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Frequently Used Telecom Terms Part 2


Short for Public Switched Telephone Network, basically what preceded the VoIP era. It’s your standard telephone network that involves telephone lines, fiber optic cables, cell networks, satellites and telephone cables that were dropped in the bottom of the ocean to help us connect and make calls overseas. Sometimes also referred to as POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) which is straightforward enough.


Remember the days of AOL when going on the Internet meant you couldn’t make or answer any phone calls? DSL, which is short for Digital Subscriber Line allows you to use a high-speed internet connection that still used the same wires as a regular telephone line.


People love to throw around the term ‘Cloud’ to make it sound like the most innovative thing since sliced bread (which we’ve griped about before). But what it really means is that data doesn’t need to be stored on clunky hardware all around your office. It’s hosted on a separate server that you don’t need to ever see or give up space for. In just the same way that Apple offers iCloud so you can store all your data on a separate off-site server that you never have to see, and Dropbox allows you to share and store documents in a “drawer” you can access from anywhere, your telecom data (call flow and switching, VoIP network can all continue as usual, except on servers that are off-site.

Virtual PRI

Previously, telecom companies (AKA telcos) would take individual T1s and create individual pipes, running at 64 kb to run 23 call (PRIs). This would obviously pose problems in scalability and get expensive pretty quickly. With Virtual PRIs, you can now take even 100 times that capacity to create individual T1s from within the pipe which would provide with less hardware and still provide the 'virtualized’ PRI to run the call.

Connection between DIDS and CLECs

CLEC is short for Competitive Local Exchange Carrier which refers to a carrier who is competing with another carrier that’s been competing in the local telephone market for awhile (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier). CLECs are encouraged by the FCC to prevent monopolies from happening which means they’ve done a lot of paperwork to register but they gain privileged access that other unregistered CLEC carriers do not have. An example of a CLEC would be Bandwidth.com, while an ILEC would be someone like Level3 or AT&T. How does this relate to DIDs?

One of the aforementioned privileges that CLECs have are low-level access and control to DIDs. DIDs are Direct Inward Dials that basically give you an individual phone number. One of the easiest ways to think about it is this: consider your office’s set of numbers as a group. The last 4 digits of your own office number that serve as your unique individual extension is your DID. Numbers are essentially “rented” from providers. CLECs such as Bandwidth.com have the power to sell phone numbers and port them, but they don’t necessarily own them.


Now to actually explain what the 2600Hz reference comes from. No, we didn’t name our company with four syllables just to give people a hard time when pronouncing our name, or to be the first alphabetized company at conferences. During the prime time of telephone switching and 'hacking,’ people found that they could whistle the 2600Hz frequency to trick the telephone operators in thinking that they had hung up a call when they were still on the line. They could then begin to make phone calls all around the globe without paying an extra dime. Since we are an open source platform, and we always promise to be one, we love the idea that people can start opening up the black box of telecom and start making calls freely with more flexibility and freedom than ever before.

Tagged: Business Communications, tuesday tips, archives, business