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A short number beginning with 1 that enables callers to reach services provided on a telecoms network.

A telephone circuit connecting a customer location to a public network switching centre.

ACD - Automatic Call Distribution
A method for handling large numbers of in-coming calls. Ensures that calls are dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible, by distributing them between answering positions in a pre-programmed sequence.

ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
A broadband connection between a subscriber and the local exchange using existing copper wires. Can send a large quantity of data (eg a TV picture) in one direction (download speed) and a small quantity (eg a telephone call) in the other (upload speed). Also known as one 'flavour' of xDSL.

Stops calls from being connected where a caller has withheld their number.

ATM - Asynchronous Transfer Mode
A fast broadband network protocol used in telecoms infrastructure and large networks. ATM allows all types of information (data, voice and video in any combination) to be transported by a single network infrastructure.

Using a terminal or bureau service for voice communications, generally involving more than two people.

A facility which answers all in-coming calls and presents callers with a menu of call routing options, accessed via the key pad on their phone.

A device which automatically dials telephone numbers on a network.

The data transmission capacity of a connection, measured in bits or Bytes of data per second (bps or Bps). Can be thought of in similar terms to the diameter of a pipe conveying water. The amount of bandwidth needed depends on the applications being used - sending or receiving large multimedia files in a short time, or viewing video in real time, needs broadband connectivity.

A term used to express the rating of equipment or a transmission channel, usually in an analogue communication system. The number of pulses that can be transmitted in a second is the baud rate (one baud is equivalent to one pulse per second).

BonD - Bandwidth on Demand
The process of combining two or more channels on an ISDN or ADSL line using a multiplexer, with the effect of increasing throughput for bandwidth-hungry applications.

BRI ISDN - Basic Rate Interface ISDN
Provides two channels per physical line, similar to two standard telephone lines. Also known as ISDN2 or ISDN2e, and marketed by BT as BT Highway, HomeHighway and BusinessHighway.

A service or connection allowing large amounts of data to be carried very quickly, and which can split the available bandwidth into multiple channels. Examples of broadband technologies are ADSL, CATV and fixed wireless networks (broadband radio). Previously defined as bandwidth of 2Mbps+ but has become used as a description for services at 128kbps+ - and shared at that!.

A facility enabling the customer to program a standard telephone line so that out-going calls to certain numbers, for example international or premium rate services, cannot be made.

A service which allows in-coming calls to be re-directed to another number. (Available on all digital exchanges.)

A facility which allows an in-coming call to be sent to a different phone or extension.

A facility allowing a call to a particular extension to be forwarded to another extension if left unanswered for a specified interval.

A facility which records the numbers dialed by individual extensions.

Telephone systems incorporate a range of features aimed at managing calls in the most efficient way.

The facility to switch telephone calls between different lines and extensions.

A service whereby a user engaged on a call is given an indication that another call is being made to that line. (Available on all digital exchanges.)

A feature that allows customers to see the number from which they are being called before they answer the telephone.

CLI - Calling Line Identification
Provides the called person with the number of the telephone from which an in-coming call has been made. CLI services allow users to find out the number of callers or to withhold their number.

A service that allows calls made from any telephone to be billed to a different telephone or credit card account.

A type of cable with a central wire surrounded by insulation which separates it from a conductive mesh sleeve, the whole being then covered a protective insulating sleeve and generally used for conveying television pictures.

Where three or more people in different locations can have a joint telephone conversation. (Available on all digital exchanges.)

Internet connections range from dial-up connections using a standard telephone line or ISDN to broadband and "always on" connections such as ADSL, CATV or leased lines. To get connected an account with an Internet Service Provider is also required.

Usually used to denote the standard connection to an Internet Service Provider using a modem, but more generally a non-permanent connection between two computers or networks achieved over the public telephone network by dialing the telephone number of the device the remote computer/network is connected to.

A digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM) delivers exceptionally high-speed data transmission over existing copper telephone lines. A DSLAM separates the voice-frequency signals from the high-speed data traffic and controls and routes digital subscriber line (xDSL) traffic between the subscriber's end-user equipment (router, modem, or network interface card [NIC]) and the network service provider's network.

EDGE - Enhanced Data GSM Environment
EDGE is a digital mobile technology, expected to be commercially available in 2001. It is faster than GSM, and considered to be the evolutionary standard on the way to UMTS.

