BBS Glossary of Terms


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                 BBS Terms to Know       Wildcat! v5          █                 
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   This is a glossary of terms commonly used by telecommunications              
   enthusiasts, as well as words specific to offline mail reading and           
   Bulletin Board Systems. We hope you find the information useful.             
                                                                                
     ARQ -                                                                      
         Automatic Repeat Request. A general term for error control             
         protocols featuring hardware detection and retransmission of           
         defective data. This term is used primarily by US Robotics.            
                                                                                
     ASCII -                                                                    
         American Standard Code for Information Exchange.  A 7-bit binary       
         code representation of letters, numbers and special characters.        
         It is universally supported in computer data transfer.                 
                                                                                
     Asynchronous -                                                             
         Data transmission in which the actual data is preceded by a start      
         bit and followed by a stop bit since the time between transmitted      
         characters varies. Compare Synchronous.                                
                                                                                
     Auto Answer -                                                              
         The modem feature which enables detection of a ring and answering      
         without assistance from a program.                                     
                                                                                
     Baud Rate -                                                                
         The number of discrete signal events per second occurring on a         
         communications channel. It is often referred to as Bits per            
         second (BPS) which is technically inaccurate but widely accepted.      
                                                                                
     BBS -                                                                      
         Bulletin Board System.                                                 
                                                                                
     Bit -                                                                      
         Binary Digit. A single basic computer signal consisting of a           
         value of 0 or 1, off or on.                                            
                                                                                
     Buffer -                                                                   
         A memory area used for temporary storage during input/output           
         operations.                                                            
                                                                                
     Bulletin Board System -                                                    
         A host system, into which callers may dial with their modems to        
         read and send electronic mail, upload and download files, and          
         chat online with other callers.                                        
                                                                                
     Byte -                                                                     
         A group of Bits acted upon as a group, which may have a readable       
         ASCII value as a letter or number or some other coded meaning to       
         the computer. It is commonly used to refer to 8-bit groups. 1          
         kilobyte = 1,024 bytes; 64K = 65,536 bytes or characters.              
                                                                                
     Carrier -                                                                  
         A continuous frequency capable of being either modulated or            
         impressed with another information-carrying signal. Carriers are       
         generated and maintained by modems via the transmission lines of       
         the telephone companies.                                               
                                                                                
     Conference -                                                               
         An area of public messages on a Bulletin Board System, usually         
         with a particular topic and, often, a conference host or               
         moderator to guide the discussion. Also called Folder, SIG (for        
         "Special Interest Group") or Echo.                                     
                                                                                
     CCITT -                                                                    
         A French acronym for the International Telephone and Telegraph         
         Consultative Committee. This international organization defines        
         the standards for telephone equipment such as the Bell 212A            
         standard for 1200 baud, CCITT V.22 for 2400 baud and CCITT V.32        
         for 9600 baud.                                                         
                                                                                
     CPS -                                                                      
         Characters Per Second. A transfer rate estimated from the bit          
         rate and length of each character. If each character is 8 bits         
         long and includes a start and stop bit for Asynchronous                
         transmission, each character needs 10 bits to be sent. At 2400         
         baud it is transmitted at approximately 240 CPS.                       
                                                                                
     CRC -                                                                      
         Cyclical Redundancy Check. An error-detection technique                
         consisting of a cyclic algorithm performed on each "block" of          
         data at the sending and receiving end of the transmission. As          
         each block is received, the CRC value is checked against the CRC       
         value sent along with the block. Many protocols including XMODEM-      
         CRC and ARQ will request a resend until the block is received          
         correctly.                                                             
                                                                                
     Download -                                                                 
         Receiving a file from a Bulletin Board System, using a terminal        
         program (for example QModem) and a transfer protocol (for example      
         Zmodem).                                                               
                                                                                
     DTE -                                                                      
         Data Terminal Equipment. The device that is the originator or          
         destination of the data sent by a modem.                               
                                                                                
     DTR -                                                                      
         Data Terminal Ready. A signal generated by most modems indicating      
         a connection between the DTE (computer) and the modem. When DTR        
         is "high" the computer is connected.                                   
                                                                                
     Data Compression Protocols -                                               
         Compression of data by the modem allows more information to be         
         transferred in a shorter time frame. Protocols for data                
         compression include CCITT V.42bis and MNP 5.                           
                                                                                
     Data Transmission Protocols -                                              
         These are standards for modulation and transmission of data at         
         various speeds. The standards are Bell 103 & V.21 for 300bps,          
         Bell 212A & V.22 for 1200bps, V.22bis for 2400bps, V.32 for            
         9600bps and V.32 bis for 14,400bps. Proprietary protocols are          
         also used extensively for higher baud rates.                           
                                                                                
     Echomail -                                                                 
         Public Message Conferences on a Bulletin Board System which are        
         shared and distributed among other Bulletin Boards as part of an       
         Echomail Network.                                                      
                                                                                
     Expanded Memory -                                                          
         Extra memory (above 640k) on your XT or AT-compatible computer,        
         which is installed with an EMS driver, and may be used by some         
         programs to store data.                                                
                                                                                
     Extended Memory -                                                          
         Extra memory (above 640k) on your 80286 or 80386 compatible            
         computer. Not normally usable by DOS applications, but may be          
         configured as a virtual drive or a disk cache on an 80286              
         computer, or as Expanded Memory on an 80386 computer.                  
                                                                                
     Flow Control -                                                             
         A mechanism that compensates for differences in the flow of data       
         to and output from a modem or computer. Either hardware or             
         software can be used for this control to prevent data loss.            
         Hardware flow control using the modem makes use of a buffer to         
         store data to be sent and data received. Flow control is               
         necessary if the Communications port is locked at a higher rate        
         than the connection rate.                                              
                                                                                
     Error Control Protocols -                                                  
         These are various modem-based techniques which check the               
         reliability of characters or blocks of data at a hardware level.       
         Examples include MNP 2-4, V.42                                         
                                                                                
     Freeware -                                                                 
         Computer software which may be distributed on Bulletin Board           
         Systems, and for which the author requests no license fee or           
         registration fee.                                                      
                                                                                
     Full Duplex -                                                              
         Signal flow in both directions at the same time. It is sometimes       
         used to refer to the suppression of online LOCAL ECHO and              
         allowing the remote system to provide a REMOTE ECHO.                   
                                                                                
     Half Duplex -                                                              
         Signal flow in both directions, but only one way at a time. It         
         is sometimes used to refer to activation of LOCAL ECHO which           
         causes a copy of sent data to be displayed on the sending              
         display.