It can take a while before you fully understand the concepts of Voice over IP (VoIP) and internet phone for business. The best way to never feel lost is to have a glossary at hand you can refer to at any time. We’ve identified 30 VoIP acronyms and concepts you should know about. Here’s a first list of definitions to master internet phone for business:

  1. Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA)
  2. Auto Attendant
  3. Bandwidth
  4. Call Record Detail (CDR)
  5. Conference Bridge
  6. Data
  7. Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP)
  8. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
  9. Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF)
  10. Enhanced 911 (E911)
  11. Ethernet
  12. Gateway
  13. Internet Protocol (IP)
  14. IP Address
  15. IP Phone


Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA)

An ATA is a piece of hardware that converts voice signals into Internet Protocol (IP) packets that can then be transferred over the internet. It turns a traditional phone into a compatible VoIP device. An ATA will handle the required connection and input conversions to manage a call.
Note: Multi-format ATAs manage audio, data and video. They’re also known as Integrated Access Devices
(IADs) and Multimedia Terminal Adaptors (MTAs).

Auto Attendant

Automated Attendant, Auto Attendant or Auto Receptionist is an automatic response system that handles incoming calls and directs callers to the right user.

Also know as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), it uses computer telephony components to translate the callers’ touch-tones or voice commands into computer queries after the callers listen to an audio menu. It’s a very popular feature in the internet phone for business market.


Bandwidth says how much data can be transferred from one point to another in a given period of time.
IP bandwidth or network bandwidth is measured in bits per second (bps).

Note:  A VoIP call needs at least 100kbps of bandwidth upstream and downstream.

Call Record Detail (CDR)

It’s a file that includes all details of a specific call: duration, origination, destination, and billable information, as well as other pertinent information.

Note: At SherWeb, CDRs are stored in live format for 60 days approximately. After that period, the CDRs are archived in .CSV format and you can get them by opening a support ticket.

Conference Bridge

A device that makes it possible for multiple users to join a phone conversation. Conference bridges can be provided as standalone devices or PBX features.

Note: SherWeb offers conference bridges with its Cloud PBX service. Contact us for more details.


A synonym for information, it refers to all traffic other than voice communications on the network.

Note: “Data packet” defines the unit of data that is routed between an origin and a destination on a network.

Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP)

DHCP is a communications protocol that automatically assigns IP addresses from a server or router to each computer or device on a network.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

Technology that allows phone analog signals and broadband internet digital connections to be carried over the same copper phone lines.
DSL handles more data downstream (data flowing toward the subscriber) than upstream (flowing toward the network).

Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF)

DTMF or touchstone is the signal generated when you press the touch keys on a telephone. The signal is sent over the line to the telephone company and makes it possible for automated response systems to interact with callers.

Enhanced 911 or E911

Enhanced 911, or E911 for short, is a voice communication system dedicated to connecting mobile and internet phone users to Emergency Services.


Ethernet refers to industry standard IEEE 802.3. It is the system behind a Local Area Network (LAN), transmitting data packets within a private network. Ethernet transmission rates are measured in bits per second (bps), and speeds range reach gigabits per second (Gbps) using optical fiber technology.


A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) gateway is used to compress, packetize, route, signal and decompress analog voice and fax communications from a Public Switched Telephone Network into digital form that can be sent over a public or private Internet Protocol (IP) data network.

Internet Protocol (IP)

Internet Protocol is a communications system that uses formats and rules to route data packets or datagrams from one device to another over the internet.

IP Address

An IP address is a fixed or dynamic number associated with every network-enabled device.

IP addresses range from to Each device connected to the Internet or any network (known as a host) has at least one IP address that uniquely identifies it from all other devices connected. This is essential for voice and data communications.

IP Phone

An IP phone is a telephone device that sends voice communications over the network or the internet.
A softphone (from ‘software’ and ‘phone’) is a computer program that does the same work as an IP Phone.
IP Phones are also referred to as SIP Phones. Most internet phone for business offers will include IP Phones.

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Written by Sadissa Babeni Marketing Content Writer @ SherWeb

Sadissa is an IT professional and joined SherWeb in 2013 as a technical writer and trainer. A former systems administrator, she brings her decade-long field experience to SherWeb's marketing department, with her broad knowledge of cloud computing and service management. Sadissa is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate in Windows Server and Office 365, and has earned other IT certifications over the years. She has a passionate interest in singing in vocal ensembles and learning foreign languages.