Talk “VoIP” to Me – The Latest Phone Lingo

When you’re immersed in a specific industry every day, it’s easy to forget that not everyone speaks the same business “language.” You throw around jargon that makes complete sense to coworkers, but when you use it with clients, they respond with the same face your grandma gave you when you first said LOL. 

The tech industry is notorious for this behavior. So, before you start researching new business phone systems, review the standard industry terms below and keep them handy as you meet with potential vendors. (Note: These terms apply to both SIP trunking and hosted VoIP products.)

The Latest Business Phone Lingo

Automated Attendant: An automated attendant (aka, phone tree, auto-attendant, auto-receptionist, virtual receptionist, etc.) routes incoming calls to an appropriate agent or extension. It can have many different parameters (such as day/night mode). An auto-attendant can also play hold music while it rings the destination.

ATA (Analog Telephony Adapter): An ATA is a small, inexpensive device that converts an analog signal to a digital one. They’re typically used to integrate analog devices (legacy phone systems, fax machines, overhead paging, etc.) within a digital network, such as a hosted VoIP phone system.

Channel: A channel is the SIP trunking equivalent of an analog telephone line. Think of channels as your VoIP telephone lines.

DID (Direct Inward Dial): This is a specific, 10-digit phone number assigned within a business phone system. For example, UpLync’s DID is 765-421-6072. They’re also sometimes given to individual people within the system, in addition to their extension number.

E911: E911 is the phone number that ensures dispatchers route emergency services correctly when someone dials 911. It’s ideal to have at least one at every geographic location to ensure emergency personnel arrive at the destination where the 911 call originated. 

ISP (Internet Service Provider): A company that supplies individuals and businesses with internet access. ISPs may also offer other services, such as phone and television.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response): An IVR is a more advanced version of an auto attendant. Callers can interact with menus using their voice, instead of the keypad. It’s great for handling automated tasks that involve numbers and simple yes/no answers. For example, if you call your electric company to get your account balance, you’re using an IVR. 

Jitter: Jitter refers to the variation in time that it takes each data packet traveling over an internet network to reach its destination. It creates a poor audio experience and is more challenging to diagnose than latency. It’s like hitting a bunch of potholes when you’re speeding down the highway.

Latency: Latency is like a traffic jam on your internet connection. It’s the amount of time it takes a data packet to reach its destination. When latency is too high (cars are moving too slow), it can degrade voice calls to unacceptable levels.

PRI (Primary Rate Interface): A dedicated physical analog connection used to make phone calls. As opposed to SIP trunking, which uses an internet connection.

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) Lines: Physical telephone lines, fiber optic cables, cellular networks, and more, all interconnected by switching centers to allow calls between telephones.

Redundancy: The process of ensuring network availability in the case of a network failure or outage. You or your IT provider install additional or alternate instances of network equipment within your network infrastructure. Ultimately, it provides a backup for network failover.

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol): A communications protocol for signaling and controlling multimedia communication sessions, including VoIP. It is the standard communications protocol for voice and video solutions across a data network.

SIP Trunking: SIP trunks allow your business to obtain phone services from a provider using a simple internet connection instead of a traditional analog line to make phone calls.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol or Voice over IP): This means that the voice traffic (phone calls) travels over your internet connection instead of analog telephone lines.

Your VoIP Provider in Lafayette, IN

Knowing the right questions to ask and interpreting proposals for VoIP phone systems can be challenging, even with an understanding of the vocabulary. 

The experts at UpLync Communications, a VoIP provider in Lafayette, Indiana, can help you compare different internet-based phone systems and make the selection that’s right for you. Save yourself time and headaches. Contact us for a free consultation.