The following Glossary of Terms is the tip of the iceberg of ICT terminology, however it will assist you in understanding the jargon in a more comprehensive way.
- A -
ACD or Automatic Call Distribution allows callers to be put on hold and connected to the first available agent.
A greeting designed to play outside of business hours. These often let customers know you are out of the office and what steps they should take to reach you.
An analogue system is considered to be the traditional telephone system. It works by converting sounds or video signals into electrical vibrations so they can be transmitted or reproduced.
Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA)
This allows you to use your existing, traditional handset even though you have a VoIP connection. It converts your VoIP signal into a standard telephone signal.
Answering rules give you the ability to choose how incoming calls are handled.
Usually a 3 digit number, found in front of a telephone number which provides Geographic representation or segregation of the line or user.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
A high-speed broadband Internet connection utilizing copper wire to transmit data over the phone lines between ADSL modems/routers. It has a faster download speed than upload speed, which makes it different from DSL connections.
- B -
The amount of time it takes a specific volume of data to be sent from one computer to another utilizing a certain connection. The higher the bandwidth, the faster the data is accessible. Bandwidth is measured in bits per second.
The general term for any Internet connection that transmits and receives data at a rate of 100 kbps or higher.
- C -
Call announce lets you hear who is calling you before you pick up the call. Hear the number, send them to voicemail or pick up the call.
The ability to forward calls from one phone number or extension to another.
Call logs allow you to see statistics on your incoming calls. View missed calls, messages, hangups and more.
See Call Logs
Directing calls toward a particular extension or number based on set answering rules.
Call screening lets you see who is calling you before you pick up. See or Hear the number of the caller, send them to voicemail or pick up the call.
Call Waiting is a service that allows you to receive more than 1 call at a time, but with the 2nd caller being put on hold with an alert tone being heard by the user and caller.
Caller Identification (ID)
Caller Identification, aka CLI, is the activation and display number of the calling party. CLI allows you to see the number from which you are being called.
Capacity refers to the maximum load which a platform or system can function.
CDR Call Detail Record
Details about a specific call that includes duration, origination, destination, and billable information, as well as other pertinent information.
Circuit-switched is a type of network where a physical path is obtained and dedicated for a single connection between two points in the network, for the duration of the connection between these two points. Ordinary phone services are circuit-switched.
Cloud Phone System
A cloud-based phone system is a newer term, similar to a virtual phone that identifies a phone system that is run through the internet, or cloud.
Normally used about converting analogue signals to digital or digital signals to analogue. It can be used in conjunction with compression software to compress and decompress these signals to varying degrees.
An incoming call that ended with a successful connection to a user or voicemail.
A call in which multiple parties can join and participate in the call. Custom Greetings Custom greetings allow you to create the message your callers hear when calling your company.
Customer Premises Equipment (CPE)
Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) refers to telecommunications hardware devices located on the client’s premises. This equipment might include Internet routers, VoIP gateways, telephones, etc. CPE can be owned by the provider or the customer.
- D -
All data transmitted over the Internet uses the same basic technology. When this data is transmitted, it is sent in blocks of digital data called packets.
DDI Direct Dialling Inward
A service that allows an enterprise to allocate individual phone numbers to each person within its PBX system.
A department is a dedicated extension used to direct your caller to a specific department rather than a specific person.
Dial-by-Name directory allows callers to find a person’s extension by searching for their first or last name.
Direct Connect allows you to send the call directly to the destination phone number.
Distribution lists are lists you can create, giving you the ability to send one message to multiple voicemail extensions.
DSL Digital Subscriber Line
Phone technology that allows a broadband internet digital connection to be carried over existing copper phone lines, while still allowing the phone service to carry analogue signals over the same line.
Dual Tone Multi-frequency (DTMF)
Also known as Touchtone, it is the signal generated when you press a telephone’s touch keys that are sent to the telephone company. These signals are two tones of a specific frequency designed so that a voice cannot duplicate them. The ability for interactive telephone menus to work correctly across different networks and phone systems is because DTMF tones are standardized and are uniquely linked to a number (and # or *) on the telephone keypad.
- E -
Extensions are additional telephones wired to the same telephone line as another, often used in business offices.
- F -
Fax on Demand
The ability for both you and your customers to access faxes through your Hosted PBX number 24/7.
Follow Me Calling
A call that is forwarded to another telephone number or a list of pre-configured numbers to reach you wherever you are.
- G -
A VoIP gateway is a gateway device that uses Internet Protocols to transmit and receive voice communications (VoIP)
- H -
A Hosted PBX is essentially a telephone system which is located at and managed by a telephone service provider, with features and calls delivered via the Internet.
- I -
Inter-Asterisk eXchange Protocol, (pronounced “eeks”) (now commonly meaning IAX2)
An Asterisk communications protocol for setting up interactive user sessions (both audio and/or video) and supports any type of codec.
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa. This is the regulatory body responsible for oversight of the telecommunications industry.
Individual ECNS Licence – The ECNS licence comes in two variants, Individual and Class. The Class Licence restricts the Licensee to a geographical area, whereas the Individual Licence enables the Licensee to operate countrywide. The ECNS licence allows the licensee to provide ECNS services to its customers.
Extensions that allow a caller to access information through pre-recorded messages. The caller can not leave a message only listen.
An Interconnect Agreement is the process for physically connecting the networks of different carriers.
