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Monday, July 23, 2001
Bits & Bytes

Walled garden: On the Internet, a walled garden refers to a browsing environment that controls the information and Web sites, the user is able to access. This is a popular method used by ISPs in order to keep the user navigating only specific areas of the Web, whether for the purpose of shielding users from information such as restricting children's access to pornography or directing users to paid content that the ISP supports. America Online is a good example of an ISP that places users in a walled garden. Schools are increasingly using the walled garden approach in creating browsing environments in their networks.

BER: Short for bit error rate. In a digital transmission, BER is the percentage of bits with errors divided by the total number of bits that have been transmitted, received or processed over a given time period. The rate is typically expressed as 10 to the negative power. For example, four erroneous bits out of 100,000 bits transmitted would be expressed as 4 x 10-5, or the expression 3 x 10-6 would indicate that three bits were in error out of 1,000,000 transmitted. BER is the digital equivalent to signal-to-noise ratio in an analog system.