Like any other technical field, Telecommunications has its own set of terminology and jargon. From our experience and knowledge, we have listed some of the telecoms terminology and jargon by category below, which we hope you find useful. Please note that some jargon refers to multiple categories, and hence, has been included in both areas.
General Telecomms Terminology and Definitions
Analogue: A type of signal that represents information by varying continuously, typically in a wave-like form. Traditional landline telephones use analogue signals.
Digital: Information represented using discrete values, often in binary code (0s and 1s). Digital signals are used in modern communication systems, including the internet.
Bandwidth: The range of frequencies that a telecommunications channel can carry. In data transmission, it refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted in a given time.
Broadband: A high-speed internet connection that provides a wide bandwidth, allowing for the simultaneous transmission of voice, video, and data.
Modem: Short for "modulator-demodulator," a device that converts digital data from a computer into analogue signals for transmission over telephone lines and vice versa.
Router: A device that connects different networks together and directs data traffic between them. Home routers are commonly used to create Local Area Networks (LANs) and connect to the internet.
LAN (Local Area Network): A network that connects computers and devices within a limited geographical area, such as a home, office, or campus.
WAN (Wide Area Network): A network that covers a broader geographic area, often connecting LANs in different locations. The internet is a global WAN.
ISP (Internet Service Provider): A company that provides internet access to customers. ISPs offer various types of internet connections, such as DSL, cable, fibre-optic, and satellite.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): Technology that enables voice calls to be transmitted over the internet rather than traditional telephone networks.
Latency: The delay between sending and receiving data in a network, often measured in milliseconds. Low latency is crucial for real-time applications like video conferencing and online gaming.
Packet: A unit of data transmitted over a network. Data is divided into packets for efficient transmission and reassembled at the destination.
Router: A networking device that directs data traffic between different networks. Routers are essential for connecting devices to the internet.
Firewall: A security device or software that protects a network by monitoring and controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules.
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol): The fundamental suite of protocols that underpin the internet, responsible for data transmission, addressing, and routing.
DNS (Domain Name System): A system that translates human-readable domain names, e.g., www.example.com, into IP addresses that computers use to identify each other on a network.
Modulation: The process of varying a carrier signal's properties, e.g., amplitude, frequency, phase, to encode information for transmission.
Demodulation: The process of extracting information from a modulated carrier signal at the receiver.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): A high-speed internet connection that uses traditional telephone lines to transmit digital data.
Fibre Optics: A technology that uses thin strands of glass or plastic (fibres) to transmit data as pulses of light. Fibfre-optic connections offer high-speed and high-bandwidth internet.
AI Terms and Definitions
Artificial Intelligence (AI): The branch of computer science that aims to create systems and machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as problem-solving, learning, reasoning, and perception.
Machine Learning (ML): A subset of AI that focusses on the development of algorithms and statistical models that enable computers to improve their performance on a specific task through experience or data.
Deep Learning: A subset of Machine Learning that uses artificial Neural Networks with multiple layers (deep neural networks) to analyse and learn from large datasets, often used for tasks like image and speech recognition.
Neural Network: A computational model inspired by the structure of the human brain, consisting of interconnected nodes (neurons) organised into layers used for various AI tasks.
Supervised Learning: A type of machine learning in which an algorithm is trained on labelled data, meaning it is provided with input-output pairs to learn patterns and relationships.
Unsupervised Learning: A type of Machine Learning where an algorithm is trained on unlabelled data, and its objective is to discover patterns, structures, or groupings in the data.
Reinforcement Learning: A Machine Learning paradigm where agents learn by interacting with an environment and receiving feedback, (rewards or penalties), based on their actions.
Natural Language Processing (NLP): A field of AI that focusses on the interaction between computers and human languages, enabling machines to understand, interpret, and generate human language.
Computer Vision: A subset of AI and image processing that involves teaching machines to interpret and understand visual information from the world, such as images and videos.
Chatbot: An AI-driven software program designed to simulate human conversation, often used for customer support, information retrieval, and automated interactions.
Algorithm: A step-by-step set of rules and instructions for solving a specific problem or task. In AI and Machine Learning, algorithms are crucial for data processing and decision-making.
Feature Engineering: The process of selecting, transforming, or creating relevant features, (variables or attributes), from raw data to improve the performance of Machine Learning models.
Overfitting: A common issue in Machine Learning where a model performs exceptionally well on training data but poorly on unseen or test data because it has learned noise or irrelevant patterns.
Bias and Fairness: Concerns related to AI systems exhibiting biases, either in the data they are trained on, or in their decision-making processes, which can lead to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
Ethical AI: The study of AI development and deployment with a focus on ensuring fairness, transparency, accountability, and ethical considerations in AI systems.
AI Ethics: The ethical principles and guidelines that govern the use of Artificial Intelligence, including issues like privacy, transparency, and responsible AI development.
