We’ve taken a whole load of industry jargon and simplified it in the following glossary of terms, we have also tried to use as little jargon as possible, we’d rather be descriptive and clear than baffle on science and terminology.


Softphone

A softphone allows you to make and recieve telephone calls through a computer. A softphone is an application that uses the Internet, so calling between softphone’s is ‘free’ (you still need an Internet service). Calls can be made over WIFI, 3G or 4G. Softphones are typically available for smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.


QoS

Quality of Service is used to measure the quality of Internet based applications, such as VoIP. QoS is usually measure in a few ways and a score is then given this can be called a QoS score or a Mean Opinion Score (MoS). These elements are; packet loss which refers to how many of the digital voice segments sent, didn’t arrive and had to be re-sent. Latency is the measure used for the amount of time take for the packets to go from sender to receiver (or any point on route). The longer it takes, the high the latency; you could call this the delay. Jitter is the time variation between packets arriving, this is normally due to the amount of other traffic either on a users network (sender or receiver) or across the Internet. The more traffic, the slow the packets, the high the jitter.


Latency

Latency is the measure used for the amount of time take for the packets to go from sender to receiver (or any point on route). The longer it takes, the high the latency; you could call this the delay.


Packet loss

Packet loss refers to how many of the digital voice segments sent, didn’t arrive and had to be re-sent.


Jitter

Jitter is the time variation between packets arriving, this is normally due to the amount of other traffic either on a users network (sender or receiver) or across the Internet. The more traffic, the slow the packets, the high the jitter.


IPT

Internet Protocol Telephony is a generic term used to describe a telephone environment, is can mean IP PBX or VoIP.


IP PBX

A PBX is a Private Branch Exchange or a Telephone System. Its the device that sits on the office wall and has the telephone lines coming in one side and internal users telephones connected the other side. A PBX allows a business to make, receive, transfer and forward calls. Each PBX type supports different features but are roughly the same. With the Advent of the Internet, PBX manufacturers added the support for VoIP service. So an IP PBX allows you to make and receive calls over the Internet as well as the PSTN (telephone network).


PSTN

The Public Switch Telephone Network is the main telephone network we have known and used for so long. Most home and business phones are connected to the PSTN which up until deregulation was only BT in the UK. All of the UK number ranges and local exchanges originate from the PSTN. Pretty much all VoIP service are also connected to the PSTN to ensure VoIP users can call people on landlines.


DSL, (ADSL & SDSL)

DSL is a Digital Subscriber line, this does not differentiate any specific line time and can run on old copper wire which has traditional been used by BT to connect to homes and business. It can also be a digital connection and is generally an ‘always on’ service; DSL is a generic term for ADSL and SDSL. The A in ADSL standard for Asymmetric, it was designed to support the nature of Internet traffic, which is to view and download information and so supports a higher download speed than its upload speed.

The S in SDSL standard for Symmetric, this is more common is business and SDSL networks tend to be limited to availability to the major cities. Unlike ADSL which was seems as a commercial service, SDSL supports the same up and down speeds. SDSL also tends to have a higher level of availability and perform better due to being business grade and having a lower content ration (number of subscribers to available bandwidth).

Since 2000 DSL has become increasingly more commonplace and along with its cable counterpart we have seen the technology become more stable and mature. In more recent years both DSL and cable have become the standard form of connection for the majority of homes and businesses, commonly supporting a Broadband subscription service.


Broadband

Broadband is a technology that allows digital information to be transported over a wide verity of frequencies. Because of this, much more information can be transported. The more lanes you have on a motorway the more cars you can run on it, broadband is the same, the more frequencies supported, the more data. Thats the aim of broadband and as technology progresses, the broadband equipment designers and manufacturers have found more and more ways to increase the number of frequencies and therefore the amount of data supported.


SIP

Session Initiated Protocol is a communication standard used for multimedia (voice, video & chat), its used to ensure that communication is possible between a device and a server, it can establish, modify or terminate a connection.


SIP Trunking

A SIP Trunk or circuit is used in an IP PBX environment and acts as the connection to the Internet. Using SIP connections to the Internet can replace all other more conventional and potential more costly connections. A SIP circuit can support a single telephone conversation and they tend to have a lower line rental than conventional telephone lines. SIP is still relatively new and whilst the technology is maturing and improving, it does suffer outages. Many business tend of have SIP connections from more than 1 provider to minis the risk of any outages.


Proxy

A proxy is a service or server that sits between a user and the outside world. It is commonly used by businesses to act as a control gateway between the Internet and internal users as its much simpler and easier way to control and restrict access for users or create user types with specific privileges. It can also help improve security, reduce risk and improve the speed of web-browsing by caching frequently used webpages. Essentially all users send a ‘request’ to the proxy, the proxy will them check each request against it’s permissions to see if the request is allowed or not.


LAN/WAN

A Local Area Network is a group of computers or devices that are connected to each other or can share each others resources within a local geographical area, such as a office or a building. Commonly computers are connected to a LAN via Ethernet and other devices such as mobiles and laptops by using wifi. A Wide Area Network is essentially the same as a LAN but over a wider geographical areas, each area comprising its own LAN. So if a business had several offices, each with their own LAN, they could be connected to each other to share resources, therefore become a WAN.


VPN

A Virtual Private Network is a WAN which had been designed to allow multiple locations to appear as if they have their own dedicated connection between each site, however these connections are actually part of a communication providers infrastructure as it is much more cost effective.


Ethernet

Ethernet was originally develop by Xerox in the 1980’s (later by DEC and Intel), since then it has become the main LAN technology and just about all PC’s, laptops and LAN equipment such as routers use Ethernet for networking. They most common Ethernet network are called 10BASE-T and support 10Mbps (megabytes per second).


2G/3G/4G

1G began in the 1980’s as was the 1st Generation mobile (cellular) network and 2G (2nd Generation) in the 1990’s. 2G was a major improvement and allowed Internet usage on mobile devices to really take off. 2G is still used today but won’t be for much longer as operators reutilise 2G resources for 4G. 2G is also refereed to as CDMA in the US and uses the 800MHz frequency. 3G really began in 2000 with the deployment of new standard such as GPRS (114Kbps), EDGE (384Kbps), UMTS (1.92Mbps), HSDPA (14Mbps) and LTE (aims to be 100Mbps). In reality LTE is a 4G deployment, 4G promises to deliver better multi-media support than 2G/3G and much higher speeds.


IVR

Interactive Voice Response is an automated way of routing calls based on an interaction. If you call a number and are greeted with a message that offers a selection such as ; Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Support or 3 to talk to an operator, this is an IVR. IVR’s can get much more complex, they can be used for banking for example or for making a telephone purchase.


TCP / IP – Transfer Control Protocol / Internet Protocol

TCP / IP is a suite of transmission protocols used by the vast majority of devices. Its the common language used for communicating between devices and across the Internet. TCP controls the communication, so it builds the information and puts it into transit. The IP element adds the designation address so the communication knows where to go and where the information came from.


SMTP – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

SMTP is the common language used for email, most email systems, like Gmail or Microsoft Exchange, use a proprietary code for handling email, but send and receive emails using SMTP.


Glossary of Technology, IT & Telecoms Terms

Updated on 2015-01-06T18:44:50+00:00, by michael.owen4.