Any digit 2 through 9. X is any digit 0 through 9. This is telephony nomenclature, not computer nomenclature . Accept it, whether it's logical or not.

N Carrier

N-Carrier and O-Carrier ” Frequency division multiplexed analog carrier over long haul copper .

N Port

Node Port. A Fibre Channel term , referring to the link control facility which connects across a link to the F Port (Fabric Port) at the Fabric (switch). The node can be a mainframe, storage device, workstation, peripheral, or any other attached device. See Fibre Channel.

N Series Terminators

Most local area networks are bus configurations. This means one long piece of cable (coaxial or fiber) with workstations connected along the way, typically with "T" connectors. For a network to work properly, you need to place resistance at the end of the bus, to terminate it. A thin wire Ethernet typically requires a 50 ohm resistance at either end of the bus. Thin wire Ethernet terminators are commonly called N series terminators. They may also be used with grounding wires to ground the network. Networks don't work well without resistance at the end of their buses.

N Type Connector

The screw on connector frequently used with fifty ohm coaxial cable.


Pronounced N minus One. This is a term used in central office (also called exchange) switching. It refers to the central office switch just before the last one, i.e. the penultimate switch. It's an important term because that second last switch through which your incoming call passed will determine the signaling your central office switch received. See also N-1 Network.

N-1 Network

A telephone company AIN term. The telecommunications network in the call path just prior to the network containing the ported-from switch. If there are only two networks in the call path , then the N-1 network is the originating network. See also N-1.

N-ary Code

A code used to encode real-world characters that use n different code elements. Examples are binary (two states) and tertiary (three states).


Narrowband ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network). Narrowband ISDN is an unkind name for the present form of ISDN presently implemented. In short, anything under an ISDN PRI. According to Professor Michael L. Dertouzos of MIT, narrowband ISDN suffers from the same constraints as classical voice telephony. For example, N-ISDN can carry reasonably be altered to accommodate the great information only in fixed chunks of 64 kilobits per second. This would be like a road system closed to everything except motorcycle. An 18-wheel truck carrying produce or a heating fuel tanker would be "welcome" to use this road as long as it could repackage its cargo into (and out of) motorcycle size chunks . See also B-ISDN.

N-type Semiconductor

See Semiconductor.

N+1 Sparing

Pronounced N plus One Sparing. A method of achieving redundancy, and therefore resiliency, in mission-critical systems and networks. N+1 Sparing involves the provisioning of one additional element above the number anticipated to be required under full load. See also Sparing.

N+K sparing

Pronounced N plus K Sparing. A method of achieving redundancy, and therefore resiliency, in mission-critical systems and networks. N+K Sparing involves the provisioning of some number K (where 1<K<N) additional elements above the number anticipated to be required under full load. See also N+1 Sparing.


Not Available.


Network and Systems Support.


The first short-haul multiplex carrier in the U.S. by the Bell System was Western Electric's N1. The N1 transmitted 12 voice frequency channels over separate transmit and receive pairs in a single cable. N carriers have been progressively improving.


Service codes, or telephone dialing patterns, used to provide three-digit dialing to access special services. The FCC recognizes only 311, 711, and 911 as nationally assigned. Other codes with traditional uses include 411, 611, and 811. See those numbers for more information.


In packet data networking technology, parameter used to specify the allowable number of retransmissions before disconnection.


  1. Night Answer.

  2. Network Administration.


National Association of Broadcasters. A U.S.-based association which fosters and promotes radio and television broadcasting, represent those industries before the government, works to strengthen the abilities of its members to serve the public, and assists its members in operational matters. www.nab.org.


  1. Network Access Center.

  2. Numbering Advisory Committee. Committee established under the Telecommunications Act 1997 to advise the Australian Communications Authority on numbering matters.


The North American Cellular Network. Various operators nationwide have linked up to offer seamless roaming services so that roaming subscribers can make calls anywhere nationally without speaking to an operator. See North American Cellular Network for much more detail.


  1. Network Analysis Control Surveillance.

  2. Network Analysis Control System.


North American Directory Plan. An association of electronic mail providers who are figuring standards and ways of sending mail between their subscribers. They plan to use X.500 Recommendations.

Nagle's Algorithm

A pair of algorithms used to control congestion in TCP networks by reducing the sending window and limiting small datagrams.

Nailed Connection

A permanent circuit of a previously switched circuit/s. See also Nailed Data Connection and Nailed-up Circuit.

Nailed Up Circuit

A private line. A circuit permanently established through a circuit switching facility for point-to-point connectivity. Originally, private lines were, in fact, dedicated circuits which literally could be physically traced through the network. They also were known as "nailed-up circuits," as telephone company technicians hung the circuits on nails driven into the walls of the central offices. Today, private lines are actually dedicated channel capacity typically now provided over high-capacity, multi-channel transmission facilities. See Private Line.


To make a circuit permanent. See Nailed Up Circuit and Nailed Connection.

Nailing jelly to a tree

A task thought to be impossible , especially when the difficulty comes from poor specifications or sloppiness.


  1. Negative AcKnowledgement . NAK is a control character in ASCII that means a packet arrived with the check digits in error. It is sent from the computer receiving the packets to the sender, implying that the packet should be retransmitted so that all bits will arrive intact in the next go-round. The binary code is 0101001. The hex code is 51. See Check Digits and ACK.

  2. No Acknowledgement.

Naked Call

An incoming call that is routed into an ACD queue without getting call menus or flexible routing.

