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The world of telecommunication is filled with jargon and acronyms. Too often it’s only the professionals who know what they all mean and it can all be quite daunting to a buyer. So, iCS have decided to make it easier! Below is a helpful list of all the telecom acronyms. They are in alphabetical order so simple scroll through to find the word you need or, to speed things up, press ‘ctrl’ and ‘F’ to bring up the search bar in your top right corner, then type the acronym you desire. If it’s not there email iCS and we will add it to the list.

Downloadable Version

ABS
O2 business mobile commercial model on a ‘Pay As You Use’ basis (i.e. per call/text) discounted at a wholesale rate.

ACD
Automatic Call Distributor, spreads the inbound call load within a call centre to minimise hold times and efficiently distribute workloads. Also known as Uniform Call Distributor.

ADSL
Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line, allows a standard telephone line to be used like a broadband line for transmission of large amounts of data.

AFH
Adaptive Frequency Hopping minimises interference from other wireless devices on Bluetooth® connections.

Annex M
DSL technology – Annex M doubles the frequency bandwidth associated with upstream traffic, utilising some downstream capacity for enhanced upstream.

APN
Access Point Name – APN is the name (web address) of an access point for GPRS/EDGE/UMTS data connection. Usually wireless carriers provide the APN to their end users.

APT
Advanced Packaging Tool, utility to assist installation of software on the Linux operating system.

APT
Analogue Proprietary Telephone, analogue telephone designed for use with a particular system / manufacturer.

BABT
British Approvals Board of Telecommunication which certifies products and services as complying with Standards and regulatory requirements.

BICSI
A professional association providing information, courses, assessments and qualifications to information transport professionals.

BNC
British Naval Connector, used to connect many types of co-axial data communication equipment.

BRI
Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDN offer two service levels. The lower capacity Basic Rate Interface is designed for home or small business use).

CATV
Community Access Television sees local TV content created by communities and broadcast over cable or satellite networks.

CCU
Communication Control Unit, device controlling data transmission on a network and hosting functions such as message switching and multiplexing.

CDR
Call Data Record – Daily and monthly call data files providing call information with associated charges.

CLI
Calling Line Identification or Caller ID, allows inbound call number to be identified before answering (systems).

CLI
Common Language Interface, an open standard which enables any application written in one of several core programming languages to run on any operating system (system add-ons).

COS
Class of Service, classification system for telephone system users, to restrict and assign privileges such as international or premium rate call access.

CPA
Central Pre-Amplifier, device which increases a system’s power and quality of sound by preparing the signal before it is processed by the main amplifier.

CPS
Carrier Pre Select – Allows end-users to select, in advance, alternative Communications Providers to carry their calls without having to dial a prefix or install any special equipment at their premises.

CS
Cell Station, base station for wireless telephones.

CSP
Certified Systems Professional, accreditation issued by Institute for the Accreditation of Computer Professionals.

CSTA
Computer Supported Telephone Applications, European standard for computer telephony integration.

CTI
Computer Telephony Integration, technologies enabling integration of computer and telephone systems to allow computer users to connect, answer and disconnect a telephone.

DDI
Direct Dialling In – Available on ISDN lines. Offers capability for dialling individual telephone extensions, without going through a central switchboard.

DECT
Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology, a global standard for digital wireless telephones (but not mobiles).

DHCP
Dynamic Host Communications Protocol which allows network administrators to centrally configure IP addresses.

DID
Direct Inward Dialling, facility enabling callers to directly call an extension on a private branch exchange (PBX).

DIL
Direct In Lines, facility for directing calls made on a line to a specific extension or group.

DISA
Direct Inward System Access, facility enabling access to a private branch exchange from an external line.

DISE
O2 business mobile commercial model containing tariffs and Bolt-ons. Pricing at retail rate less a wholesale discount.

DMZ
A Demilitarised zone, a computer or network placed between a public and private network to act as buffer and prevent unauthorised access to private data.

