Jargon-busting for the IT and Communications Industry
Here is a selection of terms and acronyms often used in the IT and communications industry. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to assist you.
Third generation of wireless mobile telecommunication.
4G is the fourth generation of mobile phone communications standards and is the successor of the 3G and provides ultra-broadband internet access for mobile devices.
5G is the fifth generation of mobile phone communications standards. It is a successor to 4G and promises to be faster than previous generations while opening up new use cases for mobile data.
ANT is a wireless protocol for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks.
APN is the name of an access point for GPRS/EDGE/UMTS data connection. Usually, wireless carriers provide the APN to their end users.
Software systems that simulate human intelligence, including the ability to learn.
The speed at which a circuit can carry data. The more bandwidth, the faster the data transfer and the lower the costs.
A binary digit. The values of a bit are either “0” or “1”. Eight bits form a byte.
Bluetooth is a wireless protocol for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks.
A measure of data transmission speeds is the number of bits transferred in a single second. Typically, speeds are measured in kbps (1000 bits per second).
“Broadband connection” is a connection with a high speed of data transfer (greater than 56 kbps). Generally, it is fast enough to support streaming video.
A piece of software that allows the user to access Internet sites.
A string of 8 bits. Typically, one byte equals one text character, but in some cases (especially with non-Latin alphabets), two or more bytes are used. Because of this, an SMS written in the Cyrillic or Chinese alphabet has a shorter maximum length than one written in the Latin alphabet.
The mobile phone can alert you of events such as an incoming call or message in several ways.
Prevention of calls to specific destinations, e.g. overseas calls or calls to premium rate numbers.
(Also known as call diversion). By dialling a code, an extension user can divert incoming calls to another destination. The destination may be another extension, a group of extensions, the operator, or an external number like a mobile phone. Different types of diversion are usually possible, e.g. diversion of all calls when busy or on no reply.
Services are offered by the wireless service provider as a package. These usually include activation, monthly charges, per minute voice call charges, roaming terms, voicemail, data, and international roaming.
Wireless service providers or mobile network operators (MNOs) are the companies that operate the wireless networks and sell the use of those networks (the service).
A feature of 4G and 5G networks that allow two separate radio frequency bands to be used simultaneously and effectively act as one, improving data speeds and/or network capacity.
A telephone call in which three or more people can hear and speak with one another.
Mobile phone networks use signals on specific frequency bands, and a phone must support those bands to work with the network. A dual-band refers to the phone’s ability to work with two different bands.
A dual-mode phone is a phone capable of sending/receiving data in two different ways. For example, a dual-mode phone could support both GSM and CDMA.
1GB is equal to approximately 1 billion bytes or exactly 1024 MB.
GSM was the dominant 2G digital mobile phone standard for most of the world. It determines how mobile phones communicate with the land-based network of towers.
An area where wireless service is made available for Wi-Fi-enabled devices or computers to access the internet.
IP is the protocol for communicating data across a packet-switched network used in most publicly accessible networks today. Connections that mobile devices make to GPRS, 3G and similar networks are made using IP.
A set of communication standards that uses digital transmission to make phone calls, video calls, transmit data and other network services over the circuits of the traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). ISDN will be switched off in 2025.
A feature allowing you to lock the keyboard to avoid any accidental dialling of a number or pressing of keys while carrying the phone in a pocket or bag. The keyboard is unlocked by a special sequence of keys unlikely to be pressed accidentally.
Non-wireless telephone connection.
In a wireless (or wired) connection or network, latency refers to the delay between a signal or information originating at the transmitting end and when it is received at the other end.
One of the major display technologies used in mobile phones. LCD displays have low energy requirements and are generally easy to read.
A small semiconductor device, that emits light when charged with electricity. LEDs come in white and many colours, including non-visible light such as infrared and ultraviolet.
A 4th-generation (4G) wireless cellular mobile radio technology. It is the main radio technology that powers mobile phone networks. It replaced 3G technologies (including WCDMA and CDMA) starting around 2012 and is gradually phased out in favour of 5G (NR) technology starting in 2020.
All GSM carriers also offer messaging services, and messaging has been a core service since the beginning of GSM mobile telephony. Mobile messaging ranges from SMS, through EMS, to IM and Email.