Naked Technology

Forrester's Research's talented boss, George F. Colony defines "naked technology" as injecting technology into a company without process and organizational change which in turn creates waste and chaos. Colony writes , "Deploying technology without changing process and organization will create little impact ” and it often brings negative consequences. Naked technology wipes out productivity improvements, hurts return on investment, and dulls the bright edge of well-conceived strategies."


  1. Number Assignment Module. An electronic or module in a cellular phone which associates the MIN (Mobile Identification Number) with the ESN (Electronic Serial Number). Phones with dual or Multi-NAM features offer the user the option of having a cellular phone with more than one phone number.

  2. National Account Manager.


NAtional Measurement Accreditation Service.


A name, as opposed to an address, is a location. Independent description of an end-station or node on a network (LAN or WAN) that contains no information about where the name entity is located. Certain protocols, such as IBM NetBIOS, make extensive use of a naming scheme.

Name Registration

A Windows 95 definition. The method by which a computer registers its unique name with a name server on the network. In a Microsoft network, a WINS server can provide name registration services.

Name Resolution

Name resolution is the act of translating a name from a difficult to remember number to something easier. Most people find it easier to remember www.HarryNewton.com than When you choose to go to a Web site (e.g. HarryNewton.com) or send an email to someone (e.g. BillG@Microsoft.com), your computer network (which may be the Internet) determines the appropriate IP address. This is done using a name server and/or a host table file. Name resolution is the process of mapping a name to the corresponding address. It is the process used on a network for resolving a computer address as a computer name, to support the process of finding and connecting to other computers on the network. See Name Server.

Name Server

  1. An AIN (Advanced Intelligent Network) term. A directory service located in the SLEE (Service Logic Execution Environment) that provides a mapping between a resource's global name and its physical location in the network.

  2. An electronic messaging term. A program which provides information about network objects, such as domains and hosts within a domain, by answering queries. See Name Resolution.

Named Pipe

A connection used to transfer data between separate processes, usually on separate computers. Named pipes are the foundation of interprocess communications (IPC). An administrator can set permissions on named pipes, but only LAN Manager and network applications can create them. See also Named Pipes.

Named Pipes

A technique used for communications between applications operating on the same computer or across the local area network. It includes an applications programming interface, providing application programmers with a way to create interprogram communications using routines similar to disk-file opening, reading, and writing. In Microsoft's words, named pipes allow two or more processes to communicate with each other. Any process that knows the name of a named pipe can access it (subject to security checks). See also Named Pipe.

Naming Authority

An authority responsible for the allocation of names .


Narrowband Analog Mobile Phone Service. A proposed new standard for cellular radio. NAMPS combines current voice processing with digital signaling. According to Motorola, NAMPS triples the capacity of today's cellular AMPS system, reduces the number of dropped calls and offers a range of new performance enhancements and digital messaging services. The other cellular standards include E-TDMA (Extended Time Division Multiple Access), TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access).


Neighborhood Area Networks. A NAN is a bunch of 802.11 wireless networks connected together.


North American Numbering Council, pronounced "nancy." An industry council chartered by the FCC in October 1995 to assume administration of the NANP (North American Numbering Plan) from Bellcore, as well as to select LNP (Local Number Portability) administrators. The impartial council comprises 32 voting members from the carrier, manufacturer and end user communities. Another four non-voting members were selected, including representatives from Bellcore, ATIS, the U.S. NTIA, and the U.S. State Department. Ex-officio participants are selected from Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. In October 1997, Lockheed Martin was selected as the primary administrator of NANP, formally replacing Bellcore. For that specific purpose, Lockheed Martin formed NeuStar as an independent business unit in 1996. Neustar subsequently was spun off as a separate business entity, and continues as NANPA (North American Numbering Plan Administrator). See also Bellcore, NANP and LNP. www.NeuStar.com.


An AND Gate with a digital inverter at its output.


North American Network Operators Group. A not-for-profit group for Internet network service providers of various descriptions. NANOG provides a forum for the exchange of technical information, promotes discussion of implementation issues that require community cooperation, and promotes and coordinates interconnection of networks within North America and to other continents. www.nanog.org. See also IOPS, Internet Society (ISOC) and IOPS.


One billionth of a meter. Written nm. The nanometer is a convenient unit for describing the wavelength of light. The light spectrum extends from 750 nm (near infrared) to 390 nm ( lowest energy ultraviolet). A nanometer is equal to 10 angstroms. A nanometer is also a millimicron.


A new class of magnetic materials made of iron and platinum . These particles boost storage densities to as high as 150 gigabits per square inch from the current standard (Fall of 2001) of 35 gigabits per square inch.


One billionth of a second. Written nsec. It's ten to the minus 9. One nanosecond ” a billionth of a second ” is the speed at which transistors in today's computers turn on and off to represent the ones and zeros of binary logic and arithmetic. It is a time-duration so short that light, which can speed seven times around Earth in the second between our heartbeats, travels only one foot . See Picosecond.


Nanotechnology comes from nanos, the Greek word for dwarf. Nanotechnology describes many types of research where the characteristic dimensions are less than about 1,000 nanometers. Continued improvements in lithography have resulted in line widths that are less than one micron. This work is often called "nanotechnology." Sub-micron lithography is clearly very valuable (ask anyone who uses a computer!) but it is equally clear that lithography will not let us build semiconductor devices in which individual dopant atoms are located at specific lattice sites. Many of the exponentially improving trends in computer hardware capability have remained steady for the last 50 years. There is fairly widespread confidence that these trends are likely to continue for at least another ten years , but then lithography starts to reach its fundamental limits. If we are to continue these trends we will have to develop a new "post-lithographic" manufacturing technology which will let us inexpensively build computer systems with mole quantities of logic elements that are molecular in both size and precision and are interconnected in complex and highly idiosyncratic patterns. Nanotechnology will let us do this. See Nanotube and Nanowire.


