Glossary of Telephone System Terms

Automated Attendants
A system that allows callers to be automatically transferred to a user's extension without the intervention of a receptionist.

C.O. Lines (Central Office Lines)
These lines connect your business or office to your local telephone company's Central Office which in turn connects you to the nationwide telephone system.

Central Office
Telephone company facility where subscribers' lines are joined to switching equipment for connecting other subscribers to each other, locally and long distance.

Central Office Lines
See C.O. Lines.

Dial By Name
You can dial someone's extension by spelling out their first or last name on a telephone touch pad. The Dial By Name feature is usually part of a Voice Mail System.

Fractional T-1
Fractional T-1 (FT-1) refers to any data transmission rate between 56 kbps (DS0 rate) and 1.544 megabits per second (Mbps), which is a full T-1. Fractional T-1 is simply a digital line that's not as fast as a T-1. FT-1 is popular because it's typically provided by a phone company (local or long distance) at less money than a full T-1. FT-1 is typically used for LAN interconnection, video conferencing, high-speed mainframe connection and computer imaging.

Hybrid Key System
Term used to describe a telephone system which has the attributes of both a Key Telephone System an PBX.

Key System
A system in which the telephones have multiple buttons permitting the user to select outgoing or incoming central office phone lines directly. With a key system you don't have to dial 9 to get an outside line. With a PBX , you have to dial "9" to make a call outside the building. Dialing 9 is the major difference these days between a key telephone system and PBX's. PBX's are usually, but not always, larger systems.

KSU (Key Service Unit)
The main cabinet containing all the switching equipment and electronics necessary to run a key telephone system. The KSU fits between the lines coming in from the central office and the lines going to the individual phones.

KSU-Less Phone Systems
A KSU-less phone system is typically a very small system, consisting of usually no more than six phones. A KSU-less phone system has all its electronics and switching in the phone sets themselves. A KSU-less phone can be very easy to install and that's its primary charm.

PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
PBX is a private telephone switching system, usually located on a customer's premises with an attendant console. It is connected to a common group of lines from one or more central offices to provide service to a number of individual phones, such as in a hotel, business or government office.

Portability
The ability for a customer to take his telephone number from place to place.

Trunk Lines
See C.O. Lines.

Voice Mail System
A devise to record, store and retrieve voice messages. There are two types of voice mail systems - those that are "stand alone" systems and those that are "integrated" with a telephone system. Today, the integrated voice mail system is more the standard. An integrated voice mail system will tell you if you have any messages either by lighting a light on your phone or displaying a message on your phones LCD display. Another feature of the integrated voice mail system is the automatic transfer to voice mail. When a caller rings a telephone extension, and the call is not answered by a certain number of rings, the call is automatically transfered to the calling party's voice mail box. The caller hears an outgoing message and will give the caller a chance to leave a message. Automated Attendants, Custom Call Routing Boxes, and Information Mail Boxes are other features that are part of or can be added to most integrated voice mail systems.


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