Tech Terms | Abbreviations A–Z
Network-attached storage (NAS) is a file-level (as opposed to block-level storage) computer data storage server connected to a computer network providing data access to a heterogeneous group of clients. The term “NAS” can refer to both the technology and systems involved, or a specialized device built for such functionality (as unlike tangentially related technologies such as local area networks, a NAS device is often a singular unit).
NetBIOS (/ˈnɛtbaɪɒs/) is an acronym for Network Basic Input/Output System. It provides services related to the session layer of the OSI modelallowing applications on separate computers to communicate over a local area network. As strictly an API, NetBIOS is not a networking protocol. Operating systems of the 1980s (DOS and Novell Netware primarily) ran NetBIOS over IEEE 802.2 and IPX/SPX using the NetBIOS Frames(NBF) and NetBIOS over IPX/SPX (NBX) protocols, respectively. In modern networks, NetBIOS normally runs over TCP/IP via the NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NBT) protocol. This results in each computer in the network having both an IP address and a NetBIOS name corresponding to a (possibly different) host name. NetBIOS is also used for identifying system names in TCP/IP (Windows). Simply stated, it is a protocol that allows communication of data for files and printers through the Session Layer of the OSI Model in a LAN.
A netbook is a small and inexpensive laptop designed primarily as a means of accessing the Internet. Netbooks were sold from 2007 until around 2013, when the widespread advent of smartphones and tablets eclipsed their popularity. Netbooks generally had lower-end hardware specifications than consumer laptops of the time, being primarily intended as clients for Internet services. While netbook has fallen out of use, these machines evolved into other products including Google's Chromebook, and mobile devices, particularly tablet computers, often running mobile operating systems such as iOS or Android.
At their inception in late 2007, as smaller-than-typical laptop computers optimized for low weight and low cost, netbooks began appearing without certain then-standard laptop features (such as an optical drive), and with less computing power than in full-sized laptops. Later netbooks ranged in size from below 5" screen diagonal to 12". A typical weight was 1 kg (2.2 pounds). Often significantly less expensive than other laptops, by mid-2009, netbooks were often offered by some wireless data carriers “free of charge”, with an extended service-contract purchase.
Soon after their appearance, netbooks grew in size and features, and converged with smaller laptops and subnotebooks. By August 2009, when comparing two Dell models, one marketed as a netbook and the other as a conventional laptop, CNET called netbooks “nothing more than smaller, cheaper notebooks”, noting: “the specs are so similar that the average shopper would likely be confused as to why one is better than the other”, and “the only conclusion is that there really is no distinction between the devices”. At their peak, the easy portability of netbooks, and expanding Internet access, gave them a significant portion of the laptop computer market. To protect sales of their more lucrative laptops, manufacturers soon imposed constraints on the hardware of their netbooks, which had the unintended effect of pushing netbooks into a market niche where they had few distinctive advantages over traditional laptops or the newly emerging tablet computer.
By 2011, the increasing popularity of tablet computers (particularly the iPad), which offered a different form factor, but with improved computing capabilities and lower production cost, had led to declining sales of budget netbooks. Meanwhile, the emergence of ultra-light laptops with the dimensions and hardware specifications of high-end laptops, most notably the MacBook Air, allowed fewer sacrifices for a lightweight laptop, at a considerably higher price, eating into sales of high-end netbooks. Soon after, Intel promoted the “Ultrabook” as a new high-mobility standard for laptop computers, which some analysts predicted would succeed in markets where netbooks had failed.
Against these two new rapidly expanding product categories, netbooks, less portable and easy to use than tablet computers and less performant than ultrabooks, rapidly lost market share, with price as their only obvious strong suit by roughly 2011. By the end of 2012, few new laptops were marketed as “netbooks”, and the term disappeared from common usage.
By 2014, most laptops that fit the definition of “netbook” were Chromebooks. Others included certain of the HP Essential laptops and various palmtop computers for specialized purposes, such as the GPD Win series of palmtops, which included controls for applications such as portable video gaming. While these laptops and devices are often considered successors to, descendants of, or continuations of the netbook product class, the word “netbook” became a historical term, usually referring to those laptops that were originally marketed as “netbooks”.
Term for a message that is sent within the FidoNet.
Near-field communication (NFC) is a set of communication protocols that enables communication between two electronic devices over a distance of 4 cm (1.57 in) or less. NFC offers a low-speed connection through a simple setup that can be used to bootstrap more capable wireless connections. Like other "proximity card" technologies, NFC is based on inductive couplingbetween two antennas present on NFC-enabled devices—for example a smartphone and a printer—communicating in one or both directions, using a frequency of 13.56 MHz in the globally available unlicensed radio frequency ISM band using the ISO/IEC 18000-3 air interface standard at data rates ranging from 106 to 848 kbit/s.
The NFC Forum has helped define and promote the technology, setting standards for certifying device compliance. Secure communications are available by applying encryption algorithms as is done for credit cards and if they fit the criteria for being considered a personal area network.
NFC standards cover communications protocols and data exchange formats and are based on existing radio-frequency identification (RFID) standards including ISO/IEC 14443 and FeliCa. The standards include ISO/IEC 18092 and those defined by the NFC Forum. In addition to the NFC Forum, the GSMA group defined a platform for the deployment of GSMA NFC Standards within mobile handsets. GSMA's efforts include Trusted Services Manager, Single Wire Protocol, testing/certification and secure element. NFC-enabled portable devices can be provided with application software, for example to read electronic tags or make payments when connected to an NFC-compliant system. These are standardized to NFC protocols, replacing proprietary technologies used by earlier systems.
A patent licensing program for NFC is under deployment by France Brevets, a patent fund created in 2011. This program was under development by Via Licensing Corporation, an independent subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories, and was terminated in May 2012. A platform-independent free and open source NFC library, libnfc, is available under the GNU Lesser General Public License.
Present and anticipated applications include contactless transactions, data exchange and simplified setup of more complex communications such as Wi-Fi. In addition, when one of the connected devices has Internet connectivity, the other can exchange data with online services.
Short for Notebook computer. See Laptop.