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Broadband and Internet Terms Simplified - Part 2
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Broadband and Internet Terms Simplified - Part 2

posted in Information guides by Kelly on 16:46 May 6th, 2016

In my last Blog post I promised a continuation of the terms and phrases used by internet and computer technicians that maybe you would not be 100% happy with. I wrote a list of some of these terms and did my best to explain what some of the terms meant in a manner that means it would make things easier to understand for those lacking technical knowledge. I hope that these guides will prove useful to someone. One of my customers sparked the idea when I broke down some technical terms for her into a way that she understood what I was saying. So here is installment number 2 of the list:

  • ·         VOIP This is an acronym that stands for Voice Over IP. IP means Internet Protocol and is basically an instruction code for the internet. Put another way it is called internet telephony. When we make calls with our phone line, the call connects through an exchange and the number tells the exchange who to connect you to. VOIP means removing the phone line aspect and instead using the internet to make calls. Your voice will be translated to digital data and sent across the internet like any other data. Where the call is a video call that will be sent in the same way. It is a means of making calls anywhere in the world for very little money and depending on the service even free. More and more VOIP services are cropping up these days and it is increasing in popularity. Even Facebook now has a messenger service that you can use to make voice and video calls with. You can now also get special VOIP phones that connect into your router (see previous terms blog) to allow you to make these calls without even the need for the computer. It is becoming a very popular service with businesses these days and companies are moving away from the use of the traditional phone service and using VOIP instead. Providing your broadband speed is reasonable the call will sound no different at all. It has been claimed that VOIP calls are much clearer and more stable over long distances than normal phone calls are and with increasing technological developments this would only be set to improve further.

  • ·         HTTP This stands for hypertext transfer protocol. It forms the basis for all internet communications. If you look at any website address the first part of the address will always start http or https. HTTP uses port 80 for communications. If you imagine that the information you send over the internet goes through a series of pigeon holes all with different numbers depending upon what that information is then port (pigeon hole) number 80 relates to anything that the computer detects as a http data request. It works based on what is called a request-response protocol (rule) so you as a client send a request for information from say Google and then Google will send a response to this request. Put in a simple way it is a means of you giving an instruction to the computer that is then relayed over the internet. When you have no connection it will return with an error as the response-request protocol cannot be sent.

  • ·         HTTPS This means secure HTTP. Even Google now has started to use HTTPS rather than HTTP for its services. Rather than using port 80 it uses port 443 so the communications run through a different channel whereby it is encrypted (see below)to ensure that if the communications are intercepted the data is not so easily read. When you log in to any site like email, internet banking, online stores you should always check for a HTTPS connection. This protects your log in details and ensures that any communications between you and the host server of any site you visit are encrypted. If you click on links in emails that are not genuine you will normally be taken to a http address rather than a https as the criminals at the other end who are simply interested in your log in credentials are not bothered by security! HTTPS uses what is called SSL to encrypt your data and I will address SSL below.

  • ·         Encryption Encryption is vital to anything you do online whereby you have to enter a username or password. It is the process by which this data is scrabbled in a way that can only be decrypted by your computer and the person or server that it is intended for. Where you use a HTTPS connection this encryption is via SSL (see below). Windows has a built in system called Bit Locker that enables you to encrypt your data and Android phones also have an option in the security settings whereby you can encrypt all the data on the device and any SD card that you put in it. On my own phones I encrypt my SD cards so if they become separated from the device that data that is on them (which in my case is near everything) is rendered pretty much useless. Encryption works in a similar fashion to a lock and key. You have to have the correct key in order to be able to decrypt the data. With the Android system this basically means that unless you decrypt the SD card in the phone the data will be scrabbled as you do not have the correct key to fit the lock to unravel that data.



  • ·         SSL Stands for Secure Socket Layer. Where normal browser traffic is sent as a plain-text file format (like a notepad file), SSL traffic uses an algorithm to encrypt sensitive data including log in credentials, passwords, credit card details and even addresses. The browser on your computer and the server you are requesting information from will form a secure connection using a lock and key principal so that only those two devices can read the information being transmitted. It will no longer exist as a plain text format and the 1s and 0s that make up that data will become scrabbled. It uses what is called a handshake to acknowledge that each system exists and then they will communicate over a secure connection. The full story is much more complex but to keep it simple this is the nuts and bolts of the idea.

  •   Browser A browser is a means of displaying information on websites on a computer, phone, TV, tablet or laptop that means the information can be viewed in a manner that can be easily understood by the user (you). This information comes from servers and comes to you across a network connection using either wireless, Ethernet or cellular connection. There are a number of different browsers some of the most popular being Internet Explorer (Windows default browser), Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari (Apple’s default browser). Put simply they allow you to browse the internet.

As you will no doubt have seen by now these terms are not in any particular order but somewhat scattered as I have thought of them or noticed words and terms I can add to the list. If there is a term that you do not understand and cannot find then please feel free to contact me and I will do what I can to help. There will be another installment of terms to come next week and I will try to keep adding to the list every week with a new post with more terms. Some will be more technical than others but I will try to keep explaining at a simple level so everyone can expand their knowledge just a little. It is a shorter post this week as it has been rather busy here with visits from companies that we deal with across the country.

Thanks for reading.



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