Common Networking Abbreviations

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Abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms related to the Networking terminology. Here you will learn what those letters stand for in a computer network along with their accepted definitions.

AARP – Apple Talk Address Resolution Protocol

AARP is a protocol for mapping physical hardware addresses and their temporarily assigned Apple talk network addresses.

common IT acronyms

ABR – Available Bit Rate

ABR is a type of service in high-speed networks such as ATM. This service enables systems and devices, such as routers to take advantage of the additional capacity and transmission rates increase.

Available Bit Rate service provides a guaranteed minimum bandwidth capacity but allows data to be burst at higher capacities when the network is free. APR may increase network use without affecting the quality of service (QoS).

ACF/NCP – Advanced Communications Function / Network Control Program

Other names for ACF/NCP are ACF or NCP. It is the primary SNA (Systems Network Architecture) network control program. ACF/NCP lives in the communications controller and interfaces with ACF/VTAM in the host processor to control network communications.

NCP can also communicate with multiple hosts using a local channel or remote links, thus enabling cross-domain application communication.

ACK – Acknowledgment

ACK is a brief message to inform the sender that data has arrived at the desired destination. The message may show data arrived safely, or it had problems reaching the destination. In data networking, an acknowledgment is a signal passed between communicating processes or computers to signify acknowledgment, or receipt of a response, as part of a communications protocol.

The automatic repeat-request (ARQ) function uses the acknowledgment function. While a message travels, this function numbers the Acknowledgment frames in coordination with the received frames, then sent them to the transmitter. This allows the transmitter to remain within the window size of the receiver’s buffers, and to notice any missed frames.

ACR – Allowed Cell Rate

ACR is an ABR service parameter defined by the ATM Forum for ATM traffic management. This parameter varies between the MCR and the PCR. To clarify, ACR is the current rate (cells per second) at which a source travels. Congestion control mechanisms control dynamically how ACR behaves.

ACSE – Association Control Service Element

ACSE is an application layer protocol in the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model used to establish, maintain, or end a connection between two application programs. This application checks the identities and contexts of the application entities and could apply an authentication security check.

The ACSE supports two modes of communication: connection-oriented and connectionless. For the connection-oriented mode, the reference of ACSE connection-oriented services establishes and releases the application association. For the connectionless mode, the application association exists during the invocation of the single ACSE connectionless-mode service, A-UNIT-DATA.

ACTSAI – Advanced Communications Technology Satellite ATM Internetwork

ACTSAI is a project part of the initiative NGI (Next-Generation Internet) of the White House. In this infrastructure is being investigated sending signals over networks, congestion management, ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and IP (Internet Protocol) for multi-cast, and gateways in LAN (Local Area Network) no ATM.

ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line

Many homes use ADSL is a type of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet service. The difference between DSL and ADSL is a type of connection and data transfer speed. DSL has the same speed as data transfer, while ADSL provides an “always-on” connection. In general, ADSL connections provide more bandwidth for downloads than for uploads.

An Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line uses most of the channels to send data, and only a small part to receive data. ADSL customers may experience lower data rates depending on provider and service plan. To ADSL works, it needs to be distributed over short distances from the telephone exchange, typically less than 4 kilometers or 2 miles, but sometimes can exceed 8 kilometers or 5 miles if the originally laid wire gauge allows for further distribution.

ARP – Address Resolution Protocol

ARP is a low-level protocol used to convert an IP address into a physical address called a DLC address. An ARP maps an IP address to a physical machine address that is recognized in the local network. Media Access Control or MAC address is another name for the physical machine address. The Internet Layer in the TCP/IP model works with the ARP protocol. In the OSI model, ARP works on the Network Layer.

ARPANET – Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork

DARPA funded the ARPANET, a research agency of the U.S. government. ARPANET served as a test for new networking technologies, initially joining several universities and research centers.
The development of the TCP / IP in the 1970s made it possible to expand the size of the network, which had now grown into a network of networks known as the Internet.

ATM – Asynchronous Transfer Mode

ATM is switching and multiplexing high-speed technology used for both LAN and WAN networks for the carriage of a complete range of simultaneous traffic, including voice, video, and data. The key to this flexibility is an ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL) that maps multiple protocols and services used on the ATM layer. ATM protects the network and the end systems of the congestion, to provide a level of quality specified and guaranteed service (QoS)


Bandwidth is the width of the range or band of frequencies that an electronic signal uses on a given transmission medium. The difference between the highest-frequency signal component and the lowest-frequency signal component is a Bandwidth. It uses “hertz” to measure the frequency of a signal.
In computer networks, bandwidth is often used as a synonym for data transfer rate – the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a period (usually a second). This kind of bandwidth is usually expressed in bits (of data) per second (bps). Occasionally, it’s expressed as bytes per second (Bps). A modem that works at 57,600 bps twice the bandwidth of a modem that works at 28,800 bps.

