See Building Distributor.


See Backup Domain Controller.


Breaker Distribution Fuse Box, a distinct rack of equipment in the Switch Room.


Burroughs Data Link Control, a bit oriented protocol.


Bell Data Network. The predecessor to ACS (Advanced Communication System). See ACS.


Broadband Digital Cross-Connect.


Broadband Digital Subscriber Line. Same as VDSL.


Billing Data Tape.


Burst excess, or Excess Burst Size . A Frame Relay term . See Excess Burst Size.


A token ring frame sent by an adapter indicating that it has detected a serious ring problem, such as a broken cable or a MAU. An adapter sending such frames is said to be beaconing. See Beaconing.

Beacon Initiative

A "plan and rationale to help bring the information highway to Canadian businesses and consumers. The central theme of the initiative is an open collaborative effort with all interested players to bring enhanced interactive data, image and video services to Canadians." That's what the press release of April 5, 1994 said. Companies in the Beacon Initiative include BC Telephone, AGT Limited, SaskTel, Manitoba Telephone System, Bell Canada. NBTel, Maritime Tel & Tel. Island Telephone, Newfoundland Telephone and Stentor Communications.


Token Ring process to recover the network when any attached station has sensed that the ring is inoperable due to a hard error. Stations can withdraw themselves from the ring if necessary. A station detecting a ring failure upstream transmits ( beacons ) a special MAC frame used to isolate the location of the error using beacon transmit and beacon repeat modes. See Beacon.


A way to exchange information between Newton users. Beaming uses the small built-in infrared unit at the top of the Newton MessagePad to send anything that's on one MessagePad to another MessagePad, or to a Sharp Wizard. This can be done across a conference table.

Beam Diameter

The distance between the diametrically opposed points on a plane perpendicular to the beam axis at which the irradiance is a specified fraction of the beam's peak irradiance. The term is most commonly applied to beams that are circular or nearly circular in cross-section.

Beam Divergence

As through the air telecom signal go further, they diverge. Beam divergence measures that divergence.


A device for dividing an optical beam into two or more separate beams, often a partially reflecting mirror.


  1. The width of the main lobe of an antenna pattern. Usually the beamwidth of an antenna's main lobe is defined as 3 dB down from the peak of the lobe.

  2. The angle of signal coverage provided by a radio. Beamwidth may be decreased by a directional antenna to increase gain.


  1. Also called a B Connector or Plain B Wire Connector. A twisted-pair splicing connector that looks like a one-inch drinking straw. They have metal teeth inside them to pierce the vinyl insulation of the wire to make a good connection. Sometimes water-retardant jelly is placed inside. See B Connector.

  2. Beans are also filled with nutrients essential to a healthy diet. My children love them because of their after-effects.

Bear Trap

The stock market is on a long-term slide. Then suddenly it rises for 10%, 20%, or 30%. Does this mean the bear market is over or will it start up again when this little rally stops? A bear market is characterized by many "boomlets." I counted over eight boomlets in the period of 2000 through 2002. Yet the market continued to fall. When a boomlet happens many investors start talking about the beginning of a new bull market. But it's not. It's just a pause. And investors call it a bear trap.

Bearer Channel

In its most basic definition, a bearer channel is a basic communication channel with no enhanced or value-added services included other than the bandwidth transmission capability.

In private line international telecommunications, a bearer channel can consist of any number of DS-0s between two countries that have an agreement to pass traffic between them. This type of bearer is usually an E-1 link between two countries but can be 384 Kbps or any number of 64 Kbps channels combined together. Bearer is usually referred to as a half channel between the two countries that have an agreement to pass traffic, and is referred to as the international half circuit. The middle of the ocean or satellite up-link is the demarcation point for these bearers .

In a more elevated (and more recent) definition, a bearer channel is 64,000 bits per second full duplex. It's the basic building block of the digital signaling hierarchy. An ISDN BRI channel consists of two bearer channels of 64,000 bits per second and one data signaling channel of 16,000 bits per second. It is thus called 2B (two Bearer) + 1D (one D, for data channel. An ISDN PRI (Primary Rate Interface) is 23 B + 1D. The D or Data channel for PRI is 64 Kbps. See ISDN.


Billing Exchange Account Record System. An RBOC system for ICS processed through CMDS. Similar to CATS.


A sum or difference frequency resulting from the mixing of two signals. See Heterodyne.

Beat Frequency

An old radio term: The frequency resulting when an oscillation of one frequency is "beat" or heterodyned against an oscillation of a different frequency. The figure given is normally in cycles per second.

Beat Reception

An old radio term. The resultant audible frequency when two sources of unequal undamped electrical oscillations of constant amplitude act simultaneously in the same circuit. See Beat Frequency.


The phenomenon in which two or more periodic quantities having slightly different frequencies produce a resultant having periodic variations in amplitude.

Beauty Contest

The process by which the executives of a company that is considering doing an IPO interview a number of investment banks to determine which ones would do the best job of managing the offering and providing ongoing research reports once the company is public. The parade of investment bankers through a company's offices is known as a beauty contest.

Beaver tail

Also called Banjo. Used to connect devices to modular jack wiring for testing.




Backward Explicit Congestion Notification. A Frame Relay term defining a 1-bit field in the frame Address Field for use in congestion management. During periods of severe congestion, the network will advise the (transmitting) device in the backward direction of this fact. This bit notifies the user that congestion- avoidance procedures should be initiated for traffic in the opposite direction of the received frame. It indicates that the frames that the user transmits on this logical connection may encounter congested resources. In other words, slow down, you move too fast. Your bits may not get through or get delayed. In reality, few devices are capable of "throttling back" based on such advice. Consider a router which connects multiple workstations transmitting across multiple LANs or LAN segments to a Frame Relay network. It is highly unlikely that the router can advise those workstations to pause or slow down the rate of transmission. It is possible that the router can buffer some small number of frames for a short period of time, but that's about it. BECN is a wonderful concept, but one which cannot effectively be implemented.

