Specific Terminology

Access Code - Typically a number used to connect to a calling card service/vendor. Usually in the form of an 0800 or similar.

Access Network - The portion of a public-switched network that connects access nodes to individual subscribers.

Access Nodes - Points on the edge of the access network that concentrate individual access lines into a smaller number of feeder lines. Access nodes may also perform various forms of protocol conversion. Typical access nodes are digital loop carrier systems concentrating individual voice lines to T1 lines, cellular antenna sites, PBXs, and optical network units (ONUs).

Analog Transmission - The way information is transmitted over a continuously changing electrical wave that is similar to, or analogues with the original signal. All telephone calls used to be transmitted in an analogue format. Today they are translated to digital pulses for both local and long-distance transmissions.

Application Sharing - Allows you to conference with someone who may not have the same application software programs you have. One person launches the application and it runs simultaneously on both desktops and both people are able to view the application screen at the same time.

Audio Conferencing - When more than one person is in a single location, speakerphones or special audio conference terminal equipment is employed. When more than two locations are involved, multipoint network bridging equipment or internet-based software is used.

Backbone - The master network that links all the networks of an entire building, company, or campus. Various types of LANs may be attached to the backbone so that any single node may communicate with any other node, regardless of the LAN protocol it uses.

Bandwidth - The information carrying capacity of a communications channel or line. Sometimes it is referred to as speed because digital bandwidth is measured as data rate.

Billing Telephone Number (BTN) - The phone number associated for billing purposes with the working phone number.

BRI: Basic Rate Interface - The ISDN standard that governs how phones and other electronic devices are connected to the ISDN switch.

Bridge - The piece of equipment that facilitates the communication of three or more sites in a single conference. Also known as a multipoint control unit (MCU).

Broadband - Digital services at rates greater than 1.536 million bits (Mbps), capable of supporting voice, video, and data, while possibly using multiple channels.

CAPIV - In Europe, CAPI (Common Application Interface) provides a common ISDN software platform for communication applications.

CCITT - Consultative Committee International for Telegraphy and Telephony. A European-based, international advisory committee recommending worldwide standards for transmission. This committee is now known as ITU.

Call Data Record (CDR)V - Record of a placed call. A CDR includes the time the call was placed and its duration.

Call Spoofing - The concept of mimicking correct responses to keep level requests alive at the local end of a temporarily broken connection is called connection, or call, spoofing.

Carrier - A telecommunications provider that owns switch equipment.

Channel - A path for electrical transmission between two or more points. Also known as a link, line, circuit, or facility.

Clipping Situation - Where a system cuts off the first part of the first word in a sentence.

Compression - Any of several techniques that reduce the number of bits required to represent information in data transmission or storage, thereby conserving bandwidth and/or memory.

Connection Fee - A fee charged on every call that is made.

Country Code - Two or three digit codes used for International calls. For example: UK 0044, USA 001.

CPE: Customer Premises Equipment - that portion of the ADSL system residing within the customer’s premises.

CPI: Customer Premises Installation - The phone network within the home or business.

CSV: Circuit Switched Voice - This is a traditional phone service.

Clocking - Enables connected telephony equipment to work together by keeping a clock running at the same time between them.

ITU: International Telecommunication Union™ - An international organisation within which governments and private sectors coordinate global telecom networks and services. The ITU-T, the Telecommunication Standardisation Sector of the ITU, creates CODECS for videoconferencing.

Jack Type - Different types of jacks (RJ11, RJ45, or RJ48) can be used for an ISDN line. The RJ11 is the most common in the world and is most often used for analogue phones, modems, and fax machines.

Jitter - The deviation of a transmission signal in time or phase. It can introduce errors and loss of synchronisation in high-speed synchronous communications.

Kbps: Kilobits per Second - One thousand bits per second.

LAN: Local Area Network - A number of computers in close proximity that are connected together to form one network.

Mbps: Megabits per Second - One Million bits per second.

