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Last updated: August 23, 2016

What Does Terminal Mean?

A terminal is an electronic communication hardware device that handles the input and display of data.

A terminal may be a PC or workstation connected to a network, Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) network endpoint, mobile data terminal such as a telematics device, or a text terminal, or textual language interface.


Techopedia Explains Terminal

Terminals vary by required data type and format. Early terminals resembled typewriters. Current versions include input keyboards and output display screens.

Terminals are divided into the following three classes, according to their processing power:

  • Intelligent Terminal: Includes main memory and CPU
  • Smart Terminal (fat client): Equipped with robust data processing power, but has fewer processing capabilities than an intelligent terminal.
  • Dumb Terminal (thin client): Relies on the host for processing

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