have access to a network, or to have the network be able to access it. The board design can be virtually any legal design for the computer such as ISA, PCI, VLB, PC Card as well as others.
2. An acronym for Network Information Center. The centerpoint of any network that controls information and standards for that network. InterNIC is such a place on the Internet.


A term used in marketing; a small segment. Often the term vertical market is used to describe a niche market.


A telephony acronym for Network Interface Device. NID is a device that terminates copper pair from the serving central office at the user’s destination and which is typically located outside that location.


A telephony acronym for Network Interface Module. NIM is the interface provided, up to two per carrier, for the public switched telephone network (PSTN) used by V.32 dial backup modules (DBMs) and dial/lease modems, and for the switched 56 kbps digital service used by the 2-wire and 4-wire switched 56 DBMs.


Netware Loadable Module. An extension to the Novell NOS that allows a certain function to append itself to the NOS and to operate in the Novell environment. An NLM must be written to Novell defined specifications so that it fits within defined guidelines for the NOS.


A new form factor designed by Intel for PC motherboards. The NLX form factor features a number of improvements over the previous design LPX form factor and began heavy usage in late 1997. The popularity of the design was confirmed by massive design use in 1998. The popularity has made it Intel's flagship line and one of the profit leaders in chipsets. Its features include:
1. Support for larger memory modules and DIMMs.
2. Support for the newest microprocessors, including the Pentium II using SEC packaging.
3. Support for AGP video cards.
4. Better access to motherboard components.
4. Support for dockable designs in which the motherboard can be removed without tools.


1. Network Management System. The software that allows the administrator or system operator (sysop) to control the network. Sometimes this is a program or set of programs; other times it is a network layer or protocol that gives access to the settings needed. SNMP is such a protocol. The need for such control is usually on larger networks, such as Novell or NT so that the administrator does not have to be sitting at the console or individual PC needing work.
2. In telephony, that system which allows a provider or end user to manage portions or all of a telecommunications network; in xDSL, network management systems allow providers to control and monitor those services based on the ADSL streams, at both the physical and logical layers of the services.


An acronym for industry insiders, Network to Network Interface. An ATM Forum standard that defines the interface between two ATM switches that are both located in a private network or are both located in a public network. The UNI standard defines the interface between a public switch and a private one. Also, it is the standard interface between two Frame Relay switches meeting the same basic criteria.


An acronym for Network News Transport Protocol. First defined in 1987, this standard, since updated numerous times, defines the general operating characteristics of news groups and such operation on the Internet and suggests the standards for Intranet use, including extensions.

no carrier

The carrier is the signal between your modem and another modem. When you receive a 'dropped carrier' or 'lost carrier' message, this simply means that the modem signal was interrupted for some reason. For more information about 'lost carrier' messages, check the owners manual of your modem or go to one of the major modem manufacturers sites, for example HTTP://WWW.HAYES.COM.


A collection of modems that provide local access to a system. When you dial your local access number, you are dialing into a generally local node which then connects you to the main ISP system. A node is also a single station on a network.


The term given to any electronic or magnetic interference that could cause disruption to data or the flow of data. In the case of modems, it can also be associated with crosstalk or static.


A leading manufacturer and player in the International cellular business. They have several International manufacturing and operations locations. See them at HTTP://WWW.NOKIA.COM.


Normally Open/Normally Closed contact. Generally pertains to a set of contacts on a switch or relay and the position that they are normally found in. NO is normally open and usually means the circuit is open. NC is normally closed and usually means the circuit is engaged and capable. See switch.


A term created by Apple Computer, Inc. that describes a memory module which uses 16-Mbit technology. For a given capacity, a non-composite module will have fewer chips than a composite module.

Non-Disclosure Agreement - NDA

A contract commonly used by computer companies to protect the confidentiality of unreleased products. Software developers, reporters, and sometimes beta testers are often required to sign these before they are given access to either information about upcoming products or the product itself.


A phone or telephone device containing all control functions normally associated with a KSU, thus not requiring a KSU.


Hey! This is a legal term. What's it doing in a computer glossary? My cousin is an attorney and used it in a recent conversation. I was too embarrassed to ask what it meant so I had to look it up. It seemed applicable so here it is.
In general, non-repudiation is the ability to ensure that a party to a contract or a communication cannot deny the authenticity of their signature on a document or the sending of a message that they originated or executed. In the computer world and on the Internet, the now popular digital signature is used not only to ensure that a message or document has been electronically signed by the person that purported to sign the document, but also, since a digital signature can only be created by one person, to ensure that a person cannot later deny that they furnished the signature.
Since no current computer security technology is absolutely fool proof (as evidenced by current hacking and cracking efforts, not to mention, computer viruses), some experts warn that the digital signature technology alone may not always guarantee non-repudiation. It is suggested that multiple approaches be used, such as capturing unique biometric information and other data about the sender or signer that collectively would be difficult to repudiate. Personally I think that the "A" key on all new keyboards should have the ability to pierce your finger and attach DNA to the document. Only Gary Condit and former President Clinton would try to repudiate that!