AI Model Deployment: The process of implementing and integrating trained AI models into real-world applications and systems to make automated decisions or provide recommendations.
Supervised Fine-Tuning: The process of further refining a pre-trained AI model on a specific task using a smaller labelled dataset, improving its performance for that task.
AI Explainability: The ability to understand and interpret the decisions made by AI systems, especially in complex models like deep learning networks.
AI Bias Mitigation: Techniques and approaches used to reduce or eliminate biases in AI systems, often involving careful data preprocessing and algorithm adjustments.
Contact Centre Terminology and Definitions
Agent: A customer service representative who handles incoming calls, emails, chats, or other interactions with customers.
IVR (Interactive Voice Response): A system that uses pre-recorded voice prompts and keypad or voice inputs to provide information and direct callers to the appropriate department or agent.
ACD (Automatic Call Distributor): A system that routes incoming calls to the most appropriate available agent based on criteria such as caller data, agent skills, and call priority.
Queue: A waiting area where calls or other interactions are held until they can be routed to an available agent.
Callback: An option that allows customers to request a return call from a contact centre agent at a later time rather than waiting in a queue.
Script: A predefined set of guidelines or responses that agents follow when interacting with customers. Scripts help ensure consistency in customer service.
Service Level: A metric that measures the percentage of calls or interactions answered within a specific time frame, often expressed as a percentage. e.g., 80% of calls answered within 30 seconds.
Hold Time: The amount of time a caller spends waiting in a queue before being connected to an agent.
Average Handling Time (AHT): The average time it takes for an agent to handle a customer interaction, including talk time, hold time, and after-call work.
First Call Resolution (FCR): A metric that measures the percentage of customer issues or enquiries resolved during the initial contact with the contact centre, without the need for follow-up.
Escalation: The process of transferring a customer to a higher-level support agent or supervisor for assistance with a complex or unresolved issue.
Abandonment Rate: The percentage of callers who hang up or disconnect before reaching an agent, often due to long hold times.
Service Level Agreement (SLA): A formal agreement that outlines the expected performance levels and response times for a contact centre, often established between the contact centre and the organisation it serves.
Quality Assurance (QA): The process of monitoring and evaluating agent interactions with customers to ensure adherence to company standards and guidelines.
Multichannel or Omnichannel: The ability of a contact centre to support various communication channels, such as phone, email, chat, social media, and SMS, to provide a seamless customer experience.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management): Software and tools used to manage customer information, interactions, and history to improve customer service and support.
Workforce Management (WFM): The process of forecasting, scheduling, and optimising agent resources to ensure efficient and effective contact centre operations.
Cold Transfer: Transferring a call to another agent or department without notifying the receiving party in advance.
Warm Transfer: Transferring a call to another agent or department with prior notification and context to ensure a smooth transition for the customer.
Contact Centre Analytics: The use of data and analytics to gain insights into contact centre performance, customer behaviour, and areas for improvement.
Unified Communications (UC) Terminology and Definitions
Unified Communications (UC): The integration of various communication and collaboration tools, such as voice, video, instant messaging, email, and presence, into a single, unified platform.
Presence: An indicator that shows whether a user is available, busy, away, or offline. Presence information helps users determine the best way to contact someone.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): Technology that allows voice communication and phone calls to be transmitted over the internet instead of traditional telephone networks.
Video Conferencing: Real-time video communication between two or more participants located in different locations. Video conferencing systems often include features like screen sharing and document collaboration.
Web Conferencing: A type of online meeting that typically includes features like screen sharing, chat, video, and document collaboration. It's used for presentations, webinars, and collaborative work.
Instant Messaging (IM): Real-time text-based chat communication between users. IM can be used for one-on-one or group conversations.
Collaboration Tools: Software and platforms that facilitate teamwork and document sharing, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Workspace.
Unified Messaging: A service that consolidates voicemail, email, and fax messages into a single mailbox, accessible through various devices.
Softphone: A software application that allows a computer or mobile device to function as a phone, enabling voice and video calls over the internet.
PBX (Private Branch Exchange): A private telephone network used within an organisation to manage incoming and outgoing calls and provide features like call routing, voicemail, and call forwarding.
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol): A signaling protocol used for initiating, maintaining, modifying, and terminating real-time sessions involving video, voice, messaging, and other communications applications and services.
Call Control: The ability to manage and control phone calls, including call routing, forwarding, and transferring, often through a UC platform.
Voicemail to Email: A feature that converts voicemail messages into audio files and sends them to the recipient's email inbox.
Mobile Integration: The integration of UC tools and services with mobile devices, allowing users to access UC features on smartphones and tablets.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS): A cloud-based service that provides UC functionality, allowing organisations to access and manage UC tools and services without the need for on-premises infrastructure.