Modem - Short for modulator/demodulator, a modem is a device that allows remote computers to communicate, transmit and receive data using telephone lines

Mobile VPN - A mobile virtual private network (VPN) is applicable to remote workers, allowing them to connect to a corporate LAN from their PC, through a secure, encrypted connection.

Multiplexer(MUX) - A device allowing two or more signals to pass over and share a common transmission path simultaneously.

Multipoint Conference - A videoconference involving three or more videoconference systems - a video party call.

NAP: Network Access Provider - Another name for the provider of networked telephone and associated services, usually in the US.

NSP: Network Service Provider - The term for an organisation offering and providing value-added network services on a telecommunications network.

NU: Number unavailable.

OSP: Operator Service Provider - The vendor that supplies operator service.

Packet - An ordered group of data and control signals transmitted through a network as a subset of a larger message.

PIN: Personal Identification Number - Personal unique security codes that callers use to access their accounts.

Point of Demarcation - The physical point where the phone company ends its responsibility with the wiring of the phone line.

Point-to-Point Conference - Point of presence. The physical access location interface between a local exchange carrier and an interexchange carrier fiber network. The point to which the telephone company terminates a subscriber's circuit for long-distance service or leased line communications.

POP - The physical point where the phone company ends its responsibility with the wiring of the phone line.

Port - The physical interface to a computer multiplexer, for connection of terminals and modems. Like reserved seats around a dinner table, ports are the place where video sites 'sit' in order to communicate with other sites.

POTS: Plain Old Telephone Service - The only name recognised around the world for basic analogue telephone service. POTS take the lowest 4kHz of bandwidth on twisted pair wiring. Any service sharing a line with POTS must either use frequencies above POTS or convert POTS to digital and interleave with other data signals.

Prepaid Phone Card - A plastic or paper card that allows a person to pay for long-distance or local phone calls in advance.

Protocol - A formal set of conventions governing the formatting and relative timing of message exchange between two communicating systems.

PSTN: Public Switched Telephone Network - The regular, old-fashioned telephone network.

PTT - The generic European name usually used to refer to state-owned telephone companies.

PBX: Private Branch Exchange - A telephone system within an enterprise that switches calls between enterprise users on local lines while allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines.

Q931 - An ITU-T signalling standard for controlling calls over an ISDN link (BRI or PRI).

Custom Signalling - Information represented in digital form, including voice, text, facsimile, and video.

Data Conferencing - Interactive sharing and modification of PC applications, including spreadsheets, presentations, and documents.

Data Rate - The measurement for bandwidth in bits per second. In general, the higher the data rate, the higher the quality of video.

Dedicated Access - A private connection between a customer's equipment and a company providing transmission services. The connection bypasses the local switched telephone network.

Dedicated Network - Sometimes referred to as a private or leased line. Exclusively a single customer uses this transmission circuit.

Digital - The use of a binary code to represent information, such as 0/1 or on/off.

Digital Transmission - A way of sending coded information via a series of electric or light pulses through the air, over wires, or through glass fibers.

Direct Dial in (DDI) - Designates a private number or direct line which either bypasses the switchboard/PABX or is available after hours.

Diallers - Dialling equipment that pulses out a standard dial protocol signal.

Dead Air - Please see hard answer.

DMS - The name of digital central office switches from Northern Telecom. Model numbers start with BCS.

DSL: Digital Subscriber Line - Modems on either end of a single, twisted pair wire that delivers ISDN basic rate access.

DSP - A digital signal processor (DSP) is a CPU that is tailored to handle complex mathematical functions.

E1 - A European digital transmission format devised by the ITU-TS. The E1 signal format carries data at a rate of 2.048 million bits per second and can carry 32 channels of 64 Kbps each.

Echo Cancellation - A technique used in high-speed modems and voice circuits to isolate and filter out unwanted signal energy caused by echoes from the main transmitted signal.

ETSI - The European Telecommunications Standards Institute

Far-End - A telecommunications carrier based remotely in another location.

FEXT: Far End CrossTalk - The interference occurring between two signals at the end of the lines remote from the telephone switch.

