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  • BABT (British Approvals Board for Telecommunications) An independent organization that tests telecommunications equipment. Its processes are known for their rigorousness and labyrinthine complexity.
  • Back end The server part of a client/server application. It provides services across the network that have been requested by the client. For example, a back end may be a database server that responds to SQL requests from a workstation running a front end application.
  • Back-up server Software or hardware which copies files so that there are always two current copies of each file. Also known as a shadow server.
  • Backbone A high-capacity network that links together other networks of lower capacity. A local backbone network would typically be an FDDI network acting as an in building backbone to link together multiple LANs. A wide area backbone network would typically use digital leased circuits and multiplexers or routers.
  • Background Task or Mode A secondary function perforated by a computer without interrupting its current or primary task.
  • Back-up domain controller A server in a network domain that keeps and uses a copy of the domain's user accounts database to validate logon requests.
  • Balun A transformer that levels out impedance differences so that a signal generated on to a coaxial cable can transfer on to twisted pa r. Baluns are often used so that IBM 3270 terminals can run off twisted pair, or to allow co-axial Ethernet to be operated over UTP.
  • Bandwidth The range of frequencies a transmission line or channel can carry: the greater the bandwidth, the greater the information - carrying capacity of a channel. For a digital channel this is defined in bit/s. For an analog channel it is dependent on the type and method of modulation used to encode the data.
  • 10Base2 A form of Ethernet and IEEE 802.3 network cabling using thin coaxial. It refers to I0Mbit/s speed Baseband transmission over 200 meters maximum length in practice 185m) and is commonly known as Cheapernet.
  • 10Base5 A form of Ethernet and IEEE 802.3 network cabling using thick coax. It refers to 10Mbit/s speed Baseband transmission and 500m maximum length.
  • 10BaseT A form of Ethernet and I EEE 802.3 network cabling using twisted pair cabling. It refers to 10Mbit/s speed Baseband transmission twisted pair cable with a maximum segment length of 100m.
  • 100BaseT IEEE standard from proposals by the Fast Ethernet Alliance (including 3Com and SynOptics). It will support Category 3,4 & 5 UTP cabling.
  • 100BaseVG-AnyLan A competing proposal to 100BaseT (promoted by Hewlett Packard, IBM and Proteon among others) to the IEEE for a 100Mbit/s standard over voice grade UTP the cable most users already have installed in existing 10BaseT systems. Based on Quartet Signaling and demand priority protocol, it preserves the infrastructure and will need only a new hub and upgraded adapters in PCs/work stations. It claims support for Category 3,4 & 5 UTP cabling for both Ethernet and Token Ring.
  • Baseband A term defining any network in which the information is modulated onto a single carrier frequency. The digital input is applied directly to the transmission media without the intervention of a modulating device, which works well if there is wide bandwidth and distances no more than several hundred meters are involved. It is common in LANs and limited distance modems. All stations attached to the network have to participate in every transmission. Simpler and cheaper than Broadband, it permits only one "conversation" at a time as the whole of the bandwidth is used to transmit a single digital signal. Ethernet is a baseband network.
  • Base station A fixed radio transmitter/receiver which electronically relays signals to and from mobile voice and data terminals or handsets.
  • Basic Rate Access Two 64 Kbit/s "B" channels + one 16 Kbit/s "D" channel (2B + D), carrying user traffic and signaling information respectively to the user via twisted pair local loop.
  • Baud A unit of s gnarling speed, expressed in terms of the number of discrete conditions or signal events per second. It is on y the same as bit/s, when one discrete signaling condition is used to transmit a single bit of data.
  • Beaconing Token Ring process to recover the network when any attached station has sensed that the ring is inoperable because of a hard error Stations can withdraw from the ring if needed. A station detecting a ring failure upstream transmits (beacons) a special MAC frame used to isolate the location of the error using beacon transmit and beacon repeat modes.
  • BER bit error ratio
  • Bindery A database that contains definitions for entities such as users, groups and workgroups in the Novel NetWare LAN network operating system environment. The bindery supports the design, organization and secure operation of the NetWare environment.
  • Bipolar transmission Method of sending binary data in which negative and positive states alternate. Used in digital transmission facilities.
  • B-ISDN (Broadband ISDN) The proposed advanced version of ISDN, providing speeds of 155.52Mbit/s and higher. Standards and switching technology that will work this fast are under development. It promises universal coverage based on ATM/SDH technologies and optical fiber, supporting data, voice and video traffic.
