Glossary of acronyms


Name Full Name Description
AC Link Audio Codec Link Audio and telephony protocol in Southbridge chip
ACPI Advanced Configuration and Power Interface Power management specification (succeeds APM).
ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line A variant of DSL.
Called "asymmetrical" because the download speed is higher than the upload speed.
AeA American Electronics Association US electronics industry association. Counterpart of EICTA and JEITA. Link:
AGP Advanced Graphics Protocol A bus that transfers data between CPU, Northbridge and graphics processor.
ANSI American National Standard Institute  
APM Advanced Power Management Power management specification (preceeded ACPI)
ASIC Application Specific Integrated Circuit A chip designed for a special program or application
ATA Advanced Technology Attachment A data bus and interface standard to connect (internal) hard drives and optical drives, using the IDE protocol. Depending on maximum transfer speed that is supported we distinguish ATA/33, ATA/66, ATA/100 and ATA/133.
Also known as PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment)
ATM Asynchronous Transfer Mode Dedicated connection switching technology. ATM is one of the main technologies behind ISDN.
BAN Body Area Network (Wireless) network connecting miscellaneous medical monitoring devices, area = 1.5 m
BatteryMark   Business Winstone BatteryMark by Ziff Davies: benchmark for testing battery life of a notebook. Simulates real-life office use with Windows Office applications (
baud   a measurement of transmission speed, defined as one electronic state change per second (bit per second).
BIOS Basic Input Output System All computer hardware has to work with software through an interface. The BIOS gives the computer a little built-in starter kit to run the rest of softwareïs from floppy disks (FDD) and hard disks (HDD).
BT Bluetooth Wireless protocol for peripherals and input devices over short distances.
BW Business Winstone Business Winstone is a system-level, application-based benchmark that measures a PCs overall performance when running today's mainstream Windows-based 32-bit applications on the Windows operating system. Business Winstone doesn't mimic what these packages do; it runs real applications through a series of scripted activities and uses the time a computer takes to complete those activities to produce its performance scores. (
CAN Campus / Controller / Complete / Customer / Car Area Network  
CCD Charge Coupled Device An electronic memory which is able to be charged by light. CCDs can hold a variable charge, and this is why they are used in cameras and scanners to save variable shades of light. CCDs are analog, not digital.
CD Compact Disc Compact disc for audio. Sometimes called CD-A to distinguish from other types of CDs.
CD-A Conpact Disc Audio  
CD-R Compact Disc - Recordable A compact disc format that can be recorded only once.
CD-ROM Compact Disk - Read Only Media A compact disc format used to hold digital computer-readable information. Sometimes spelled CDROM.
CD-RW Compact Disc - Rewritable A compact disc format that can be recorded many times.
CMOS Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor A transistor technology used by most of todays computer microchips.
CPU Central Processing Unit Main processing chip of a computer.
CRT Cathode Ray Tube  
DDR-SDRAM Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory Type of SDRAM with double data rate transfer channels.
DIMM Dual In-line Memory Module Plug-in modules for SDRAM chips.
DIMMs have separate electrical contacts on each side of the module and a 64-bit data path.
DLP Digital Light Projection Screen technology using light projection on a small chip with mirrors (MEMS).
DMA Direct Memory Access Specialized circuitry or a dedicated microprocessor to transfers data from memory to memory without using the CPU. Although DMA may periodically steal cycles from the CPU, data is transferred faster than using the CPU to process every single byte.
DMD Digital Mirror Display Projection display technology (Texas Instruments patent).
DNS Domain Name System DNS is a naming service that maps TCP/IP addresses to computer names.
dpi dots per inch Resolution value, mostly used for printers (e.g. 600, 1200, 2400 dpi).
DRAM Dynamic Random Access Memory Memory type that requires to be refreshed periodically to maintain the stored data. If powered off, then the data is lost.
DSL Digital Subscriber Line High speed digital transmission technology over copper telephone landlines. DSL makes it possible to have high speed data transmission combined with simultaneous regular telephony over the same telephone line.
DSLAM DSL Access Multiplier  
DVB Digital Video Broadcasting

An international digital broadcast standard for TV, audio and data.


