Struggling to recognise your bandwidth from your broadband, your firewalls from your FTPs? Look no further than the VS Group telecoms jargon buster.

What is ADSL?

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (or ADSL for short) is the name given to a broadband connection which works through the copper wires of a phone line. Unlike its copper predecessor, ADSL allows a faster data transmission than what you’d normally expect over copper.

What is Auto Attendant?

Futuristic in name, futuristic in nature. This is an automated system designed to guide a caller through the options of a voice menu. Typically it is set to answer and route incoming calls.

What is Bandwidth?

When you think of the internet, you typically think about speed and data. Bandwidth is a measurement of the ability of an electronic communications device or system (such as a computer network) to send and receive data. In layman’s terms, it’s the speed at which information can pass over the internet.

What is DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)? 

A DSL is a way of transferring data over regular phone lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, even though the wires coming into your business are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. The phone service is connected to your PC to provide broadband Internet access.

What is Ethernet?

The most commonly used method of connecting Local Area Networks (LANs) together. If you think of the internet as a global network, Ethernet is a local area network and allows for faster speeds, bandwidth and therefore accommodates next data-consuming services (e.g. VoIP).

What is a Firewall? 

This is the bouncer to your nightclub computing equipment. It is a security software or appliance that sits between the Internet and an individual PC or networked device. A Firewall can intercept traffic before it reaches network routers and switches, or between router/switch and PC, or both. The job of firewalls is to prevent access from specific packets of information.

What is an FTP (File Transfer Protocol)?

Hey postie! FTP is a communications protocol governing the transfer of files from one computer to another over a network.

What is VoIP?

We like to think we know a thing or two about the technology known as VoIP, also known as hosted voice and sometimes referred to as IP Telephony. This is where a phone call is routed over an internet connection. The traditional phone system – probably like the type you see in the comms room in the office – is replaced with a system that sits in the cloud. It recreates the calls and the features and means customers only need a VoIP phone to utilise the telephony features.

What is IP (Internet Protocol)?

There’s jargon and there is jargon. In this instance we don’t mean intellectual property jargon. We are taking business technology jargon. IP, or internet protocol, is the “language” used to exchange data over the Internet

What is ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)?

This is a type of circuit switched telephone network system in which digital transmission of voice and data passes over regular telephone copper wires.

What is IVR (Integrated Voice Response, aka Auto-attendant)?

This is an automated system designed to guide a caller through the options of a voice menu.

What is a LAN (Local Area Network)?

This is when a number of computers are connected, generally in an office, but also in homes – these machines often share printers and access to file servers.

What is a Landline?

This is a traditional phone line which requires a copper wire, or optical fibre cabling to make connections. This differs from mobile lines which make use of airwaves to establish connections.

What is a PBX (Private Branch Exchange)?

This is the acronym used to describe a traditional in-house telephone switching system that interconnects telephone extensions to each other and allows telephony to take place.

What is porting?

This is when you move your number from one provider to another whether it’s a geographical number (01, 02) or an NGN (0800-0845).

What is PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network)? This is a network of wires, signals, and switches allowing one phone connect to another anywhere in the world. Some VoIP services provide a gateway from the Internet to the PSTN and vice versa.

What is SDSL (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line)?  

You’ve heard of ADSL, will this is its cousin SDSL. It’s a type of internet connection that allows for faster connection speeds over telephone lines. The distinguishing feature however, is that information travels much the same direction in both directions, hence the symmetry.

What is a softphone?

A favourite in the VS Group technology jargon buster guide. Think about the combination of “software” + “telephone”. It is a piece of software recreates a telephone handset on your computer. As long as you have a headset, or even earphone and a speaker, you to make calls like on a traditional phone.

What is SIP?

This is a single conduit for multimedia elements (voice, video and data) meaning you can access all the great features of VoIP without having to replace your phone system. It provides a smart and cost effective solution to customers by eliminating the need to purchase additional equipment, such as managed media gateway devices to interface between IP voice to the PSTN.

What is Telephony?

The process of converting or transmitting voice or other signals over a distance, and then re-converting them to an audible sound at the far end.

What is a VPN (Virtual Private Network)?

A private communications network generally used within enterprises to communicate over a public network using secure protocols

What is a WAN (Wide Area Network)?

A geographically broad network that uses phone lines, satellites and radio waves to interact. The most commonly recognised WAN is the Internet.