BBS – Bulletin Board System

BBS is a computer system for data exchange among a group of people sharing the same geographical area where files, messages, and other useful information can be exchanged between users. It was a popular communication system before WWW between the 1980s and 1990s. It was used by the old networks, which were exterminated by the Internet

Most boards serve specific interest groups allowing users to dial into the system over a phone line or using a terminal program to perform functions as downloading software or data, uploading data, playing games, reading news, and exchanging messages with other users.

Bps – Bits Per Second

bps or b/s is the typical measure for data speed for computer modems and transmission carriers. It is equal to the number of bits transmitted or received each second. bps (bits per second) should not be confused with Bps (bytes per second). The difference between the two abbreviations is the uppercase and lowercase b.

CAP – Carrierless Amplitude and Phase modulation

CAP technology combines bi-directional data flow on WAN networks over telephone lines, separating them into reception modems via echo cancellation. A CAP is a variant of QAM. Instead of modulating the amplitude of two carrier waves, CAP generates a QAM signal by combining two PAM signals.

CAIRN – Collaborative Advanced Interagency Research Network

CAIRN is a project that forms part of the initiative NGI (Next-Generation Internet) on the White House. The Information Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded the CAIRN project. The NASA EOSDIS Office and NSF worked in this project as well.

DARPA – Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

DARPA is the Defense Department agency in charge of U.S. advanced research projects, among which include research on data networks, also known as ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency).

DSL – Digital Subscriber Line

DSL is a way to connect to the Internet and transfer data over regular phone lines. However, like a cable modem, a DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, even though the wires it uses are copper like a phone line.
DSL speeds are based on the distance between the customer and the phone central office. There are two major categories of DSL: Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) is used for Internet access, where fast downstream is required, but slow upstream is acceptable. Symmetric DSL (SDSL, HDSL) is designed for connections that require high speed in both directions download/upload.

FE – Fast Ethernet

Fast Ethernet is also known as 100Base-T, it provides transmission speeds up to 100 megabits per second. FE began to be widely deployed in the mid-1990s as the need for greater LAN performance became critical to universities and businesses. Many network adapters support both traditional and Fast Ethernet. These so-called “10/100” adapters can usually sense the speed of the line automatically and adjust accordingly. FastEthernet has five different cabling standards outlined by IEEE 802, with 100Base-X being a general designation.

MODEM – MOdulator-DEModulator

A modem is a device that converts digital signals from the computer into analog signals that can be transmitted over the telephone. A modem makes possible the transmission of data to or from a computer via telephone or other communication lines.

TCP/IP – Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol

TCP/IP, Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, is the basic communication language or protocol of the Internet. Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is now available for every major kind of computer operating system. To be truly on the Internet, your computer must have TCP/IP software.

TCP divides the information into packets at the source and then rebuilds it at the destination. TCP checks packets for errors and submits requests for re-transmissions if errors are found. IP handles the address part of each packet so that it gets to the right destination. IP forwards each packet based on a four-byte destination address (IP number). The Internet Protocol corresponds to the Network layer (Layer 3) in the OSI model, whereas TCP corresponds to the Transport layer (Layer 4) in OSI.


Telnet is a user command and an underlying TCP/IP protocol for accessing remote computers. Through Telnet, an administrator or another user can access someone else’s computer remotely. On the Web, HTTP and FTP protocols allow you to request specific files from remote computers, but not to be logged on as a user of that computer. With Telnet, you log on as a regular user with whatever privileges you may have been granted to the specific application and data on that computer.

Telnet clients are available for all major operating systems. Command-line telnet clients are built into most versions of Mac OS X, Windows (95 and later), Unix, and Linux. To use them, go to their respective command lines (i.e., the Terminal application in Mac OS X, the shell in Unix or Linux, or the DOS prompt in Windows), and then enter: “telnet host”. Replace the host with the name of the remote computer to which you wish to connect.

VPN – Virtual Private Network

VPN provides secure connections between private networks linked through the Internet. A VPN works by using a shared public infrastructure while maintaining privacy through security procedures and tunneling protocols that encrypt/decrypt data before sending or receiving it. Large corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies use VPN technology to enable remote users to securely connect to a private network.

To gain access to the private network, a user must be authenticated using a unique identification and a password. A Virtual Private Network enables file sharing, video conferencing, and similar network services.

WAP – Wireless Application Protocol

WAP is an international standard for applications that use wireless communication. Most mobile devices today, like cell phones and PDAs come with a built-in WAP browser. A WAP browser provides access to the Internet. Four layers form this protocol:

  1. WAE – Wireless Application Environment
  2. WSL – Wireless Session Layer
  3. WTLS – Wireless Transport Layer Security
  4. WTP – Wireless Transport Layer
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