The Jargon Busting Telecoms Glossary From Boosh 365

Technical Jargon Syndrome (TJS – yes – I have made that up) is a condition many Telecoms providers have. It’s so easy when we speak the lingo day in day out to assume that others will know what we’re talking about.
The feedback we’ve had from our customers is that we break through the jargon on our quest to help the world communicate better. So, we’ve put together a helpful guide to help all businesses like yours understand just what it is your telecoms provider is talking about and most importantly – why it’s good to know.
Some of the terms and phrases have become quite common and will be familiar to you, but others are less well known but definitely worth understanding.

Table of Contents

ADSL

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
I know right? A lot of people will be familiar with the Acronym ADSL, but what does it actually mean? It basically refers to the transmission of data at high bandwidth through copper pairs at the local exchange to street cabinets. It prioritises downstream data over upstream, which is what the asymmetric part references. This service is better suited to users who download more data than they share and is seen more as a consumer service.
As a business with more than 5 users, you are likely to experience slow speeds and feel that all too familiar dread when pages don’t open. The time spent waiting for the browser to catch up with you is time wasted which you could be spending on far more productive tasks. If fibre is not available in your area, it may be the only option. At Boosh we would recommend businesses consider a 4G router which I will go into in more detail later.

ALG

Application Level Gateway

This software manages certain application protocols like SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol). This is essentially a gateway between the internet and an application server. The main functions of an ALG is to control whether to allow or deny traffic. This is critical in stopping hackers and unwanted traffic reaching your business.

Analogue Line

This is the copper line used to transport both voice and data communication. Most data services will need to sit on an analogue line so you are likely to have one at your business premises. An analogue line is what you will likely have at home if you have a landline.

Anonymous Call Rejection

This feature on your phone system will reject incoming calls from a withheld number.

Auto Attendant

This is a feature found on phone systems and it provides callers with call routing options. This means callers can select an option from a menu, such as press 1 for accounts, 2 for support, 3 for sales etc. This is a really useful feature for larger businesses with different departments as it can get your callers through to the right team quickly without having to go through a receptionist. With remote working becoming more popular both generally, and following the impact of Covid-19, getting your callers through to the right people can save time, resource and give a better customer experience.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth refers to the amount of data transferred in a certain amount of time. The more bandwidth you have, the better your connection so having a fibre connection means better bandwidth and therefore speed.

BLF

Busy Lamp Field

Busy Lamp Field is a feature whereby, a busy Lamp Key gives you the ability to monitor a fellow colleague’s line to see if they are available to take a call that you may transfer to them, or to enable you to pick up their calls if you are part of a call pick-up group. This is really handy if you need to put a call through to a colleague as you can visually see whether they are on another call or not. When implemented, the phone will show the user’s caller ID on the pre-defined line key on your device. This line key can also be used as a speed dial making it easy to get through to colleagues without having to remember or dial their numbers.

Broadband

This is the term we all know and use and refers to accessing the internet. Broadband has replaced the old school dial-up connection (did you just hear that in your head?) and gives a faster, more reliable and user friendly experience.

Call Barge

Another feature available with some VoIP phone systems. This allows certain users, usually managers and supervisors to join an active call. They can mute their handset if they are only joining to monitor, or can join the call if they are intercepting a difficult customer etc or to assist with training.

Call Barring

This feature allows you to bar certain numbers from being called. This is useful to stop calls to premium numbers or international calls so that you can keep control of costs and avoid fraud.

Call Divert

This feature means you can set your main number to automatically divert to almost any other number, including mobiles and international destinations. This can be set to happen for every call, after a set number of rings or following a schedule. For example, can call the office phones during working hours (pre-set in a schedule) and then all calls can divert to a mobile or call answering service out of hours.

Call Page

Some VoIP phone systems will allow you to make announcements to every users speaker on their handset. This means you can quickly communicate with everyone in your team/ business. So as an example you can page your team to let everyone know you would like to have a meeting in 5 minutes.

Call Park

This feature allows users to put a call on hold on one handset, and then retrieve the call from another handset on the network. This is useful if staff need to move to a different location mid call, without the need to hang up the call and redial.

Call Queue Group

Call queue groups are different to hunt groups as they can queue calls if all other users in the group are on a call. This is a great feature as it means callers don’t get an engaged tone, and you can playa nice message to encourage the caller to hold.

Call Transfer

This feature allows you to place a call on hold and transfer it to someone else in the business or a mobile number.
There are two types of transfer:

Blind Transfer – if you are in a small office and you can ask the person directly if they are free to take the call you can blind transfer the call to them without speaking to them on the phone first.

Attended Transfer – If you are transferring the call to someone in a different office or someone who is working from home you can do an attended transfer. For this you would speak to your colleague first, check whether they want to take the call and either transfer the call or go back to the call to give a message back.

Call Waiting

This is the tone, beep or message that lets you know you have a call waiting to get through.

Caller Display

This is where you can see the number calling you on your handset or soft client.

