The Partnership for
Higher Education in Africa
Securing the Linchpin
ICT for Teaching, Learning and Research

Glossary and Abbreviations

Bandwidth measures how much information can be carried in a given time period (usually a second) over a wired or wireless communications link.In digital systems, bandwidth is expressed as bits (of data) per second.
Bps Bits per second. In data communications, bits per second (abbreviated Bps) is a common measure of data speed for computer modems and transmission carriers. As the term implies, the speed in Bps is equal to the number of bits transmitted or received each second. Other measures include Kbps (Kilobits per second) and Mbps (megabits per second). One kilobit per second is equal to 1,000 Bps. One Mbps is equal to 1,000,000 Bps or 1,000 Kbps.
DE Distance Education
DSL Digital Subscriber Line. DSL technology delivers high-speed Internet access.
Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber optic technology uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibers) to transmit data. A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves.

It has several advantages over traditional mtal communications lines:

  • Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables. This means that they can carry more data.
  • Fiber optic cables are less susceptible than metal cables to interference.
  • Fiber optic cables are much thinner and lighter than metal wires.
  • Data can be transmitted digitally (the natural form for computer data) rather than analogically.
Frame Relay

Data transmission technique used to send digital information such as voice, data, local area network (LAN), and wide area network (WAN) traffic quickly and cost-efficiently to many destinations from one port.

GPRS General Packet Radio Service. A service that allows information to be sent and received via a mobile telephone network.
Hit Term used to describe the number of times a user visits a Web page.
HTML Hypertext Markup Language, one of the language used to tag various parts of a Web document so browsing software will know how to display that document's links, text, graphics and attached media.
ICT Information and Communications Technologies.
Intranet Web-based information stored on a local server that is available to everyone with a network connection to the server.
IP Internet Protocol. IP refers to the set of communication standards that control communications activity on the Internet. An IP address is the number assigned to any Internet-connected computer (See TCP/IP below).
IPR Intellectual Property Rights. Creative ideas and expressions that have commercial value and receive the legal protection of a property right. The major legal mechanisms for protecting intellectual property rights are copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Intellectual property rights enable owners to select who may access and use their property and to protect it from unauthorized use.
ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network. ISDN is a set of standards for digital transmission over ordinary telephone copper wire as well as over other media. Users who install an ISDN adapter (in place of a modem) can see highly-graphic Web pages arriving very quickly. ISDN requires adapters at both ends of the transmission so your access provider also needs an ISDN adapter.
Ku-band Pronounced "Kay-you band". One of two common satellite frequency bands (C-band is the other). Ku-band earth stations use the 14 GHz frequency band to transmit and the 12 GHz frequency band to receive.
LAN Local Area Network
NEPAD New Partnership for Africa's Development
NICI National Information and Communications Infrastructure
OPAC Online Public Access Catalogue. An online bibliography of a library collection that is available to the public via computers.
POP Point of Presence. POP is a service provider's location for connecting to users. Generally, POPs refer to the location where people can dial into the provider's host computer. Most providers have several POPs to allow low-cost access via telephone lines.
TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. TCP/IP is the basic communication language or protocol of the Internet.
VSAT Very Small Aperture Terminal. A satellite communications system that handles data, voice, and video signals.

University of Dar es Salaam VSAT
Photo courtesy of UDSM Computer Centre

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© 2003 Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

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