Bed Of Nails Cord

A description of a type of alligator clip that attaches to the end of a craft test set, also called a butt set.

Bedbug Letter

Years ago, the story goes, when people still traveled in Pullman sleeping cars, a passenger found a bedbug in his berth. He immediately wrote a letter to George M. Pullman, president of the Pullman's Palace Car Company, informing him of this unhappy fact, and in reply he received a very apologetic letter from Pullman himself. The company had never heard of such a thing, Pullman wrote, and as a result of the passenger's experience, all of the sleeping cars were being pulled off the line and fumigated. The Pullman's Palace Car Company was committed to providing its customers with the highest level of service, Pullman went on, and it would spare no expense in meeting that goal. Thank you for writing, he said, and if you ever have a similar problem ” or any problem ” do not hesitate to write again. Enclosed with this letter, by accident , was the passenger's original letter to Pullman, across the bottom of which the president had written, "Send this S.O.B. the bedbug letter."


A colloquial term for a mobile pager ” one you carry on your belt or in your purse. In the very beginning, when pagers went off, they made beeping sounds. Thus, they became known as beepers. Not very exciting.

Beeper Sitting

To take on responsibility for writing down incoming pages on behalf of a vacationing or otherwise out-of-range beeper-owning friend. "Harry is beeper-sitting for Gerry while he's in Aspen."


A serious disease afflicting those of us with vibrating pagers, characterized by sudden spasms, goofy facial expressions and loss of speech.


Beets reminded early cooks of a bleeding animal when they cut them open, so they started calling them "beets." This was derived from the French word b te, meaning " beast ."


Band Elimination Filter. A filter that has a single continuous attenuation band , with neither the upper nor lower cut-off frequencies being zero or infinite.


The author, Marius Milner, of the famous program Network Stumbler calls his program BeggarWare. He says "You may use it without any formal obligation to the author, except that you may not sell it to anybody. If you like the program and feel that you've received some benefit from it, and want to help me develop future versions, then you may pay as much as you feel the program is worth. If you are using this as part of your work, you are encouraged to help ” particularly if it has alerted you to security problems. You are not obligated to pay for it."


A relative measurement, denoting a factor of ten change. Rarely used in practice; most measurements are in decibels, or dB (0.1 Bel). See also dB.


A major manufacturer of communications cable. Belden has set many cabling standards. Many other cable manufacturers follow their specs .


A bell in a telephone instrument rings when a 20 Hz signal of about 90 volts AC is applied to the subscriber loop. In contrast, the normal voltage applied to a subscriber loop and used for speaking and listening is 48 volts DC.

Bell, Alexander Graham

The following biography of Mr. Bell is courtesy The Bell Homestead Museum Complex, Brantford, Ontario, Canada. "Alexander Graham Bell was born in Scotland on March 3, 1847 and was the second son of Alexander Melville Bell and the former Eliza Grace Symonds. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh and the University of London. In the 1860s, while they were still living in Scotland, disaster struck the Bell family. Aleck's younger brother Edward Charles died of tuberculosis and, soon afterwards, his elder brother Melville James died from the same disease. Doctors warned his parents that Aleck, too, was threatened by the disease. His father promptly sacrificed his career as a noted teacher of speech and researcher into the problems of the deaf and, in July, 1870, sailed with his family for Canada in search of a better climate. Upon arrival, the Bells bought the property at Brantford now known as the Bell Homestead. Alexander Graham Bell was, at this time, 23 years old. In this wondrous new climate, Bell's health was quickly restored. Like his father, Bell was a teacher of speech, and in the spring of 1871, he accepted an invitation to teach in Boston and moved there to pursue his career. In 1872, he opened a school of his own for teachers of the deaf and, the next year, became Professor of Vocal Physiology at Boston University. The deafness of his mother no doubt provided an inspiration for Bell to follow in his father's footsteps with work in speech studies. It was this work that led Bell to both his bride, Mabel Hubbard ” left totally and permanently deaf from Scarlet Fever when she was five years old - and to his ideas for the telephone. At Christmas, during the summer vacations , and at every opportunity, Bell came home to Brantford. On July 26, 1874, while visiting the Homestead, he talked far into the night while disclosing the telephone idea to his father. After young Bell returned to Boston, he began to work in earnest on his new invention and, on June 3, 1875, succeeded in transmitting speech sounds. During a visit home to Brantford in September of that same year, he wrote the specifications for the telephone. On March 10, 1876, at Boston, through the Liquid Transmitter he had designed, Alexander Graham Bell uttered the first words to be carried over a wire - "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you!" In the summer of 1876, back in Brantford again, young Bell conducted three great tests of the telephone. In the first of these three tests, Bell received the first successful telephone call carried between two communities on August 3, 1876 from Brantford to Mount Pleasant. The second great test was made on August 4, 1876, when a large dinner party at the Bell Homestead heard speech recitations, songs, and instrumental music from the telegraph office in Brantford over a line three and one-half miles long. The third great test is hailed as the first long-distance phone call in the world made on August 10, 1876 from Brantford to Paris, Ontario. At last! The invention of the telephone was complete. In his later years, Bell interested himself in the problem of mechanical flight, carrying out experiments with man- lifting kites, working with these at his summer home at Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Bell died at his beloved home at Baddeck on August 2, 1922, and is buried there."

