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Network & Phone Jargons – Simplified

Many of us struggle with technical jargons in our everyday interaction with technology at work or home, no matter how tech savvy. This is especially challenging for business owners who are at the forefront of decisions regarding software and network infrastructure in their offices. Vendors come at you with one jargon after another, and you are left playing catch up, all the while pretending to know terminology that lies outside your expertise.

We have put together a glossary of terms most commonly used for network infrastructure for your convenience.

  • Direct inward dialing (DID): Direct inward dialing numbers (DIDs) are virtual numbers that allow you to route calls to your existing telephone lines. DIDs allow companies to assign certain employees or workstations a direct number, without requiring multiple physical phone lines.
  • VOIP: Voice over Internet Protocol (Voice over IP) transmits telephone calls through the internet instead of traditional phone lines.
  • Enhanced 911 (E911): E911 (Enhanced 911) is support for wireless phone users who dial 911 for help in an emergency. Some sort of enhancement is needed to 911 service that allows the location of the wireless user to be known to the call receiver as the wireless caller could be mobile.
  • LAN: Local Area Network (LAN) is a computer network spanning a small geographical area such as a single room, an office building, etc.
  • WLAN: Wide Area Network (WAN) is a computer network spanning large geographical distances and is able to connect different smaller networks such as Local Area Network (LAN).
  • VPN: Virtual Private Network (VPN) uses the internet to let people access the network remotely, while maintaining encryption for security purposes. VPN is popular as it supports users that work remotely.
  • SERVER: A server is like a parent computer that provides services to other computer systems (client) and their users. It’s like having a computer with enough firepower to power other systems on the network. There are various types of servers:
    • Print server
    • File Server
    • Network Server
    • Database Server
  • ISDN: Integrated Services Digital Network is a digital line for transmission of voice and data. Your computer connects to the ISDN line (via a terminal adaptor) without having to convert the data into sound first. According to TechTarget, in the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), there are two levels of service: Basic Rate Interface (BRI), intended for the home and small enterprise, and Primary Rate Interface (PRI), for larger users. Both rates include several B-channels and a D-channel. Each B-channel carries data, voice, and other services. The D-channel controls and routes the flow of that data or voice.
  • T1 LINE: The T1 (or T-1) carrier is the most commonly used digital transmission service. One T1 line can carry a band of 24 channels/lines that provide digital transmission of data and/or voice at the rate of 1.544 megabits/second. According to Techopedia, T1 lines are proprietary, which reduces congestion and ensures usage by only one client (computer), versus cable, digital subscriber line (DSL) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).
  • T3 LINE: According to Techopedia, A T3 line is a dedicated physical circuit that uses high-speed media to transmit data, voice and video at the rate of 45 Mbps. It offers a broadband connection consisting of 672 individual channels of 64 kilobits each. They are commonly used in applications requiring high bandwidth, such as in research centers and big organizations, to provide uninterrupted data transmission, and other multi-channel services such as email and Internet.
  • SIP TRUNKING: Similar to VOIP (voice over internet protocol), SIP Trunking also uses the internet connection to make calls instead of traditional phone lines. SIP Trunking is based on Session Initiation Protocol and works with VoIP phone systems. With SIP Trunking, you don’t need a physical connection to a phone company which drastically eliminates hardware costs. This is also an easily scalable solution.
  • SD-WAN: SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networks) is an application of SDN (Software Defined Networking). SD-WAN is used for connecting enterprise networks including multiple offices and data centers, separated by geographical distances through the cloud. SD-WAN services can be provided by a combination of local, regional or national providers, allowing you flexibility in choosing vendor of your choice.
  • MPLS: MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) is used for speeding up and routing network traffic. It can also be used to connect multiple office locations, however, it is more hardware intensive than SD-WAN. Unlike SD-WAN, only a single provider can service all locations.
  • PBX: According to TechTarget, A PBX (private branch exchange) is a telephone system within an enterprise that switches calls between enterprise users on local lines while allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines. The main purpose of a PBX is to save the cost of requiring a line for each user for internal communications.
  • STATIC IP: Static Internet Protocol (IP) address is a number, usually permanent, assigned to a computer by an internet service provider (ISP) and is used for things like website hosting, gaming or VOIP services. It is fast and reliable but also susceptible to data mining and security risks as it has a fixed address.
  • DYNAMIC IP: Dynamic Internet Protocol (IP) is also an address assigned to a computer, but unlike Static IP, it is a temporary one. It is also used (like Static IP) to locate and connect to other computers/addresses on the internet.
  • REDUNDANCY: Redundancy in technology means the process of securing data by duplicating and storing it in different servers or data centers to prevent losing data in case of system failure.
  • DIGITAL PHONES VS. VOIP PHONES: In recent decades, analog phones were replaced with digital phones, which are still traditional phone systems that make calls through phone lines. Voice over internet protocol, or VoIP lines, send voice data through a data connection (the internet) rather than over phone lines.

Watch this space for updates.