Defeating unwanted technology jargon

There’s nothing more frustrating than having network issues and not knowing the answers. It’s usually something quite easy but when there are jargon words thrown around, it can seem like you’re on another planet.
Even if you do have access to IT experts and a support system, having a basic understanding of the potential problem may keep your mind at ease and help communicate the issues better to the dedicated team.
Here’s a list of common jargon words you’ve probably already came into contact with, put into plain English.

1. ISP

The ISP (Internet Service Provider) is the company who provides you with your connection to the internet. Your ISP is responsible for ensuring you have a fully working connection to the internet at all times. If there’s ever a disconnection or disruption of service, you need to call them for help and advice.

2. IP Address

Your IP or internet protocol address is a string of numerical data that relates to your computer on the network. If you want to connect to another computer, it connects to the IP address. It’s also an excellent way to identify your computer over a network, unless your IP changes regularly. You’re given an IP by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol unless you’re configuring your network settings yourself.

3. Router

A router is a piece of hardware that sends traffic between your computer and the internet. You’ve probably also got one at home. All traffic you send from your computer to the internet, and vice versa go through the router. Without a working router, you won’t have an internet connection.

4. Ethernet

If you’re using wired technology instead of wireless, you’re probably using an Ethernet cable. The cable runs from your computer to the router, and a disconnection here will cause a loss in internet connection.

5. Firewall

A firewall is a necessary piece of software or hardware to ensure blockage from potentially damaging traffic. It’s possible to set the firewall to ensure only certain traffic is blocked, but other traffic from specific IP addresses is allowed through. Without a firewall in place, your network and data are left exposed and could be tampered with.

6. LAN

A LAN (local area network) is a small network that’s reserved for a local area. If you have a LAN in your office or home, it means your computer and the others around you are all connected to the same network. The connection makes it easy to share data and files with the people who are connected to the LAN, saving time and resources.

7. Gateway

Gateway in a business environment is the central hub that routes the traffic from your individual computer to the network outside of your organisation, which is serving the web pages you’re trying to use. If at home, the gateway is your ISP and connects you to the internet.

8. DNS

A domain name system is what your computer will recognise as the address of a website. The domain name you type into the URL bar in English is translated into data that the computer will understand. Your computer will then contact the server that the web address is running from, and that’s how you connect to a web page.

9. WAN

Whereas a LAN is a local host, a WAN is a wide area network. It reaches a much broader network than the one you use at home or with other computers in the office. Your internet service provider will connect you to their WAN.

10. Port

You probably use quite a lot of applications throughout the day. The port is how your computer and network know which application is being used and what data to send. The port number can range between 1 and 65535, and a standard HTTP uses port 80. This is how your computer differentiates between traffic to enable you to communicate with the correct applications.

11. Packets

When you access a web page, your computer sends over a packet of data to the servers that are hosting it. Once you have requested information from the web page, it will send back a packet of data to your computer. The information within the packet is how the web page is formed and then translates to what you see on your computer.

Try not to be intimidated by IT jargon, most of the time there are extremely simple explanations for most problems that arise!