Knowledge Base

ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)

The commission promotes competition and fair trade in the market place to benefit consumers, businesses and the community. It is also in charge of regulating national infrastructure services. (www.accc.gov.au)

ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority)

A statutory authority within the federal government portfolio of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. The ACMA is regulates of broadcasting, the Internet, radio communications, and telecommunications. (www.acma.gov.au)

Auto Attendant

See IVR.

Call Centre

A centralised office that receives and transmits a large volume of requests by telephone. Common call centre services include: live answering, customer support, and telemarketing.

Call Forwarding

A phone service feature that allows incoming calls to be redirected to a different phone number (either mobile or land line). Options commonly exist to redirect calls under certain circumstances (e.g. the line is busy or is not answered with xx seconds).

Call Splaying

Incoming calls are shared between multiple answerpoints based on a pre-set ratio. This is a useful tool to help distribute calls. This is commonly used to share potential leads among the sales team, or to help free up customer service representatives by distributing work fairly.

Call Waiting

A phone service feature that tells you if a new caller is trying to contact you while you are already on a call (usually in the form of a discrete tone).

Caller ID

A phone service feature that transmits the caller’s number to your telephone, and displays the number (and name if known) prior to the call being picked up.

Carrier

A telephone or other company that sells or rents telecommunications transmission services.

Channel

A communications path through the network that where voice and data is sent over. It may either be a physical transmission medium (i.e. wire) or a logical connection (i.e. radio channel).

CSP (Communications Service Provider)

A service provider of telecommunications services such as telephony and data communications access.

DID (Direct Inward Dialing)

The process of directly dialing a PBX extension by an outside caller and connecting the call without a receptionist or IVR.

Fax2Email

A virtual fax service that allows you to receive faxed messages without a fax machine. Faxed documents are received via a central server and sent to your designated email address in PDF format.

Gateway

A device connected to your network which enables it to communicate with other networks which may have different protocols.

Hosted PBX

A virtual PBX which allows businesses the functions of a full featured in-premised PBX without purchasing costly equipment. The business pays for the required number of lines while the PBX is housed at the telco’s data centre. The service and number of lines can be upgraded at any time.

Hunt Group

A configuration of telephone channels that allows incoming calls to rotate the pool of lines until it reaches a free channel to connect the call. The caller hears a busy tone only when all lines are engaged.

IP (Internet Protocol)

The protocol by which data is addressed to be sent from one computer to another on the Internet.

IP Address

The unique identification for any computer or device on a network which uses IP for communication. It functions as host or network interface identification and location addressing. The format of an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255.

IP Telephony

See VoIP.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

A company that provides access to the Internet services using copper, wireless or fibre connection.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

An automated answering system that routes calls to the selected option based on user defined steps and caller prompts. For example, a typical IVR answers the call in the business name, and then provides the following selection: “To speak to sales, press 1; to speak to support, press 2;” and so on.

Land line

Also commonly referred to as a fixed line, main line, and land phone. Refers to a telephone line which travels through solid medium (e.g. copper wire) as distinguished from a mobile cellular line, wherein radio waves are utilised for transmission.

Local Exchange

The telephone exchange to which a customer is directly connected, usually the closest exchange to the customer. Many telcos show the location of their exchanges on their web sites.

PBX (Private Business Exchange)

A PBX makes connections among the internal telephones of a private organisation (usually a business) and also connects them to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) via trunk lines.

POP (Point of Presence)

An artificial demarcation point or interface point between communications entities. Usually refers to a local telephone number of an exchange. ISPs may have a number of POPs around the world to enable users to have local access.

Port

Transferring your telecommunications services from one carrier to another.

POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)

Regular old-fashioned analogue loop start phone service. This telephone service remains the basic form of residential and small business service connection to the telephone network in many parts of the world.

Provisioning

The process of preparing and equipping a network to allow it to provide (new) services to its users.

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network)

Also referred to as Packet Switched Network. This is an international telephone network of copper lines, originally designed to carry analogue voice data.

QoS (Quality of Service)

An indicator of the performance of a transmission system on the Internet and other networks. QoS is measured in transmission rate, error rates, latency, and other characteristics, and can to some extent be guaranteed to a customer in advance.

Router

A device that forwards data packets across computer networks. It reads the address information on the packet and determines its ultimate destination using its routing table, and directs the packet to the next network. It also works to translate the data transmission protocol of the packet to the appropriate protocol of the next network, and prevents unauthorized access to a network with the help of a firewall.

Routing

The process of selecting paths in a network through which network traffic is sent.

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)

SIP is a protocol that enables service providers to offer voice services over IP to businesses with an existing IP-PBX. It also allows the use of enhanced services, such as unified communications.

SIP Trunking

A service that uses SIP to deliver phone services to a business’ in-premise PBX via the internet. This allows businesses to communicate over IP with anyone in Australia and around the world, while taking advantage of the cost savings provided by IP telephony. Replacing traditional telephone lines with SIP-based connections streamlines all of your communication needs (including voice, video and data) and puts them on the same broadband Internet connection.

Subscriber

The customer of a telecommunications company.

Switch

A network device that selects a path or circuit for sending a unit of data to its next destination. It works faster and simpler than a router, which requires knowledge about the network and how to determine the route.

TCP/IP

The underlying technology behind the Internet and communications between computers in a network. TCP, is the transport part, which matches the size of the messages on either end and guarantees that the correct message has been received. The IP part is the user’s computer address on a network. Every computer in a TCP/IP network has its own IP address that is either dynamically assigned at startup or permanently assigned. All TCP/IP messages contain the address of the destination network as well as the address of the destination station. This enables TCP/IP messages to be transmitted to multiple networks (subnets) within an organisation or worldwide.

Telco (Telephone Company)

Your local telephone service provider.

TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman)

An independent and free alternative dispute resolution scheme for small business and residential consumers in Australia with unresolved complaints about their communications, or Internet services. (www.tio.com.au)

Trunk

A communications path between two switching systems, for example between the Telco switch and your PBX.

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)

A power supply used to power computers and phone systems for a short period when the primary power source is lost. It also helps to protect your system from power surges.

Value Added Services

Services delivered through the telecommunications system, which provides significant additional value to the basic switching and transmission functions.

Voice2Email

A virtual service that enables you to receive voice messages without an answering machine. Voicemail messages are received via a central server and forwarded to your designated email address in WAV format.

VoIP (Voice over IP)

Commonly known as IP telephones, Internet telephones, and broadband telephony. It is a two-way transmission of audio on an IP network. Packet-switched connections are utilised to exchange different form of information such as voice and fax.