This page is our broadband glossary where we list several terms related to internet service and what they mean. If you have any suggestions for how we can improve this page, or if there are any terms that you think we should include, please feel free to contact us and let us know. We’ll add the terms and their definitions as soon as possible.
3G – Used to describe a wireless network. Download speeds must be at least 384kbps to be labeled 3G, or third generation wireless technology.
4G – Used to describe the 4th generation of wireless technology. Two fourth generation wireless technologies exists (as of now), LTE and WiMax.
ASDL – Stands for “asymmetric digital subscriber line.” This is the standard line used for DSL internet, and means that the upload and download lines are a different size or bandwidth. Usually the download bandwidth is larger, since download speeds are considered to be more important (for most people) than upload speeds.
Bandwidth – How much data can be transferred at one time; usually measured in Mbps. Often confused with internet speed.
Bandwidth Throttling – Term used to describe an internet service provider narrowing the amount of bandwidth someone receives. For example, if your normal internet speed is 7 Mbps, then your internet service provider might throttle your bandwidth to 3 Mbps.
Broadband – Another term used to describe high speed internet service.
Cable Internet – Cable is a high speed connection that enables you to access the internet. It uses the same type of cable (connection) to access cable TV.
Cloud Storage – Third party servers that are made available for digital (data/file) storage. For example, you can store your family photos and important documents.
Coverage Map – A map that shows you where you can go (or live) and still have access to the internet or a 3G or 4G wireless network. Each internet provider will have a unique coverage map.
Data – A general term to describe content that someone might up/download to their computer or phone via the internet, such as videos, emails, web pages and music.
Data Allowance – The amount of content a person can up/download during a billing cycle. Usually measured in GB or MB.
Data Cap – The maximum amount of data a person can up/download during a billing cycle before having their bandwidth throttled, internet shut off or facing overage fees.
Dial Up – A type of internet connection that uses the phone lines. Dialup is the slowest form of internet access, as well as the cheapest.
Dongle – Another word for USB or stick. More commonly used in European countries.
DSL – A type of internet connection that uses the phone lines to transmit data. DSL came after dialup and was the first high speed internet connection. Speeds top out at 5-7 Mbps.
Facebook – A social network platform where users can connect with friends and family from all over the world.
Fiber Optics – A type of internet connection that is made up of thin glass fibers to transmit data.
FiOS – Verizon’s fiber optics internet connection.
GBps – An abbreviation for gigabytes per second.
Gbps – An abbreviation for gigabits per second.
Hotspot – An area where there is a wireless (wi-fi) internet signal.
Internet Service Provider – A company that provides internet access.
ISP – An abbreviation for internet service provider.
Latency – The amount of delay for data to make a round trip. Usually measured in ms (milliseconds) when used when talking about internet connections.
LTE – An abbreviation for long term evolution. A technology used for mobile internet.
MBps – An abbreviation for megabytes per second.
Mbps – An abbreviation for megabits per second.
Modem – A piece of equipment that changes analog waves to digital so that it can display on your computer. A modem connects you to the internet.
Naked DSL – Naked DSL is having an internet connection using DSL, but without having a phone line.
Overage Fees – Fees assessed for exceeding your data allowance or the internet service provider’s data cap.
Pay As You Go – A prepaid alternative to buying internet service (instead of a monthly plan).
Peak Usage Time – The time of day when most people are using the internet simultaneously, usually after work.
Ping Rate – Another term to describe latency.
Pinterest – A content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their personal page or pin board, and share that with others.
Router – An optional piece of equipment that sits between your modem and computer that takes the signal and sends it to other computers on your network wirelessly.
SIM Card – An abbreviation for subscriber identity module. Used to identify and authenticate internet and cell phone users.
SMS – An abbreviation for short message service. Another term used for text message.
Tether – To take your cell phone or tablet and turn it into a “hotspot” for your other devices. A way to access the internet with a device that doesn’t have internet access, by connecting it to a device that does.
Twitter – A social media platform where users can follow other users (or be followed) and communicate by creating short snippets no longer than 140 characters long.
USB – An abbreviation for universal serial bus. Used to either store files or connect to the internet.
VoIP – Stands for voice over internet protocol. A way to talk to someone on the phone using a microphone or web camera over the internet.
Wi-Fi – A term used for wireless internet or wireless signal.