A Glossary of Networking Terms
RFC 1208

Document Type RFC - Informational (March 1991; No errata)
Authors Daniel Lynch , Ole Jacobsen 
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                        O. Jacobsen
Request for Comments: 1208                                      D. Lynch
                                                           Interop, Inc.
                                                              March 1991

                     A Glossary of Networking Terms

Status of this Memo

   This RFC is a glossary adapted from "The INTEROP Pocket Glossary of
   Networking Terms" distributed at Interop '90.  This memo provides
   information for the Internet community.  It does not specify an
   Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   This glossary is adapted from "The INTEROP Pocket Glossary of
   Networking Terms" produced to help you understand the many terms--and
   in particular the myriad of acronyms--that can be encountered at the
   INTEROP Tutorials, Conference, and Exhibition.

   To keep this document reasonably small we have deliberately omitted
   common computer and communications terms such as disk, modem, byte,
   and VLSI.  In addition, the definitions have been kept brief.  We
   recommend that you consult the glossaries found in the major computer
   networking textbooks for more comprehensive definitions.

   We also realize that producing this glossary is akin to shooting at a
   moving target.  The computer and communications industries are moving
   very rapidly, and terms and acronyms are born every day.  You are
   invited to submit words which you think should be included in future


   abstract syntax: A description of a data structure that is
   independent of machine-oriented structures and encodings.

   ACSE: Association Control Service Element.  The method used in OSI
   for establishing a call between two applications.  Checks the
   identities and contexts of the application entities, and could apply
   an authentication security check.

   address mask: A bit mask used to select bits from an Internet address
   for subnet addressing.  The mask is 32 bits long and selects the
   network portion of the Internet address and one or more bits of the
   local portion.  Sometimes called subnet mask.

Jacobsen & Lynch                                                [Page 1]
RFC 1208                INTEROP Pocket Glossary               March 1991

   address resolution: A means for mapping Network Layer addresses onto
   media-specific addresses.  See ARP.

   ADMD: Administration Management Domain.  An X.400 Message Handling
   System public service carrier.  Examples: MCImail and ATTmail in the
   U.S., British Telecom Gold400mail in the U.K.  The ADMDs in all
   countries worldwide together provide the X.400 backbone.  See PRMD.

   agent: In the client-server model, the part of the system that
   performs information preparation and exchange on behalf of a client
   or server application.  See NMS, DUA, MTA.

   ANSI: American National Standards Institute.  The U.S.
   standardization body. ANSI is a member of the International
   Organization for Standardization (ISO)

   AOW: Asia and Oceania Workshop.  One of the three regional OSI
   Implementors Workshops, equivalent to OIW and EWOS.

   API: Application Program Interface.  A set of calling conventions
   defining how a service is invoked through a software package.

   Application Layer: The top-most layer in the OSI Reference Model
   providing such communication services as electronic mail and file

   ARP: Address Resolution Protocol.  The Internet protocol used to
   dynamically map Internet addresses to physical (hardware) addresses
   on local area networks. Limited to networks that support hardware

   ARPA: Advanced Research Projects Agency.  Now called DARPA, the U.S.
   government agency that funded the ARPANET.

   ARPANET: A packet switched network developed in the early 1970s.  The
   "grandfather" of today's Internet.  ARPANET was decommissioned in
   June 1990.

   ASN.1: Abstract Syntax Notation One.  The OSI language for describing
   abstract syntax.  See BER.

   attribute: The form of information items provided by the X.500
   Directory Service.  The directory information base consists of
   entries, each containing one or more attributes. Each attribute
   consists of a type identifier together with one or more values.  Each
   directory Read operation can retrieve some or all attributes from a
   designated entry.

Jacobsen & Lynch                                                [Page 2]
RFC 1208                INTEROP Pocket Glossary               March 1991

   Autonomous System: Internet (TCP/IP) terminology for a collection of
   gateways (routers) that fall under one administrative entity and
   cooperate using a common Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP).  See

   backbone: The primary connectivity mechanism of a hierarchical
   distributed system.  All systems which have connectivity to an
   intermediate system on the backbone are assured of connectivity to
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