AAx Internet Glossary

A Reference of Names, Terms and Protocols used on The Internet





Internet / Intranet / Extranet

The Internet is a loosly organized network of servers, each owned and operated by a completely different entity, all hooked together through routers and using open Internet Protocols to form a cooperative whole.

An Intranet is a network built on the same principles and protocols as the Internet, but which is contained entirely within an organization's facility.

An Extranet is an Intranet which allows some access from outside, particularly by business partners.

ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) sponsored a wide area network called ARPANET. Today ARPA is called DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and the network is called The Internet.

Domain, Top-Level Domain, Domain Name Internet URL addresses are composed of a number increasingly broad entities as you read from left to right. Some of these are domain names (the following is a simplified explanation). Examples:

  • service or mailbox - the service you are requesting from the address.
    • (mailbox_name)@ - e-mail.
    • http:// - Web Pages - served by the http daemon.
    • ftp:// - File Transfer - served by the ftp daemon.
  • server_name - named by its owner and registered. Often www for web servers
  • subnet - named by its owner (mostly in very large organizations) and registered.
  • domain_name - named by and registered by its owner. This name must be unique and not registered by any other entity within the selected top-level domain.
  • subdomain - selected from appropriate standards for country_code top-level domains.
  • top-level_domain or country_code - selected from appropriate standard Top-Level Domains or ISO3166 Country Codes.
UK & New Zealand Only - In these locations internet name ordering is reversed! The e-mail system will handle this reversal when you send mail too and from, but you may see addresses on stationary, business cards, etc. that is reversed. For example: joeshmoe@uk.co.megacorp.mailserver. If yu aren't sending from one of those places, you must type conventionally - joeshmoe@mailserver.megacorp.co.uk.

Top-Level Domains

  • .(country_code) - everywhere except the U.S. the top-level domain name is an ISO3166 Country Code (actually, there is a .us country code, but it's administration is so screwed up nobody uses it). Country Code top-level domains have standard subdomains which vary from country to country. Common examples are:
    • .ac - Academic
    • .co - Commercial
    • .com - Commercial
    • .edu - Educational
    • .gov - Government
    • .gv - Government
    • .or - Other
    • .org - Other
    • .oz - ASCnet (Australian General Access Network)
  • .com - Commercial
  • .edu - Educational
  • .gov - Government
  • .mil - Military
  • .net - Networking organizations
  • .org - Organizations
  • .int - International
  • .nato - NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

ISP - Internet Service Provicer
Most Internet users connect through an ISP. These range from strictly local bedroom operations to national and international network organizations. ISPs connect either to other ISPs or to a backbone carrier company. ISPs have one or more POP (Point of Presence) that you can dial into or connect to through a dedicated line. A large ISP will have hundreds of POPs throughout their service region, each with multiple local phone numbers and dedicated connections.

Gopher, Archie, Veronica - Gopher Internet information servers and utilities to search them and retrieve files. Mostly in academic use, and fading fast due to WWW services.

FTP - (File Transfer Protocol) - An Internet protocol for transfering files from one computer to another using the TCP/IP protocol. It is also used on LANs, VANs, and even single cables because it is platform agnostic.

Schema - The W3C XML working group defining the structure, content and symantics of XML documents.

TCP/IP - Tranmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol - The essential transport protocols of the Internet (and now many LANs, VANs an WANs). IP is charged with geting data from source to destination through bridges and routers. TCP is charged with seeing that it gets there and gets there in good condition.

SLIP - Serial Line Internet Protocol - a protocol for establishing an IP network connection over serial lines (and modems). It is being replaced by the more sophisticated PPP protocol in many applications.

PPP - Point to Point Protocol - a protocol for establishing an IP network connection over serial lines and modems. It is replacing SLIP in many applications. Your modem connection to your ISP is probably a PPP connection.

UUCP - Unix to Unix Copy Program - a Unix protocol and set of utility programs for copying files from one Unix computer to another. Also used as an early Unix e-mail system. UUCP addressing for e-mail included the "!" character as the delimiter between components of the address.

UDP - User Datagram Protocol - Another protocol carried over IP networks. UDP does not include the verification of delivery functions of TCP.

SGML - Standard Generalized Markup Language. A scheme for defining the appearance of documents using visible plain text "tags" for easy interpretation by diverse programs.

HTML - HyperText Markup Language - a subset of SGML specifically selected for use with World Wide Web browsers on the Internet.

XML - eXtensible Markup Language - A World Wide Web standard extending HTML by allowing user to create new tags enclosing new data types. It is being developed by the W3C Schema Working Group. Basically, HTML is for WWW documents, XML for data.

XML uses a component called a DTD (Data Type Definition) to define custom data types within an XML document. The DTD can be part of the XML document, or it can be stored seperately.

