Glossary of Telecom Terms

Telecommunications terms and acronyms can be confusing and tricky to fully understand. To help our customers comprehend some of these terms, we have compiled a short glossary of telecommunications terms to use as a reference. Happy reading!

Affordable Connectivity Program– ACP is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.

Bandwidth– The capacity of a telecom line to carry signals. The necessary bandwidth is the amount of spectrum required to transmit the signal without distortion or loss of information. Measured in bits per second (bps).
Broadband- Wide bandwidth data transmission that transports signals over a high-speed internet connection. Broadband can be delivered through different technologies including fiber optics, wireless, DSL, cable, and satellite.
Buffering– the process of temporarily storing data in memory (a buffer) before it is sent or received over a network. The buffer helps to smooth out any variations in the rate at which data can be sent or received, and ensures that the sender and receiver can work at their own pace without interruption.

Central Office-  Office in a locality to which subscriber home and business lines are connected on what is called a local loop often equipped with switching equipment to switch calls locally or long distance.
Cloud- Cloud refers to the Internet. Cloud Communications is the latest technology where software isn’t just hosted on a single computer, but in a large array of computers located in a single or many data centers around the world. This allows for software to scale larger without added investment in computer hardware. It can also provide redundancy – in case one computer fails, another can pick up the work without interruption.
Competitive Local Exchange Carrier– CLEC is in the United States and Canada is a telecommunications provider company (sometimes called a ‘carrier’) competing with other, already established carriers, generally the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC).
Customer Premis Equipment: (CPE) is

Digital Subscriber Line– A group of technology that works together to transmit data over telephone lines; more currently used in regards to Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL) which is a widely used internet connection; can be internet and phone paired.
Database:  An organized collection of data on a computer, structured so that it can be retrieved or controlled.  

Ethernet- A frame-based, wired computer networking technology for local area networks.  

Fiber Optics– Communications technology that uses thin filaments of glass or other transparent materials to transmit pulses of light. Fiber optic technology offers greater bandwidth and speed and provides an extremely reliable connection.  
Firewall- A computer system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic to protect the internal network from unauthorized access.  
Federal Communications Commission- The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress, the Commission is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing America’s communications law and regulations.

High Definition- HD is a digital broadcasting standard that provides substantially higher image resolution and audio than earlier standards. 
Hotspot- A specific geographic location in which an access point provides a public wireless internet connection to mobile users. 

Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier- ILECs are telephone companies that held a regional monopoly on providing local service when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted.
IP Address- An Internet Protocol address is a fixed of dynamic number ranging from to and is required for every device connected to the Internet.
Internet Service Provider– (ISP) is a company that provides consumers and businesses access to the internet.

Lifeline Service- Basic local exchange telephone service provided at a discount to qualifying subscribers based on income and location.

Malware- Software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner’s consent or knowledge. 

Network- a system that connects two or more computing devices for transmitting and sharing information. Computing devices include everything from a mobile phone to a server. These devices are connected using physical wires such as fiber optics, but they can also be wireless.

Phishing- The criminally fraudulent process of using electronic communication to masquerade as a trustworthy entity in an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. 
Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet- PPPoE is a network protocol that facilitates communicatin between network endpoints.

Retransmission Fee- Fees that local broadcast stations charge cable and satellite providers for passing, or retransmitting, their signal to customers.
Router- A device that forwards data packets between two or more networks.  :

Service Area- A radio relay station that orbits the earth. The satellite receives a signal transmitted by an originating earth station and retransmits that signal to the destination earth station(s). Satellites are used to transmit telephone, television, and data signals from common carriers, broadcasters, and cable TV distributors. 
Service Provider- A telecommunications provider that owns circuit switching equipment. 
Spoofing- The act of disguising a communication from an unknown source by masquerading as a known, trusted source. Caller ID spoofing can make it appear that a phone call is originating from any phone number the caller wishes, much as email spoofing can make it appear that a message came from any email address of the sender’s choosing.   

Universal Service- The government’s aim of providing telecommunications services at reasonable and affordable rates to everyone throughout the country, regardless of their distance from the switch or ability to pay.  
Uptime- Uptime is a metric used to measure the overall performance of your service provider. It is a percentage and shows for how long the service is up and running. The higher the number, the better it is for you

Voice Over Internet Protocol- VoIP is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line.
Virtual Private Network- VPN is a networking solution that allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more.

WIFI- The wireless technology used to connect computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices to the internet using radio signals from wireless routers.   
Work Order- Also known as a trouble ticket, this form is what identifies the work to be performed at a customer location by a technician.

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