A nanotube resembles a rolled-up tube of chicken wire. It is about one hundred- thousandth the thickness of a human hair. Its thinness, only about 10 atoms wide, makes it a promising candidate for circuits in future faster and smaller computer chips. It takes its name from nanometer, a unit of measurement one-billionth of a meter long, which is a convenient length for specifying molecular dimensions. In the summer of 2001, I.B.M. scientists announced they have built a computer circuit out of a single strand of carbon. The I.B.M. circuit performs only a single, simple operation ” flipping a "true" to "false" and vice versa ” but it marks the first time that a device made of carbon strands known as nanotubes has been able to carry out any sort of logic. It is also the first logic circuit made of a single molecule . Though it will take more years of research, the fact that the researchers were able to build the circuit raises hopes that nanotubes could eventually be used for computer processors that pack up to 10,000 times more transistors in the same amount of space. See Not Statement.


Nanowires are long, thin, and tiny ” perhaps one-ten-thousandth the width of a human hair. Researchers can now manipulate the wires' diameters (from five to several hundred nanometers) and lengths (up to hundreds of micrometers). Wires have been made out of such materials as the ubiquitous semiconductor silicon, chemically sensitive tin oxide, and light-emitting semiconductors like gallium nitride. The wires can be fashioned ” ultimately ” into lasers, transistors, memory arrays, perhaps even chemical-sensing structures akin to a bloodhound's famously sensitive sniffer.


North American Numbering Plan. Invented in 1947 by AT&T and Bell Telephone Laboratories (now Lucent). The NANP assigns area codes and sets rules for calls to be routed across North America (i.e. the US and Canada). The new one, put into effect in January, 1995 has one major change: The middle number in a North American area code no longer is required to be a 1 or a 0 (one or zero); rather, it can range between 0 and 9. NANP numbers are 10 digits in length, in the format NXX-NXX-XXXX. The first three digits are the NPA code (i.e., area code). The second three are the central office code or central office prefix, and the last four are the line number. NANP numbers conform to E.164, which is the ITU-T international standard for numbering plans. NANP administration was shifted from Bell Labs to Bellcore, when it was formed in 1986. Due to Bellcore's obvious conflict of interest, responsibility was shifted to NANC (North American Numbering Council) in 1995; it was shifted again in 1997 to Lockheed Martin. In November, 1999, if was shifted to NeuStar Inc., when it was discovered that Lockheed Martin had a conflict of interest. NeuStar originally was an independent business unit of Lockheed Martin, but was spun off in order to resolve the conflict. See North American Area Codes, North American Numbering Plan and NANC. www.nanpa.com.


North American Numbering Plan Administration. See also NANP and NANC.


National Accounts Operations Manager.


  1. Network Action Point. The switching point through which a call is processed . The NAP switches the call based on routing instructions received from the NCP. A telephone company AIN term.

  2. Network Access Point. A point of access into the Internet used by ISPs and providers of Internet regional and local subnets. NAPs operate at Layer 2 (Link Layer) of the OSI Reference Model, providing meet points where ISPs exchange traffic and routes. Similar to the original concept of the CIX (Commercial Internet eXchange), the NAPs provide a means of direct connection to the Internet, rather than serving solely as an intermediate point of exchanging commercial traffic. The initial NAPs were located in San Francisco under the operation of PacBell; Chicago, Bellcore and Ameritech, and New York (actually, Pennsauken, New Jersey), SprintLink. A fourth was awarded for MAE-East (MERIT Access Exchange) in Washington, DC, and is operated by MFS (Metropolitan Fiber Systems), which now is a business unit of Worldcom. On April 30, 1995, the NSFNet backbone was essentially shut down, and the NAP architecture effectively became the Internet. See also GigaPOP, FIX and MAE. In a nutshell , a NAP is a facility where backbone providers, carriers, ISPs go to peer (exchange Internet traffic). Tier 1 refers to the size/reach of the backbone providers, carriers, ISPs, etc. So, a Tier-1 NAP is a peering facility that has as its customers a majority of national and global telecom companies (ie Global Crossing, France Telecom, AOL/Time Warner, etc.)

  3. Network Access Point, an AIN term. See Network Access Point.

  4. Network Access Provider. The NAP provides a transit network service permitting connection of service subscribers to NSPs. The NAP is typically the network provider that has access to the copper twisted pairs over which the DSL-based service operates.


Numbering/Addressing Plan Identifier.


North American Presentation-Level Protocol Syntax. A protocol for videotex text graphics and screen formats, developed by AT&T and since standardized within ANSI, based on Canada's Telidon videographics protocol.


Napster is a web-based service that allowed its "members" to download music from the hard disks of the PCs belonging to its "members." Napster's brilliance was creating the software that allowed "peer to peer" (P2P) computing. Napster's sin was making copyrighted material available for free to anyone who signed up for the service. Eventually the music industry hawled Napster into court and sought injunctions to stop it. The final injunction, interestingly, didn't hold Napster solely responsible for stopping all unauthorized trading of copyrighted files. Rather, the responsibility for policing the network is shared between Napster and the record companies that filed suit. Napster only must show that it is making every effort, within the limits of its technology, to stop trading specific recordings on lists provided by the plaintiffs. As a result a number of companies have cropped up to provide sophisticated technology to identify music files. The companies use digital signal processing to measure essential parts of the music itself. That information provides a small fingerprint , on the order of a few hundred to a few thousand bytes, which cannot be altered without significantly changing the sound of the song. One company claimed each identification takes, on average, less than half a second. See also P2P.


