Internet and Network Glossary

Bandwidth: The transmission speed or throughput of your connection to the Internet. Measured in Kbps or Mbps (56Kbps, 1.4Mbps for instance). For a detailed discussion of bandwidth, see About Bandwidth.

DHCP server: (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). A server in a network or Internet service that assigns IP addresses to the multiple stations on the network.

DNS: (Domain Name System). A DNS server lets you locate computers on a network or the Internet (TCP/IP network) by domain name. The DNS server maintains a database of domain names (host names) and their corresponding IP addresses. PC Pitstop's IP address,, corresponds to the DNS name

Hop: The link between two network/Internet nodes or network devices. Typically, an IP packet travelling from coast to coast via the Internet can "hop" through more than a dozen routers.

IP address: (Internet Protocol address) The address of a computer attached to a TCP/IP network. Every client and server station must have a unique IP address. Client workstations have either a permanent address or one that is dynamically assigned to them each dial-up session. IP addresses are written as four sets of numbers separated by periods; for example, (PC Pitstop's address).

Latency: The time between initiating a request for data and the beginning of the actual data transfer.

Ping: A common Internet utility used to determine whether a particular IP address is online by sending out a packet (block of data) and waiting for a response.

Router: A device that forwards data packets from one local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) to another. A router sends the packets based on the most expedient route (traffic load, line costs, speed, bad lines, etc.).

Traceroute: An Internet utility that traces the route from the client machine to the remote host being contacted. It reports the IP addresses of all the routers in between.