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Access Point (AP):
A stand-alone wireless hub that allows any computer that has a wireless network adapter to communicate with another computer and to connect to the Internet.
Process of identifying a user to confirm that they are the actual user they claim to be.
Available Network:
One of the networks listed under available networks when PC wireless cards on the wireless networks
A comparatively fast Internet connection possessing sufficient bandwidth to accommodate multiple voice, data and video channels simultaneously. Cable, DSL and satellitte are all considered to be broadband channels; they provide much greater speed than dial-up Internet access over telephone wires.
Broadband modem:
A device that connects a local computer or network to a high-speed Internet service, such as DSL or Cable Internet.
A specific radio frequency range that devices on wireless networks use to transmit data.
Connection Manager:
A system utility running on a laptop that allows users to create various wireless connection profiles and quickly switch between them. This tool can be used to find and configure the parameters (SSID, security settings, etc.) that identify the wireless local area networks (WLANs).
Consumer Premises Equipment (CPE):
Any piece of equipment residing within a consumer's home, such as a Wi-Fi modem.
A small text file of information that certain websites attach to a user's hard drive while the user is browsing the website. A Cookie can contain information such as user ID, user preferences, archive shopping cart information, etc.
Data rate:
The rate in which data can be transferred at any given moment to and from a device. Most times, the incoming and outgoing data transfer rates effect each other adversely. For example, if you are uploading a video while loading a webpage, the webpage will load slower than usual due to the upload usage.
A protocol used by network devices, usually during their bootup phase, in order to obtain an Internet Protocol (IP) address.
The process of transforming a given set of data (often of a sensitive nature like passwords and credit card numbers) into something which is not human readable. Usually this "garbled" data is transmitted across a network. Decryption is the process of transforming the "garbled" data back to its original state.
Method whereby a computer, or an entire network of computers, is protected by a software or hardware configuration that monitors and analyzes the incoming and outgoing traffic. Most home users place a firewall between their modem and their computer, thereby protecting themselves from most would-be intruders.
An area serviced by an access point, which allows Wi-Fi clients to connect to a network.
IP Address:
A unique numerical identifier for computers on the network.
How fast data transmits over a network.
The effective distance of a wireless transmission over a specified distance.
The name of a wireless network allowing it to be uniquely identified by client devices.
SSL-Secured Sockets Layer:
A protocol used to secure and encrypt data transmissions.
Usually measured in bps, Kbps, Mbps or Gbps, the amount of data that can be sent from one location to another in a specific amount of time.
VPN, Virtual Private Network:
Allows users to send data across an unsecured network by encrypting the traffic. A VPN has two endpoints and the traffic going between them is incomprehensible to anyone except the other endpoint.
Web Browser:
An application for access, retrieving and viewing information on the World Wide Web (WWW).
An encryption protocol designed as part of some of the first wireless networks. Subsequent analysis has shown that it provides only a minimal level of security.
Wi-Fi (or Wireless):
Abbreviation for "Wireless Fidelity." Allows for network connectivity through radio signals in the home or office without the need for wires.
An abbreviation for Wi-Fi Protection Access. WPA is a second-generation wireless security and authentication protocol designed to overcome some of the known limitations of WEP.
Wi-Fi Node:
Wireless access points throughout the city that communicates via radio with a user's Wi-Fi-enabled device and routes the signal back to the Internet.
Wi-Fi Network Adapter:
A device adding Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) connectivity to a computer. Network adapters can be USB devices that are connected externally or a card installed inside the computer. Bluetooth adapters and cellular adapters are other types of wireless network adapters.
A set of standards for wireless networking established by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). The most famidtar versions of the standard are 802.11b and 802.11g.

Santa Clara Free Wi-Fi