MCNC Glossary of Terms & Resource Guide

These are common terms used by MCNC today for broadband connectivity and telecommunications. You often will see these terms throughout MCNC’s website, and this provides a valuable resource for visitors to better understand the work we do. Not seeing what you need? Let us know, and we will update and refresh this information as needed.

APEC Albemarle Pamlico Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit corporation that focuses on economic development in Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Jones, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington counties. The corporation is based in Edenton, N.C.
ARRA American Recovery and Reinvestment and Act of 2009.  See also Broadband Stimulus Funding.  In February 2009, President Barack Obama signed a $787 billion bill, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which allocated more than $7 billion to be focused on expanding the reach of broadband networks to underserved and underdeveloped areas that many service providers have yet to reach.
ASP Application Service Provider
Backhaul Backhaul is transporting traffic between distributed sites (typically access points) and more centralized points of presence.
Bandwidth The gap between the highest and lowest frequencies employed by network signals expressed in bit/s or multiples of it (kbit/s, Mbit/s).
BIP From Broadband Stimulus Funding:  RUS calls their program the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) – NTIA calls their program the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).
BDIA Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA) requires the FCC to collect and examine data on the extent of broadband service capability in other countries as part of its annual consideration of whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans on a reasonable and timely basis (Section 706 Report ). To fulfill this mandate, the BDIA requires the FCC to compare the extent of broadband service capability (including data transmission speeds and price for broadband service capability) in a total of 75 communities in at least 25 countries abroad for each of the data rate benchmarks for broadband service utilized by the FCC to reflect different speed tiers.
Broadband Broadband Internet access, often shortened to just broadband, is high data rate Internet access—typically contrasted with dial-up access over a 56k modem.  Dial-up modems are limited to a bit rate of less than 56 kbit/s (kilobits per second) and require the full use of a telephone line—whereas broadband technologies supply more than double this rate and generally without disrupting telephone use. The NTIA defines Broadband Service is the provision of two-way data transmission with advertised speeds of at least 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream to end users.
Broadband Stimulus Funding In February 2009, President Barack Obama signed a $787 billion bill allocating more than $7 billion to be focused on expanding the reach of broadband networks to under-served and underdeveloped areas that many service providers have yet to reach.(See ARRA, BTOP, BIP)
BTOP From Broadband Stimulus Funding:  NTIA calls their program Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) –RUS calls it the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP).
CECTO Offered through a partnership between NCDPI, UNC School of Government’s Center for Public Technology and MCNC, this is a unique professional development offering for K-12 education technology leaders and senior administrators.  District Superintendents participate in the “Leaders for the 21st Century” Certification Program – a 20-hour instructional course. K-12 Technology directors participate in the CECTO Certification Program – a 240-hour instructional course. The CeCTO program gives school administrators the necessary knowledge, skills, and confidence to effectively use and manage technology in schools.
CNE MCNC’s client network engineer(CNE) service helps connectors to NCREN survey their local area and district area networks, assess the health of these networks and plan for the implementation of new equipment and network based services.  CNE personnel work with customers to design, implement, and support network and security infrastructure by providing network design services, general technical guidance and advice, best practices, product assessments and recommendations, and assistance resolving complex network problems. In addition, a network assessment service also is available to measure, analyze, and document network functionality and performance.
CHA The Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA) was named the North Carolina Telehealth Network (NCTN) project coordinator in 2007 and signed a contract valued at up to $7.2 million with MCNC and the N.C. Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) as a major sub-contractor in 2011.
CLEC Competitive Local Exchange Carrier.  Local exchange carriers (LECs) are divided into incumbent (ILECs) and competitive (CLECs). A Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) is a telecommunications provider company that competes with other, already established carriers (generally the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC)).
Cloud Computing Cloud computing is computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the "cloud" that supports them.  The concept generally incorporates combinations of the following:
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Software as a service (SaaS)

Cloud computing services often provide common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

MCNC, through a partnership with N.C. State Universities Virtual Computer Lab, has hosted virtualized services for the NCREN community since 2007.

