Technology Dictionary

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  • 911 Requirements on Voice Circuit

    Since a voice circuit can have dozens to hundreds of numbers (DID’s) associated with it, it is important to list the main business number for identification and location purposes. A call to 911 from a business that has a voice circuit with many numbers can lose time in getting help to the correct location unless the information is recorded correctly by the service provider. The 911 system tries to automatically associate a location with the origin of the call. See also E911.

  • Access Line

    An Access Line is the portion of a leased telephone line from a customer site to a telephone company’s central office. An access line permanently connects the user with the serving central office or wire carrier.

  • Access Point (AP)

    An Access Point is a hardware device or a computers software that acts as a communication hub for users of a wireless device to connect to a wired LAN. APs are important for providing heightened wireless security and for extending the physical range of service a wireless user has access to.

  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

    Founded in 1918, ANSI is a voluntary organization composed of over 1,300 members (including all the large computer companies) that creates standards for the computer industry. In addition to programming languages, ANSI sets standards for a wide range of technical areas, from electrical specifications to communications protocols.

  • Analog

    The term analog or analog signal usually refers to electrical signals. Analog is also used to describe a device or system that represents changing values as continuously variable physical quantities. In practice an analog signal is subject to electronic noise and distortion introduced by communication channels and signal processing operations, which can progressively degrade the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). When used in reference to data storage and transmission, analog format is that in which information is transmitted by modulating a continuous transmission signal, such as amplifying a signal’s strength or varying its frequency to add or take away data. For example, telephones take sound vibrations and turn them into electrical vibrations of the same shape before they are transmitted over traditional telephone lines.

  • Application Program Interface (API)

    API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. There are many types of API’s for operating systems, applications, or for websites. The API specifies how software components should interact with each other, and are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components.

  • Asymmetric

    Asymmetric means that uploads and downloads of data occur at different speeds, i.e. 1.5 X 1.0.

  • Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)

    ADSL is a communication system that transfers both analog and digital information on a copper wire pair. The analog information can be a standard POTS or ISDN signal. The maximum downstream digital transmission rate (data rate to the end user) can vary from 1.5 Mbps to 9 Mbps downstream and the maximum upstream digital transmission rate (from the customer to the network) varies from 16 kbps to approximately 800 kbps (higher is some instances). Since most users download much more data than they upload, this difference usually does not make a noticeable impact on Internet access speeds. However, for Web servers or other computers that send a lot of data upstream, ADSL would be an inefficient solution. The data transmission rate varies depending on distance, line distortion and settings from the ADSL service provider.

  • Asymmetric Ethernet over Copper (AEOC)

    AEOC is an affordable business class solution for businesses who download more data than they upload. AEOC is delivered over multiple copper pairs for added redundancy. AEOC sits in a class between DSL and EoC (see EoC). This service is mileage based with bandwidth options of from 8.0/1.0 through 50/10.

  • Automatic Number Identification (ANI)

    ANI is a service that identifies the telephone number of each incoming call. ANI is used for a variety of functions. By receiving the incoming telephone number, telephone companies can direct a call to the proper long distance carrier’s equipment; it can help identify the caller’s address to speed response time to 911 calls; and it can route an 800 call to the nearest vendor.

  • Backscatter

    Backscatter is a type of unsolicited spam/email message that is mistakenly directed to an email inbox. They are disguised as bounce messages, so that they are not filtered as spam by the email server.

  • Bitmap (BMP)

    Bitmap (BMP) is an image file format that can be used to create and store computer graphics. A bitmap file displays a small dots in a pattern that, when viewed from afar, creates an overall image. A bitmap image is a grid made of rows and columns where a specific cell is given a value that fills it in or leaves it blank, thus creating an image out of the data.

  • Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)

    Border Gateway Protocol is a standardized exterior gateway protocol. The BGP protocol was designed to enable groups of routers (called autonomous systems) to share or exchange routing information between gateway hosts. BGP is commonly used within and between Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

  • Broadband

    Broadband is a type of telecommunication transmission that shares the bandwidth of a medium such as copper. Information is transmitted via a wide band of frequencies to carry more than one signal, at high-speed. Since Broadband technology can support a wide range of frequencies, it is used to transmit data, voice, and video over long distances.

  • Central Office (CO)

    A CO is a structure used by telecommunications companies to house equipment needed to direct telephone calls and data traffic. A CO, also known as telephone switching centers, wire centers, or telephone exchanges, is centralized in a specific locality. The CO has switching equipment which enables the handling of local or long distance calls for that locality. Telephone lines are connected to the CO on a local loop. A central office is typically a multi-story, windowless, concrete structure, designed to withstand major weather events such as hurricanes or tornadoes.

  • Central Processing Unit (CPU)

    The CPU is the “brains” of the computer and the place where most operations take place. On large machines, the CPU requires one or more printed circuit boards. On personal computers and small workstations, the CPU is housed in a single chip called a microprocessor.

