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A Complete Explanation

UCaaS / VOIP Glossary

As the pace of UCaaS adoption increases, MSPs and VARs may find themselves struggling to keep up with both the demand from customers and the changing nature of business. One complicating factor can be the complex language that is used in the industry. It’s easy to find yourself drowning in a sea of jargon. To help combat confusion, White Label Communications has put together a Glossary of UCaaS/VOIP Terms.

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)

A system that automatically receives and distributes incoming calls to available Contact Center agents.  Its purpose is to help inbound Contact Center agents sort and manage larger call volumes.  ACD also improves customer experiences by ensuring customers are connected to capable agents in the most efficient way possible.

Application Programming Interface (API)

An API allows two applications to communicate. It’s what enables data to be seamlessly distributed to different applications on different devices in different locations, and then updated and manipulated in real time. They’re at the heart of cloud-based Unified Communications.

Auto Attendant

Basically, this is a virtual receptionist. Auto attendant allows callers to be automatically transferred to an extension without the intervention of an operator. They typically have a simple menu system and are customizable.


Availability is based on the probability of a hardware failure, which is obviously bad. Availability is determined by dividing the “mean time between failure” by the “mean time to repair” – in other words, how often things break down divided by how long it takes to fix them. ‘Five nines’ – i.e., 99.999 %, is the benchmark people often talk about.

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD)

This is a huge reality for most businesses today – their workforce is committed to using its personal smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to access business information and applications. On one hand, this is great, because it means employees can work anywhere and offers the promise of increased productivity. On the other hand, data governance becomes a major issue. A successful BYOD initiative requires a robust technology platform, good security, and proper policy in place.

Bring-your-own-carrier (BYOC)

Some of our Partners of a certain size would like to bring their own carrier(s) for origination, termination and toll free to our UCaaS platform. In this situation White Label provides Platform as a Service (PaaS).  On one hand, this is can potentially reduce a Partner’s overall costs.  On the other hand, our Partners take on a great deal of responsibility as it relates to managing carrier relationships and all that entails, including and not limited to LNP, fraud detection, carrier outages/issues, etc.  If you would like to explore the details of BYOC please contact your Partner Advocate.

Business Associate Agreement (BAA)

The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires all Covered Entities to have a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with any Business Associate (BA) they hire that may come in contact with Protected Health Information (PHI).  A HIPAA BAA creates a bond of liability, outlining the shared responsibilities of the Covered Entity and the Business Associate(s). 

CALEA — The Communications Assistant for Law Enforcement Act

This relates to electronic surveillance, which has been a very hot topic in 2013. The Act requires that carriers and manufacturers enable their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure that they have built-in surveillance capabilities so that federal agencies can monitor communications.


This stands for Customer Proprietary Network Information. This is the data collected about an individual user’s calls, such as time, date, duration, and destination number of each call.

Caller ID

Caller ID is used to allow the called party to see the calling party’s name and telephone number before picking up the phone.

Click to call

The ability to initiate a phone call from your computer.  Calls can be made to a contact list or a phone number on a website with the click of a mouse.

Cloud Communications

Voice and data communications over the Internet. All applications, switching and storage are hosted by a third-party outside the organization and accessed over the Internet. With cloud communications, there is no major capital expenditure for an in-house PBX system and ongoing costs are more predictable than with a traditional premise-based solution.

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

Technology that enables integrated interaction on a telephone and a computer, such as click-to-call and screen pops.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Software that manages all aspects of an organization’s interactions customers and prospects. A unified communications solution can make a CRM system more accessible across an organization because it creates a heightened level of accessibility.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

A DDoS attack is an attempt to make a network unavailable to its intended users.  DDoS attacks targets websites and servers by disrupting network services. A DDoS attack attempts to exhaust an application’s resources. The perpetrators behind these attacks flood a site with errant traffic, resulting in poor website functionality or knocking it offline altogether.

Device as a Service (DaaS)

White Label’s service which allows Partners to “rent” SIP handsets and other equipment to their customers so they can provide a complete or one-stop-shop solution.  Refer to our website for additional details: https://www.whitelabelcomm.com/solutions/device-as-a-service-daas/

Direct Inward Dial (DID)

DID is used for call routing. Through DID, external callers are able to contact a user directly at their unique phone number.

Domain Name System (DNS)

The Domain Name System (DNS) is the phonebook of the Internet. Humans access information online through domain names (URLs).  Web browsers interact through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources.


SRV records indicate the “priority” and “weight” of multiple servers. The “priority” and “weight” values in an SRV record enables prioritization of servers within and across geographic locations.  DNS SRV records for SIP calling has the advantage of no SIP Handset being tethered to a specific server, i.e. servers are “in the cloud” and virtualized, resulting in a true cloud solution.


An endpoint is an IP telephone, a softphone, or an analog telephone adapter device.


