Glossary of Internet Terms

Letter B

©2007 by Walt Howe
(last updated 22 October 2012)


Select the first character of the term you want to look up or use the Search link at the right.

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This Internet Glossary is growing. Terms and definitions are being added all the time. If you have comments, corrections, or suggested additions, please send them to Walt Howe using the form at the end of the Glossary. My thanks for the many suggestions that already have been included.


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B

B2B
Business to Business. A mode of conducting business between two or more companies over the Internet, rather than more traditional modes such as telephone, mail, and face to face.
B2C
Business to Consumer. Another business model over the Internet.
B2R
Back to Reality!
backbone
A central network connecting other networks together. Formerly a network run by the National Science Foundation for the US, there are now multiple backbones run by commercial providers such as MCI, Sprint, UUNET, and AT&T.
bandwidth
Literally, the frequency width of a transmission channel in Hertz, kiloHertz, megaHertz, etc. Often used as an expression of the amount of data that can be sent through a circuit. The greater the bandwidth, the greater the amount of data that can travel in a given time period. See broadband.
bang address
An old system of mail addressing in UUCP networks, where the successive routing addresses were followed by exclamation points (also known as bangs) and the addressee was the last element.
baud
Rate of transmission speed in a signal - the number of changes of state, such as voltage or frequency, per second in a signal. Named for the French teleprinter inventor Baudot. In simplest systems, it is synonymous with bits per second. In more complex systems, a baud may include more than one bit.
baud rate
A nearly obsolete term for transmission rates synonymous in early, simple systems with bits per second. In faster, more complex systems of encoding and transmitting data, the term loses its simple meaning and has fallen into disuse (and frequent misuse). See baud.
Baudot code
The Baudot code, used by early teleprinters, represents letters, numbers, and symbols in five-character binary codes, which includes shifts to increase the number of characters beyond 32.
bayonet connector
See BNC
bbl
Chat shorthand for "be back later".
BBS
Bulletin Board System. A dial-up service offering messages, files, and other services over a modem. BBS were very popular in the 1980s and early 1990s, but have been largely replaced by the Internet.
Bcc
Blind Carbon Copy. Unlike the Cc option (Carbon Copy), when the Bcc address option is selected in e-mail, other addressees do not see the Bcc address.
beta test
In software development, a stage of testing where the program is tried out with a selected trial audience to find and correct bugs, usually people of similar backgrounds to those expected to use the software. Check out Delphi's Beta Test Forum. Compare to alpha test.
bfn
Chat shorthand for "bye for now".
binary
Binary means the use of only two values, zero and one, in encoding data. All digital computers primarily use some form of binary encoding, such as 8 or 16 or 32 binary digits at a time. Characters that you see on screen or type with your keyboard are normally encoded with 8 binary digits. For example, the binary value for the letter A is 01000001.
binary files
Binary files are files that include up to 256 different characters and are encoded by 8 binary digits (bits) for each character. Simple text or ASCII files only use 128 different characters and can be encoded by 7 binary digits. Examples of binary files are most programs, most word- processed files, most graphics files, and most sound files. If you don't know a file is ASCII, it is probably a binary file.
bit
Short for binary digit (0 or 1). Lower case b is used in abbreviations to distinguish it from bytes. For example, KBps (thousand bytes per second) is 8 times as great as Kbps (thousand bits per second).
bitmap
A graphic which is defined by specifying the colors of dots or pixels which make up the picture. Also known as raster graphics. Common types of bitmap graphics are GIF, JPEG, Photoshop, PCX, TIFF, Macintosh Paint, Microsoft Paint, BMP, PNG, FAX formats, and TGA. See vector graphics for a different type of graphic and metafiles for a combination of the two types.
blog
Short for web log; usually a chronological record of thoughts, links, events, or actions posted on the web. For examples, see the Yahoo Directory of Weblogs. For another point of view, see John Dvorak's Deconstructing a Blog.
BNC, BNC connector
Short for BayoNet Connector or Baby N Connector or Bayonet Neill-Concelman (for the inventors Paul Neill and Carl Concelman who developed the similar N and C connectors separately and the BNC and TNC connectors together). It is also sometimes called a British Naval Connector, although the origin is questionable. A twist-and-lock connector for coaxial cable, BNC connectors are used for electronic equipment and LANs and permit frequencies into the gigaHertz ranges.
BOFH
"Bastard Operator From Hell," a classic diary of the ultimate in outrageous system support widely posted on Usenet. Always worth a return visit.
bookmark
Just as a paper bookmark is used as a reminder of the page you are on in a book, electronic bookmarks are used to bring you back to a website or other site you may want to return to. The Netscape browser lets you bookmark any site and save the bookmarks in a file you can recall at any time. Microsoft Internet Explorer uses the term "favorite" instead of bookmark for the same concept.
Boolean search
A method of searching for information in databases that combines search terms with the operators AND, OR, NOT, and parentheses. See a fuller explanation in our file, What is Boolean Searching?
bot
Short for robot, a program designed to search the Internet looking for information. A common use of bots is the variously named spiders, worms, and crawlers that support search engines by following links from site to site and within a site to dig out information to be indexed by the search engine. Another is the MusicBot™ used by BMI to find who is putting unlicensed, copyrighted music on web pages.
bounce
The return of an e-mail message because of an error in its address or delivery.
Bps
Bytes per second.
bps
Bits per second
brb
Chat shorthand for "be right back".
bridge
A bridge is a combination of hardware and software that connects local area networks (LANs) of similar types together. See router.
broadband
When the bandwidth of a signal is large, it can simultaneously carry many channels of information. Fiber optic cable, in particular, has a very high bandwidth, and is referred to as broadband.
browser
Software that will load and display a web page. A browser interprets the HTML or XML code from the web page files, executes embedded scripts and programs, provides encryption/decryption for security where needed, displays graphics (except text-only browsers), plays music and video, and provides links to related pages. Browsers are based on standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. The major browser software developers participate in these standardss, but each of them also builds in their own proprietary codes, whether or not they are approved. These differences in browsers create a challenge for web page developers.

The principle browsers are Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, and Chrome. There are also specialized browsers, such as Webbie, which will convert text to speech for the visually impaired.

btdt
Chat slang for "Been there, done that".
btw
Chat shorthand for "by the way".
bus
An electronic pathway. In networks, a configuration (topology) with a single linear cable, terminated at each end, to which computers and devices are connected. There are no loops or branches in the cable. Also called a daisy chain.
byte
8 bits of data. Capital B is used in abbreviations to distinguish it from bits. For example, KBps (thousand bytes per second) is 8 times as great as Kbps (thousand bits per second).

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For Web Developers: How to Link to the glossary terms.
You can link to any term in this glossary with a link in this form:

http://www.walthowe.com/glossary/*.html#term

Replace the asterisk in *.html with the first letter of the term you are linking to. Terms with more than one word will generally use an underline to link the words.