Your guide to VOIP jargon

 In Technology, Telecoms

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to making the decision of whether or not you are going to transition to VoIP. There are some serious benefits, but being bombarded with all the new technical terms and acronyms can be confusing and make VoIP feel complicated and inaccessible. It’s really not.

In this guide, we demystify ten common terms and get you caught up on all the VoIP jargon you need, to get to grips with the tech and make an informed choice.

Demystifying VoIP Jargon


ATA stands for Analogue Telephone Adapter and is a small device with an RJ11 phone socket on one side, and an RJ45 ethernet socket on the other. It is used to change a regular phone handset into one that is capable of making VoIP calls. It does this by converting analogue voice signals into digital ones that can be transmitted over the web.

If you’re not ready to commit to purchasing a whole new set of handsets for your business when you transition to VoIP, this is a simple and cost-effective solution.


CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integration. It refers to any kind of computer software that communicates with the user’s VoIP phone. At its simplest, this allows for things like call logging and missed call notifications.

More sophisticated software can be combined with your address book or other customer relationship management programme and will bring up customer profiles and pertinent information when you receive a call.


DDI means Direct Dial-In. It is also sometimes referred to as DID (Direct Inward Dialing). This is a service which allows a business to register multiple numbers on the VoIP network.

Employing a receptionist to transfer calls manually can be expensive. With VoIP, you can give each department and indeed each individual staff member, a personal extension. Automated menus (which are relatively simple to install with VoIP) can help to direct callers.


ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and is the international communications standard for transmitting voice, video and other forms of data over digital telephone lines. It’s capable of sending several kinds of data simultaneously.


An ITSP is an Internet Telephony Service Provider. This is a company, like LG Networks for example, that specialises in providing internet protocol telephone services.

Your ITSP should be experts in VoIP system installations and should always be on hand to provide advice and guidance.


PBX stands for Private Branch eXchange and refers to a telephone system that allows you to switch calls between people on outside phone lines from a telecoms provider to extensions inside your building.

There are usually several features included like call forwarding and voicemail, so there’s no need to miss an important call.


PSTN means Public Switched Telephone Network. More informally, it is sometimes referred to as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). This is essentially a standard telephone line that is capable of handling a single call at a time. It’s also possible to run your ADSL internet service on this same line.

PSTN is usually fine for a home phone but is less than ideal for a business where you need to run several lines simultaneously.


SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. It literally refers to the process of connecting two VoIP phones and preparing them for the transmission of data across the internet. The SIP essentially makes sure that your two phones are “speaking the same language.”

Soft Phone

A soft phone is a phone-type application that exists only as software on a device such a desktop PC, laptop or tablet. With the use of headphones and microphone, the application is used in exactly the same way as a VoIP phone.

Once connected to the internet, the soft phone can log in to your PBX, call log, notifications and more. This is a great choice for freelancers and people who travel a lot during office hours.


Last but far from least, VoIP itself! This stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and refers to the transmission of voice online in the form of “digital packets” rather than the traditional method of using single PSTN lines.

VoIP is a highly functional, scalable solution for your business telephony requirements and is more cost-effective than you might think.

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