A standard extension is an individual user account on the cloud associated with a physical endpoint by a two to six digit number. A cloud extension is not associated with a physical endpoint – i.e., a voice mailbox, etc.

FCC Form 499

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Form 499 is filed with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).   There is a 499Q filed quarterly and a 499A filed annually. 

Find me, follow me

Generally, this is used as a call-forwarding feature. It improves worker productivity and customer service by ensuring that every call reaches the right person, regardless of where he or she is working.


A key security feature that you’ve almost certainly heard of. The firewall sits between two networks, such as a company’s internal network and the Internet, and prevents unauthorized people from accessing the internal network.

Fixed mobile convergence (FMC)

This is exactly what it sounds like – the convergence of the fixed and mobile networks. FMC solutions integrate cellular services with private communications networks, whether they are wired or wireless.

Frame relay

A cost-efficient method of data transmission for intermittent traffic between LANs and between end-points in WANs. They’re less expensive than private leased lines because the carrier shares the frame relay bandwidth among many customers. This can have a negative impact on quality, and therefore requires detailed attention to engineering the solution.

HIPAA Compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, commonly known as HIPAA, is a series of regulatory standards that outline the lawful use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI).  HIPAA compliance is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).  This is an ongoing requirement that must be checked an updated regularly.

Hosted VoIP

Also called Hosted. When we say “hosted” we mean that the hardware and PBX is hosted at an off-site location from where the VoIP telephone service is being used. Many businesses are embracing Hosted VoIP because it provides them robust communications, cost certainty and future-proofs their business, while eliminating major capital expenditures for new inhouse phone equipment.

Instant Messaging (IM)

Real-time communication over the Internet using text-based messages. Popular consumer-facing examples include G-chat, AIM, and iMessage. IM is usually a central feature of unified communications.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

A technology included in today’s UCaaS solutions that greets and acts on information presented and/or collected from callers.  IVRs are commonly used to determine what the user’s query is and, by extension, the kind of assistance they need.  It uses the information that it collects to route calls, verify the caller’s identity, provide callers with details, and/or handle tasks for callers that don’t require a human agent

Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange (IP PBX)

Is an on-prem business phone system that delivers voice and/or video over a data network using IP.

IP phones

An IP phone, very broadly speaking, is a telephone designed to work with an IP Phone System. The popularity of the SIP standard, however, means that the IP PBX of today has evolved, almost universally, into a SIP-based PBX.

IP telephony

More commonly referred to as Voice over IP (VoIP). IP telephony uses the IP network to carry voice communications, replacing the legacy public switched telephone network (PSTN), or traditional landlines.


Internet Telephony Service Provider. A company that provides VoIP services. We usually break them down into Interconnects, MSPs and Carriers.


Generally caused by network congestion, which can create timing issues for when packets arrive, thereby contaminating voice calls and creating poor and/or unacceptable voice quality. This often manifests itself with “squawking” noises and other strange noises interrupting audio calls.


Latency is the time it takes for a caller’s voice to be transported – packetized, sent over the network, depacketized and replayed – to the other person. Too much latency is bad, making for a disjointed conversation flow. Ideally, latency should not exceed 100 milliseconds. Geographical distance or a lower-speed network connection can cause latency issues.

Line Number Portability (LNP)

Also known as number portability and number porting, enables end users to keep their telephone number when switching from one telecommunications service provider to another.

Managed IP Telephony Services

Hosted services. Typically, the end-customer business owns the IP PBX and related equipment, while the carrier or VAR provides management and maintenance for the phone system.

Managed Switches

Managed switches are fully configurable, are customizable, provide a range of data on performance and can be accessed remotely.  These attributes make them more suitable to support managed services and networks supporting critical activities.  (Unmanaged switches are designed to just plug in and run, with no settings to configure and are fine to use in networks with basic needs).

Mean Opinion Score (MOS)

A number value (from 1.0-5.0, 5.0 is best) as an indication of the perceived quality of a VOIP call.  This measurement is the result of underlying network attributes that act upon data flow and is useful in predicting call quality and is a good VoIP test tool in determining issues that can affect VoIP quality.

Mobile device management (MDM)

MDM software secures, monitors and manages mobile devices. It’s used to enforce data and configurations for mobile devices and includes the ability to lock or delete data from a lost or stolen mobile device.

Mobile unified communications client (mobile UCC)

A mobile UC solution seamlessly pulls together common telephony functions, voice, presence, chat, data, applications, and other technologies from a smartphone or tablet.

Mobility Router

Allows users to make and receive calls from enterprise and personal mobile phone numbers by automatically selecting the best network (Wi-Fi or cellular) to optimize cost, call quality and battery life.

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

A standard method of sending multimedia messages to and from a mobile phone/application and/or a Unified Communications (UC) Client.  Unlike text-only SMS, MMS can deliver various media, including video, images, audio, etc.

