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GLOSSARY

Operator Consoles

Operator Consoles are the central answering points on PBX systems. They give at-a-glance information about the stats of lines and extensions. They also give inf...

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Glossary

Have you seen a word or phrase and don't understand what we are talking about? Take a look through our glossary below. We define all you need to know when looking for a telephone system, Door entry system and more.

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10/100 BaseT
This is a variant of Ethernet that allows stations to be switched via twisted pair cable and can run at 10mbps (10baseT) or 100mbps (100baseT).
Abbreviated Dialing
This allows you to dial your most frequently used telephone numbers with fewer keystrokes. This is also called memory dialing, speed dialing or short-code dialing. However, it can be more difficult to remember short codes than telephone numbers and this could prove to negate the usefulness of this product. Fortunately there are ways to make the process easier. Some systems store names beside the numbers, which can make it easy for the user to interpret. Others have personal memories that can hold speed dial numbers. The number of speed dials generally varies between 10 and 100.
AC15
A signaling system used for linking two pieces of telecommunications equipment (e.g. two telephone systems) over a distance.
Account Dialing
Account dialing allows different accounts to be allocated to different lines. To keep track of call costs to a particular client, you always dial them on a particular line. This feature is found mainly at the lower end of the market. Call analysis software and CTI programs can also be used as a more sophisticated way of working out how much to bill clients.
ACD
Automated Call Distribution - This is a means of routing incoming calls to a group of extensions on a first come, first served basis without operator involvement. This function is usually essential in call centre operations, and you will find that ACD is often offered as an option with most telephone systems.
Alpha Tagging
The assignment of an alpha-numeric name to a facility. For example when called by an extension your phone can display the name of the caller rather than the extension number. When an incoming DDI call is received a name can be shown which relates to the number that was dialed, enabling one person to answer calls in a variety of different ways, e.g. in the names of different companies.
Analogue Device
A device which can be attached to an ordinary analogue telephone line, such as a telephone, fax machine, cordless phone, answering machine, modem etc.
ARS
Automatic Route Selection. A technique where the telephone system looks at the digits being dialed to make an outside call and automatically routes the call via an alternate route. For example a user in London may dial the DDI number of someone in the Aberdeen Office. The phone system recognises that there is a tie-line to the Aberdeen office over which calls are free and automatically re-routes the call over the free circuit.
ATA
Analogue Terminal Adapter is a device used on the Norstar or BCM telephone system to convert a digital extension port to analogue.
Automated Attendant
An automated call answering system that uses prompts to direct users to the correct department or extension, e.g. "For support please press 1".
Bandwidth
Bandwidth is the amount of information that can be carried by a communications channel. It is the difference between the highest and lowest frequencies used, and is expressed as Hz for an analogue signal or in KBps for a digital one.
Basic Rate - BRI
Abbreviated to BRI (basic rate interface) or ISDN2. An ISDN circuit providing 2 x 64 kbit/sec bearer channels for use by data or speech and one 16 kbit/sec control channel. Two independent calls can be carried at the same time on one BRI circuit.
Battery Back-up
All of our systems have internal batteries to retain programming in the event of a failure of the mains electricity supply, however the system will not operate without mains power. We can provide battery back-up power to keep the system working without mains power as an option.
BCM 50/200/400
Business Communications Manager. This is Nortel's new hybrid telephone system that is a direct replacement for the Norstar range of telephone systems.
BLF
Busy Lamp Field - The lights on the telephone system that show whether each extension is engaged or free. BLFs are usually found on key systems and are not required for every user - only for those routing most of the incoming calls. Separate BLF consoles can be fitted to the side on some phones if the number of extensions exceeds the number of lights on the BLF.
Bulletin Board
An electronic version of a notice board. Users can access the bulletin board to obtain information. When applied to voicemail systems it indicates a system of menus that allow the caller to navigate to the information he wants, for example to find out what films are showing at a cinema.
Call Barring
This allows you to bar extension users calling certain numbers. For Example, some handsets might be barred from dialing international calls, directory enquiries and premium rate telephone numbers. You can even limit access to handsets by locking unauthorised users out with a PIN number.
