ACD (Automatic Call Distributor): This is a device that allows for the distribution of incoming calls.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line): This is a type of internet connection that allows for faster connection speeds over telephone lines. The distinguishing feature however, is that information travels much faster in one direction, hence the asymmetry.

ATA (Analogue Telephone Adapter): A device that plugs into a broadband internet connection and regular phone, enabling traditional telephones to make VoIP calls using the internet.

BANDWIDTH: The speed at which information passes over the internet.

BROADBAND: Refers to telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information. Because a wide band of frequencies is available, information can be multiplexed (separated) and sent on many different frequencies or channels within one band concurrently, allowing more information to be transmitted in a given amount of time (much as more lanes on a highway allow more cars to travel on it at the same time).

CDR (Call Detail Record): Data record typically used to record usage information on a per-call basis. This information might include the incoming DDI, number dialled, start-time, call duration, etc.

CODEC: Voice encoding/decoding mechanism. Codecs are used to compress the voice signal into data packets.

COMPRESSION: VoIP uses various compression ratios, the highest approximately 12:1. Compression varies according to available bandwidth.

CONVERGENCE: Generally refers to a conglomeration of media, accessed from any point.

CTI (Computer Telephony Integration): This is technology that integrates the functions of telephones with computers.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): Method of transferring data over regular phone lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber's premises are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. The phone service is connected to your PC to provide broadband Internet access.

ETHERNET: Is the most commonly used method of connecting LANs. It allows for network communication by using either coaxial or twisted pair cable.

FIREWALL: Security software or appliance that sits between the Internet and an individual PC or networked device. Firewalls can intercept traffic before it reaches network routers and switches, or between router/switch and PC, or both. Because the job of firewalls is to prevent access from specific packets over specific network ports, some firewalls must be specially configured to allow VoIP traffic to pass through.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol): Communications protocol governing the transfer of files from one computer to another over a network.

GATEWAY: A gateway is basically a protocol converter, i.e. a network point that connects networks using different protocols (tech languages) so that data can be exchanged seamlessly between endpoints. For example, a POTS-to-VoIP Gateway connects the public phone network and packet-switched networks, translating the voice/data into IP packets.

INTERNET TELEPHONY: The phenomenon of using the internet to make telephone calls, regardless of the device used.

IP (Internet Protocol): The “language” used to exchange data over the Internet

IP ADDRESS: Every computer or device on the Internet has what is known as an IP address, which uniquely defines that device and enables devices to find each other on the Internet. The IP address format is a string of four numbers, each from 0 to 255, separated by periods, for example,

IP PBX: IP PBX is a phone system on the customer’s site that manages telephones in the enterprise and acts as the “gateway” to external networks (the “switchboard”). Unlike a conventional PBX that requires two separate networks, one each for data and voice, an IP PBX is based on both and can be used with IP phones, softphones and traditional phones connected to Ethernet adapters (an ATA/”Lingo Box”) or PCs.

ISDN (Intergrated Services Digital Network): A type of circuit switched telephone network system in which digital transmission of voice and data passes over regular telephone copper wires.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response, aka. Auto-attendant): An automated system designed to guide a caller through the options of a voice menu.

KBPS (Kilobit Per Second): A unit of measuring the speed of data transfer – which generally means 1000-bits per second.

LAN (Local Area Network): A number of connected computers, generally in an office, but also in homes – these machines often share printers and access to file servers.

LANDLINE: A traditional phone line which requires a metal wire, or optical fibre cabling to make connections. This differs from mobile lines which make use of airwaves to establish connections.

MAC Address (Media Access Control Address): An address—typically made up of numbers and letters-- assigned to your hardware that uniquely identifies it’s place on the network.

MBPS (Megabit Per Second): A unit of measuring the speed of data transfer – which generally means a million-bits per second.

PACKET: A logically grouped unit of data. The idea with packets is to transmit them over a network so each individual packet can be sent along the most optimal route to its destination. Packets are de-constructed on one end of the communication and re-constructed on the receiving end based on the header addressing information at the front of each packet.

PACKET-SWITCHED: Communication system that chops messages into small packets before sending them. All packets are addressed and coded so they can be recompiled at their destination. Each packet can follow its own path and therefore can work around problematic transmission segments.

PBX (Private Branch Exchange): In-house telephone switching system that interconnects telephone extensions to each other.

POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service, Post Office Telephone System): A standard telephone line that BT handled exclusively before the deregulation of the telephone industry.

PROTOCOL: Is the set of standard rules for data representation, signalling, authentication, and error detection required to send information over a communications channel.

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network): The network of wires, signals, and switches allowing one phone connect to another anywhere in the world. Some VoIP services provide a gateway from the Internet to the PSTN and vice versa.

SOFTPHONE: “Software” + “Telephone” – basically a desktop program that resembles a handset on your screen, allowing you to make calls with an earpiece or speakers and microphone.

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol): An ASCII-based protocol that provides telephony services similar to H.323, but is less complex and uses fewer resources. It creates, modifies, and terminates sessions with one or more participants. Such sessions include Internet telephony and multimedia conferences. SIP is a request-response protocol, dealing with requests from clients and responses from servers.

TELEPHONY: The process of converting or transmitting voice or other signals over a distance, and then re-converting them to an audible sound at the far end.

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): The transport layer protocol developed for the ARPA net which comprises layers 4 and 5 of the OSI model. By combining TCP and IP --“TCP/IP” – a connection between two hosts (callers) is made to send messages back and forth.

VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): Voice translated into data 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.

VPN (Virtual Private Network): A private communications network generally used within enterprises to communicate over a public network using secure protocols.

WAN (Wide Area Network): A geographically broad network that uses phone lines, satellites and radio waves to interact. The most commonly recognised WAN is the Internet.