Bell also invented the photophone, the ancestor of optical transmission systems; the audiometer, which is still used to test hearing; a device to find icebergs by listening to underwater echoes, the ancestor of SONAR; a desalinating machine for removing salt from seawater; a medical jacket that was the predecessor of the iron lung; the hydrofoil boat; and was part of a team that invented the three-wheel landing gear and wing flaps for airplanes. See also Reis, Johann Philipp, a German who may have invented the phone years before Alexander Graham Bell. See also Decibel, Photophone, and SONAR.

Bell 103

AT&T's modem and modem specification providing asynchronous originate/answer full duplex transmission at speeds up to 300 bits per second (300 baud) using FSK (Frequency Shift Keying) modulation on dialup voice phone lines. At one stage this was the most common standard for modems running with personal computers. Every dial service in the U.S. adheres to this standard, and obviously, now, a whole bunch of much faster standards. See the next few definitions and the V.xx standards. See also Acoustic Coupler.

Bell 201

An AT&T standard for synchronous 2400-bps full-duplex modems using DPSK modulation. Bell 201B was originally designed for dialup lines and later leased lines. Bell 201C was designed for half-duplex operation over dialup lines.

Bell 202

An AT&T standard for asynchronous 1800-bps full-duplex modems using DPSK modulation over four-wire leased lines as well as 1200-bps half- duplex operation over dialup lines.

Bell 208

An AT&T standard for synchronous 4800-bps modems. Bell 208A is a full- duplex modem using DPSK modulation over four-wire leased lines. Bell 208B was designed for half-duplex operation over dialup lines.

Bell 209

An AT&T standard for synchronous 9600-bps full-duplex modems using QAM modulation over four-wire leased lines or half-duplex operation over dialup lines.

Bell 212

AT&T specification for a modem providing full duplex asynchronous or synchronous data transmission at speeds up to 1,200 bits per second on the voice dial-up phone network.

Bell 43401

Bell Publication defining requirements for transmission over telco-sup- plied circuits that have dc continuity (i.e. circuits that are metallic).

Bell Atlantic

Formed as a holding company after the AT&T Divestiture. Included Bell of Pennsylvania; C&P Telephone Companies of D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia; Diamond State Telephone (MD); and New Jersey Bell. In April, 1997, Bell Atlantic bought NYNEX (the holding company for New York Telephone and New England Telephone) for $22.1 billion. NYNEX had customers in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and a small part of Connecticut. On June 30, 2000, Bell Atlantic merged with GTE to form Verizon Communications. See also Bell Operating Companies, and Verizon.

Bell Communications Research

Bellcore. Formed at Divestiture to provide certain centralized services to the seven Regional Holding Companies (RHCs) and their operating company subsidiaries. Also serves as a coordinating point for national security and emergency preparedness communications matters of the federal government. Bellcore does not work on customer premise equipment or other areas of potential competition among its owners ” the seven (now five) Regional Bell Operating companies. Bellcore also works on standardizing methods by which customers of long distance companies will reach their favorite long distance companies. At time of this writing, around 8,000 people worked at Bellcore, mostly in northern New Jersey. Bellcore had the unenviable task of trying to service the needs of the seven competitors (now five), which owned it. They agreed to sell it to SAIC in 1997. At the time, Bellcore's annual budget was around $1 billion, paid for by the seven (now five) Bell regional operating companies. Bellcore's new name is Telcordia Technologies. See also Bellcore for a longer explanation.

Bell Compatible

A term sometimes applied to modems. A modem is said to be "Bell compatible" if it conforms to the technical specifications set forth by AT&T for the various devices, such as Bell 212.

Bell Curve

See Gaussian Beam.

Bell Customer Code

A three-digit numeric code, appended to the end of the Main Billing Telephone Number. Used by Local Exchange Carriers to provide unique identification of customers.

Bell Labs

The new name for Bell Telephone Laboratories. Bell Labs is the R&D (Research and Development) arm of Lucent Technologies. Bell Telephone Laboratories was organized in 1925 to consolidate the research laboratories of AT&T and Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of the Bell System. The name changed to AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1984, when the Bell System was broken up by the Modified Final Judgement (MFJ), which separated the BOCs (Bell Operating Companies) from AT&T. On January 1, 1997, AT&T voluntarily separated into AT&T Corporation, Lucent Technologies and NCR Corporation. Bell Labs became the R&D arm of Lucent, and AT&T formed its own R&D arm known as AT&T Laboratories. See also Bell System, Lucent, and MFJ.

Bell Operating Company

BOC. A BOC is one the 22 regulated telephone companies of the former Bell System, which was broken apart (the Divestiture of the Bell System) at midnight on December 31, 1983. At Divestiture, the Bell operating companies were grouped into seven Regional Holding Companies (RHCs). According to the terms of the Divestiture Agreement between the Federal Courts, the Federal Government and AT&T, the divested companies must limit their activities to local telephone services, directory service, customer premise equipment, cellular radio and any other ventures as the Federal Court may approve from time to time. BOCs are specifically limited from manufacturing equipment and from providing long distance service. See also Regional Bell Operating Company.

The following definition of a Bell Operating Company comes from the Telecommunications Act of 1996: The term 'Bell operating company'

(A) means any of the following companies: Bell Telephone Company of Nevada, Illinois Bell Telephone Company, Indiana Bell Telephone Company, Incorporated, Michigan Bell Telephone Company, New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, New York Telephone Company, U S West Communications Company, South Central Bell Telephone Company, Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, The Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Maryland, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Virginia, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia, The Diamond State Telephone Company, The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, or Wisconsin Telephone Company; and (B) includes any successor or assign of any such company that provides wireline telephone exchange service; but (C) does not include an affiliate of any such company, other than an affiliate described in subparagraph (A) or (B).