E2 type memory. Memory that will not be lost from a power failure. It does not need battery backup. What ever state it is in when the power goes off will be the state it is in when power is re-applied to the memory.


A Boolean operator. For details see Boolean.


A leading manufacturer and supplier in the computer network arena, and a major player in the International cellular business. They have several International manufacturing and operations locations. See them at HTTP://WWW.NORTELNETWORKS.COM.


Network Operating System. Novell and NT are good current examples. Others not as well known include LANtastic, Linux, UNIX, Xenix, Network OS and OS2, to mention only a few. The players in this game are thinning out since W98 contains a small NOS within.


A Boolean operator. For details see Boolean.


A small portable computer; generally it is self contained.


A network that is either down or does exactly as the name implies.


A network company, generally accepted as the defacto standard for true business networks. The Utah based company has had many contenders for the Network King title but has always defended the title easily. NT is the contender at present. Novell and Microsoft have different ways of doing certain tasks; both work very effectively. Novell has tried several other aspects of the computer industry but has not found success in anything but networks. They purchased Digital Research's DR DOS and WordPerfect Corp. Both were miserable failures. They are however, still trying to do things the Novell way with slight adjustments to accomodate enterprise installations that work in an Internet environment and have NT servers also. It seems to be working. See them at HTTP://WWW.NOVELL.COM.


One of the Internet's primary backbone networks.


A class of transistor NPN or PNP, indicating the layers (each connected to a pin) of semi-conductor material polarity of negative-positive-negative. The middle layer is the base. The others are the collector and emitter.


Microsoft's other graphical operating system, an alternative to Windows 95 or Windows 98 and more a true multi-user multi-tasking operating system. Due to high cost, instability and low applications software supply, it has not been as popular as Windows 95 or W98. There is both a server only version and a workstation client version. The most popularity has been as a server for the Internet. Since NT is a preemptive 32 bit OS that is NOT backward compatible to DOS entirely, it is also more easily ported to other types of processors, such as RISC and Motorola, instead of only Intel and Intel look alikes. It is also designed to handle SMP devices while W95 is not. NT is the abbreviation for New Technology in Microsoft's dictionary. As the later revisions of W98 and W95 came out, certain parts of the NT technology are being merged into them. Windows 2000 and XP are built heavily on NT technology. The current revision of both server and station is 4.0 with service patch 5 (SP5) having been released. NT as of June of 2003 is a non-supported product, replaced in server form by Windows 2000 and 2003 versions of server products, and in station form by Windows 2000 and Windows XP Home and Pro.


An acronym for Network Time Protocol. See more information on it at the home of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) project for a more in-depth discussion of the project.


An acronym for the National Television System Committee. The NTSC is responsible for setting television and video standards in the United States (in Europe and the rest of the world, the dominant television standards are PAL and SECAM). The NTSC standard for television defines a composite video signal with a refresh rate of 60 half-frames (interlaced) per second. Each frame contains 525 lines and can contain 16 million different colors. The NTSC standard is incompatible with most computer video standards, which generally use RGB video signals. However, you can insert special video adapters into your computer that convert NTSC signals into computer video signals and vice versa.


A semi-conductor which has an excess of conduction electrons, making it more negative. A semi-conductor can be made into N-type by adding trace amounts of another element to the original semiconductor crystal. Virtually all modern transistors and diodes require sections of both N-type and P-type semi-conductors.


To intentionally delete the entire contents of a given directory, hard drive, or storage volume.


A name of a video technology company that is often used as a video technology term in error. NVidia makes and is marketing the first phase of what computer industry marketing types are calling the "next generation" of 3D ASICs. NVidia's approach goes one beyond the standard shading, texture mapping, Z-buffering, and acceleration to include a unique algorithm called QTM (Quadratic Texture Mapping). This draws scenery using fewer triangles than other 3D ASICs need, making it easier and faster to render a scene. See the company and products at HTTP://WWW.NVIDIA.COM.


An acronym for Non-Volatile Random Access Memory. This memory does not lose data even if the power is removed. It is however, much slower and much more expensive than standard memory.


An acronym used to describe MANY of the consultants in the computer industry, Not Very Swift!


See byte.

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