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the telephone works
the telephone works

With the ever-changing nature of technology it is easy to get swamped with many of the terms and descriptions that are used. To help out we have prepared this incomplete list to help you with your jargon-busting.

An alphabetical guide to terms & ancronyms used in the telephone & related industries.



ACD
Automatic Call Distribution
An automated system for answering, queuing and distributing incoming calls to a number of agents. Popular in Call Centres, ACD systems also provide call processing statistics, such as the number of calls waiting, average length of call queue, etc, which can be incorporated into historical reports or displayed in real time on wall boards or displayed on a web based interface.


ADSL
Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (DSL / SDSL)
Variants of a technology to utilise the existing copper local loop network, primarily for Internet and data services. Because data can be transferred at a different frequency to voice traffic, existing copper pairs (telephone line) can be used to carry larger amounts of information. The voice signal is carried within the data signal and is then broken out of the data signal at the local or other operator’s exchange and then carried as normal across the voice network. DSL technology is designed for “always on” connection to the Internet or in rare cases for very large corporate wide area networks.


ATM
Asynchronous Transfer Mode
A transmission and switching technique capable of supporting voice, video and data (multimedia) communications. It is unique in that each piece of information is addressed and is of the same length. This allows very high speed communications.


Auto Attendant
An automated call answering system that uses prompts to direct users to the correct department or extension, e.g. “For support please press 1 Now”.


Bandwidth
How much can you send through a connection. Usually measured in Bits Per Second. A full page of English text is roughly 16,000 bits.


Call Forwarding
A feature of some telephone systems, and of the Intelligent routing systems. Call Forwarding allows calls to be diverted automatically to different numbers, for example a mobile phone or a home office number.


Carrier
A short hand description for a network operator.


CLI
Calling Line Identity
In digital networks, both mobile and fixed line, it is possible for the network to pass the calling line identity to the called number. The receiving customer’s equipment can make use of this information to inform the receiver of who is calling them. Because of the way our carriers handle calls from our fixed line customers to mobile numbers, or if the sender as requested CLI blocking, the fixed line CLI is not always sent to the mobile network.


Client
A software programme that is used to contact and obtain data from a server software programme on another computer, often across a vast distance.


CRM
Customer Relationship Management
Generic terms for applications designed to streamline interactions with customers. CRM software allows call centre agents to access a customers history from the back office customer account packages. Small businesses are waking up to the advantages of CRM solutions that integrate with their PC’s. The Internet, Email, IVR, Voice and Interactive TV have sparked a seismic shift towards web enabled call centres, opening up a new dimension in offering good service.



CTI
Computer Telephony Integration
The term used to describe the linking of a telephone type system with computer technology.


Data Card
Some digital mobile phones can be connected to a notebook computer and then used to send/retrieve data or fax messages over the mobile phone network. Not all phones are suitable for this. Even those that are normally suitable require an expensive data card to connect them to a computer. A few of the latest phones have the necessary electronics built in, however, so just a cheap cable is needed for the link


DDI
Direct Dial Inwards
A Key ISDN feature is the ability to assign individual phone numbers (DDI Numbers) to extensions and departments, enabling callers to dial them directly without having to go via an operator or receptionist.


DECT
Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology


Diallers or Auto Diallers
Diallers are hardware designed to assist in the routing of telephone traffic by inserting a routing code. They are connected between the customer’s equipment and the network terminating point. Whenever the customer dials an outgoing call the dialler inserts the appropriate Indirect Access Code, this code instructs Telstra to route calls via the Telstra network to the alternative LCR carrier. Diallers can either be mains powered or line powered; and remotely programmable or only locally programmable. LTS will normally use line powered, remotely programmable diallers.

A. Line Powered Diallers- This term is used to describe any equipment that takes the power it needs to operate directly from the telephone line rather than being plugged in to an electric supply or battery.

B. Single-line Diallers This term is used to describe a “dialler” that is used for One telephone line. As with single telephone lines the dialler can have both a phone and a fax machine plugged into it. Each single line dialler has a lead for plugging into the network terminating point socket and two sockets for a plugging in the phone & fax for example.

C. Multi-line Diallers This term is used to describe a “dialler” that can carry more than one telephone line. Generally used on PBX systems.



DPNSS
Digital Private Network Signalling System
A private networking standard uses by Telstra and other suppliers such as PBX/PABX manufacturers which allows full feature access to be provided between different sites in a private network.


DSS
Direct Station Select
A button on a terminal that can be used to directly dial a person or an extension associated with it.


DTMF
Dual Tone Multi Frequency
Signalling which is the basis for the operation of push button telephone sets most commonly used. Dialled numbers are transmitted as tones rather than electronic pulses. This is particularly useful for access to supplementary and added value services – e.g. Voicemail and Auto Attendant systems.



Firewall
A software security system that prevents computers on a network from communicating with another computer network without authorisation. Most organisations use firewalls to protect their systems.


Freephone Numbering (1800 )
The customer who owns the 1800 number picks up all the call costs and often has to pay rental for the number.


IP
Internet Protocol
The signalling standard used to transmit data across the internet and LAN’s. IP uses packet switching techniques to send data in small chunks (packet data).


IP Telephony
The use of IP signalling methods to send voice traffic across a data network. Voice signals are broken down into packets and reassembled at the receiving end. This eliminates the need for separate voice and data networks by converging all traffic on one network.