Origination & Termination

Origination refers to inbound calls or minutes from the PSTN. Termination refers to outbound calls or minutes from the PSTN.


In VoIP, voice is converted into data packets that are transmitted over the IP network and then reassembled into voice by an endpoint VoIP device.

Packet Capture

Refers to the action of capturing Internet Protocol (IP) packets for review or analysis.  The term can also be used to describe the files that packet capture tools output, which are often saved in the .pcap format.  Capturing packets is a common troubleshooting technique for network administrators and is used to examine network traffic as well as security threats.

Packet loss

Packet loss occurs when one or more packets of data fail to reach their destination, resulting in a metallic sound or conversation dropouts. It can be caused by network congestion, distance, and poor line quality. Excessive packet loss is perceived as broken or missing communication.

Post Dial Delay (PDD)

The interval between dialing the last digit of the called number and hearing the ringback tone.

Presence status

Or just “presence” for short. This is the ability to see a colleague’s presence status – whether they’re in the office, away from their desk, etc.

Private branch exchange (PBX)

A term dating back to the days of switchboard operators referring to an organization’s telephone exchange.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

The legacy telephony network that connects calls via physical phone lines, is being decommissioned around the world. The PSTN is scheduled to be phased out in most countries by 2030, which means that traditional landline phones will go out of service.

Quality of service (QoS)

A measure of the overall performance of the network. It takes into consideration factors such as error rates, bandwidth, throughput, transmission delay, availability, and jitter.

Quality of service (QoS) Router

A QOS router lets you prioritize your Internet bandwidth for specific uses.  For example, you can prioritize voice calls/traffic over data traffic and support/balance multiple broadband connections.

Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP)

An IP standard for delivering audio and video over IP networks.


Reliability is determined by calculating how often the system fails compared to the percentage of the time that the system is available. The system should be available at least 99.999% of the time.


Stands for “Responsible Organization,” the process of transferring “Toll Free” telephone numbers from one carrier to another

Service level agreement (SLA)

Part of a service contract that defines the level of service. An SLA for voice quality typically includes call completion rate, PDD, and some measure of voice quality.

Session border controller (SBC)

Network device used to register, setup, control, and tear down VoIP multimedia communications sessions. An SBC ensures that only approved traffic passes into the heart of your business. An SBC also hides your internal network and your users IP addresses from the outside world, which provides additional security protection.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)

SIP is a text-based signaling protocol used to control multimedia communication sessions over IP networks. SIP handles call controls such as ring, hold, transfer, conference, etc.

Short Message Service (SMS)

A standard method of sending text messages to and from a mobile phone/application and/or a Unified Communications (UC) Client.  SMS is ideal for sending short, text-only messages.

SIP Trunking

VoIP service used to deliver communication services to a customer’s SIP-based PBX or endpoint, usually to a publicly routable IP domain.


A softphone is voice software that emulates a VoIP telephone on a Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet.

Trunk line

Trunk lines connect the PBX to a public switched telephone network. With a cloud-based solution, SIP trunks are used to make this connection.

Tax as a Service (TaaS)

White Label has partnered with FAStek Compliance Solutions, Inc., to provide our Partner’s with the required certifications, ongoing compliance reporting and telecom related tax filings to the various state and federal authorities.  Refer to our website for additional details: https://www.whitelabelcomm.com/solutions/tax-as-a-service-taas/.

Unified communications (UC)

The seamless integration of voice, presence, chat, data, applications, and other technologies to improve communications, processes, and business productivity.

Unified communications (UC) Client

UC client is a Unified Communications solution that combines calling, chat, meetings, voicemail, video, screen sharing and enterprise contacts into a single, easy-to-use interface to improve everyday communications and collaboration for businesses.

Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC)

UCC integrates multiple communications channels to enable communication and collaboration across a company.

Unified messaging

The integration of email, SMS, fax, voicemail, and video messaging into a single interface which is accessible from a variety of devices. It simplifies the user experience because all types of messages are stored in one place.

Virtual LANs (VLANs)

Used to “logically separate” devices and departments on the same Ethernet wire.

Virtual private network (VPN)

A private network extended across a public network, i.e. the Internet. It enables the sharing of data across public networks in a typically more secure and functional way.


Allows companies to consolidate servers, increase operational flexibility and deliver higher application availability. Virtualization utilizes a group of servers in a way that allows for running multiple operating systems simultaneously on the same machine.

Voice over IP (VoIP)

Voice calls over the IP data network. VoIP converts analog voice signals into digital data packets and supports real-time, two-way transmission of conversations using Internet Protocol.


Stands for Web Real Time Communications. It’s an emerging standard that that enables web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple JavaScript APIs.


Webhooks allow you to send real-time data from one application to another whenever a given event occurs.  Obvious events include calls & text messages.  The data is sent over the web from the application where the event originally occurred, to the receiving application that handles the data.