The charges which one telecommunications operator charges another for terminating calls on its network may be symmetric (operators pay equal amounts to each other) or asymmetric (one operator, usually the incumbent, pays less than the other operator).
The rates to interconnect providers is currently governed and dictated by ICASA.
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol (TCP/IP) to serve several billion users.
Fax sent or received over the internet versus a standard telephone line.
The Internet Protocol (IP) is the method or protocol by which data is sent from one computer to another on the Internet.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
An Internet service provider (ISP, also called Internet access provider) is a business or organization that offers users access to the Internet and related services.
IP Telephony (Internet Protocol telephony)
An IP telephone system uses packet-switched Voice over IP (VoIP), or Internet telephony, to transmit telephone calls over the Internet as opposed to the circuit-switched telephony used by the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Also known as VoIP phone systems, IP telephone systems typically comprise a VoIP private branch exchange (an IP PBX) and desktop VoIP phones (IP Phones) that connect to a VoIP service provider via a Local Area Network (LAN).
- J -
As data load increases and decreases, routers on the Internet can create slightly different times that individual packets take to travel from one point to another point. This variation in time is known as jitter.
- K -
Kilo-bits per second (Kbps)
Kilobits per second (Kbps) is a unit of measurement for data transfer speeds
- L -
Latency is a measure of time delay experienced in a system, the precise definition of which depends on the system and the time being measured.
Local Area Network (LAN)
A LAN (local area network) supplies networking capability to a group of computers close to each other.
- M -
Main greeting (or auto-attendant) is the first thing a caller hears when calling your number. The main greeting can direct them to where they need to be.
Megabits per second (Mbps)
Mbps stands for megabits per second and refers to the speed of data transfer.
A fee assessed to an account monthly. Typically associated with subscription-based services.
Multiprotocol Label Switching
Music on Hold
Music or a message that is played while callers remain on hold.
- N -
The ability to port or transfer your telephone number from one service provider to another.
The ability to transfer your telephone number from one service provider to another. Often referred to as number porting.
- O -
Online Call Reports
A report containing your call history, voicemails, minute usage and more that can be accessed through your online account.
- P -
PBX or private branch exchange is a telephone exchange that serves a particular business or office.
Point of Presence (POP)
A point-of-presence (POP) is an artificial demarcation point or interface point between communications entities
Porting allows you to transfer your number from one telephone service provider to another.
Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
A traditional phone system that uses a copper wire network to carry analogue voice data. Also called a ‘landline network.'
The combination of local, long-distance and international carriers that make up the worldwide telephone network.
- Q -
Q & A Extensions
Question and answer extensions ask callers pre-recorded questions which they can then answer. The entire voicemail is then wrapped into one message.
Quality of Service (QoS)
A measure of the level of service quality provided by a telecommunications provider or device. If a router, for example, can provide QoS functionality, it can be programmed or tuned to deliver voice packets ahead of data packets and provide a better voice quality.
- R -
A router is a device connected to at least two networks that determine the next network point to forward a packet to. The decision of which way to send each information packet is based on its current understanding of the networks that it is connected to.
- S -
SIP Session Initiation Protocol
SIP is a signalling protocol for Internet conferencing, telephony, and instant messaging. It is a request-response protocol, dealing with requests from clients and responses from servers. initiating an interactive user session.
SIP Session Initiation Protocol Trunking
Is the use of VoIP to facilitate the connection of typically a PBX to the Internet, where the Internet replaces the conventional telephone trunk, allowing a business to communicate with traditional PSTN telephone subscribers worldwide by connecting to an ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider).
A softphone (software telephone) is an application program that enables voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone calls from computing devices such as Laptops and Smartphones.
A network switch is a hardware device that joins multiple computers together.
A recognized standard for sending fax transmissions over an IP network in real-time mode.
A phone number in which the called party is charged the cost of the call.
- U -
Unlimited Call Handling
A feature that allows you to take multiple incoming calls at the same time ensuring the callers never hear a busy signal.
Users are the various individuals set up under one account. The account admin can create extensions and set different permissions for each user.
- V -
Value-Added Network Services. A term used to refer to other alternatives, telecommunications service providers that provide telephony services to the telecommunications market.
A virtual number is a telephone number without a directly-associated telephone line. The number can be programmed to forward incoming calls to one a pre-set telephone number.
A virtual office is a combination of off-site live communication and address services that allow users to reduce traditional office costs while maintaining business professionalism.
A business phone system that has no physical connections such as wires and equipment and is hosted by the service provider.
A virtual answering machine for your phone. Messages are taken through your virtual PBX and stored in digital format. Voicemails can then be emailed directly to you or stored in your online account.
A feature which allows professional voice actors to create custom greetings for your business based on a script written by you.
A means of electronically sending, receiving, and storing voice-based messages.
Voicemail to Email
Voicemails that can be delivered as digital audio files to your email inbox.
The ability to convert a voicemail into written text that can then be read via email or by logging into your account.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the routing of voice calls over the Internet or through any other IP-based network.
Virtual Private Network
- W -
WiMAX is a telecommunications technology aimed at providing wireless data over long distances in a variety of ways, including point-to-point links and full mobile cellular type access. WiMAX allows a user, for example, to browse the Internet on a laptop computer without physically connecting the laptop to a wall jack.
References the transmission of information (data, voice etc) over electromagnetic waves rather than over a wire connection.