Fonality’s World-Class Open-Source PBX and Call Center Software Solution for Resellers

Glossary of Terms

Analog
— the original method of carrying a voice conversation over a single pair of wires. Analog technology is still the predominant method of providing residential and small-business telephone service. The telephone company must provide a separate pair of wires for every channel.
Asterisk®
— A software-based, Open Source Converged PBX system that has revolutionized the traditional PBX industry by combining the rapid evolution of the software through the open source development model with the deployment of systems using off-the-shelf Intel-based servers, thereby enabling a tremendous cost-benefit improvement. PBXtra Core and trixbox Pro Core are based on an Asterisk foundation.
CentOS
— A version of Linux used by Fonality and trixbox. It is built from the same source code base as Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
CPE
— Customer Premise Equipment. Broadly, any pieces of the telecom infrastructure that customers own and deploy at their locations. Telecom providers often want to either lease their equipment to the customer or provide a pure hosted service such as Centrex.
DNS
— Dynamic Name Service is an IP standard that allows a program to translate a name, such as www.trixbox.com, into a numerical IP address, such as 16.134.26.234, which is what programs use to communicate across a network.
DHCP
— Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. A method for dynamically managing the assigning of IP addresses to devices as they come online, as opposed to manually configuring "static" IP addresses for each device.
Firewall
— a crucial piece of any company's connection to the internet. A firewall filters incoming IP traffic and permits only traffic that passes a set of rules defined within the firewall.
FXO/FXS
— In the analog world, one end of the telephone circuit provides the current needed to ring the telephone (the other end). For antiquated reasons, the end that provides the current is referred to as a FXS port and the end that is — or acts like — a telephone is a FXO port. In a PBX system, the ports that connect to the PSTN are typically FXO ports.
Gateway
— A specialized device that converts PSTN (analog or T1/E1) signals into IP, so that the different worlds can talk to each other.
Hybrid-Hosted
— A unique model, patent-pending architecture developed by Fonality, for deploying PBX systems that delivers reliability of premise-based system, but the flexibility of hosted system. The specific advantages of a hosted solution include: free VoIP calling, easy telecommuters, anywhere management, and monitoring. The advantages of a premise solution include: rock-solid PSTN connectivity, advanced premise-style features (hosted usually lags years behind), and complete call privacy.
IAX
— Inter-Asterisk eXchange. A VoIP protocol developed by Mark Spencer, creator of Asterisk, that was designed to optimize inter-system communications, though it is also used by some IP phones.
IP
— Internet Protocol. This is the fundamental technical foundation for all of the Internet. Everything else that uses the Internet, including voice conversations, uses IP as the vehicle to do so.
IP Phone
— A telephone that uses IP instead of traditional analog lines to connect to a PBX. These phones usually have much more intelligence and functionality than standard telephones.
MACD
— An acronym for Moves, Adds, Changes and Deletions. MACD is used to describe administrative change that are made to a phone system's extensions. In traditional telephony systems, MACDs must be made on site by a phone technician. The trixbox system enables MACDs to be made easily via the administrative interface.
Open Source
— A software development model that, despite becoming popular only recently, has provided the core building blocks for most of the infrastructure of the internet such as Linux, BIND, Sendmail and, in this case, Asterisk.
PBX
— An acronym for Private Branch eXchange. PBX telephone systems support incoming calls from the outside PSTN, placing calls between users' phones (also known as extensions) and other phones or the outside PSTN, conferencing other users together, recording voicemails, and a variety of other advanced telecommunications functions. PBX systems are broadly broken into several categories: traditional (also known as legacy); converged (also known as hybrid) or pure IP, aka IP-PBX.

  • Traditional PBX systems usually either don't support IP at all or they support it only with expensive add-on equipment.
  • Converged PBX systems support IP and PSTN connections with equal force. It is the most flexible and cost-effective model.
  • IP-PBX systems — as the name implies —support only IP connectivity. Any PSTN connectivity must be achieved through external converters, known as Gateways.
PBXtra
— The trademarked name of Fonality's commercial, packaged PBX system.
PBXtra Core
— This is the heavily modified version of the Asterisk open source telephony platform that forms the core piece of the extensive suite of software and hardware that comprises Fonality's PBXtra product suite.
Primary Rate Interface (PRI)
— Each T1 circuit has 24 separate raw channels available — 32 for E1. To provide signaling information for all of these channels, as well as to provide much more consistent and detailed information about each incoming call, such as detailed Caller ID and Dialed Number services, one (two for E1) channel is reserved as a special data channel to carry this information about each channel. This process is known generically as ISDN, but for T1 and E1 it is known as PRI or Primary Rate Interface.
PSTN
— Public Switched Telephone Network. The traditional telephone system, with pairs of wires that carry voice as analog signals or — for higher densities — digital T1 or E1 signals carrying multiple channels of voice and/or data.
Router
— a specialized piece of IP equipment that, as the name implies, routes IP traffic between different sections of a company's network. Routers are often used to connect remote offices and other locations that require WAN interfaces to the main internal network.
Softphone
— A form of IP Phone that is purely software-based and runs on a user's PC. Users employ their PC's internal or connected microphone and speakers or, more often, a cordless or USB headset to communicate.
SIP
— Session Initiation Protocol. The predominant VoIP signaling protocol used by IP phones and PBX systems. While other protocols, including H.323 and IAX, exist, SIP is the most prevalent.
T1
— In North America, T1 is a way for the PSTN to provide multiple channels of voice through only two pairs of wires. In other parts of the world this same technology, in slightly different form, is known as E1. Within the T1/E1 standards are different ways of indicating signaling information (on-hook, off-hook, etc.) for each channel in a group of channels. The most efficient method is known as PRI.
trixbox®
— This open source project was originally named "Asterisk@Home." It is a clever packaging of Asterisk, Linux and other software that allows a user to easily install and configure an Asterisk-based PBX system. Purchased by Fonality and renamed trixbox, it is now offered in several versions, from a freely downloadable community version through to a hybrid-hosted Pro version with a full-featured call center edition.
VoIP
— Voice over Internet Protocol. Basically, this technology converts normal voice into a digital signal — much like a CD recording — and then wraps that digital signal with a set of IP header information, allowing it to travel across the Internet. The digital signal is reconverted back to a normal voice signal at its destination.
VPN
— Virtual Private Network. A method for extending a company's network infrastructure to remote locations using specialized equipment that encrypts the IP traffic and performs other related functions. Typically, this is the most expensive method of supporting single remote telecommuters.