Data Center A data center, also called a server farm, is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls, and security devices.
EMR Electronic Medical Records
Encryption The conversion of information into a scrambled form that effectively disguises it to prevent unauthorized access.
FCC Federal Communications Commission
Fiber Fiber-optic communication is a method of transmitting information from one place to another by sending pulses of light through an optical fiber. Because of its advantages over electrical transmission, optical fibers are replacing copper wire in core networks.
FONSI Finding of No Significant Impact is issued when environmental analysis and interagency review during the Environmental Assessment (EA) process find a project to have no significant impacts on the quality of the environment. The FONSI document is the EA modified to reflect all applicable comments and responses. If it was not done in the EA, the FONSI must include the project sponsor's recommendation or selected alternative. No formal public circulation of the FONSI is required, but the state clearinghouse must be notified of the availability of the FONSI. In addition, FHWA recommends that the public be notified through notices in local newspapers.
FttH Fiber to the Home is a term for any broadband network architecture that uses optical fiber to replace all/part of the metal local loop used for last-mile telecommunications to the home.
GLRBI Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative. MCNC currently is working on a $146 million expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network expected to be complete by 2013. This initiative has been labeled the GLRBI.
HIE Healthcare Information Exchange
Hosting Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server they own or lease for use by their clients as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. Web hosts also can provide data center space and connectivity to the Internet for servers they do not own to be located in their data center, called colocation.
ITS The North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) provides technology services to state agencies, local governments, and educational institutions across North Carolina. IT services include hosting, network and video services, telecommunications, and enterprise services such as email and calendaring. ITS is located in the Office of the Governor, and the governor appoints the State Chief Information Officer. The State CIO provides direct management over ITS operations and has statewide IT responsibilities, including technical architecture, procurement, project management, and security.
MCNC and ITS are frequent collaborators to deliver advanced network services to education entities, public health institutions, and non-profit healthcare organizations including hospitals.
JOBS Commission Joining Our Businesses and Schools Commission – SL339 – was established with overwhelming support in the N.C. General Assembly and went into affect with the signature of Gov. Bev Perdue in summer 2009. The JOBS Commission has begun its work to help better prepare North Carolina students to enter the workforce.
LEA Local Education Agency or School District
Last Mile Projects Last Mile Projects are any infrastructure projects where the predominant purpose is to provide broadband service to end users or end-user devices (including households, businesses, community anchor institutions, public safety entities, and critical community facilities).
MAC MCNC Advisory Council
MCNC MCNC is an independent, non-profit organization that employs advanced Internet networking technologies and systems to continuously improve learning and collaboration throughout North Carolina's K-20 education community. MCNC provides advanced communications technologies and support services that enable access to 21st century learning applications and offers the opportunity to improve teaching, learning, research and collaboration among North Carolina’s education community. For a more than a quarter century MCNC has operated a robust, secure, exclusive communications network that has connected the institutions of the University of North Carolina System, Duke University and Wake Forest University to each other and through advanced research networks such as Internet2 and National Lambda Rail, to the world.
Middle Mile Projects Middle Mile Projects are broadband infrastructure projects that do not predominantly provide broadband service to end users or to end-user devices, and may include interoffice transport, backhaul, Internet connectivity, or special access.
National Broadband Plan Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan, unveiled March 16, 2010, is a FCC plan required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for improving broadband Internet access throughout the United States. Its goal is providing 100 million American households with access to 100 Mbit/s (megabits per second) connections—as much as 20 times faster than what is generally available in 2010—by 2020. The ARRA required that the FCC draft the National Broadband Plan.
NCCCS The North Carolina Community College System is a statewide network of 58 public community colleges. Each college has a distinct governance system and policies. In total, the system enrolls more than 800,000 students and is the third largest community college system in the nation.
