Sorting out the hip from the hype in new CD-ROMs, Web sites, and books. Do You Get This Bit? The Cisco Systems Internetworking Terms and Acronyms Web page has definitions for everything from A&B bit signaling ("Procedure used in T1 transmission facilities in which each of the 24 T1 subchannels devotes one bit of every sixth frame to the carrying of supervisory signaling information. Also called 24th channel signaling."), to zone multicast address ("Data-link-

dependent multicast address at which a node receives the NBP broadcasts directed to its zone."). And if you aren't sure what T1 or NBP mean, they're defined on the site, too. While it takes some work, because not all basic terms are cross-referenced, a complete novice can visit this site, begin with the definitions for bit and byte, and work up a basic knowledge of computer communication terms.

The site can be indispensible when trying to decipher production or AV company contracts for telephone, data, or video transmission services. For example, if you didn't know, you could find out that MB stands for megabyte while Mb stands for megabit. Having read the definitions of bit and byte, even a tyro would know that the upper- and lower-case "b" indicate very different information transmission capacities.

The cross-reference feature is especially useful when comparing U.S. specifications to European ones. For example, the equivalent of a T1 line in the United States is an E1 line in Europe, except they aren't quite equivalent--the T1 standard has a transmission capacity of 1.544 megabits per second, while the E1's is 2.048 Mbps.

The site's direct URL is