Glossary of Terms
An access number is a phone number, which your PC's modem dials in order to connect to AOL.
And with access numbers in more than 100 countries worldwide, you can easily dial into your AOL account when you're abroad on holidays or on a business trip.
For more information on AOL access numbers, go to Keyword: Access.
An Account is your relationship with AOL. It is generally represented by the first Screen Name (Primary Master Screen Name) you created when you became an AOL member. If you are not 18 years old, you may still use AOL, but only if the account was created and registered by your parent or guardian.
An adapter is a device that allows a computer to 'speak' the right language to connect to a home network. Traditionally, a network adapter comes in the form of a card (NIC) that is installed inside your computer and provides a port into which you plug your Ethernet cable. Most computers now come with them built in, but you can also install one yourself. You can check your manuals to confirm that you have Ethernet already in your computers.
If you choose to install a wireless network, you will need a special type of adapter for each computer or Internet device (see Wireless Adapter.) In most cases, each computer you want to connect to a home network will need some kind of adapter. Whether or not you need to purchase extra adapters depends on the computers you have, and the type of network you decide to install.
Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line - a type of broadband (high-speed) Internet connection provided through your telephone line. See Broadband.
AOL Talk is the telephone service provided by AOL, offering you great rates on local, mobile and international calls. For more information, go to AOL Keyword: AOL Talk Help.
This is a term used to describe how much of a signal is lost as it is sent down a line. If the attenuation is too much, you may not be able to use the line.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that enables standalone devices to talk to each other without wires. Personal devices such as mobile computers, mobile phones, portable handheld devices or wireless keyboards and wireless mice are often Bluetooth enabled.
Bandwidth determines how fast Web pages take to load or how long it takes to transfer a file. The greater the bandwidth, the quicker the transfer.
Bridges connect different types of home networks together. For instance, if you have an Ethernet (wired) home network and want to connect another room to it with wireless (802.11) you can use an Ethernet-to-wireless bridge to accomplish this.
Broadband is the term for an Internet connection that is faster than traditional telephone dial-up. There are several types of broadband, but the most popular two are Cable and DSL. Both deliver speeds significantly faster than dial-up. Sign-on to AOL and see AOL Keyword: Getbroadband for details.
Buddy Chat is a feature that lets members invite AOL members listed on the Buddy List window to enter a private chat room or go to a Favourite Place.
The Buddy List feature is a small window that lets you know when your friends, family and co-workers are online. You add the Screen Names of your buddies and they appear in the list when they are signed on to AOL.To learn how to setup your Buddy List, go to AOL Keyword: Learn Buddy List.
Category 5 is the technical name for the specification of the wire used for Ethernet cables. All Ethernet cables in the AOL home networking solutions will be Cat5.
Category (Parental Controls Category)
A category is a basic level of access a Screen Name is allowed. AOL's Parental Controls has four categories:
- Kids Only (recommended for children aged 12 and under)
- Young Teen (recommended for children aged 13-15)
- Mature Teen (recommended for children aged 16-17)
- General Access (18 years and older)
Each of the three basic categories for children under 18 years of age has limits to the level of access to content and features on AOL and the rest of the Internet and to the people who can communicate with your child.
Chat is a real-time, online conversation with groups of members through public Member Rooms, Conference Rooms, live online events, Hosted Chats and rooms created privately by members, in addition to Kids Only chat.
Chat Controls are a Parental Control setting that restricts a member's ability to participate in chat rooms, AOL hosted Conference Rooms or to view hyperlinks to Web sites. Chat Controls must be set using a Master Screen Name.
A Chat Room is a place where members go to have real-time conversations with other members. AOL Kids Only chat rooms are always monitored by trained AOL representatives to help ensure that the content is safe and age-appropriate. With AOL's Chat Controls, you can prevent participation in all AOL chat rooms if you wish.
Coaxial Cable (Coax)
This is the cable that brings cable broadband into the home. It is the same type of cable that is used to provide cable television.
Conditions of Service
The Conditions of Service is a pair of documents stating AOL's commitment to its members, as well as the rights and responsibilities of each member. Both contains important information with respect to your child's use of AOL:
- The Member Agreement contains the basic legal terms of an AOL membership. As the Master Account Holder, you are responsible for all activity on your AOL account and all Screen Names associated with your account (including your child's).
