Telecommunications Glossary | SIP Trunking, Voice, and Messaging
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Automatic location identification (ALI)

An automatic location identification (ALI) is an enhanced electronic location system that automatically relays a caller's address when they call an emergency responder service such as 911, whether they call from a mobile phone or a landline. Telephone companies have subscriber databases that a consumer's phone number with a primary home address, but more recent technology such as ALI makes it easier for emergency responders such as the fire departments, law enforcement and paramedics to locate the caller's exact address in a more timely fashion. In fact, responders can locate someone who dials 911 even if they don't say a word.

Automatic number identification (ANI)

The ANI is a feature of a telecommunications network for automatically determining the origination telephone number on toll calls for billing purposes. Automatic number identification was originally created by AT&T Corporation for internal long distance charging purposes, eliminating the need for telephone operators to manually request the number of the calling party for a toll call.

API

An Application Programming Interface (API) is provided by a service or program so that others may use the features and functions of the system. APIs are like a contract that describes how a consumer will make requests of the system, and what they will receive in return.

Appointment reminders

Appointment Reminders give businesses the ability to notify customers of upcoming engagements. While some businesses call customers to remind them of their appointments, text messaging has emerged as the preferred channel for customer communication, particularly for Appointment Reminders.
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C

Call Center

A call center is the heart of customer service for many businesses, where customers call in for help and reps call out for sales. It’s referred to as a “call center” because traditional models of customer service are based on phone support as the main method of contact between customers and companies.

Call Detail Record (CDR)

A data record produced by a telephone exchange or other telecommunications equipment that documents the details of a telephone call or other telecommunications transaction (e.g., text message) that passes through that facility or device. The record contains various attributes of the call, such as time, duration, completion status, source number, and destination number.

Caller-ID (CNAM)

When phone calls are made, there are usually two user-facing identifiable pieces of information: a phone number and a Caller ID Name (usually a 15-character string).CNAM can be used to display the calling party's name alongside the phone number, to help users easily identify a caller.

Carrier Number Service

Provides ability to extend VoIP without the need for an IP-PSTN.

Cloud Contact Center

Cloud contact centers make contact center software functionality that was previously only accessible through on-premise hardware available through the internet. A cloud contact center provides quick and easy access to the tools and services businesses need to communicate in today’s web-based world.

Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC)

The landline carrier entrant to a market where there is already an incumbent LEC providing local phone service.

Contact Center

A contact center is a business’s central point for managing all customer communications across all channels. A company’s contact center is usually integrated with their customer relationship management (CRM) system, where all interactions between the organization and the public are tracked, coordinated, and managed.
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D

Desired Due Date (DDD)

During the port order process, users can select a desired due date which is when they would like the port order to complete.

Direct Inward Dialing (DID)

Direct Inward Dialing (DID) is a telephone service that allows a phone number to ring through directly to a specific phone at a business instead of going to a menu or a queue and needing to dial an extension.

DTMF Tones (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency Tones)

DTMF, or Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency tones, are in-band telecommunications signals sent over voice frequencies. Commonly used over telephone lines, DTMF tones are also commonly called Touch Tones.

Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI)

Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) is a call tracking feature where a unique phone number is tied to each ad source. This helps marketers analyze offline behavior much in the same way they track online behavior with the help of cookies.
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E

E.164

E.164 is the international telephone numbering plan that ensures each device on the PSTN has globally unique number. This is what allows phone calls and text messages can be correctly routed to individual phones in different countries. E.164 numbers are formatted [+] [country code] [subscriber number including area code] and can have a maximum of fifteen digits.
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G

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)

GPRS, or General Packet Radio Service, is a best-effort packet-switching communications protocol for cellular networks. GPRS was one of the first widely used data transfer protocols on cellular networks, first standardized in 3GPP's Release 97 in the first quarter of 1998. Commercial cellular networks began to support GPRS in 2000.
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I

Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC)

A local telephone company which held the regional monopoly on landline service before the market was opened to competitive local exchange carriers, or the corporate successor of such a firm.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Interactive Voice Response or IVR is an automated telephony system that interacts with human callers through the use of voice and touch-tone keypad selections (DTMF tones). It’s also commonly known as a phone tree.

Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP)

An Internet telephony service provider (ITSP) is an Internet service provider that supplies digital telecommunication service on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). ITSPs provide direct Internet to users or other wholesale suppliers that consequently provide Internet to a home user. The service is based on local telephone and VoIP techniques, and thus it is facilitated by the Internet.
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J

Jitter

Jitter is the variation in periodicity of a signal or periodic event from its target or true frequency. In telecommunications, jitter further refers to the variation in latency of packets carrying voice or video data over a communications channel.
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L

Latency

Latency is the time delay between the initiation of an event and its perception by some observer. In networking and telecommunications, latency is the time between a sender causing a change in a system's state and its reception by an observer. Network latency is often informally used interchangeably with lag.

Local Exchange Carrier

A local exchange carrier (LEC) is the term used in the U.S. for describing the telephone company which operates within a local area and provides telecommunication services within that area.

Local Access Transport Area (LATA)

LATA (local access and transport area) is a term in the U.S. for a geographic area covered by one or more local telephone companies, which are legally referred to as local exchange carriers (LECs). A connection between two local exchanges within the LATA is referred to as intraLATA. A connection between a carrier in one LATA to a carrier in another LATA is referred to as interLATA. InterLATA is long-distance service. The current rules for permitting a company to provide intraLATA or interLATA service (or both) are based on the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Local Exchange Routing Guide (LERG)

The Local Exchange Routing Guide (LERG) is a database managed by Telcordia which provides information regarding owned NPA-NXX at the block level. The LERG is updated monthly and highlights the call routing activity that occurs over the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) by service providers.

Local Service Request (LSR)

Local Service Request (LSR) is the industry name for the order in which carriers submit to other carriers to initiate a port order of a single or multiple telephone numbers.

Location Routing Number (LRN)

A Location Routing Number (or LRN) is a unique number that uses the format of a telephone number, but actually represents an entire telephone switch through which multiple telephone numbers are routed. The assignment of a location routing number to telephone numbers allows for local number portability.

Long Code

A long code number is a standard phone number used to send and receive voice calls and SMS messages. Phone numbers are typically called “long codes” (10-digit numbers in many countries) when comparing them with SMS short codes (5-6 digit numbers).
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M

Masked Calling

Masked calling is a technique used in ecommerce to protect buyers' and sellers' personal phone numbers private. It uses a short-lived phone number for each party, allowing them to communicate seamlessly during a specified time period. After the time period has expired, the numbers are recycled and reassigned to other parties on the platform, which helps keep transactions from happening outside the platform.

Masked Phone Numbers

Masked Phone Numbers are a common pattern to anonymize communication between multiple parties and hide participant phone numbers. Instead of dialing directly from phone to phone, users communicate via a third ('proxy') phone number that forwards a call to the eventual destination.

Message Detail Record (MDR)

The MDR provides information such as the phone number, timestamp and carrier that can be accessed by the user.

MMS

MMS, short for Multimedia Messaging Service, is a standard way to send multimedia such as pictures, videos, and other attachments over text messaging channels.
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N

Network Address Translation (NAT)

Network Address Translation (NAT) is the modification of in-transit network packets to map one IP address space to another. It is most commonly used in IP Masquerading, where a large private IP network shares a relatively small number of publicly facing IP addresses behind a router or gateway.

Network Service Provider (NSP)

A network service provider (NSP) is a company that owns, operates and sells access to internet backbone infrastructure and services. The primary customers of NSPs are other service providers, including internet service providers (ISPs), which, in turn, sell internet access to businesses and consumers. Several network service providers also function as ISPs themselves, however. NSPs are also referred to as backbone providers.

