Top Unified Communications Acronyms


ACTS: Advanced Communication Technology Satellite (NASA)

AMPS: Advanced Mobile Phones System

ATA: Analog Telephone Adapter is a device that allows standard phones to connect to an IP-based (VoIP) phone system.


BLF: Busy Lamp Field is an indicator light on a business phone that allows you to monitor the status of other lines in your phone system.

BYOB: Bring Your Own Bandwidth is when the circuit for VoIP connectivity is provided through a different carrier than the hosted voice carrier. In this setup, the VoIP provider cannot guarantee Quality of Service.

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device is simply a policy that some workplaces put into place that allows employees to bring their own devices to use at work, such as phones and computers. Check out this article for more on BYOD and Unified Communications and how they work together!


Cloud Computing: is the delivery of computing services over the internet such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence. It offers faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. It can offer many great benefits, including lower cost, faster speeds, higher reliability, and better security.


DID: Direct inward dialing numbers (DIDs) are virtual numbers that allow you to route calls to your existing telephone lines. The purpose of DIDs was to assign certain employees a direct number without requiring multiple physical phone lines.


e911: Enhanced 911 is the system used in North America to link wireless emergency caller locations to emergency services.


FMU: Fixed Mobile Unification enables mobile phones to be integrated into a telephone exchange. Just as you can fully integrate mobile data into your corporate network, you can do the same with mobile calls.


GigE-Capable Phone: Gigabit Ethernet Phone is a business IP phone that can utilize a Gigabit Ethernet connection (speeds up to 1,000 Mbps). This allows faster data and voice packet traffic to both your desktop and your phone for improved efficiency.


HD Voice: High Definition Voice utilizes high-bandwidth codecs to deliver audio quality with greater “life-like” clarity than standard phones.

Hosted PBX: Hosted Private Branch Exchange is a telephone system built, maintained, and managed by a service provider.

Hybrid Network: Any computer network that uses more than one type of connecting technology or topology. For example, a home network that uses both Wi-Fi and Ethernet cables to connect computers is a hybrid.


IM&P: Instant Messaging & Presence are business communication tools that provide live chat messaging capability and availability status indicators. For example, showing whether someone is “available,” “away,” or in “do not disturb” mode.

IP: Internet Protocol is a method by which data is being sent between devices over a network.

IP Address:  An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing.

IP Telephony: Internet Protocol (IP) is a method and group of technologies for delivering voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol networks, such as the Internet.


MAC Address:  A Media Access Control address of a computer is a unique identifier assigned to network interfaces for communications at the data link layer of a network segment. MAC addresses are used as a network address for most IEEE 802 network technologies, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi. Logically, MAC addresses are used in the media access control protocol sublayer of the OSI reference model.

MPLS: Multi-Protocol Label Switching is a mechanism for routing traffic within a telecommunications network, as data travels from one network node to the next. MPLS can provide applications including VPNs, traffic engineering (TE), and Quality of Service (QoS).


Onsite Phone System: An onsite phone system requires the purchase of onsite equipment and a connection through a local phone provider. Therefore, this type of phone system is harder to upgrade or change because it isn’t in the cloud. Read about this with the differences between UCaaS and onsite phone systems, as well as the hidden cost of onsite phone systems.


Private APN: APN stands for Access Point Name. It is a connection point or gateway between a mobile network and another data network, which can be either private or public, like the internet. An APN ensures a seamless, secure transition between these networks.

POTS – Plain Old Telephone System typically talks about running a fax line, security system, or security camera.  Also, you can place ATA on the back of the fax that will translate analog data into digital so it can run on the Level365 digital system.

PSTN/”POTS”: Public Switched Telephone Network is the international public telephone infrastructure based on landlines that carry analog voice data.


QoS: QoS stands for Quality of Service. QoS refers to a network’s ability to achieve maximum bandwidth. It can also deal with other networks performance elements like latency, error rate, and uptime. QoS involves controlling and managing network resources by setting priorities for types of data on the network. At Level365, we use Ribbon Communications’ (formally Edgewater) EdgeMarc and EdgeView to ensure the quality of service.


SaaS: Software as a Service is a model for distributing software where customers access software over the Internet. A service provider hosts the application at its data center, and customers access it via a standard web browser. Nowadays, many companies may already be using SaaS without even knowing it! It delivers most software nowadays, including Google apps, CRM software, DropBox, Skype, and more. In addition to this, there are also many parallel benefits of SaaS and UCaaS!

Shared Call Appearance: Multiple devices can link to the same phone number and account. For example, a phone at your office, a phone at your house, and your smartphone.

SIP:  The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a communications protocol for signaling and controlling multimedia communication sessions in applications of Internet telephony for voice and video calls, in private IP telephone systems, and instant messaging over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

SIP Phones:  Phones that can connect to the internet via an IP address

Softphone: Essentially a software-based phone. Additionally, they mimic desk phones by presenting a phone interface on the computer, complete with a dial pad and call handling features (Mute, Hold, and Transfer). Typically, when making calls from a UCaaS web portal, you will be using a softphone.


UC: Unified communications (UC) is a business term describing the integration of enterprise communication services. Specifically, instant messaging (chat), presence information, voice (including IP telephony), mobility features (including extension mobility and single number reach), audio, web & video conferencing, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), desktop sharing, data sharing (including web-connected electronic interactive whiteboards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). Additionally, UC is not necessarily a single product but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.

UC&C/UCC: Unified Communications (and) Collaboration: Integrated business tools, devices, and apps for internal and external communication. (Example: voice, chat, presence, email, file sharing, screen sharing, video conferencing, web conferencing, schedule integration, CRM integration).

UCaaS: UCaaS stands for Unified Communications as a Service. Unified communications are the integration of enterprise communication services via a common platform. Thus, it improves, enhances, and facilitates better overall connectivity, information, and end-to-end solutions; UCaaS offers this as a service.


VoIP:  Voice over Internet Protocol (also a voice over IP, VoIP, or IP telephony) is a methodology and group of technologies for delivering voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. Therefore, the terms Internet telephony, broadband telephony, and broadband phone service specifically refer to the provisioning of communications services (voice, fax, SMS, voice-messaging) over the public Internet, rather than via the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

VPN: Virtual Private Network. VPN is a network that uses the internet to transfer information using secure methods.

Hopefully, having some of these Unified Communications acronym definitions under your belt has better prepared you for your business phone service search and armed you to seriously consider Unified Communications and all of its great benefits. Along with more information on UCaaS, check out our ultimate guide to UCaaS!

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