Glossary


The world of telecommunications can be a daunting place full of confusing acronyms and words that you don't really understand. Use this glossary to help you navigate and better understand your businesses telephony needs.

ADSL: Short for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, is very similar to DSL (See below). But as most general businesses and households download more than they upload, the speeds of downloads are increased at the cost of some upload speed.

Cloud: A collection of technologies through which businesses or consumers use software that lives in another company’s data center. The benefit is that server capacity can increase or decrease in response to customer demand.

DSL: Short for Digital Subscriber Line, DSL is a communications medium used to transfer digital signals over standard telephone lines. DSL is one of the most popular ways internet service providers provide Internet access.

Handpiece: The receiver used to make calls; what you usually put up to your ear/mouth to make a phone call.

Handset: The actual phone used to make calls. These can either be desk based or mobile phones.

IDF: Short for intermediate distribution frame (IDF), an IDF is a free-standing or wall-mounted rack for managing and interconnecting the telecommunications cable between user devices and a main distribution frame (MDF). Commonly located on some floors of a multi-story building to connect to the main network.

ISDN: Short for Integrated Services Digital Network, ISDN is a system for sending voice, video, and data over normal telephone wires or digital wires (Fibre Optic Cables).

MDF: Short for Main Distribution Frame, a cable rack that interconnects and manages the telecommunications wiring between itself and any number of IDFs to connect to the main phone line.

Mount: The way in which the hardware is stored while in use. Can either be a Rack mount, kept together with other pieces of hardware in a towerlike structure, or a wall mount, mounting hardware to a wall to save on floor space.

PABX: Short for Private Automated Branch Exchange, a PABX is an automatic telephone exchange within a private enterprise. This means that a single number can be dialed to and the PABX will send it to an extension or other phone number without needing anyone to tell it what to do. Most commonly seen in call centres or larger organisations.

PoE Switch Short for Power over Ethernet Switch, these devices carry the required amount of charge to another device (usually a desk handset) through an ethernet cable to allow it to run without needing an additional power cord.

PSTN Short for Public Switched Telephone Network, which refers to the telephone system based on copper wires that carry analog voice data. This is what most normal analog telephones work on.

Switch: A device that channels incoming data from any of multiple input ports to the specific output port that will take the data toward its intended destination. This allows multiple devices such as phones and computers to communicate with one another.

Telecommunications/Internet Provider: The company that you are using the infrastructure and services of on a month by month basis. Usually the one that charges you, like Telstra or Optus.

Telephone System: The combination of handset/s and one or more pieces of hardware that allows additional functionality. These can be analog, digital or VoIP based, allowing things such as transferring, conference calls and call handling modes.

Telephone System: The combination of handset/s and one or more pieces of hardware that allows additional functionality. These can be analog, digital or VoIP based, allowing things such as transferring, conference calls and call handling modes.

Trunk: A trunk is a line or link designed to handle many signals simultaneously, and that connects major switching centers in a communications system. These are used to minimise the number of physical cables and connections.

VoIP: Short for Voice over Internet Protocol, is a method for taking analog audio signals (like the kind you hear when you talk on the phone), and turning them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.

Still unsure of the terminology or have any more questions?


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