NANP (North American Numbering Plan)

The NANP is the plan for telephone numbers in Canada, the US and its territories, and the Caribbean. Telephone number addresses in the NANP are in the form NXX-NXX-XXXX, where N is any digit from 2-9 and X is any digit from 0-9. (The format often is expressed as NPA-NXX-XXXX to reflect the fact that the first three digits of the telephone number represent the area code.) The first six digits (NPA-NXX) of the telephone number identify the local serving switch. The NPA-NXX of a telephone number also indicates the geographic area ("rate area") associated with the number. There are exceptions to the meaning of a number's NPA-NXX, such as for "toll-free" numbers and those in certain specially designated NPA-NXXs.

North American Numbering Plan Administration

The entity selected by the FCC to administer the NANP.
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O

Operating Company Number (OCN)

The OCN is assigned by The National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc. (NECA) and is used as an identifier for inter-carrier transactions. The OCN of a service provider is used as its NPAC SPID.

On-Premise Contact Center

An on-premise contact center is a contact center model where all software and hardware required to maintain and operate a call center is located on a customer’s property. Companies using an on-premise system generally employ or contract with specialized IT staff responsible for configuration, upgrades, and upkeep of the contact center.

Order notifications

Order notifications give businesses the ability to inform customers of the status of their order, which could include confirmations, pricing adjustments, delays in fulfillment, or delivery scheduling.
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P

Packet Loss

Packet loss refers to the failure of packets to reach their destination on a network. Packet loss is most often a consequence of network congestion and usually caused by network equipment dropping, ignoring, misdelivering, or discarding packets.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Personally Identifiable Information (PII), or personal data, is data that corresponds to a single person. PII might be a phone number, national ID number, email address, or any data that can be used, either on its own or with any other information, to contact, identify, or locate a person.

Phone Menu

A phone tree or phone menu is an automated navigation menu presented to voice callers. Using interactive voice response with DTMF codes (touchtones) or voice recognition, a phone menu helps a caller find automated information, complete a transaction, talk to the proper human operator, or leave a voicemail with a company.

Perceptual Evaluation of Speech Quality (PESQ)

A family of standards comprising a test methodology for automated assessment of the speech quality as experienced by a user of a telephony system. It is standardized as ITU-T recommendation.

Port Order Number (PON)

Once a port order is created it will be assigned a port order number by the winning carrier.

Private Branch Exchange (PBX)

PBX, short for Private Branch Exchange, is a phone system in an enterprise that manages incoming and outgoing phone calls as well as an organization’s internal communications.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

The PSTN is the network that carries your voice calls when you call from a landline or cell phone. It refers to the worldwide network of voice-carrying telephone infrastructure, including privately-owned and government-owned infrastructure.

Push Notification

A push notification (also known as a server push notification) is the delivery of information to a computing device from an application server where the request for the transaction is initiated by the server rather than by an explicit request from the client. While 'push notification' is most often used to refer to notifications on mobile devices, web applications also leverage this technology.
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R

Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP)

RTP is a network protocol for delivering audio and video over IP networks. RTP is used extensively in communication and entertainment systems that involve streaming media, such as telephony, video teleconference applications including WebRTC, television services and web-based push-to-talk features.

REST API

A REST API allows software programs to expose functionality and data to other programs over the Internet in a consistent format. APIs are considered RESTful if the means of accessing the API provider's functionality adhere to the architectural style of REST.
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S

Software Development Kit (SDK)

A software development kit, or SDK, is a downloadable software package that contains the tools you need to build on a platform.

Session Description Protocol (SDP)

The Session Description Protocol (SDP) is a format for describing streaming media communications parameters. The IETF published the original specification as an IETF Proposed Standard in April 1998, and subsequently published a revised specification as an IETF Proposed Standard as RFC 4566 in July 2006.

Serverless Architecture

Serverless architecture (also known as serverless computing or function as a service, FaaS) is a software design pattern where applications are hosted by a third-party service, eliminating the need for server software and hardware management by the developer. Applications are broken up into individual functions that can be invoked and scaled individually.