DVD Digital Versatile Disc Successor of the CD (in its various formats) with enough storage space needed for a movie.
EACEM European Association of Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Now merged with computer manufacturers in the new EICTA.
ECC Error-correcting code A method for memory modules that allows the detection of all single-bit errors (caused by electrical or magnetic interference). Memory modules with ECC are often required on systems that are performing critical tasks.
ECP Extended Capabilities Port Faster Parallel Port standard (>1 Mbps maximum transfer rate).
e-commerce Electronic Commerce  
EIA Electronic Industries Association  
EIDE Enhanced IDE Commercial name for an ATA interface for HDD, DVD, CD drive.
EICTA European Information, Communications and Consumer Technology Industry Association Previously EU computer manufacturers,. Since 1 Oct. 2001 merged with consumer electronics manufacturers EACEM, but retaining the old acronym EICTA.
EMR Electro Magnetic Radiation  
EPP Enhanced Parallel Port Faster Parallel Port standard.
eSATA External SATA A serial version of the ATA (IDE) interface for external hard disk drives and optical drives, providing an external, hot swappable drive solution similar to USB.
FDD Floppy Disk Drive

A high-speed serial bus to connect devices, usually for data storage applications. Also known as IEEE1394 or IEEE1394b.
Versions and data transfer speed:

  • FireWire 400 (IEEE1394) - 400 Mbit/s
  • FireWire 800 (IEEE1394b) - 800 Mbit/s

Sony uses the FireWire connection under the name iLink.