- The Community Guidelines explain the common-sense principles for how all members should behave online and tell you what you can expect from AOL. We encourage you review with your kids the importance of appropriate behaviour and safety online.
This is the type of cable you would use when connecting two computers (or a computer and a games console) together without the use of an Ethernet hub/switch. This will only work for two devices to be connected together and will be required for Internet Connection Sharing.
A Custom Control lets you customise any one of the four age categories to meet your child's needs. For example, perhaps you want your child to exchange email only with people you know. If you selected the Kids Only category for your child, they would still be able to exchange email with anyone. You would therefore need to choose Mail Controls from the list of Custom Controls, and follow the easy steps to select the appropriate access for your child. This feature is part of Parental Controls. To change Custom Controls for Screen Names on your account, you must be using a Master Screen Name, then go to AOL Keyword: Parental Controls and click on Screen Name whose settings you wish to change.
Dynamic Host Control Protocol is used to issue IP addresses and DNS servers to computers in a home network by the gateway device. When you configure your computer to obtain an address, it automatically will use DHCP to talk to the router to get an address.
Domain Name Service is what is used to translate the address that you type into a Web browser into an IP address which the Internet can understand. Reverse DNS is the opposite in that an IP address is turned into a web address.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
This is how AOL Broadband is able to use your telephone line for high-speed Internet access. Using a DSL, modem you are able to talk the DSL language over the same wires that are used for your phone calls, all at the same time. Special filters are used to separate the phone calls from the AOL Broadband traffic.
Download Controls are a Custom Control that let the Master Screen Name determine a Screen Name's ability to download files from AOL software libraries and FTP sites. Download Controls must be set using a Master Screen Name. WARNING: Files attached to email messages can contain computer viruses or Trojan Horse programs that can damage your computer files, contain objectionable graphics or compromise the security of your AOL account. For more information on computer viruses and Trojan Horse programs, go to AOL Keyword: Safety.
How quickly you can download a file or Web page is limited by your download speed. The faster your download speed, the quicker you get your file.
Downloading is the process of transferring a stored file on another computer to your computer. Files can include text documents, pictures, sounds, video and entire computer programs. WARNING: Files attached to email messages can contain computer viruses or Trojan Horse programs that can damage your computer files, contain objectionable graphics or compromise the security of your AOL account. For more information on computer viruses and Trojan Horse programs, go to AOL Keyword: Safety.
Email (Electronic Mail)
An email (electronic mail) is a written message from other AOL and Internet users. Your email address is simply your AOL Screen Name with @aol.com at the end. Email is private, but can be distributed to lists of people as well as to individuals. With AOL's Mail Controls, you can place restrictions on whom your kids can receive email from. For more information on email, visit AOL Keyword: Email Help.
- With wireless Ethernet networks, it is best to encrypt your data so that it becomes very difficult for anyone else within range of your wireless signal to view your data.
- Encryption changes your data so that it is unreadable if 'pulled out' of the air, but when the router sees the data it uses the common encryption key to turn the data back into its original form.
- You will need to configure the encryption key into the gateway device and into each of the computers connecting to the router using wireless Ethernet.
- Encryption keys come in different sizes, 64-bit and 128-bit (larger keys will come in time). The larger the key, the harder it is for someone else to decode it.
- If you choose to use encryption to enhance the security of your router, please note that this is an involved process. Due to the variety of encryption possibilities, AOL support centres will be unable to support setting up encryption on your home network at this time.
Ethernet is the language computers use to talk to each other. There are different types, and you can have Ethernet with or without wires (see 802.11 for wireless). When using wires, the most common type of Ethernet is 100BaseT (also called Fast Ethernet), which uses cables to send and receive data at 100 megabits per second (Mbps). This is very fast compared, for example, with a dial-up Internet connection, and works at up to 1,500 times the usual dial-up speed. There is an older standard called 10BaseT that uses the same cables but only runs at 10Mbps. You will find that most Ethernet adapters in computers and routers are 10/100 Ethernet, enabling them automatically to select the fastest version available.
