Access Point – a device that allows wireless devices to communicate with a wired network using Wi-Fi or related standards. Sometimes referred to as AP, Wireless Access Point, or WAP. Access Points contain both a radio and a wired network connection, and relay communications between the two.
Aggregation site – one of a number of locations in California on the CalREN backbone network that is used to connect (aggregate) multiple local networks to the backbone.
Aggregator – CENIC Aggregator – an organization that acts on behalf of a segment, contractually and/or operationally, to aggregates resources needed by each California education segment such as circuit and equipment orders, contracts, technical requirements. CENIC works with five aggregators for each of the five education segments: Imperial County for K12; Califa for libraries; UC Office of the President for UC campuses; CSU Chancellor’s Office for all CSU campuses; and the CCC Chancellor’s Office for all community colleges.
AT&T Switched Ethernet (ASE) – a network service product of AT&T that provides Ethernet transport service with speeds up to 10 Gbps.
Backbone/network backbone – in telecommunications, a generic term referring to the part of a network that interconnects all sites on the network, and, therefore, handles the majority of the network traffic. Smaller networks are attached to the backbone through aggregation sites by means of additional circuits and network devices, such as routers.
Bandwidth/high bandwidth – transmission capacity of an electronic pathway such as a communications circuit. Network bandwidth is described in terms of how much data can move across the network within a given amount of time and is typically expressed in bits per second (bps). Examples of measurements include kbps, Mbps or Gbps. The “high” in “high bandwidth” is always relative to current norms for different circumstances. High Bandwidth is a term that typically means a bandwidth at the top end or above what is commercially available at a given location.
Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) - a standardized exterior gateway protocol designed to exchange routing and reachability information between autonomous systems on the Internet. In short, it is a protocol or set of rules for how data is transmitted how data is transmitted between networks.
Broadband – a marketing term that refers to high bandwidth Internet access. Traditionally, it meant “any bandwidth greater than dial up.” Broadband data transmission is digital, meaning that text, images, and sound are all transmitted as “bits” of data. In the context of this project, Broadband refers to providing Internet connectivity at much higher bandwidth than has been available and affordable to most libraries. The FCC currently defines broadband to the home to be anything above 25 Mbps, in the sense that anything less than 25 Mbps to the home would not qualify as “broadband.”
Cabling: CAT3, CAT5, CAT5e, CAT6, etc. – industry standards for Unshielded Twisted Pair, 8 conductor copper wire, and required for network voice and data applications. Higher standards support greater bandwidth. The maximum length a cable can be is 100 meters, end to end, for all standards.
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – a quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial state agency, which is responsible for regulating privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies in California.
California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) – a public purpose program administered by the California Public Utilities Commission to advance universal service by providing a discount on select communications services to schools, libraries, community colleges, some hospitals and health clinics and other non-profit organizations.
CalREN – California Research and Education Network – a multi-tiered, advanced network-services network backbone especially designed to serve research and education. CalREN is designed, implemented, and operated by CENIC.
Capacity/high capacity – is the complex measurement of the maximum amount of data that may be transferred between network locations over a network, also known as throughput. “High” is again relative to current norms and measured in bits per second (bps).
CENIC – Corporation for Education Network Initiatives In California – a not-for-profit corporation created by educational institutions in California to design, implement, and operate CalREN, the California Research and Education Network, a high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network that is especially designed to meet the unique requirements of these communities, and to which the vast majority of the State’s K-20 educational institutions are connected.
Charter Associate/Member – an entity that has governance responsibilities for CENIC through seats on CENIC’s Board of Directors, which sets the direction for CalREN. Current Charter Associates are: University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, California Department of Education, and three private universities (Caltech, Stanford and University of Southern California). The California State Library, the newest Charter Associate, also has three seats on this board.
Co-location – refers to the way information technology hardware and resources are located or installed in a shared or common location. In this context, networking hardware resources owned by an organization are located outside the organization’s physical premises and “co-located” with other organizations’ hardware, often through a commercial service provider.
Commercial networks/carriers – any entity engaged in the business of providing telecommunications services that are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission or other governmental body. These are generally for-profit companies.
Commercial Internet – Generally, the parts of the Internet that are used for primarily commercial purposes, including residential service. This usage is to distinguish it from parts of the Internet that are used primarily for non-profit educational or research purposes. Also, referred to as the “Commodity Internet.”