FSB Front-side Bus The bus (connection) that carries data between the CPU and the Northbridge.
Full HD Full High Definition Video display capability with a screen resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and 30 full frames per second. Also known as 1080p.
GPRS General Packet Radio Service Additional data service for GSM with a data transfer speed of 56-144 kbit/s.
GSM Global System for Mobile communication Digital mobile telecommunication network system.
HAVi Home Audio Video Interoperability Protocol for home networking, promoted by audio-visual electronics industry.
HDD Hard Disk Drive  
HiperACCESS High Performance Radio Access 40.5 - 43.5 GHz band ETSI protocol for point-to-multipoint communications of large buildings and residential areas.
HiperLAN2 High Performance Radio LAN New ETSI communication protocol for wireless communication (5GHz band, 54 Mbit/s, 200-500 m range).
HiperMAN High Performance Radio Metropolitan Area Networks Frequency between 2 and 11 GHz: connects HiperLAN2 and HiperACCESS.
HiSwan High Speed Wireless Access Japanese (ARIB) version of HiperLAN2 (5GHz band).
HomeRF   Protocol for wireless LAN and Connected Appliances.
HomePNA Home Phoneline Networking Alliance Protocol for phoneline based LAN and Connected Appliances.
HT HyperTransport A system interface protocol between CPU and chipset. HT replaces the FSB.
HTML Hyper Text Mark-up Language Simple script language used to generate internet sites.
ICQ "I seek you" Popular instant messaging software for direct SMS, e-mail, VoIP, etc. over the Internet (other types: Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger).
IDE Integrated Drive Electronics Bus protocol for Hard Disk Drives, CD-ROMs and DVDs.
IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers  
IEEE1284   Describes ECP and EPP (fast parallel ports).
IEEE1394 / IEEE1394b   IEEE standardisation name for the FireWire high-speed serial bus.
IEEE802.11a   Wireless communications protocol, using the frequency of 2.4 GHz. Two selectable speeds: 1 or 2 Mbps.
IEEE802.11b   Wireless communications protocol.
IEEE802.11g   Wireless communications protocol.
IEEE802.11n   Wireless communications protocol.
IEEE802.3   Ethernet communications protocol.
IMAP Internet Message Access Protocol Alternative to POP3.
IM Instant Message Message using instant messaging protocol through the internet. Messaging requires two or more users to be logged on. Examples of instant messaging services are ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, Live Messenger, etc.
IP Internet Protocol  
IR Infrared  
ISA Industry Standard Architecture Standard I/O bus defined by IBM in 1984. Capable of 16 bit data transfer (originally 8 bit).
ISDN Integrated Service Digital Network A digital communication line.
JEDEC Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council JEDEC is an industry association developing open standards for the microelectronics industry.
JEITA Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association See
kbps kilobit per second Data transfer speed unit. Also: kbit/s.
LAN Local Area Network  
LCD Liquid Crystal Display Display technology (flat screens).
LED Light Emitting Diode  
LEP Light Emitting Polymer Screen technology (now used for smaller displays).
LPC Low Pin Count Controller protocol for legacy devices in a PC. Connects to Super I/O chip.
LPT Line PrinTer Other name for 'parallel' port in PC (150 kbps max. transfer rate).
LSI Large Scale Integration A chip design technology where many, components are combined on one single micro-chip. (e.g. RF on LSI for Bluetooth).
MAN Metropolitan Area Network  
Mbps Megabit per second Data transfer speed unit. Also: Mbit/s.
m-commerce Mobile Commerce  
MiniDV Miniature Digital Video Small format video tape for digital camcorders.
MMS Multimedia Messaging Service Messaging protocol based on WAP, also compatible with SMS, to send messages that include multimedia content to and from mobile phones.
MOSFET Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field  
MP3   File extension for MPEG audio layer 3 files.
MP3 is a 'lossy' compression technology for compressing sound into very small files. The file size is about 1/10 (depending on compression rate) of the original file, with practically no audible loss.
NVRAM Non Volatile Random Access Memory RAM memory, e.g. used in CMOS chip in a computer, together with the RTC to hold basic system configuration.
OpenGL Open Graphics Language 3D graphics language developed by SGI, which has become the standard endorsed by many vendors.
OSX   An operating system for computers of Apple Computers.
PAL Phase Alternate Line Transmission standard for analogue TV, commonly used in Europe.
PC Personal Computer  
PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect A computer bus for attaching hardware devices in a computer. A bus is a subsystem that transfers data between computer components inside a computer or between computers.
PCIe Peripheral Component Interconnect Express A computer bus for attaching hardware devices in a computer. It is designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X, and AGP standards
PCI Express see PCIe  
PCMCIA Personal Computer Memory Card International Association Expansion slot standard for PC Card and ExpressCard, mostly found on notebooks.
PDA Personal Digital Assistant  
PDP Plasma Discharge Panel A display technology used in flat screen displays.
pixel   A word invented from "picture element". Is the basic unit of programmable color on a computer display or in a computer image. The physical size of a pixel depends on how you've set the resolution for the display screen.
PLC Programmable Logic Controller A computer used in process control applications. PLC microprocessors are normally RISC-based and are designed for high-speed and realtime.
POP3 Post Office Protocol E-mail protocol.
POTS Plain Old Telephone System  
PPP Point to Point Protocol. PPP enables you to connect your computer directly to the Internet using an ordinary telephone line.
PPPoA PPP over ATM  
PPPoE Point-to-Point Protocol Over Ethernet  
PSTN Public Switched Telephone Network Analogue telephone 56 kb/s.
PWM Pulse Width Modulation Control procedure (alternative is e.g. voltage regulation).
QPI QuickPath Interconnect A system interface protocol between CPU and chipset. QPI replaces the FSB.
RAM Random Access Memory Common name for a system's "working" memory.
RAM holds all data that is being processed. RAM is volatile memory, i.e. if RAM is powered off then all data in it is lost.
Other devices like graphic adapters can also have their own RAM.
RDRAM Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory Fast type of DRAM, also called DirectRambus-DRAM. Memory modules are usually called RIMM.
RF Radio Frequency  
RIMM Rambus In-line Memory Modules Memory modules for RDRAM with 184 pins.
RISC Reduced Instruction Set Computing CPU type. UNIX machine typically use RISC processors.
RS-232   Standard serial connector interface approved by by EIA (a newer, backward compatible standard is RS-422).
RTC Real Time Clock System clock in a CMOS chip.
S0   Standby-level defined by ACPI:
System is on and working. The CPU is fully up and running. Power conservation depends on the setting of each device.
S1   Standby-level defined by ACPI:
The CPU is stopped, but still powered. The RAM is also powered to maintain the data of the working state. The system runs in a low power mode. The system appears off.
S2   Standby-level defined by ACPI:
The CPU is powered off. The RAM is still powered to maintain the data of the working state. The system uses a lower power mode than S1. The system appears off.
S3   Standby-level defined by ACPI:
The CPU is powered off. The RAM is low-powered to maintain the data of the working state. The power supply unit is in a lowered power mode. This mode is also referred to as 'Suspend To RAM'. The system appears off.
S4   Standby-level defined by ACPI:
The hardware is completely off, but system memory of the working state has been saved as a temporary file onto the harddisk. This mode is also referred to as 'Suspend To Disk' or 'Hibernate'. The system appears off.
S5   Standby-level defined by ACPI:
The hardware is completely off, the operating system has shut down. The working state is not saved.
SAN Storage Area Network A network of computer storage devices connected to a network that appears to be a local storage device on a computer.
SAS Serial Attached SCSI A data bus and connection standard for storage devices such as hard disk drives and tapes. It succeeds SCSI.
SATA Serial Advanced Technology Attachment A data bus and connection standard for storage devices such as hard disk drives and tapes. It is a serial version of the ATA (IDE) interface for (internal) hard disk drives and optical drives. SATA is succeeding ATA.
SCSI Small Computer System Interface A data bus and connection standard for storage devices such as hard disk drives and tapes.
SDRAM Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory A type of memory in which instructions are synchronized with the computer's system bus. SDRAM is used on memory modules that have 168 pins.
SIMM Single In-line Memory Module Plug-in memory module with DRAM. SIMMs have 30 or 72 pins. SIMMs have redundant electrical contacts on both sides and a 32-bit data path.
SDSL Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line DSL intended for business.
SMS Short Message Services Messaging service commonly used on GSM networks.
SO-DIMM Small Outline Dual In-line Memory Module A small version of the DIMM. It is about half the size of a DIMM. SO-DIMMs are often used in small systems such as notebooks, small computers, high-end office printers and networking hardware.
Also known as SODIMM.
SRAM Static RAM Quicker than DRAM without the need of refreshing. Typically used for Cache memory.
SVGA Super Video Graphics Array Screen resolution of 800x600 pixels.
S-Video Super Video Analogue video signal type in which luminance and colour signals are sent separately.
TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol  
UMTS Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems Third generation mobile telecommunication network system. Compatible with GSM. Download data transfer speed is 384 kbit/s.
Also known as 3G.
UNIX   UNIX (pronounced "you-niks") is an operating system that originated at Bell Labs in 1969.
The name was originally spelled "UNICS" (a pun on Multics), which stands for UNiplexed Information and Computing System.
UPS Uninterruptable Power Supply Battery device between power mains and computer that protects the computer from power problems (blackout, surges).
USB Universal Serial Bus