Ethernet - Hub / Switch
An Ethernet hub allows the most basic sharing between multiple computers. Using Ethernet cables, you can connect all your computers together using a hub. A hub does not play an active role in passing data between computers. It is worth noting that when using a hub, the data passed to any one computer would be received by every computer on the network.
Just like an Ethernet hub, a switch is used to connect computers together. Unlike a hub, an Ethernet switch will only send the data to the computer that it was intended for. This is both more secure and faster for each computer in the home network.
Ethernet modem (broadband)
A type of broadband modem that connects to your computer with an Ethernet cable. These modems connect to the Ethernet port (NIC) on your computer so you don't need modem drivers for it to work. Unlike USB modems they require a separate power supply and so you must have a free power socket near your modem.
A small rectangular connector that can be found on the back of most recent computers and laptops. It can sometimes also be referred to as LAN (Local Area Network) and NIC (Network Interface Card).
A Favourite Place is a collection of shortcuts to online areas. You add to your collection of Favourite Places by clicking on the heart icon found at the top of most AOL pages and windows.
A file is an electronic document that can be text, pictures, sounds, videos or whole programs.
This is the term usually applied to the small box used with DSL broadband connections to separate the telephone signals from the broadband signals. You will need to connect a filter into every phone socket within the home, even if you do not have a telephone or DSL modem plugged into it.
A firewall helps protect your computer or home network against unwanted access and comes in a variety of forms. They may be included with a gateway device such as a router or be software programs that run on your computer.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a way of exchanging files with other computers over the Internet. You can learn more about FTP by signing-on to AOL and going to AOL Keyword: FTP.
Often another name for a router, this device manages the connections between a home network and the internet (see router).
General Access (18+) Category
The General Access setting is recommended for adults. A General Access Screen Name provides access to all AOL and Web content except for access to AOL's Premium Services. Access to Premium Services can be activated by a Master Screen Name at AOL Keyword: Parental Controls.
A home network is when two or more computers or Internet-ready devices are connected to each other within the home, usually through a router. This allows you to share your AOL connection between computers so that everyone in your home can access the Internet at the same time. For more information on how to set up a home network with AOL, see Home Networking help.
A hyperlink is a link to AOL content or a Web site that appears as blue, underlined text.
Instant Messages are real-time, private online conversations with your chosen AOL members or non-AOL members using the AOL Instant Messenger service. With AOL's Instant Message Controls, you can block Instant Messages if you wish.
Instant Message Controls
Instant Message Controls are Custom Controls that determine the user's ability to send and receive Instant Messages. Instant Message Controls must be set using a Master Screen Name. A Master Screen Name can block or unblock Instant Messages at any time for any Screen Names on the account.
The Internet is a worldwide network of computers that allows people to send email, browse and create Web pages, communicate in chat rooms and Instant Messages and more. AOL offers access to the Internet and World Wide Web through direct hyperlinks, AOL Search and other tools. Some sites on the World Wide Web may contain objectionable material inappropriate for children but you can provide your child with age-appropriate Web access by using AOL's Web Controls.
Internet Connection Sharing
ICS or Internet Connection Sharing allows you to share your broadband connection between one computer and others, or one computer and an additional games console. You still connect to the Internet through your USB modem and your main computer. Using special Ethernet cables (known as crossover cables), the main computer acts as a gateway for the additional computers or games console. This computer must be powered on at all times while other computer are using the connection.
The Internet Protocol is your computer's identity on the Internet or on the home network. An IP number is assigned by the Internet Service Provider to your computer, after which surfing the Internet, sending email and chatting become possible.
Junk Email is unsolicited commercial email that may contain objectionable content or requests to buy products. To find out about what you can do to protect yourself and your kids from junk email, sign-on to AOL and go to AOL Keyword: Mail Controls.
Keywords are short words or phrases which give you a fast and easy way to get to information you want on AOL. Instead of having to click on screen after screen, all you have to do is type in the AOL Keyword and with one click you're there!
Most areas of AOL have their own Keywords, so there are literally hundreds of Keywords to choose from. For a full list, go to AOL Keyword: Keywords.
