“Telecommunication Glossary from A to Z” defines many of the terms currently in use in the telecoms industry


  • ACD - Automatic Call Distributor

    A method for dealing with a large number of incoming voice calls, ensuring that each call is dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. Incoming calls are distributed between a number of answering points or agents. If all the agents are busy, callers are placed into a queue.

  • ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line

    Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line is a new technology that allows more data to be sent over existing copper lines. It is used primarily for Broadband connections and will supersede ISDN

  • Analogue PSTN - Public Switch Telephone Network

    This often referred to as the traditional public telephone network. It is primarily used for carrying voice traffic

  • Anywhere Worker

    A mobile worker who may do their job anywhere and on any device and usually participates in virtual teams; also known as ‘the new way to work


  • Bandwidth

    Bandwidth relates to the size of your Internet connection. The higher the bandwidth, the faster the connection speed with regard to uploading and downloading information

  • Broadband

    Broadband is a high-speed Internet connection that is ‘always on’. It allows you to upload and download information to the web much faster than traditional narrowband connections, and the line can still be used for voice traffic

  • Business Phone

    A phone designed with features that meet the needs of a business user and operating in a corporate office environment; often in conjunction with a Unified Communications solution.

  • Business Phone Systems

    Business Phone System is typically a centralised phone system that serves the voice telecommunication needs of enterprise users (or a public sector organisation) within a single site or across multiple sites.

  • BYOD

    Bring your own device refers to employees bringing personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and using those devices to access information and applications.


  • CAC

    Call admission control is a means to avoid network congestion and loss of quality for voice-over-IP calls across an IP-network by managing bandwidth allocation of services.

  • Call Back

    A fixed line telephone feature that connects a user to an engaged extension, and will put the call through once the line becomes   available

  • Call Recording

    Records and stores voice conversations over PSTN or VoIP networks in a digital audio file format; often used for quality and training purposes in a contact center, or for legal and compliance reasons.

  • Call Swipe

    The ability to move an active voice call from one (mobile) device to another device easily and without interruption

  • Circuit

    HD video, voice, basic screen sharing, rich format textual messaging, and file sharing in a single view.

  • Cloud Contact Center

    A contact center solution (automatic call distribution) that is provisioned from a public cloud on a subscription or pay as you go basis, also known as Software-as-a- Service.

  • Cloud Solutions

    Refers to applications or capabilities accessed on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis from a centralised data center and accessed over the internet; also known as Software-as-a- Service.

  • Collaboration

    Refers to solutions that enable multiple parties to work with each other to perform a task and to achieve shared goals, by providing real-time communications and sharing of information.

  • Conference Calling

    A telephone call allowing multiple parties to join and participate in a dialog, or attend in listen-only mode; used to conduct virtual meetings or connect with remote parties.

  • Contact Center

    Centralised facility used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of interactions by telephone, email, web chat or social media.


  • Data Center Model

    An IT solution, system, or product (including UC, contact centers, and trading turret systems) designed as a server-based application in a hardened IT data center.

  • Data Conferencing

    The ability to work collaboratively on documents using video communication

  • DDI - Direct Dialing Inward

    Direct Dialling Inward. This uses a small number of exchanges to access wider network of extensions. The first part of the number selects the line and the second part selects the extension number

  • Disaster Recovery (DR) / Business Continuity

    A set of policies and procedures designed to aid the restoration or continuation of vital technology systems following a natural or human-induced disaster. Redundant and geographically separated infrastructure and the ability to effectively work off-site are key provisions of disaster recovery plans.


  • Extranet

    A group of intercommunicating intranets, with access restricted to isolate from the wider Internet


  • Fibre Optics

    A cable made from glass fibres through which signals are transmitted as pulses of light. It is often used for Broadband as it can carry high bandwidth of traffic

  • Firewall

    Firewall is a security system, including hardware and software that monitors all information coming into and leaving a network for an illegal access.

  • FMC - Fixed Mobile Convergence

    Fixed-mobile convergence is seamless flexibility and transition among fixed and mobile voice and data networks; including roaming between networks without user intervention or changing devices.


  • Gateway

    An interface between two networks or   systems, providing inter-system communication

  • Group Hunting

    A programmable feature that will route an inbound call around a group of extension numbers, until one becomes available


  • HD Video

    High-definition video is a video of higher resolution than the standard 480 lines of resolution; in video conferencing, HD video provides a greater level of immersion and improved the user experience.

  • Hoot-n-Holler (also known as “squawk box system”, “holler down/shout down circuit” and “junkyard circuit”

    A full-time open circuit between multiple parties (can be thousands of users) which is an integral part of voice trading systems Anyone can speak at any time without having to pick up a phone or press a button.

  • Hosted Contact Center

    Enabling a contact center to operate with technologies and capabilities that are operated by another party; typically located off-site in a third party data center.