Bell South

See BellSouth.

Bell Speak

A term coined by Michael Marcus for insider jargon spoken by "real" telephone people ” those who practiced pre-divestiture. Such old jargon is usually incomprehensible to anyone in today's telephone industry who is younger than 46.

Bell System

The entire AT&T organization prior to when it was broken up ” at the end of 1984. The Bell System included Bell Labs, Long Lines, Western Electric and the 23 Bell operating companies. See AT&T and Lucent.

Bell System Practices

BSPs. The book that explains everything MA Bell did before divestiture in 1984. No longer used by regional Bells or AT&T. Manufacturers now issue their own instructions. Each RBOC has its own way of doing things. And many BOCs inside the RBOCs also do things their own way. This is not designed to confuse the poor business customer, who may have circuits in many states and thus deals with many of them ” but just to encourage diversity, or something.

Bell System Reference Frequency

BSRF. See Timing.

Bell Telephone Laboratories

See Bell Labs.


A public paging system run by local Bell phone companies. The name survived for many years and only drew criticism in the middle to late seventies with the rise of the Women's Liberation movement. It's now not used. Shucks.


Bell Communications Research. Bellcore was formed by federal mandate coincident with the Divestiture of AT&T in 1984 to provide certain centralized research and development services for its client/owners, the seven (now five) Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), and their operating company subsidiaries, the BOCs (Bell Operating Companies). The formation of Bellcore was deemed critical at the time, as the MFJ (Modified Final Judgment) called for Bell Telephone Laboratories (Bell Labs) to remain with AT&T. This action left the RBOCs without R&D support. Bellcore was initially staffed with researchers who worked at Bell Labs and who didn't move over to AT&T. Bellcore's focus has been on standards, procedures, software development and all manner of R&D of common interest to the RBOCs, with the exception of the physical sciences. The MFJ precluded the RBOCs from equipment manufacturing, and even from close involvement in the equipment design process. Traditionally, much of Bellcore's efforts have been in the area of development and support for Operations Support Systems (OSSs) such as Centrex management, line testing, order negotiation and processing, and billing systems. Bellcore also has been a key player in the standards design and systems development work for Advanced Intelligent Networks (AINs).

Bellcore has served as a coordinating point for national security and emergency preparedness, and communications matters of the federal government; this was natural, as the RBOCs and their operating units were (and still are) the dominant carriers responsible for such implementing and supporting such things. Bellcore also was responsible for administering the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), although in 1995 this responsibility was shifted to a more impartial entity, the NANC (North American Numbering Council), in the face of a deregulated and competitive telecommunications landscape. You can acquire Bellcore documents from Bellcore ” Document Registrar, 445 South Street, Room 2J- 125, P.O. Box 1910, Morristown, NJ 07962-1910. Fax 201-829-5982.

In early 1995, Bellcore's Board of directors announced that the owners (read RBOCs) intended to sell the company, as their interests largely were no longer common in anticipation of deregulation and full competition. Bellcore's 5,600 employees and $1 billion+ budget clearly were not supportable in this environment. On November 21, 1996 it was announced that SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) had agreed to purchase Bellcore. According to the SAIC press release, "Employee-owned SAIC provides high technology products and services to government and private industry, systems integration, national security, energy, transportation, telecommunications, health care and environmental science and engineering." SAIC revenues are over $2.2 billion; the company employs over 22,000 in more than 475 locations worldwide. SAIC also owned Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), which runs certain functions for the Internet; NSI was spun off as a public company in early 1998. As of March 9, 1999, Bellcore changed its name to Telcordia Technologies. The background to the name change? Due to the sale of Bellcore to the new parent company,SAIC, it was agreed in the sale that Bellcore (BELL COmmunications & REsearch) would not retain the name forever. The name implies they soley work for the regional Bell operating companies. Bellcore was allowed to retain the name for one year, and within six months after that, Bellcore could/can continue to use, if it chose "Formerly known as Bellcore". This was to allow Bellcore to retain market exposure using the name and allow the industry time to realize that they were the same company, with a different name and a new direction! See also BCC.

Bellcore AMA Format

BAF. The standard data format for AMA (Automatic Message Accounting) data to be delivered to the Revenue Accounting Office (RAO) in Advanced Intelligent Network Release 1.

Bellcore Multi-Vendor Interactions

MVI. The process for coordinating the efforts of Bellcore, the Bell Operating telephone companies and vendors to address technical issues associated with Advanced Intelligent Network.

Bellman-Ford Algorithm

The shortest path routing algorithm that figures on the number of hops in a route in order to find shortest- path spanning tree.

BellSouth Corporation

The largest regional Bell holding company formed at the Divestiture of AT&T. Includes Southern Bell and South Central Bell and several other BellSouth businesses. See Regional Bell Operating Company.


One that takes the lead or initiative; an indicator of trends. The state of California, for instance, long has been a bellwether with respect to the regulation of utilities through its PUC (Public Utilities Commission). The term "bellwether" originated in the 15th century, when the medieval English began the practice of putting a bell around the neck of a male sheep which had been castrated before reaching sexual maturity. As a result of neutering, the ram was much easier to handle, and to train as the leader of the flock . The bell made it much easier to find. Not surprisingly, not every state is anxious to be known as a bellwether.

Below Water

Because you're such a valuable employee, you have been given stock options in your company. The idea is in a year or two ” whatever the rules are ” you can exercise your options at $5, i.e. buy shares in your company at $5 a share. And you can then sell your $5 stock at $100 because that's what your company's stock is now selling at on the stockmarket. Bingo, you've made $95 on each of your 10,000 options ” for a total of $95,000. That's the theory. But something awry happens along the way. Your company's stock craters. It's now selling at $3. Your stock options are now $2 under water.


