Tech Terms | Abbreviations A–Z
Tablet, TCP, Tethering, Telnet, TFT Display, TLD, TLS, TOTP
A tablet computer, commonly shortened to tablet, is a mobile device, typically with a mobile operating system and touchscreen display processing circuitry, and a rechargeable battery in a single, thin and flat package. Tablets, being computers, do what other personal computers do, but lack some input/output (I/O) abilities that others have. Modern tablets largely resemble modern smartphones, the only differences being that tablets are relatively larger than smartphones, with screens 7 inches (18 cm) or larger, measured diagonally, and may not support access to a cellular network.
The touchscreen display is operated by gestures executed by finger or digital pen (stylus), instead of the mouse, trackpad, and keyboard of larger computers. Portable computers can be classified according to the presence and appearance of physical keyboards. Two species of tablet, the slate and booklet, do not have physical keyboards and usually accept text and other input by use of a virtual keyboard shown on their touchscreen displays. To compensate for their lack of a physical keyboard, most tablets can connect to independent physical keyboards by Bluetooth or USB; 2-in-1 PCs have keyboards, distinct from tablets.
The form of the tablet was conceptualized in the middle of the 20th century (Stanley Kubrick depicted fictional tablets in the 1968 science fiction film A Space Odyssey) and prototyped and developed in the last two decades of that century. In 2010, Apple released the iPad, the first mass-market tablet to achieve widespread popularity. Thereafter tablets rapidly rose in ubiquity and soon became a large product category used for personal, educational and workplace applications, with sales stabilizing in the mid-2010s. Popular uses for a tablet PC include viewing presentations, video-conferencing, reading e-books, watching movies, sharing photos and more.
The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is one of the main protocols of the Internet protocol suite. It originated in the initial network implementation in which it complemented the Internet Protocol (IP). Therefore, the entire suite is commonly referred to as TCP/IP. TCP provides reliable, ordered, and error-checked delivery of a stream of octets (bytes) between applications running on hosts communicating via an IP network. Major internet applications such as the World Wide Web, email, remote administration, and file transfer rely on TCP, which is part of the Transport Layer of the TCP/IP suite. SSL/TLS often runs on top of TCP.
TCP is connection-oriented, and a connection between client and server is established before data can be sent. The server must be listening (passive open) for connection requests from clients before a connection is established. Three-way handshake (active open), retransmission, and error-detection adds to reliability but lengthens latency. Applications that do not require reliable data stream service may use the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which provides a connectionless datagram service that prioritizes time over reliability. TCP employs network congestion avoidance. However, there are vulnerabilities to TCP including denial of service, connection hijacking, TCP veto, and reset attack. For network security, monitoring, and debugging, TCP traffic can be intercepted and logged with a packet sniffer.
Though TCP is a complex protocol, its basic operation has not changed significantly since its first specification. TCP is still dominantly used for the web, i.e. for the HTTP protocol, and later HTTP/2, while not used by latest standard HTTP/3.
Tethering, or phone-as-modem (PAM), is the sharing of a mobile device's Internet connection with other connected computers. Connection of a mobile device with other devices can be done over wireless LAN (Wi-Fi), over Bluetooth or by physical connection using a cable, for example through USB.
If tethering is done over WLAN, the feature may be branded as a personal hotspot or mobile hotspot, which allows the device to serve as a portable router. Mobile hotspots may be protected by a PIN or password. The Internet-connected mobile device can act as a portable wireless access point and router for devices connected to it.
Telnet is an application protocol used on the Internet or local area network to provide a bidirectional interactive text-oriented communication facility using a virtual terminal connection. User data is interspersed in-band with Telnet control information in an 8-bit byte oriented data connection over the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).
Telnet was developed in 1969 beginning with RFC 15, extended in RFC 855, and standardized as Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Internet Standard STD 8, one of the first Internet standards. The name stands for "teletype network".
Historically, Telnet provided access to a command-line interface on a remote host. However, because of serious security concerns when using Telnet over an open network such as the Internet, its use for this purpose has waned significantly in favor of SSH.