NCDPI North Carolina Department of Public Instruction oversees the public school system in North Carolina. NCDPI is headed by the State Superintendent and the North Carolina State Board of Education. It is headquartered in Raleigh.
NCICU North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. Twenty five of 36 independent colleges in North Carolina are connected to NCREN.
NCLOR The North Carolina Learning Object Repository (NCLOR) is a service offered by the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) that provides a central location to manage, collect, contribute, and share digital learning resources for use in traditional or distance learning environments. The NCLOR is available to all K-20 teachers across the state and provide vendor and peer resources for users. NCLOR participants include the 58 colleges from the NCCCS, UNC) System, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (36 private institutions), the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS).
NC e-Learning Commission The North Carolina e-Learning Commission is a governor’s appointed commission of business, policy, and education leaders. The commission studies and makes recommendations regarding advancing e-Learning technologies and the use of virtual learning to help North Carolina citizens from the high chair to the rocking chair advance their skills and knowledge.
NCIMED The North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development in Durham is a statewide nonprofit organization representing the interest of underdeveloped and underutilized sectors of the state's economic base. The Institute's working philosophy is that information and business development are critical to wealth creation and to building the asset base among low-wealth sectors of the population. In evaluating construction bid responses and for all MCNC-BTOP requests for proposals, MCNC worked with NCIMED to identify companies who qualify as small, disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses.
NCREN North Carolina Research and Education Network, operated by the non-profit organization MCNC, is one of the nation's first statewide education and research networks. It provides broadband communications technology services and support to K-12 school districts, higher education campuses and academic research institutions across North Carolina. MCNC offers the NCREN network, technology tools and services to guarantee equal access to 21st century learning by providing a future-proof technology network that is the foundation for change and innovation in our educational systems. In addition to all public school districts in North Carolina, the NCREN user-community now includes: 17 institutions of the UNC System and General Administration; 25 of the 36 North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities; 58 North Carolina Community Colleges; research institutions and foundations; and, along with the N.C. Office of Information Technology Services and other partners, MCNC will provide broadband services for the Public Health and Non-Profit Hospitals Phases of the N.C. Telehealth Network in 2011 and beyond.
NC STEM North Carolina STEM Community Collaborative helps communities throughout North Carolina ensure that all students engage in rigorous & relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education that provides them with good choices in life and bolsters the economic strength of their communities. The NC STEM Community Collaborative is funded through the generous support of MCNC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Battelle Memorial Institute, and community partners.
NCVPS The North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) is committed to raising achievement and closing learning gaps with 21st century innovation by providing access to world class learning opportunities for all North Carolina students. We provide the vehicle for school districts to accomplish the State Board of Education’s goals of producing 21st century learners, professionals, leaders, and systems by providing easily accessible, online learning opportunities for our state’s most valuable resource: its children.
NCTN North Carolina Telehealth Network. The NCTN will be focused on the emerging needs of North Carolina and will connect health care facilities with high-speed bandwidth to support leading-edge health care throughout the state, especially in rural areas. These services are designed to provide the physical network size, reliability, and security needed for day-to-day health data sharing among providers and patients and to support disaster preparation and recovery activities. The NCTN project is a collaborative effort among several parties in North Carolina that support improving broadband for health and care. The CHA is the public health authority in Cabarrus County and became the program coordinator of the pilot project when it was proposed in 2007.
NOC Network Operations Center is one or more locations from which control is exercised over a computer, television broadcast, or telecommunications network. MCNC operates a 24/7/365 NOC to support NCREN.
NOFA Notice of Funding Availability
NSOC Network Services Operations Committee
NTCA The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), "the voice of rural telecommunications," is the premiere non-profit association representing more than 580 small and rural telephone cooperatives and commercial companies.
NTIA National Telecommunications and Information Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that advises on telecommunications policies pertaining to economic and technological advancement and the regulation of the telecommunications industry.
POP A point-of-presence (POP) is an artificial demarcation point or interface point between communications entities in networking. It may include a meet-me-room.
