Telecom Definitions

With so many acronyms and buzzwords floating around in the telecom industry, you could find yourself lost in the lingo. Here’s a roadmap of definitions to help you find your way.

Audio Conferencing – Audio conferencing is a simple and affordable technique for allowing multiple parties to join a teleconference, either over the PSTN or over a VoIP connection. Audio conferencing may include additional features such as polling, call recording, and regulated participation for question and answer sessions.

Managed Network Services – A managed network service allows a third party provider to establish a secure connection with a client’s data or communications network, for the purpose of offsourcing administration and management.

Metro Ethernet – Metro Ethernet, sometimes called Carrier Ethernet, provides a broad Ethernet framework to which individual companies can connect to their other branch offices or to the public Internet.

MPLS – MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) forwards packets at the switching layer for greater efficiency. Often used for creating scalable VPNs, MPLS appends a short header to each packet for routing information.

SIP – Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is often seen as a replacement for PRI technology. Because it is not channelized like PRI, it allows for more granular scalability, so companies can add telephone lines one at a time on an as needed basis. SIP is a virtual technology, and does not require a physical installation on premises.

Software-as-a-Service – SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is a type of cloud computing which delivers a software application hosted on a third party site and accessed over the Internet.

T1 – A T1 line allows for 1.5Mbps of bandwidth both upstream and downstream, and generally can accommodate up to 50 ordinary end users. Fractional T1s are also available to smaller users who do not have the same high-end needs. Similarly, multiple T1s can be aggregated for scalability.

Video Conferencing – Video conferencing technology may range from simple webcams and IM, to more sophisticated room-area video cameras in conjunction with a VoIP connection or a phone bridge to allow for both video and audio.

Virtual Meetings – A virtual meeting is a broad term that refers to the emerging trend of hosting meetings over the Internet, as opposed to requiring participants to attend in person. Technologies may include audio or video conferencing, as well as collaborative technologies that allow for data and application sharing.

VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a newer technology that is rapidly replacing the PSTN, allowing voice traffic to traverse the Internet on a prioritized basis.

VPN – Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a logical way of establishing connections between endpoints, by creating a virtual, encrypted tunnel over a broader network or the public Internet.

Web Conferencing – Web conferencing can take many forms, including both audio and video, often accompanied by collaborative technologies and data sharing.

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