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Glossary of Computer Hardware Terms: Numbers and Symbols

written by: Jesma•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/16/2009

Guide to understanding 10,100, and 1000BaseT designations for Ethernet cabling, modem speeds, and important IEEE 802 Networking Standards

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    Ethernet Standards

    10Base2

    IEEE standard for baseband Ethernet at 10Mbps over RG-58 coax cable to a max distance of 185 meters. Also known as Thinnet, highly uncommon in modern network environments.

    10Base5

    IEEE standard for baseband Ethernet at 10Mbps over heavy coax cable for a maximum distance of 500 meters. Also called Thicknet, rarely seen in modern network environments.

    10BaseT

    10Mbps (Megabits per second) CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection) LAN that runs on Category 3 and better UTP/STP (unshielded twisted pair / shielded twisted pair) cabling. 10BaseT networks utilize the star configuration with workstations connecting to hubs and hubs joined together.

    100BaseT

    100Mbps CSMA/CD ethernet LAN that operates on Category 5 UTP/STP cabling. Utilizes the star configuration.

    1000BaseT

    1000Mbps CSMA/CD Ethernet LAN that operates on Category 5e UTP/STP cabling and utilizes the star configuration. Most common network solution.

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    Modem Speed

    28.8K

    Lowest end operating speed for modems as set by the FCC. Operates at 28.8 Kbps.

    56K

    Most common modem (modulation/demodulation) speed. Generic term for modems that can receive data at 56Kbps (kilobits per second).

    128K

    Uncommon modem operating speed, rarely seen, the intended result of signal acceleration.

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    IEEE 802 Standards

    802 refers to the family of standards dealing with local area networks (LAN) and metropolitan area networks (MAN), maintained by the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Commitee (LMSC).

    802.1

    Standard defining Network Bridging. Bridges also known as Layer 2 Switches because they operate at the Data Link layer of the OSI model.

    802.2

    Standard defining Logical Link Control (LLC), which provides flow and error control over the upper Data Link layer of the OSI model.

    802.3

    Standard defining wired Ethernet. Typically LAN technology with some WAN applications. Works on the Physical and Media Access Control (MAC) layers of the OSI model.

    802.11a

    Standard defining wireless networking that operates on the 5GHz band at a speed of 54Mbps. Shorter range than 802.11b/g standards.

    802.11b

    Standard defining wireless networking that operates on the 2.4Ghz band at the speed of 11Mbps.

    802.11g

    Standard defining wireless networking that operates on the 2.4Ghz band at the speed of 54Mbps.

    802.11n

    Standard defining wireless networking that improves upon prior standards by using Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology to achieve data transmission speeds nearing 600Mbps. Utilizes multiple antennas for reception and transmission.

    802.15

    Standard defining the Personal Area Network (PAN) and Wireless PAN, a network consisting of connected devices within a few meters of each other. Can include Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZigBee, and USB/Wirewire connected devices.

    802.16

    Standard defining Broadband Wireless Access, aka WiMAX technology.