Common telecom acronyms you need to know

A woman wearing a headset types on her computer while sitting at a desk.

The telecommunications industry is rapidly growing, and along with that growth, comes a slew of terminology to keep up with. As a small business owner, sometimes it might feel like you’re reading a different language. We feel your pain. 

To save you the time of scouring the internet for the meaning of each one, we’ve broken down the most common terms below. Master these and you’ll be communicating like a telecom pro in no time: 

Telecom Terms: 

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network)  

A collection of the world’s circuit-switched, public telephone networks operated by national, regional or local operators. 

ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network)  

The original high-speed internet service; a step up from dial-up. The technology that supports the digital transfer of concurrent voice and data traffic, plus video and fax over the public telephone network. 

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)  

Similar to cable internet, but less common these days, DSL connects you to the internet through a pair of copper wires within your telephone lines and using a modem. 

IP (Internet Protocol)  

A set of principles that define how data should be delivered over the internet. 

BW (Bandwidth)  

The maximum amount of data that can be transmitted over an internet connection in a set amount of time. 

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) 

A broad term used to reference phone calls made over internet data connections instead of using traditional phone lines. 

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) 

A protocol used to initiate, maintain and terminate communication sessions in VoIP applications. In other words, a sub-protocol that enables VoIP. 

DID (Direct Inward Dialing)  

Often used interchangeably with “telephone number.” It’s a telephone service that allows a phone call to ring directly to a line instead of going to a menu or a queue and needing to dial an extension. 

IDD (International Direct Dialing)  

Allows you to place an international phone call directly via VoIP as opposed to placing via telephone operator. 

SMS (Short Message Service) 

Otherwise known as “texting.” 

PBX (Public Branch Exchange) 

A private business telephone system that switches calls between several users on the same connection. 

PRI (Primary Rate Interface)  

Connects businesses to the public telephone network using a physical phone line. 

LAN (Local Area Network)  

A series of devices connected together in one physical location, such as an office, home or campus. 

WAN (Wide Area Network)  

An expansive network of information that is not tied to a single location. WANs are used to connect LANs and other networks together, so computers in one location can communicate with users in another location and all around the world. 

SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide-Area Network)  

The next generation of WAN: a type of computer network that enables the connection of multiple access resources—including DSL, cable, cellular, or any other IP transport—over large geographic distances. The major benefit of SD-WAN is that the network is easily managed from a central controller. Network administrators can make updates and seamlessly push them to every device at once, simplifying IT management. 

4G (Fourth Generation)-Failover  

A life jacket for your business when your primary wired internet connection is lost. 

UCC (Unified Communications and Collaboration)  

Integrates multiple communication tools, such as VoIP, instant messaging, video conferencing, and calling, into one system that allows multiple devices to easily communicate with each other.  

UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) 

A cloud delivery model that combines phone, chat and video conferencing all into one platform. It allows colleagues to communicate anywhere, anytime and on any device. 

CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) 

A cloud-based customer experience solution that allows businesses to utilize a contact center provider’s software. This allows companies to purchase only the technology they need, reducing the need for IT, integration and support costs. 

Reminder: Be sure to bookmark this page so the next time you come across a term you don’t know you’ll be able to easily reference this article.

Be brilliant about the way you connect.

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