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Telecommunications Glossary

Analog: Information that is represented by a continuous electromagnetic wave so that the power varies continuously.

Audio Conferencing: A telephone call that connects three or more phones simultaneously.

Automated Attendant System: This is a telephony system that intelligently transfers all incoming calls to different extensions as chosen by callers without the need of a human operator. Typically there is a menu with a variety of options for the incoming caller.

Backbone: Connects every main server and device on a network.

Bandwidth: The maximum data transfer rate of a given Internet connection or network; measures the amount of data that can be sent over a connection in a specific amount of time.

Bluetooth: Ability to connect wirelessly to local devices within a specified distance.

BRI (Basic Rate Interface): ISDN configuration with two B-channels that carry either voice or data at 64 Kbps and one D-channel that carries call-control info.

Bridge: Device that connects two different local-area (LANs) or two different segments that are of the same LAN using the same protocol.

Broadband: High-speed transmission of large amounts of data over a single cable.

Burst: A sequence of signals that are counted as one.

Business Telephone System: An interconnected system of multiple telephones within a business. There are a large variety of business phone systems.

Byte: A unit of data measurement. One byte holds 8 binary bits.

Call Block: Allow users to block incoming calls from specified phone numbers.

Call Waiting: A feature that tells users in a call that another call is awaiting pickup.

Caller ID: Enhanced calling feature that shows call recipient what number is calling before the call is picked up.

Collaboration: Multiple individuals or groups come together on ideas or business plans by utilizing a unified communications solution (instant messenger, virtual conferencing, etc.)

Colocation: A data center where businesses can rent space for their servers and other equipment. The facility meets temperature and power supply standards and provides physical security.

Conferencing: Multiple users communicating/virtually meeting over a specific subject via video, audio, or web.

Convergence: The centralization of audio, video, and data communications solutions.

Dark Fiber: Unused fiber-optic cable

DSO: Standard digital transmission rate in telecommunications (64 Kbps). Carries single voice channels or data.

Dedicated Internet Access (DIA): A specified amount of bandwidth dedicated for subscribers' use.

Dedicated Lines: A path between two points, available at all hours of the day for designated user(s). The line is not shared as dial-up lines are.

DID (Direct Inward Dialing): A service that provides a block of phone numbers for a business's PBX system; gives multiple numbers without needing a physical line for each.

DNIS (Dialed Number Identification Service): Telephone service that identifies for the receiver of the call what number was dialed by the caller.

Domain: A group of computers that are accessed and administered with a similar set of rules.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): A medium that is used to transfer signals of high bandwidth via copper wire between the service provider and the customer.

DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing): A technology that transfers data from multiple sources over an optical fiber, all carried at the same time.

Encryption: The conversion of sensitive data into ciphertext, which prevents any unauthorized parties from accessing it.

Ethernet: The most commonly installed local area network (LAN) technology.

Fiber/Fiber Optic Cable: A form of transmission that utilizes glass or plastic threads of fiber for data to be transmitted at the speed of light.

Firewall: A system that prevents any unauthorized access to a private network.

FTP (File-transfer Protocol): The exchange of files over the Internet.

Frame Relay: A packet-switching protocol that connected devices on a WAN (Wide Area Network)

Gigabit: A form of data storage measurement; Abbreviated Fb and equivalent to 1024 megabits.

Gigabyte: Equal to 1024 megabytes; abbreviated as G or GB.

Handover: The process of one connected cellular call or data session is transferred to another base station without ever disconnection the initial session.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language): Language used to define and layout the structure of a Web document on the World Wide Web.

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol): Protocol used by the World Wide Web that determines how messages are both formatted and transmitted and what actions servers and browsers should take as response to specific commands.

Infrastructure: A business's collection of all hardware, software, networks, and data centers.

IP (Internet Protocol): Enables internetworking.

IP Address: A 32 digit address to identify a computer on a TCP or IP network.

IP PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange): A telephone switch that supports VoIP.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network): International communications standard for transmitting data, voice, and video over digital telephone lines or traditional telephone wires; supports data transfer rates of 64 Kbps.

ISP: Internet Service Providers

Interexchange Carrier (IXC): A service provider that provides a connection between local exchanges that are in different geographic areas.

Jitter: A packet delay that has a negative impact on quality of any signal.