WSDL - Web Services Description Language
UDDI - Universal Description, Discovery and Integration
UDDI is a
B2B effort by IBM and Ariba, later joined by Microsoft, using WSDL, an extension of XML to establish a central database where businesses can discover the e-commerce capabilities of prospective trading partners. Particularly which versions of EDI and which XML extensions are available.

MIME, S/MIME, PGP/MIME - Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions - an Internet e-mail content protocol. MIME defines how objects of data types other than plain text can be attached or included within an e-mail message. S/MIME and PGP/MIME allow "secure" transmittal of e-mail content by two methods of encryption.

UUENCODE, UUDECODE - Unix to Unix Encode / Decode - a scheme by which data which is not plain text can be sent over email and other connections designed for 7-bit plain text messages.

POP, POP3 - Post Office Protocol - an Internet server protocol for storage and delivery of e-mail. Today it is the most popular post office protocol for delivery of mail, but will be slowly replaced by the more capable IMAP4 protocol. Mail is generally sent through an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server process which passes it to a POP or IMAP4 (or other) post office for access by clients.

IMPP - Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol. Instant messaging is a form of e-mail like communications between people who are currently logged onto the network. Popup windows informs a computer user of incoming messages. The field is currently dominated by AOL (America On Line), which blocks any significant competitor from linking their own instant messaging system to AOL's. This severely limits the usefullness of the format. The IETF is working on IMPP, a true Internet standard to bring all Instant Messaging systems together.

RFC - Request For Comment - Proposed Internet standards issued by the IETF. The RFC number is retained even after approval.

  • RFC822 - Standard for the Format of ARPA-Internet Text messages - Internet e-mail format standard.

SMTP - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol - the Internet server protocol used to send email to a post office. It is very rarely used for storage or delivery of the mail, that is done by POP, IMAP4, or a proprietary post office protocol. Of course, Microsoft Exchange Server insists on an SMTP server to fetch mail from, and that makes it a real pain in the but.

Usenet, NNTP - Internet Newsgroups are similar to e-mail, but messages are open for all subscribers to read and respond to. There are about 30,000 newsgroups on every subject immaginable. A central clearing group approves new newsgroups, but "unsanctioned" groups are very common, and use the "alt" prefix. NNTP (Network News Transport Protocol is the Internet protocol for transport of Usenet messages over TCP/IP.

LDAP - Lightweight Directory Access Protocol - an Internet e-mail directory standard based on X.500. LDAP is gaining popularity over full X.500 because X.500 is too complex to be useful.

DNS - Domain Name Service - a service provided by a Domain Name Server which translates domain names into real Internet (IP) addresses. Thus www.aaxnet.com might translate to If you know the actual address you don't need a DNS Server, but if you use URLs, your TCIP setup must know the actual IP address of of an available DNS Server.

PPP - Point to Point Protocol - a protocol for making IP network connections over serial cables and modems. Currently replacint SLIP.

SLIP - Serial Line Internet Protocol - a protocol for making IP network connections over serial cables and modems. Being supplanted by PPP (Point to Point Protocol).

MPLS - Multiprotocol Label Switching - a protocol under development to provide shorthand address labels for Internet packets. By reading these labels routers wouldn't have to analyze the packet to find out where it goes. It would also enable routing along a predefined path rather than the "best efforts" method used by current Internet protocols.

URL - Uniform Resource Locater - the full internet address of a Web page or other object. Generally in the format www.aaxnet.com/glos.html#url (the address of this particular definition you are looking at). It is in the form (server_name).(network_name). (top_level_network)/(page_name)#(paragraph_name). The URL is preceeded by a serivice request, http:// being a request for a web page and ftp:// being a request for a file transfer service.

BITNET - An academic and research network based on the IBM RSCS protocols. EARN, NetNorth and others are technically part of BITNET, but geographically limited.

WAIS - Wide Area Information Service - A network search and information retrieval service originally for libraries and bibliographic information. Based on an ANSI standard (Z39.50).

WWW - World Wide Web - the most prominent of the many Internet services. This service is provided by the http daemon on a host server and accessed through client software called a Web browser.

Most Internet users think of the WWW service as "The Internet". They do not even realize that other services exist, or that when they ask for mail or a file download they are actually using the mail and ftp services using client software built into their Web browser.

DoS, DDoS - Denial of Service, Distributed Denial of ervice - hacker gambits which deny anyone access to a server by flooding it with phony or damaged requests. Synflood and Smurfing are the major varieties. DDoS is the more sophisticated method which "recruits" improperly configured computers all over the Internet as "zombies". The zombies all launch an attack against a single target when they receive a signal.

Script Kiddie - Wannabe hacker, generally with little technical knowledge, but able to download "point and click" hacker kits from the Internet and launching them against unhardened targets.

BFWTS - Big Freak'n Web Tone Switch - Scott McNealy's vision of the future for Sun Microsystems. He wants Sun servers to become the Internet equivalent of the SS7 switchs that run the telephone system, providing "Web Tone", the always available Internet services equivalent of the telephone dial tone.

To Be Determined

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©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access
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