Getting to grips with telecommunications can be difficult when you are also trying to run a business, and you may encounter words, terms and phrases that are hard to understand.

Our FAQs relating to buying a service, fixed products & services, connection terms and other technologies will hopefully provide some clarity on the technical terminology to help ensure you’ve made an informed business choice.

Buying a service

What is a CLI?

A CLI is a ‘Calling Line Identification’ which refers to services that allow you to identify the caller’s number or identity.

What is a connection charge?

This is a charge associated with installing or reconnecting a phone line or cable to your premises.

What is a Static IP?

A static IP address is one that is allocated to a specific device on a permanent basis. A static IP is useful for business as it allows for running servers and hosting websites.

Connection terms

What is meant by uncontended?

Uncontended means your direct connection will not be shared by other users and allows you to access all the bandwidth of the line to the exchange.

What is meant by Symmetric Connections?

A Symmetric connection has equal upload and download speeds.

What is meant by a dedicated connection?

A dedicated connection is reserved at all times for one user and offers fixed bandwidth with guaranteed speeds, unaffected at peak times and are usually accompanied by a higher SLA.

Fixed products and services

What is SIP Trunking?

SIP Trunking allows businesses to replace their existing telephony service, particularly ISDN30 lines. SIP Trunking services can allow a business to use VoIP instead of traditional telephony services by connecting its Private Branch Exchange (PBX) over an Ethernet leased line to a service provider.

What is SIP?

SIP (Session Initiated Protocol) is a protocol that allows VoIP and video streaming services to be provided over broadband connections and can replace a traditional PSTN service.

What is EFM?

EFM (Ethernet in the first mile) is an Ethernet connection from a customer’s premise to the network using copper pairs. The maximum capacity of EFM via copper lines is constrained, compared to Ethernet leased lines that use fibre.

What is an Ethernet connection?

Ethernet is a technology used in a local area network (LAN) to interconnect computers, carry voice or data service internally and which can provide a dedicated connection to the internet.

What is a Leased Line?

A Leased Line is a dedicated, symmetrical, uncontended private connection between two locations used to carry voice, video and data. There are two types of Leased line a permanent connection either to the internet (Internet leased line) or between two locations (Point to point leased line).

What is Cable Broadband?

Cable broadband is an internet connection delivered to the home by coaxial cable.

What is Fibre Broadband?

Fibre broadband is typically faster internet delivered either by fibre optic cable to the street cabinet (FTTC) or directly to the premises (FTTP). FTTC connections may still be affected by your distance from the exchange.

What is ADSL?

ADSL is a standard internet connection delivered over a copper phone line.

What types of Internet access are available?

There are many different ways to get your business internet access. They include, ADSL, Fibre, Cable, Leased Lines, Ethernet and EFM. Choosing the right connection type will depend on your business requirements.

What is the difference between ISDN2/2e and ISDN30/30e?

An ISDN2/2e connection is a voice and data service that offers two phone channels and low-speed data connections whilst an ISDN30/30e connection is a voice and data service that allows between 8-30 connections.

What is a PSTN landline?

A PSTN landline is a standard landline phone connection.

Other technologies

What are Cloud services?

Cloud service or cloud computing refers to services that are made available on demand via the he internet from cloud computing providers. Cloud services can be used to store and back-up data and features remotely, and allow access to them via a range of devices and locations.

What is VoIP?

VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) allows you to make calls using the internet either over a fixed or mobile connection.

What is a Softphone?

A Softphone is a piece of software that allows you to make telephone calls over the internet from a standard computer.

What is video conferencing?

Video conferencing is a service that allows you to call another person with a video feed at the same time.

What is a VPN?

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure private network created using an internet connection used to connect a number of users.

Understanding some of the Terminology

Term Description 
Mbps ‘Megabits-per-second’, a unit of measurement referring to how fast data moves across a network. A higher number means a faster speed.
IP ‘Internet Protocol’ is the technology used to carry data over the internet.
Smartphone Handsets that offer more advanced features, on which you can easily access the internet, view emails, and download files and applications.
Mobile broadband Enables devices such as tablets, laptops and mobiles to connect to the internet.
SIM-only Tariffs where the service is sold on its own without a handset.
PAC ‘Porting Authorisation Code’, is a code that mobile providers must issue on request which allows you to switch your mobile service and keep your existing number.
SLA ‘Service Level Agreement’, are part of commercial contracts and set out a supplier’s commitment to provide services to an agreed quality, e.g. within a specified period. You may also have a ‘Service Level Guarantee’ (SLG) which specifies your entitlement to compensation if the SLA is not met.
Minimum contract period A fixed period of time for which a customer commits to taking services from a CP. It may be referred to as an ‘MCP’, ‘initial supply period’, ‘commitment period’, or a ‘minimum term’.
Notice period The warning, in days, you must give to your provider to inform them that you intend to cancel or switch your services.