  • Centrex

    Centrex is short for central office exchange service. Centrex is a type of PBX (see PBX) service in which switching or call routing occurs at a local telephone station instead of at the company’s premises. Typically, the telephone company owns and manages all the communications equipment necessary to implement the PBX and then sells various services to the company.

  • Centrex Lines

    Centrex lines are POTS (see POTS) lines with embedded features. Some features include; direct inward dialing, dial 9 to get out (pulls dial tone from the switch @ Verizon), and inter office dialing at no charge with a mileage restriction within one postal zip.

  • Channel

    In telecommunications in general, a channel is a separate path through which signals can flow. For example, the T1-carrier system line service provides 24, 64 Kbps (1.5Mbps) channels for digital data transmission.

  • Channelized T1

    A 24 channel T1 (see T1) in which the channels are broken out for voice and data. You can select how many of each you want to assign for voice traffic, and how many for data transmission, in any combination adding up to 23 channels. Ex. 12 voice & 11 data channels. The 24th channel, aka the “D” channel is reserved for signaling.

  • Cloud

    The cloud refers to a public, or semi-public space on transmission lines. The cloud exists between the end points of transmission. Data that is transmitted across a WAN (see WAN) enters the network from one end point using a standard protocol suite such as Frame Relay and then enters the network cloud where it shares space with other data transmissions. The data emerges from the cloud, where it may be encapsulated, translated and transported in a great number of ways in the same format as when it entered the cloud. A network cloud exists because when data is transmitted across a packet-switched network in a packet, no two packets will necessarily follow the same physical path. The unpredictable area that the data enters before it is received is the cloud.

  • Cloud Computing

    Cloud computing is a model for delivering IT services wherein the resources are retrieved from the internet or “cloud” instead of from a direct connection to a server. Cloud computing relies on sharing resources through web-based tools and software applications.

  • Co-location

    Co-location refers to the way IT equipment and resources are located or installed. This usually refers to the networking hardware resources owned by an organization, such as Web or database servers, which are located outside the vicinity of the organization’s premises and “co-located” with another organization’s hardware, usually an ISP or a service provider.

  • Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC)

    A CLEC is a telephone company that competes with an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) such as Verizon, or AT&T. A CLEC is able to compete with an ILEC by providing its own network and switching for both local and long distance phone service. As a stipulation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the goal was to promote competition among phone service providers who had CLEC status. Another option open to CLECs to promote competition is the resale strategy. The Act states that any telecommunications services that ILECs offer at retail, must be offered to CLECs at a wholesale discount. This saves the CLEC from having to invest in switches, fiber optic transmission facilities, or collocation arrangements.

  • Customer Premise Equipment (CPE)

    CPE refers to communications equipment that resides on the customers premises. It may be owned or leased by the customer.

  • Dark Fiber

    Dark fiber refers to unused fiber-optic cable. Many times companies lay more lines than needed in order to curb the cost of having to do it again and again. The dark (un-lit) strands can be leased to individuals or other companies who want to establish optical connections among their own locations. Dark fiber is neither controlled by nor connected to the phone company. Instead, the company or individual provides the necessary components to make it functional.

  • Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS)

    DNIS is a telephone service that identifies for the receiver the telephone number that was dialed by the caller. A common use for this type of system is 800 and 900 phone numbers that often channel multiple phone numbers into the same PBX system.

  • Digital

    The term digital can be used to describe any system based on discontinuous data or events. Computers are digital machines because at their most basic level they can distinguish between just two values, 0 and 1, or off and on. There is no simple way to represent all the values in between, such as 0.25. All data that a computer processes must be encoded digitally, as a series of zeroes and ones.

  • Digital Signal Level 3 (DS3 aka T-3)

    A DS3 is the equivalent of 28 T1 Circuits. A DS3 supports 672 channels, each of 64Kbps.

  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

    DSL refers to the variety of different types of Digital Subscriber Line protocols; high-speed data transmission protocols that are compatible with regular copper telephone wire. DSL is typically used to provide a continuous, high-speed connection directly to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). There are several different types of DSL (ADSL, SDSL, UADSL, etc.), and many of them make it possible to talk on the telephone and use the Internet at the same time. It is also called High-Speed DSL (HDSL).

  • Direct Inward Dial (DID)

    Direct inward dialing is a service of a LEC (see LEC) or local phone company that allows an organization to have numerous individual phone numbers for each person or workstation in its PBX (see PBX) system. DID allows the multiple lines to be connected to the PBX all at once without requiring each to have a physical line connecting to the PBX. The DID system can also be utilized for faxing and voice mail.

  • Direct Outward Dialing (DOD)

    DOD is the ability to dial directly from an extension without having to go through an operator or attendant. In PBX systems, the user will dial 9, listen for the dial tone, and then dial the number they want to reach. All phone systems now have DOD.

