Jargon - A quick and easy guide to help you decipher computer jargon

Asymmetric DSL - allows information to be downloaded more quickly than it is uploaded. This makes it particularly suitable for Internet surfing and for downloading files, music, pictures and sports clips. ADSL is ideal for home and small business use.

Anti-virus software protects your computer against viruses or bugs - programs that install themselves on your hard-drive and are designed to corrupt your files or even ruin the set-up of your computer. The anti-virus software identifies the virus and stops it from installing on your computer. As there are new viruses developed every day, it is vitally important that your anti-virus protection is up-to-date.

Anti-spam protection software ensures that your email account doesn't receive spam, i.e. emails sent to a large number of recipients. Spam emails are often advertisements and can come from dodgy companies that may have bought your email address from a source without your consent.

Any program that you use on your computer, like Microsoft Word or Excel.

The maximum amount of information you can receive over your line at one time, measured in Kilo (thousands) or Mega (millions) bits (binary digits) per second. Bandwidth and broadband 'speed' are different ways of describing broadband capacity.

Computers can only process information that is formatted as a series of zeroes and ones - binary digits or bits - so all letters, documents, sounds and visuals are held as bits. Bandwidth and broadband speed are measured by how many thousands or millions of bits per second can be delivered or received.

Bluetooth technology lets you connect devices such as mobile phones, handheld PCs and PDAs wirelessly over short distances.

Broadband is the common term for a high bandwidth Internet connection - one that can send or download information many times faster than with a standard telephone and modem. 'Broadband' is used to describe any service that offers bandwidth of 128Kbps or greater.

A browser is a programme that allows you to view pages on the internet, i.e. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera or Mozilla Firefox.

8 bits make a byte. A byte is best thought of as the number of bits a computer requires to represent a single letter, numeral or punctuation point. Documents and other files are measured (sized) in thousands or millions of bytes.

While many of the broadband services offered by service providers impose no downloading limit or cap, some service providers have introduced a cap to enable them to offer services at lower cost. With a capped service, you may be required to pay a premium price if your downloads exceed your limit.

Digitally Enhanced Cordless Technology (DECT), also known as digital cordless, provides enhanced call clarity for clear communication.

Dial-up access
Internet access that is not 'always on'. A narrowband (56Kbps) service where you have to dial up in order to log in and establish a connection every time you want to use the Internet.

Bringing information from anywhere in the online world onto your computer at your home or office. You can download almost anything from the Internet - information, documents, maps, music, video - though you may have to pay the information provider for the privilege.

Domain Name System. Domain names are linked to IP addresses, so you only have to type in "www.bt.com/broadband" and the DNS computer finds the correct IP address.

Digital Subscriber Line is the technology that allows ISPs to offer high bandwidth broadband services over an ordinary copper wire phone line.

Digital terrestrial television means using digital technology to provide a greater number of channels (or better quality of picture and sound) through a normal antenna.

Dynamic IP address
Each computer or device connected to the Internet needs its own Internet Protocol (IP) address. Devices and sites that are constantly connected to the Internet usually have a static IP address so the Domain Name System (DNS) can reliably route traffic to the right place. When you connect as an individual to the Internet you are usually assigned a dynamic IP address - it's your computer's address on the Internet for the duration of that connection and ceases to be your address when you log out.

E(lectronic) mail. Emails for which users will require a valid email address consisting of a name and a server name, separated by the ubiquitous @ symbol. The Queen sent her first email in 1976.

Ethernet is the standard way of connecting computers and devices over a Local Area Network (LAN) in the home or workplace. Recent computers will be factory fitted with an Ethernet card and socket. Ethernet cables linking computers and devices should not extend further than 100 metres.

A security device that stops others having uninvited access to your computer. Hardware firewalls are built into devices such as routers. Software firewalls are special computer programs loaded onto your devices. Your service provider will advise you on appropriate security measures.

You can play games over the internet against players all around the world. There are some games that you can play directly on a website or, with broadband, you can connect your Xbox or Playstation and play your favorite games live with others online.

GAP stands for (Generic Access Profile) which is a common interface that allows phones to talk to base stations. You can add up to 5 additional handsets to your existing GAP-compatible base station without requiring any additional phone sockets. Most digital phones are available as singles, twins, trios or quads so that you can have a phone virtually in every room of the house! When sold together, e.g. a quad (containing 4 phones), they are already set-up to work from one telephone socket.

Pieces of equipment including your PC or notebook computer, printer, scanner, modem, router.

High Definition (HD) is also short for High Definition television - which means broadcast of television signals with a higher resolution than traditional formats allow. It's a step change in television technology which provides far clearer and more detailed pictures than normal "standard definition" TV.

A Wireless Home Hub is a fully featured modem, router and wireless hub that lets you share your broadband connection with other family or household members. And it lets you do it across a range of devices - both wired and wireless.

Instant messaging
You can use instant messaging systems to chat and share information at any time, on any of the many commercial messaging systems available to chat, share information and even see your friends and family at any time you like, without incurring additional call costs.

IP address
Every computer or device connected to the Internet has its own IP address. IP addresses can be dynamic (varying with each connection) or static so the Domain Name System (DNS) can reliably route traffic to the right destination site.

Internet Service Provider.

Integrated Services Digital Network lines predate broadband, offering speeds of up to 128Kbps. Although ISDN services are still available, most homes and businesses will find broadband offers better value.

The size of a file expressed in thousands of bytes.

Local Area Network. Computers can be linked together in a workplace or home to form a Local Area Network. Computers on a LAN can be linked by cable or wirelessly to each other and to the Internet.

