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Telecom Terminology 101

telecom terminology

Written descriptions of telecom or telecommunications topics use technical jargon and words not in most people’s day-to-day lexicon. Therefore, the following glossary gives definitions of some of the terms most frequently used in telecom discussions as an aid to non-technical readers.

Application Programming Interface – An Application Programming Interface (API) is software that facilitates communication between two computer programs. Global Call Forwarding’s voice API gives customers an interface between their software and Global Call Forwarding’s network. The API allows customers to obtain information such as call detail records and monthly usage.

Bandwidth – Bandwidth is the data transfer rate of a network in bits per second (bps) where “bit” is a binary digit (either 0 or 1). Messaging conversations require a bandwidth of fewer than 1,000 bits per second (Kbps). Modern networks operate at millions of bits per second (Mbps) or trillions (giga) of bits per second (Gbps).

Broadband – Broadband is a term for a high-speed internet connection, usually having a bandwidth greater than 256 Kbps.

Call Forwarding – Call forwarding is a service provided by Global Call Forwarding (GCF) for the local or international toll-free numbers that it sells. When a call is made to those numbers, GCF forwards those calls to subscribers’ numbers located anywhere in the world.

Cloud – The cloud is a network of servers each having different functions. Some of the servers run applications while others store data. Cloud-based services, like Google, Amazon or Facebook, own the servers.

CPaaS – Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) is a cloud-based delivery model that allows organizations to add real-time communications capabilities to software and applications.

Fiber-Optic Communication – Fiber-optic communication occurs by passing light signals through optical fibers. This method of communication is favored for transmitting telephone signals, internet communication, and cable television signals because of its immunity to electromagnetic interference.

4G LTE – “4G” stands for the fourth generation of mobile data technology, and “LTE” stands for Long Term Evolution. The radio sector of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-R) set the standards for 4G bandwidth at 100 Mbps for mobile use (smartphones and tablets) and 1 Gbps for stationary use (hotspots). Since the standards were unreachable, LTE indicates that the technology is in pursuit of the standards.

5G – “5G” stands for fifth-generation mobile networks or wireless systems, and 5G systems will provide improvements over LTE for coverage, efficiency, and reduced latency. It should deliver bandwidth over 10 Mbps for tens of thousands of users, 100 Mbps in metropolitan areas, 1 Gbps simultaneously for workers in the same office, and simultaneous connections for thousands of wireless sensors.

Interactive Voice Response – With Interactive Voice Response (IVR), a computer answers incoming calls, prompts callers for information, and forwards calls to their proper destinations. This is a free feature to businesses buying virtual numbers. The feature is programmable and customizable to suit business needs.

Internet – The internet is a network of billions of computers. Cables or wireless signals connect these computers to form the network through various service providers.

Millimeter Waves – Millimeter waves (mmWaves) have wavelengths between 10 and 1 millimeters (mm). They travel at extremely high frequencies from 30 to 300 GHz where Hz stands for Hertz or cycles per second, a unit of measure for frequency. Because of their ability to transmit large amounts of data, mmWave technology is a candidate for 5G networks.

Modem and Router – A router connects your network to the computer and wireless devices, and the modem connects the network to the internet. Many internet service providers distribute combined modem–router units to their customers.

MMS – MMS stands for multimedia messaging service, which permits the sending of messages composed of text, slideshows, videos, and single images.

Net Neutrality – Net Neutrality is a principle whereby Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all data on the internet equally. They cannot discriminate or charge differently based on application, attached equipment, communication method, content, platform, user, or website. With net neutrality, ISPs cannot intentionally block, slow down, or charge money for specific websites and online content.

PBX – PBX is an acronym for Private Branch Exchange. A private branch exchange is an internal telephone network for businesses or enterprises. A number of external lines connect into the PBX, which switches calls to and from the company’s extensions.

Sequential Forwarding – After a set number of rings, this feature forwards unanswered calls to a maximum of four sequential numbers.

SMS – SMS stands for short message service, commonly known as text messages. The maximum length of an SMS text is 918 characters. However, if a message is over 160 characters, it is broken down into separate messages of 153 characters or less.

Telecommunication – Telecommunication is the transmission of content, including messages, images, and data. Electromagnetic systems, such as wire, radio, or optical, are the transmission methods. Electromagnetic systems operate because of physical interactions between electrically charged particles.

Time-of-Day Routing – Time-of-day routing forwards calls based time of receipt. For example, the feature may route calls between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm to a business number. For all other times, it may forward calls to home numbers, voicemail, or mobile numbers.

Vanity Phone Numbers – A vanity phone number is one with an easily remembered number or character sequence. For example, a memorable sequence of digits could be 1-888-888-8888. An easily remembers character sequence may relate to a business such as 1-800-TSHIRTS for a tee shirt store.

Virtual Phone Numbers – The local numbers, which GCF sells, are virtual phone numbers. They differ from standard local numbers because GCF forwards the incoming calls to phones anywhere in the world. The virtual local number gives any company a virtual office in the community where the number is located.

VoIP – VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, which is a phone service that transmits calls over the internet as opposed to transmitting through a traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). VoIP systems are particularly attractive to companies that have under-utilized network capacity.

Web – The web or World Wide Web consists of web pages on the internet computers or servers. The code for the web pages uses Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Universal Resource Locators (URLs) make up the addresses of the web pages. Persons that wish to visit a web page enter the URL in their internet browser, which connects to the site.

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