  • Direct Trunk Overflow (DTO)

    DTO is a failover solution for a voice (PRI) circuit, which is initiated in either of two instances; 1) All channels on a T1 are being utilized and therefore no more calls can be made or received or, 2) In the event of an outage, or circuit failure, DTO will redirect calls to either one or multiple phones independent of the voice circuit. DTO will redirect incoming calls, but will have no effect on making outbound calls in the event of circuit failure. The predetermined failover number is designed on the circuit. Typically, businesses use regular POTS lines as back-up. If there are several POTS lines available, the failover will be configured to “hunt” for those lines. For example, if you have 5 POTS lines, the first number in the group will ring first. The circuit will provide for 4 additional “paths” so that 5 consecutive calls can be received. Conversely, the 5 POTS lines must be ordered in a “forward hunt group” so that additional incoming calls will pass to the next available number in the group.  DTO will automatically disable when the outage is repaired or the circuit is no longer being over utilized.

  • Domain Hosting

    Domain hosting refers to businesses that specialize in hosting domain names for individuals and companies. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages.

    Domain hosting is frequently used synonymously with Web hosting since many domain hosting companies offer both services in one package, but domain names can be hosted by themselves or in conjunction with Website hosting, email hosting, game hosting etc.

  • EMF

    An EMF (electromagnetic field), is generated when charged particles, are accelerated. All electrically charged particles are surrounded by electric fields. Charged particles in motion produce magnetic fields. When the velocity of a charged particle changes, an EMF is produced.

  • Enhanced 911 (E911)

    Enhanced 911 is a system used in North America which is mandated by the FCC. E911 supports wireless and certain VoIP (see VoIP) phone users who dial 911. Enhanced 911 requires the service provider to provide the phone number of the emergency caller, as well as the location of the antenna receiving the call. The information is given to a Public Safety Answering Point to help locate the caller.

  • Ethernet

    Ethernet is a packet based transmission protocol, and the most widely installed Local Area Network (LAN) technology. Ethernet is also used in wireless LANs. It can be provided on twisted copper pairs, coaxial cable, wireless, or fiber cable. Ethernet is the common name for the IEEE 802.3 industry specification and it is often characterized by its data transmission rate and type of transmission medium (e.g., twisted pair & fiber). Ethernet services are a cost-effective and reliable way to scale and support voice, data, and video convergence on a unified network.

  • Ethernet over Copper (EoC)

    Ethernet over Copper is delivered over twisted copper pairs. EoC is available in speeds from 3 to 45megs of bandwidth. Most carriers deliver 3megs on 2 sets of copper pairs. A 30meg circuit will most likely be delivered on 3 or more pairs. This type of provisioning adds extra redundancy as compared to a DSL circuit. For example, if multiple pairs are used to deliver bandwidth and one or two pairs fail, the connection is not completely down. The user will still have a data or internet connection, but at a lower speed until a repair is made. DSL on the other hand does not have that protection.

  • Ethernet over Fiber (EoF)

    Ethernet over Fiber is delivered over fiber-optic cable. Unlike EoC, this technology uses fiber optics to deliver bandwidth. Speeds vary from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps.

  • Failover

    Failover is a term used to describe a backup operation that automatically switches to a standby database, server or network if the primary system fails or is temporarily shut down for servicing. Failover is an important fault tolerance function of mission-critical systems that rely on constant accessibility and business continuity.

  • Fast Ethernet

    Fast Ethernet or FastE is a local area network (LAN) transmission standard that provides a data rate of 100 Mbps and is also referred to as 100BASE-T.

  • Fiber Optic Cable

    Fiber optic cable is made of pure glass. Digital signals are transmitted in the form of modulated light which travel on strands of fiber for long distances. Fiber has an advantage over copper in that it can carry far more information over longer distances. Modulating light on thin strands of glass produces major benefits in high bandwidth, relatively low cost, low power consumption, small space needs, & insensitivity to EMF (see EMF) interference.

  • Firewall

    A firewall is a network security system. It can be hardware and/or software based. Firewalls control incoming and outgoing network traffic by creating a barrier between a trusted network and one that is not, such as the internet. Firewalls have evolved since their introduction in the late 1980’s to be able to keep up with the constant threats of malware and hacking attempts. Today’s firewalls protect not only servers, but the applications running on them. Application-layer firewalls filter and block specific content or websites.

