VoIP Glossary

Millions of people have already switched to VoIP. For some people the terminology used throughout the industry can be overwhelming and confusing. This VoIP glossary page has been established to provide people with a better understanding of the most popular VoIP and telecommunications terms. This page is a work in progress and will continue to evolve. If you wish to learn more about Nextiva’s VoIP services for business, please click here.

Analog – Refers to the transmission of continuously variable voice signals. In telephony, analog technology is a popular method of service but has decreased popularity since the spread of Voice over IP (VoIP).

Analog Telephone Adapter – Also referred to as an Analog Telephony Adapter or ATA, a device that enables traditional non-IP phones to work with Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service. Linksys makes a very popular ATA device called the PAP2T.

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line – ADSL, an Internet data communication technology that reserves more bandwidth in one direction than the other. This is beneficial for users that do not require the same amount of bandwidth in both directions. ADSL Internet service is a popular solution for home and small business Internet users.

Bandwidth – A common data transmission rate, referring to the amount of data that can be transmitted over a given period of time. Bandwidth is usually measured in hertz for analog devices and bits per second (bps) for digital devices. For VoIP users, a strong and consistent stream of bandwidth is necessary in order to successfully make and receive telephone calls without experiencing any call quality issues.

Broadband – A term used to describe high-speed Internet connectivity. Broadband service can be provided by DSL or cable lines. There are a wide variety of broadband technologies available throughout the world. Broadband service enables the transmission of voice, data and video signals over a single channel.

Byte – A unit of measurement which equals 8 bits.

Call Forwarding – A feature that allows phone service users to forward incoming calls to another number.

Call Waiting – A feature that informs a caller if he or she receives another call while engaging in another phone conversation. Call waiting notifications are commonly in the form of an update on the handset caller ID information or by a short beeping noise while on a call.

Caller ID – Caller Identification is a telephone service feature that enables the recipient of a call to view the name and phone number of the person calling them.

Caller ID Spoofing – Caller ID spoofing occurs when the Caller ID display information of the orginitating caller displays incorrect information. Caller ID spoofing applies to either the name, number, or both fields being incorrect.

Circuit – In telecommunications, a circuit is a path between two terminals over which one-way or two-way communications may be provided.

Codec – An algorithm used to compress and decompress audio and video files.

Competitive Local Exchange Carrier – Also referred to as CLEC, a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier is a telecommunications provider that offers its own network within a local area. CLEC’s compete with traditional local phone service providers.

E911 – Ehanced 911 is used for providing emergency service on cellular and Voice over IP (VoIP) phone calls. E911 technology automatically provides the 911 call center agent with the caller’s contact information.

Ethernet – A popular protocol for broadband bandwidth connectivity over Local Area Networks (LAN).

Internet Protocol – Internet Protocol (IP) is the method in which information is sent from one device to another over the Internet. IP is the standard signaling method used for all transmission of information over the Internet.

Internet Service Provider – An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that provides customers with access to the Internet.

PBX – Also known as a Private Branch eXchange or phone switch, a PBX is a telecommunications device for businesses. PBX’s are primarily used in business environments in order to connect office telephones as well as to route calls appropriately. The features and capabilities of PBX technology has significantly advanced over the years.

Public Switched Telephone Network – The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is also referred to as the Plain Old Telephone System (POTS). PSTN is the world’s collection of interconnected voice-oriented public telephone networks, both commercial and government-owned. The PSTN is the traditional telephone system.

Session Initiation Protocol – SIP, a VoIP signaling protocol. SIP is primarily used for Voice over IP calls and is the predominant signaling method. SIP is less complex than H.323, another form of VoIP telephony protocol.

SIP Trunk – A Session Initiation Protocol trunk (also known as SIP connection), is a service offered by Voice over Internet Protocol providers which enables Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems to connect to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) in order to make and receive telephone calls.

Softphone – The term softphone was established by combining “Software” and “Telephone”. A softphone is a computer program that enables users to make and receive phone calls over the Internet.

Voice mail – A central location for people calling to leave messages. Voice mail is a telephony application that converts the analog voice signals to digital and stores them. With Nextiva, voice mail messages can be accessed from a phone, email, or via the Nextiva Office Manager control panel.

Voice over Internet Protocol – VoIP, the transmission of voice data using an Internet connection rather than the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). VoIP technology is used to make telephone calls via the Internet.

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