The Internet from A to Z

Have you ever tried to troubleshoot your internet and have found yourself confused? Internet lingo can seem complex and ...

Have you ever tried to troubleshoot your internet and have found yourself confused? Internet lingo can seem complex and isolating if you don’t know the terms. Here at All West, we want to help you keep up and become an expert when it comes to being online.

From A to Z, here are 26 terms to help you understand the internet like a professional.

A – Authentication

Authentication is the process of verifying a user’s identity to prove they have permission to an account. It is typically based on a username, password and a second type of verification, such as a PIN sent to a phone number/email or a security question. Commonly known as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), this is an essential tool that adds an extra layer of security to your important accounts to keep them protected.

B – Broadband

Broadband is high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than traditional dial-up access. This type of internet access runs on cable, which makes large amounts of data transmission to be possible. Broadband comes in many different forms: DSL, Fiber, Coax Cable and Satellite. The form you can get at your home depends on the infrastructure of the internet service providers near you.

C – Coax

Coax cable internet is one of the forms of broadband internet. Coax cables are used to carry both TV and internet signals. With a coax internet plan, your speeds are asymmetric. This means the download speeds are lower than the upload speeds. All West offers both coax and fiber plans. Visit our website to see what’s available in your area.

D – Download Speed

Your download speed is how many megabits per second (Mbps) it takes to download images, videos, text and more from a server to your device. Having high-speed internet with a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps (according to the FCC) allows you to listen to music, download large files or stream your favorite TV shows.

E – Ethernet Cable

An ethernet cable allows you to have a faster, more stable internet connection. Wi-Fi connections don’t use wires, while an ethernet cable physically connects your computer to the internet. It’s often referred to as a local area network (LAN). If you find yourself having issues with your Wi-Fi connection, connecting to your network via ethernet cable can give you a faster connection. All you need to do is locate an ethernet port in your home and connect to it through your laptop with a cord.

F – Fiber Optic

Fiber optic technology uses light instead of electricity to carry a signal. It can carry high bandwidth signals over long distances and provide symmetrical upload and download speeds. Fiber-optic cables are less susceptible to severe weather conditions than other types of traditional cables, which helps minimize service outages. With fiber internet, you can receive faster speeds, more bandwidth for more devices and a reliable connection. All West offers fiber plans with speeds up to 1 gig.

G- Gigabit

Speaking of speeds up to 1 gig… a Gigabit, or gig, is a unit of measurement for data per second. One gig is one billion bits per second. This is what high-speed internet is measured by. Fast bandwidth allows customers to stream videos, play video games or have multiple devices connected and using the internet with little to no lag.

H – Home Page

The home page is the default web page that is displayed when visiting a website. It’s often the table of contents or virtual directory because you can use it to navigate to the different pages of the site. A home page helps guide the user experience. Most websites use it to display their newest products or current promotion. Check out our home page HERE.

I – Internet

In the simplest definition, the internet is a global public network that provides a variety of information and allows you to access various web pages. The network transmits data and media across interconnected devices. The prefix “inter” means between or among, so internet literally means between the net.


 JPG files are a pixel-based compressed image format for digital images. Files ending with .jpg as their extension are the most common image format used in digital photography and on the internet. Don’t let JPG vs JPEG file extension confuse you. There is no difference between them. Learn more about it HERE.

K – Keyword

A keyword is a term used to perform a search in a search engine, like Google. A keyword can be one word or a whole phrase. They help you direct your search to find information on a specific topic, however vague or specific your search is. “Small dog breeds,” “sugar-free desserts” and “car repair tips” are all examples of keywords.

L – Link

A link, also known as a website address or URL, is the address to a specific resource on the internet. When you enter a link into the browser’s address bar, it will take you to the new webpage. Links can also appear as hyperlinks on a page that connect to other web pages. Links can be attached to text, images, buttons and more. Most text hyperlinks are blue, which let you know the text links to something else. For example, if you wanted to visit our website all you have to do is click on this text or type into the browser’s address bar.

