five telecom termsThe reason telecom seems so complicated and you might want to seek some help when you’re shopping for business phone or internet service is there are so many terms used for the same technology. 

Take business phone lines. They can be referred to as POTS lines (Plain Old Telephone Service), CO lines (Central Office lines), analog lines and DSOs (Digital Service Zero).

Traditional analog lines are slowly being replaced by Voice over IP, which can be referred to as VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol (if you want to get technical) and VoIP’s immediate family: SIP (Session Initiated Protocol), Hosted VoIP (VoIP combined with phone equipment).

To receive VoIP, a business needs an internet connection that could be delivered via DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), a cable internet connection, broadband, T1, DS1, DS3, OC (optical cable), Fiber, GigE and a few other delivery methods.

The Phone Company, also referred to as the Incumbent, a Baby Bell, an ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier), a RBOC (Regional Bell Operating Company), or Verizon, CenturyLink and AT&T, owns the telephone network in a specific geographic area. That network is known as the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). Part of the PSTN is the local loop, also known as the “last mile”.

A phone company delivers business phone service to the Demarc. Demarc (or DMARC if you’re into acronyms) is short for “demarcation point” and can also be called the MPOE (Minimum Point of Entry) or the Network Interface.

A business’s phone vendor will extend the Phone Company’s service to a 66 Block, or Punch Down Block and from there to a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) or a Key System or more simply, a business phone system.

The Business Phone System is connected using Cat5 (Category 5) cabling, or twisted pair. If you are combining your voice and data networks: Ethernet, 10 BASE-T or even 100BASE-TX.

Your desk phone, or Station, or End Set plugs into a phone jack, also known as a RJ11 (Registered Jack 11). The number after RJ starts at 11 and goes up from there and is determined by how many phone or data lines can be connected.

As you can tell, a lot of different telecom terms mean the same thing. Unfortunately, different members of the telecom community use different terminology. As a layperson, or civilian, you might learn a few terms only to be confronted with a dozen others you’re unfamiliar with. The choice is yours: risk telecom torment or utilize the services of a telecom consulting service, like CarrierBid. CarrierBid professionals possess years of service and know all the terms so you don’t have to.

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