Glossary of Internet Terms
A browser is used to browse the internet and view web pages. The most common browsers are Internet Explorer and Netscape. Others include Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

A Domain is the part of your e-mail address following the @ sign.  For most First Step customers, this is the city name that appears in your email address (so Moscow users would be; Lewiston would be  For some customers the domain is the name of their web site.

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is frequently shortened to simply DSL.  A method for moving data over regular phone lines. An ADSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber's premises are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. An ADSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations, similar to a leased line. A commonly discussed configuration of ADSL would allow a subscriber to receive data (download) at speeds of up to 1.544 Megabits per second, and to send (upload) data at speeds of 128 kilobits per second. Thus the 'Asymmetric' part of the acronym. Another commonly discussed configuration would be symmetrical: 384 kilobits per second in both directions.

(Electronic Mail) -- Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses (Mailing List).

E-mail client
A program that can retrieve email from an email account, allowing a user to read, forward, delete, and reply to email messages.  Popular e-mail clients include Outlook Express, MS Outlook, Eudora, and Incredimail.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP allows you to copy files from a remote computer to your local host computer. Thousands of sites provide anonymous FTP service, allowing you to download everything from online books, to satellite pictures of the weather, to public-domain utilities and games for your computer.

A concentrator that joins multiple clients by means of a single link to the rest of the LAN. A hub has several ports to which clients are connected directly, and one or more ports that can be used to connect the hub to the backbone or to other active network components. A hub functions as a multiport repeater; signals received on any port are immediately retransmitted to all other ports of the hub. Hubs function at the physical layer of the OSI Reference Model.

IP Address
Every computer connected to the Internet is assigned a unique number known as an Internet Protocol (IP) address. Since these numbers are usually assigned in country-based blocks, an IP address can often be used to identify the country from which a computer is connecting to the Internet.

A modem (modulator/demodulator), converts data from internal computer data to communication-line data and back again. The transmission rate of the data across a telephone line is measured in bits per second.  Most modems in use today can connect at up to 56,000 kbps. First Step Internet also supports the new V92 modems.

POP means Post Office Protocol, and it is used for receiving email over the Internet. POP can also stand for point of presence, which means that a company or organization provides some form of access to the Internet, typically dial-up, in the areas where they have a POP.

Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet is a networking protocol that is used extensively in the First Step wireless network.

PPP means point-to-point protocol. Like SLIP, it is for communicating Internet networking protocols over a telephone line. PPP has better compression and error correction than SLIP. We suggest that all users use PPP instead of SLIP and in fact now only support PPP Connections.

Protocol is the set of rules established between two devices to allow communications to occur.

A device that determines the next network point to which a data packet should be forwarded enroute toward its destination. The router is connected to at least two networks and determines which way to send each data packet based on its current understanding of the state of the networks it is connected to. Routers create or maintain a table of the available routes and use this information to determine the best route for a given data packet.


SLIP means serial line Internet protocol, and it is for communicating Internet networking protocols over a telephone line.

Unsolicited "junk" e-mail sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services. Sexually explicit unsolicited e-mail is called "porn spam." Also refers to inappropriate promotional or commercial postings to discussion groups or bulletin boards.

A general term for a program that surreptitiously monitors your actions. While they are sometimes sinister, like a remote control program used by a hacker, software companies have been known to use spyware to gather data about customers. The practice is generally frowned upon.

SMTP means Simple Mail Transport Protocol, and it is used for sending electronic mail. You are using SMTP when sending a message with your Internet Mail program.

A network switch is a small device that joins multiple computers together at a low-level network protocol layer. Technically, network switches operate at layer two (Data Link Layer) of the OSI model.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol(TCP/IP) is a layer of protocols that communicate between different computers on a large geographic network using Ethernet, Token Ring or serial (modem) line cabling scheme. The Internet is the network that you are connecting to and the serial line with a modem is the cabling scheme.

UseNet (Newsgroups)
The UseNet is a global bulletin board, of sorts, in which millions of people exchange public information on every conceivable topic.  UseNet now has a subscription service so a good free alternative is google groups.

A computer program that can reproduce by changing other programs to include a copy of itself.  It is a parasite program, needing another program to survive. 

(WWW or "Web") - A system of Internet servers that uses HTTP to transfer specially formatted documents. The documents are formatted in a language called HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language) that supports links to other documents, as well as graphics, audio, and video files. One can jump from one document to another simply by clicking on hyperlinks. Not all Internet servers are part of the World Wide Web.

Web Site
A collection of "pages" or files linked together and available on the World Wide Web. Web sites are provided by companies, organizations and individuals. First Step's web site is or

Using the radio-frequency spectrum for transmitting and receiving voice, data and video signals for communications.  Wireless speeds are typically faster than standard DSL. 

  • Managing your First Step Account
  • Speed Test Guide
  • Fiber Speed Test Guide
  • Your Wireless Connection
  • Your First Step E-Mail
  • Using Web E-mail
  • Your PPPoE Connection
  • Filtering SPAM with the EdgeWave SPAM filter
  • Viruses and Spyware
  • How to avoid objectionable websites
  • Glossary of Internet Terms