Telecom Jargon Buster

Knowledge is power.


Welcome to our telecoms jargon buster.

Here you'll find explanations of loads of the technical terms and acronyms used by the telecoms industry. Have a browse and if you are interested in any of the services or would like to know more, please get in touch.

ADSL

Stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. ADSL transforms the existing copper lines between the telephone exchange and your telephone socket into a high-speed digital line, giving you Broadband access.

Analogue Line

An Analogue line is a single copper cable that is run in to your building by your line provider. Before ADSL was available Analogue lines were used for both voice and data. Now these lines are used mainly just for voice calls as the total bandwidth is limited.

AP

Stands for Access Point. An AP is a piece of hardware that allows a Wi-Fi device to connect to a wired network such as the internet. Also commonly referred to as a Wireless Access Point (WAP).

Auto Attendant

Auto attendant is an automated software built into a telephone system that guides callers through the options of a voice menu. Auto attendant is most commonly used to let the caller direct their call to a specific department by pressing a number on their telephone.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be carried across a network simultaneously in a given time period (usually a second). Bandwidth can be compared to how many lanes there are on a motorway. Higher bandwidth means more lanes and therefore more traffic.

BLF

Stands for Busy Lamp Field. A BLF is a small light on an IP phone that tells you whether another extension is on a call or not. BLFs can also be configured to show you what lines are in use or even voicemail.

Broadband

Broadband is any high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than dial-up access over traditional analogue or ISDN PSTN services. This could be fibre optics or copper lines.

Call Forwarding

Call forwarding is a feature that involves the 'passing' of an incoming call to a completely separate telephone number.

Cellular Network

The cellular network is a communication network that uses fixed data transceivers (mobile masts) to connect cellular devices, such as mobile phones, to the internet.

CLI

Stands for Calling Line Identification - Sometimes called Caller ID. CLI Allows the recipient of a telephone call to identify the number of the incoming caller. In the UK, an outgoing caller can withhold their number to the recipient by dialling 141 before dialling.

CTI

Stands for Computer Telephony Integration. CTI is when a telephone system is connected to a computer. This could enable features such as 'click to dial', on-screen icons that allow you to control aspects your phone and even instant messaging and voicemail management.

DDI

Stands for Direct Dial-In. A DDI is an individual phone number that doesn't need to be rented with an individual line. A DDI can used to directly contact a single person or a group of people of without the need to go through an auto attendant or an operator.ding is a feature that involves the 'passing' of an incoming call to a completely separate telephone number.

Download Speed

Download speed is how fast you can pull data from a server. That data could be opening an email, loading a website or even watching a video. The higher the number, the faster the speed. Download speed can be compared to the speed limit of a motorway. Higher speeds mean faster traffic and therefore faster online browsing/streaming.

EFM

Stands for Ethernet First Mile. EFM is a form of internet connectivity that uses bonded pairs of copper wires. It offers more bandwidth and if one copper pair fails, your service is still delivered over another pair.

Ethernet

Ethernet is the standard way to connect computers on a network over a wired connection. It provides a simple interface and for connecting multiple devices, such computers, routers, and switches.

Extension

In telephony, an extension is a phone on an internal telephone line attached to a telephone system. Extensions are normally identified by DDIs.

Fibre Optics

Fibre optics are a type of cable that can transfer data incredibly fast. It uses light and small strands of material to transmit data, often over long distances, very quickly.

FTTC

Stands for Fibre To The Cabinet. FTTC is a method of internet connectivity that involves both fibre and copper cabling. The cable between the telephone exchange and the green street cabinet is fibre optic. The green street cabinet to the premises is connected by a copper cable.

FTTP

Stands for Fibre To The Premises. FTTP is a method of internet connectivity that uses only fibre optic cables. The cable between the telephone exchange and the green street cabinet is fibre optics and then the cable from the cabinet to the premises is also fibre optics.

FOC

Stands for Free Of Charge. FOC means that the item or service referred to as 'FOC' has no cost associated with it.

Gbps

Fibre optics are a type of cable that can transfer data incredibly fast. It uses light and small strands of material to transmit data, often over long distances, very quickly.

