Confusing VoIP terminology explained

Technical terminology with what seems like millions of acronyms is among the most difficult to understand. If you listen to IT people speak, it can often sound like nothing but a string of abbreviations with the odd technical sounding word thrown in for good measure. The same goes for VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol.

Here are seven of the most commonly used VoIP terms and what they mean.

Internet Service Provider - ISP. The company that provides your company with Internet access.
Private Branch eXchange - PBX. A system within a company that allows internal phones to connect to an outside line. This is also referred to as a switchboard in larger businesses. An IP PBX, Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange, is the same thing, but it handles VoIP calls as well.
Analog. The old system that transmits voice over telephone lines. Your normal landline telephone connection is most likely analog. In many countries, this is also called the Plain Old Telephone System - POTS for short.
Analog Telephone Adapter - ATA. A piece of hardware that allows you to use a traditional telephone for VoIP calls.
Digital. Any information, including sound, that’s on a computer. VoIP is a form of digital communication, because it uses a digital system, the Internet, to transfer your voice.
Integrated Services Digital Network - ISDN. A telephone network that allows digital signal e.g., VoIP, to be transmitted over traditional phone lines.
Softphone. A VoIP application that is run strictly on your computer.

There’s a lot of technical terminology out there, the majority of it in acronyms. Don’t be afraid to ask us for more information. If you’d like to learn about ways you can use VoIP in your company, please contact us.

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