  1. Network Access Register. Centrex term describing a Central Office register which is required in order to complete a call involving access to the network outside the confines of that Centrex CO. NARs may be incoming, outgoing or two-way. NARs may be defined in support of local, intraLATA or interLATA traffic. The specifics of NAR implementation vary by Centrex provider.

  2. Nothing Added Reseller. In contrast to a VAR, which is a Value Added Reseller. Clearly a lam joke.

  3. National Accounts Representative.

Narrative Traffic

Messages normally prepared in accordance with standardized procedures for transmission via optical character recognition equipment or teletypewriter. In contrast to data pattern traffic, narrative messages must contain additional message format lines.


  1. An imprecise term. Some people think it's sub-voice grade channels capable of only carrying 100 to 200 bits per second. Others think it means lines or circuits able to carry data up to 2400 bits per second. So as lines get broader, narrowband gets broader. The latest definition of narrowband is up to and including T-1 ” or 1.544 megabits per second. See also Bandwidth, Wideband, Broadband, N-ISDN and B-ISDN.

  2. In cellular radio terminology, narrowband refers to the methodology of gaining more channels (and hence more capacity) by splitting FM channels into channels that are narrower in bandwidth. See NAMPS and NTACS.

  3. PCS. Mobile or portable radio services which can be used to provide services to both individuals and businesses such as acknowledgement and voice paging and data services.

  4. A WDM (Wavelength Division Term). Once upon a time, digital optical fiber transmission systems transmitted pulses of white light. Pulse on for a binary "1" bit, and pulse off for a binary "0" bit. White light is a combination of all of the light frequencies in the light spectrum. If you transmit white light, one optical fiber can carry only one signal. Now, they still pulse on and off. Increasingly, however, the laser diodes that create the light pulses are tunable so that they emit light pulses that are narrowly defined to specific frequencies that we would relate, at the most basic level, to specific colors of light such as ruby red or violet . Each specific frequency, or wavelength, is known as a "lambda" in the optical domain. An optical fiber simultaneously can support a vast range of narrowly defined lambdas, which do not interfere with each other as they are separated by frequency. While each lambda operates at broadband speed (i.e., equal to or greater than 45 Mbps), in the context of a WDM transmission system each lambda is referred to as "narrowband."

Narrowband Advanced Mobile Phone Service

NAMPS. Narrowband AMPS. NAMPS triples the capacity of AMPS, by compressing three 10 KHz analog FM channels into a signal 30 kHz analog FM AMPs channel, along with improved signaling. Pronounced "N-AMPS."

Narrowband FM

Narrowband FM is an FM signal with a bandwidth approximately equal to that of an AM signal modulated with the same audio information. Narrowband FM is used on many emergency bands because it conserves bandwidth while being clear and free from static.

Narrowband ISDN

Any ISDN speed up to 1.544 Mbps, which is called PRI or PRA. But this definition is imprecise. And as speeds get faster, so the definition of narrow- band ISDN means faster and faster. See N-ISDN and B-ISDN.

Narrowband Signal

Any analog signal or analog representation of a digital signal whose essential spectral content is limited to that which can be contained within a voice channel of nominal 4-kHz bandwidth.

Narrowband TACS

N-TACS. The narrowband version of TACS from Motorola which doubles the capacity of TACS by splitting the 25 kHz TACs channel into two 2.5 kHz channels.


First, there was broadcasting. One signal went to many people. Radio and TV are the classic concepts of broadcasting. One signal ” the same signal ” to many people. Then came the idea of narrowcasting. One signal to a select number of people ” maybe only those people who subscribed to the service and had the equipment to receive it. Then there came pointcasting. This is a fancy name for sending someone a collection of customized information ” snippets of stuff that they chose from a palette of information offerings.


  1. Network Audio Response System.

  2. A Nortel switching term for Network Automatic Route Selection.


National Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers. A worldwide, non-profit, professional organization which certifies engineers and technicians in the areas of telecommunications and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). NARTE was founded in 1983 to address the professional testing and certification void created when the FCC reduced its role in that regard. www.narte.org.


National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Members are commissioners of utility regulatory agencies of the states, the federal government and U.S. territories (i.e., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands). Objectives are the advancement of uniform regulation, coordinated action, and protection of the common interests of the people with respect to utility regulation. www.erols.com/naruc.


  1. NetWare Access Server. See Remote Access Server.

  2. Network-Attached Storage. NAS devices, which include iSCSI devices, are simply storage devices that include NICs (network interface cards). This makes the devices accessible via a standard Ethernet network connection. See Network Attached Storage and Storage Area Network (SAN) for longer explanations .


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, founded in 1958 as the successor to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.


Number Administration and Service Center. Provides centralized administration of the Service Management System (SMS) database of 800 numbers. The NASC keeps track of the 800 numbers that are in use, or available for use, by new 800 users.


An exchange where stocks are traded electronically across vast computer networks. This contrasts, for example, with the New York Stock Exchange, which is a physical place (i.e. a building) and stocks are traded by people at that building. Nasdaq stands for The National Assocation of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System.

Nasdaq Composite Index

An index representing the movement of stocks traded by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD).