Expenses incurred that are charged to shareholders of regulated operating telephone companies, not ratepayers.


A standardized task to test the capabilities of various devices against each other for such measures as speed.

Bend Loss

A form of increased attenuation caused by allowing high-order signals to radiate from the side of the fiber. The two common types of bend losses are those occurring when the fiber is curved and microbends caused by small distortions of the fiber imposed by poor cabling techniques.

Bend Radius

The smallest bend which may be put into a cable under a stated pulling force without either causing damage to the cable or causing attenuation (i.e., signal loss). Bend radius affects the size of bends in conduits , trays or ducts. It affects pulley size. It affects the size of openings at pull boxes where loops may form. If the bend radius is too severe, the cable or fiber can crack or break, which is not a good thing. Coax and shielded copper cables can suffer cracks in the outer conductors, which also is not a good thing.

Typically, the bend radius is 4X, 6X or 10X the outside diameter of the cable, dependent on specific performance characteristic limitations. See also Macrobend Loss and Microbend Loss.

Bending Radius

See Bend Radius.

Bent Pipe

Bent pipe refers to a conventional satellite link provisioned through a transponder , which essentially is either an amplifier (analog) or a repeater (digital). This configuration involves a transmitting earth station (i.e., terrestrial antenna) on the uplink, a satellite (i.e., non-terrestrial antenna), and a receiving earth station. The satellite transponder, which is the operational element of the satellite, does little more that receive the signal over the uplink frequency, boost the signal power, clean up the signal, shift the frequency, and retransmit the signal over the downlink frequency. The satellite link, therefore, is nothing more than a dumb RF (Radio Frequency) transmission pipe that is bent approximately 22,300 miles up and 22,300 down through a GEO (Geosynchronous Earth Orbiting) satellite. The next generations of satellites have embedded processing power, variously in the forms of circuit switches, fast packet switches, and Statistical Time Division Multiplexers (STDMs). See also GEO.


In binary encoding, a syntax for encoding Versit's vCard. Bentograms are based on Benton, the OpenDoc standard interchange format.


Back End Processor.


  1. Bit Error Rate. The ratio of error bits to the total number of bits transmitted. If the BER gets too high, it might be worth while to go to a slower baud rate. Otherwise, you would spend more time retransmitting bad packets than getting good ones through. The theory is that the faster the speed of data transmission the more likelihood of error. This is not always so. But if you are getting lots of errors, the first ” and easiest ” step is to drop the transmission speed. Bit Error Rate is thus a measure of transmission quality. It is generally shown as a negative exponent, (e.g., 10 to the minus 7 which means one out of 10,000,000 bits are in error.) See also Bit Error Rate.

  2. A LAN term, which means Basic Encoding Rules. Rules for encoding data units described in ASN.1. (Abstract Syntax Notation One. LAN "grammar," with rules and symbols, that is used to describe and define protocols and programming languages. ASN.1 is the OSI standard language to describe data types.) BER is sometimes incorrectly lumped under the term ASN.1, which properly refers only to the abstract syntax description language, not the encoding technique.

Berkeley Snoop Protocol

This explanation is from the Daedalus Research Group at the University of California at Berkeley. The Snoop protocol is a TCP-aware link layer protocol designed to improve the performance of TCP over networks of wired and single-hop wireless links. The main problem with TCP performance in networks that have both wired and wireless links is that packet losses that occur because of bit-errors are mistaken by the TCP sender as being due to network congestion, causing it to drop its transmission window and often time out, resulting in degraded throughput. The Snoop protocol works by deploying a Snoop agent at the base station and performing retransmissions of lost segments based on duplicate TCP acknowledgments (which are a strong indicator of lost packets) and locally estimated last-hop round-trip times. The agent also suppresses duplicate acknowledgments corresponding to wireless losses from the TCP sender, thereby preventing unnecessary congestion control invocations at the sender. This combination of local retransmissions based primarily on TCP acknowledgments, and suppression of duplicate TCP acknowledgments, is the reason for classifying Snoop as a transport-aware reliable link protocol. The state maintained at the base station is soft, which does not complicate handoffs or overly increase their latency. The scheme has been demonstrated to yield 100-2000% throughput improvements for TCP limited by single-hop wireless in-building links under several circumstances.

For data transfers from the mobile host, we design a mechanism called Explicit LOss Notification and use it to implement a link-aware transport protocol. With ELN, TCP uses hints from base stations in the network and/or the receiver to decouple retransmissions from congestion control. This helps it perform congestion control only for congestion- related losses and not for losses due to corruption.


In our lives, we remember great images. The best ones we create in our own brains . In 2003, we sold our apartment to a totally gorgeous lady called Bernadette and her friend, a.k.a. her husband. When she moved in, she was taking some time off to produce a collection of kids . In real life, she is a district attorney in New York City's Bronx. The thought of this totally gorgeous lady putting murderers and rapists in jail for many, many years has always fascinated me. Imagine the look on the accuseds' faces when they see Bernadette arguing for their conviction . While she was district attorney, rapes and murders doubled in the Bronx. The rumor around her office was the potential perpetrators decided to go for it, figuring they would be rewarded by being chastised and punished by her. In fact, one convicted felon asked the judge to sentence him to an additional spanking by her. (The spanking story is not true. Her husband added that part for " color ." You can fantasize the rest.)


