Glossary

This glossary of terms is designed to help you understand some of the terms associated with Internet telephony as they apply to business phone systems.

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Analog
A form of electronic information transmission that is accomplished using signals of varying frequency or amplitude. Voice and radio have traditionally been analog forms of communication. Modems are devices used to convert analog information into digital form for transfer over computer networks.

Broadband
A type of communications transmission medium that has sufficient bandwidth to carry multiple voice, video or data channels at once. A cable connection is one example of a broadband pipe. Versature's hosted VOIP phone service requires a high quality broadband Internet connection for best performance.

Centrex
A telephone service that is like a private branch exchange (PBX) but with switching equipment located at the phone company's central office. Versature's hosted business communications services are an excellent, cost-effective alternative to Centrex.

Digital
Any method of transmitting information through a binary system of zeros and ones. Morse code was an early form of digital communication (dots and dashes). Today, digital communication uses combinations of electrical signals (zero = off, one = on) to convey data.

E-mail
Literally, electronic mail. E-mail is a way that a computer user connected to the Internet can communicate with other connected users through text. E-mail also allows users to send documents, images, sound clips and video between computers. Three general types of e-mail service are web mail, POP3 and IMAP. Versature's small business communications platform includes e-mail services with a wide variety of features.

Firewall
Technology that provides a protective barrier between a business's computer network and computers outside of that network. According to the business's preferences, a firewall can secure internal data from unauthorized users and filter out unwanted network traffic such as junk e-mail or computer viruses.

Hardware
Mechanical devices that comprise a computer system or computer network. For example, hardware can include computers and their parts, keyboards, monitors, printers, speakers, servers, firewalls, phones, phone systems and more. Because Versature's Internet telephony-based business phone service is hosted, customers do not have to purchase server hardware to run the system.

Headset
A communications device that contains the same technology as a telephone handset but is worn on the head to keep the hands free. Versature's hosted VOIP phone services are enhanced by headsets.

Hosted PBX
Versature's Hosted PBX service is equivalent to having a complete, professional business phone system – complete with multiple lines, area codes of your choice, auto-attendant, employee voice mail, and numerous business call control features. The difference is that you do not have to maintain any equipment on site. Instead, we maintain ("host") the hardware and software in a secure, redundant data centre and deliver the services to your business over the Internet.

Hosted Service
A technology service that is offered over the web, rather than as a product (either software or hardware) that resides at the customer's premises. Versature's integrated business communication platform is hosted.

Internet
A worldwide network of computers. The Internet is a vast collection of computers and other electronic devices that are all connected to an electronic communication medium that enables them to communicate with each other, provided they have the correct address and access permissions to do so.

Internet phone
Also sometimes called a "broadband phone," this is a digital telephone designed to deliver Internet-based voice communications to an end user. See the definition of "VOIP" for more detail. Versature's hosted VOIP services include Internet telephones.

Intranet
A website that is accessible only to people with computers on a company's private, secure network. Intranets can also restrict access to users who have valid usernames and passwords only. Authorized users are able to access special web pages and downloads – like documents – that users without authorization may not access.

IP-PBX (Internet Protocol Public Branch Exchange)
Technology that provides a business with voice-over-Internet protocol (VOIP) services. An IPPBX converts analog voice input into digital signals to be sent over the Internet, then converts digital voice input back into analog signals.

IP Phone
A telephone handset that is specially designed for a VOIP phone system. IP Phones are not connected to traditional phone lines but instead have ports to connect to a broadband Internet connection. IP Phones are designed to support the many unique features that a VOIP network makes possible.

IP Telephony
A form of voice communications in which voice is converted into digital data packets and sent over the Internet using the Internet protocol. See the definition of VOIP for more detail.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
An international communications standard that allows ordinary copper phone lines to transmit digital data very quickly. ISDN is generally a costly service and much faster than DSL.

IT (Information Technology)
A discipline that is concerned with all aspects of business and communications technologies. It focuses on all forms of technology that are used to create, store, exchange, and use information in its various forms.