MMS supports the transmission of various media types: text, picture, audio, video, or a combination of all four.
Mobile Instant Messaging is the ability to engage in Instant Messaging services from a mobile handset. Mobile IM allows users to address messages to others using a dynamic address book full of users with their online status updated constantly.
Also known as Carrier.
Multi-Network Sim is a data SIM card that operates on more than one mobile network; it can connect to up to three networks.
The geographical area is covered by the network of a service provider. Within this area, the phone will be able to complete a call using the carriers or a partner network.
The “core” software controls the basic operation of an electronic device. Examples include Mac OS for computers and Android for phones.
Telecommunications network that allows subscribers at different sites to communicate by voice. PSTN will be switched off in 2025.
QoS refers to a wide range of connection quality measurements. Connection delay and interference may be measured, as well as sound quality and volume, and echo.
Refers to using a mobile phone outside of your service provider’s coverage area, typically outside the country of origin. Typically, service providers charge higher fees for calls, messages and access to the Internet.
A removable smart card for mobile phones. SIM cards store the required information to identify the mobile device.
SMS or the Short Messaging Service allows users to send and receive personal text messages directly between mobile phones or email addresses. Each message can be up to 160 characters long (when using the default character set) and sent to and from users of different operator networks. All mobile phones support SMS.
Talk time is the officially quoted longest time that a single battery charge will last when constantly talking on the phone.
Two interrelated protocols are part of the Internet protocol suite. TCP breaks data into packets. IP routes packets.
Voicemail is a network feature offered by most networks. It is similar to an answering machine and allows the caller to leave a voice message if the person called is unavailable.
VOIP is a technology which allows the transmission of voice-over data networks. This makes regular phone calls over such networks possible.
A set of communication protocols allows remote users to securely access a remote network. An example of this technology is when you access your corporate Intranet remotely from your mobile phone.
A wired network that provides data communications to a more significant number of users than are usually served by a local area network (LAN) and is usually spread over a larger geographic area than that of a LAN. Our Virtual WAN solution will help you modernise your connectivity and scale as you need to.
WAP is an international standard for applications that use wireless communication. Its most common application is to enable access to the Internet from a mobile phone or a PDA.
Wi-Fi is a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) technology. It provides short-range wireless high-speed data connections between mobile devices (such as laptops, PDAs or phones) and nearby Wi-Fi access points (special hardware connected to a wired network).
A device that allows wireless-equipped computers and other devices to communicate with a wired network.
An application programming interface is a computing interface that defines interactions between multiple software intermediaries. It defines the kinds of calls or requests that can be made, how to make them, the data formats that should be used, the conventions to follow.
The process of identifying yourself and the verification that you’re who you say you are. Computers where restricted information is stored may require you to enter your username and password to gain access.
A measurement of the amount of data that can be transmitted over a network at any given time. The higher the network’s bandwidth, the greater the volume of data that can be transmitted.
The term break/fix refers to the fee-for-service method of providing information technology services to businesses. Using this method, an IT solution provider performs services as needed and bills the customer only for the work done.
Activity performed by an organisation to ensure that critical business functions will be available to customers, suppliers, regulators, and other entities that must have access to those functions. These activities include many daily chores such as project management, system backups, change control, and help desk.
Bring Your Own Device or ‘BYOD’ is a business and technology policy that allows employees to bring in personal mobile devices and use these devices to access company data, email, etc.
A set of files saved on your hard disk that help your browser display pages you have already visited more quickly. It displays the files from your hard disk instead of the web.
The cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet instead of your computer.
Compliance management is the ongoing process of monitoring and assessing systems to ensure they comply with industry and security standards, as well as corporate and regulatory policies and requirements.
A business model for providing cloud services.
A security breach in cyberspace that impacts on the physical environment. A malicious user can take control of the computing or communication components of water pumps, transportation, pipeline valves, etc., and cause damage to property and put lives at risk.
A collection of information organised so that a computer application can quickly access selected information; it can be thought of as an electronic filing system.
Facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems.
Data loss prevention (DLP) is a set of tools and processes used to ensure that sensitive data is not lost, misused, or accessed by unauthorised users. Data loss prevention software detects potential data breaches/data exfiltration transmissions and prevents them by monitoring, detecting and blocking sensitive data while in use, in motion, and at rest.