The full name is Yahoo LauchCast. It's a personalised radio station where you can play music online. As you vote for the songs you like, Yahoo! LaunchCast learns your taste and will play music that it thinks you will like.

Machine to machine, man or mobile. M2M applications are about making machines talk - they allow information from machines to be shared with people or central information systems, thereby enabling real time control and monitoring. So the vending machine can automatically contact the suppliers to let them know a products has run out.

The size of a file expressed in millions of bytes.

ADSL broadband requires separate voice and data channels on your phone line at home or the office. Microfilters - sometimes called 'splitters' - are attached to every phone socket on your line to keep the channels separate.

Technically, a 'modulator-demodulator'. You need one at your home or office linked to another in the telephone exchange to receive and transmit high-speed digital signals over your copper wire phone line. Your service provider may provide or recommend a particular modem. A modem capable of providing service to more than one computer at your home or office is called a router.

A group of two or more computer systems linked together. There are many types of computer networks: Local-area Networks (LANs) - The computers are geographically close together (that is, in the same building); Wide-area Networks (WANs) - The computers are farther apart and are connected by telephone lines or radio waves; Home-area Networks (HANs) - A network contained within a user's home that connects a person's digital devices.

Connected to the Internet.

Parental Control
Parental Control enables you to decide which websites your children may and may not visit, in order to protect them from porn or sites with a violent or offensive content.

Personal Digital Assistant. Generic description for any palm-sized or handheld PC or other online device.

Phishing are emails pretending to be from a known and trusted company, like your bank, phone company or ebay, where they ask you to "re-submit" your personal details, password or even account number. They can be hard to distinguish from genuine emails as the appearance and design will look identical to official communications. The biggest clue that these emails are from bogus individuals or corporations is that the official company they 'claim' to be from NEVER request such information by email. This is a tool for fraud and identity theft.

Post Office Protocol. POP collects email messages addressed to you and downloads them to your computer when you check your email. You cannot store your messages on a POP email server. Make a note of your POP (incoming mail) server in case of problems with email.

Pop-up blocker
Pop-ups are small windows that open when you are on a website. They often contain advertisements, surveys or links to other Internet sites. The pop-up blocker stops them from appearing and obstructing your view.

A Portal is a web site or service that offers a broad array of resources and services, such as email, forums, search engines and on-line shopping malls. The first Web portals were online services, such as AOL, that provided access to the Web, but by now most of the traditional search engines have transformed themselves into Web portals to attract and keep a larger audience.

The Public Switched Telephone Network is the proper name for BT's UK phone network.

Mesh radio is a high capacity wireless network where information is received and transmitted at broadband speeds via an antenna at your home or office.

A modem capable of providing service to more than one computer in your home or office.

With an always-on connection, it is important to minimise the possibility of any interference with your computer and systems. Your service provider will advise on appropriate precautions to take and these should include both firewall and virus protection.

Service provider
DSL broadband services are usually bought through an ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Set Top Box
A Set Top box (STB) is a device that enables a television set to become a interface to the Internet and also lets the television to receive digital television (DTV) broadcasts. DTV set-top boxes are sometimes called receivers. Freeview is a type of Set Top box.

Using a high speed broadband connection, it's easy to share large data files - your music, photos and videos - with others around the world.

The computer programs that make the hardware work and provide the tools and facilities you want to use.

The maximum amount of information you can receive over your line at one time, measured in Kilo (thousands) or Mega (millions) bits (binary digits) per second. Speed and 'bandwidth' are different ways of describing broadband capacity.

Spyware is software that covertly gathers user information through the user's internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of free or to share software programs that can be downloaded from the Internet; however, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and freeware applications do not come with spyware. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.

A STB (Set Top Box) is a device that enables a television set to become a interface to the Internet and also lets the television to receive digital television (DTV) broadcasts. DTV set-top boxes are sometimes called receivers. Freeview is a type of Set Top box.

A broadcast flow of continuous broadband information such as a sports event or a live concert broadcast.

Making your way around the World Wide Web from site to site.

Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol. All information travels across the Internet in small 'packets' that are reassembled into the full message on arrival at the destination. TCP/IP is the mechanism that controls this and it is the basis of all Internet communications.

Sending information from your home or office to any recipient with a computer connected to the Internet. With ADSL broadband, uploading information takes longer than downloading it.

Universal Serial Bus. USB is a simple pluggable technology used to connect all kinds of devices including keyboards, mouse, digital cameras, disc drives to your computer.

VoIP Voice Over Internet Protocol
This technology allows you to make calls through your computer by the help of a microphone or headset.

A small camera that sits on or by your computer that allows people you are connected with on an instant messaging or videoconferencing system to see you. If they have a webcam too, you can have a full two-way audio and visual connection over your broadband line.

Wireless broadband that is available at 'hotspots' in thousands of public locations across the UK and around the world. Airports, railway stations, motorway services, cafes, shops and bars increasingly offer broadband access. All you need is a notebook computer with a wireless networking card fitted; you can buy vouchers for access online.

Wireless access point
For access to wireless broadband services you need to be within range of a public wireless access point, also known as a hotspot. There are already thousands of hotspots around the UK and across the world. All you need is a notebook computer or other device that has a card installed for wireless networking and vouchers for access that can be bought online.

Wireless adapter
Each computer or device requires a wireless networking card or adapter to be fitted to connect to a wireless network in the home or workplace or at any one of thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots.

Wireless broadband
Using the special router, you can link your computers and other devices to your broadband line wirelessly. Each device needs a wireless networking card fitted.

Wireless networking
Using a special router, you can link your computers and other devices to your broadband line wirelessly. Each device needs a wireless networking card fitted.