some helpful explanations of jargon


the Phone line provider, most commonly Telstra, though Optus does directly provide some phone lines in capital cities Lead-in cable, the cable connecting the street level cabling to your premises.


main distribution frame, a point on the premises that carriers use to connect lines to the site. Also known as a campus distributor (CD) or building distributor (BD). though these terms are new and not common. it is common for the carrier to leave your phone/adsl connection here and not take it into your premises


intermediate distribution frame, these are used for internal cabling of a site to minimise cabling runs, functionally identical to an MDF, usually a larger backbone cable runs directly from these to the MDF while smaller cables run to most local points nearby. phone systems are usually installed near these so the nearby cabling is easy to access.


public branch exchange, essentially a phone system. the term is largely outdated as telstra no longer controls phone system sales. along with PABX, these two terms are now mostly used as a vague indication of phone system power. it is implied the PABX is a more powerful system than the pbx but the functions of a pabx are simply rarely used options in a basic level phonesystem. such as requiring a 0 or 9 to make outgoing calls. most modern digital systems can operate as either making the terms mostly irrelevant.


customer premises equipment, this term is used by carriers to describe your phone system or your various other peripheral equipment. generally the carrier will refuse to connect to your CPE and will refer you to call a licensed phone technician to connect the services for you


Voice over Internet Protocol, as the name suggests voip is like sending your voice through the email system. this is handled in numerous ways. sometimes via phones, sometimes via headsets in videogames. typically handled by connecting VoIP routers to your phone system via analogue lines, however direct VoIP connections via dedicated voip hardware on the phone system are becoming more common.

ISDN, ISDN 10/20/30, ISDN basic rate, ISDN primary rate

Integrated Services Digital Network, the acronym has been rendered mostly irrelevant by broadband services such as ADSL, but the higher quality lines are as powerful as ever. ISDN offers caller Id, the ability to specify the sent caller Id, indial ranges, and essentially the ability for your phone system to control your phone lines. available in two sizes, basic rate ISDN, which offers TWO phone lines via one connection to the telephone exchange, or Primary rate isdn10/20/30, which can give ether 10, 20 or 30 lines via one connection to an exchange. primary rate connections can be via copper, fibre optics or s.hdsl. All ISDN connections connect to your telephone equipment via a separate network interface provided by the carrier.


Asynchronous digital subscriber line, this is the most common form of broadband internet available in Australia. it offers fast download speeds and moderate to slow upload speeds. adsl2+ allows up to 24Mb download and 1Mb upload, a ratio of 24:1, the lines carrying the data spend more time receiving data rather than sending it so more time is given. a rare form of ADSL2+, called Annex M, allows double the upload speed, to 2Mb/s.


Public Switched Telephone Network, this service is just your regular telephone line. Connected to houses and business and hasn’t really changed since the twenties.


Groupe Spécial Mobile, a non-English acronym referred to as “global system of mobile communications” it is essentially the backbone of both 2g and 3g mobile phones.


a feature of both ISDN and some forms of VoIP, indials are a large range of phone numbers assigned to phone lines which allow the phone system to control them more directly. they have no direct tie to a physical line. indials use any free channel within the service to make or receive calls. this is the simplest method of giving all staff individual phone lines. commonly supplied in 100 number blocks ie (07) 3322 11 (00-99)

Extension, Handset, Station

a phone connected to a phone system, this is a broad category and many devices not considered phones can also be extensions. eg fax machines, alarm systems, even loud ringers. an extension generally has an internal directory number and can be called via a 2-4 digit code.


the section of the phone held to the ear during off hook conversation.

DSS key

direct station selection, a programmable key on an extension which allows users to bypass the need to type longer station numbers manually. often this can also be used for phone system functions, line access and speed dials.


COde-DECode, a codec is an agorithm used to encode analogue information into a digital format for transmission, it also provides for the decoding at the other end. both ends need to support the same codec’s in order to send and receive data.


MOdulate-DEModulate, used to convert a digital signal into an analogue signal for transmission over analogue networks.

Kbps, Kb/s, Mbps, Mb/s, kilobits per second, or megabits per second

the speed at which your data is transferred. knowing this information about your internet connection is handy for setting up VoIP on your site. if you’d like to know what speed your internet is achieving we use and recommend for VoIP services the upload speed is the limiting factor that determines how many connections you can have. 


a hybrid extension port is capable of being an analogue extension or an electronic extension but rarely both. nitsuko Tx series, and Panasonic TA-308 were 100% hybrid, the Hybrex BX8 could be hybrid dependant on installed hardware. modern Panasonic digital systems claim to be hybrid’s but have dedicated analogue circuits to handle this. the commander connect is a hybrid system but does not claim to be. for the most part a “digital” phone system will not be hybrid and all that will be heard when connecting a standard phone is modem like squeeling.


connecting a phone line from one vertical or pair to another vertical or pair, this is done for almost every landline in Australia sometimes several times. Vertical, sometimes NON telstra carriers will give you a vertical number, IE vertical A pair 6, this indicates the phone line is “likely” on pair 6 of the lead-in cable. This information is invaluable to Us for connecting your phone line even if it’s not 100% correct especially on naked DSL connections


Common but not exclusive to Telstra connections are tags. these business card sized notes on your new phone line help us get your new line connected to the right service. VERY large fines exist for incorrectly connecting a phone line to the wrong customer. tags help identify the Who, What and Where of a new service. they also serve as proof a service was connected, tested or identified. This is especially important on Naked DSL services which tend not to have any identifying features such as voltage, Dial tone or noises