Network Address Translation. An Internet standard that enables a local area network (LAN) to use one set of IP addresses for internal traffic and a second set of addresses for external traffic. This allows a company to shield internal addresses from the public Internet. According to Cisco, NAT has several applications. You want to connect to the Internet, but not all your hosts have globally unique IP addresses. NAT enables private IP internetworks that use nonregistered IP addresses to connect to the Internet. NAT is configured on the router at the border of a stub domain (referred to as the inside network) and a public network such as the Internet (referred to as the outside network). NAT translates the internal local addresses to globally unique IP addresses before sending packets to the outside network. You must change your internal addresses. Instead of changing them, which can be a considerable amount of work, you can translate them by using NAT. You want to do basic load sharing of TCP traffic. You can map a single global IP address to many local IP addresses by using the TCP load distribution feature. As a solution to the connectivity problem, NAT is practical only when relatively few hosts in a stub domain communicate outside of the domain at the same time. When this is the case, only a small subset of the IP addresses in the domain must be translated into globally unique IP addresses when outside communication is necessary, and these addresses can be reused when no longer in use.

A significant advantage of NAT, according to Cisco, is that it can be configured without requiring changes to hosts or routers other than those few routers on which NAT will be configured. NAT may not be practical if large numbers of hosts in the stub domain communicate outside of the domain. Furthermore, some applications use embedded IP addresses in such a way that it is impractical for a NAT device to translate. These applications may not work transparently or at all through a NAT device. NAT also hides the identity of hosts, which may be an advantage or a disadvantage . A router configured with NAT will have at least one interface to the inside and one to the outside. In a typical environment, NAT is configured at the exit router between a stub domain and backbone. When a packet is leaving the domain, NAT translates the locally significant source address into a globally unique address. When a packet is entering the domain, NAT translates the globally unique destination address into a local address. If more than one exit point exists, each NAT must have the same translation table. If the software cannot allocate an address because it has run out of addresses, it drops the packet and sends an ICMP Host Unreachable packet. A router configured with NAT must not advertise the local networks to the outside. However, routing information that NAT receives from the outside can be advertised in the stub domain as usual.


  1. North American Telecommunications Association. A trade association of manufacturers and distributors of telephone equipment that was formed in 1970, two years after the FCC's Carterfone decision, which said that the Carterfone and other customer phone devices could be connected to the nation's phone network ” if they were "privately beneficial, but not publicly harmful ." The Carterfone decision was a landmark. It allowed the connection of non-telephone company equipment to the public telephone network. This decision marked the beginning of the telephone interconnect business as we know it today. And NATA's mission was to fight all the restrictive rules and regulations which the telephone companies subsequently threw up to make connection of customer-owned equipment difficult and expensive. At that time the phone companies (especially AT&T and GTE) were among the largest manufacturers of phone equipment. Eventually NATA won the legal fight and lost its mission, its reason for being. In the early 1990s, NATA collapsed . The remaining bits of it were re- assembled into a new trade association called the MMTA, which stood for MultiMedia Telecommunications Association. MMTA is organized around five divisions ” computer telephony integration, conferencing/collaboration and messaging, LAN/WAN internetworking, Voice/Multimedia and Wireless Communications. www.mmta.org.

  2. National Association of Testing Authorities. Australian body that accredits services that test equipment against standards.


National Association of Telecommunications Dealers. A national association of dealers in used telecommunications equipment. www.natd.com.


Kirk Forman works for a company with 3,000 employees . Turns out that the network and workstation folks are two different groups. It seems that 85% of the problem calls he in telecom get from the workstation group are NATI, Not A Telecom Issue.

National Association Of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

NARUC. An organization supporting the needs of the commissioners of U.S. federal and state regulatory agencies. www.naruc.org.

National Association of Telecommunications Dealers


National Association of Testing Authorities


National Bureau Of Standards

NBS. The U.S. government organization that helps prepare non-Department of Defense communications standards and operates a testing service to indicate conformity to existing standards. Address: Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology, National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, MD 20899.

National Cable Television Association

NCTA. An organization representing the major U.S. cable television operators in the United States. Founded in 1952, the NCTA's mission is to advance the public policies of the CATV industry before the legislative, judicial and regulatory bodies, as well as before the American public. www.ncta.com.

National Code, The

Telecommunications National Code (of Australia). Carriers were formerly required to comply with the provisions of this code when installing or rolling out telecommunications facilities and infrastructure.

National Communications System

NCS. The NCS was set up by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 after a snarl in communications during the Cuban missile crisis among the United States, The Soviet Union and NATO. The system has continued over the years to try to maintain communications among emergency service officials during times of crises . Formally, the NCS was established by Section 1(a) of Executive Order No. 12472 to assist the President, the National Security Council, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in the discharge of their national security emergency preparedness telecommunications functions. See also Priority Access Methods.

National Convergence Alliance

See NCA.

National Coordinating Center

NCC. The joint telecommunications industry-Federal Government operation established by the National Communications System to assist in the initiation, coordination, restoration, and reconstitution of NS/EP telecommunication services or facilities.

National Electrical Code

NEC. A nationally recognized safety standard for the design, construction, and maintenance of electrical circuits. The NEC also gives rules for the installation of electrical and telephone cabling. The NEC is developed by the NEC Committee of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and identified by the description ANSI/NFPA 70-1990. This code has been adopted and enforced by many states and municipalities as law. NEC Article 800 covers telephone and telegraph electrical communications circuits, and telephone systems. Article 810 covers commercial radio and television receiving equipment, and amateur radio transmitting and receiving equipment. Article 820 covers CATV (Community Antenna Television) coaxial cable systems.

National Electrical Manufacturers Association


National Emergency Number Association

NENA. A US non-profit organization promoting 911 as the standard emergency number, including technical support, public awareness, certification programs, and legislative representation. www.nena9- 1-1.org.