  • Graphical User Interface (GUI)

    Graphical user interface (GUI) takes advantage of the computer’s graphics capabilities to make the program easier to use with pointing devices, menus and icons. A well-designed GUI can eliminate the need for the user to learn complex command languages. Some users want the option of using a command driven GUI, which gives them a list of options in a menu to choose from to facilitate changes

  • Hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

    Hosted VoIP is a form of business VoIP (see VoIP) services where the VoIP equipment, servers and services are hosted by the VoIP provider. The provider manages calls and routes them to and from the subscriber’s existing telephony system and equipment. Hosted VoIP is also frequently referred to as managed VoIP. A hosted solution can save companies from the potentially expensive costs of having to invest in VoIP equipment and manage the system themselves. Hosted VoIP services use packet-switched telephony to transmit calls over the Internet as opposed to the circuit-switched telephony used by the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). In some hosted VoIP cases calls from the subscriber are routed over the PSTN to the hosted VoIP PBX system.

  • Hub

    In data communications, a hub is a place of network convergence where data arrives from different directions and is forwarded out to one or more other directions. Once data is received by the hub, another device, or switch will determine or route the in and out flow of traffic. A hub is the networks signal distribution point and has the ability to transfer information throughout the network.

  • Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC)

    Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers, ILEC’s are the former “Baby Bells” of the AT&T monopoly. In the early 1980s, the U.S. government forced AT&T to break up into seven smaller local phone companies. And in 1996, the Federal Communications Commission forced these seven local phone companies, known as the Baby Bells, to open up their networks to outside competition. The result was the creation of two new regulatory terms, ILEC and CLEC (see CLEC).

  • Integrated Access Device (IAD)

    An IAD is necessary to enable an integrated PRI (used for voice & data traffic) to separate the voice and data traffic.

  • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

    ISDN is an international communications standard for sending voice, video, and data over digital or normal telephone wires. Digital telecom lines that can transmit both voice & digital network services are much faster than the highest speed modem and provides better voice quality

  • Integrated T-1

    An Integrated T1, also called a channelized T, it is a digital carrier modulation method in which a T1 line is divided into 24 channels, each having a maximum data speed of 64 thousand bits per second (Kbps), and each capable of supporting a unique application that can run concurrently with, but independently of, other applications on different channels. A 24 channel T1 (see T1) can be split to accommodate both voice & data as needed.

  • Interface

    An interface is a boundary across which two independent systems meet and act on or communicate with each other. In computer technology, there are several types of interfaces.

    Two such ones are;

    User interface – which is the keyboard, mouse, and menus of a computer system. The user interface allows the user to communicate with the operating system.

    Software interface – comprises the languages and codes that the applications use to communicate with each other and with the hardware.

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

    The internet of things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices.  The IoT is significant because an object that can represent itself digitally becomes something greater than the object by itself. No longer does the object relate just to its user, but is now connected to surrounding objects and database data.

  • Internet Protocol (IP)

    IP is a method or protocol by which data is sent from one computer to another on the internet. Each computer on the internet has at least one IP address that uniquely identifies it from all other computers on the internet much like a fingerprint would uniquely identify a human.

  • Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange (IP PBX)

    An IP PBX is a telephone switch that supports VoIP (Voice over IP). An IP PBX provides services similar to PBX services, but over data networks like a LAN or WAN rather than circuit-switched networks.

  • Internet Protocol Telephony (IP)

    IP Telephony is a general term for the technologies that use the Internet Protocol’s packet-switched connections to exchange voice, fax, and other forms of information instead of the traditional technology of using dedicated, circuit-switched connections of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). IP telephony works by converting voice communications into data packets using both hardware and software.

  • Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP VPN)

    An Internet protocol virtual private network is a system that provides secure private communication path(s) through one or more public and/or private data networks that is dedicated between two or more points. VPN connections allow data to safely and privately pass over public networks (such as the Internet). The data traveling between two points is encrypted for privacy. Using data encryption to maintain privacy, VPNs also allow mobile users access to the company LAN (Local Area Network).

  • Internet Service Provider (ISP)

    An ISP is an organization that provides subscriber-based service for accessing, using, or participating in the Internet. Subscribers can be individuals or businesses. For a monthly fee, the service provider usually provides a software package, username, password and access phone number. Equipped with a CPE, (i.e. router or modem), you can then log on to the Internet and browse the World Wide Web (WWW) and USENET. Other services include the ability to send and receive e-mail, domain name registration, web hosting and colocation. For broadband access you typically receive the hardware (CPE) and pay a monthly fee for the bandwidth required for internet access.

  • Internet Telephony

    Internet telephony is a system and services that use the Internet to initiate, process and receive voice communications.

  • Jitter

    Jitter is a term used to describe variations in packet arrival time. In VoIP terminology, jitter refers to a type of packet delay where the delay has an impact on the quality of the voice conversation.

  • LAN Telephony

    The technology of using LAN data networks rather than traditional telephone lines and a PBX to carry voice traffic along with the data traffic that is typical of a LAN system.

    A LAN telephony system requires both a device to process incoming and outgoing calls to determine what address on the LAN a call will be sent to and also a voice gateway that connects the LAN telephony system to the PSTN.