Key System
A small-business phone system with multiple phone lines. Key systems are typically limited to about four phone lines. All phone lines are available through all of the telephone sets; special sets are required to work with key systems. Versature's hosted communications services are an excellent, cost-effective alternative to key systems.

Online
A term that means to be connected to the Internet, or accessible through the Internet. It can also refer to materials that are stored on a computer ("my status report is online"). TechSupport helps small- and midsize businesses get online and conduct business online.

PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
A small computer that is held in the palm of a user's hand and organizes personal information. PDAs normally contain at least one database of names and addresses, as well as a calendar/schedule, to-do lists, a notepad, and may also include cellular telephone functionality.

PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
A large telephone switch, typically owned privately by a large corporation. Essentially, a PBX is a small version of the telephone company's own switches. PBXs therefore provide an expanded range of voice services, such as phone extensions, call forwarding, paging, voicemail boxes for each user, etc.

Road Warrior
A contemporary term for professionals who spend a great deal of time traveling to work. The terms has been applied to salespeople, managers, consultants and other workers who spend a great deal of time working outside of the office.

Router
A computer network or Internet device that passes network traffic from point to point en route to its destination. The Internet's "traffic cop."

Server
In computer networking terms, a server is a computer that is dedicated to a particular purpose and stores all the programs and information for that purpose. Typically, it "feeds" (or serves) that information to other "client" computers upon request. For example, an e-mail server manages all e-mail related functions, and client computers access that server to retrieve or send e-mail.

Software
A set of instructions or data that tell a computer what to do. There are two general types of software: system and application. System software causes the computer to function – for example, operating-system software. Application software provides services to the computer user, such as word processing, graphics manipulation, web browsing and more.

Spam
A slang term for unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE) – essentially, it is annoying e-mail that you did not request or agree to receive. Spam may carry advertisements or threats to a computer network, such as computer viruses or spyware.

T-1
A type of data connection that can transmit at 1.544 megabits per second – that is, very fast. Large companies often have a T-1 line between their various locations to link large computer networks.

Trojan/ Trojan horse
Much like the myth it was named after, a Trojan horse is a malicious piece of computer code disguised as something desirable. For example, a user may download a file from the Internet that appears to be a computer game or screen saver but which actually contains harmful computer code like a virus or worm. TechSupport's network monitoring and security defends computer networks against Trojans.

Virtual PBX
A phone answering service that automatically answers, then re-routes calls to your business to employee's home phones or cell phones. Learn more about Virtual PBX services on our web page devoted to the topic.

VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network)
A computer network that connects computers and other network devices (such as printers and fax machines) across more than one office location.

VoIP/VOIP/voice-over-Internet protocol
A system of computer software and hardware that allows voice communication to be delivered over the Internet, rather than over traditional copper telephone lines. Voice inputs are translated into data then delivered over the Internet to a receiving program that translates the data back into voice. This enables voice services to be combined and integrated with other data services. It can also reduce or eliminate the costs of long-distance phone charges over traditional telephony lines. Versature provides VOIP business telephone service in a hosted environment.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A computer network that allows an authorized user that is not physically connected to the office network to securely connect to the network. The process of securely connecting to a VPN is called "tunneling".

WAN (Wide Area Network)
A network of computers and other data devices that spans a much larger geographic area than a LAN or VLAN.

Web/ World Wide Web/ WWW/ W3
The collection of all of the information and resources accessible on the Internet. This includes HTML documents, images, files, programs and much more.

Web mail
A web-based user interface that allows a user to access his/her e-mail from any location using a web browser. Web mail is convenient for people who travel or frequently work from a location that is not where their main computer resides. Versature's business communications platform includes web-mail services.

Wired network
A network of computers connected using hardware: physical cables and wires. Data such as instructions and information is transmitted between the connected devices over the wires. Versature's hosted VOIP business phone services can be run over wired or wireless networks.

Wireless network
A network of computers connected without using physical cables and wires. Computers and devices connected through a wireless network communicate through radio frequency (RF) signals. Versature's hosted VOIP business phone services can be run over wireless or wired networks.