  • Hosted Trading, or Trading as a Service (TaaS)

    A cloud-based trading service, often marketed to small and mid-sized firms, which provides trading platform technology without the expense and time required to build and maintain on-premises infrastructure.

  • Hybrid Cloud

    A cloud computing service that is composed of some combination of on-premise, private, public and community cloud services, often from different service providers.


  • IN - Intelligent Network

    This term describes a telecommunication network where computers control the switching functions. This allows more flexibility than switched based systems

  • Internet Protocol

    Established method of transmitting data from one computer to another over the Internet. An IP Address is the address of any particular computer

  • Internet Telephony

    Refers to the provisioning of communications services (voice, fax, SMS, voice-messaging) over the public internet, rather than via the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

  • Interoperability

    The ability for a communications technology to work seamlessly with complementary IT technologies, such as CRM, voice recording, market data systems, and traditional PBXs.

  • Intranet

    A closed data network linking a number of sites using a standard Internet protocol. Typically used by a company for internal communications

  • IP Address

    A string of four numbers separated by periods (such as used to represent a computer on the Internet. The Internet Protocol specifies the format of the address

  • IP Telephony

    Voice telephone communication where the digital information is packetized and transmission occur as Internet Protocol (IP) packets over a packet-switched network.

  • ISDN - Integrated Digita Service Network

    A switched network providing digital connectivity for the transmission of voice and data. Most carriers offer this service, there are two varieties ISDN2 and ISDN30.   The number relates to a number of channels available on the line

  • ISDN2 - Integrated Services Digital Network

    This is a digital network that can send voice and data communications over the same line. It is much faster than traditional analogue lines. Involves the installation of a 64K channel into the existing telephone system

  • ISDN30 - Integrated Services Digital Network

    Integrated Services Digital Network, available for digital systems only. Involves installation of 30, 64K channels. Works the same way as ISDN, but can carry more information due to its size

  • ISP - Internet Service Provider

    Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet via dial-up, ISDN, ADSL or other types of connection.


  • JavaScript

    This helps extend the limited capabilities of HTML when developing websites


  • LAN - Local Area Network

    Local Area Network is a computer network that spans a relatively small area, for example, an office environment

  • LCR - Least Cost Routing

    The capability for a network switch, such as an IP-PBX, to automatically select the lowest cost transport method for completing an outbound call or session. An example is automatically routeing a branch-to-branch call over a SIP trunk rather than a public network line.

  • Legacy System

    Older, functional but obsolete computer or communications technology platforms, programs, or processes, still in use despite the availability of newer, more efficient and productive alternatives.

  • Local Loop

    The connection between the premises and local PSTN exchange


  • Managed Services

    The practice of outsourcing day-to-day IT and telecom management responsibilities and functions as a strategic method for improving operations and lowering expenses.

  • MCU - Multipoint Control Unit

    Refers to a software-based on Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) –  a device commonly used to bridge video conferencing connections in a business environment.

  • MDM - Mobile Device Management

    Mobile Device Management refers to software that secures, monitors, manages and supports mobile devices deployed across mobile operators, service providers and enterprises.

  • Mobile UC

    A range of unified communications capabilities deployed on mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones or tablets.

  • Mobile Video

    The ability to conduct video conferencing with remote parties through a mobile device.

  • Mobile VoIP

    The ability to conduct an IP telephony call on a mobile device (in addition to using cellular carrier networks).

  • Modem

    A piece of hardware that allows a computer or network of computers to be connected to the Internet. It transfers digital computer signals to analogue signals so they can be transmitted over telephone lines. Once analogue signals have been picked up they will be transferred back to digital signals, so the computer can read them.


  • National Rate

    National Rate calls are numbers beginning with 0870 and 0871. The customer pays for calls to these numbers and profit is split between the service provider and company receiving the call. These types of numbers are useful for after-sales support lines

  • NGN - Non-Geographic Numbers

    Numbers are primarily used to generate sales. Examples include 0800, 0845, 0870 numbers. The caller generally pays for the cost of the call; with the expectation of 0800 numbers were the call receiver pays for the call. The purpose of these numbers is to encourage people to call in, as there is no charge for the call


  • Ofcom - Office of Communications

    Ofcom is the independent regulation and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services


  • PBX - Private Branch Exchange

    Private Branch Exchange, also known as the Switch. It is the telephone systems that runs a private network for an individual company, but it is still connected to the public telephone network

  • Private Cloud

    Is a cloud solution operated solely for a single organisation, whether managed internally or by a third-party, and hosted internally or externally.

  • Private Wires / Private Lines

    Dedicated subscriber lines, for a trader’s most frequent or high profile contacts, that terminate directly at the users’ devices (unlike a shared service, such as DID.) The dedicated nature ensures access to the subscriber without switchboard intervention or circuit blockage.

