10 Terms to Understand When Looking at Business Phone Systems

If you’re just starting to look into business phone systems, you might be a little confused by all the jargon surrounding VoIP. While it’s important to educate yourself about the technology you’re using, the good news is that these acronyms describe a fairly straightforward technology. So, stick with us and by the end of this post, you’ll be able to talk about VoIP like an expert.

Voice over IP (VOIP): VoIP is the technology that is used to transmit voice over the Internet. The voice is first converted into digital data which is then organized into small packets. These packets are stamped with the destination IP address and routed over the Internet. At the receiving end the digital data is reconverted into voice and fed into the user’s phone. Vonage Business Solutions (formerly Vocalocity) business phone systems are referred to as “VoIP” phone system as they are powered entirely by the Internet.

IP: IP, Internet Protocol, defines the way data packets, also called datagrams, should be moved between the destination and the source. More technically, it can be defined as the network layer protocol in the TCP/IP communications protocol suite. If you think of VoIP as a highway, IP is sort of like the exits that define where data gets on and off.

Kbps: Kbps is the acronym for kilobits per second and is used to indicate the data transfer speed. If the modem speed, for instance, is 1 Kbps then it means that the modem can route data at the speed of one thousand bits per second. Kbps is the acronym for kilobits per second and is used to indicate the data transfer speed. If the modem speed, for instance, is 1 Kbps then it means that the modem can route data at the speed of one thousand bits per second. It’s important to know how many Kbps your router and modem have to make sure your office gets the clearest call quality possible.

Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the volume of data that can be transmitted over a communication line in a fixed amount of time; expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second for digital devices and in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz) for analog devices. When speaking with a specialist about business phone systems, they may ask about your Internet connection or bandwidth to make sure that your office is set up to handle VoIP.

SIP: SIP, which is the acronym of Session Initiation Protocol, is an IP telephony signaling protocol. It is primarily used for voice over IP (VoIP) calls, though with some extensions it can also be used for instant messaging.

SIP Phone: A SIP phone is a telephone that uses the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) standard to make a voice call over the Internet. Not all phones are SIP-enabled. When comparing business phone systems, ask your prospective providers if they support your phone or can make a recommendation of SIP phones.

Softphone: This is a software application that is installed in the user’s PC. It uses the Voice over IP technology to route voice calls over the net. The audio is provided through a microphone and speakers plugged into the sound card. The only limitation of a Softphone is that the phone call has to made through a PC. This type of phone is great for when you’re traveling and want to be able to make calls from your laptop with nothing more than the use of just a headset.

PBX (private branch exchange): A telephone switching system that interconnects telephone extensions to each other in-house as well as to the outside telephone network.

Hosted PBX: An Internet telephony solution that follows the Software as a Service (SAAS) model by hosting phone system equipment in remote datacenters so that it can be managed from a web interface rather than through the administration of physical on-premise equipment. Remember the old closet full of equipment that your office used to have years ago? That’s a “on-premise” PBX and most modern business phone systems for small business have moved beyond this technologically bulky model to hosted services.

DID (Direct Inward Dialing): A service that provides a block of telephone numbers for calling into a company’s private branch exchange (PBX) system. Using DID, a company can offer its customers individual phone numbers for each person or workstation within the company without requiring a physical line into the PBX for each possible connection.: A service that provides a block of telephone numbers for calling into a company’s private branch exchange (PBX) system. Using DID, a company can offer its customers individual phone numbers for each person or workstation within the company without requiring a physical line into the PBX for each possible connection.

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