A set of practices that combines software development and IT operations. It aims to shorten the system’s development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality.
A protocol that lets a server on a local network assign temporary IP addresses to a computer or other network devices.
The adoption of digital technology by a company with the goal for its implementation being to improve efficiency, value, or innovation.
Disaster recovery is the process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to an organisation after a natural or human-induced disaster. Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity.
The manipulation of data to prevent accurate interpretation by all but those for whom the data is intended.
Endpoint security is the practice of securing endpoints or entry points of end-user devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices from being exploited by malicious actors and campaigns.
Ethernet is the standard wired network technology in use almost everywhere today. If your computer is connected to a network via a cable, it’s likely using an Ethernet cable.
A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that blocks certain types of traffic. For example, a firewall could block incoming traffic on a certain port or block all incoming traffic except traffic coming from a specific IP address.
A method of exchanging files between computers via the Internet.
A gateway is a device that routes traffic between networks. For example, at home, your router is your gateway. It provides a ‘gateway’ between your LAN and WAN.
A gateway is a device that routes traffic between networks. For example, at home, your router is your gateway. It provides a ‘gateway’ between your LAN and WAN.
A language used for creating web pages. Various instructions and sets of tags are used to define how the document will look.
A standard protocol modern web browsers and the web itself uses. FTP and BitTorrent are examples of alternative protocols.
Coined by Cisco, the term ‘Internet of Everything’ is defined as the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. The benefit of IoE is derived from the compound impact of connecting people, process, data, and things, and the value this increased connectedness creates as ‘everything’ comes online.
IoE creates opportunities for organisations, individuals, communities, and countries to realise dramatically greater value from networked connections among people, process, data, and things.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, all collecting and sharing data.
Access to a standard global communications protocol.
An Internet Protocol address, or IP address, is a numerical address that corresponds to your computer on a network. When a computer wants to connect to another computer, it connects to that computer’s IP address.
A company that provides you with your Internet connection. For example, your ISP may be BT, Time Warner, or another company you’re paying each month.
A small network that’s confined to a local area. For example, your home network or an office network is a LAN. Connects a group of computers for the purpose of sharing resources such as programs, documents, or printers. Shared files often are stored on a central file server.
A networked computer dedicated to supporting electronic mail. You use a client program like Microsoft Outlook for retrieving new mail from the server and for composing and sending messages.
A man-in-the-middle attack requires three players. There’s the victim, the entity with which the victim is trying to communicate, and the “man in the middle,” who’s intercepting the victim’s communications. Critical to the scenario is that the victim isn’t aware of the man in the middle.
Managed Antivirus is a centrally managed software option that protects all of the computers at a business from virus threats.
A managed security service provider (MSSP) provides outsourced monitoring and management of security devices and systems. Common services include managed firewall, intrusion detection, virtual private network, vulnerability scanning and anti-viral services.
Microsoft Azure, commonly referred to as Azure, is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centres.
Microsoft Exchange Server is the server side of a client server, collaborative application product developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Microsoft Servers line of server products and is used by enterprises using Microsoft infrastructure products. Exchange’s major features consist of electronic mail, calendaring, contacts and tasks; support for mobile and web-based access to information; and support for data storage
Also referred to simply as Teams, is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.
A business model for providing information-technology services.
An authentication method in which a computer user is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism: knowledge, possession, and inherence. Two-factor authentication is a type, or subset, of multi-factor authentication.
A standard that enables a LAN to use a set of IP addresses for internal traffic and a single IP address for communications with the Internet.
A group of interconnected computers capable of exchanging information. A network can be as few as several personal computers on a LAN or as large as the Internet, a worldwide network of computers.
A common connection point for devices on a network.
Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information to the attacker or to deploy malicious software on the victim’s infrastructure like ransomware.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. Ransomware typically spreads through phishing emails or by unknowingly visiting an infected website.
A device used for connecting two Local Area Networks (LANs); a device that passes traffic back and forth. You likely have a home router. It’s that router’s job to pass outgoing traffic from your local devices to the Internet, and to pass incoming traffic from the Internet to your devices.
A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated storage network that provides access to consolidated, block level storage. SANs primarily are used to make storage devices (such as disk arrays, tape libraries, and optical jukeboxes) accessible to servers so that the devices appear as locally attached to the operating system.