Universal port for connecting devices. Up to 127 devices can be connected to a single controller.
Versions with their data transfer speed:

  • USB 1.0 - "low speed USB": 1.5 Mbit/s
  • USB 1.1 - "full speed USB": 12 Mbit/s
  • USB 2.0 - "hi-speed USB": 480 Mbit/s
  • USB 3.0 - "superspeed USB": 5 Gbit/s
UXGA Ultra eXtended Graphics Array Screen resolution for computer displays of 1600x1200 pixels with an aspect ratio of 4:3.
VCR Video Casette Recorder  
VDSL Very high bit rate Digital Subscriber Line Very fast DSL with speeds up to 52 Mbit/s downstream and 16 Mbit/s upstream.
VDSL2 provides data rates exceeding 100 Mbit/s simultaneously in both the upstream and downstream directions
VGA Video Graphics Array A video adapter that duplicates all the video modes of the EGA (Enhanced Graphics Adapter) and adds several more. (usually refers to 640x480 pixel resolution).
VoIP Voice over IP Telephoning using the Internet.
VPN Virtual Private Network  
WAN Wide Area Network A communications network that covers a wide geographic area, such as state or country.
WAP Wireless Application Protocol A communications standard that makes it possible to access the internet from a mobile phone.
WECA Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance Alliance to promote the Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi Wireless Fidelity Wireless LAN standard (IEEE 802.11).
WLAN Wireless Local Area Network  
WLL Wireless Local Loop Radio telephone comparable with PSTN and ISDN.
WOL Wake-up On-Line Protocol to wake up Ethernet card.
WUXGA Widescreen Ultra eXtended Graphics Array Screen resolution for computer displays of 1920x1200 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:10.
WXGA Wide Extended Graphics Array Screen resolution for displays.
For televisions WXGA generally refers to a resolution of 1366x768 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9.
For computer displays WXGA generally refers to a resolution of 1200x800 pixels with an aspect ration of 16:10.
XML Extensible Markup Languange  
XGA Extended Graphics Array Screen resolution for computer displays of 1024x768 pixels.