Hold

Call holding is the ability to immediately pause any phone call without the caller hanging up. It allows the user to make another call on a separate line, manage or transfer the call without 'losing' the caller.

IP

Stands for Internet Protocol. IP is a standardised method for transmitting data in chunks known as 'packets' across the internet.

IP Address

An IP address is a number that is assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the IP for communication. An IP address is most commonly used for identifying a device. It is comparable to a 'device postcode'.

ISDN

Stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. ISDN is a set of communication standards for simultaneous transmission of voice, video, data, and other network services over the traditional circuits of the telephone network.

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LAN

Stands for Local Area Network. A LAN is a computer network that connects devices within a small geographical region. The most common form of connection within a LAN is Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

Leased Line

A leased line is a dedicated fibre optic line that runs directly from the nearest fibre connection straight into a premises. A leased line is separate from all other connections and therefore, rarely suffers downtime and isn’t affected by 'peak times'.

M2M

Stands for Machine 2 Machine. M2M is a developing technology that allows a user to remotely connect to an M2M-enabled device over the cellular network. This could be to view remote diagnostics of a machine or to monitor a machine remotely.

Mbps

Stands for MegaBits Per Second. Mbps is one of the metrics used to measure the capacity and speed of data transfer. The more megabits transferred per second, the faster the internet connection. When 1000+ megabits are transferred per second, this is referred to as Gbps.

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PBX

Stands for Private Branch Exchange. PBX is a fancy way of saying 'telephone system'. A PBX is a telephone exchange that serves a private business or organisation and provides communication between telephones within the organization.

POE

Stands for Power Over Ethernet. POE a method of supplying a device (normally a Wi-Fi router or access point) with power using an Ethernet connection and not a separate power supply.

PSTN

Stands for Public Switched Telephone Network. PSTN refers to the telephone network as a whole. The PSTN is comprised of telephone exchanges, fibre optics, copper cable connections, green street cabinets, cellular networks and satellites. The UK PSTN is operated mostly by Openreach.

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Router

A router is a piece of hardware that sits between a device and the internet and allows the device to wirelessly connect to the internet. A router is often refered to as a wireless access point or an AP.

SIP

Stands for Session Initiation Protocol. SIP is a communications protocol used for controlling a multimedia communication, this could be Internet telephony for voice and video calls as well as instant messaging.

SIP Trunk

A SIP Trunk is, in essence, an internet phone line. A SIP Trunk is the part of your broadband line that is 'sectioned off' and used to make and receive calls. A SIP Trunk cannot be used for internet access - only to make and receive VoIP Calls.

SMS

Stands for Short Messaging Service. SMS is a fancy way of saying 'text message'. SMS is a standardised method of communication between mobile phones and is widely used by most networks.

Speed Dials

Speed dials are a selection of pre-set numbers or extensions that are able to be called from a phone with the press of a single, or very few button(s).  This allows users to very quickly access commonly used numbers.

Telephone Exchange

A telephone exchange is a telecommunications system that is most commonly used in the PSTN. A modern exchange uses electronic components to connect callers to one another when a call is made. Historically, this connection was made manually by a human operator.

Upload Speed

Upload speed is how fast you can publish data to a server. That data could be uploading an video, sending an email or publishing a website. The higher the number, the faster the speed.

VoIP

Stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. VoIP is a method of delivery for voice communications over an IP network, such as the internet. VoIP most commonly uses the public internet, as a posed to the PSTN, to transfer voice calls. VoIP is also referred to as 'Voice over IP' or 'IP Telephony'.

WAN

Stands for Wide Area Network. A WAN is a computer network that connects devices over a large geographical region. The internet is an example of a WAN. Some WANs use leased telecommunication lines to connect over a long distance.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a technology for wireless transmitting data over a local area. Most devices connect to the internet using a Wi-Fi router or an access point. This allows the devices to send a receive information over the internet without the need for a cable.

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3G

3G is a form of cellular data transmission that allows mobile devices to connect to the internet and send data wirelessly. 3G is the predecessor to 4G, however it is still commonly used in places with little to no 4G coverage.

4G

4G is the 4th generation of mobile data communication. 4G is the successor to 3G and has a higher and more reliable bandwidth which makes it better for activities such as video or music streaming. 4G is also commonly referred to as '4G LTE'.