Name: Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
This glossary exists in two versions, each of which is a comprehensive
source of telecommunication terms, including
most of those used in optical networking. The newer version is being updated,
Name: What Is.com
A comprehensive list of information technology terms, including optical
Name: Seiko Instruments
A decent glossary of fiber optic terms.
Name: University of Pisas Laser Glossary
List of fiber optic terms focusing on laser technology.
Decent glossary of optical terms.
Name: Chromatic Technologies
A basic, not-very-comprehensive glossary of optical networking terms.
A tiny glossary that defines some unusual terms.
Small glossary focused on fiber field work and testing.
Note: The following site provides links to many different aspects of the
optical industry, including manufacturers, organizations, and tutorials:
Additional Common Terms
Applications Services Provider - a company that provides software applications
and interfaces to multiple users from a centralized, managed facility
over a shared network such as the Internet.
The transmission capacity of a physical link between two devices. In digital
links the bandwidth is measured in bits-per-second (bps) , or more commonly
Kbps (Kilobits per second), Mbps (Megabits per second) or Gbps (Gigabits
per second). Limited bandwidth has traditionally been a performance bottleneck
in networked systems. Until now it has imposed severe limitations on the
ability of the Internet to deliver all that we are demanding it deliver,
but fiber-optic cables will ensure bandwidth abundance.
This term is used loosely to refer to any kind of bandwidth above that
of conventional dial-up modems (roughly 56 kbps).
A building constructed to house computing and communications equipment
from different owners. Businesses locate equipment in these facilities
in order to be physically close to other businesses' equipment with which
they are interconnected.
The dominant Local Area Network technology. Originally deployed as a shared
media architecture where each device shared a common bandwidth, it is
now more used as an interface between an end device and a LAN switch,
and between LAN switches. Interface speeds of 10Mbps, 100Mbps, and 1000Mbps
have been standardized and a 10Gbps standard is under development.
A medium for transmission comprised of many glass fibers. Light-emitting
diodes or lasers send light through the fiber to a detector that converts
the light back to an electrical signal for interpretation. Advantages
include huge bandwidth, immunity to eavesdropping, immunity to electromagnetic
interference, and the ability to traverse long distances with minimal
Internet Protocol - The basic protocol that provides a mechanism for routing
data traffic across a shared network. As the name implies, it is the basis
of the Internet.
Local Area Network - a system of connecting computers, printers, servers,
and other data devices in an office or building so that they can communicate
with each other.
A carefully planned system which combines a sophisticated data network
with tools and devices continuously monitor, report, analyze, and diagnose
the health and performance of the network, and enable the pro-active management
and problem resolution of the network.
MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
A network spanning a geographical area greater than a LAN but less than
a WAN (Wide Area Network). This type of network typically spans an area
from a few city blocks to a greater metropolitan region.
Network architecture refers to the physical and logical design of a network,
and the inherent ability of that design to carry data from one location
to another within the bounds required for acceptable performance for the
Network Operations Center (NOC)
A central location responsible for continuously monitoring and controlling
all the devices which comprise a network. A NOC is one key feature of
a managed network.
Of or having to do with light.
Quality of service (QoS)
The concept of applying and ensuring specific, quantifiable performance
levels on a shared network. Performance can be assessed based on physical
measurements of the network, the methods by which network traffic is prioritized,
and on how the network is managed.
The process of moving a data packet from its local network to a remote
network based on the address of the remote network. The packet may need
to traverse many network nodes and links to reach its destination network.
Routing is a complex process of determining which links and nodes will
move the packet to its eventual destination
The ability to add power and capability to an existing system without
significant expense or overhead.
Service Level Agreement
Written description of terms, parameters, and conditions which will be
used to determine that the network is meeting a guaranteed level of performance,
and the consequences if that performance level is not met.
The process of taking a voice signal, digitizing it, and then breaking
the digital data stream into packets for transmission over an IP network
such as the Internet.
WAN (Wide Area Network)
A network that links distant geographical areas such as different states
or different countries (as opposed to the LAN and MAN). The WAN link is
typically the most expensive for a given bandwidth due to the distance
that must be covered and the limited number of ways to implement a link
across such distances.