  • Latency

    Latency is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one point to another. Latency is the delay from input into a system to desired outcome; the term is understood slightly differently in various contexts and latency issues also vary from one system to another. Latency greatly affects how usable and enjoyable electronic and mechanical devices as well as communications are. Latency in communication is demonstrated in live transmissions from various points on the earth as the communication hops between a ground transmitter and a satellite and from a satellite to a receiver each take time. People connecting from distances to these live events can be seen to have to wait for responses. This latency is the wait time introduced by the signal travelling the geographical distance as well as over the various pieces of communications equipment. Even fiber optics are limited by more than just the speed of light, as the refractive index of the cable and all repeaters or amplifiers along their length introduce delays.

  • Least Cost Routing (LCR)

    LCR is a feature that allows the soft switch (see soft switch) to select and route to the least expensive outbound line of communication. With this feature, your VoIP switch will always route your calls to the least expensive route for that particular call.

  • LEC

    Short for Local Exchange Carrier, a LEC is the term for a public telephone company in the U.S. that provides local telephone service.

  • Li-Fi

    is a high-speed and fully networked wireless communication technology similar to Wi-Fi It is wire and UV visible-light communication instead of radio-frequency spectrum. Li-Fi has the advantage of being useful in electromagnetic sensitive areas such as in aircraft cabins, hospitals and nuclear power plants without causing electromagnetic interference Both Wi-Fi and Li-Fi transmit data over the electromagnetic spectrum, but whereas Wi-Fi utilizes radio waves, Li-Fi uses visible light.

  • Line Designations

    The following list shows some of the common line designations:

    • DS0 – 64 k­ilobits per second
    • ISDN – Two DS0 lines plus signaling (16 kilobytes per second), or 128 kilobits per second
    • T1 – 1.544 megabits per second (24 DS0 lines)
    • T3 – 43.232 megabits per second (28 T1s)
    • OC3 – 155 megabits per second (84 T1s)
    • OC12 – 622 megabits per second (4 OC3s)
    • OC48 – 2.5 gigabits per seconds (4 OC12s)
    • OC192 – 9.6 gigabits per second (4 OC48s)
  • Local Access & Transport Areas (LATA’s)

    Local Access and Transport Area is a term that refers to a geographic region assigned to one or more telephone companies for providing communication services.  A connection between two telephone companies within the same region is referred to as intraLATA. A connection between two local exchange carriers in different regions is called interLATA, which is the same as long-distance service.

  • Local Area Network (LAN)

    A local-area network (LAN) is a computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings, however, one LAN can be connected to other LANs over any distance via telephone lines and radio waves. A system of LANs connected in this way is called a wide-area network (WAN).

    Most LANs connect workstations and personal computers. Each node (individual computer) in a LAN has its own computer processing unit (CPU) with which it executes programs, but it is also able to access data and devices anywhere on the LAN. This means that many users can share expensive devices, such as laser printers, as well as data. Users can also use the LAN to communicate with each other, by sending e-mail or engaging in chat sessions. LANs are capable of transmitting data at very fast rates, much faster than data can be transmitted over a telephone line; but the distances are limited, and there is also a limit on the number of computers that can be attached to a single LAN.

  • Local Exchange Carrier (LEC)

    Short for Local Exchange Carrier, a LEC is the term for a public telephone company in the U.S. that provides local telephone service.

  • Local Loop

    The Local Loop is also referred to as the subscriber line. Another term for the local loop is the “last mile”. The local loop is the physical link that connects from the customer’s premises (demarc) to the edge of the telecom service providers (commonly Verizon) network.

  • Local Number Portability (LNP)

    Abbreviated as LNP, Local Number Portability is a service that allows subscribers to switch local or wireless carriers and still retain the same telephone number. LNP is managed through the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC).

  • Media Gateway Controller (MGC)

    The MGC system is used in VoIP applications to handle the registration and management of resources at the media gateway. This is accomplished by exchanging messages with central office switches by way of a signaling gateway. Another word for MCG is a softswitch.

  • Minimum Point of Entry (MPOE)

    The MPOE is the closest practical point to where cables of a telecommunications service carrier cross a property line or where its wiring enters a multi-unit building. The MPOE of a multi-unit building is typically 12 inches inside the building.

  • Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)

    MPLS technology replaces individual point to point to point connections with a private network accessible by all. MPLS replaces the spoke & wheel configuration by creating a central hub. MPLS is used for speeding up network traffic flow and making it easier to manage by setting up specific paths for a given sequence of packets. MPLS supports a range of access technologies, including T1/E1, ATM, Frame Relay, and DSL.

  • Multimode Fiber

    Multimode Fiber is used for signal transmission over short distances. Light waves are dispersed into numerous paths as they travel through the cables core.

  • Multiplex

    To multiplex means to combine multiple analog or digital signals for transmission over a single line or media. A common type of multiplexing combines several low-speed signals for transmission over a single high-speed connection.

