Wireless printing center

Glossary of terms

Terms A – E

802.11 Read more

802.11 and 802.11x refers to a family of specifications developed by the IEEE for wireless LAN (WLAN) technology. 802.11x specifies an over-the-air interface between a wireless device and a base station (access point or router) or between two wireless devices (like in an ad hoc network). Examples of 802.11 specifications include 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac.

Access point Read more

An access point transmits and receives radio waves to allow wireless devices to connect to a network. Wireless devices (such as printers or laptop computers) can connect to a network through an access point. Many routers have built in access points, and are referred to as "wireless routers."

Ad hoc Read more

An ad hoc network is a group of devices, such as computers or printers, connected as an independent network. An ad hoc network does not use a wireless router, so the devices cannot connect to the Internet. If the devices have wireless capability, you can create a wireless ad hoc network. You can also use Ethernet cables, but special cables, called Crossover cables, are needed for device-to-device connections.

AES Read more

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a formal encryption method adopted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the US Government, and is accepted worldwide. It is the newest and most secure way of encrypting data on your wireless network. It is sometimes referred to as WPA2.

Auto IP address Read more

If a network device is not assigned an IP address by a DHCP router or given an IP address through manual or static IP address assignment, the device will assign an IP address to itself, commonly called an Auto IP address. Auto IP addresses are in the range of and

Channel overlap Read more

If you live in an area with a lot of wireless network traffic, there may be other wireless networks using wireless channels that are close to the channel used by your network. If two channels are within five channels of each other, this is called channel overlap. An example is your wireless network is using channel 6 and your neighbor is using channel 4. This situation can degrade your network performance (and your neighbor's). It is best to be at least 5 (or more) channels away from the nearest channel. For the example above you could use channels 9, 10 or 11. Most routers allow you to manually select a channel to use for your wireless network.

Default gateway Read more

A gateway is an address (the main IP address of a wireless network's router, for example) on a network that serves as an access point to another network (such as the Internet). You can use your default gateway to access your wireless router's configuration page by typing the default gateway address into the address bar of a browser.

DHCP Read more

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a network protocol used by devices, such as routers, computers and printers, to obtain an IP address from the router so that they can communicate on a network.

Dial-up Read more

An Internet connection method that uses existing telephone lines in the house and is the slowest form of data transfer. If the dial-up modem is in use, the phone cannot be used.

DSL Read more

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is a high-speed Internet service that competes with cable Internet to provide online access. DSL operates over standard copper telephone lines like dial-up service, but is many times faster than dial-up. In addition to being faster than dial-up, DSL coexists with the telephone service, allowing users to surf the Net and use the phone at the same time.

Dynamic IP address Read more

A dynamic IP address is assigned to a device on a network by a DHCP server (typically a router in a network). When a device disconnects from a network, it may obtain a different IP address from the DHCP server when it reconnects. This allows the DHCP server to manage a pool of IP addresses without user intervention.

Encryption Read more

Encryption is a way to protect your wireless network from unwelcome users. It is optional but strongly recommended. By employing an encryption method, a password or key is used to code all of the messages sent over the wireless network. Only those devices that know the name of your network and the password can find and decode any network communications. The most common types of encryption are WEP and WPA/WPA2.

Ethernet Read more

A networking cable (similar to a telephone cable, but thicker) that allows a device (computer, printer, etc) to connect to a high-speed network.

Ethernet hub Read more

A common connection point for Ethernet connected devices on a network. A hub contains multiple Ethernet ports. When a packet of data arrives at one port, it is copied to the other ports so that all devices connected to the hub can see all packets. This difference between a hub and a router is that routers can route data packets to a specific device connected to the router so that all devices do not receive it.

EWS Read more

The Embedded Web Server (EWS) is a web server that exists within a device, such as a wireless router, that allows you to configure that device’s settings. The EWS of a device can be accessed by opening a web browser and entering the IP address of the device into the address box of the browser (where you would normally enter URLs to access web sites). Most HP network printers have a EWS (also called the Printer Homepage).

Terms F – M

FIOS Read more

Fiber Optic Service (FIOS) is a data communication service that uses fiber optic cables to transfer data using pulses of light.

Firewall Read more

Any software program or hardware device designed to prevent computers on a network from communicating directly with external computers by filtering the information coming through the Internet connection into your private network or computer. A Firewall keeps hackers out and personal data in by acting as a barrier through which all information passing between the network or computer and external systems must pass. Most routers provide a hardware firewall. Software firewalls are installed on computers.

Gateway IP address Read more

This is the IP address of your wireless router.

High speed cable Read more

Uses a local cable TV line (not a phone line) to connect to the Internet, allowing continuous connection to the Internet. The phone can be used while your computer is connected to the Internet.