National Exchange Carrier Association

NECA. An association of local exchange carriers mandated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in 1983, in anticipation of the breakup of the Bell System. NECA's primary responsibility was to file new interstate access tariffs and to perform the " settlement " functions previously performed by AT&T and the BOCs (Bell Operating Companies). Under the direction of the FCC, NECA administers approximately $2 billion in annual revenues , based on pooled tariff rates. Through the pooling process, the LECs (Local Exchange Carriers) bill the IXCs (IntereXchange Carriers) for the use of their local exchange networks in originating and terminating long distance calls. Individual revenues and costs then are submitted to NECA, which distributes them to the member companies on an averaged basis. NECA also administers the Universal Service Fund (USF), the Lifeline Assistance Programs, and the Telecommunications Relay Services Fund. See also Division of Revenues, Lifeline Assistance Programs, Separations and Settlements, Telecommunications Relay Services Fund, and Universal Service Fund. www.neca.org.

National Fire Protection Association

NFPA. A not-for-profit association which works with the U.S. Congress and federal agencies to promote the adoption and use of fire protection codes and standards, and to promote a uniform national approach to combating the problem of fires. The NFPA has published the National Electrical Code (NEC) since 1897. The NEC, published as NFPA 70, includes all sorts of provisions for electrical wires, connectors, and outlets. Included in the NEC are specifications for the cable jackets used in telecommunications inside wire and cable systems. www.nfpa.org. See National Electric Code.

National Information Infrastructure

NII. What the Clinton Administration prefers to call the Information Superhighway ” basically a switched, broadband network that could, in theory, deliver everything from switched video to high- speed access to the Internet. The NII is intended to connect people, businesses, institutions and governments with one another. Its purpose is to expand the availability of a wide variety of information and communications services.

National Institute For Standards And Technology

NIST. The U.S. government agency that oversees the operation of the U.S. National Bureau of Standards. The NIST is based in Gaithersburg, MD. See NIST.

National ISDN Council

NIC. A council of carriers and manufacturers which determines the generic guidelines for National ISDN. It also publishes those guidelines, as they are developed. NIC is a voluntary council. Membership includes Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, Cincinnati Bell, Lucent, Nortel and SBC. Administration and project management are the responsibility of Bellcore. See also National ISDN-1.

National ISDN-1

NI-1. National ISDN-1 is a set of specifications for a "standard" national implementation of ISDN (BRI and PRI). Based on international ISDN standards recommendations from the ITU-T, and technical references (TRs) specified by Bellcore for the U.S., NI-1 lays the groundwork for a national ISDN infrastructure. Bellcore issued the National ISDN-1 document, SR-NWT-001937, Issue 1, in February 1991. Currently, National ISDN is the responsibility of the National ISDN Council (NIC), comprising certain carriers and manufacturers, and administered by Bellcore. The idea of National ISDN-1 is that it be a set of standards to which every manufacturer and carrier can conform. Thereby, all manufacturers can build ISDN equipment (i.e., terminal equipment, terminal adapters, PBXs and COs) which can interoperate effectively, both through and across the various carrier ISDN networks. Similarly, all carriers can interconnect through a standard set of interfaces in order to support seamless connectivity, and transparency of feature content and access. As a result, a consumer can buy an ISDN phone (one conforming to National ISDN- 1) at his local Radio Shack (or other store) take it home, plug it in and know it will work, irrespective of carrier and central office manufacturer. This was not always the case. Sadly, National ISDN-1 has not been a rousing success, as ISDN generally has been a failure; also, NI-1 addressed a set of only 17 features. National ISDN-2 documents were first published in 1992, and National ISDN-3 documents in 1993. See also Bellcore Custom ISDN, ISDN and National ISDN Council.

National ISDN-2

NI-2. A set of specifications published in 1992 and building on NI-1. NI-2 defines a set of features and functional capabilities to be provided in the NI offering, and composed of those directly related to serving user applications. NI-2 also defines operations support and billing capabilities directed toward service providers. See National ISDN-1.

National ISDN-3

NI-3. A set of specifications published in 1993, building on NI-1 and NI-2. NI-3 defines a marketable and feasible set of features in consideration of market needs, difficulty of implementation and ease of use. See National ISDN-1.

National Park

A government-provided repository of on-line information and entertainment, such as is provided by the Smithsonian.

National Relay Service

NRS. In Australia, the NRS provides people who are deaf, hearing or speech impaired with access to the standard telephone service through the relay of voice, modem or teletypewriter communications. The NRS operates as a translation service between voice and non-voice users of the standard telephone service.

National Repository Line Level Database

NRLLDB. Probably this dictionary's most clumsy and least memorable acronym. As defined by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), the NRLLDB is a centralized database containing technical informaton that identifies company, switch and consumer elements, elements that define each phone and wireless line. NRLLDB helps carriers with the billing done in the back office by identifying the carrier. The NRLLDB includes data that can help carriers with provisioning, CLEC-to-CLEC migration, return code 50s, wireless number portability, and end user, direct and access billing. ATIS spent a little over 5 years defining this national database, it's history is tracked on their site: www.atis.org/atis/clc/obf/rfi.htm. ATIS origianlly intended to 'own' the repository and allow companies to bid for the devlopment and management of NRLLDB. In the end, they decided not to own it but seeing that they defined the solution to the industry problem, allow companies to pick from providers.

National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation. An independent agency of the U.S. government established by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950 with the mission "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity , and welfare; and to secure the national defense." Among the NSF activities are the fostering of the interchange of scientific information among scientists and engineers in the U.S. and foreign countries , and the fostering of the development and use of computers. This mission and charter gave rise to NSFNET, which was in large part the impetus behind the development of the Internet. See also National Technology Grid, NCSA, NREN.

