VoIP And Other Telecommunications Acronyms

The telecom industry has a mind boggling array of acronyms that sound very impressive as your salesperson rattles them off in a presentation, but ultimately can leave you confused as to what you are getting and how the costs are determined. Here are very general explanations of some terms you will hear.

VoIP or IP basically refers to the platform to add your voice traffic to your computer network. It can mean anything from a hosted phone system, where you just buy phones and pay a monthly charge for service or it can mean adding IP phones to your existing phone system but plugging them into a network switch.

SIP is Session Initiation Protocol. This can refer to SIP telephones (or endpoints) or it can refer to phone service that is provided over an internet connection to a new or existing equipment-based phone system.

UCaaS or a Hosted Solution Unified Communications as a Service. This is a general term for the array of features that a hosted phone system will offer. It’s a service because you pay monthly (in lieu of your existing phone bill) instead of investing thousands of dollars in software and hardware that will need to be maintained – and regularly upgraded. No processor needed, just phones.

PoE refers to the ability of a network switch to power your phones – Power over Ethernet. Without this ability on your network switch, each hosted phone would require a separate electrical outlet. Not a good idea because they can be kicked loose or fail. You want to minimize points of failure.

QoS means Quality of Service. This is the ability to prioritize voice traffic over data traffic on your network. No one is shocked if they lose a computer connection but being disconnected in the middle of a phone call is just unacceptable. You want to make sure that your voice network has priority. This used to be an option but most new switches have QoS built in.

There is lots more technical jargon but if you are somewhat familiar with these five acronyms, you’re ahead of the game. Ask your salesperson to elaborate on them. You don’t want to see a blank stare or frown.



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