Commodity Internet – another way of saying the “Commercial Internet.”
Consumer-level speed – refers to the service that is commonly available and used to connect homes/residential customers to the Commercial Internet. The bandwidth (speed) varies widely, but today is generally in the range of 1.5 Mbps to 100 Mbps. It is also asymmetric, in that there is much higher speed provided to the home than from the home because the consumer is generally viewed as consuming digital content rather than producing it.
Content creation – the process of generating or producing (digital) material for use or display over the network.
Cross-connect – in telecommunications, a cable connecting two separate “facilities.” The cable may be either copper or fiber optic, depending on the circumstances. The facilities may be a switch, a router, patch panels, or other hardware. Cross-connects are typically used as the means to provide a connection between two parties, such as a carrier and CalREN.
Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) – refers to hardware located on the customer’s premises for the purpose of establishing service. For example, telecom providers such as AT&T or Verizon will place fiber termination hardware and switches or routers at a customer’s site. This hardware is often referred to as CPE or NTE (Network Termination Equipment). CENIC will place a router and modem on the premises of a site that connects directly to the CalREN backbone, and we refer to this as CENIC CPE.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) – a family of technologies that are used to provide Internet access by transmitting digital data over telephone lines. It may be either symmetric (same bandwidth both direction), or asymmetric (different bandwidth each direction). The service may be implemented simultaneously over the same lines used to provide voice service.
Digital content – products available in digital forms. Common digital products are Web pages, movies, music, and books.
Domain Name System (DNS) – in networking, the standardized, distributed system of translating between names (e.g., www.cenic.org) and IP addresses.
E-rate – common term for the federal Schools and Libraries Program, funded by the federal Universal Service Fund and administered by USAC under the direction of the FCC. The program provides subsidies of up to 90 percent to help eligible schools and libraries in the United States obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. Discounts for support depend on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the population served and range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services.
Ethernet – a generic name for a family of networking technologies that are both a national and international standard. A variety of signaling and cabling technologies are supported. Data rates range from 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps, depending on the specific implementation.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – the federal agency responsible for regulating interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The FCC also participates in international communications standards coordination and policy development.
Fiber/fiber-optic cable – fiber optic technology converts electrical signals carrying data to light and transmits the light through transparent glass fibers. A variety of fiber optic cable types are available, depending on the application. Supported distances vary based on cable type, transmitter source (laser or LED), data rate, etc.
Firewall – a network device or set of components that provide filter and gateway functions between two or more networks. Firewalls can be used to augment security practices.
Fixed Terrestrial – the operation of wireless devices or systems used to connect two fixed locations (e.g., building to building or tower to building) with a radio or other wireless link. The purpose of a fixed wireless link is to enable data communications between the two sites or buildings.
Gigabits per second (Gbps) – a data transmission rate; 1,000,000,000 bits per second. 1 Gbps = 1,000 Mbps or 1,000,000 kbps. Giga is the unit prefix for 109.
Headroom – unused (or available) capacity in a network connection beyond the amount used by existing activities. The amount of utilization of a circuit and headroom available are inversely related.
Internet/The Internet – The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks, rather than a single, centralized network. It is a “network of networks” that today reaches almost everywhere in the world and is the basic logical network that underlies most on-line communications through email, social media, and Web sites.
Internet Protocol (IP) – the data protocol (set of rules and messages) used to exchange information on the Internet.
Internet2 – the not-for-profit national organization established to address some of the networking needs of research and higher education institutions in the United States. Internet2 operates a national backbone network with a variety of additional services.
Intranet – is a private network that shares data and application resources. An Intranet differs from the Internet, which is a public network.
IP address – a unique address assigned to hosts (computers, servers, printers, etc.) participating in a network that uses IP. IP addresses are 32 bits in length in IPv4 and 128 bits in IPv6.
Internet exchange point - IX or IXP - a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers and content providers exchange Internet traffic between their networks.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) – a communications carrier that provides access to the Internet. ISPs are not necessarily directly connected via an Internet exchange; they may in turn acquire connectivity from another ISP.
Kilobits per second (kbps) – a transmission rate; 1,000 bits per second. 1,000 kbps = 1 Mbps. Kilo is the unit prefix for 103.