SD-WAN simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by decoupling the networking hardware from its control mechanism.
As a select partner with leading SD-WAN providers Cisco Meraki and Paloalto, Opus can help you future-proof your connectivity and ensure your users can access the connectivity they expect with the peace of mind of knowing it is safe and secure.
A cybersecurity risk assessment identifies the various information assets that could be affected by a cyber attack (such as hardware, systems, laptops, customer data, and intellectual property), and then identifies the various risks that could affect those assets.
An agreed upon set of rules that tells computers how to exchange information over the Internet. Other Internet protocols like FTP, Gopher, and HTTP sit on top of TCP/IP.
A program intended to alter data on a computer in an invisible fashion, usually for mischievous or destructive purposes. Viruses are often transferred across the Internet as well as by infected diskettes and can affect almost every type of computer. Special antivirus programs are used to detect and eliminate them.
Voice phishing, or Vishing, is the use of telephony to conduct phishing attacks. Landline telephone services have traditionally been trustworthy; terminated in physical locations known to the telephone company and associated with a bill-payer.
VOIP is a means of using the Internet as the transmission medium for phone calls. An advantage is you do not incur any additional surcharges beyond the cost of your Internet access.
A means of securely accessing resources on a network by connecting to a remote access server through the Internet or other network.
WAN is a larger network that covers a wider area. Your ISP provides you with a connection to their own WAN, which connects to the Internet.
A set of communication protocols for enabling wireless access to the Internet.
A security protocol for wireless local area networks defined in the 802.11b standard. WEP provides the same level of security as that of a wired LAN.
A generic term from the Wi-Fi Alliance that refers to of any type of 802.11 network (e.g. 802.11b, 802.11a, dual band, etc.). Products approved as ‘Wi-Fi Certified’ (a registered trademark) are certified as inter-operable with each other for wireless communications.
The computers and devices that make up a wireless network.
A standard designed to improve on the security features of WEP.
Also known as Ascotel, Aastra is an industry leading manufacturer of telephone systems.
A signalling system used for linking two pieces of telecommunications equipment over a distance (e.g. two telephone systems).
The part of the telephone company network that touches the customer’s premises. The Access Network is also referred to as the local drop, local loop, or last mile.
Allows all incoming calls to be distributed equally amongst a group of people. Typically used in contact centres where agents log in to make calls.
A form of DSL that enables faster data transmission over copper telephone lines than a conventional modem can provide. It does this by using frequencies higher than normal human hearing. ADSL can only be used over short distances, typically less than 3 miles.
The assignment of alpha-numeric name to a phone extension – the phone can display the name of the caller rather than the extension number.
A device that can be attached to an analogue telephone line, telephone, cordless phone, fax, or answering machine for example.
Also called Caller ID. The automatic identification of the telephone number of the person calling you.
A technique where the telephone system looks at the digits being dialled to make an outside call and automatically routes the call.
A voicemail feature that allows callers to be automatically transferred to extensions or departments by dialling digits.
The common measure of transmission capacity. For analogue transmission, it is measured in cycles per second. Digital rates are measured in bits per second, kilobits (kbps), megabits (mbps) or gigabits per second (gbps). The bigger the bandwidth, the faster the connecting speed and the more data can be transferred in each time.
A system whereby users pay less for buying two or more telecom services if they buy them together than if they bought them separately. Bundling ‘locks’ the customer into a relationship, because if the customer discontinues one service, his price for the other services would go up.
Acceptance or rejection of calls from an H.323 terminal. The Gatekeeper may reject calls from a terminal because of restricted access to or from terminals or Gateways, or restricted access during certain periods of time. Call Authorisation is an optional Gatekeeper service.
The prevention of calls to a certain destination e.g. overseas calls or calls with premium rates.
By dialling a code, an extension user can divert incoming calls to another destination.
Call logging is data recorded about calls made or received through a telephone system, this data can be used for reporting.
Use of specialist software to analyse or report on call records which are output from a telephone system and recorded on a computer.
A call can be parked by one user and then retrieved by another.
The box or cabinet housing the central equipment that controls the telephone system.
The exchange of information between computers and telephone systems e.g., when a call is received the telephone passes the computer the telephone number of the person calling.