DPT
Digital Proprietary Telephone, digital telephone designed for use with a particular system/manufacturer.

DSP
Digital Signal Processing, technology which can differentiate between background noise and voice to improve clarity of sound.

DSS
Direct Station Select, facility allowing frequently used numbers to be stored and dialled with a single touch.

DTMF
Dual Tone Multi Frequency, the technology behind automated switchboards (Press 1 for Accounts…). It works by generating two tones of different frequencies which instruct system to direct a call.

EDGE
Enhanced Data for Global Evolution – EDGE (also known as Enhanced GPRS or EGPRS) is a data system used on top of GSM networks. It provides nearly three times faster speeds than the out-dated GPRS system. Both phone and network must support EDGE, otherwise the phone will revert automatically to GPRS.

EFM
Ethernet in the First Mile – First mile’ meaning simply the connection between the premises and the local exchange – in reality up to 3.9km, offers a non-contended, symmetrical service delivered as either two or four bonded copper pairs creating a single synchronous Ethernet connection.

EIA
Electronics Industry Association which sets certain data transmission standards.

ELR
Earth Loop Recall is one of two call transfer systems which also enable the Recall facility for phones connected via a Private Branch Exchange (PBX).

EPROM
Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory, the EPROM is a memory part which will not forget its program or data when power is removed.

Ethernet
Co-axial or twisted wire cable typically used to connect equipment on Local Area Networks (LANs) and offering speeds up to 10Mbps.

EVM
Entry Voice Mail, telephone system’s integrated voice mail facility.

FSK
Frequency Shifting Key, internal modem feature that converts data from a computer so it can be transmitted via a telephone line. FSK also enables Message Waiting.

FTP
File Transfer Protocol, internet standard easing transfer of files between computers.

FTTC
Fibre To The Cabinet – FTTC offers greater upload and download speeds due to the fibre optic cable connections between the local exchange and cabinet serving the customer premises. Typically up to 40Mb download and up to 2Mb or 10Mb upstream options are available.

FTTP
Fibre To The Premises – FTTP takes the fibre optic cable directly to the building. Download speeds of up to 110Mbps are available.

GAP
A Generic Access Profile is a wireless protocol allowing different manufacturers’ GAP compatible wireless products to interact e.g. a headset and base station.

Gb
Gigabyte -1GB is equal to approximately 1 billion bytes or exactly 1024MB.

Gigabit
Unit of measurement for data transfer equivalent to one billion binary digits or bits e.g. a Gigabit Ethernet connection transmits one gigabit of data per second (Gbps).

GPS
Global Positioning System -It uses between 24 and 32 Medium Earth Orbit satellites that transmit precise microwave signals. This enables GPS receivers to determine their current location, time and velocity.

GPRS
General Packet Radio Service – A packet switching technology that enables data transfers through cellular networks. It is used for mobile internet, MMS and other data communications.

HD
High Definition, relating to resolution

HL10
A handset lifter designed by headset manufacturer Plantronics allowing a handset to be lifted automatically or by pushing a button on a headset.

ICM
Abbreviation for intercom, an internal communications system.

IDC
Insulation Displacement Connector, which removes the need to strip low current telecom and networking wires by piercing the insulator to create a connection.

IEC
International Electrotechnical Commission, a global organisation which prepares and publishes international standards for electrical, electronic and related technologies.

IP
Internet Protocol, standard governing transmission of data via the Internet.

ISDN
Integrated Services Digital Networks allow digital transmission of data via traditional copper wires. ISDN offers greater capacity and faster transmission than analogue.

IVR
Interactive Voice Response, technology which detects voice and touch tone signals to initiate call direction eg For Accounts, press 1.

JTC
Java Tools Community, a group committed to promoting standards for the interoperability and support tools for the Java programming language.

LAN
Local Area Network, a group of computers and devices such as printers connected to each other, typically by Ethernet cable or wireless link.

LCC
Least Cost Call, service provided by telecom carriers minimising call costs through selection of lowest cost routes.