  • Network Interface Card

    A Network Interface Card (NIC) is a computer hardware component that allows a computer to connect to a network. NICs may be used for both wired and wireless connections. 

    A NIC is also known as a network interface controller (NIC), network interface controller card, expansion card, computer circuit board, network card, LAN card, network adapter or network adapter card (NAC).


  • NG911 or Next Generation 911

    NG911 is an Internet Protocol based system that allows digital information (voice, photos, videos, & text messages) to flow seamlessly from the public, through the 911 network, and on to emergency responders. It is a system comprised of Emergency Services IP networks (ESInets), IP-based Software Services and Applications, Databases and Data Management processes that are interconnected to Public Safety Answering Point premise equipment. The system provides location-based routing to the appropriate emergency entity. The system uses additionally available data elements and business policies to augment PSAP routing. The system delivers geodetic and/or civic location information and the call back number.

  • Packet

    A packet is a unit of data that is routed between an origin and a destination on the internet or any other packet switched network.

  • Packet Switching

    Packet switching is a means of sending and receiving data over multiple network channels. Packet switching takes data and breaks it down into packets, small bundles of information containing the payload and routing information. The packets are then transmitted to the receiving end, where they are converted back to the original data format. One feature of packet switching is that packets can be received out of order and then be quickly arranged into the correct order. Although traditionally used for data, packet networks are suitable for real-time transmission of voice and video.

  • Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS)

    POTS refers to analog telephone service implemented over copper twisted pair wires. This system connects homes and businesses to neighborhood central offices. A central office is ultimately connected to other offices and a long distance facility. Today, POTS lines are most commonly used as a back-up solution for businesses (if the primary voice service fails), or for alarms or credit card processing machines.

  • Plastic Optical Fiber (POF)

    POF uses a polymer (PMMA) as the core material that allows the transmission of light. Light is guided from one end to the other with minimal loss. It is also called consumer optical fiber because it is a low cost alternative that is easier to use than glass optical fiber. In comparison to traditional optical fiber, POF is much larger in diameter which results in lower data rates making it most suitable for high bandwidth signal transmission over short distances. That data transfer speed of 2.5GB/s isn’t as fast as glass optical fiber, but it is faster than copper wire.

    Unlike glass, plastic fiber can easily be cut and bent to fit in hard-to-reach places and the larger core also allows for slightly damaged fiber to work. POF products are most commonly used in medical, automotive, home networks, as well as digital audio and video interfaces.

  • Point Of Presence (POP)

    Point of Presence is a physical place where a carrier has a presence for network access. A POP generally is in the form of a switch or a router.

  • Point to Point (Pt to Pt)

    Point-to-Point communication is the transmission of signals from one specific point to another. Point-to-Point communication uses addressing to deliver information to a specific receiver of the information. It is possible to implement point-to-point communication through a broadcast network by using device addressing or through a network using network routing.

  • Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP)

    PPP is a protocol for communication between two computers using a serial interface, typically a personal computer connected by a phone line to a server.

  • Power over Ethernet (PoE)

    Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology for wired Ethernet LANs (local area networks) that allows the electrical current necessary for the operation of each device to be carried by the data cables rather than by power cords.

  • Primary Rate Interface (PRI)

    A PRI is the equivalent of a T-1 for voice channels. It consists of 23 bearer (voice) channels and 1 D-channel for signaling. 23 consecutive calls can me made or received, and one or more PRI’s can be bonded to enable greater call capacity.

  • Private Branch Exchange (PBX)

    A PBX is a small version of the phone company’s central switching office. All PBX’s are automatic; no operator is needed. A private telephone network is used within an enterprise. Users of the PBX share a certain number of outside lines for making telephone calls external to the PBX.

    Broken down, a PBX is;

    Private in that the end user owns it.

    Branch meaning a small phone company’s central office.

    Exchange means the phone company’s central office

  • Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

    The PSTN is the world’s collection of interconnected voice-oriented public telephone networks, both commercial and government owned. The network is operated by national, regional, or local telephone operators. It consists of telephone lines, fiber optic cables, microwave transmission links, cellular networks, communications satellites, and undersea telephone cables, all interconnected by switching centers, thus allowing most telephones to communicate with each other. Originally a network of fixed-line analog telephone systems, the PSTN is now almost entirely digital in its core network and includes mobile and other networks, as well as fixed telephones.

  • Quality of Service (QoS)

    QoS is a networking term that specifies a guaranteed throughput level. This allows providers to guarantee to their customers that end-to-end latency will not exceed a specified level. To measure QoS, several factors may be considered such as, error rates, bit rate, throughput, transmission delay, availability, or jitter.

  • Router

    A router is a device that forwards data packets along networks. A router is connected to at least two networks, commonly two LANs or WANs or a LAN and its ISP’s network.

