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Words-to-Go: Virtual LAN

These terms coincide with our Learn IT: virtual LAN guide.

Directions: Click on each term to read our complete definition.

bandwidth -- a general meaning of how much information can be carried in a given time period (usually a second) over a wired or wireless communications link.

DHCP -- a communications protocol that lets network administrators manage centrally and automate the assignment of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in an organization's network.

IPsec -- a framework for a set of protocols for security at the network or packet processing layer of network communication.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -- the IEEE fosters the development of standards that often become national and international standards.

LAN -- a group of computers and associated devices that share a common communications line or wireless link and typically share the resources of a single processor or server within a small geographic area (for example, within an office building).

layer 2 -- the data-link layer provides synchronization for the physical level and does bit-stuffing for strings of 1's in excess of 5.

layer 3 -- the network layer handles the routing of the data (sending it in the right direction to the right destination on outgoing transmissions and receiving incoming transmissions at the packet level).

load balancing -- dividing the amount of work that a computer has to do between two or more computers so that more work gets done in the same amount of time and, in general, all users get served faster.

Mbps -- millions of bits per second.

MAC address -- on a local area network (LAN) or other network, this is your computer's unique hardware number.

ms or millisecond -- one thousandth of a second and is commonly used in measuring the time to read to or write from a hard disk or a CD-ROM player or to measure packet travel time on the Internet.

OSI model -- a standard reference model for communication between two end users in a network.

packet -- the unit of data that is routed between an origin and a destination on the Internet or any other packet-switched network.

PKI -- enables users of a basically unsecure public network such as the Internet to securely and privately exchange data and money through the use of a public and a private cryptographic key pair that is obtained and shared through a trusted authority. The

router -- a device or, in some cases, software in a computer, that determines the next network point to which a packet should be forwarded toward its destination.

switch -- a device that channels incoming data from any of multiple input ports to the specific output port that will take the data toward its intended destination.

VPN -- a way to use a public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet, to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization's network.

WAN -- a geographically dispersed telecommunications network.

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