LCD
Liquid Crystal Display, thin, low energy display device.

LD
Loop Disconnect (pulse dialling), telephone signalling system which works by breaking the line to create pulses. Superceded by Multi-Frequency / Dual Tone Multi Frequency (touch tone dialling).

LED
Liquid Emitting Diode, low energy, high efficiency semi-conductor with applications for indicator lights and fibre optic data transmission.

LLU
Local Loop Unbundling – Incumbent operators (BT and Kingston in the UK) makes its local network (the copper cables that run from customers premises to the telephone exchange) available to other companies. Operators are then able to upgrade individual lines using DSL technology to offer services such as always on high speed Internet access

LSOH
Low Smoke Zero Halogen, network cable jacketing which releases little smoke and no halogen when subject to high temperatures.

Mb
Megabyte – A unit of digital information equal to 1,048,576 bytes or 1024 kilobytes.

MCU
Multipoint Conference Unit, used in video conferencing to connect more than 2 locations together

MF
Multi-Frequency signalling is used to transmit address information for Caller ID services and delivers tones when a keypad is pressed to indicate a call is progressing satisfactorily.

microSD
A memory card is a flash memory data storage device used in a wide range of digital devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs, music players, etc. They are small, rugged and offer high rerecord ability. MicroSD (SD stands for “Secure Digital”).

MMS
Multimedia Messaging Service is a store and forward messaging service that allows subscribers to exchange multimedia files as messages, such as text, picture, audio and video or all 4.

MOH
Music On Hold, facility playing music to a caller whilst they wait to be connected through an exchange.

MPLS
Multi-Protocol Label Switching – Each data packet encapsulates and carries the labels from source to destination and offers a scalable way of managing IP based traffic across a network. MPLS is designed to speed up network traffic and prioritise utilising Quality of Service.

MS
Abbreviation for Microsoft®.

MTRJ
Mechanical Transfer Registered Jack, a standard fibre optic connector, similar to an RJ45. Available in pinned (for connection to MTRJ patch cords) and non-pinned varieties.

MW
Message Waiting, a facility which provides a visual indicator of an outstanding voicemail.

ODBC
Open Database Connectivity, an open standard which allows access to files created in different programs such as Excel, and Access.

OGM
Ogg Media File is an open source format designed for efficient streaming of multimedia content over a telecoms network.

PABX
A Private Automated Branch Exchange allows a number of inbound lines to be accessed via one number and external and internal lines made available to those within the exchange.

PBX
Private Branch Exchange, an exchange serving a particular organisation, connecting internal phones and externally to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

PCB
Printed Circuit Board, a piece of hardware for mounting and connecting electrical components within electronic devices.

POE
Power Over Ethernet allows power to be carried via standard network data cables, reducing wiring needs.

PRI
Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDN offer two service levels. The higher capacity Primary Rate Interface is designed for medium size and larger organisations).

PS
Portable Station.

PSTN
Public Switched Telephone Network which comprises the world’s public telephone systems. Also referred to as the Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) it provides the Internet’s infrastructure.

PSU
Power Supply Unit or mains adaptor.

PVC
PolyVinyl Chloride, used as a cable jacket.

QOS
Quality of Service, facility for prioritising applications, data and users to provide a service level guarantee on a computer network.

Quadband
Refers to a mobile phone that supports the four major GSM frequency bands (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), making it compatible with all the major GSM networks in the world.

RAP
A Remote Application Programme facilitates remote access to a network or device.

RCDD
Registered Communications Distribution Designer, a BICSI qualification awarded for knowledge in the design, implementation and integration of information transport systems and related infrastructure.

REN 1
Ring Equivalence Number indicating the electrical load on a line eg REN 1 denotes loading of a single ringing circuit as found in a typical desk phone.

RFC
Requests For Comments, a memo to those involved in developing Internet technologies. Each RFC has a unique number and may become an industry standard.