CLI Flexibility

Another VoIP feature which allows for outbound presentation of any number of the user’s choosing. So you can make outbound calls presenting any number (as long as you have the number owner’s permission). This means you can dial out from your phone system presenting a mobile number or another landline number.

Codecs

Codecs are used to convert an analogue voice signal to a digitally encoded version. Codecs vary in the sound quality, the bandwidth required, the computational requirements, etc. The lower the Codec the better the quality but the higher the bandwidth required. If the data connection isn’t great it may be better to go for a higher codec as this will give a more stable voice quality.

Communication Provider

A company that can provide telecoms products and services.

CPE

Customer Premises Equipment

Customer Premises Equipment refers to any devices, sockets, cabling, switches, routers etc. This is often the equipment you will need to check before a BT engineer is sent out as all equipment at your premises is considered your responsibility.

DDI

Direct Dial In

Direct Dial In refers to a block of telephone numbers associated with a main number. This allows companies to give individual their own extension number so that they can be contacted directly without going to through the main business number. It also means that each user doesn’t need their own physical analogue line to get a number.

DECT

Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications

DECT refers to the walk around phones that connect back to a base and therefore the wired telephone system.

DND

Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb is a VoIP feature allows users to set their phone to unavailable so that incoming calls are given a busy treatment. With most VoIP systems you can choose what happens to the call. If the call hits a user on DND it can ring through to other users in the group, go straight through to voicemail, divert to a mobile or another number for example a call answering service.

Ethernet

Connects devices in a Local Area Network (LAN) and follows protocols to control the passing of data and information.

Fibre Broadband

Fibre broadband is a high-speed broadband which uses fibre optic cables. Fibre optic cables are better at transferring data than standard copper cables so the connection you get will be faster and more stable. The Fibre optic cables are stronger than copper cables and are more resistant to degradation.

Traditionally, the further away you are from the telephone exchange, the worse your broadband connection. This is because copper lines lose a lot of signal strength the further the data has to travel. Fibre connections help combat this as they can transport more data, over a bigger distance with less signal loss. Bandwidth can also be lost over copper lines.

FTTC

Fibre To The Cabinet

With an FTTC connection, fibre optic cables run between the telephone exchange and the phone cabinet. Standard copper cables then connect this cabinet to your premises.

FTTP

Fibre To The Premise

The difference between FTTC and FTTP is that the fibre optic cables run from the telephone exchange all the way to your premises, so copper cables are not used at all. This means you get a much faster and more stable connection. FTTP isn’t available everywhere so you will need to get your broadband provider to check your area.

Hold

This feature means you can put a caller on hold without losing the call. You can then check information on your system or with a colleague and get back to the caller instantly without having to call them back. You can add on hold music or even marketing messages to let your callers know about your latest offers or any important information while they wait.

Hunt Group

These are numbers which distribute calls from 1 number to a group of numbers or users within a business. This a feature for VoIP Phone systems and it means that you can set certain numbers to only ring through to certain members of your team. So for example if you advertise different numbers for different areas, or departments then when that number is dialled it will only offer the call to users in that group. It means your customers get a better caller experience as they get through to the right team straight away and also saves staff time as there is less need to transfer calls to different departments or offices.
Another great feature when using Hunt Groups in your business is that you can make decisions about how calls come through. For example you can set the group to call all users simultaneously, so all user’s phones ring at the same time. You can set it to ring users in a particular order, the phone which has been idle or unused for the longest time or it can ring in a circle, so it will ring each phone individually and if the call is not picked up in a set number of rings, will ring through to the next user in the group and so forth until the call is picked up. This avoids everyone in your team getting interrupted every time the phone rings, but ensures that phone calls are not missed.

ISDN

Integrated Services Digital Network

ISDN is an international standard for the digital transmission of voice, data and signalling. It can operate over copper based systems and allows the transmission of digital data over the telecommunications networks. The advantages of using ISDN over analogue connections is that you can make two simultaneous calls on the same line, as opposed to only being able to be on one call on an analogue connection. ISDN offers a faster connection and is a more reliable system.

IVR

Interactive Voice Response
Interactive Voice Response is the ability for users to interact with the device through the use of their voice or by dialling set numbers on a keypad.

LAN

Local Area Network

Local Area Network is a network that connects devices within a set area, for example an office, home, hospital etc.

Latency

The amount of time it takes for a data packet to travel from its source to its destination and back again. High latency can be a contributing factor to poor quality audio over VOIP.

Leased Line

A Leased line is a dedicated internet connection between the local exchange and your premise. It is described as a symmetrical connection and has a fixed bandwidth with the same download and upload speeds. A leased line is a dedicated connection meaning you don’t have to share the bandwidth with anyone else. You are guaranteed the same bandwidth at all times (even at peak times) so this is an extremely reliable option for businesses with more than 10 staff who rely on an internet connection to work. Even though this is a more expensive option than a FTTC/FTTP connection, the value is something that should definitely be taken into account. If you have a slow connection, which fluctuates constantly or goes offline often – you could be paying a lot of staff who are unable to work effectively. This is by far the best option for businesses who rely on the internet to work.

NGN

Non Geographic Numbers

Non Geographic Numbers are number which don’t have a specific area code. These are often 08, 09 etc.