English computer scientist,Tim Berners-Lee, invented the World Wide Web in 1989 while working at CERN, a physics lab on the Swiss-French border. Time Magazine wrote about Mr. Berners-Lee as follows : "It started, of all places, in the Swiss Alps. The year was 1980. Berners-Lee, doing a six-month stint as a software engineer at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, in Geneva, was noodling around with a way to organize his far-flung notes. He had always been interested in programs that dealt with information in a "brain-like way" but that could improve upon that occasionally memory-constrained organ. So he devised a piece of software that could, as he put it, keep "track of all the random associations one comes across in real life and brains are supposed to be so good at remembering but sometimes mine wouldn't." He called it Enquire, short for Enquire Within Upon Everything, a Victorian-era encyclopedia he remembered from childhood. Building on ideas that were current in software design at the time, Berners-Lee fashioned a kind of "hypertext" notebook. Words in a document could be "linked" to other files on Berners-Lee's computer; he could follow a link by number (there was no mouse to click back then) and automatically pull up its related document. It worked splendidly in its solipsistic, Only-On-My-Computer way. But what if he wanted to add stuff that resided on someone else's computer? First he would need that person's permission, and then he would have to do the dreary work of adding the new material to a central database. An even better solution would be to open up his document ” and his computer ” to everyone and allow them to link their stuff to his. He could limit access to his colleagues at CERN, but why stop there? Open it up to scientists everywhere! Let it span the networks! In Berners-Lee's scheme there would be no central manager, no central database and no scaling problems. The thing could grow like the Internet itself, open-ended and infinite. "One had to be able to jump," he later wrote, "from software documentation to a list of people to a phone book to an organizational chart to whatever. So he cobbled together a relatively easy-to-learn coding system ” HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language) ” that has come to be the lingua franca of the Web; it's the way Web-content creators put those little colored, underlined links in their text, add images and so on. He designed an addressing scheme that gave each Web page a unique location, or url (universal resource locator). And he hacked a set of rules that permitted these documents to be linked together on computers across the Internet. He called that set of rules HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). And on the seventh day, Berners-Lee cobbled together the World Wide Web's first (but not the last) browser, which allowed users anywhere to view his creation on their computer screen. In 1991 the World Wide Web debuted, instantly bringing order and clarity to the chaos that was cyberspace . From that moment on, the Web and the Internet grew as one, often at exponential rates. Within five years, the number of Internet users jumped from 600,000 to 40 million. At one point, it was doubling every 53 days. Raised in London in the 1960s, Berners-Lee was the quintessential child of the computer age. His parents met while working on the Ferranti Mark I, the first computer sold commercially. They taught him to think unconventionally; he'd play games over the breakfast table with imaginary numbers (what's the square root of minus 4?). He made pretend computers out of cardboard boxes and five-hole paper tape and fell in love with electronics. Later, at Oxford, he built his own working electronic computer out of spare parts and a TV set. He also studied physics, which he thought would be a lovely compromise between math and electronics. "Physics was fun," he recalls. "And in fact a good preparation for creating a global system." It's hard to overstate the impact of the global system he created. It's almost Gutenbergian. He took a powerful communications system that only the elite could use and turned it into a mass medium. "If this were a traditional science, Berners-Lee would win a Nobel Prize," Eric Schmidt, CEO of Novell, once told the New York Times. "What he's done is that significant." You'd think he would have at least got rich; he had plenty of opportunities. But at every juncture, Berners-Lee chose the nonprofit road, both for himself and his creation. Marc Andreessen, who helped write the first popular Web browser, Mosaic ” which, unlike the master's browser, put images and text in the same place, like pages in a magazine ” went on to co-found Netscape and become one of the Web's first millionaires. Berners-Lee, by contrast, headed off in 1994 to an administrative and academic life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From a sparse office at M.I.T., he directs the W3 Consortium, the standard-setting body that helps Netscape, Microsoft and anyone else agree on openly published protocols rather than hold one another back with proprietary technology. The rest of the world may be trying to cash in on the Web's phenomenal growth, but Berners-Lee is content to labor quietly in the background, ensuring that all of us can continue, well into the next century, to Enquire Within Upon Anything.

On November 7, 2002 I attended the Guggenheim Marconi International Fellowship Foundation Awards. Mr. Berners-Lee was presented the 30th Marconi Awardee. I had the privilege of sitting near him and speaking with him. He's impressive, and young.


Daniel Bernoulli was the 18th century Swiss mathematician who first expressed the principle of fluid dynamics ” the basis of Bernoulli "boxes" also called disk cartridges. A Bernoulli box, which is a mass storage device, uses both floppy and hard disk technologies. Bernoulli disks are removable. They physically look like large floppy disks.


Bit Error Rate Test, or Tester. A known pattern of bits is transmitted, and errors received are counted to figure the BER. The idea is to measure the quality of data transmission. The bit error rate is the ratio of received bits that are in error, relative to the number of bits received. Usually expressed in a power of 10. Sometimes called Block Error Rate Tester. See also BLERT.


Custom-made, made to order, made by engagement, requested item.

Best Current Practice

BCP. The sub-series of RFCs (Requests For Comment), which are published by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). BCPs are vehicles by which the IETF community defines and ratifies the best current thinking on a statement of principle or on what is believed to the best to perform various operations of the IETF processes. See also IETF and RFC.

Best Effort

A term for a Quality of Service (QoS) class with no specified parameters and with no assurances that the traffic will be delivered across the network to the target device. ATM's ABR (Available Bit Rate) and UBR (Unspecified Bit Rate) are both best-effort service examples.

Best Path

An internetworking term: The optimal route between source and destination end stations through a wide area network. Determined through routing protocols such as RIP and OSPF, best path can be based on lowest delay, cost or other criteria.


  1. Refers to the final stages of development and testing before a product is released to market. "Alpha" is the term used when a product is in preliminary development. "Her baby is in beta," according to Peter Lewis of the New York Times, means she is expecting soon. In the software industry, beta has been known to last a year or more. Microsoft's Bill Gates has given the word "beta" a whole new meaning by having as many as 500,000 "beta testers" for his Windows 95 operating system. At this level, beta testing is no longer testing, it's marketing. And it's positively brilliant . See Beta Test.