M – Mbps

Mbps is the acronym for “Megabits per second,” the standard measurement of the bandwidth of your internet connection. It shows how fast your network connection is. It measures how many bits (units of data) can be uploaded and downloaded each second. The higher the Mbps your internet service is, the more you’re able to do with your internet-connected devices.

N – Node

A node is a point of intersection in a network that redistributes the internet to customers. All West has nodes located throughout the towns and neighborhoods we service that help disperse traffic so fewer households are sharing a connection. Adding more nodes to our network ensures the load isn’t overbearing on equipment, while also making your connection more reliable. The image below shows how your connection works.

coax node map

O – Online/Offline

Online and offline are terms used to refer to whether something is connected to the internet. Devices, systems, websites and users can be connected. When you’re connected to the internet, you’re “online.” When you’re not connected to the internet or a system is disconnected, you’re “offline.”

P – Password

A password is a sequence of characters used to confirm one’s identity to gain access to something. Passwords typically consist of a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Strong, unique passwords protect you from hacking and malware attacks. They’re the first line of defense to keep your accounts and devices safe, so make it your responsibility to choose passwords that will give you an immediate security boost.

Q – Query

A query, aka search query, is the results that auto-populate when you start typing your keywords into a search engine (Google, Bing, etc.). Not to be confused with keywords, a search query is a request for information. There are three categories of search queries: information (looking for information and answers), navigational (looking for a specific company or webpage) and transactional (looking with the intent to make a purchase). Learn more about search queries HERE.

R – Router

A router is a device that connects networks to move data between them. Routers take the signal from the modem and distribute it to both wired and wireless devices. Not all routers are created equal so it’s important that you have one that is compatible with your wire infrastructure and the speed you’re paying for. Your router also controls the area where you can receive a wireless signal, so it’s important to put it in an open, central area in your home. All West’s router of choice is Plume.

S – Speed Test

A speed test is a test that measures the maximum device speed of your internet network. It measures your upload and download speed to let you know if you’re receiving close to the speed you’re paying for. While a speed test isn’t 100% accurate, it will help provide you with a close approximation of the speeds you’re getting. Learn more about a speed test and how to run one HERE.

T – Telecommunications

Wikipedia defines telecommunications as “the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems.” The internet is a large part of telecommunications, as it allows information to be transmitted all around the world. Other telecommunication products include phones, wireless devices, television and more.

U – Upload Speed

Your upload speed is how many megabits per second (Mbps) it takes to send data from your internet-connected devices to your network. Sending emails, streaming a video call, gaming and posting on social media are all actions that involve uploading data.

V – Virus

A computer virus is a malicious program that can spread to a computer without permission and cause damage. The damage they can cause includes corrupting or deleting data, erasing a hard drive or leaking personal information. Viruses can spread through email attachments, file downloads, scam links and more. It’s important to be diligent and cyber aware in order to protect your devices and the information on them.

W – Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is wireless radio technology that broadcasts a signal to your devices via a wireless router. Your router connects to your internet modem and acts as a hub to project your internet signal so you can be connected to the internet without a cable. Wi-Fi-enabled devices include computers, smart TVs, printers, phones, and smart home devices.


Not many internet-related terms start with X. XHTML is the acronym for “Extensible HyperText Markup Language.” It is used to create web pages for both network and portable devices. XHTML is expected to eventually replace the standard HTML that is used to create webpages because it’s easier for software to read and edit it. You can do a deep dive into learning about XHTML HERE.

Y – YouTube

YouTube is a video sharing social media platform where you can watch, like, comment, share and upload your own videos. Launched in 2005, YouTube became the go-to platform to watch and share video content. As of May 2022, there are more than 800 million videos on the website and the most popular video has over 10 million views. Other social media platforms include Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and more. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Z – ZIP File

ZIP is a computer file extension for a compressed file. File compression reduces the size of the file while keeping the original data. ZIP files are smaller in size, which is useful when transferring files over the internet or storing them. You can also password protect zip files to help keep their information encrypted and secure.

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