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Telecommunications Acronyms and Topics Resources - Information IconThis page provides convenient access to resources available throughout the VirtualPBX website — including guides written for laymen to understand various telecommunications acronyms and definitions like VoIP.

The subsections of this article can be reached with the following navigation:

  1. Telecommunications Services Explained
  2. Common Terms
  3. Understanding Your Phone Network

Telecommunications Services Explained

These comprehensive guides provide breakdowns of telecommunications acronyms and topics like VoIP, PSTN, Business Voicemail, and WebRTC.

Common Terms

This section defines a few common telecommunications terms for quick lookup. For our full list of terms, see our Glossary page.

  • PBX (Private Business Exchange): A private, digital telephone system used by businesses to route calls through an internal network. Also referred to as an “on-premise PBX.” External lines may be integrated to allow for outbound calling.
  • Virtual PBX: A system similar to a PBX but managed virtually. The primary difference between an on-premise PBX and a virtual PBX is that, in the virtual model, a hosting company manages the hardware so businesses don’t have to purchase their own PBX servers.
  • VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): VoIP refers to the interconnection all digital telecommunications properties, including servers and phones, that make communication possible across a global network. VoIP networks may operate entirely through the structure of the internet; they may also involve the PSTN to route calls to other homes and businesses.
  • PSTN (Public Switched Telecommunications Network): The PSTN is composed of all transmission and switching facilities and signal processors supplied and operated by all telecommunications common carriers for use by the public. The most visible parts of the PSTN are the copper cables that run along telephone poles. The PSTN may also refer to fiber optic telephone lines, cellular networks, communications satellites, and undersea cables.
  • Packet Switching: VoIP networks use digital packets to send information between devices, like between two users on a call. This is distinct from circuit switching, which formed the basis of traditional PSTN copper wire connections and required that a circuit remain active between users in order to establish and complete a transmission of information.

Understanding Your Phone Network

Additional resources may be found in this section that help you better understand your phone network.