It's a foreign language to most.

In a quiet backroom at a startup where all you hear is the hum of servers and ceiling fans, it's like a secret code. And, to the tech neophyte, it's total gibberish.

Yet, for anyone who has been around I.T. for a while, you know it stands for Information Technology more than some of the most well-known financial terms. It's a language you speak fluently, and it makes sense that we've shortened common terms.

Over the years, I've heard a few less common abbreviations, but if you know them it's a good sign you are familiar with tech and can even lead a team of technicians.

Before I dive into the definitions, here's the list of terms to use as a test. Feel free to share this with other tech gurus and compare notes.

I've included a few that might stretch your knowledge, and keep in mind you should be able to explain what the letters stand for and what they mean.

SSID​
Wi-Fi
CPU
IP
RAM
USB
VPN
DHCP






Now, to the actual definitions...

SSID

SSID stands for Service Set Identifier which sounds more technical than it is. The term is just the network name for a Wi-Fi network or the name you use to attach from another device.

Wi-Fi

I snuck this one in as a sanity check. Technically, the term Wi-Fi is a trademarked name that doesn't stand for anything. It is simply the protocol used for wireless access.

CPU

Anyone who has been around tech since the early days knows this one, although phone and tablet users might be confused. It stands for Central Processing Unit--the brain of a computer.

IP

Have you heard someone mention an IP address? It stands for Internet Protocol and it's a bit hard to define. It's essentially a way to uniquely identify a network resource.

RAM

This term is so rarely defined that people don't even think about its full meaning. It stands for random access memory, and it's the short-term memory a computer needs to process data. 

USB

Another term we rarely spell out in full anymore, USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and it's the specification used for this cable connection standard used on most computers.

VPN

A "virtual private network" is an important term if you work in the security field. It's a way for remote users to connect secure over the public Internet to a private server.

DHCP

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is used to dynamically assign an IP address (see above for help on that one) so that networks can communicate with one another.

Published on: Jun 25, 2019
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