Telecommunications / Networking Glossary

Bluetooth - A short-range wireless connection standard. It can be used to link a wide variety of computers, electronics and telecom devices. It uses a low-power, short range two-way radio link provided by a built-in microchip.

Carrier - A company that is authorized by regulatory agencies to operate a telecommunications system. Examples include AT&T, Verizon, etc.

Digital Phone - A phone in which sounds are transmited in the form of the binary code used by computers rather than the analog waveforms used in older phones. Digital Phones offer the advantages of greater bandwidth, a lower error rate, and higher quality sound compared to analog phones. The category includes cell phones and the multi-featured phones used in modern office phone systems.

DSL (Digital Sunscriber Line) - A high-speed connection that uses the same wires as a regular telephone line to provide an Internet connection.

IP Address - A unique number that identifies each sender or receiver of information sent in packets across the Internet or in a proprietary network. In a network environment, it identifies a particular device (which can be a server or a workstation) within that network. Example: 192.168.1.100.

IP Phone - A specialized digital phone that uses VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology, to make voice and video calls using the Internet. IP Phones are not used with existing landline services.

LAN (Local Area Network) - A locally owned and administered network for data communications. A LAN provides a relatively high bandwidth in a limited area for communication between attached devices (typically personal computers and servers). An Ethernet is a common example of a type of LAN.

POTS Line - Plain Old Telephone Service. A landline, voice-grade telephone service using an analog signal transmission over two-wire copper loops. It is the basic form of residential and small business phone connection to the telephone network. While providing less bandwidth than newer technologies like cellular and VoIP, it is credited with providing greater reliability. Typically, voice communications are transmitted in digital form over fiber optic cables and converted to and from analog signals at the user end to maintain compatibility with existing two-wire infrastructures.

PBX - Public Branch Exchange (PBX). A private telephone switching system that allows outside phone lines to connect to extensions within the office or building. A PBX usually has multiple features including call forwarding, rollover, paging and voice mail. In systems provided by for HIM communications, PBX functionality resides in the The IP500 V2 control unit.

PRI (Primary Rate Interface) - A PRI is essentially one wire (typically a T1 line) that provides 24 channels, and is capable of carrying up to 23 concurrent phone calls. If more than 8-10 people to be on the phone at any given time, PRI can provide the increased call-handling capacity needed.

PSTN - Public Switched Telephone Service (PSTN) is the combination of traditional (landline) local, long-distance and international carriers that make up the worldwide telephone network.

SIP - Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a communications protocol used for managing multimedia communication sessions including voice and video calls. It is one of the protocols that enable VoIP. It defines the messages sent between endpoints and governs establishment, termination and other essential elements of a call. SIP can be used to transmit information between two endpoints or many. In addition to voice, SIP can be used for video conferencing, instant messaging, media distribution and other applications.

SIP Trunking - 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). SIP trunking can save money and offer services to an IP-PBX.

T1 Line - A digital fiber optic (or copper) line that can carry more data than traditional telephone lines. It can used to transmit the equivalant of up to 24 phone lines. It can also be used to transmit digital data and might be used when a company needs 8 or more outside phone lines, or maintains its own webserver.

Trunk - A communication line between two switching systems. A switching system typically includes equipment in a central office and PBXs. A tie trunk connects PBXs. Central office trunks connect a PBX to the switching system at the Central Office.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) - A category of hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet for telephone calls rather than using the traditional wired circuits of the PSTN.

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