Terminal Definition & Meaning

(1) A device that enables you to communicate with a computer. Generally, a terminal is a combination of keyboard and display screen. Terminals are sometimes divided into three classes based on how much processing power they contain:

  • intelligent terminal: a stand-alone device that contains main memory and a CPU.
  • smart terminal: contains some processing power, but not as much as an intelligent terminal.
  • dumb terminal: has no processing capabilities. It relies entirely on the computer’s processor.
  • (2) In networking, a terminal is a personal computer or workstation connected to a mainframe. The personal computer usually runs terminal emulation software that makes the mainframe think it is like any other mainframe terminal.

    (3) In VoIP terminology, a network endpoint which may provide audio only, audio and video, audio and data, or audio, video, and data communications with another H.323 terminal. The most common VoIP terminal is a phone.

    Vangie Beal
    Vangie Beal
    Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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