For wireless network connections like WiFi, this is a router that takes your wireless signal and either connects it to other wireless signals or to a wired signal — say, for going to the cloud.
Refers to rummaging though lots of data to learn things. This would be done by an IoT device or service provider. For instance, looking at what time of day a gadget gets used most, or seeing if any devices have failed.
A term referring to ways of doing things (business, technology, etc.) that an industry generally views as the best way to do things. Best practices take time to establish, and they usually relate to basic principles, leaving lots of options on how to do specific things.
Because SRAM is expensive, you can’t have as much as you have DRAM. But, because DRAM is slow, when you get something from DRAM to use, you want to keep it around in SRAM so you don’t have to wait every time you want to use it. Cache is built out of SRAM. When you get something out of DRAM, it goes into the cache. When the cache is full, the oldest stuff that hasn’t been used gets kicked out to make room for new stuff.
This refers to some kind of electrical connection. It might be through a network cable, a cable connection, a wireless connection, or a phone – just to name some options. The connection might be to the internet or to some other local device.
When discussing networks, the core is the heart of the network where much of the traffic (or at least that part that has to go a long ways to its destination) moves. This is in contrast to the edge — the outer part of the network where devices like computers and printers get connected.
Stands for “central processing unit.” Basically, it’s a microprocessor – the main one in the computer. Things get a bit more complicated because, these days, there may be more than one microprocessor. But you can safely think of all of them together as the CPU.
This generically refers to how data can be received on some physical medium – like a wire or a radio signal. Voltages might be moving up and down, or the frequency of some periodic signal might be changing. There are lots of ways of “coding” data so that it can travel across the medium. It’s a really low-level detail; most of us don’t need to know any of the fine print. The opposite of demodulation is modulation , and a piece of network equipment that does both (modulation for sending, demodulation for receiving) is called a “modem.”
Stands for “dynamic random access memory.” This is temporary working memory in a computer. When the power goes off, the memory contents are lost. It’s not super fast, but it’s very cheap, so there’s lots of it.
A group of related businesses that agree to work together, typically through a somewhat formal organization that may have a brand name. If something like that existed, for, say, produce sold in a grocery store, then the ecosystem might include select farmers, distributors, transportation companies, and grocery stores.
This term is slightly confusing because, in different contexts, in means slightly different things. In general, when talking about networks, it refers to that part of the network where devices (computers, printers, etc.) are connected. That’s in contrast to the core, which is the middle of the network where lots of traffic gets moved around.
Refers to one kind of system that can behave as if it were another kind. A good example is a Macintosh, which, by itself, works very different from an Intel/Microsoft-based PC. But a Mac can pretend to be a PC by emulating how a PC works.
Software that is stored on a device itself. Regular computers have very little firmware, since software mostly comes from a hard drive or some other storage. But on IoT devices, much of the software may be firmware.
Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. This is a sales tactic used to confuse someone about the competition. The information may or may not be true, but using FUD is often seen as a somewhat desperate way to get a sale.
This can mean a couple things. A quick-and-dirty (but not elegant) trick to get something done is a hack. A computer security break-in is also a hack (because inelegant tricks are used to break in). It can be a noun or a verb (“he hacked my computer”).
A misused, but common term for an unauthorized person trying to break into a device or network. Originally, in this context, “hackers” referred to the good guys (or “white hats”), while “crackers” were the bad guys (black hats).
In this context, “hardware” refers to functions in an IoT device that are built into a silicon chip or some other dedicated component. It’s distinct from “software,” which refers to instructions running on a processor.
A piece of electronic equipment that gathers separate related things together. A network hub, for instance, might bring together the individual network connections of multiple local users. A sensor hub brings together sensor data from multiple separate sensors for possible combination.
A communications company that provides internet access to homes, phones, or companies. For consumers, this could be the cable company, a phone company offering DSL, or a cellular service provider.
This refers to how well different pieces of equipment can work together. Macs and PCs, for instance have some limited interop, but there are many Mac devices that can’t work on a PC, and vice versa. This is an important notion for systems, like the IoT, that involve many different pieces of equipment working together.
Software that usually finds its way into a computer or phone or IoT device without the knowledge or approval of the device’s owner. It’s malware when the intended purpose of the software is to cause some kind of harm.
A simplified representation of something real. We can create models of things in our heads without even realizing we’re doing it. Technology often involves models because they let us simplify what would otherwise be extremely detailed, complicated concepts by focusing only on essential elements.
A piece of network equipment that converts data into a format that can be transmitted. Old modems sent the data on a phone line; modern cable modems send the data across a cable connection. It stands for “modulator/demodulator.”
This generically refers to how some physical medium – like a wire or a radio signal – is modified to carry data. It might be by moving the voltage up and down, or it might be by changing frequencies of some periodic signal. There are lots of ways of “coding” data so that it can travel across the medium. It’s a really low-level detail; most of us don’t need to know any of the fine print. The opposite of modulation is demodulation, and a piece of network equipment that does both (modulation for sending, demodulation for receiving) is called a “modem.”
A collection of items like computers, printers, phones, and other electronic items that are connected together by switches and routers. A network allows the connected devices to talk to each other electronically. The internet is an example of an extremely large network. Your home network, if you have one, is an example of a small local network.
