Get Smart & Learn Tech Speak
If you’re researching new business phone systems, or are ready for some upgrades to your current system, you’re bound to come across words you don’t know.
There’s lingo you’ll read or hear experts in the industry use every day. Instead of just nodding your head and pretending to understand, you can stay a step ahead by referencing our guide for commonly used terms in the telecommunications industry, and make your research process much less stressful and confusing.
Glossary of Terms
Automated Attendant - Having your voicemail system answer and direct calls; the most commonly used add-on feature of any business system; allows customers to direct themselves to their desired destination and leave messages when your business is closed or staff is not available.
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) – an automated way to have calls routed to proper departments or locations; evenly distributes the calls to employees who are answering the calls; your system can automatically deliver calls to the correct location and informs callers of your staff availability and during high call volume moves these calls to secondary answering locations.
Bandwidth - Amount of data, voice, or video traffic that can be carried over a network cable from one point to another in a given time period.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – allows employees to bring a variety of devices to the office, such as smart phones, iPads, tablets, etc.; using a single device for both personal and business use; allows you to have your business phone with you at all times, essentially being able to answer business calls and “be in the office” at any time, no matter where you really are. If you’re researching new business phone systems, or are ready for some upgrades to your current system, you’re bound to come across words you don’t know. There’s lingo you’ll read or hear experts in the industry use every day. Instead of just nodding your head and pretending to understand, you can stay a step ahead by referencing our guide for commonly used terms in the telecommunications industry, and make your research process much less stressful and confusing.
Cabling – Specific types, such as CAT5e or CAT6 used for Data, Phone, VoIP, and Video networks; affects the speed of your network.
Call Accounting – phone usage tracking software that allows an administrator to track incoming/outgoing calls and generate reports showing call destination, duration and location; allows time management planning and responsibility of incoming call processing throughout departments.
Call Recording – allows you to replay the conversations your employees have with customers.
Cloud Computing – refers to where business applications are stored instead of purchasing hardware to load on each personal computer; usually housed on the internet; can be private, public or hybrid; examples include Google Docs, Apple iCloud or Microsoft 360.
Colocation Center – a type of data center where equipment, space, and bandwidth are available for rental customers; facility that provides space, power, cooling, and physical security for the server, storage and networking equipment, and connects them to a variety of network service providers.
Digital Phone – Modem technology transmission for phones to communicate to your PBX in the back room. Direct Inward Dialing (DID) – Allows an outside caller to dial a 10- or 7-digit phone number to directly reach your office extension. Your clients, family, etc. can bypass your Company Auto Attendant and or a receptionist.
Extensions – Refers to your business telephone sitting on your desk in your office. Other office devices may have an extension, like a fax machine, fax server, or lobby phone.
Find Me Follow Me – allows office phone systems to send calls to one or more phones; a phone user can set their desk phone to ring at multiple devices at the same time, even off site.
Hosted – enables you to consolidate and outsource your physical phone system and servers, the only hardware located in your office is the handset, workstation and network; a phone service provider has and maintains all the other phone system hardware—essentially, the brain of the phone system; includes a monthly service for a professional team to manage all of your critical business applications.
Internet Protocol (IP) Phone – a digital language that computers use to talk to one another; runs off an internal data network; provides greater feature functionality such as the ability to log into any IP phone on your network and receive all calls and messages or to log in remotely from any branch or home office.
Key System - The traditional digital phone system control unit; sometimes referred to as the “KSU” (Key System Unit) that houses all the circuitry of your phone system.
Local Area Network (LAN) – private data communication networks that use high-speed connections in a limited geographic area, like an office setting.
Managed PBX – Private Branch Exchange is a private phone switchboard specific to a company and its employees.
Mobility – allows calls to automatically be transferred to your cell phone or any other number on a priority basis from the caller ID, by time of day or many other options; enables you to provide customers with only one number to reach you.
Ports – How you connect extensions and telephone lines to your business phone system.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) Switches – To power VoIP phones, wireless AP, and other PoE device without using power cords to handle the power requirements for these devices.
Quality of Service (QoS) – the ability of the network to deliver traffic to your office phone systems with minimal delay and maximum efficiency.
Redundancy – having alternative routes for your voice or data in the event that the main access point fails. Router – a device that is connected to at least two networks and determines which way to forward information.
SIP Trunking - Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking is the use of voice over IP (VoIP) to facilitate the connection of a private branch exchange (PBX) to the internet; the internet replaces the conventional telephone trunk, allowing an enterprise to communicate with fixed and mobile telephone subscribers worldwide, using their internet bandwidth.
Trunks – incoming telephone numbers; also referred to as lines.
Unified Communications – the ability to bring together communication tasks in a single application, tasks such as voicemails, faxes, emails, instant messaging, video conferencing, mobility, and presence, just to name a few.
Unified Messaging or Voicemail to Email – places your voicemail messages in your email account; allows you to keep track of messages by having one location for voicemail and email messages.
User Modes – allows phone users to set their phone for whatever work mode they are currently in.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – the ability to have the phone service delivered over the internet or your data network, instead of through a local phone company.
Voice Switches – the VoIP control unit used for all IP systems.
Web Based Administration – allows you to make programming changes in-house, saving costly service calls.
Wide Area Network (WAN) – a network that covers a broad geographical area.
Educating yourself is important to make sure you get the phone system and features right for your business.
Understanding common terms is just the first step. Next, you’ll be looking for a phone system vendor. For answers to more of your questions, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Gaynor Telesystems Inc. has been proudly serving the North State Communities of Chico, Yuba City, Marysville, Eureka, Arcata, Sacramento, Davis, Woodland, Redding, and Red Bluff for more than 40 years. We hope the information you found in this glossary was useful.