    Routers are located at gateways, the places where two or more networks connect

  • Runtime Error

    Runtime error refers to an error that takes place while executing a program. Runtime errors occur only during the execution of the program. Runtime errors imply bugs in the program or issues that the developers had expected but were unable to correct. For example, insufficient memory can often trigger a runtime error.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    SEO uses a combination of strategies, techniques, and tactics to increase the number of visitors to a website. The goal is to obtain high ranking placement in the search results page of such search engines as Google and Yahoo. SEO service providers offer a wide range of packages and options for search engine optimization, ranging from one-time fees for smaller sites to monthly subscriptions for ongoing SEO efforts and support.

  • Service Level Agreement (SLA)

    A Service Level Agreement is a contract between a service provider (SP) and the end user which stipulates and commits the SP to a required level of service. An SLA should contain a specified level of service, support options, enforcement or penalty provisions for services not provided, a guaranteed level of system performance as relates to downtime or uptime, and a specified level of customer support.

  • Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)

    SIP is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. It is an application-layer control protocol; a signaling protocol for Internet Telephony. In IP and traditional telephony, network engineers have always made a clear distinction between two different phases of a voice call.  The first phase is “call setup,” and includes all of the details needed to get two telephones talking.  Once the call has been setup, the phones enter a “data transfer” phase of the call using an entirely different family of protocols to actually move the voice packets between the two phones.  In the world of VoIP, SIP is a call setup protocol that operates at the application layer. 

  • Single Mode Optical Fiber (SMF)

    SMF is a single strand of glass fiber for a single ray of light transmission. SMF is used for long distance transmission.

  • SIP Trunking

    Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking is a specific method involved in Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or similar systems.

    SIP trunking basically controls the routing of telephony signals within the network. This method may require a certain amount of available bandwidth and features like firewalls. In general, SIP trunking can save companies money by promoting more efficient VoIP connections and eliminating the need for some kinds of analog public switched telephone network connections.

  • SIP-T

    SIP-T is a set of mechanisms that interface traditional telephone signaling with SIP. SIP-T provides protocol translation and feature transparency where the PSTN and SIP connect.

  • Skype

    Skype is a telecom application software product acquired by Microsoft in 2011 which specializes in providing video chat and voice calls from computers, tablets, and mobile devices via the internet, to other devices, telephones, or smartphones. Additionally, users can send instant messages, exchange files and images, send video messages, and create conference calls.

  • Soft Switch

    Short for software switch, a soft switch is an API, or interface, (see API) which is used to bridge a traditional PSTN and VoIP by linking PSTN to IP networks. It also manages the mixture of traffic consisting of voice, data, fax, and video. Soft switches have the capability of processing signaling for all types of packet protocols. A soft switch is a software based switching platform unlike the traditional “hardware” based switching center technology. Another name for soft switch is media gateway controller. Softswitch is the concept of separating the network hardware from network software. In traditional circuit switched networks, hardware and software are not independent. Circuit switched networks rely on dedicated facilities for inter-connection and are designed primarily for voice communications. The more efficient packet based networks use the Internet Protocol (IP) to efficiently route voice and data over diverse routes and shared facilities.

  • SONET or Synchronous Optical Network

    SONET is an ANSI standard used to connect fiber optic transmission systems. The standard defines a hierarchy of interface rates that allow data streams at different rates to be multiplexed. SONET establishes Optical Carrier (OC) levels from 51.8 Mbps (OC-1) to 9.95 Gbps (OC-192). Prior rate standards used by different countries specified rates that were not compatible for multiplexing. With the implementation of SONET, communication carriers throughout the world can interconnect their existing digital carrier and fiber optic systems. The international equivalent of SONET is called SDH.

  • Symmetric

    Uploads and downloads of data at the same speeds i.e. 1.5×1.5.

  • Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL)

    SDSL is a technology that allows more data to be sent over existing copper telephone lines. SDSL works by sending digital pulses in the high-frequency area of telephone wires and cannot operate simultaneously with voice connections over the same wires. It’s symmetric because the data rate is the same in both directions.

  • Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH)

    SDH is an international standard for synchronous data transmission over fiber optic cables. The North American equivalent of SDH is SONET.

  • T3-aka DS3

    The equivalent of 28 T1’s. Capable of handling 672 voice conversations each at a 64 Kbps

  • TCP/IP

    Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is the language a computer uses to access the Internet.
    TCP/IP is responsible for full-fledged data connectivity and transmitting the data end-to-end by providing other functions, including addressing, mapping and acknowledgment. Nearly all computers today support TCP/IP.

  • Telephony

    Telephony is the science of translating sound into electrical signals, transmitting them, and then converting them back to sound; that is, the science of telephones. The term is used frequently to refer to computer hardware and software that performs functions traditionally performed by telephone equipment.