Last mile connection – a term of art used by the telecommunications industry to refer to the final leg of a network to the customer, generally from the provider’s last POP to the customer.
Leased circuit – dedicated network connection between two physical points, acquired from a commercial provider.
Letter of Agency (LOA) – a document authorizing one entity to act on behalf of another. For example, a library jurisdiction issues an LOA to permit the aggregator to act on behalf of the jurisdiction in procuring circuits from commercial providers under E-rate rules.
Local Area Network (LAN) – a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a building or small group of adjacent buildings.
Local loop – in telephony, the wiring between the customer’s premises and the telephone company’s central office.
Long Term Evolution (LTE) – in telecommunication, a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.
Megabits per second (Mbps) – a data transmission rate; 1,000,000 bits per second. 1000 Mbps = 1 Gpbs. Mega is the unit prefix for 106.
Middle mile – the segment of a telecommunications network linking a network operator’s core network/backbone to the local provider’s network, typically situated in the incumbent telephone company’s central office that provides access to the local loop.
Minimum Point Of Entry (MPOE) – in telephony, the demarcation point where a service provider’s cabling ends and the customer’s on-premises cabling or hardware begins. This point represents the division of responsibility between the provider and the customer.
Network Operation Center (NOC) – a central location from which network operators manage, control and monitor one or more networks. The overall function is to maintain optimal network operations across a variety of platforms, mediums and communications channels.
Network Termination Equipment (NTE) – refers to the hardware that telecom providers place on site when they install a circuit at a location. Also, sometimes referred to as CPE (Customer Premise Equipment).
Node site – a point of intersection/connection within a network. Through accidents of history, CENIC engineers have also used this term to refer to a K-12 aggregation site, but typically do not use it to refer to aggregation sites for other CENIC members.
NRC – Non-recurring or one time costs. For example, the purchase price for hardware or the labor to perform an installation.
MRC – Monthly recurring costs.
Optronics – short for optoelectronics or devices that manipulate and convert digital data between the optical and electronic domains.
Peering – a relationship between two Internet Service Providers (ISP) in which they share a direct network connection instead of routing traffic through the Internet. Peering is either done directly between the ISPs or through a centralized peering exchange. Peering allows for very fast traffic at low cost because the ISPs connect directly to each other.
Point of Presence (POP) – a telecommunications industry term that refers to a physical location where the provider places their hardware for delivering services to customers.
Port – a physical connection point on a network device such as a switch or router. A single copper or fiber optic cable is connected to a port.
Rack unit – is a standardized measurement that refers to the height or space between shelves on a vertical storage rack, which are designed to hold NTEs. Referred to as U or RU, one rack unit is 1.75 inches in height.
Rate limit – in networking, a technique for controlling the achievable data rate on a circuit or interface. Rate limiting is a bandwidth management tool that can be used to achieve a desired performance profile for a variety of purposes.
Router – a device that receives data packets from one network and sends them to other networks based on information contained in the packets themselves. Routers generally base the forwarding decisions on the destination IP address in a packet. A router is generally used to connect networks together and also may act as an administrative boundary between networks.
Start of Service – the date in which the local service provider has completed the installation of a circuit and becomes billable.
Switch – a computer networking device that connects networks together. Switches generally base the forwarding decisions on low-level addresses specific to each type of media (e.g., copper or fiber optic cable, Wi-Fi). It is generally used to interconnect devices.
Throughput – rate of data transmission per unit time; see “Capacity/High Capacity”.
Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) – the not-for-profit corporation designated by the FCC as the administrator of Universal Service Fund and the E-rate program. The Universal Service Fund is supported with fees on telecommunications subscribers collected by telecommunications providers. These funds are used to advance FCC policies for availability and quality of communications services throughout the country.
Web caching – a technique for the temporary storage (caching) of web documents, such as HTML pages and images, at a point between the end user and the authoritative server to reduce bandwidth usage, server load, and perceived response time. A web cache system temporarily stores copies of documents passing through it; subsequent requests for these documents may be satisfied from the cache.
Wi-Fi – a local area wireless technology that allows an electronic device to participate in computer network using specific wireless frequencies and protocols. Current standards use the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed industrial, scientific, and medical radio bands.