This is the process of connecting an IoT device for the first time. You connect to a network, and then the device connects “home” for registration and for confirming that the device is legitimate.
This is the process of connecting a new IoT device to the cloud for the first time. You have to get onto a local network first (maybe WiFi, maybe Bluetooth), and then you can reach the cloud.
A group of bits being sent from one place to another. How big the group is may vary depending on what kind of packet it is. Long messages — like an email — will typically be broken up into many packets, each of which travels independently until it gets to the destination, where they’re reassembled into the email.
This can be a characteristic of some signal. If the signal changes somehow, and that change repeats itself exactly over time, over and over – like a sine wave – then the signal is said to be periodic. The amount of time it takes for the signal to repeat itself is called the “period.”
This word can mean different things. It may mean a set of infrastructure on which someone can build an IoT device or service. Or it could be a generic piece of hardware that can be used for many different things.
Refers to whether or not information gathered about your usage of IoT devices by authorized people can be made public, or shared with others, without your consent. Different from (although related to) security, which protects such data and devices from access by unauthorized people. Different from privacy, which is more concerned about use of data by authorized people.
This is a manufacturing step where your IoT device gets its own private key. The key and your device’s ID are likely stored in a database so that your device can be recognized when you connect for the first time.
To take data that has personally identifiable information and separate out or obscure the link between the data and the individual. The link can still be made, so it’s not anonymous, but it’s harder to make the link.
A key that you (or your device) can publicly share with someone or something else. This key can be used only to encode (or encrypt) data; it can’t be used to read that data. Each public key has a matching private key, and the private key is used for decoding (or decrypting) data. This lets you have a secure conversation with someone or something that you’ve never shared keys with before.
This is a term that refers to computing or other processing that happens at the same speed as something is actually happening. A familiar example might be spell-check in your word processing program. In the old days, you did a spell-check of the entire document after it was written. Modern programs do spell-check “in real time” – that is, right as you type, it’s checking; no waiting until the end and doing the whole document at once. Doing something in real time is often a good thing, but it means you have to do whatever you’re doing fast enough to keep up.
An electronic box that helps steer data on a network. For instance, you may have one in your home connecting your phone and computer and other devices to each other and to the internet. The data itself has information about where it’s being sent; the router uses that information to send it in the right direction. At a really basic level, you can think of a router and a switch as being the same thing. If you want to get more technical, a switch creates a local subnetwork, and the router connects multiple subnetworks (or multiple networks).
A computer with a dedicated purpose. Older familiar examples are print servers (a computer that controls local printing) and file servers (a computer used for storing files centrally). More modern examples are web servers (the computers that handle your web requests when you use your browser) or application servers (computers dedicated to handling the computing needs of a specific application). Servers are often powerful, expensive machines since they have to handle a heavy load.
We are used to purchasing products outright. “Services” is a new concept where you may or may not buy the product, but optional or mandatory services come with the product. Those services may have an ongoing cost separate from the purchase price.
In this context, “software” refers to functions in an IoT device that are implemented by running instructions through some kind of processor. It’s distinct from “hardware,” where functions are built into a silicon chip or some other component.
In our context, this refers to the range of radio frequencies available for communication. Access to those frequencies is usually regulated by governments since they’re viewed as a public asset.
Stands for “static random access memory.” This is also temporary memory in a computer. It’s very fast compared to other kinds of memory, but it’s also very expensive, so you don’t have nearly so much.
A way of doing something specific that has been agreed by multiple parties in an official manner. Some “standards” aren’t official standards; the best ones have been established in an open fashion, where anyone with an interest can contribute and where large companies can’t push little companies around.
A portion of a bigger network. For example, if you have a home network and it’s connected to the internet, then your home network is a part of the overall internet network. That home part is therefore a subnetwork. Any self-contained subset of a bigger network can be called a subnetwork.
A machine learning approach where a machine is trained by giving it examples and, during the training, telling the machine what the answers are. A large number of varied examples provide the best results.
A switch helps direct network traffic to the right destination. At a high level, it’s very similar to a router. Technically, switches are used to create local subnetworks; routers connect subnetworks together.
This is a very generic term for any collection of components that, all together, can do something. Systems can be built from subsystems. Examples are your cell phone; your computer; the radio in your car; anything that seems like a “whole.”
A system built out of other smaller systems. Just as you might say that a system could be built out of subsystems, you can also say that separate systems can be combined to create a larger system. They’re just different ways of saying the same thing.
A generic phrase referring to large numbers of computers located somewhere far away and accessed over the internet. For the IoT, computing may be local, done in the same system or building, or in the cloud, with data shipped up to the cloud and then the result shipped back down.
Refers to some way of doing “cloud”-style computing without having to use the cloud. A local server (or router or something else) can act like the cloud; because it’s local, it’s referred to informally as the fog.
A machine learning approach where a machine is trained by learning as it goes. It doesn’t get trained by examples ahead of time, and isn’t explicitly taught the “right answers.” There must be some other way of reinforcing the right and wrong answers as it learns.
An approach to the IoT that restricts which devices and brands you can have work together. It could protect you, help assure interoperability, keep out certain competitors, or any and all of the above.