Hub Read more

A Hub is a common connection point for devices on a network. A hub contains multiple ports. When a packet of data arrives at the input port, it is sent to all of the output ports so that all devices connected to the hub receive the packets. The difference between a hub and a router is that routers can route data packets to specific devices connected to the router so that all devices do not receive it.

Infrastructure Read more

The most common type of network topology is also referred to as "standard". An infrastructure network uses a router, hub or access point to connect different devices on the network.

IP address Read more

An IP address is a series of numbers by which computers, printers and other devices on a network are identified. An IP address is usually issued by the local wireless router (network) from its DHCP service. A device is given an IP address that is similar to the wireless router's IP address. For example, if the wireless router's IP address is, a printer may be given an IP address of When devices on a network share the same IP address format, they are said to be on the same subnet.

IPCONFIG Read more

IP CONFIGuration) is a Windows command line utility that is used to manage the IP address assigned to the machine it is running in. Used without any additional parameters, it displays the computer's currently assigned IP, subnet mask and default gateway addresses. IPCONFIG has several command line switches (parameters). For example, "IPCONFIG /all" displays a variety of data, including the computer's name (host name), Ethernet MAC address, and DNS server addresses.

ISP Read more

Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that provides your home's Internet service. Examples include cable, DSL or FIOS Internet services.

LAN Read more

Local Area Network (LAN) interconnects network devices within a limited area. Connected devices can share resources provided by the network including internet connectivity and networked printers.

MAC address Read more

MAC stands for Media Access Control. Every device capable of networking (computers, printers routers, etc.) is given a unique physical serial number by its manufacturer for use in network communication.

Mixed network Read more

A network which consists of Ethernet and wireless connections.

MODEM Read more

The modem establishes and maintains the connection with the Internet provider’s service and converts the signals from and to the router appropriately. An Internet service provider offers different ways to connect to the Internet: dial-up, high speed cable, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), or FiOS.

Terms N – Z

Network adapter Read more

A network adapter interfaces a device like a computer to a network. The term "adapter" was popularized originally as a reference to Ethernet add-in cards for PCs. Modern network adapter hardware exists in several forms. Most wireless network adapter gear for laptop computers is built in as an integrated circuit chip. Some HP network printers have both Ethernet and wireless adapters.

Roaming Read more

Roaming helps ensure that a traveling wireless device is kept connected to a network without breaking the connection.

Security software Read more

Security software is any computer program designed to enhance information security.

SSID Read more

Service Set Identifier (SSID) is a user specified name that identifies a particular 802.11x wireless network.

Static IP address Read more

A static IP address is a manually assigned IP address which will not change even if the device is connected to a router with provides a DHCP server.

TKIP Read more

Temporal Key Integrity Protocol, or TKIP, is an encryption method designed as a replacement for WEP without having to replace legacy hardware. The need for this arose when WEP was breached, and Wi-Fi networks were left vulnerable. However, TKIP uses the same underlying mechanism as WEP, and consequently is vulnerable to attack.

VPN Read more

Virtual Private Network is a secure network that is layered on top of an existing network. The private nature of a VPN means that the data traveling over the VPN is not generally visible to the other computers or printers on the existing network. An example of this is a computer that is connected on a home network as well as over a VPN connection will not have access to other devices connected on the home network such as a wireless printer.

WAN Read more

Wide Area Network is a long-distance communications network that covers a wide geographic area, such as a state or country. Telephone companies and cellular carriers deploy WANs to service large regional areas or the entire nation. Large enterprises have their own private WANs to link remote offices, using the Internet (the world’s largest WAN) for connectivity.

WEP Read more

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is an encryption standard which was the original encryption standard for wireless communication. WEP was designed to provide the same level of security as a wired network, but has since been compromised and is now relatively easy for hackers to break by finding the key.

Wireless channel Read more

Wireless network communication between network devices happens over a specific frequency also called a channel. There are several channels available for this communication. Typically the wireless router will chose a specific channel for all wireless network communication on a home network. Most routers allow the user to manually select a channel as well. Sometime choosing a different channel can improve network performance (see channel overlap).

Wireless LAN Read more

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) or Wireless Network is a wireless computer network that links two or more devices using a wireless distribution method within a limited area.

Wireless router Read more

A wireless router is networking hardware that allows both wired and wireless devices to connect to a network. When connected to a wireless router, devices such as computers, printers, and other Wi-Fi enabled electronics can share one Internet connection AND connect to each other. Connections can be made to the wireless router through a wireless connection or a wired connection using an Ethernet cable.

WPA/WPA2 Read more

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) are two security protocols to secure wireless networks. These protocols were developed in response to serious weaknesses in the previous WEP security solution.

WPS Read more

Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is a network security standard to allow home users who know little of wireless security and may be intimidated by the available security options to setup Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), as well as making it easy to add new devices to an existing network without entering long passphrases.