ATA: An analog telephone adaptor (ATA) is a hardware device that connects a conventional telephone to the Internet through a high speed bandwidth line, providing the interface to convert the analog voice signals into IP packets. It also delivers dial tone and manages the call setup.
Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the volume of data that can be transmitted over a communication line in a fixed amount of time. It is expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second for digital devices and in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz) for analog devices. Bandwidth can also be defined as the difference between a band of frequencies or wavelengths.
Cable modem: A cable modem is a device that is used to connect a computer to the high speed coaxial cable run by cable TV companies to provide access to the Internet. The connection is made through an Ethernet port, which is a shared medium and can affect download speeds if too many users are simultaneously connected to the Internet on that particular cable segment. However, despite this, cable modems provide extremely fast access to the Internet.
Call duration: The time interval between when a call begins and when it ends.
Conference Bridge: A device used to connect multiple parties over the phone. A proctor or operator can man conference bridges, or they can be supervised. There are both stand-alone conference bridges and conference bridge functions built in to some PBXs (Private Branch Exchange). These systems have circuitry for summing and balancing the energy (noise) on each channel so everyone can hear each other. More sophisticated conference bridges have the ability to "idle" the transmit side of channels of non- speaking parties. Some conference bridges use "clVoxising" to idle or reject the input of touch tones or other signals. There are VoIP based Conference Bridge servers. They may be controlled via protocols such as SIP or Megaco. they send/receive media by using the RTP protocol.
DSL modem: A DSL modem is a device that is used to connect one or more computers to the high speed DSL line provided by a DSL operator to gain access to the Internet. The customers use these modems to log on the Internet to download or transmit data. Since the DSL lines have high bandwidth capacity the data transfer speeds are very high.
Dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF): The system used by touch-tone telephones. DTMF assigns a specific frequency (made up of two separate tones) to each key so that it can easily be identified by a microprocessor. This is basically the technology behind touch tone dialing.
Find-me/follow-me: A feature that allows calls to find you wherever you are, ringing multiple phones (such as your cell phone, home phone, and work phone) all at once.
IP address: An Internet Protocol (IP) address is the machine number used to identify all devices that are connected to the Internet. Each device has its own unique number which it uses to communicate. This number is fixed in the case of those computing devices that have a fixed IP address. The rest are allotted a dynamic IP address, which is valid for the period they are connected to the net. The numbers range from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255.
ISP: Internet Service Provider. A business that provides subscriber-based access to the Internet. Subscribers can be individuals or businesses. ISPs use both Internet Routers, Servers and Rack-Mounted modems to provide a variety of services including Web Site hosting, FTP service, e-mail accounts, unified messaging, audio and video broadcasting and in some cases - Internet Telephony and Fax Gateway service.
Jitter: It is a term used to indicate a momentary fluctuation in the transmission signal. This happens in computing when a data packet arrives either ahead or behind a standard clock cycle. In telecommunication, it may result from an abrupt variation in signal characteristics, such as the interval between successive pulses.
Lag: Lag is the term used to indicate the extra time taken by a packet of data to travel from the source computer to the destination computer and back again. The lag may be caused by poor networking or by inefficient or excessive processing.
Latency: Latency is the time that elapses between the initiation of a request for data and the start of the actual data transfer. This delay may be in nanoseconds but it is still used to judge the efficiency of networks.
Packet: A logically grouped unit of data. Packets contain a payload (the information to be transmitted), originator, destination and synchronizing information. 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 assembled on one end of the communication and re-assembled on the receiving end based on the header addressing information at the front of each packet. Routers in the network will store and forward packets based on network delays, errors and re-transmittal requests from the receiving end.
Packet loss: Packet loss is the term used to indicate the loss of data packets during transmission over a computer network. This may happen on account of high network latency or on account of overloading of switches or routers that are unable to process or route all the incoming data.
PBX: Private Branch Exchange. Or PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange). In telephony, a PBX system behaves as a customer's premises over trunk lines (thus the term "branch"). At first, PBXs mimicked a small telephone company switchboard. Users would use an operator to take and make telephone calls to and from the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). Over time, users were able to dial directly, without the use of an operator. Today, computer telephony platforms such as automated attendants are able to route incoming calls automatically, too.
QoS (quality of service): The ability of a network (including applications, hosts, and infrastructure devices) to deliver traffic with minimum delay and maximum availability.
Router: A router is a network device that that handles message transfer between computers that form part of the Internet. The messages, which are in the form of data packets, are forwarded to their respective IP destinations by the router. A router can also be called the junction box that routes data packets between computer networks.
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol): An Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard for initiating, maintaining, and terminating an interactive user session involving video, voice, chat, gaming, virtual reality, and more.
SIP phone: A SIP phone is a telephone that uses the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) standard to make a voice call over the Internet (for signaling (and uses RTP for media)). The SIP phones come with several value added services like voicemail, e-mail, call number blocking etc. There are (normally) no charges for making calls from one SIP phone to another, and negligible charges for routing the call from a SIP phone to a PSTN phone.
Soft phone: IP telephony software that lets users send and receive calls from non-dedicated hardware, such as a PC or Pocket PC device. It is typically used with a headset and microphone.
Note: Soft Phone and SIP Phone might be (but not necessarily) special cases of each other.
VoIP (Voice over IP): The process of making and receiving voice transmissions over any IP network. IP networks include the Internet, office LANs, and private data networks between corporate offices. The main advantage of VoIP is that users can connect from anywhere and make phone calls without incurring typical analog telephone charges, such as for long-distance calls.
VOIP Phone: A VoIP phone is one that uses the Internet to route voice calls by converting the voice data into IP packets and vice versa. The phones come with built-in IP signaling protocols such as H.323 or SIP that help in the routing of data to the right destination. A VoIP phone can also be a software application that is installed in the user's PC. In this case it is known as the Softphone. Also, the calls in this case have to be made from the PC, and not through a telephone instrument.
WiFi Hotspot: An area where a wireless access point enables users carrying wireless-enabled laptops to log on to the Internet. The limiting condition is that the access point is configured to broadcast its presence and does not require authorization for access. Generally, WiFI hotspots are located in public places like airports, train stations, libraries, marinas, convention centers, coffee shops and hotels.
WiFi phone: A WiFI phone is one that enables users to make phone calls from public WiFi hotspots or residential WiFI network environments. Besides voice calls, these phones can be used to send e-mails wirelessly.