National Security Agency

See NSA.

National Technical Information Service.

NTIS. An non-appropriated agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, the NTIS serves as the official resource for government-sponsored U.S. and worldwide scientific, technical, engineering and business-related information. Information is acquired from over 200 U.S. government agencies, numerous international governmental departments and other international organizations, and through contracts or cooperative agreements with the private sector and other organizations. Information is available in a variety of formats. www.nist.com.

National Technology Grid

An effort of the NSF (National Science Foundation) to develop a nationwide computational infrastructure. The NSF will fund the National Computational Science Alliance with up to $170 million over a period of five years, beginning in 1997. The aim of the Alliance is to enable the science and engineering community to take full advantage of rapidly improving high-performance computing and communications technologies. The alliance comprises more than 50 research partners , and is led by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). See also NCSA.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

NTIA. U.S. government agency responsible for, among other things, administering the use of spectrum allocated for government usage.

National Television Standards Committee

NTSC. The North American standard for the generation, transmission, and reception of television communication wherein the 525-line picture is the standard. The picture information is transmitted in AM and the sound information is transmitted in FM. Compatible with CCIR Standard M. This standard is used also in Central America, a number of South American countries, and some Asian countries, including Japan. See NTSC.

Nationwide Paging

A method of national or regional paging in which a single frequency is used throughout the nation or region for sending messages to a pager carried by a subscriber.

Nationwide/Statewide cost Averaging

A method of averaging costs to establish uniform prices for telephone service so that subscribers using more costly-to- serve, lightly trafficked routes ” such as those between small communities ” receive the same service for the same price as subscribers on lower-cost highly trafficked routes. The idea is that people in rural areas shouldn't pay more for phone service than those living in cities. Theoretically, they would, since theoretically it costs more to provide phone service to rural communities.


See Native Application.

Native Address

An address that matches one of a given node's summary addresses.

Native Application

  1. Software that runs directly on the computer's operating system ” without requiring an emulation or other program to sit between the software and the operating system. The term "native" acquired new meaning when Apple moved from its Motorola 680x0 microprocessor line of computers to the Power Macintosh line. See Native Mode.

  2. An ATM term. A term given to any application written to use any communications protocol prior to ATM.

Native Format

The original form of a file. A file created with one application can often be read by others, but a file's native format remains the format it was given by the application that created it. In most cases the specific attributes of a file (for example, fonts in a document) can only be changed when it is opened with the program that created it.

Native Implementation

See Native Mode, definition #2.

Native LAN Services

Carrier-provided services which interconnect LANs at their full speed, i.e., the native speed of the LANs.

Native Management Policy

Management policy derived from the customer requirements. Native policies represent coordination between NGOSS components and reflect the expected system behavior based on functional requirements. Native policies cover also the specification of potential interaction with an external management system. A native management policy is complementary to a native functional policy, which is also derived from the customer requirements; the latter which is commonly embedded into the functional specification.

Native Mode

  1. Uncompressed.

  2. Able to run software directly in the computer's indigenous operating system without intervening emulation software. The term became important when Apple moved from its Motorola 680x0 microprocessor line of computers (called Quadra, Macintosh IIX, Performa, etc.) to the Power Macintosh line of computers powered by the RISC microprocessors called PowerPC 601. This new line of computers runs an operating system different to what Apple had been running on its Macintoshes. The new Power Macintoshes can run software for the Macintosh 680x0 machines ” but only in emulation. This makes the software run slowly. So, for the software to run at speeds the new faster machines are capable at running, application software (word processing, desktop publishing, etc.) has to be rewritten to run in native mode.

Native Protocol

A native protocol is the information format in which communications occur within a particular service.

Native Signal Processing

Analog signals, such as voice and video, often are converted into digital signals ” for transmission, for computer storage, for compression, etc. Once an analog signal becomes digital, it often has to be manipulated ” compressed (to save storage space or transmission time), to be edited, to be conferenced, etc. These speciality tasks of working on digital signals that originally were analog have largely been done by a specialized microprocessor, called a digital signal processor (DSP). DSPs are used extensively in telecommunications for tasks such as echo cancellation, call progress monitoring, voice processing and for the compression of voice and video signals. Lately, as the PC's general purpose microprocessor has become more powerful, the makers of these general purpose microprocessors (especially Intel) have started talking about using some of their spare MIPS (spare processing power) to do some of the tasks previously done by DSPs. They call this new idea ” Native Signal Processing.

Native X.400

A term describing a messaging system or service developed using the protocol specifications and service definitions in the X.400 recommendations. Typically used to describe full X.400 services native to a user's home mail environment.


The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, an affiliate of the National League of Cities. NATOA is involved in telecommunications issues that affect state and local governments. Such issues include rights-of-way, radio frequency emissions, placement of radio towers , and universal service. www.natoa.org.


A voice recognition term for a language as in normal spoken conversational sentences. The vocabulary would include words like fifty, sixty, hundred etc. and be used in digit recognition.

Natural Computing

As computers get more and more powerful, they get easier to use as they are endowed with human-like senses ” fluid speech, a good ear (speech recognition) and keen vision. IBM coined the term "natural computing" to describe this.

Natural Frequency

The natural frequency of an antenna, the lowest frequency at which the antenna resonates without the addition of any inductance or capacitance .

Natural Language Query

A query written in natural language (for example, plain English) seeking information from a database.