The term telnet is also used to refer to the software that implements the client part of the protocol. Telnet client applications are available for virtually all computer platforms. Telnet is also used as a verb. To telnet means to establish a connection using the Telnet protocol, either with a command line client or with a graphical interface. For example, a common directive might be: "To change your password, telnet into the server, log in and run the passwd command." In most cases, a user would be telnetting into a Unix-like server system or a network device (such as a router).
A thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT LCD) is a variant of a liquid-crystal display (LCD) that uses thin-film-transistor (TFT) technology to improve image qualities such as addressability and contrast. A TFT LCD is an active matrix LCD, in contrast to passive matrix LCDs or simple, direct-driven LCDs with a few segments.
TFT LCDs are used in appliances including television sets, computer monitors, mobile phones, handheld devices, video game systems, personal digital assistants, navigation systems, projectors, and car instrument clusters.
A top-level domain (TLD) is one of the domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the Internet. The top-level domain names are installed in the root zone of the name space. For all domains in lower levels, it is the last part of the domain name, that is, the last label of a fully qualified domain name. For example, in the domain name www.example.com, the top-level domain is com. Responsibility for management of most top-level domains is delegated to specific organizations by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which operates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and is in charge of maintaining the DNS root zone.
Transport Layer Security (TLS)
Transport Layer Security (TLS), and its now-deprecated predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), are cryptographic protocols designed to provide communications security over a computer network. Several versions of the protocols find widespread use in applications such as web browsing, email, instant messaging, and voice over IP (VoIP). Websites can use TLS to secure all communications between their servers and web browsers.
The TLS protocol aims primarily to provide privacy and data integrity between two or more communicating computer applications. When secured by TLS, connections between a client (e.g., a web browser) and a server (e.g., wikipedia.org) should have one or more of the following properties:
- The connection is private (or secure) because symmetric cryptography is used to encrypt the data transmitted. The keys for this symmetric encryption are generated uniquely for each connection and are based on a shared secret that was negotiated at the start of the session (see § TLS handshake). The server and client negotiate the details of which encryption algorithm and cryptographic keys to use before the first byte of data is transmitted (see § Algorithm below). The negotiation of a shared secret is both secure (the negotiated secret is unavailable to eavesdroppers and cannot be obtained, even by an attacker who places themselves in the middle of the connection) and reliable (no attacker can modify the communications during the negotiation without being detected).
- The identity of the communicating parties can be authenticated using public-key cryptography. This authentication can be made optional, but is generally required for at least one of the parties (typically the server).
- The connection is reliable because each message transmitted includes a message integrity check using a message authentication code to prevent undetected loss or alteration of the data during transmission.
In addition to the properties above, careful configuration of TLS can provide additional privacy-related properties such as forward secrecy, ensuring that any future disclosure of encryption keys cannot be used to decrypt any TLS communications recorded in the past.
TLS supports many different methods for exchanging keys, encrypting data, and authenticating message integrity (see § Algorithm below). As a result, secure configuration of TLS involves many configurable parameters, and not all choices provide all of the privacy-related properties described in the list above (see the § Key exchange (authentication), § Cipher security, and § Data integrity tables).
Attempts have been made to subvert aspects of the communications security that TLS seeks to provide, and the protocol has been revised several times to address these security threats (see § Security). Developers of web browsers have also revised their products to defend against potential security weaknesses after these were discovered (see TLS/SSL support history of web browsers).
The TLS protocol comprises two layers: the TLS record and the TLS handshake protocols.
TLS is a proposed Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard, first defined in 1999, and the current version is TLS 1.3 defined in RFC 8446 (August 2018). TLS builds on the earlier SSL specifications (1994, 1995, 1996) developed by Netscape Communications for adding the HTTPS protocol to their Navigator web browser.
Time-based One-time Password (TOTP)
A computer algorithm that generates a one-time password (OTP) that uses the current time as a source of uniqueness. As an extension of the HMAC-based one-time password algorithm (HOTP), it has been adopted as Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard RFC 6238.
TOTP is the cornerstone of Initiative for Open Authentication (OATH), and is used in a number of two-factor authentication (2FA) systems.
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