EMS - enhanced messaging service
as the term implies this is an advance on SMS which allows graphics, sounds and other enhanced features to be incorporated into mobile phone text messages.

A system used in local area networking which allows computers to communicate with each other and exchange data at 10 or 100mbps and now up to 1gbps.

Provides protection to a network from hacking and unauthorised access by filtering types of data, sources and destinations.

The term used for wired (copper and other cable) connections.

GPS - Global Positioning System
A satellite system which pinpoints the location of a terminal device. The position can be shown on a video map for navigation or tracking purposes.

a telephone system which can be integrated with a data network and switched by computers and routers rather than by traditional pbxs and telephone switches.

ISP - Internet Service Provider
Also known as Internet Access Providers, ISPs are companies or organisations which provide access to the Internet and/or other Internet related services.

IVR - Interactive Voice Response
A facility where a caller can respond to recorded prompts by inputting number tones from the telephone keypad, or speaking simple words from a given list (for example, yes/no).

LAN - Local Area Network
A network that connects computers in one location together, primarily for the sharing of resources and exchange of information.

A permanently open, high bandwidth line that can be used to give an "always on" connection to the Internet or between two offices. Typically leased lines are from 64 Kbps, but can be up to multi-Mbps depending on the size of the organisation and usage. Also known as a private circuit.

The local circuit connection between the customer and the customer's nearest telephone exchange office. Usually constructed of copper wires.

A service run by the mobile phone networks designed to carry data at a higher bandwidth than normal GSM voice channels.

A device that translates digital computer messages into the analogue signals that ordinary phone lines use (and vice versa).

Number portability between operators enables a customer to transfer from one operator to a second operator and retain the same number, provided the customer remains at the same address. It is obligatory between mobile operators.

Where a network operator grants access to a network to any service provider who may reasonably request it, such as by BT to other licensed operators.

A software application running on a network computer which logs and reports all, or filtered, data packet activity on the network.

PCN - Personal Communications Network
The European digital cellular mobile telephone network, developed in accordance with GSM standards.

PDA - Personal Digital Assistant
A digital personal organiser, ranging from a simple "databank" to palmtop and hand-held computers. Popular products include the Palm and Psion series.

A hardware/software device that acts like a telephone exchange, recognising the addresses of packets of data and routing them over a permanently connected network towards their destination.

Inmarsat and low earth orbit (LEO) services.

A facility which brings a contact database and a telephone system together - if a caller's details are on the database, they will automatically appear on the computer screen when the call is received.

A digital broadband service over the 'local loop' copper wires which has the same data capacity upload as download - as opposed to asymmetrical ADSL. The suppliers side 'modem' can be incorporated in the local exchange or a 'raw copper' twin wire can be leased from BT which connects the customer to a suppliers 'point of presence' and hence to the Internet backbone.

A powerful computer which may be located in-house or on the premises of a specialist company, such as an Internet Service Provider. Used to store communal data, network hardware and software among users, and also to host websites.

An electronic device or amplifier situated between exchanges, or between the exchange and subscriber premises, which boosts a signal which would otherwise suffer too much degradation due to distance.

a middleman or agent who finds the best telecom deal for your needs and either charges a fee to the customer or a commission from the telco.

A public switched low-speed data network used for the transmission of administrative messages.

UMTS - Universal Mobile Telephone Service
A broadband mobile telephony technology, expected to be implemented throughout 2003-2005. It will provide an enhanced range of multimedia services, such as video and high speed Internet access. Also known as 3rd generation mobile.

A specially adapted or designed telephone which enables the called and calling parties to see each other during a call.

VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol
Shorthand for using the ubiquitous Internet Protocol (but not necessarily the Internet) to make voice telephone calls. Voice calls are carried as data packets over a combined voice and data network which can be a managed LAN or WAN or less reliably over the contended Internet. To between a VoIP network and the standard public switched telephone network a 'gateway' is required.

VPN - Virtual Private Network
A private network provided over the shared public network infrastructure, rather than via a dedicated link. Used to make inter-site connections for voice or data in the same way as leased lines.

XML - eXtensible Markup Language
Similar to HTML in format, XML is used to structure the information on a website in terms of content rather than presentation. Used in many e-commerce enabled websites to enable transactions to be made.


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