For many people, technology is incredibly complex and confusing, and often regarded as the domain of highly specialized experts. Sure, the vast majority of us know how to use a fair amount technology, but when it comes to understanding technology terms there are often blank stares. This is certainly true with regard to VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) which has some pretty confusing terms associated with it.
Here is an overview of the 10 popular terms you will hear regarding VoIP:
POTS – Plain Old Telephone System. This is the term applied to traditional or older phone systems that rely on analog (phone line) transmission. Many smaller businesses and homes still use this system.
ATA – Analog Telephone Adaptor. This is a small adaptor, usually about the size of a thumb drive, that you plug into a normal phone to allow it to connect to a VoIP network and send calls over the Internet.
PBX – Private Branch Exchange. The PBX is an internal company phone system that allows phone calls to different lines, with an answering service, automated menus, and voice mail, as well as call transfers, etc. Think of it as the system that controls everything related to your phones.
Bandwidth – Is the amount or volume of data that can be transmitted over an Internet or communication line in a given amount of time. It is measured in bits per second (bps) e.g., 100 mbps for Internet speed, and Hertz (Hz) for phone/analog systems. The higher the number, the faster communication will be.
DDI – Direct Dial In. Is a function of VoIP and some POTS, whereby a caller can directly call a phone on a desk instead of having to go through the PBX and answering system.
CTI – Computer Telephone Integration. This system allows your phones to interact with computers. An example is the ability to make a call directly from Outlook, or send voice mail to your inbox.
SRTP – Secure Real-time Transfer Protocol. This is a security protocol that many businesses and VoIP systems rely on. What it does is create a unique encryption code for each call, which makes eavesdropping nearly impossible, without reducing call quality.
QoS – Quality of Service. This is the ability of a VoIP network to deliver traffic with a minimal amount of downtime and the highest quality.
Find-me/Follow-me – This service can find you wherever you are, and forward calls to that location or the phone closest to you, such as a mobile or home phone.
IP Phone – This is another term applied to VoIP phones. This phone can convert voice into a digital signal called ‘packets’ which can then send the audio over an Internet connection. It can also convert digital packets of back into voice audio.
VoIP doesn’t have to be confusing, especially when you work with a partner who takes the time to talk to you and ensure that you are comfortable with the system. If you are looking for a VoIP partner, why not give us a call to see how we can help.