Used in voicemail to indicate a service where the caller hears a menu of choices from which they can choose by pressing buttons on their phone.
A packet is a basic unit of communication over a digital network. A packet is also called a datagram, a segment, a block, a cell, or a frame, depending on the protocol. When data must be transmitted, it is broken down into similar structures of data, which are reassembled to the original data chunk once they reach their destination.
Enabling outside callers to call directly to a user’s extension. Normally available on ISDN lines. A business may have 10 lines and 100 telephone numbers and when any of the telephone numbers are dialled by an incoming caller the call is put on to any line that is free.
A technology that provides greater clarity and smaller handsets for cordless phones. There is a common standard called GAP (General Access Protocol) that allows handsets and base stations from different manufacturers to work together.
A feature often used to provide an overflow if the switchboard operator is busy or absent. Incoming calls are sent to the operator, but other extensions have delayed ringing, so they will start ringing if the call is not answered after a pre-set time.
A communications link that connects a terminal and a computer via the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
In traditional telephony systems, a dial plan is a front-end system that allows users to call each other by dialling a number on a telephone. In voice and videoconferencing over IP, a dial plan is a system that allows participants in point-to-point or multipoint conferences to call each other or join conferences.
A method in which incoming calls are routed directly to endpoints on the LAN, without operator intervention.
Provides callers with single-digit access to extensions or ring groups.
A protocol to support connection between telecom equipment from different vendors digital equipment.
A unit that fits alongside a telephone to turn it into an operator console. Typically containing many programmable buttons that can be used to call and to indicate the status of extensions.
Similar to ADSL but allows the same amount of bandwidth in both directions.
Eliminates audio transmission echo. A telephone line echo canceller produces a synthetic replica of the echo it expects to see returning and subtracts it from the transmitted speech.
A technique for reducing annoying echoes in the audio portion of a video conference by temporarily deadening the communication link in one direction.
A group of extensions is rung by dialling a number. The group may be set as a ring group, in which case all the extensions ring at once, or it may be set as a Hunt Group, in which case the system will find a free extension in the group to take the call.
A means of finding a free extension to take a call. Calls are directed to a Hunt Group and will search for a free extension to take the call. Various hunting types are available, First Free or Terminal Hunting will search for the first free extension in the group, so this person gets most of the calls.
An audio warning device to alert someone that a call is ringing. It may simply be an extension bell to a telephone, or it could be a set of bells around the building so that anyone can pick up the incoming call.
A major manufacturer of business telephone systems.
We are one of the largest independent and privately owned Mitel Platinum Partners in the UK. Working together with Mitel, we’ve been providing Mitel Services to hundreds of satisfied Mitel customers nationwide since 1992.
Being a Mitel Platinum accredited partner means we guarantee you will receive comprehensive knowledge and advise on Mitel’s full range of communication and collaboration solutions. It also means we guarantee to offer superior Mitel services going above and beyond in all that we do.
An audio signal that is played to a caller on hold to reassure him that he has not been cut off.
Manufacturer of telecoms systems.
Used to distinguish an ordinary analogue telephone from a keyphone. Also known as an SLT (single Line Telephone).
Also known as LD (Loop-Disconnect) dialling. A method of dialling where the telephone is alternately disconnected and connected to signal to the exchange. For example, if a digit 5 is dialled this could be signalled by sending 5 disconnection pulses. The frequency and length of the pulses and the number of pulses for each digit can vary from country to country. This dialling method is now mostly superseded by tone dialling.
The digital connection from a telephone system to a PC. Provides the ability to utilise ISDN lines for voice and data traffic.
Single Line Telephone.
A standard devised by Microsoft Corporation for communication between a computer terminal (workstation) and a telephone extension.
Traditional telephony technology employed to connect two parties in a call via a PBX.
A telephone exchange line to receive and make calls.
A facility which allows an incoming call received on one line to be transferred to another line i.e. both callers are external to the telephone system.
A standard devised by Novell Corporation for communication between a network server and a telephone exchange. Because it is working at a system level this offers more flexibility than TAPI but is also more complex to implement.
A facility of voicemail systems and answering machines which allows both sides of a telephone conversation to be recorded for later playback.
Provides continuous power source to the telephone system in the event of a mains power fail.