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Telecommunications Glossary - A-B


Abbreviated Dialing - Preprogramming of a caller's phone system or long distance company's switch to recognize a 2- to 4-digit number as an abbreviation for a frequently dialed phone number, and automatically dial the whole number.

Access - Generally refers to the connection between your business and the public phone network, or between your business and another dedicated location. A large portion of your business phone bill typically consists of monthly recurring charges that cover access costs. Examples of access include individual business lines, digital T-1 connections, or dedicated access lines to long distance companies.

Access Charge - Monies collected by local phone companies for use of their circuits to originate and terminate long distance calls. Can be per minute fees levied on long distance companies, Subscriber Line Charges (SLCs) levied directly on regular local lines, fixed monthly fees for special telco circuits (ie. WAL, DAL,T-1), or Special Access Surcharge (SAS) on special access circuits.

Access Line - A telephone circuit which connects a customer location to a network switching center.

ADN (Advanced Digital Network) - Usually refers to a 56Kbps leased-line.

Analog - The original and still prevalent technology used for local telephone telecommunications transmission. Analog signals are direct reproductions of sound waves. Voice conversations, computer data, and video can be sent via analog technology; however, digital technology can be more reliable, particularly at high bandwidths (speeds). The world is rapidly adapting digital as the new standard. Some modern digital phone equipment will not work with analog phone lines.

Area Code - A three digit number identifying more than 150 geographic areas of the United States and Canada which permits direct distance dialing on the telephone system. A similar global numbering plan has been established for international subscriber dialing.

Asynchronous - A form of communication in which there is no mandatory timing between two signals.
Authentication - Technique by which access to Internet or Intranet resources requires the visitor to identify himself or herself by entering a username and password.

Authorization Code - A 5- to 14-digit number entered using a touch-tone phone to identify the caller as a customer of the long distance service. Used primarily before Equal Access as a way to verify the caller.


Backbone - The primary trunk carrying voice or data traffic between switches. All systems that connect to the backbone can connect to each other. This does not prohibit systems from setting up separate arrangements to connect directly with each other, bypassing the backbone, for cost, performance, or security reasons.

Bandwidth - Capacity or volume inherent in every telecommunications line. A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 15,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression.

Banner - A (generally) rectangular, graphic (usually paid) advertisement displayed on a web page. Interested viewers click on the banners and are linked directly to the advertiser's web site.

Baseband - The total frequency band occupied by the aggregate of all the voice and data signals used to modulate a radio carrier.

Bookmark - It's just an address book entry for a web Address. Some browsers call this a Favorite Place or a Hot Spot. Most browsers contain a simple "address book" where the reader can store the addresses of their favorite places. Click on the name of the place, and the Browser automatically goes there, like an online phone book with an autodialer.

Broadband - Broadband is a descriptive term for evolving digital technologies that provide consumers a signal switched facility offering integrated access to voice, high-speed data service, video-demand services, and interactive delivery services.

Browser - Software that allows you to view and explore the Internet (primarily the WWW). The most common browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. When you type an address in the browser or click on a link in an e-mail, the browser goes out over the Internet and gets the files that you requested. Not all browsers have the same features or capabilities.

Byte - A set of Bits that represent a single character. Usually there are 8 Bits in a Byte, sometimes more, depending on how the measurement is being made.

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