Hosted voice glossary of terms

Hosted voice can be seen as a technical topic full of acronyms. To help demystify things and help you understand the service better, we've put together a simple, quick reference guide.

  • ADSL
    Stands for ‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’. It is a type of broadband connection used to connect to the internet. ADSL transforms the existing twisted copper pairs between the telephone exchange and the telephone socket into a high-speed digital line, allowing Broadband access. ADSL delivers fast download speeds but slow upload speed.
  • Analogue line
    See PSTN.
  • Auto attendant
    An automated system designed to guide a caller through the options of a voice menu. Typically set to answer and route incoming calls.
  • Bandwidth
    The capacity of a telecom line to carry signals. It measures how much data can be sent over a specific connection in a given amount of time. For example, a gigabit Ethernet connection has a bandwidth of 1,000 Mbps, (125 megabytes per second).
  • Call hold
    A service feature that enables a user to retain an existing call, while accepting or starting another call using the same handset or phone device. The held call is tied to the handset that placed the call on hold and, therefore, it can only be taken out of hold from the same handset.
  • Call park
    A service feature that allows a user to place an active call on ‘hold’ at one telephone handset and then retrieve the call, from any other handset within the same phone network. The call is effectively placed in a ‘parking bay’ and is allocated a parking bay number, e.g. 101. Users can then pick up another handset on the same network and type in the bay number to retrieve the held call.
  • Call transfer
    A service feature that allows a user to place a call on hold whilst simultaneously transferring the call to another destination. The destination can typically be either an internal or external telephone.
  • CLI
    Stands for ‘Caller Line Identification’. The name and number of the incoming call is identified and displayed.
  • Hosted voice / hosted VoIP
    It is an IP based phone system hosted in a data centre operated by the provider. Customer sites connect to the hosted phone system via their internet connection (quality of the connexion is critical to ensure operation of the system). This system will allow companies to make free calls internally across the internet, without investing in a complex physical phone system. This makes hosted voice ideal for multi-sited businesses.
  • Hunt group
    Multiple phones are allocated to a single Direct Dial In (DDI) or extension number, thereby enabling an inbound call to be answered from any phone within the allocated group of phones. For example, specific calls can be answered by the sales team or accounts department only. Inbound calls can be configured to ‘hunt’ from one phone to another (until answered) or to be broadcast across all phones in the group, so they all ring at once.
  • IP Telephony (also see Hosted voice)
    Using Internet Protocol as a method of carrying voice calls. With IP, voice communications (in the form of IP packets) are routed directly from the origin to destination devices.
  • ISDN
    Stands for ‘Integrated Services Digital Network’. This is a set of communication standards for the simultaneous digital transmission of voice, video, data and other network services over the traditional circuits of the public switched telephone network. This digital telephony service gives improved call quality, quicker connection times and DDI facilities.
  • ISDN2e
    A voice and data service that offers two phone channels and low-speed data connections. The e stands for the European standard.
  • ISDN30e
    A voice and data service that allows between eight and 30 connections. Larger organisations can rent multiple ISDN30e should they require more lines. The e stands for the European standard.
  • LAN
    Stands for ‘Local Area Network’. This is a data network that connects computers, servers, printers etc together, generally within one physical location.
  • Leased line
    A dedicated, symmetrical, uncontended private connection between two locations used to carry voice, video and data. Often used by businesses for connection to data centres and to the internet.
  • PBX or PABX
    Private (Automated) Branch Exchange is also called a switchboard or phone system.
  • PSTN
    Stands for ‘Public Switched Telephone Network’. This is the standard telephone service provided over basic analogue phone lines.
  • QoS
    Stands for ‘Quality of Service’.  This is an advanced feature that prioritises internet traffic for applications, online gaming, Ethernet LAN ports, or specified MAC addresses to minimise the impact of busy bandwidth. With hosted voice, it will prioritise voice calls over other internet usage to insure crystal clear call quality.
  • SDSL
    Stands for ‘Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line’. This is the same as ASDL but provides the same speed/bandwidth in both directions. Useful for companies needing to upload high bandwidth packets quickly. A common requirement with VoIP networks.
  • SIP
    Stands for ‘Session Initiation Protocol’. It is essentially a communications protocol used to set up and clear down sessions with one or more users over the internet. Can be used in a multitude of scenarios, but most common is in the initiation and termination of Voice over IP calls.
  • SIP trunks
    It is basically an internet phone line. Part of the broadband bandwidth is allocated solely for a VoIP call. Each VoIP call requires one SIP trunk but a good quality broadband service can accommodate multiple SIP trunks. SIP trunks are much cheaper to rent than traditional phone lines.
  • Softphone
    A piece of software that allows the user to make telephone calls over the internet from a standard computer.
  • VoIP
    Stands for ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’. This is where a voice is translated into data packets and transmitted across an internet connection or network – just like any other file or email you might send. Upon reaching the other end, data is transformed back into its original form and emerges like a regular phone call. VoIP is critically dependent upon the speed of the packets across the internet and the correct assembly order once the packets arrive at their destination.
  • VPN
    Stands for ‘Virtual Private Network’. This is technology that ensures secured and encrypted data can be exchanged over a less secured network such as the internet. It was developed to allow remote workers and branch offices to access corporate application and resources.
  • WAN
    Stands for ‘Wide Area Network’. This connects multiple LAN’s together, typically via VPN’s over broadband and/or leased line. The internet is actually a WAN itself!
Want to find out more? Find out how your business can benefit from a hosted voice solution:
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