RI
A Ring Indicator signals an incoming call via a visual or loud audible alarm. Particularly useful for the hard of hearing.

Roaming
Refers to using a mobile phone outside of your service provider’s coverage area i.e. outside the UK. Typically, service providers charge higher fees for calls, messages and access to the Internet.

RJ45
The standard Registered Jack connector for unshielded twisted pair cabling used for telephone and Ethernet wiring.

RTCP
Real-Time Transport Control Protocol is a standard for monitoring quality of multimedia data transmission to allow an application to improve service performance.

SC
Subscriber Connect, a push-pull type connector for fibre optic cables.

SIP
Session Initiation Protocol, enables calls to be routed via the internet rather than a telephone network.

SMDR
A Station Message Detail Record (or Call Detail Record) is a log of call details – such as duration – made by a telephone exchange.

SMS
Short Message Service, protocol enable brief text communication between mobile telephones.

SoHo
Small Office Home Office, terms for a business employing between one and ten staff.

ST
Straight Tip, a plug and socket connector for fibre optic cables.

STP
Shielded Twisted Pair, copper wire with a shield that acts as a ground. Twisted pair is the wire used to connect to a telephone network.

TAD
Telephone Answering Device.

TAM
Telephone Answering Machine.

TBR
Time Break Recall is one of two call transfer systems which also enable the Recall facility for phones connected via a Private Branch Exchange (PBX). TBR has largely replaced Earth Loop Recall.

TCO99
A product certification covering environmental and ergonomic standards for flat screen and cathode ray tube monitors, laptop and desktop computers, printers and keyboards.

TIA
Telecommunications Industry Association, trade body for the information, communications and entertainment technology industries. Develops standards and lobbies.

TWAIN
A software protocol and application interface ensuring compatibility between imaging technologies such as scanners and digital cameras and enabling image scanning directly into an application.

UCD
Uniform Call Distributor. See ACD Automatic Call Distributor.

USB
Universal Series Bus, a plug and play connector to link external devices, such as printers and softphones,to a computer.

UMTS
Universal Mobile Telecommunications System – UMTS is a third generation wireless network technology that allows speeds of up to 2Mbps.

UTP
Unshielded Twisted Pair, non-grounded copper wire used to connect to a telephone network.

VC
Video Conferencing, a combination of voice, video and data collaboration in one solution.

VLAN
A Virtual Local Area Network where PC location is not defined by physical location but, say, user type or application, allowing administrators to better manage loading and bandwidth.

VoIP
Voice Over Internet Protocol, standard governing voice transmission via the Internet.

VOX
Facility which automatically detects and transmits sound without a user needing to press a button.

VPN
Virtual Private Network, network offering increased security of data transmission between multiple sites over the Internet.

VPS
Voice Processing System, application offering functions such as voicemail, auto-attendant, bulletin board messages and interview service where pauses are left between pre-recorded questions for a caller’s replies.

WAN
Wide Area Network, non-localised computer network spanning geographic boundaries eg. connecting multi-site offices.

WAP
Wireless Application Protocol, standard governing applications for wireless communication.

WIFI
A brand owned by the WiFi Alliance dedicated to ensuring the interoperability and accreditation of wireless devices.

WLAN
A Wireless Local Area Network.

WLR
Wholesale Line rental – Wholesale line rental (WLR) is a product that BT is obliged to provide to other Communications Providers. It enables other Communications Providers to offer both line rental and calls to end-users.

2G
The name usually given to original GSM, CDMA, and TDMA networks. It uses the spectrum more efficiently than analog (1G) systems, and offers digital encryption of conversations. 2G networks introduced data services for mobiles starting with SMS.

3G
3G is loosely defined, but generally includes high data speeds, always-on data access, and greater voice capacity.

4G
4G is the fourth faster generation of mobile phone mobile communications standards.

– See more at: http://icscomms.co.uk/blog/2013/telecoms-acronyms.html#sthash.dgnv8y16.dpuf