L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol): Extension of Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol that enables the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network). L2TP utilizes packet-switched network connections.

LAN (Local Area Network): A group of different computers and devices all connected to the same server using either a share communications line or a wireless link.

LATA (Local Access and Transport Area): Refers to a geographic area that is covered by one or more telephone companies, referred to as LECs (Local Exchange Carriers).

Latency: Also known as lag, latency is the delay between requesting data and the response to the request, or the amount of time it takes a packet to travel to its requested destination.

Long Distance: A telephone call that is made outside of a geographically defined local area.

LTE (Long Term Evolution): A network that provides IP-based data, voice, and streaming at speeds from 100Mbit to 1 Gbit per second.

Megabyte: Frequently abbreviated as either M or MB, a Megabyte is a unit of data storage.

Memory: Data storage; mostly refers to physical memory.

Mobile Broadband: Internet access that is gained through a portable modem or another mobile device.

Modem: A program or device that allows computers or other devices to transmit data over either telephone or cable lines.

MPLS: A networking solution that makes forwarding packets faster and more efficient.

Network: A group of at least two or more computer systems that are linked together. There are a variety of different computer networks, including LANs, WANs and more.

NOC (Network Operations Center): A physical space where telecommunications networks are managed and proactively monitored.

OSI (Open System Interconnection): A networking framework that implements protocols in 7 different layers. Control passes from each layer to the next.

Packets: Unit of data sent over any network.

PBX (Private Branch Exchange): Private telephone network designed to supply efficient communication between users of a business or organization.

Point-to-Multipoint: A connection from one point to many.

Point-to-Point: A direct connection of two different devices (from point-to-point).

PoP (Point of Presence): A physical location that acts as an access point to the Internet.

POTS: Plain Old Telephone Service; basic form of small business telephone network connection.

PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol): A method for the implementation of virtual private networks (VPNs).

PRI (Primary Rate Interface): Carried on a T-carrier system or an E-carrier line, PRI is a kind of ISDN service with 23 B-channels and one D-Channel, best for medium businesses to enterprises.

Protocol: Format for transmission of data between two devices.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN): An international telephone system that is based on copper wires that carry analog voice.

Pulse dialing: A form of telephone dialing where each digit is transmitted via an electrical pulse.

QoS (Quality of Service): Specific transmission rates and other service characteristics that are guaranteed in advance.

Remote Access: Ability to gain access to a computer or device from an alternate/remote location.

Routing/Router: Hardware device that intelligently routes data from a LAN to another network connection.

Satellite: A satellite that has been stationed in space to provide telecommunications services to those who live in areas where cable or DSL is not yet an option.

Signaling Transfer Point (STP): A switching center that transfers on signaling link to another.

SIP Trunking: A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service that uses your data circuit to connect your phone system to connect to an Internet provider's network.

SLA (Service Level Agreements): A component of a service contract that guarantees specific levels of services that are measurable.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): A protocol that is used to send email messages between servers via the Internet.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol): Used for the exchange of management information between different network devices. Often used for monitoring rather than management.

SONET (Synchronous Optical Network): Communication protocol used to transmit large amounts of data over long distances via fiber optic cable.

Spam: Unsolicited or junk email.

Switched Long Distance: Long distance calls that are switched as the destination number is dialed so that connection is established.

Switched Network: A network where temporary connection is established from one point to another for the duration of a session or for the transmission of packets of data (packet switching).

T1: Trunk 1

T3: Trunk 3

Telecommunications: The transmission of signals over long distances.

Telecommuting: Remotely working

Trunk: A line or link that handles multiple signals at once and connects major switching centers within a communications system.

Unified Communications: A business communications system that entails a cohesive range of technology solutions; typically data, voice and video are all combined into one plan.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator): The global address given to documents or other resources that live on the World Wide Web.

Video Conferencing: A meeting between two or more participants that are at different locations, using computer networks to transmit both audio and video data.

Voicemail: A technology that allows for the recording and storage of voice messages.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): Voice information and data delivered over the Internet.

VPN (Virtual Private Network): A network that uses public wires to connect to a private network.

W3: World Wide Web

WAN (Wide Area Network): Typically two or more LANs (local-area networks); a network that spans over a large geographical area.

WiFi: Technology that is used for wireless networking.

ZIP: One or more files that are compressed into a smaller archive.

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