Jargon Buster 2 - Internet connection types & email

Support Team
Support Team

In light of the response to our previous Jargon Buster article, we thought we’d put together another list of common terms and what they mean, in an effort to bridge the knowledge gap.


Home Internet

What’s the difference between Wireless and Wi-Fi?

People tend to think of the terms "Wireless" and "Wi-Fi" as synonymous, when they are two very different technologies.


Wireless is an older term used for a device that connects directly to the mobile network. These days we refer to this as Mobile Broadband to help distinguish the technology that we are talking about.


Wi-Fi is the term used when referring to a wireless method of connecting your tablet, computer or smart phone to a modem or router without needing a physical connection such as an Ethernet or USB cable.  The modem could then use a variety of technologies to connect to the internet, such as ADSL, Cable or the NBN.


You can see where the two terms can become confusing, particularly as some Mobile Broadband or “Wireless” devices offer the option for you to connect your gizmos via Wi-Fi or a USB or Ethernet cable.


NBN (National Broadband Network)
Find the best NBN from Telstra options to suit your all of your home internet needs. 

  • FTTP

An NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) connection is used in circumstances where a fibre optic line will be run from the nearest available fibre node, directly to your premises. FTTP connections require an NBN access network device to be installed inside your home as well as a box on the side of your house/building.


  • FTTN

NBN Fibre to the Node (FTTN) connection is where the existing copper phone network is used to make the final leg of the connection between your home and the NBN network from a nearby node.

The fibre node is usually located in a street cabinet. Each street cabinet will allow the NBN signal to travel over a fibre optic line from the exchange, to the cabinet, and connect with the existing copper network to reach your premises.


  • FTTB

An NBN Fibre to the Building (FTTB) connection is generally used when we are connecting an apartment block or similar types of buildings to the NBN network. In these circumstances, a fibre optic line is run from the fibre node in the building’s communications room, and then makes use of the existing technology in the building to connect to each apartment.


  • FTTC

An NBN Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) connection is where fibre is extended close to your premises, connecting to a small Distribution Point Unit (DPU), generally located inside a pit on the street.

From here, the existing copper network is the final length between your home and the NBN DPU. To power your FTTC service with electricity and provide your connection to the NBN network, an FTTC NBN connection device will be required inside your home or business.


  • HFC

An NBN Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connection is used in circumstances where the existing ‘pay TV’ or cable network can be used to make the final part of the NBN connection. In this circumstance an HFC line will be run from the nearest available fibre node, to your premises. HFC connections require an NBN network device to be installed at the point where the line enters your home.


  • Fixed Wireless

An NBN Fixed Wireless connection utilises data transmitted over radio signals to connect a premises to the NBN network. This connection is typically used in circumstances where the distance between premises can over a great distance. Data travels from a transmission tower to an NBN outdoor antenna that has been fitted to the premises. Fixed Wireless connections also require an NBN connection box to be installed at the point where the cable from the NBN outdoor antenna enters your premises.


NBN provide more detail about these technologies here: https://www.nbnco.com.au/content/nbnco2/learn-about-the-nbn/network-technology/fibre-to-the-node-exp...



When you configure your e-mail client, you will need to choose the type of mail server your e-mail account uses. This will typically be either a POP3 or IMAP server.


  • SMTP: Stands for "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol." This is used when sending e-mail over the Internet. Your email program or app (e.g. Outlook for Windows users or Mail for Mac users) uses SMTP authenticate and direct the transfer of electronic mail.


  • POP3: Stands for "Post Office Protocol." POP3, sometimes referred to as just "POP," and is used by your email program to receive emails that are currently stored in the Inbox on the server (webmail). Once downloaded, the copy on the server is automatically deleted unless your email app or program is configured to leave a copy. It will not download emails that are currently stored in the Junk, Deleted, Sent or other personalised folders on the server.


  • IMAP: Stands for "Internet Message Access Protocol". IMAP allows your email program or app to synchronise each folder – including Junk, Deleted, Sent or other personalised folders – so that it matches the emails stored on the mail server. If you delete an email from one device, it is automatically deleted from the server and any other device that synchronises with this account.


Professional Installation Kit (PIK)

A Professional Installation Kit is required when you opt to have a Telstra technician attend your premises and install the hardware for your internet connection. These are generally associated with a one-off fee, or are a part of a Telstra Platinum subscription.


Self-Installation Kit (SIK)

A Self-Installation Kit is when you opt to manually install the hardware yourself. Modems are shipped with instruction manuals which will walk you through step by step on how to connect the hardware.


Unmetered Data

Unmetered Data is a term used when referring to internet usage that doesn’t affect your monthly allowance. If you have a BigPond ADSL, Cable, NBN or Mobile Broadband plan, Telstra offers unmetered entertainment that includes movies, music, sport, as well as access to particular websites that won’t affect your monthly limit.



Stands for "Voice over Internet Protocol". VoIP is basically a telephone connection over the Internet. The data is sent digitally, using the Internet Protocol (IP) instead of analogue telephone lines. This allows people to talk to one another over long distances and around the world without having to pay long distance/international phone charges.



One megabit (abbreviated "Mb") is equal to 1,000 Metric kilobits.

Megabits per second (Mbps) is commonly used to measure data transfer speed of broadband Internet connections. While megabits are used to measure Internet speeds, megabytes are commonly used to measure file size. 8 Megabits is equal to 1 Megabyte.



One megabyte (abbreviated "MB") is equal to 1,000 Metric kilobytes.

Megabytes are often used to measure the size of large files. For example, a high resolution JPEG image file might range in size from one to five megabytes.



One gigabyte (abbreviated "GB") is equal to 1,000 Metric megabytes.

Gigabytes, sometimes abbreviated as "gigs," are often used to measure storage capacity. For example, a standard DVD can hold 4.7 gigabytes of data.



Download can be used as either a verb or a noun. As a verb, it refers to the process of receiving data over the Internet. As a noun, download may refer to either a file that is retrieved from the Internet or the process of downloading a file.


Every time you use the Internet, you download data. For example, each time you visit a webpage, your computer or mobile device must download the website’s data in order to display the page in your web browser.


You can also download data using mediums besides the web. For example, you can download email messages with an email client, or download software updates directly through your operating system.



While downloading is receiving a file from another computer, uploading is the exact opposite. It is sending a file from your computer to another system. It is possible to upload and download at the same time, but it may cause slower transfer speeds, especially if you have a low bandwidth connection.


When you download, stream or search the internet, your service will upload what is known as “acknowledgement packets” to the sending server so that it knows to keep sending information through. When you have a large amount of upload (due to file sharing, cloud back-up, virus/trojan activity, torrenting etc) these acknowledgement packets are queued behind those uploads which will result in a sluggish or no data flow experience.)



Virtual Private Networks allow users to securely access a private network and share data remotely through public networks. Much like a firewall protects your data on your computer, VPN’s protect it online.


Hopefully this has taken out some of the confusion surrounding some of these topics. As always, if there’s anything that we’ve missed or that you’d like to share with the community, let us know!

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Just Registered

There's a lot of information to take in. Can we get these "Jargon Buster" fact sheets in a PDF form as my mobile note app won't accept it all at once? Thank you 😁

Level 1: Cadet

Great information, and yes could we get these in a PDF format. Thank You

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