Packet Loss

Occurs either in bursts or due to a busy network. Periodic loss in excess of 5- 10% of all VoIP packets can degrade voice quality significantly.

PBX

Public Branch Exchange

Public Branch Exchange refers to a phone system physically located at an end users premises. This system will connect to the phone lines and will manage what happens to calls.

POE

Power Over Ethernet

VoIP phones can be powered via the ethernet (internet) cable rather than a power supply unit. For this to work you will need a POE Switch.

Porting

This is the process for moving numbers from one supplier to another. This allows you to change supplier without losing your number.

PSTN

Public Switched Telephone Network

Refers to the traditional landline and is the transmission of analogue voice data over copper phone lines.

SIP

Session Initiation Protocol

Session Initiation Protocol refers to the setup of calls between two devices on a VoIP system. This covers both voice calls as well as the set up of video and audio conferencing.

SIP allows two end points, or telephones to connect as it determines the user location and registration. It also identifies whether a user is available and will answer a call. SIP identifies a user’s CODEC and makes sure that two end points are compatible. A key function of SIP is that it tells the end point, or phone that it should ring, transfer the call, or add a user for conferencing etc.

SIP Trunk

A SIP Trunk is an internet connection which acts as a phone line connecting an IP PBX at a customer’s site or data centre with a network provider. SIP trunks are made up with SIP channels and each call will need its own channel. You can have as many channels as you need on one SIP trunk and therefore can make multiple calls. This is a more cost effective option than having multiple analogue lines to achieve the same result.

SLA

Session Initiation Protocol

Service Level Agreements are used to refer to the set timescale a supplier is agreeing to respond to its customers within.

Soft Client

This lets you connect your office phone to your preferred business device like a laptop or PC. It works seamlessly with the Horizon service.

Switch

A switch is a device used to connect multiple devices to a network. This means you can hardwire in PC’s, laptops, phones, printers etc to a router which may not have enough ports for this many devices.

UC

Unified Communications

In our new modern world, work is no longer confined to a particular desk, office, computer screen, or phone. With people working remotely, and a plethora of communication tools out there it can be overwhelming for staff and IT managers switching between tools. Unified Communications offers businesses tools that connect making it easy for teams to communicate and collaborate, wherever they are in the world.
Unified Communication incorporates messaging, voice and video calling, team collaboration, video conferencing, file sharing and so much more. It makes communicating as a business seamless, stress free and dare we say it more enjoyable. It will definitely save your staff time and make them more productive as they can communicate in a number of ways without switching between countless apps and tools.
Another added bonus of UC is the reduced costs as the systems generally operate in the cloud, meaning no expensive onsite equipment which needs servicing or maintenance. Most updates are automatic and come with no extra charges. Staff can be more responsive, saving time and giving a better customer experience.

Voice Portal

This is a feature of VoIP systems where you can listen to voicemail messages from anywhere by dialling a number dedicated to your voicemail. You can dial in to listen to voicemail messages or change greetings and passcodes.

VoIP (or Hosted Telephony / Hosted IP Telephony)

Voice Over Internet Protocol
VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, or in more common terms phone service over the internet. VoIP or hosted telephone systems are a replacement to traditional phone systems where the equipment is situated at a customer’s premises. This means that the phone system’s features are hosted at a data centre and are accessed through the internet. You can make and receive calls virtually anywhere with an internet connection. You don’t have to be tied to your physical office. This is becoming increasingly important to businesses due to modern flexible working, remote working and the after effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Hosted phone systems also have a much wider range of features (many of which are mentioned in this blog) which you wouldn’t get through a traditional phone system. Staff can work remotely, but have the same access to the features of your office phone system wherever they are. They can receive calls if they are in a hunt group, make outbound calls displaying your business number and transfer calls to colleagues. Another fantastic feature of VoIP phone systems is that you don’t need to physically be in the office to make changes to how it works. This is great from a disaster recovery point of view as you can make changes to your call routing by logging in to a portal and controlling exactly how you want your phones to work.
Another great benefit is the reduced call costs. Calls are often included as part of the licence fee meaning you get all the great features and functionality without paying extra for calls. There is often little or no equipment needed other than a softphone client, mobile app or physical desk phone. No expensive servers, no maintenance.

VPN

Virtual Private Network

This stands for Virtual Private Network and is where you can connect multiple networks over a public network with strict protocols, authentications and passwords.

WAN

Wide Area Network

Wide Area Network refers to a large network of devices and information not ties to one location and can cover communication around the world.

Wi-Fi

Wireless Fidelity

Wi-Fi stands for Wireless Fidelity and uses radio waves to connect devices to the local area network.

There are of course other’s out there, but these are the main ones we think you need. If you need help breaking through the jargon, our experts are always on hand. Give us a call on 01252 916 888.

Sara Rose

Sara Rose

Sara is a long-standing member of the Boosh 365 Senior Team and is widely considered the beating heart of the business. As Operations Manager Sara is responsible for making sure every process is followed and every idea is implemented (the good ones, at least!)
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