Have you ever been part of a conversation with a group of people who seemed to be speaking their own language? Perhaps it made you feel left out and it was difficult to connect with the group on a personal level because of what seemed like a language barrier. That’s how jargon can make “average” people feel. All the VoIP phone system acronyms and industry terms only create confusion among certain individuals and makes them feel like outsiders, increasing the communication gap between a service provider and its consumer.
This is why we are providing you with a glossary of the essential terms used by VoIP providers so you can meet VoIP agents and telecom experts at least half way. Before we get in it, however, lets clarify what the difference is between VoIP, IP, and Cloud telephony.
Simply put: there really isn’t much difference. VoIP, IP, and Cloud (or cloud-based) are essentially synonymous. All of these use an IP network which digitizes communication data, like voice, creating packets of data and sends these packets of data between different endpoints. Using this method has been known to be more cost effective since data packets can be transmitted on shared lines without the PTSN tolls (keep reading to learn what PTSN is).
This glossary was made with the average business owner in mind. Since the way businesses communicate is changing to match the technological advances of today, we want to help you stay up to date on the terminology you might hear over the phone when speaking to VoIP service providers.
Here are some other helpful words to help you better understand the agents of your current cloud business phone service provider
ATA: Analog Telephone Adapter. This allows analog users to connect their traditional phones and fax machines to a VoIP network. Turn your fax machine into a virtual fax machine with an SPA112 ATA from Cisco.
BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. Many VoIP phone system providers make it easy to switch providers by allowing users to use their existing communication hardware. If you already have IP hardware, you can experience even more savings.
DID: Direct Inward Dialing. DIDs are phone numbers where you can allocate multiple phone numbers associated with one or more phone lines so that each employee can have their own number without requiring a separate phone line. DIDs eliminate additional costs and the occurrence of busy signals.
IP Phone (a.k.a. VoIP Phone): Digital telephone that uses an internet connection to transmit calls. IP phones are not necessarily a requirement to use your VoIP phone system since many offer plans that can be used with your mobile phone.
IVR: Interactive Voice Response. An IVR allows a computer to interact with callers and identify where to route the callers based on a selection callers make in the prompt menu. For example, if your VoIP system has a custom greeting that lets callers choose between speaking to sales, marketing, or billing, the caller will be routed to a specific endpoint ((individual or department) based on their selection.
Jitter: variations in packet arrival time, meaning the call quality sounds choppy.
Packet Loss: if your voice is transmitted as a “data packet,” then packet loss just means that that piece of data was unable to reach the desired endpoint. This typically happens because of network congestion and causes jitter.
PoE: Power over Ethernet. PoE means that data connection and electrical power are provided by a single cable to deliver functionality to devices, including IP phones. With PoE phones, the device can be connected to a desktop and wall jack to create a complete path for voice and data media.
LNP: Local Number Portability. If you are going to be porting your number from one provider to another, you will need to fill out an LNP form in order to reassign your number.
PBX: Private Branch Exchange.
PSTN: Public Switched Telephone Network.
Softphone: software that gives you the ability to make telephone calls using your computer via an internet connection. This can also be an app on your mobile phone that allows you to use your mobile as a business communication device.
Virtual Number: Another way of saying DID, a virtual number is not associated with a telephone line and is usually used to forward incoming calls to pre-set telephone numbers. Virtual numbers can be used for virtual service, marketing campaigns, and other business purposes.
VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol
VoIP Service Providers that Speak Your Language
Regardless of the size of your business and what type of products and services you provide, you can benefit from VoIP service providers and the touted features they offer. Although VoIP is not perfect and may not suit everyone, it is a solution that many business owners across the country have implemented without hassles. See for yourself with tailored VoIP solutions.
You don’t have to speak like a VoIP agent to enjoy the powerful, productivity-boosting features; however, now you can keep up with some of the most common terms and be better prepared for your next conversation with VoIP service providers.