Phone system lingo - what does it all mean?
• 4x8 or
8x16 or 1032.
These numbers refer to the number of incoming lines compared
to the number of telephones that a system will run. If a phone
system is configured 4x8, this would mean that this system is
capable of running 4 incoming lines and 8 telephones in it's current
configuration. Sometimes you will see this without the 'x', as in
1032. Meaning is the same, 10 incoming lines by 32 phones.
• Digital or not.
Telephone systems made over the years have been produced to either
be a digital system or an analog system. Digital systems are the
most common place today and most modern systems are digital. Digital
essentially means that the phone system is computer driven in it's
circuitry. Smart phones systems.
• Cabinet, KSU (key service unit) or System
This refers to the ACTUAL phone system itself.
• Carded Cabinet, Carded KSU
Most phone systems made today consist of an empty Cabinet or KSU
(think of it as a computer case with a motherboard and power supply
installed, but no video card or sound card yet) and a selection of
cards that slide into that cabinet. These slide in cards allow a
user to customize a system to their needs. Not all systems are
• CO Line
A CO line refers to an incoming line provided to you by your local
A station refers to one "Telephone" station coming from your phone
• Port, Ports
A port refers to a single interface connection with your phone
system. If you plug in a telephone, it takes up one "port". A CO
line from your phone company take up one "port". A voicemail system
that has 4 ports will allow 4 simultaneous connections. A phone
system configured 3x8 has a total of 12 ports, 3 for phone lines and
8 for telephones.
• ACD (Automatic Call Distribution - Commonly referred to as a
ACD or Call Centers are a method of keeping your customers occupied
while on hold and notifying all representatives in the Call Center
Group that there are callers on hold and queued in order. The system
then distributes those calls evenly over your group. Different ACD
systems have different levels of functionality and features. ACD is
typically a function of a voicemail unit.
• Auto Attendant
Auto Attendant is your basic electronic receptionist. It will answer
your phone with your custom greeting and then typically route the
call through the CCR tree (see below). Auto Attendant is typically a
function of a voicemail unit, although some systems (such as a
Norstar Compact ICS) has a limited version built into the cabinet.
• CCR (Custom Call Routing)
A CCR or custom call routing tree is a method of allowing your
customers to select choices in order to be routed to the correct
person or extension. These trees usually have several levels of
choices for each choice given and are typically fully customizable.
(EXAMPLE : "For Sales, press 1, For Support, Press 2.." upon
pressing 1 or 2, more choices can be offered "For Computer Sales,
press 1, For Hardware Sales, press 2.." CCR is typically a function
of a voicemail unit, although some systems (such as a Norstar
Compact ICS) has a limited version built into the cabinet.
• LCD or Display
Most of today's modern phones come with a display on the phone
(typically referred to as an LCD or Liquid Crystal Display). Usually
these displays are used to show you all kinds of important
information, such as ACD functions, date and time, message
notification, Caller ID and more.
• T1 or PRI
A T1 or a PRI is a method of getting a bulk of phone lines from your
phone company in one big chunk (or trunk..as they call it) Most
T-1's or PRI lines provide up to 24 channels of communication per
T-1 and are a money saving idea for companies with upwards of 15
phones lines. Buying a phone system that can take a T-1 in a cost
efficient manner for those planning on growing is an important
• Automatic Set Relocation
Automatic Set Relocation is a feature of a phone system that allows
you to move a phone to a new "station" or desk (basically another
jack) and have the programming for that phone follow the phone to
avoid reprogramming the phone at it's new location.
• CID (Caller ID)
Caller ID is a function provided by your phone company to notify you
of who's calling before you answer the phone. If Caller ID is
important to you, getting a system that allows it is important.