Wireless Printing Center
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Wireless Printing Center
Choose from this list of commonly used wireless printing terms for complete definitions.
Terms A - E
I802.11 and 802.11x refers to a family of specifications developed by the IEEE for wireless LAN (WLAN) technology. 802.11x specifies an over-the-air interface between a wireless device and a base station (access point or router) or between two wireless devices (like in an ad hoc network). Examples of 802.11 specifications include 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n.
An access point transmits radio waves to allow wireless networking. Wireless devices (such as printers or laptop computers) can connect to a network through an access point. Many routers have built in access points, and are referred to as "wireless routers."
An ad hoc network is a group of devices, such as computers or printers, connected as an independent network. An ad hoc network does not use a wireless router, so the devices cannot connect to the Internet. If the devices have wireless capability, you can create a wireless ad hoc network. You can also use Ethernet cables, but special cables, called Crossover cables, are needed for device-to-device connections.
Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a formal encryption method adopted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the US Government, and is accepted worldwide. It is the newest and most secure way of encrypting data on your wireless network. It is sometimes referred to as WPA2.
Auto IP address
If a network device is not assigned an IP address by a DHCP router or given an IP address through manual or static IP address assignment, the device will assign an IP address to itself, commonly called an Auto IP address. Auto IP addresses are in the range of 169.254.0.0 and 169.254.255.255.
If you live in an area with a lot of wireless network traffic, there may be other wireless networks using wireless channels that are close to the channel used by your network. If two channels are within five channels of each other, this is called channel overlap. An example is your wireless network is using channel 6 and your neighbor is using channel 4. This situation can degrade your network performance (and your neighbor's). It is best to be at least 5 (or more) channels away from the nearest channel. For the example above you could use channels 9, 10 or 11. Most routers allow you to manually select a channel to use for your wireless network.
A gateway is an address (the main IP address of a wireless network's router, for example) on a network that serves as an access point to another network (such as the Internet). You can use your default gateway to access your wireless router's configuration page by typing the default gateway address into the address bar of a browser.
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. A network protocol used by devices such as computers and printers to obtain configuration information so that they can operate on a network.
An Internet connection method that uses existing telephone lines in the house and is the slowest form of data transfer. If the dial-up modem is in use, the phone cannot be used.
Digital Subscriber Line. A high-speed Internet service that competes with cable Internet to provide online access. DSL operates over standard copper telephone lines like dial-up service, but is many times faster than dial-up. In addition to being faster than dial-up, DSL coexists with the telephone service, allowing users to surf the Net and use the phone at the same time.
Dynamic IP address
A dynamic IP address is assigned to a device on a network by a DHCP server (typically a router in a wireless network). When a device disconnects from a network, it obtains a different IP address from the DHCP server when it reconnects. This allows the DHCP server to manage a pool of IP addresses without user intervention.
Encryption is a way to protect your wireless network from unwelcome users. It is optional but strongly recommended. By employing an encryption method, a password or key is used to code all of the messages sent over the wireless network. Only those devices that know the name of your network and the password can find and decode any network communications. The most common types of encryption are WEP and WPA.
A networking cable (similar to a telephone cable, but thicker) that allows a device (computer, printer, etc) to connect to a high-speed network.
A common connection point for devices in a network. A hub contains multiple ports. When a packet of data arrives at one port, it is copied to the other ports so that all devices connected to the hub can see all packets. This difference between a hub and a router is that routers can route data packets to a specific device connected to the router so that all devices do not receive it.
Embedded Web Server. A web server that exists within a device such as a wireless router, that allows you to configure security and other settings. The EWS of a device can be accessed by opening a web browser and entering the IP address of the device into the address box of the browser (where you would normally enter URLs to access web sites).
Terms F - M
Fiber Optic Service. A data communication service that uses fiber optic cables to transfer data using pulses of light. Competes with cable and DSL Internet service providers.
Any software program or hardware device designed to prevent computers on a network from communicating directly with external computers by filtering the information coming through the Internet connection into your private network or computer. A Firewall keeps hackers out and personal data in by acting as a barrier through which all information passing between the network or computer and external systems must pass.
Gateway IP address
This is the IP address of your wireless router.
High Speed Cable
Uses a local cable TV line (not a phone line) to connect to the Internet, allowing continuous connection to the Internet. The phone can be used while your computer is connected to the Internet.
A common connection point for devices on a network. A hub contains multiple ports. When a packet of data arrives at the input port, it is sent to all of the output ports so that all devices connected to the hub receive the packets. The difference between a hub and a router is that routers can route data packets to specific devices connected to the router so that all devices do not receive it.
