Glossary of networking terms

A compilation of essential networking terms with links to in-depth definitions.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) is sofware that can manage and enforce the routing of WAN traffic to the appropriate wide-area connection based on policies that can take into consideration factors including cost, link performance, time of day, and application needs based on policies. Like its bigger technology brother, software-defined networking, SD-WAN decouples the control plane from the data plane.

  • VPN

Virtual private networks (VPNs) can create secure remote-access and site-to-site connections inexpensively, can be an option in SD-WANs, and are proving useful in IoT.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi refers to the wireless LAN technologies that utilize the IEEE 802.11 standards for communications. Wi-Fi products use radio waves to transmit data to and from devices with Wi-Fi software clients to access points that route the data to the connected wired network..

  • 802.11ad

802.11ad is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standard, developed to provide a multiple gigabit wireless system standard at 60 GHz frequency, and is a networking standard for WiGig networks.

  • 802.11ay

802.11ay is a proposed enhancement to the current (2021) technical standards for Wi-Fi. It is the follow-up to IEEE 802.11ad, quadrupling the bandwidth and adding MIMO up to 8 streams. It will be the second WiGig standard.

  • 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)

802.11ax, officially marketed by the Wi-Fi Alliance as Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, is an IEEE standard for wireless local-area networks and the successor of 802.11ac. It is also known as High Efficiency Wi-Fi, for the overall improvements to Wi-Fi 6 clients under dense environments.

  • Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6E is an extension of Wi-Fi 6 unlicensed wireless technology operating in the 6GHz band, and it provides lower latency and faster data rates than Wi-Fi 6. The spectrum also has a shorter range and supports more channels than bands that were already dedicated to Wi-Fi, making it suitable for deployment in high-density areas like stadiums.

  • Beamforming

Beamforming is a technique that focuses a wireless signal towards a specific receiving device, rather than having the signal spread in all directions from a broadcast antenna, as it normally would. The resulting more direct connection is faster and more reliable than it would be without beamforming.

  • Controllerless Wi-Fi

It’s no longer necessary for enterprises to install dedicated Wi-Fi controllers in their data centers because that function can be distributed among access points or moved to the cloud, but it’s not for everybody.

  • MU-MIMO

MU-MIMO stands for multi-user, multiple input, multiple output, and is wireless technology supported by routers and endpoint devices. MU-MIMO is the next evolution from single-user MIMO (SU-MIMO), which is generally referred to as MIMO. MIMO technology was created to help increase the number of simultaneous users a singel access point can support, which was initially achieved by increasing the number of antennas on a wireless router.

  • OFDMA

Orthogonal frequency-division multiple-access (OFDMA) provides Wi-Fi 6 with high throughput and more network efficiency by letting multiple clients connect to a single access point simultaneously.

  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)

802.11ax, officially marketed by the Wi-Fi Alliance as Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, is an IEEE standard for wireless local-area networks and the successor of 802.11ac. It is also known as High Efficiency Wi-Fi, for the overall improvements to Wi-Fi 6 clients under dense environments.

  • Wi-Fi standards and speeds

Ever-improving Wi-Fi standards make for denser, faster Wi-Fi networks.

  • WPA3

The WPA3 Wi-Fi security standard tackles WPA2 shortcomings to better secure personal, enterprise, and IoT wireless networks.

Related:

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022