Call Centre
An area of a company dedicated to handling incoming (and outgoing) business by telephone or via the Internet.
Call Forwarding
Also known as call diversion. By dialing 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, for example a cell phone. Different types of diversion are usually possible, e.g. Diversion of All calls, Diversion on Busy, Diversion on no reply.
Call Logging Interface (CLI)
Is a device connected to a digital extension port on the Norstar or BCM telephone system, to provide call data that can be collected by call management software to generate call spend reports.
Call Management
The use of specialist software to analyse and report on call records which are output from a telephone system and recorded on computer disk. The results can identify misuse, allocate costs to departments and verify the adequacy of resources.
Call Park
A call can be parked by one user and then retrieved by another. Particularly useful when loudspeaker announcements are made, e.g. "Telephone call. Joe Smith dial 811". If Joe goes to any phone and dials 811 he will get the call that has been parked there for him.
Call Pilot 100
Is a voice mail / call centre unit that is manufactured by Nortel exclusively for the Norstar telephone system. This is a direct replacement for the Startalk 180.
CAP
Central Answering Position is an add on module that is connected to a Nortel M7324 feature phone to provide additional buttons.
Cat 5
Abbreviation for Category 5. Strictly speaking this is a specification for the transmission performance of a data cable. However it is commonly used to describe a building cabling system which allows the user to easily route voice and data circuits to any wall socket. It is designed to be network independent and to allow different computer and telephone systems to co-exist on the same cabling.
Cat 6
This is a later version of Cat 5 that enables faster data transmission.
CCP
Compression Control Protocol.
CCU
Central Control Unit. The box or cabinet housing the central equipment which controls the telephone system.
CHAP
Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (a security feature), an authentication scheme used by PPP servers to validate the identity of the originator of the connection, upon connection or any time later.
CLI and CLIP
Caller Line Identification and Calling Line Identity Presentation are the functions that present the phone number of the incoming caller on your phone before you pick it up. CLI sends out your number when you make a call, and CLIP allows the person being called to see your number before they pick it up.
COLP
Connected Line Presentation. A service which provides the caller with the identity of the person he has connected to. For example you may dial 01234 567890 but that number may be diverted to another. COLP will provide you with the identity of the person you have actually connected to. The identity is typically the telephone number of the connected party. This is a paid-for service from the network provider and compatible equipment is required to make use of it.
Conferencing
The joining together of more than two telephone users in a single call. Typically a call will be established between two persons, one will then hold the call, call a third party and then press a button to join all three parties in one call.
CRM
Customer Relations Management.
CTI
Computer Telephony Integration - CTI is the linking up of your telephone system with your computer system. It can reduce both fixed and variable telephony costs and has several applications which can improve efficiency and customer service.
Custom Service Mode
Used in voicemail to indicate a service where the caller hears a menu of choices from which he can choose by pressing buttons on his phone. These choices might transfer him to an extension, group of extensions, or the operator, enable him to leave a message or listen to information, or may offer him other menus.
DC5
A signaling system used to communicate between two adjacent pieces of telecommunications equipment, for example between a telephone system and a router or multiplexor or between two co-located telephone systems. For communication over longer distances DC5 can be converted to AC15.
DECT
Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications - DECT is the European standard for digital cordless telephones. DECT systems are not telephone systems - they are cordless handsets with base stations connected to and dependent on your PBX (Private Branch Exchange).
Delayed Ringing
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.
DHCP
Dynamic Host Protocol is the protocol that a TCP/IP based network uses to request and assign IP addresses to clients.
Direct Dial In number [DDI]
A phone number that directs straight to a personal extension rather than having to be routed from the operator or main telephone number.
DNS
Domain Name Server. This is a server which contains all the important information associated with a domain or multiple domains.
DPNSS
Digital Private Network Signaling System is a private networking standard developed by BT and other PBX suppliers, which allows full feature access to be provided between PBX's in private networks.
DSS
Direct Station Selector. A unit which fits alongside a telephone to turn it into an operator console. Typically containing a large number of programmable buttons which can be used to call and to indicate the status of extensions (stations).