Natural Monopoly

A term used by economists to justify regulation. The idea is that one company can provide certain services (such as gas, water, or telecommunications) considerably cheaper than two or three. Therefore, let one company have the monopoly on the service. But substitute government regulation for free competition and this way keep prices down. How well the theory and the practice of government regulation has worked is the subject of acres of learned prose . Suffice, the theory of "natural monopoly" has evaporated in most areas it was practiced ” from airlines to telephones, local and long distance. When regulation is removed, prices have usually fallen .


Network Addressable Unit. SNA term for LU, PU and SSCP. Each unit in SNA has a unique address.


Network Access Usage and Cost System.


Nearest Active Upstream Neighbor. In Token Ring or IEEE 802.5 networks, the closest upstream network device from any given device that is still active.

Nautical Mile

6,076 feet. 15% longer than a normal mile, which is 5,280 feet. A measure of distance equal of one minute of arc on the Earth. An international nautical mile is equal to 1,852 meters or 6,076.11549 feet.


  1. Network Applications Vehicle.

  2. Net Asset Value.


An Internet term. It means simply to move around by the World Wide Web by following hypertext links / paths from document to document on different computers, typically in different places.


The ability to route telecommunications traffic over diverse circuit options to achieve communications continuity between the desired end customer stations .


Network fAXing; to send faxes over the internet and any other network. Can also be used as a noun. Naxing.


Network Bus Controller.




NetBIOS Frame Format Protocol. See NetBEUI.


NetBios Framing Control Protocol; protocol for transporting NetBIOS traffic over a PPP connection. See NetBEUI.


Some people think this once famous company's name stood for "Nothing But Initials." Others thought it stood for Nectum Bilinium Inc. It actually stood for "Nothing But Initials."


A new acronym meaning the coming together of the previously disparate fields of Nanotechnology, Biology & medicine; Information sciences; and Cognitive sciences, and the allegedly resulting synergy.


No Basis In Fact. Acronym used as a greeting in e-mail, during online chat sessions, and in newsgroup postings to save keystrokes and time.


NonBroadcast MultiAccess. A term for networks which provide access for multiple routers but do not support broadcasting, or in which broadcasting is not feasible. Examples of NBMA networks are Frame Relay, ATM and X.25. Although Ethernet is multi- access, broadcasting is used on the network, so it is not considered NBMA. The most common NBMA technology today is Frame Relay. Frame Relay has largely replaced X.25 as a transmission technology.


Name Binding Protocol. AppleTalk protocol for translating device names to addresses.


National Bureau of Standards. A US government agency that produces Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) for all other agencies except the Department of Defense (DoD).


National Bureau of Standards/Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology. The NBS directorate, based in Gaithersburg, MD, is concerned with developing computer and data communications.


Network Computer. Larry Ellison of Oracle's idea of a $500 (or so) PC that lacks a hard disk and may lack a monitor but can be used to browse the Internet and run applications on a server on the Internet or corporate intranet. Ellison, who is Oracle's chairman, sees the NC as a "universal digital appliance."

The New Yorker of September 8, 1997 discussed the implications of the network computer thus: Microsoft's worries about Ellison and NCs are not trivial. After a prolonged period of being in denial about the rise of the Internet, Gates and his team now understand that it is the central fact of the next phase of computing, and that it poses a real threat to Microsoft's power. In 1995, Sun Microsystems introduced an Internet-centric programming language called Java, which creates programs that can run on any operating system and is fast becoming the standard lingo of the Net. In a Java-fuelled future, the reign of the PC might be challenged by the NC which would let users " borrow " programs from the Net and would have no need for Microsoft's Windows ” developments that would create enormous upheaval in many of the software markets that Gate's firm now dominates. See also Internet Terminal, NetPC, and NetStation.

NC Code

The Network Channel (NC) Code is an encoded representation used to identify both switched and non-switched channel services. Included in this code set are customer options associated with individual channel services or feature groups and other switched services.


  1. Number of Calls Abandoned. The number of incoming calls accepted by an ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) but abandoned by the caller before being connected to a person. The caller either dialed a wrong number or just got tired of waiting and hung up. It's usually the latter.

  2. National Convergence Alliance. An association of product and service vendors in the convergence industry, whatever that is. According to the NCA, the alliance "creates industry and market focus, establishes a unified voice, enhances our ability as an industry to identify and drive technology, enables the overall acceleration of convergence adoptions and capabilities, creates a forum where equipment and service providers can discuss their customers needs, and, most importantly, educates providers and enterprises about the benefits of convergence." I don't know anything about this organization except for what they say on their website, but they win the prize for the longest compound sentence I've seen in the past decade . www.ConvergenceAlliance.com. See also Convergence.


Network Construction and Administration.


NCAS is a generic acronym for Non Call-path Associated Signaling. NCAS is out-of- band signaling used to provide emergency signaling information separate from the wireless 911 call to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). This signaling information includes the phone number of the wireless phone and coding to derive a general location of the caller, and meets the Enhanced 911 Phase 1 FCC requirements. This coding can be either a p-ANI or an ESRD. Out-of-band signaling is separated from the channel carrying the voice. Several solutions are available to accomplish this in the wireless 911 calling environment. CAS is a generic acronym for Call-path Associated Signaling. This definition contributed by Glenda Drizos and Doug Puckett of Sprint PCS, Overland Park, Kansas.


New Commercial Billing System.


  1. Network Control Center. A central location on a network where remote diagnostics and network management are controlled. See Network Control Center.

  2. National Computer Conference, once upon a time the largest annual conference of the computer industry.

Newton[ap]s Telecom Dictionary
Newton[ap]s Telecom Dictionary
ISBN: 979387345
Year: 2004
Pages: 133

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