Presence Status: Information that indicates a user's current availability and willingness to communicate, often displayed as "available," "busy," "away," or "offline."
Collaborative Whiteboard: A digital tool that allows users to draw, write, and annotate together in real-time, facilitating visual collaboration during virtual meetings.
API (Application Programming Interface): A set of rules and protocols that allow different software applications to communicate and exchange data with one another.
Federated Communication: The ability for users on one UC platform to communicate and collaborate with users on other UC platforms, often facilitated by standards like XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol).
QoS (Quality of Service): Measures and mechanisms to ensure the reliability and quality of communication services, such as voice and video, over a network.
Network Services Terminology and Definitions
DNS (Domain Name System): A system that translates human-readable domain names, e.g., www.example.com, into IP addresses used by computers to identify each other on a network.
DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol): A network protocol that assigns IP addresses, subnet masks, and other network configuration parameters dynamically to devices on a network.
Firewall: A security device or software that filters incoming and outgoing network traffic based on a set of predefined security rules, protecting a network from unauthorised access and threats.
Load Balancer: A device or software that distributes network traffic across multiple servers or resources to ensure high availability, scalability, and performance.
VPN (Virtual Private Network): A secure network connection that allows remote users or branch offices to access a private network over a public network, (usually the internet), while maintaining data confidentiality and security.
NAT (Network Address Translation): A technique that modifies network address information in packet headers while in transit to allow multiple devices on a private network to share a single public IP address.
Proxy Server: A server that acts as an intermediary between clients and external servers, forwarding client requests and responses while providing security and anonymity.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): A protocol used for sending email messages between servers and across networks.
POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3): A protocol used for retrieving email messages from a mail server to a client device.
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): A protocol used for accessing and managing email messages stored on a remote mail server, allowing users to organise and manipulate email messages.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): A standard network protocol used for transferring files between a client and a server on a network.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): The foundation of data communication on the World Wide Web, used for transferring web pages and other resources between web servers and web browsers.
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure): A secure version of HTTP that encrypts data exchanged between a web server and a web browser, ensuring data confidentiality and integrity.
SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol): A protocol used for managing and monitoring network devices and their performance.
VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network): A logical division of a physical network into multiple virtual networks, enabling better network management, security, and traffic segmentation.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): Technology that allows voice communication and phone calls to be transmitted over IP networks, such as the internet.
WAN (Wide Area Network): A network that spans a large geographic area, connecting multiple LANs and remote locations using various communication technologies.
LAN (Local Area Network): A network that covers a limited geographical area, typically within a building or campus, connecting devices like computers and printers.
RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service): A networking protocol used for centralising authentication, authorisation, and accounting (AAA) for network access.
Voice Services Terminology and Definitions
PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network): The traditional landline telephone network that uses circuit-switching technology to facilitate voice communication.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): Technology that enables voice communication and phone calls to be transmitted over IP networks, such as the internet, using digital packet-switching.
Analogue Voice: Traditional voice signals that are continuous and vary in amplitude, used in analogue telephone systems.
Digital Voice: Voice signals that are converted into digital format (0s and 1s) for transmission, used in digital telephone systems and VoIP.
PBX (Private Branch Exchange): A private telephone exchange system within an organisation that manages internal and external phone calls and provides features like call routing and voicemail.
Voicemail: A service that records and stores voice messages for users when they are unavailable to answer calls.
IVR (Interactive Voice Response): A technology that uses automated voice prompts and keypad inputs to interact with callers and provide information or route calls.
Conference Calling: A service that allows multiple participants to join a single call, enabling group discussions or meetings over the phone.
Call Forwarding: A feature that redirects incoming calls to another phone number or extension, often used when a user is unavailable.
Call Waiting: A service that alerts users of incoming calls while they are already on an active call, allowing them to switch between calls.
Caller ID: A feature that displays the caller's phone number or name on the recipient's phone before answering a call.
Call Blocking: A feature that allows users to prevent specific phone numbers from calling them.
Dial Tone: A continuous tone indicating that a phone line is active and ready to receive dialing input.
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol): A signaling protocol used for initiating, maintaining, modifying, and terminating real-time sessions involving voice, video, and messaging.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network): A digital telephone network standard that transmits voice and data over digital lines.
Codec (Coder-Decoder): A hardware or software component that compresses and decompresses audio signals for efficient transmission over networks.
DTMF (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency): The combination of two tones, e.g., pressing a telephone key, used for touch-tone dialing and interacting with automated systems.
PRI (Primary Rate Interface): A digital ISDN line used for voice and data communication, often used by businesses for high-capacity voice services.
Telephony API: A programming interface that allows developers to integrate voice and telephony functionality into applications and services.
Mobile VoIP: VoIP technology used on mobile devices, allowing users to make voice calls over cellular data or Wi-Fi connections.