ISDN 30 / ISDN 2
Integrated Services Digital Net
ISDN30 is a Primary Rate service for the Delivery of digital exchange lines. ISDN30 is a 2Mbit/s digital connection between the customers Premises Equipment (CPE) and the local exchange. Each 2Mbit/s system provides up to 30 independent 64Kbit/s channel for speech or data. Customer must have at least 6 channels active with a Direct Dialling In (DDI) number range. ISDN30 is generally used for Voice applications to connect large PBXs to the telephone network. ISDN30 can be delivered over Fibre Optic cable or the use of 2 or 3 copper pairs.

ISDN2 is a Basic Rate service for the delivery of digital telephone lines. ISDN2 is a 144Kbit/s digital connection between the customers Premises Equipment (CPE) and the local exchange. Each 144Kbit/s system provides 2-x 64Kbit/s channel for speech or data and a 16Kbit/s channel for signalling. ISDN2 is generally used for data applications. (Copper pair).

On Ramp 2 & On Ramp 30 are the registered names of Telstra's ISDN products.



IVR
Interactive Voice Response
IVR systems automate routine transactions, such as requests for literature or information using voice recognition or tone keypad operations (see DTMF).


LAN
Local Area Network
Is a term to describe the type of system used to connect computers together to share files or peripherals within a single building. Computers a linked via Network Integration card to a Hub then to a router and on to the outside world. There are 2 types of LAN. Token Ring and Ethernet. The latter being the more popular.


LAN Telephony
The convergence of voice and data on a LAN, eliminating the need for separate voice and data networks within an organisation.


LCR
Least Cost Routing
The same abbreviation can apply to two different functions. A Least Cost Routing is a network that can provides cheaper calls than Telstra by routing its calls over a number of network operators to get the best deal on each route. Least Cost Routing is used to describe the programming of a PBX with an Indirect Access code so that routs calls onto an alternative network operators network.


Leased Line
Lines such as telephone line or fibre optic cable that is rented for exclusive 24/7 use from your location to another location. The highest speed data connections require a leased line.
Voicelink C & Voicelink T registered names of Telstra's leased line services.



Network
Anytime you connect 2 or more computers or telephone handsets together so that they can share resources, you have a computer or telephone network.


Number Portability
In the past customers wanting to move networks to get better tariffs had to change their numbers. This has a cost to them and was seen as a barrier to competition. So Austel introduced a process to allow the transfer of numbers from the major network operators to other network operators. This can be set to stop other people using your phones or systems without your permission.


POP
Point of Presence
A point of presence normally means a city or location where a network can be connected to, often with dial up telephone lines.


Predictive Dialling
A third party CTI application, predictive dialling removes all dialling responsibilities from an agent. Once a call has been completed the software automatically dials the next number on the agents calling list.
Premium Rate 1900
Customers can select from a range of tariffs, which are tied to particular number ranges. They need a licence from the ACA to provide the services. The charges have to be clear in all publications. The caller pays the full rate for the call, wherever they are in the Australia. The receiving customer pays rental for the number and receives payment for the call from the network operator.



PSTN
Publicly Switched Telephone Network
The Australian standard telephone network as provided by Telstra & Optus, who have laid cable in the ground.


Routers
A special purpose computer and or software package that handles the connection between two or more packet switched networks. Routers spend all their time looking at the source and destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them on to.


Soft PBX (Soft Switches)
This is the term used to describe a software application that provides computer server based telephony. Performing similar function to that of a traditional hardware based PBX, Soft PBX’s (Switches) offer a range of additional functions such as Voicemail and IVR as well as integration with other server based applications, for example Unified Messaging and Contact Management systems.


TAPI
Telephone Application Programme Interface
Developed by Microsoft, 1st and 3rd party TAPI are the standard interfaces for most CTI applications.


UM
Unified Messaging
Unified Messaging systems generally provide one centralised mailbox for all Email, Voice and Fax messages. All message types can be viewed, replied to, saved or deleted in the same centralised area using a familiar message management such as Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora, Etc.


Voicemail
If your mobile phone isn’t switched on or you can’t get a signal, the phone network can be set to act like a giant answering machine. It records messages and replays them when the phone user calls in to receive them. This service is sometimes called voicemail. Most networks charge you for retrieving voicemail but with T-Mobile this is free.


VoIP
Voice over Internet Protocol
The transmission of voice traffic over a wide area network or the internet using the IP signalling standard.


VPN
Virtual Private Network
A virtual Private Network is a type of WAN. However, in the case of a VPN the customer does not connect directly to another site. They connect into the nearest Telephone exchange then through the PSTN network and out at the nearest exchange to the site they want to connect to. Using a linked numbering plan, a staff member in one location can dial a colleague at another office by simply dialling their extension number.


WAN
Wide area Network
A Wide Area Network is an extension of a LAN (described above) The router on the LAN will connect to a “Leased line” (Kilostream). The other end of the leased line will connect to another Router at a remote site thus joining the two Local Area Networks.


WAP
Wireless Application Protocol
The Mobile-Internet service was developed specifically to give mobiles easy access to the Internet and supports the delivery of Internet content and services like information and e-mail between a WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) Internet service provider and a mobile phone via a WAP gateway.


Wi-Fi
Wireless Fidelity
Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliances (WECA) brand identity for the IEEE 802.11b standard; WECA Certification ensures a products compatibility.


Wireless Local Area Network
The wireless extension to the wired LAN is a growing market. More organisations have people on the road that need touchdown areas in their offices (Hot Desking). Wireless is the easiest way to facilitate this. There is also the factor that people need to Roam within buildings and need to access centralised systems. The standard on which most WLAN’s are currently based is 802.11b, which is a revision of the original 802.11 standard allowing data rates up to 11Mbps in the 2.4Ghz ISM band.
Apple's Airport is an example of this technology.