The most common type of home network, also referred to as "standard". An infrastructure network uses a router, hub or access point to connect different devices on the network.
An IP address is a series of numbers by which computers, printers and other devices on a network are known. An IP address is usually issued by the local wireless router (network) from its DHCP service. A device is given an IP address that is similar to the wireless router's IP address. For example, if the wireless router's IP address is 192.168.1.1, a printer may be given an IP address of 192.168.1.5.
(IP CONFIGuration). A Windows command line utility that is used to manage the IP address assigned to the machine it is running in. Used without any additional parameters, it displays the computer's currently assigned IP, subnet mask and default gateway addresses. IPCONFIG has several command line switches (parameters). For example, "IPCONFIG /all" displays a variety of data, including the computer's name (host name), Ethernet MAC address, and DNS server addresses.
Internet Service Provider – A company that provides your home's Internet service. Examples include cable, DSL or FIOS Internet services.
Local Area Network. A network that is usually contained within a single building and typically has several computers and other devices, such as printers, connected to it. Wireless networks are called local area networks.
MAC stands for Media Access Control. Every device capable of networking (computers, printers routers, etc.) is given a unique physical serial number by its manufacturer for use in network communication.
A type of network that uses both Ethernet cable and wireless radio signals to connect multiple devices and share an Internet connection and other resources.
An electronic device designed to connect a single computer to the Internet. The word modem is an acronym for MOdulate and DEModulate. In order to connect to the Internet with a modem, you need service from an Internet service provider. An Internet service provider offers different ways to connect to the Internet: dial-up, high speed cable, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), or FiOS.
Terms N - Z
A network adapter interfaces a device like a computer to a network. The term "adapter" was popularized originally as a reference to Ethernet add-in cards for PCs. Modern network adapter hardware exists in several forms. Most wireless network adapter gear for laptop computers is built in as an integrated circuit chip.
The ability to move around with a wireless networked device. If you have a wireless network at home, your notebook can roam to different rooms while remaining connected to your home network provided you are within range of the wireless signal.
A method of protecting information, computer programs, and other computer assets. Most Security software includes anti-virus protection, and some security software will also include other features, like a software firewall program.
Service Set Identifier. A user specified name that identifies a particular 802.11x wireless network.
Static IP address
An IP address manually given to a device that will not change even if connected to a router with DHCP.
Temporal Key Integrity Protocol, or TKIP, is an encryption method designed as a replacement for WEP without having to replace legacy hardware. The need for this arose when WEP was breached, and Wi-Fi networks were left vulnerable. However, TKIP uses the same underlying mechanism as WEP, and consequently is vulnerable to attack. It is sometimes referred to as WPA-personal. TKIP is not supported on 802.11n networks.
Virtual Private Network - A secure network that is layered on top of an existing network. The private nature of a VPN means that the data traveling over the VPN is not generally visible to the other computers or printers on the existing network. An example of this is a computer that is connected on a home network as well as over a VPN connection will not have access to other devices connected on the home network such as a wireless printer.
Wide Area Network. A long-distance communications network that covers a wide geographic area, such as a state or country. Telephone companies and cellular carriers deploy WANs to service large regional areas or the entire nation. Large enterprises have their own private WANs to link remote offices, using the Internet (the worlds largest WAN) for connectivity.
Wired Equivalent Privacy. This encryption standard was the original encryption standard for wireless communication. WEP was designed to provide the same level of security as a wired network, but has since been compromised and is now relatively easy for hackers to break by finding the key.
A wireless radio signal that allows a device such as a computer or printer to connect to a high speed network. (Also called IEEE 802.11).
Wireless network communication between network devices happens over a specific frequency also called a channel. There are several channels available for this communication. Typically the wireless router will chose a specific channel for all wireless network communication on a home network. Most routers allow the user to manually select a channel as well. Sometime choosing a different channel can improve network performance (see channel overlap).
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) or Wireless Network. A network in which data is transmitted without wires, increasing user mobility and access to data.
A wireless router is networking hardware that allows both wired and wireless devices to connect to a network. When connected to a wireless router, devices such as computers, printers, and other Wi-Fi enabled electronics can share one Internet connection AND connect to each other. Connections can be made to the wireless router through a wireless connection or a wired connection using an Ethernet cable.
Wi-Fi Protected Access is considered a much more secure encryption method than WEP. However, some early network products only support WEP, which is why some users still use it. WPA2 is the latest version of WPA.
Wi-Fi Protected Setup. Enables users to easily configure new wireless networks, add new devices and enable security on their wireless network.