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Telecom Dictionary

The telecommunications industry is full of acronyms and words you probably have never heard of, or you have but are clueless as to what they mean.

We know this and decided we would help out a bit. Below we have gone through and created a small telephony dictionary of some of the most commonly used and need to know terms in our industry. So whether you’re a Genesis customer, a fellow telecommunications worker or someone just looking for a little bit of knowledge, this dictionary is perfect for a quick go to source.

Automated Attendant – Allows a caller to be automatically transferred to an extension without the help of a operator. Example “Press 1 for Bob, press 2 for Sarah….

Backhaul – The portion of the network that comprises the intermediate links between the core network and the small sub-networks of the entire hierarchical network.

Bandwidth – The width of a communications channel. Analog is measured in Hertz and digital is measured in bits per second (bps).

Bluetooth – Short-range wireless connection standard aimed to link a wide range of computers, electronics and telecom devices.

Bridging (aka multiparty) – A device or application allowing multiple locations to connect in a single call.

Bridgeport – The capacity for a single location to connect to a bridge.

Broadband – Wide range of frequencies over which information can be transmitted.

Bundling – Offering a variety of telecommunication products and services in a package, such as internet, TV and phone services.

Business Continuity Plan – A set of procedures and processes designed to maintain business functions after a catastrophic event.

Call Originator – A person or device that initiates a telephone call by dialing a telephone number.

Call Waiting – A system that notifies a caller of another incoming telephone call by sounding a sound in the earpiece.

Called Party– A person who answers a telephone call.

Caller – The party that originates a call.

Calling Party –  A person who initiates a telephone call over the public switched telephone network.

Carrier – A company that is authorized to operate a telecommunications system.

Central Office – Office used to house all switching equipment that connects and routes all calls within a geographical location.

Cloud Computing – Delivering computing services over the internet typically provided by hosting providers.

Conference Call –  This is where more than one called party is being involved in a call.

Connectivity – The ability to successfully connect two or more parties so that they can communicate at a long distance.

Convergence – Where different technological systems begin to perform similar tasks. (Smart Phones being able to operate like computers.)

Data Sharing (aka Content Sharing) – The ability to show data over a video conference call.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) – Technology used between a customer’s premises and the telephone company to support the transport of higher bandwidth digital signals on the copper twisted wire pairs already in places as part of the telephony infrastructure.

Direct-Inward-Dial (DID) – Enables callers to dial directly to an extension on a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) or packet voice system without the assistance of an operator or automated call attendant.

Display – The monitor or television used for video conferencing.

Emergency Telephone Number – Distinct business lines designated for emergency issues needing to be addressed for the caller.

Encoder – Converts raw video information to a designated format or code for the purpose of standardization, speed and video compression.

Encryption – Mathematical computation designed to thwart unauthorized access.

End – User – In video conferencing this term refers to the person making or receiving a video call.

Ethernet – The standard for using various transmission medias.

Failover – The process or capability of seamlessly switching over to a functioning equivalent device.

Fax  (Facismile) – A device connected to the telephone network to enable documents to be scanned and sent to a receiving fax machine.

Fiber/Fiber Optic Cable – Transmits light signals along glass strands, allowing for up to 100 times faster transmission than traditional copper wire.

Firewall Part of a particulate computer system or network that is designed to block unauthorized access.

Firewall Traversal – Technology that allows traffic between an organization’s internal network and the internet.

Flexibility Port Capacity – The ability to adjust the capacity depending on the resolution or quality desired for a video conferencing.

Gatekeeper – A device that manages video conferencing call control. Typically for managing call bandwidth, dialing strings and other network settings.

HD Voice – Technology that provides better audio quality by delivering at least twice the sound range of a traditional phone call.

High Availability – Minimizes downtime by clustering or grouping servers together to provide continued service made possible by redundancy.

Hosted – An arrangement in which another organization runs your infrastructure technology on your behalf.

Hunt Group –  A method of distributing phone calls from a single telephone number to a group of several phone lines.

Infrastructure – Underlying facilities enabling a telecommunications network to transmit voice, video and data.

Instant Messaging (IM) – Real-time text communication between two or more participants over the internet.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) – A digital telephone line used extensively in video conferencing before internet connectivity was widely available.

Interactive voice response (IVR) – Technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use and DTMF tones input via keypad.

Internet Protocol (IP) – A communication protocol for computers connected to a network, especially the internet, specifying the format for addresses and units of transmitted data.

Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) – Internet Engineering Task Force standard funneling protocol for VPNs.

Local Area Network (LAN) –  Locally owned and administrated network for data communications that provides a relatively high bandwidth over a limited geographic area for communication between attached devices.

Line – A single-user circuit on a telephone communication system.

Mobility – Allows businesses to integrate smartphones and tablets, with its existing enterprise communication applications and infrastructure.

On-premise – The term used for hosting your technology yourself.

On-premises wiring – Customer-owned communications transmission lines.

Pixel – The smallest element of an image that can be individually processed in a video display system.

Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS) – Telephone system based on analog signal transmission.

Point-to-Point – When two locations connect on a call.

Private Branch Exchange (PBX) – A analog telephone switchboard located on the customer premises and used to connect private and public telephone networks.

Premises – A customers location.

PTZ Camera – A camera that has the ability to pan, tilt and zoom.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) – Is the world’s  collection of interconnected voice-oriented public telephone networks.

Recording – The ability to record a video conference call.

Remote Access – Connection to a data-processing system from a remote location.

Reseller – Telecommunications companies that purchase network capabilities from external sources and resell those services to private households and businesses.

Routing/Router – The process of selecting paths in a network along which to send network traffic. Routers are what make this happen.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) – A signaling communications protocol, widely used for controlling multimedia communication sessions such as voice and video calls over internet protocol networks.

Smartphone – A mobile phone with advanced computing and connectivity than basic mobile phones.

Streaming – The ability to convert a video image and send a video stream, while on a video call, to a specific webpage.

Switch/Switching – A device that channels incoming data from any of multiple input ports to the specific output port that will take the data towards its intended destination.

Telecommunications – Transmitting signals over a distance in order to communicate.

Telecommunications System – Networks of leading-edge technologies such as fiber optic systems, satellites, wireless, telephony, and cable, which are connected to computers that allow organizations and individuals throughout business and industry to communicate instantaneously around the world.

Telephone – Telecommunications device that permits two or more users to converse from different locations in which both parties can be heard.

Telephone Card – Credit card used to pay for telephone services.

Telephone Directory – List of telephone subscribers in a geographical area.

Telephone Exchange – An exchange consists of electronic components and in older systems human operators that interconnect telephone subscriber lines or virtual circuits of digital systems to establish telephone calls between subscribers.

Telepresence – A high-quality, multidisplay, immersive video conferencing experience.

Trunk/Trunking – A communication line between two switching systems.

Unified Communications – The tight integration of multiple communication methods, including IM, telephony and video conferencing.

Virtual Meeting Room – A reserved space on a bridge allowing multiple participants to meet.

Voicemail – Computer based system that allows users and subscribers to exchange voice messages.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – Technology used for delivering voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

Wireless Network – Computer network that uses wireless data connections for connecting network nodes.

Wi-Fi – A technology that allows electronic devices to exchange data or connect to the internet wirelessly using 2.4 GHz UHF waves and 5 GHz SHF waves.