Kids Only Category
A Kids Only Screen Name is recommended for children aged 12 and under. A Kids Only Screen Name allows access to content and services within the Kids Only channel of AOL, specifically created for kids aged 12 and under. Kids Only Screen Names have limited access to Web sites on the Internet. These Web sites are available through the Kids Only channel areas and in a special Web search feature called Kids Search (sign-on to AOL and see AOL Keyword: Kids Search). Kids Only default settings: Each Parental Controls category comes with predefined settings most appropriate for the age group. Many of these settings can be modified by a Master Screen Name at any time at AOL Keyword: Parental Controls. The default settings for Kids Only Screen Names are:
- No Instant Messages can be sent or received
- Web access is limited to pre-approved, age-appropriate Web sites
- AOL chat and message board access is limited to monitored Kids Only chat rooms and message boards. AOL's partners with children's content likewise monitor their interactive areas
- No file attachments can be sent or received in email
- No access to Premium Services
- No access to the AOL Member Directory
Please remember that in addition to using Parental Controls, we recommend you spend time online with your child and make sure that your child understands AOL's safety tips. These can be found when you sign-on to AOL and visit AOL Keyword: Kids Help.
Latency measures the time that it takes a packet - information - to travel between devices that are communicating with each other. If a network has high latency, it takes a long time for information to be delivered. Internet applications that require quick responses, such as games, function poorly if a connection's latency is high.
This is the small coloured light on computing devices such as modems and routers. Some can even change colour to indicate different problems.
Local Area Network (LAN)
A Local Area Network is the industry term for a network of computers in the same building. For instance, both a home network and a company's network are considered LANs.
Mail Controls are Custom Controls that specify the people with whom the user wishes to exchange email. Mail Controls must be set using a Master Screen Name. Parents can use Mail Controls to determine who can and cannot send email to their child's Screen Name.
Master Screen Name
Master Screen Names are Screen Names that have access to change settings of an account. Master Screen Names are the Screen Name you created when you first registered as an AOL member (the Primary Screen Name) and any additional Screen Names that have been designated as Master Screen Names using Parental Controls. Master Screen Names have the ability to:
- Change the account's billing method and price plan
- Change the Parental Controls settings for other Screen Names on the account
- Create, delete or restore Screen Names on the account
Mature Teen Category
Mature Teen category is recommended for children aged 16-17. A Mature Teen Screen Name provides access to all AOL content, but restricts access to Web sites identified by our third-party vendor as containing mature content. Mature Teen default settings: Each Parental Controls category comes with predefined settings most appropriate for the age group. Many of these settings can be modified by a Master Screen Name at any time at AOL Keyword: Parental Controls. The default settings for the Mature Teen category are:
- Restricted access to explicitly mature content Web sites
- Premium Services are blocked
The Member Directory is a collection of profiles about AOL members. Profiles listed in the Member Directory are created voluntarily by AOL members. They can be updated or removed at any time.Kids Only and Young Teen Screen Names do not have access to the AOL Member Directory.
Modem (DSL, Cable)
A device that is used to connect your computer to your broadband connection. All of the routers recommended for use with AOL Broadband (DSL) have a modem built inside them, so you do not need to use your old DSL modem with a home network.
Network Address Translation
Internet standard that enables a Local Area Network (LAN) to use one set of IP addresses for internal traffic and a second set of addresses for external traffic. For instance, though an ISP assigns only one external IP number to a home network, the router connecting the home network allows the computers attached to it to share that single IP by assigning them each their own internal identity.
Network Interface Card (NIC)
The card inside your computer that gives it an Ethernet port and the ability to connect to a network (see Adapter). Online Timer The Online Timer allows you to limit the amount of time a Screen Name can spend online. You can determine the number of hours your child can be online, then choose the time range during which your child can use his or her allocated hours.
An operating system (OS) is a program that manages all the other programs on a computer. The other programs are called applications or application programs. Windows, Linux and Mac OS are examples of common operating systems.
Unwanted network signals that get in the way of wanted signals.
Parental Controls are controls that help parents set limits on what their kids can see and do while they are online. AOL provides multiple Screen Names on one AOL account so that each child can have his or her own Screen Name with its own Parental Controls settings. AOL lets you, as the parent, set the category you feel is most suitable for each child. After selecting a Parental Controls category for your child's Screen Name, you may further customise or modify your child's activities through Custom Controls.Parental Controls must be set using a Master Screen Name.