  • Toll Free Calling

    An automated toll-free service was introduced by AT&T in 1966 for intrastate calling and 1967 for interstate calling as a replacement of operator-assisted collect calling and manual “Zenith” or “Enterprise” numbers. This Inward Wide Area Telephone Service (InWATS) allowed calls to be made directly from anywhere in a predefined area by dialing the prefix 1-800- and a seven-digit number. Since then, several more prefixes have been allocated for toll free dialing such as 844, 855, 866, & 877 with new prefixes reserved for future expansion. In 1982, a ‘Data Base Communication Call Processing Method’ was deployed by AT&T. The called number was an index into a database, allowing a ‘Toll-Free Call’ or ‘800 Call’ to be directed anywhere. The owner of the toll free number can change where the call is directed (where it rings) at any time by notifying the service provider.

  • Toll Free Vanity Number

    A toll-free vanity number, custom toll-free number, or mnemonic is easy to remember; it spells and means something or it contains an easily recognized numeric pattern. An easily remembered number is valued as a branding and direct response tool in business advertising. These numbers as regulated by the FCC are allocated on a first come-first served basis.

  • Trunk Level 1 (T1)

    A digital transmission link with a total transmission speed of 1.544Mbps. A T1 has 24 channels, each consisting of .64Kbps.

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Virtual Private Networks are private communication path(s) that transfer data or information through one or more data networks that is dedicated between two or more points. VPN connections allow data to safely and privately pass over public networks (such as the Internet). The data traveling between two points is usually encrypted for privacy and security.

  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

    Voice over Internet Protocol is a category of hardware and software that enables people to use their digital network as the transmission medium for telephone calls by sending voice data in packets using IP rather than by traditional circuit transmissions of the PSTN.

    VoIP can turn a standard internet connection into a way to place phone calls, thereby replacing the traditional phone system.

    There are 3 types of VoIP applications;

    Analog Telephone Adaptor (ATA)

    The ATA is an analog-to-digital converter which allows you to connect a standard phone to your computer or your Internet connection for use with VoIP.  The ATA converts the analog signal from your traditional phone into digital data for transmission over the Internet.

    IP Phones

    These specialized phones look just like normal phones with a handset, cradle and buttons. Instead of having the standard RJ-11 phone connectors, IP phones have an RJ-45 Ethernet connector which connects directly to your (internet) router. IP phones come with all the hardware and software necessary to handle the IP call.


    No actual phone is needed as the computer serves that purpose. Instead, you need the applicable software, a microphone, speakers, a sound card and an Internet connection. There are several companies offering free or very low-cost software that you can use for this type of VoIP.


    A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) private branch exchange (PBX) is a business telephone system that provides services similar to a standard PBX, but does so over a company’s LAN or WAN data network.

  • VoIP Phone

    A VoIP phone can be a physical telephone with built-in IP technology and an RJ-45 Ethernet connector instead of the RJ-11 phone connector found in standard phones, or it can be a voice-capable computer that uses VoIP hardware such as Magic Jack or VoIP software like Skype. This flexibility makes it possible for VoIP phone calls to function as Internet phone-to-phone, Internet phone-to-PC, PC-to-PC or PC-to-phone calls.

  • Web Host

    A Web host is in the business of providing server space, Web services and file maintenance for Web sites controlled by individuals or companies that do not have their own Web servers. Many ISPs (Internet Service Providers), such as Yahoo or Go Daddy, will allow subscribers a small amount of server space to host a personal Web page. Other commercial ISPs will charge the user a fee depending on the complexity of the site being hosted.

  • Wi-Fi

    Wi-Fi is a name used to describe wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide high speed internet and network connections. Wi-Fi is a trademarked phrase that means IEEE 802.11x. The Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization that owns the Wi-Fi registered trademark term specifically defines Wi-Fi as any “wireless local area network (WLAN) products that are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) 802.11 standards.

  • Wide Area Network (WAN)

    A computer network that spans a relatively large geographical area. Typically, a WAN consists of two or more local-area networks (LANs).

    Computers connected to a wide-area network are often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system. They can also be connected through leased lines or satellites. The largest WAN in existence is the Internet.

  • Wireless Communications

    Wireless communications works with no physical wired connection between sender and receiver by using radio frequency (RF) technology, a frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum associated with radio wave propagation. When an RF current is supplied to an antenna, an electromagnetic field is created that then is able to propagate through space. The cornerstone of any wireless network is an access point (AP). The primary job of an access point is to broadcast a wireless signal that computers can detect and “tune” into. In order to connect to an access point and join a wireless network, computers and devices must be equipped with wireless network adapters.

  • Wireless Network

    A wireless network or Wireless Local Area Network serves the same purpose as a wired one, to link a group of computers. Because “wireless” doesn’t require costly wiring, the main benefit is that it’s generally easier, faster and cheaper to set up. Even when you have a wired network already in place, a wireless network can be a cost-effective way to expand or augment it, or insure redundancy. In fact, there’s really no such thing as a purely wireless network, because most link back to a wired network at some point.