Breaking Down VoIP Vocabulary

VoIP Phone systems are emerging as powerful and primary communication tool in the office.
They have been proven efficient-worthy and are easier to work with than traditional phones. There are a variety of VoIP Phone system service quotes to choose from and making equipment purchases can be overwhelming. Like almost any new piece of technology, unfamiliar vocabulary can certainly cause confusion and frustrating. You should take time to familiarize yourself with general and specific terms in order to communicate with phone system vendors, maintain your phone systems, and understand the rapid upgrade/changes they may encounter.
By knowing the proper language, you will have the best tailored phone and VoIP phone system for your business, beginning from the time of purchase, to years and years to come.

The Basics

AS (Autonomous System): A group of networks that share the same routing methodology.
ATA (Analogue Telephone Adapter): A device used to connect traditional telephones to a high-speed modem to allow VoIP and/or fax calls over the Internet.
Broadband: An umbrella term that describes digital technology that integrates voice, high-speed data service, video demand services, and interactive delivery services with a single switch facility.
Call Detail Records: Goes beyond Called Identification and provide detailed records about the phone calls that begin, end, or pass through the exchange.
Data: A general term for information or a collection of interrelated, unique data items/records, in one or more computer files
Data Communications: The sending and receiving of data between two locations. This requires hardware and software (phones, modems, multiplexers, etc.).
Firewall: Security software that interprets, filters, and blocks or allows network pockets to pass. It is a connection from the internet and a PC/network device that may be specifically altered to allow VoIP traffic to pass.
FoIP (Fax over Internet Protocol): The Fax counterpart to VoIP that is very reliable. This component may be free or for an additional cost depending on the service provider.
IP (Internet Protocol): The way data is sent from one computer to the internet. Each Computer has its own unique IP address that identifies it from the rest.
IP Telephony (Internet Protocol telephony): A generalized term for technologies using IP to exchange voice, fax, and other means of communication.
Network: A system of computers connected by communication channels, allowing data sharing between one another.
Packet: The unit of data that is routed between the beginning and end of the internet pathway or any other packet-switched networks.
Protocol: A strictly defined procedure and message format that allow transmission communication with two systems. It is a formalized set of rules computers use to communicate.
QoS (Quality of Service): The quality of a voice call over a VoIP network.
Softphone (Software Telephone): A software program that allows you to make/receive calls over the internet. It usually provides all of the benefits of a VoIP phone and has a traditional phone pad.
Switch: A device that connect two separate paths together.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): The technology that makes phone communication Internet based. This includes a set of facilities for managing the delivery of voice information using the internet protocol.

The Technical

Bits per second or Bandwidth: The most commonly used measurement for data transmission. It represents the maximum data carrying of transmission for a link that can be transferred in one second.
Codec (Compression-Decompression): for VoIP, this means an algorithm that defines the rate of speed compression and quality of decompressed speech and processing power requirements. The most popular codecs is G. 7231. And G. 729. Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC): A company that is an alternative to the local telephone company and builds/operates communication networks in metropolitan areas.
Congestion: When traffic on the network goes above the network bandwidth capacity.
Customer Premises Equipment (CPE): Terminating equipment provided by the telephone company. Includes modems, phones, etc.
DiffServ (Differentiated Services): A quality of service (QoS) protocol that prioritizes IP voice and data traffic to help preserve the voice quality at any time.
DTMF (Dual-Tone Multi Frequency): The type of audio signals created when pressing buttons on a touch-tone telephone.
Dynamic Jitter Buffer: Reduces any poor quality in voice sound by collecting voice packets, storing them, and shifting them in the voice processor to be evenly distributes.
E911 (Enhanced 911): An upgrade to simply dialing 911, the technology can route your cellular call to the nearest emergency station. It is a good phone feature to have, but is limited. Some VoIP services may not even offer this feature.
Gateway: A device that device that allows interface between two or more networks to connect and to communicate. It translates and connects from the Physical layer (Level 1) up through the Application layer (Level 7) of the OSI Reference model.
H.323: The standard call protocol for voice and videoconferencing over LANs, WANs, and the Internet, allowing a live stream.
Half Duplex: Similar to a walkie-talkie where only one person can talk at a time.
IEEE 802.16: Also known as WiMAX, it is a specification for fixed broadband wireless metropolitan access networks (MANs) that use point-to-multipoint architecture. 802.16 uses high bit rates when uploading/downloading from a base station up to 30miles away, that can operate VoIP, IP connectivity and TDM voice and Data.
Jitter: A variation in packet transit delay in regard to VoIP. This typically occurs with a slow network. The faster the network, the better.  ATA can help to prevent jitter.
Kbps (Kilo-bits per second): The number of one thousand bits transferred over a one second period.
KHz (Kilo-bitsHertz): The number of one thousand cycles per second of a waveform.
LAN (Local Area Network): A group of PCs and other technological devices that share a common line or wireless link. They all usually share the same single processor or server within their surrounding area.
Latency: How much time it takes for a packet of data to get from point A to point B. In regard to telephony, the lower the latency, the better the communication.
MGCP: Another protocol that competes with H.323. It controls voice gateways through IP networks.
Packet-Switching: A Communication system that chops messages into small packets for efficient way of sending messages. Each packet can follow its own path since they are specifically codded, which prevents potential transmission segment issues. It is taken apart and put together in a fraction of a second.
PBX (Private Branch Exchange): A privately owned system for communication. It routes calls from the public telephone to the internal telecommunication system.
PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network): The Network of wires, signals, and switches that lets one telephone connect to another anywhere in the world. Some VoIP providers allow a gateway from the PSTN and vice versa.
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol): A less complex and more internet-and-Web-friendly version of the H.323.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): A session layer protocol that coordinates communication in a data network to ensure successful communication. It utilizes IP as the network layer protocol.
UDP (User Datagram Protocol): A high-level communication protocol that coordinates one-way transmission of data in a packet data network.
VDSL (Very High Bit Rate DSL): A Fast connection, but only works short distances.
WAN (Wide Area Network): A communication network serving separate geographical areas. This can be created by linking together two different area networks, thus exchanging information with one another.
While these is only the start of telephony related terminology, it is a great start for comprehending the foreign land of the VoIP internet world. To learn more, there are numerous blogs, videos, articles, etc. online that will inform you about other gray areas in this topic. Get educated before you shop around for a VoIP service provider so you know what you are getting and get the best out of it.
Author Bio : Tom Heppard is an innovative sales and marketing leader for Broadview Networks with expertise launching and supporting profitable product lines across all channels. Proven B2B experience in domestic and international markets. Creative thinker with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a passion employing technology to solve customers’ business objectives.

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