The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.  Frank Herbert

Zeracom believes in an educated consumer

AsteriskAn Open Source PBX system that is recognized as the standard by the open source development community and has proved stable, reliable and robust with the ability to accomplish and integrate with numerous feature sets.

Attendant (Auto Attendant) An automatic response system, such as a voice presenting options, such as press 3 for sales, 4 for parts, etc.  An attendant can handle incoming calls and direst them to the proper person, department or extension.

ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) A device that converts an analog voice signal from a traditional telephone to a digital format that can then be transmitted over IP and vice a versa.  This device usually resides at the users location has an Ethernet port and one, two or more RJ11 ports where telephones an plug in.

BLI (Busy Lamp Indicator) An indicator light or LED located on a telephone that shows which line is in use.

Codec Voice encoder/decoder that converts analog to digital and digital to analog.  Typically used in conjunction with compression software to compress and decompress voice signals.  Some common voice codecs are G729, G723 and G711(non-compressed).

CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) is a television system in which signals are not publicly distributed.  Cameras are connected to television monitors in the local LAN or even at a remote location and can be viewed over the Internet.

Convergence Referred to in the telecom and IT world as the integration or connection of different systems.  Convergence will allow for communication and "meeting" of separate systems to allow for better efficiencies.

CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) Equipment that resides at the customers premise or location.  It can include phones, routers, modems or other devices which facilitate a connection to a provider.

CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) Is the use of computers to manage telephone calls, allowing for automation possibilities and allows for integration of text and faxing and other services.

Data Usually treated as a synonym for information, but when used as a description for network topology refers to all traffic other than voice.

Data Transfer Rate The speed of travel of a given amount of data from one place to another.

DID (Direct Inward Dialing) A service that allows a company to allocate individual phone numbers to each person within its PBX system.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) Phone technology that allows a broadband internet digital connection to be carried over existing copper phone lines, while still allowing the phone service carry analog signals over the same line.

Full Duplex Refers to transmission both ways simultaneously, so with a speaker phone both parties can talk at once.  Walkie-talkies are half duplex because only one party can transmit at a time.

IVR (Integrated Voice Response) An integrated software information system that speaks to callers and uses voice responses.  By using touchtone keypad entries to interact with the software, you get voice responses with real time data.

LNP (Local Number Portability) The ability of a US telephone customer to retain their phone number if they switch to another local telephone provider.

MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) An IETF initiative that integrates layer 2 information about network links (latency, bandwidth, utilization) into layer 3 or IP within a autonomous network, which greatly improves IP-packet exchange.  These advancements give network operators the ability and flexibility to re-route traffic around failure points, congestion and bottlenecks for a more robust stable network for their network users.

PBX (Public Branch Exchange) A private telephone switching system that allows outside phone lines from a telecommunications provider to connect to extensions within the office or building.  They usually have multiple features including call forwarding, rollover, paging and voicemail.

POTS (Plain Old telephone System) The familiar single phone line, single phone number system that has been in existence for many years.

QoS (Quality of Service) On networks and the Internet using RSVP, as packets are passing can be categorized and expedited by type.  By prioritizing voice packets better quality can be established preventing other protocols with more latitude from delaying the voice packets.

RJ-11  The typical 4 or 6 wire connector used to connect telephone equipment.

RJ-45 An 8 wire connector used to connect Ethernet connections in computers, routers, and other Internet devices. 

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) A signaling protocol for Internet conferencing, telephony, and instant messaging.  It is a request-response protocol, dealing with requests from clients and responses from servers initiating an interactive user session.

Soft Phone IP telephony software that allows end users to send and receive calls over the computer or a hand held PC device (PDA) over the Internet.  Typically used in conjunction with a headset and microphone.

T1 A digital transmission link with a capacity of 1.544 Mbps using two pairs of normal twisted wires.  T1s usually have 24 voice channels, each one of 64 Kbps.

T38 A recognized standard for sending fax transmissions over an IP network in real time mode.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) What is VoIP?  The transmission of voice over the Internet as digital packets rather than the traditional circuit-committed protocols of the PSTN.  VoIP uses real-time protocol (RTP) to help ensure the packets get delivered in a timely way.