VoIP Terminology Breakdown

by Jackson Weber

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an excellent technology that can allow its users to send and receive phone calls using the Internet. For some time, this technology has become more and more popular, becoming more commonly known as an Internet phone in the last nine years.

VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol. This is the transmission of voice between two parties using the Internet digital packets instead of the standard PSTN circuit-committed protocols that phones use. Real-time protocol is used in order to ensure that all packets are delivered rapidly.

Residential VoIP providers tend to offer quite a few features at a low rate and are either metered or not metered. Business VoIP providers offer the same features along with a few different ones that are designed to convenience each company based on their size and industry. Likewise, small business owners can elect to either get the smaller version of business VoIP plans or seek one that mimics a residential plan.

Cloud Communications: The word "cloud" refers to the Internet, so this term means using the Internet in a way that different users can connect to equipment stored in another remote location that then connects with the other user to permit phone call transactions. This term is synonymous to Internet Phone Service or hosted VoIP.

Codec: This is normally used to refer to the conversion of analog signals to digital or vice versa. However, it can also be used in conjunction with software meant to compress and decompress the signals.

Data: This is often treated as synonymous for information, but it can be used as a descriptor to refer to traffic beyond voice in network topology.

Data Transfer Rate: This is how quickly a certain amount of data can travel from one point to another point.

DHCP: Dynamic Host Control Protocol. This is a communications-related protocol that permits administrators of the network distribute an IP address from a single point on the network.

Echo Cancellation: This is the process in which vocal echo is removed during communication so that the call is clearer and offers more clarity. This is required due to the fact that speech compression will inevitably create echoes. Removing this also reduces bandwidth during the call.

Hosted PBX: This kind of phone system serves to reduce monthly phone bill costs compared to having a traditional system for phones in the building. Instead, the phone service is hosted on another location at a facility.

IAD: Integrated Access Device. This is equipment with the customer used to convert to voice from a digital signal. This is common with DSL connections.

Jitter: The more data load fluctuates, Internet routers can start creating timing issues as the individual packets travel over time between points. The variation in time experienced is called a jitter.

Latency: This is the amount of time required for the packet to arrive at the destination. With VoIP, there can be noticeable delay when the latency surpasses 150 milliseconds.

Line Echo: This is a common occurrence in the PSTN network and is due to hybrid wiring.

LNP: Local Number Portability. This is the ability for an American phone customer to keep his phone number when switching to another provider.

NAT: Network Address Translation. NAT is an Internet standard that permits local networks to pick an IP address to access the Internet and uses local IP addresses to identify a device within the router. Some translations can cause errors with VoIP like one-way audio.

PBX: Public Branch Exchange. This is a private system that permits outer lines from phone companies to connect to the office through extensions. These usually include other features like paging, rollover, call forwarding as well as voicemail.

RJ-11: The most common 4- or 6-wire connector that connects all of the telephone equipment.

RJ-45: This is another kind of connector that uses eight wires to connect Ethernet cables with computers and other Internet devices like routers. In order to accommodate the extra wires, the connector is a bit larger than an RJ-11.

Router: This device connects at least two networks that then determines which network point to forward packets to. The way this decision is made is based on how much it understands each of its connected networks.

RTP: Real Time Transport Protocol. This is an Internet protocol that exists for end-to-end connections on the network for any application that uses video or audio.

SIP: Session Initiation Protocol. This is a signaling type of protocol commonly used for instant messaging, Internet conferences and telephony. This protocol operates on request for a response, usually a client requesting information and a response from a server.

Soft Phone: This term refers to the telephony software that makes communication between handheld PC devices and computers on the Internet. This is rather common to see with microphones and headsets. There are several different free soft phones that can be used.

Switch: This device maintains a record of every MAC address of every device that is connected to the switch while it channels all incoming information from the various input ports to specific output ports that will continue transmitting the data to its required destination.

T38: This is recognized to be the standard for initiating a fax over an Internet Protocol network in real time. Messages through this means are sent either as TCP/IP or UDP packets.

UDP: User Datagram Protocol. This is the communications protocol that provides no sequencing for its packets. The application in question needs to be able to tell whether or not the whole message has been sent in the correct order and in full.

VoIP Call Center: This is similar to any other call center but is built around VoIP instead of traditional phones. A call center refers to a handful of workers trained to handle several phone calls throughout the day.

Wholesale VoIP: Providers of wholesale VoIP do so with large groups like countries. Providers will negotiate the costs while setting profit margins and electing to resell to services to provide features like toll-free phone systems, PBX phone systems, 24/7 support solutions, low cost to the end user and much more.

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