  • Bit A binary unit of information that can have two values, 0 or, 1. The word comes from a contraction of binary digit.
  • Bit Error Rate The percentage of received bits on a digital link that are in error relative to the number of bits received, usually expressed to a power of I 0
  • Bit Error Rate Tester A device for testing the reliability of a digital datacommunications link. The BERT generates specific data patterns that are routed through a communications device for comparison at the receiving end. The errors are counted by the BERT.
  • Bit Interleaving A form of Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) for synchronous protocols, including HDLC, SDLC, BiSync and X.25 Bit inter-leaving retains the sequence and number of bits, so that correct synchronization is achieved between both ends.
  • Bits per second The rate at which individual bits are transmitted across a communications link or circuit; written bit/s. One thousand bit/s is 1 Kbit/s, and one mil ion bit/s is 1 Mbit/s.
  • Block A group of characters or bytes treated as a unit.
  • BNC connector A cylindrical push-and-twist connector for connecting thin co-axial cable, such as 10Base2 "thin wire" Ethernet, and to link thin wire Ethernet to network interface cards, transceivers and other network elements. Said to be short for Bayonet Neill-Concelman after the developers of the connector. Also referred to as a Barrel Nut Connector.
  • Booting Loading a computer memory with information needed for it to operate. Remote booting refers to loading software over the network.
  • Boundary Routing A 3Com proprietary name for a method of accessing remote networked locations, such as a bank branch office. Effectively a form of bridging, the idea is to reduce the need for technical expertise locally and the cost of equipment at the remote site and manage the communications from head office.
  • BPSK binary phase shift keying
  • BR bit rate
  • BRA (Basic Rate Access) BRA provides ISDN users with access to two 64Kbit/s data channels, It is defined in ITU-TS Recommendation I.420 which covers a 2B + D-channel where the B channel is a 64Kbit/s channel, and the D-channel is a 16Kbit/s signaling channel.
  • Bridge Device connecting two separate networks at the OSI Data Link Layer (Level Two Media Access Control Layer). Once bridging is accomplished, the bridge makes interconnected LANs look like a single LAN, passing data between the networks and filtering local traffic. There are two key classifications of bridge: those supporting Spanning Tree and, for Token Ring networks, those supporting Source Routing. Bridges connect networks using dissimilar protocols and do not interpret the data they carry. They control network traffic and security, filtering where necessary to boost network, performance and contain sensitive data to particular LAN areas.
  • Broadband Also referred to as wideband. A term describing any network that multiplexes multiple, independent network carrier frequencies on to a single cable. It allows multiple simultaneous "conversations", since the independent networks operate on different frequencies and do not interfere with each other. In LAN terminology, it refers to a system in which multiple channels access a medium, for example co-axial cable, that has a large bandwidth using Radio Frequency (RF) modems. This may allow the co-axial cable to carry multiple separate LANs whose transmission is being modulated at different frequencies. In cable television (CATV), broadband describes the ability to carry 30 or more TV channels and is synonymous with wideband.
  • Broadcast The simultaneous transmission of data via a network from one terminal to a set of destinations or to all destinations.
  • Brouter An industry term for a device with the functionality of a bridge and router. It supports more than two LAN connections and uses Level Two addresses for routing. The term is mostly used by bridge vendors.
  • BS5750 A British Standards Institute standard with certification procedures that says an organization is in control of its quality procedures, at least in terms of consistency. Now identical to IS09000.
  • BSC, BiSync (Binary Synchronous Communications) Rules developed by IBM for the synchronous transmission of binary coded data as a serial stream of binary digits. Synchronization is achieved by using control characters recognizable as bit patterns which do not appear within the body of the message.
  • BSGL (Branch Systems General License) A license which must be obtained by any organization seeking to link its own private network to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). A separate license must be held for each individual site.
  • BSI (British Standards Institute) The UK standards body responsible for input into European and international standards setting bodies like ISO and the ITU-TS.
  • Buffer A temporary storage place for data, designed to compensate for a difference In transmission speeds or to hold data when there is a difference in timing of events. It can be a software program, a storage facility or a hardware device, ensuring the data always has somewhere to go, even if it has to be held up for while in the buffer until it can be transmitted to the destination.
  • Bus topology A type of network in which all tie devices are connected in a line to a single cable. A bus network has two distinct ends. All devices which attached to a bus network have equal access to it and they can see all the messages that are put on to the network. Each device determines which messages are intended for it alone, and selects those.
  • BT bit time
  • Byte Eight bits forming a unit of data. Usually each byte stores one character.


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