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>> 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 carded system.

CO Line
A CO line refers to an incoming line provided to you by your local phone company.

A station refers to one "Telephone" station coming from your phone system.

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 Call Center)
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 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 decision.

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.

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