  • Public Cloud

    A set of applications or resources based on the standard cloud computing model, in which a service provider makes applications and storage available to the general public over the internet.


  • Quality Monitoring

    Refers to contact center software solutions that allow the real-time and post-call review of interactions between contact center personnel and their callers.

  • QoS - Quality of Service

    Quality of service the overall performance of a telephony or computer network, particularly the performance seen by the users of the network.


  • Reminder Call

    A feature available on telephone lines that allows the end user to set a single Alarm Call, reminding them to call back

  • Router

    Equipment that allows an Internet connection to be made through a phone line. They determine the best path for data to take


  • SBC - Session Border Controller

    Session border controller is a device regularly deployed in VoIP networks to exert control and security over media streams involved in setting up, conducting, and tearing down telephone calls or other real-time media communications.

  • SDSL - Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line

    A Broadband technology that allows data to be uploaded at speeds the same as it can be downloaded

  • SIP - Session Initiation Protocol

    A widely-adopted, highly adaptable signalling protocol used for controlling communication sessions (e.g., voice and video calls) over IP. Other SIP-supported applications include: instant messaging, video conferencing, presence information, streaming multimedia distribution, and file transfer. SIP offers cost-effective, open-standards connectivity for distributed UC and voice solutions for secondary sites.

  • SIP Trunking

    Is VoIP and streaming media service based on the Session Initiation Protocol by which Internet telephony service providers connect telephone services and unified communications to enterprises equipped with SIP-based private branch exchange (IP-PBX) and Unified Communications.

  • Social Collaboration

    Refers to the technology tools that bring together the capabilities of socia media and unified communications and collaboration into a unified solution, in order to improve team and organisation effectiveness.

  • Social Enterprise

    A general descriptor of organisations that use social media tools, both private/corporate and public, to enable and enhance their communication among employees, customers, prospects, partners and other stakeholders.


  • Team Collaboration

    The mutual sharing and joint development of ideas, content and dialog using the tools of the ‘digital workplace’ to enable distributed team members to work together from where ever they are located.

  • Team Communication

    The ability to enable team members together through communication of content and conversations in various forms and media, with an aim toward achieving a common purpose or business goal.


  • Unified Collaboration

    Describes communication tools that bring all media (audio, video, content, text etc.) together into a single, unified view, allowing the user to avoid application switching and toggling among various interfaces and tools.

  • UC - Unified Communications

    Unified communications  is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP telephony), video conferencing, data sharing (including web connected electronic whiteboards interactive whiteboards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user-interface across multiple devices and media-types.


  • Video Calling

    A interaction across a network that include video capabilities in addition to voice.

  • Video Conferencing

    Is the conduct of a video meeting by a set of telecommunication technologies which allow two or more parties or locations to communicate by simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions.

  • Virtual Team

    A group of individuals who work across time, space and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by communication and collaboration technologies.

  • VoIP Phones

    Uses voice over IP for placing and transmitting telephone calls over an IP network, instead of the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN).

  • VoWLAN

    Voice over WLAN is the use of a wireless broadband network according to the IEEE 802.11 standards for the purpose of voice conversation.

  • VPN - Virtual Private Network

    This is a network of private data that makes use of the public telephone network. Privacy is maintained through a variety of security procedures


  • WAN - Wide Area Network

    A private network that allows a series of computers to be connected over a ‘wide area’ to enable   services such as e-mail and the sharing of information

  • Web Collaboration

    A service or solution that allows sharing of desktop content, files, video, text and whiteboarding among multiple users in real-time across the internet.

  • Web Conferencing

    A service or solution that allows broadcasting content over the internet to multiple parties using a web browser, and/or sharing of desktop content, files, video, text and whiteboarding among multiple users in real-time across the internet.

  • WebRTC

    Web Real-Time Communication is an standard drafted by the World Wide Web Consortium to enable browser-to-browser communication applications for voice calling, video chat, and P2P file sharing without plug-ins or additional software.

  • Wi-Fi

    A shortened term for Wireless Fidelity. This is a technology using a high-frequency wireless local area network. Its use is become widely accepted as an alternative to a wired local area network

  • Workforce Management

    Solutions that analyse workload, scheduling and interaction volumes using sophisticated modelling;  contact center workforce scheduling is optimised in terms of trading off human capital expenses versus maintaining desired customer service levels.

  • WFO - Workforce Optimisation

    Workforce optimisation includes all aspects of managing the complete workforce and scheduling lifecycle and supports the business with key insights into how its workforce is performing, linking this to key business concepts such as the customer experience.  Includes Call Recording, Quality Monitoring, Speech Analytics, Workforce Management, Performance Management, eLearning, Coaching, and Customer Surveys.