Service Provider ID (SPID)

A four-digit alpha-numeric value that identifies the owner of a record in the NPAC/SMS. The SPID is an NPAC account number and in most cases is drawn from the NPAC User's OCN. The SPID of the owner of a record is included in the data broadcast to the LSMSs.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signalling protocol for initiating, terminating, and modifying user sessions over an IP network. Most commonly, SIP is used for Voice Over IP (VoIP) services, but is also often used for other communications sessions such as video calls and instant messaging sessions.

SIP Trunking

A SIP trunk is a virtual version of an analog phone line, eliminating the physical connection to a phone company. Using SIP trunks, a SIP provider can connect multiple channels to your PBX, allowing you to instantly provision global voice connectivity for your Voice over IP (VoIP) infrastructure.

SMS

SMS stands for Short Message Service and is another name for a text message. An SMS is generally sent from one mobile device to another over the cellular network. SMS is a text-only standard first formalized in 1985 in the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standards.

SMS API

A SMS API is well-defined software interface which enables code to send short messages via a SMS Gateway. As the infrastructures for SMS communications and the internet are mostly divided, SMS APIs are often used to 'bridge the gap' between telecommunications carrier networks and the wider web. SMS APIs are used to allow web applications to easily send and receive text messages through logic written for standard web frameworks.

SMS Character Limit

The character limit for a single SMS message is 160 characters, however most modern phones and networks support concatenation and segment and rebuild messages up to 1600 characters. Messages not using GSM-7 encoding are limited to 67 characters.

SMS Delivery

SMS Delivery is a measure of the percentage of outgoing SMS and MMS messages which are received at their intended destination. While sometimes referring to the status of a single message, SMS delivery usually is a rate of delivered versus intended messages and summarized as an 'SMS Delivery Rate.'

SMS Gateway

An SMS Gateway enables a computer to send and receive SMS text messages to and from a SMS capable device over the global telecommunications network (normally to a mobile phone). The SMS Gateway translates the message sent, and makes it compatible for delivery over the network to be able to reach the recipient.

SMS Notifications

SMS Notifications are out-of-band text messages sent in response to events or transactions which occur somewhere else. While often used as a marketing tool to increase the percentage of returning visitors, SMS notifications are very useful for organization and public safety purposes as well.
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T

TCPA

The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) is a federal statute enacted in 1991 designed to safeguard consumer privacy. This legislation restricts telemarketing communications via voice calls, SMS texts, and fax.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two factor authentication (commonly abbreviated 2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your user’s account login by requiring two forms of authentication: something your user knows and something they have.
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U

Unicode

Unicode is an international character encoding standard that provides a unique number for every character across languages and scripts, making almost all characters accessible across platforms, programs, and devices.
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V

Virtual Phone Number

A virtual phone number is a standard telephone number that is not locked down to a specific phone. A virtual number can route a voice call or text message to any phone or workflow. With virtual numbers powered by an API, complex software workflows can be built that are triggered by calls and texts.

Voice API

A voice API is a tool for software developers to make and receive phone calls with a simple, easy to understand API. Behind the scenes, a voice API bridges the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and applications connected to the internet. By using a voice API, software developers can program voice calling into their applications without specialized telecommunications knowledge and hardware.

Voice Proxy

Voice Proxy is also known as Masked Calling. It refers to the technique used to protect users' private information by providing an intermediary number so that neither party can see the other's true phone number for voice calls or SMS.

VoIP (Voice Over IP)

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a category of hardware and software that enables voice calls to be made and received over the internet.
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W

Webhook

Webhooks are user-defined HTTP callbacks. They are triggered by some event in a web application and can facilitate integrating different applications or third-party APIs, like Flowroute.

WebRTC

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is a collection of communications protocols and APIs originally developed by Google that enable real-time voice and video communication over peer-to-peer connections.

WebSockets

A WebSocket is a persistent bi-directional communication channel between a client (e.g. a browser) and a backend service. In contrast with HTTP request/response connections, websockets can transport any number of protocols and provide server-to-client message delivery without polling.
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