Parental Controls Category
A Parental Controls Category refers to the level of access a Screen Name is allowed. AOL's Parental Controls has three basic categories for children under 18 years of age:
- Kids Only (aged 12 and under)
- Young Teen (aged 13-15)
- Mature Teen (aged 16-17)
Each category has limits to the level of access to AOL and the rest of the Internet and to the people who can contact you or your child.
This is what you use to connect your telephone into to make phone calls. It is also where you connect your DSL modem (remember to connect your filters).
This is a command that can be used to see if the other end (IP Address) is alive and reachable. A small packet is sent out from the computer to the IP address you want to test, and if the other end receives the packet then it will send a reply. You can also use the PING command to see how long it takes for the test packet to get there and back and so can be used for latency tests. This command will be used for diagnosing problems only.
Premium Service Controls
Premium Service Controls are Custom Controls that determine access to AOL's Premium Services (surcharged services). Premium Services Controls must be set using a Master Screen Name.
Premium Services are AOL services that charge fees beyond the standard AOL membership fees. For example, some online games found at AOL Keyword: Games are Premium Services. Premium Services must be set using a Master Screen Name.
Primary Master Account Holder
The Primary Master Account Holder is the owner of an AOL account. This is the person billed for the account, and the person ultimately responsible for all activity of Screen Names under that account. Violations or warnings accrued by all Screen Names on the account can lead to termination of the entire account.
A device that manages the connections between a home network and the Internet. Many have a DSL modem built in, removing the need for a separate broadband modem. If this is the case, your router links directly to your broadband connection through your telephone line. Most routers contain a switch that allows them to 'intelligently' direct the information passing through them to the appropriate connected PCs, depending on the demand of the individual device, via either Ethernet or USB cables. Many routers also allow wireless connections, either as standard, or with the addition of an extra piece of hardware (either a wireless upgrade card or wireless access point) that allows them to communicate with other PCs via radio waves. Each of these other computers would also require a wireless adapter.
The connectors used on your router or modem to connect to a phone line is usually RJ11. They are small square connectors and have four pins (usually only two are used).
The Ethernet cables in your home network will all use RJ45 connectors. They are small square (slightly wider than RJ11) connectors with eight pins.
A Screen Name is an online identity. By using a Screen Name, users can communicate with friends and family or make new friends online in many areas, including:
- Chat rooms
- Member Directory
- Buddy List
- Instant Messages
Each Screen Name has its own level of access to AOL and the rest of the Internet. Some Screen Names (designated as Master Screen Names) have additional privileges, such as adjusting controls for other Screen Names. Note: Your child's Screen Name is also their email address and publicly identifies them anytime they communicate with others online.
Spyware, sometimes called 'adware' or 'malware', refers to software or programs that monitor where you go on the Internet, often without your permission or knowledge.
In addition to violating your privacy, these programs can slow down your PC and cause disconnects from AOL. For information on how to protect yourself from spyware, go to AOL Keyword: Spyware.
This is a name you give to your wireless gateway device. Essentially, it is a name used to make sure your computer is communicating with the right wireless router, should you have more than one in your area.
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. This is the standard way that data is transmitted to and from your computer over the Internet.
This is how much data can be sent or received down the network at any one time.
A command that is used to find the path to a specific destination over the Internet. It is used for diagnostic purposes only.
Trojan Horse files are files that appear to perform some function but contain, hidden in their code, instructions that cause damage (sometimes severe) to your computer. Trojan Horse files may compromise the security of your AOL account by sending your password to the Trojan Horse's creator, contain objectionable graphics or cause damage to your computer files. For more information on protecting your computer, go to AOL Keyword: Safety.
How quickly you can send a file (for example, pictures as an attachment with email) is limited by your upload speed - the faster your upload speed, the quicker you can send a file.
Universal Plug and Play. This is a conversation between some network devices and routers. It enables devices to tell a router what services (games, applications) it is running and that the router should not stop data relating to these services. This is relevant when gaming. If your router and gaming machine support UPnP and have it turned on, you will not need to change the configuration on the router to make the game work.
