Home networking basics
A Glossary For The Networking Novice
For businesses and employees, it’s crucial to understand how home networks becomes office networks amid social distancing orders and an inevitable increase in remote work.
Home networks weren’t developed to support the same capacity as office networks, which can make the transition from on-premise work to remote work a challenge for work from home newbies.
To help with this, we’ve put together a glossary of some common home network basics to foster technical understanding and streamline communication between teams.
In networking, a connection refers to pieces of related information that are transferred through a network. This generally infers that a connection is built before the data transfer (by following the procedures laid out in a protocol) and then is deconstructed at the at the end of the data transfer.
Local Area Network (LAN)
LAN refers to a network or a portion of a network that is not publicly accessible to the greater internet. A home or office network is an example of a LAN.
Wide Area Network (WAN)
WAN means a network that is much more extensive than a LAN. While WAN is the relevant term to use to describe large, dispersed networks in general, it is usually meant to mean the internet, as a whole.
Voice over IP
VoIP is the technology that converts your voice into a digital signal, allowing you to make a call directly from a computer, a VoIP phone, or other data-driven devices. Simply put, it’s phone service delivered over the internet. You may also hear it referred to as IP telephony, internet telephony, broadband telephony, or broadband phone service.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPN is a means of connecting separate LANs through the internet, while maintaining privacy. This is used as a means of connecting remote systems as if they were on a local network, often for security reasons.
A router acts as a gateway for networked devices to connect to the internet or to other networks, as data passes through a router to travel between one or more networks and the router directs the traffic to its destination. While a modem provides internet connectivity, a router divvies up that connectivity to connected devices and interconnects the rest of the LAN so those devices can communicate. Routers are staples of both home and office networks.
A switch operates similarly to a router, but a switch enables communication only between points on a single network, not between different networks. Switches are most commonly found in LANs that use Ethernet as their main source of network connectivity.
Remote access is an essential part of home network basics, as remote employees require access to their corporate networks for business applications and resources. If employees have remote access – either through a VPN or another remote access technology – they can connect to their companies’ networks from somewhere other than the company’s premises. Remote access capabilities enable home networks to act as similar to corporate office networks as possible.
Latency is generally synonymous with delay. If a network connection has low latency, the connection has a low delay time as packets – or units of data – travel from one network point to another. High latency means higher delay times, which lead to longer load times and buffering video or audio streams.
Bandwidth is generally synonymous with capacity. If an employee has sufficient bandwidth, then that person’s network connection link can support large amounts of data per second as traffic moves from the employee’s device to another point on the network. Bandwidth may decrease or become less sufficient if one or more employees who work from home simultaneously are both on video conference calls.
About Plow Networks
Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee in 2012, the founders of Plow Networks came together over a shared vision of offering businesses a unique and best-in-class experience by providing them with a single partner for all of their technology needs.
Businesses are looking for simplicity and a partner they can trust. Plow Networks gives its clients confidence and peace of mind by analyzing their business needs and recommending solutions that Plow Networks can architect, implement, support, and operate; so businesses can focus on growing and achieving their goals. As a result, Plow Networks is now a leading Total Service Provider (TSP) in the IT industry.