Ethernet
A Network connected by cable that can run at 10mbps (10baseT) or 100mbps(100baseT). The other common Ethernet specifications are 10base5 (Thick Cable Ethernet) and 10base2 (Thin Cable Ethernet). The speed of your connection depends on your hub, and you can get switched hubs connecting 3 Ethernet connections at 30mbps. Fast Ethernet networks can be integrated with regular ones if required.
Extension Lock
A facility to prevent unauthorised phone use. An extension can be locked by entering a code and unlocked by entering a password. When locked the phone is subject to call barring, perhaps restricting it to internal and emergency service calls only.
Fibre Optic Cable
A cable made from glass threads. Voice and/or data is converted into pulsed light which travels in the glass at approximately 0.7 times the speed of light.
Firewall
A device (or software in a router) that links an organisation's network to the internet and restricts the types of traffic that it will pass, to provide security.
Frame Relay
A high-speed packet switching protocol used in wide area networks (WAN's).
FTP
File Transfer Protocol - An interactive file transfer capability that is often used on TCP/IP networks. Requires users to log in to (have an account on) the remote computer.
Gateway
A deprecated term for a device that enables data to flow between networks - forming and Internet.
Group Ringing
A group of extensions is rung by dialing a number. The group may be set as a ring group, in which case all of 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.
Hardware
This is literally the equipment you can touch, such as the computer, keyboard, screen, disk drive, printer and scanner.
Hub
(By analogy with the hub of a wheel) A device connected to several other devices. A central connecting device in a network that joins communications lines together in a star configuration.
Hunt Group
Group of phones that ring simultaneously when a call comes in - as one.
IP
Internet Protocol - The Network layer for the TCP/IP protocol suite widely used on Ethernet networks. IP is a connectionless, best-effort packet switching protocol. It provides packet routing, fragmentation and re-assembly through the data hubs.
IP Address
A 32-bit address assigned to hosts using TCP/IP.
IP Gateway / VoIP Gateway
A gateway for an existing telephone system, which converts normal circuit-switched telephony traffic into IP for transmission over a data network, such as private data network between two sites.
ISDN
Integrated services Digital Network - a high-speed Internet connection that doesn't use a modem, and can get up to speeds of up to 128kbp/s. ISDN comes in 2 forms: ISDN2 (basic rate) and ISDN30 (primary rate).
IVR
Interactive Voice Response. IVR systems automate routine transactions, such as literature requests or information lines, using voice recognition or phone keypad operation.
Keyphone
A telephone for use with a particular make and model of telephone system which incorporates features allowing it to communicate with the telephone system and display information, typically by means of lights, buttons and visual displays.
KIM
Key Indicator Module. is an add on module that is connected to a Nortel T7316E feature phone to provide additional buttons.
LAN
Refers to a network that spans a relatively small geographical area and/or is limited to one segment, for example an office floor-space.
LCD
Liquid Crystal Display. A display panel found on many phones capable of showing text prompts or messages.
LCR
Least Cost Routing. A technique where the telephone system modifies the digits dialed by a user making an outside call in order to route the call via a low-cost carrier. Typically the routing decision is based on what number has been dialed and it is often possible to have several carriers configured on the same telephone system to take advantage of the cheapest route to any destination. See also Automatic Route Selection (ARS). Typically ARS incorporates and builds on the capabilities of LCR.
LED
Light Emitting Diode. A semi-conductor device used as an indicator lamp. Typically these are incorporated into buttons and show red or green.
Live Call Screening
A facility available on some voicemail systems which allows someone who has diverted his calls to voicemail to listen to a caller leaving a message and pick up the call if he wants to.
Mailbox
A reference to the location where voicemail messages for a particular user are stored.
MAPI
Message Application Programming Interface - A messaging architecture and a client interface component for applications such as e-mail, scheduling, calendaring, and document management. As a messaging architecture, MAPI provides a consistent interface for multiple applications programs to interact with multiple messaging systems across a variety of hardware platforms.
MSN
Digital ISDN Dial-In number.
Multiplexor (Mux)
Multiplexors combine several data channels into one channel with bigger bandwidth. The signal is split into the original channels at the other end of the line.
Music on Hold (MOH)
Most systems offer some sort of music which plays to callers while they are holding for a busy extension. It aims to reassure the caller that they are still connected, rather than lost in the system. Many systems allow independent music sources such as tapes and CDs to be attached to the system. This is called 'user-defined music on hold'.
