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Alphabet Soup – Understanding VoIP Terminology

What this Blog is about:

Helping users navigate the confusing world of VoIP. Tips & advice on picking solutions that work for your business while saving money Avoiding common pitfalls and issues when using VoIP Occasional reviews of the latest VoIP technology & equipment
With that in mind – here’s our first post on navigating the often confusing world of VoIP. Alphabet Soup – Understanding VoIP Terminology

VoIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol
This is the underlying technology behind all Internet based phones.
Traditional land-lines take your voice and send it over physical telephone wires, encoded as electrical pulses. VoIP takes your voice and sends it out as “packets” over an Internet connection. Unlike landlines, multiple calls can share the same Internet connection. Despite popular opinion, VoIP actually has higher fidelity (voice clarity & range).

SIP – Session Initiation Protocol
Think of SIP as the language VoIP equipment uses to make and manage calls. It provides a standard way for equipment made by different vendors to communicate with each other, so you are not locked down to a specific provider.

CODEC – Compressor/Decompressor
When your voice is converted to “packets”, it needs to be converted into a sequence of code that can be understood by your VoIP equipment. A CODEC provides the instructions for this conversion to take place. The key quality of a CODEC is whether it compresses you voice and loses quality by doing so.

DID – Direct Inward Dialing (Number)
A DID is a phone number.

LNP – Local Number Portability
FCC Mandated rules that allow you to migrate individual phone numbers between providers without restriction.

A dedicated channel used for a single voice call. Many VoIP providers still follow this model of charging, even though there are no physical “Trunks” in VoIP technology.

PRI – Primary Rate Interface
A dedicated land-line connection allowing up to 23 simultaneous calls.
VoIP connections do not have such limits, and are only restricted by the speed of your Internet connection.

Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 – Category 5/5e/6 Wiring
Quality of wiring inside your office. VoIP phones need at-least Cat5 wiring to function properly. Many phones provide a built-in switch so you can share a single connection for a phone & PC.

Cloud & Hosted VoIP Service
Refers to whether your actual phone system is inside your office, or located on servers in a data center. Hosted/Cloud service provides a number of benefits such as disaster management & recovery, integration of multiple locations etc., but you are also dependent on the quality and reliability of the cloud provider.

Amruth Laxman

About the Author

Amruth Laxman

25+ years of telecom experience, specializing in high availability software and systems, I’ve seen the transformative impact they have on businesses. As the founding partner of 4Voice, I deliver customized, reliable phone solutions and can’t wait to share my insights with you in this blog.

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