Telecoms Terminology – Helping You Understand What it all Means

We live and breathe telecoms here at PureComms. With over 50 years combined experience, we’ve seen how it has changed over the years and seen how new technologies and products have helped innovate and progress the industry. The result has been keeping up with all the latest phrases and terminology used.

We thought we’d create this little guide to help anyone wanting to double check what some of the common terms actually mean. Some of the phrases below have become quite common phrases, while others are somewhat unknown but worth understanding.

For help in understanding how any of these terms, products and services can impact your business, get in touch with one of our friendly staff today and let them help you get started on your journey to better telecommunications.


Addressability refers to the ability for something to be identified and accessed within a system. This is a vital part of communication and technology as it reflects the ability for larger systems and processes to have unique identifiable parts to it. These individual parts can respond to messages and help create structure and logic to large data driven systems.

It also means addressability can be used by service providers to control and manage what information and data can be accessed by individual members based on unique identifiable entities.

The use of pagers is an example of addressability working in the real world. This demonstrates how it can be used in hardware. An increasing trend and the future of addressability lies in concepts such as the “Internet of Things” and a heavily connected society whereby we expect devices and information to seamlessly connect to each other. As a result, the idea and use of addressability within telecoms is likely to be a trending topic in the coming years.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)

ADSL stands for “Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line.” This refers to the ability to transmit data at a high speed/bandwidth through copper pairs from the local exchange to nearby street cabinets. ADSL is an asymmetric system in the fact that it prioritises downstream data as opposed to upstream data. This makes it a popular system for internet users who want to download things from the internet. This reflects the nature of most internet users who want to access more information/data from the web than information/data they provide.

This does mean that it could have limiting implications for businesses who require faster upload speeds.

Analogue lines

An analogue line refers to the copper lines used to help transport data and voice communication. These are mainly used for voice communication now as data is often transmitted via ADSL and ADSL2, which can offer much faster download speeds.

Technologies such as ADSL still utilise analogue lines, which is why the term and service is a common phrase used.

Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)

An automatic call distributor, or ACD, answers and manages incoming calls to help distribute the incoming caller to the correct person or system within an organisation.

ACDs are well established in call centres and businesses that have large teams on the phone.

As technology advances, the basis of ACD is likely to lead to similar products that allow businesses to provide more personalised customer service based on attributes of the incoming caller (such as location, new/returning customer, demographic, etc). The ability to integrate this technology into things like a CRM (customer relationship management) will allow businesses to provide unrivalled services.


Broadband has become the industry standard for accessing the internet. It has replaced dial-up connections due to its superior speed and ease of use.

Broadband encompasses different products, such as ADSL and 4G mobile.

CTI – Computer Telephony Integration

CTI refers to the use of computers to manage telephone calls. In a future of more interconnections between devices, people and data, the idea of CTIs is likely to gain more traction. People are likely to manage their own personal incoming calls like a business, being able to direct spam callers away and provide different options for different callers.

As mobile devices become increasingly advanced, the line between phones and computer systems is likely to blur into one overall system like a CTI.


Connectivity describes the ability for people, systems and businesses to connect to the internet. The way you access the internet can be varied and has changed over the years, but the idea of being “connected” is something that all telecoms providers focus on for their customers.

Ethernet First Mile

Ethernet First Mile (EFM) refers to the use of ethernet computer networks to connect to a telecoms provider. The name is a reflection that this is the customer’s first mile of connection.

Fibre Optic Cable

Fibre Optic Cable is a new technology that is designed to offer faster connections than traditional copper cables.

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) Broadband – this refers to fibre optic cables being used from the exchange to the cabinet. Copper cable will be used from the cabinet to the end user.

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) Broadband – this refers to a full end-to-end connection from the exchange right through into the home/business premise of the end user.

Hosted / Cloud systems

Hosted/Cloud systems are hosted off-site ‘in the cloud’ (rather than being a ‘fixed system’ based within a businesses premises), and are internet based VoIP and data communications. They offer greater flexibility as call can be made/received from a desktop, computer and mobile. However, consistent and reliable internet connection is essential for these systems to work consistently.

IP Address

IP address is a common phrase that stands for “Internet Protocol” address. This helps identify the location of the user accessing the internet through a numerical value.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is increasingly being spoken about and is essentially all about the inter-networking of physical devises (such as telephone systems, mobiles etc), buildings and other items, embedded with software, network connections, electronics etc, to enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Leased Lines

Leased lines are the most reliable and fastest way to access the internet for businesses. They offer a dedicated line and help ensure you have the access required for your business. They are particularly useful for businesses that need to share and access a lot of data. Any business with more than 10 employees may want to consider taking advantage of leased lines.

Network Infrastructure

Network infrastructure is an umbrella term used to describe all the hardware and software used in telecoms. The network infrastructure has within it everything a business needs to access and manage data, voice, communication and networks.

PBX (Private Branch Exchange)

A Private Branch Exchange is a telephone system that is ‘fixed’ on-site and allows the end user to communicate both externally or internally using a range of channels such as VoIP, analogue, ISDN etc.  These systems also offer a range of features such as call recording, voicemail, transfer etc.

Power over Ethernet (POE) Switches

POE switches combine power and data through an Ethernet cable, meaning that there does not need to be a power source at the network devise. POW switches are suitable for VoIP, intercom systems, wireless access points etc where no power is available nearby.


A router is a hardware devise which can receive, analyse and move ‘incoming’ data to another network.  With a wide range of routers being available, it is important to understand a business’s needs when choosing the correct router.

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Trunking

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is a type of VoIP communication which is often referred to only as VoIP. SIP trunking enables businesses to make calls over their IP connection rather than a traditional phone line.

Unified Communications

Unified communication methods and equipment e.g. mobiles, internet access, network infrastructure, Wi-Fi, cabling, IT equipment etc and the integration of these, along with an appropriate phone system, can help a business to run efficiently, identify potential time/cost savings, improve staff and cross-site communications and ensure a high level of client or customer service – thus helping to maintain and grow a customer base and ultimately, profitability.

VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

VOIP stands for Voice over the Internet Protocol and refers to the group of technologies that allow people to communicate voice and media via the internet. As connectivity improves, VOIP services are becoming an increasingly popular way to communicate.


Get Started with PureComms Today

This list is by no means an exhausted list of telecoms terminology but it helps explain some common terms you’re bound to hear if you’re searching for a telecoms provider and service. To get started, get in contact today and we’ll be happy to help point you in the right direction based on your company needs and goals.