FPS: Frames per Second

Full Duplex - A system capable of simultaneously transmitting and receiving a signal.

Gbps: Gigabits per Second - One billion bits per second.

Half Duplex - A system capable of transmitting and receiving signals in one direction at a time.

Hard Answer: Where far-end signalling equipment does not connect properly, causing calls to be met with silence

Hub - A physical entity which connects multiple network nodes with each other while using point-to-point hard wiring.

IDN: Integrated Digital Network - The phone company's digital network. It provides digital service within and between all phone companies, but not to the customer's door.

IP: Internet Protocol - A scheme for transferring information from one network to another.

ISDL - Uses ISDN transmission technology to deliver data at 128kbps into an IDSL 'modem bank' connected to a router.

ISP: Internet Service Provider - A company that offers its customers accesses to the internet.

ISDN: Integrated Services Digital Network - ISDN lines are connections that use ordinary phone lines to transmit digital instead of analogue signals, allowing data to be transmitted at a much faster rate than with a traditional modem.

RTP: Real-Time Transport Protocol - Protocol that improves internet telephone calls by adding special information to the voice data packets to help programs reassemble them more efficiently.

Reusable Phone Card - A calling card used which can be refilled with units by the addition of funds to the calling card account without the purchase of a new card or a new PIN.

SDH - the European equivalent of SONET. They are not the same, but they are close enough that the hardware manufacturers can make equipment that conforms to both standards at the same time.

Signalling - The exchange of information for call setup and control. Sends information on the phone network regarding phone numbers, busy status, call interruptions, and hang-ups. The grating tones that a touch-tone phone makes are part of signalling - they are interpreted by the local phone company as a phone number

SON: Service Order Number - The SON is the number issued by the local exchange carrier to confirm the order for the ISDN service. It provides a matching number for cross referencing the order to the phone company.

SSL: Secure Socket Layer – An encrypted communications path between two computers. Theoretically protects customer information.

SVN: Subscriber Verification Number - The SVN is the number issued by the long-distance carrier to confirm the order for long distance service.

Speed Dialling - A service to abbreviate and accelerate frequently dialled numbers.

Telco: Telephone Company - The local or regional telephone company that owns and operates lines to customer locations. Examples of Telco's could be Worldcom™, BT™, and KDDi™.

Teleconferencing -Teleconferencing is the use of electronic channels to facilitate communication among groups of people at two or more locations. Teleconferencing is the generic term that refers to a variety of technologies and applications.

Time of Day Routing - Route calls based on the time the call originates. For example, direct morning calls to UK operators and afternoon calls to USA operators.

TPON: Telephony over Passive Optical Network - Telephony using a PON as all or part of the transmission system between telephone switch and subscribe.

Twisted Pair - Two insulated wires, usually copper, twisted together and often bound into a common sheath to form multi-pair cables. In ISDN, these cables are the basic path between a subscriber's terminal or telephone and the PBX or the central office.

U-Interface - A two-wire ISDN circuit. Essentially today's standard one-pair telephone company local loop made of twisted wire.

VAR: Value Added Reseller – A company offering something other than the core service. For example, a company who sells computers and offers training, service, and ongoing maintenance is considered a VAR.

Videoconferencing – The combination of dedicated audio, video, and communications networking technology for real-time interaction, and is often used by groups to communicate with others.

Virtual ISDN - This is an alternative way for a customer to get ISDN service. A customer can be serviced out of a nearby central office which has ISDN capabilities but not charged the extra mileage as they would with a foreign exchange. The phone company does not add on charges because the costs are recouped from the large volume of customers serviced out of the CO.

Voice Compression - The conversion of an analogue voice signal into a digital signal using minimum bandwidth (16 kbps or less).

Voicemail - An automatic answering service with the ability to record a message. Unlike simple answering machines, voicemail uses a programmable computer system with options such as temporary call routing, monitoring, and reporting.

WAN: Wide Area Network - A number of computers connected together to form one network over several locations. Could be made up of several LANS all connected together across the world for example.

WNP - Wireless Number Portability

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