NAT
Network Address Translation is what a router or ADSL modem uses to let multiple computers share an internet connection.
Night Service
Most telephone systems have at least two operating modes, Day service and Night Service. These are typically used to route incoming calls to a different destination and to apply call barring to prevent unauthorised use of the phones by security or cleaning staff.
Operator Consoles
Operator Consoles are the central answering points on PBX systems. They give at-a-glance information about the stats of lines and extensions. They also give information about features which have been activated and should show which calls are on hold and how long they have been waiting. Some are low-level units attached to a phone, usually with some form of display. More sophisticated consoles come with a full-size monitor display which provides system status information.
PABX
Private Automatic Branch Exchange - telephone switch that can route calls internally and without manual intervention. A type of PBX.
PAP
Password Authentication Protocol (a security feature).
Parallel Port
In computing, a character is represented by a binary number (byte), typically made up of eight binary digits (bits). A parallel port is a connector where information is made available and can be read one whole character (or byte) at a time. See also serial port.
PBX
Private Branch Exchange - a telephone switch.
Port
A communications port on a computer or telephone system, for example the serial port, parallel port, USB port or a port on a server. Different ports have different characteristics and data transfer capabilities.
POTS
Plain Ordinary Telephones (like a house phone - analogue, not digital).
Power Fail Telephone
Is a telephone that has calls routed to it in the event of power failure to a telephone system or switchboard.
PPP
Point-to-Point Protocol - the Internet standard for transmitting IP packets and network datagrams over serial point-to-point links.
PRI-Primary Rate
An ISDN circuit providing (in Europe) up to 30 x 64 kbit/sec bearer channels for use by data or speech and two 16 kbit/sec control channels. Up to 30 independent calls can be carried at the same time on one Primary Rate.
PSTN
Public Switched Telephone Network: the official name for the fixed line telephone system.
Pulse Dialing
Also known as LD (loop-disconnect) dialing. A method of dialing where the telephone is alternately disconnected and connected to signal to the exchange. For example if a digit 5 is dialed this could be signaled 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 dialing method is now mostly superseded by tone dialing.
QOS
Quality of Service. Used to provide acceptable voice quality across IP networks.
QSIG
A means of signaling between telephone systems using a 2 Mbit/sec digital link, allowing up to 30 simultaneous calls on one circuit.
RAS
Remote Access Service is the ability to reprogram a telephone system or computer via a modem.
Screen Popping
When a call comes in, a display 'pops' on your desktop screen with the information of the incoming caller.
SO Buses
ISDN2 Circuit coming out of your computer that can convert to ISDN30 - SO Buses are a cheaper way of connecting to an ISDN30 module than a Terminator.
Startalk 180
Is a voice mail unit that is manufactured by Nortel exclusively for the Norstar telephone system. This has been replaced by Call Pilot 100.
Switch
Any device that engages electrical connections in a circuit. / Informal term for any type of PABX. / A device used to direct packets in a switched network. (see HUB)
TAPI
Telephony Application Programming Interface - Microsoft's and Intel's method of integrating telephone services and computers so that your computer can control your telephone. TAPI allows you to screen dial, receive caller-ID.
Tone Dialing
Also known as MF (multi-frequency) or DTMF (dual tone multi-frequency). A dialing method which generates audio tones when digits are dialed. These tones are sent down the line and can be detected by telephone systems or other devices.
Trunk
A line connecting a telephone system to another telephone system or to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
Trunk-to-Trunk Transfer
A facility which allows an incoming call received on one line to be transferred to someone on another line, i.e. both callers are external to the telephone system. Typical uses include transferring an incoming caller to someone's mobile phone.
TSAPI
Telephony System Application Program Interface. 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.
Two-Way Record
A facility of voicemail systems and answering machines which allows both sides of a telephone conversation to be recorded for later playback.
Unified Messaging
Unified Messaging (UM) systems provide one centralised mailbox for email, voice and fax messages. All message types can be viewed, replied to, saved or deleted in the same Inbox using a familiar message management system such as Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes.
VoIP
Voice over IP - telephony over the internet or local area network.