RENCI Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) was launched in 2004 as a collaborative institute involving the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and N.C. State University. RENCI develops collaborations that combined the expertise and resources of these three universities and North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park area. RENCI comprises a virtual organization that includes the three Triangle area campuses and East Carolina University, UNC Asheville, UNC Charlotte and UNC’s Coastal Studies Institute. RENCI develops and deploys advanced technologies to enable research discoveries and practical innovations. RENCI partners with researchers, policy makers, and technology leaders to engage and solve the challenging problems that affect North Carolina, our nation, and the world.
RTP Research Triangle Park
SaaS Software as a Service is a model of software deployment whereby a provider licenses an application to customers for use as a service on-demand. SaaS software vendors may host the application on their own Web servers or download the application to the consumer device, disabling it after use or after the on-demand contract expires. The on-demand function may be handled internally to share licenses within a firm or by a third-party application service provider (ASP) sharing licenses between firms.
SCI The N.C. School Connectivity Initiative is the result of North Carolina leaders’ desire for 21st century classrooms and the development of a North Carolina workforce prepared to succeed in a global economy. The program seeks to expand the number of schools with broadband Internet access; further develop communication networks for rural and underperforming schools; and develop a scalable model to maintain and enhance network services to all schools in North Carolina. The SCI provides local school districts with the connectivity and access to technologies that help prepare today's students for the careers of tomorrow. This is achieved through a through a collaboration among DPI, ITS, the Friday Institute, and MCNC.
Telecommunications Act of 1996 The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of U.S. telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934. This Act was a major stepping stone towards the future of telecommunications since this was the first time the "Internet" was included in broadcasting and spectrum allotment.
Telemedicine Telemedicine is a rapidly developing application of clinical medicine where medical information is transferred through interactive audio/visual media for the purpose of consulting, and sometimes remote medical procedures or examinations. Telemedicine may be as simple as two health professionals discussing a case over the telephone, or as complex as using satellite technology and videoconferencing equipment to conduct a real-time consultation. Telemedicine generally refers to the use of communications and information technologies for the delivery of clinical care.
Telepresence Telepresence refers to a set of technologies which allow a person to feel as if they were present, to give the appearance that they were present, or to have an effect, via telerobotics, at a place other than their true location. A popular application is found in telepresence videoconferencing, a higher level of videotelephony which deploys greater technical sophistication and improved fidelity of both video and audio than in traditional videoconferencing.
MCNC offers telepresence exchange and scheduling services to NCREN connectors.
TMS Telepresence Management System or Tape Management System.
Traffic The load on a communication device or system.
Underserved Areas NTIA defines underserved areas as service areas (consisting of one or more contiguous census blocks) where (1) no more than 50% of the households in the proposed funded service area have access to facilities-based, terrestrial broadband service; (2) no fixed or mobile broadband service providers advertises broadband transmission speeds of at least 3 mbps downstream in the area; or (3) the rate of broadband subscribership for the funded service area is 40% of households or less.
Unserved Areas NTIA defines unserved as service areas (consisting of one or more contiguous census blocks) where at least 90% of households lack access to facilities-based, terrestrial broadband service.
UNCSOG The UNC School of Government aims to improve the lives of North Carolinians by engaging in practical scholarship that helps public officials and citizens understand and improve state and local government. As the largest university-based local government training, advisory, and research organization in the United States, the School of Government offers up to 200 courses, seminars, and specialized conferences for more than 12,000 public officials each year.
The UNCSOG assisted MCNC in the preparation of both BTOP applications and is the evaluator of the long term economic, educational, and societal impact of the awards.
Virtual Hosting/ Virtual Domain Virtual hosting is a method that servers such as Web servers use to host more than one domain name on the same computer, sometimes on the same IP address. Also known as shared web hosting, virtual hosting allows a website owner to have a site hosted on a web server that is shared with other websites. In simple terms, the virtual hosting company's server will allocate hosting services and bandwidth to more than one website.