USBUniversal Serial Bus (USB)
This is a port on your computer that can be used to connect printers, digital cameras, mp3 players and older broadband modems. Your computer may have many USB ports, some on the back and some on the front. Look for a small rectangular port about the width of a thumb nail and the usb logo (right).
A type of broadband modem that connects to a USB port on your computer. These modems require special software called drivers to work. Unlike Ethernet modems, they do not require a separate power supply and so your computer gives them the power they need to work.
This is the equivalent on other Internet services to an AOL Screen Name.
Viruses are small programs that can reproduce themselves and spread from one computer to another. Viruses are sometimes benign, doing nothing more than filling up space on your computer's hard drive. Unfortunately, some viruses are malicious and can destroy critical data on your computer. For more information on protecting your computer from viruses, go to AOL Keyword: Safety.
Web (World Wide Web)
The Web is the main interface for the Internet. The World Wide Web is a vast network of individual computers that share information. You can access Web pages on AOL by typing in a Web address into the toolbar or Keyword box.
A camera that, when connected to a computer, can be used to transmit images over the Internet.
Web Controls are a Custom Control that allow a parent to restrict their child's access to the Web. Web Controls must be set using a Master Screen Name.
Wireless Encryption Protocol is the name given to the specific encryption protocol used in wireless Ethernet networks (see Encryption Key)
Wi-Fi is short for Wireless-Fidelity. This name has been popularised by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Their Web site describes them as a non-profit international association formed in 1999 to certify interoperability of wireless Local Area Network products based on IEEE 802.11 specification. What this means is that as long as the wireless Ethernet equipment you buy has the Wi-Fi logo, you can be assured that it will work with other equipment also carrying the same logo (make sure you have the correct type of 802.11).
If you choose to install a wireless network, you will require a special type of adapter for each computer you wish to link to your network. You can use either a wireless PCMCIA card (about the size of a credit card but a little thicker) that slots into the side of your laptop, or a wireless USB adapter that plugs into the USB connector for any USB-enabled PC. You will need to configure your adapter(s) to communicate with your wireless router and you should follow the installation guide for your chosen solution on how to do this. Sign-on to AOL and see AOL Keyword: Home Networking for more information.
Young Teen Category
The Young Teen Category is recommended for children aged 13-15. Young Teen Screen Names can access AOL content, features and Web sites appropriate for teens aged 15 years and under. A Young Teen Screen Name can access only Web sites that have been reviewed by our third-party vendor for age-appropriate content. Young Teen default settings: Each Parental Controls category comes with predefined settings most appropriate for the age group. Many of these settings can be modified by a Master Screen Name at any time at AOL Keyword: Parental Controls. The default settings for the Young Teen category are:
- Web access is limited to pre-approved, age-appropriate Web sites
- No file attachments can be sent or received via email
- No Instant Messages can be sent or received
- No access to the AOL Member Directory
18+ (General Access) Category
The 18+ General Access setting is recommended for adults. A General Access Screen Name provides access to all AOL and Web content except for access to AOL's Premium Services. Access to Premium Services can be activated by a Master Screen Name at AOL Keyword: Parental Controls.
802.11 (Wireless Ethernet)
802.11 is the name given to Ethernet using radio waves instead of wires connecting computers to the gateway device. Just to make things interesting, there are three types of wireless Ethernet available. The first is 802.11a, which is not allowed to be used in the UK. The current standard for Wireless Ethernet is 802.11b, which uses a radio wave frequency as used by cordless digital phones, wireless keyboards, etc. The b standard runs at 11 megabits per second. The newest standard is 802.11g, which uses the same frequency as the b standard but manages to work at a much faster 54 megabits per second. If you buy a g wireless router you can still use your older 802.11b adapters, but they will work at the slower speeds.
The distance a wireless Ethernet solution will work over is limited to a maximum of about 150 metres. However, this distance may be shorter, as wireless connectivity can be impacted by certain architectural elements such as large areas of metal. The distance over which your wireless network will work may depend on your home itself.
See 802.11 (Wireless Ethernet).
See 802.11 (Wireless Ethernet).
See 802.11 (Wireless Ethernet).