  2. Business Equipment Trade Association (UK).

  3. Informal name for Betacam, a professional color difference videotape recording format that uses the Y, R-Y, and B-Y color difference components . Also the name of a consumer videotape recording format that is completely different from the professional Betacam format.

Beta Site

A place a beta test is conducted. See Beta and Beta Test.

Beta Test

Typically the last step in the testing of a product before it is officially released. A beta test is often conducted with customers in their offices. Some customers pay for the equipment or software they get under a beta test; some don't. Some beta tests stay in (if they work). Some don't. Most products don't work when they're first introduced. So beta tests are a good idea. Unfortunately, most manufacturers don't do sufficient beta testing. They want to get their product to market before the competition does. This often means we now have two or three new products on the market, none of which work reliably or do exactly what they're meant to do. Our rule: always wait several months after a product is introduced before buying it. By then the major bugs will have been fixed. The test before the beta test is called the Alpha. It isn't that common. See Beta.


Portable camera/recorder system using 1/2-inch tape originally developed by Sony. The name may also refer just to the recorder or the interconnect format; Betacam uses a version of the Y, R-Y, B-Y color difference signal set. Betacam is a registered trademark of the Sony Corporation.

Betacam SP

A superior performance version of Betacam. SP uses metal particle tape and a wider bandwidth recording system.


  1. The noun. A format for video tape which Sony introduced too expensively. VHS (Video Home System), using half-inch tape introduced by Matsushita/JVC in 1975, effectively killed Sony's attempt to make Betamax the leading video tape standard.

  2. The verb. When a technology is overtaken in the market by inferior but better marketed competition as in "Microsoft betamaxed Apple right out of the market." See VHS.


A planet in the second Star Trek TV series, inhabited by Betazoids, beings with great powers of empathy and telepathy.


Basic Exchange Telecommunications Radio Service. BETRS is a digital fixed radio service, or Wireless Local Loop (WLL), that can be used to extend telephone service to rural areas by replacing the traditional wired local loop with a radio communications circuit. BETRS shares the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) and VHF (Very High Frequency) common carrier and private radio frequencies. BETRS operates in the paired 152/158 and 454/459 MHz bands, and on 10 channel blocks in the 816-820/861-865 MHz bands. As many as four simultaneous users can share a single radio channel through TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access). Licensing is restricted to state-certified carriers operating in the area where the BETRS service is to be provided, and is considered by regulators to be part of the PSTN. The technology was developed in the mid-1980s and was licensed by the FCC in 1987. See also TDMA, UHF, VHF, and WLL.


The metal or plastic part ” in short, the frame ” that surrounds a cathode ray tube ” a "boob" tube.


The name of the erstwhile-monopoly Israeli local and long distance phone company. Its full name is the Israel Telecommunications Corp. Ltd.


Bandwidth Efficient Zero Suppression. N.E.T.'s patented T-1 zero suppression technique; maintains Bell specifications for T-1 pulse density without creating errors in end-user data; uses a 32 Kbps overhead channel.


Binary File Transfer. BFT is a method of routing digital files using facsimile protocols instead of traditional modem file transfer protocols. See Binary File Transfer for a fuller explanation.


Bipolar violations: The digital data format consists of pulses of opposite polarity. No two consecutive pulses should be the same polarity; if two are detected in a row, the term is a violation, which is also a warning flag.


ISDN Business Group Elements.


Business Group ID.


Background Music. George Media of the PBX Quality Assurance Group at Panasonic Communications Company says this should be standard in the PBX industry. "At Panasonic, we use this term a lot."


Border Gateway Protocol is a Gateway Protocol which routers (other non-router devices also may be involved as intermediaries) employ in order to exchange appropriate levels of routing information. In an intradomain routing environment between Autonomous Systems (ASs), IBGP (Internal BGP) is run, allowing the free exchange of information between trusted systems. IBGP is in a class of protocols known as IGPs, or Internal Gateway Protocols. In an interdomain environment, EBGP (External BGP) is run, allowing the routers to exchange only pre-specified information with other pre-specified routers in other domains in order to ensure that their integrity is maintained. EBGP is in a class known as EGPs, or External Gateway Protocols. When BGP peer routers (i.e., routers with a TCP connection for purposes of exchanging routing information) first establish contact, they exchange full routing tables, which are maintained in Routing Information Bases (RIBs). Subsequent contacts involve the transmission of incremental changes, only. Peer routers also periodically exchange "keep alive " messages. Should a router cease to receive those messages from a peer, it updates its routing table to delete the associated route, acting under the assumption that either the silent router or the interconnecting link between the two has failed. BGP uses TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) as its transport protocol, as the reliability of the datastream is of critical importance. Specifically, BGP uses TCP port 179 for establishing its connections. BGP is a Path Vector (PV) protocol, which is similar to a Distance Vector (DV) Protocol, but with a key difference. A Distance Vector protocol selects the best path between two border routers based on the hop count (i.e., number of routers transversed). A border router (BR) running a Path Vector routing protocol advertises the destinations it can reach to its neighboring border routers. Further, a path vector protocol pairs each of those destinations with the attributes of the path to it. The attributes include the number of hops (i.e., routers transversed) and the administrative "distance." The attribute of administrative distance weights routes learned from IBGP more heavily than those learned from EBGP. In other words, interior routes are weighted more heavily (and preferred) than are exterior routes, which cross network domains and which, by definition, involve multiple Autonomous Systems (ASs). Note, however, that BGP does not take into account factors such as link speed or network load. BGP-4, originally published in October 1991 in RFC 1267, and updated in RFC 1771. BGP-4 provides a set of mechanisms for supporting Classless Interdomain Routing (CIDR), and the aggregation of routes. In combination, these mechanisms support the concept of supernetting, which allows multiple (and even noncontiguous) Class C IP network addresses to be combined into a single supernet. See also CIDR, Route Flap, and TCP.


See BGP.


Bandwidth Hog. A term defined by Philip Elmer-DeWitt, technology editor of Time Magazine in 1994, who spearheaded the launch of Time Online, the first fully electronic national magazine. He defined BH "as a person who uses the online medium like a bull- horn and attracts like-minded people who then rove in a pack, filling them with up with screeds." (Screed is a long discourse or essay .)


Broadband High Layer Information: This is a Q.2931 information element that identifies an application (or session layer protocol of an application).


Backbone to Horizontal Cross-connect. Point of interconnection between backbone wiring and horizontal wiring.


Busy Hour Call Attempts. A traffic engineering term. The number of call attempts made during the busiest hour of the day.


Busy Hour Minutes.


Busy Hour Minutes of Capacity. For Switched Access Service-Feature Groups B and D, this term refers to the maximum amount of access minutes an Interconnector or Interexchange Carrier (IXC) expects to be handled in an End-Office switch at peak activity during any hour between 8 A.M. and 11 P.M.


A Latin prefix meaning twice.


Antenna that radiates most of its power in two directions.


Burned In Address. On most LAN-interface cards (also called NIC or network interface cards), the 48-bit MAC address is burned into ROM - hence the term Burned-In Address. See MAC Address.


  1. A systemic deviation of a value from a reference value.

  2. The amount by which the average of a set of values departs from a reference value.

  3. An electrical, mechanical, magnetic, or other force field applied to a device to establish a reference level to operate the device.

  4. Effect on telegraph signals produced by the electrical characteristics of the terminal equipment.

Bias Distortion

Distortion affecting a two-condition (binary) coding in which all the significant intervals corresponding to one of the two significant conditions have uniformly longer or shorter durations than the corresponding theoretical durations. The magnitude of the distortion is expressed in percent of a perfect unit pulse length.

Bias Generator

A CBX printed circuit card that generates a signal that reduces idle channel noise for all coders installed in the CBX.

Bias Potential

The potential impressed on the grid of a vacuum tube to cause it to operate at the desired part of its characteristic curve.

Bias Stabilization

A means of controlling the bias in a circuit so that it does not fluctuate. Heat or signal variations can throw off bias resulting in damage to components. See Bias, Bias distortion.


Signaling ID assigned by Exchange B.


Acronym for "butt in chair " ” the designation for a technician who has to work on Saturday or Sunday, traditionally light days when not much happens. The purpose of the BIC is to be there just in case something happens.

BICC Bearer Independent Call Control.


An ATM term. Bit Interleaved Parity: A method used at the PHY layer to monitor the error performance of the link. A check bit or word is sent in the link overhead covering the previous block or frame. Bit errors in the payload will be detected and may be reported as maintenance information.


See Broadband Inter-Carrier Interface. This is also the Spanish colloquial word for bicycle.


A screw-on fiber optic connector with a conical shape, the biconic connector was developed by AT&T (now Lucent Technologies). It has fallen out of favor, with most fiber installers preferring SC Connectors or ST Connectors.

Biconical Antenna

An antenna consisting of two conical conductors having a common axis and vertex. Excitation occurs at the common vertex. If one of the cones is flattened into a plane, the antenna is called a discone.


Building Industry Consulting Service International, a professional organization. For those who acquire certain requisite education and experience by BICSI, the association makes them a RCDD, Registered Communication Distribution Designer.

Bicycle Networking

The practice among cable access TV shows of distributing programming from one local cable access station to another. They use local messengers on bicycles to transport tape.

Bid Sniping

Bidding at the last minute of an auction - especially an eBay auction ” is called "sniping" or bid sniping. There is software and there are services that will automate this process for you. One is at

Bidding Credit

A spectrum auction term. It is a credit given to eligible FCC auction applicants which allows them to receive a discount on their winning bids in an auction.


Antenna that radiates most of its power in two directions.

Bidirectional Bus

A bus that may carry information in either direction but not in both simultaneously.

Bidirectional Couplers

Fiber optic couplers that operate in the same way regardless of the direction light passes through them.

Bidirectional Line Switched Ring

Commonly referred to as BLSR, bidirectional line switched ring is a method of SONET transport in which half of the working network is sent counter-clockwise over one fiber and the other half is sent clockwise over another fiber. BLSR offers bandwidth use advantages for distributed traffic in single-ring architectures. See also Line Switched Ring, Path Switched ring and SONET.

Bidirectional Printing

A typewriter always prints from left to right. So did the early computer printers. Today's computer printers print from left to right, drop down a line, then print from right to left. This increases the printer's speed.

Bidirectional Rate Shaping

A hardware-based technology that enforces traffic policies, tracks usage, and manages traffic concurrently by routing data packets to the logical ingress queue and processing policies in a bidirectional fashion. also referred to as bandwidth by the slice, bidirectional rate shaping enables service providers to maximize revenue and achieve scalability by dividing up available Ethernet capacity into fixed increments that their customers can buy.


Backhoe Induced Fiber Failure (BIFF). Definition is the same as Backhoe Fade, i.e. the backhoe cut the fiber and that's why it's no longer working.

Newton[ap]s Telecom Dictionary
Newton[ap]s Telecom Dictionary
ISBN: 979387345
Year: 2004
Pages: 133 © 2008-2017.
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