An analog Network or a Country Phone Network is basically a telecommunications network based on analog signal transmission. With the appearance of much more advanced technologies such as cellular and Voice over IP, it is now known also as a basic traditional network, mainly used by residential and small business users. The technology has been available since the introduction of the public telephone system in the late 19th century, being upgraded only by the introduction of Touch-Tone dialling, electronic telephone exchanges and fiber-optic communication into the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
This Hosted PBX feature will allow businesses to set up different time patterns for call handling. You can configure your call routing policies according to your business hours and route calls to different onsite and remote employees. The available options are: by hours, by weekday, by date, by week time, by Caller ID or extension status.
Asterisk is a popular free open-source platform allowing businesses to build communications applications such as IP PBX and conferencing solutions.
Automatic Call Distribution
Automatic Call Distribution, also known as Automated Call Distribution or ACD, is a telephony system that takes incoming calls and distributes them to users or user groups according to predefined criteria.
Bandwidth is a measurement of available or consumed data communication resources. Is often used as a synonym for data transfer rate – the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period (usually a second).
This Virtual PBX feature allows you to block calls from selected telephone numbers. The caller will receive a fast busy tone, like from a number that has been disconnected.
Call Campaigns is a service that enables your Hosted PBX group administrator to select a list of phone numbers for a call campaign. Once the call is picked up, the receiver can be connected to a certain extension, queue or played a pre-recorded announcement. Once the list of numbers and the audio file are uploaded, the system starts calling the numbers automatically, according to the configured schedule.
Call Forwarding provides the capability to automatically redirect incoming calls to your Hosted PBX to another destination (another phone number or extension). You can set different actions and forwarding destinations depending on the state of your line: unconditional (always), on no answer and on extension busy.
The Caller ID is a Hosted PBX feature that allows the called party to see your number, provided that the hardware has this capability.
Call Identifiers enable Hosted PBX users to identify incoming calls from the AstraQom line when their line is forwarded or Find me/ Follow me is active. A prefix entry will be added at the beginning of the actual Caller ID of the calling party to inform the user that the call was intended for the AstraQom line. Also, you have the option to set identifiers for your internal use. For example, if you have extensions grouped by departments, you can have the name of the department precede the Caller ID (i.e.: Sales: John Doe).
Caller ID Name
The Caller ID Name feature allows you to see the name of the person calling. This Virtual PBX feature retrieves the name of the calling party stored from public phone records.
AstraQom Hosted PBX, Call Manager and Virtual Call Center customers have the possibility to access their call logs online, in real time. The list contains complete records of calls (inbound and outbound), as well as call status, and, if enabled, access the recording associated with the call. An extension user will only have access to records related to their extension, while administrator rights offer complete access to records for all the extensions in a group. If the listed calls have been recorded, a link is available to download the corresponding sound file. All your call lists are available to export in .xls or .csv format.
When a call is received and you are not at your usual extension, or you wish to find out to whom the call should be directed, the call can be sent to a ‘virtual parking lot’ in the business phone system. You can pick up the call once you’re back at your desk, or indicate the user of another extension that the call is parked and can be picked up. The caller will be placed on hold until the call will be picked up.
Call Queuing provides advanced call routing and handling capabilities, indispensable for businesses with a high incoming call flow, especially Call Centers. When all users are busy, incoming calls can be queued until they can be presented to an available agent. The Hosted PBX administrator can configure the maximum queue length (number of calls), queue timeout (seconds), action on timeout (send call to voicemail or to a certain extension).
The Call Recording is a Hosted PBX service that allows the administrator of the group to record calls using the AstraQom Webcare. AstraQom eliminated the need of maintaining dedicated storage servers, by offering a complete recording solution accessible by a simple click. Call Recording can be set as default for a specific extension, conference or queue, or manually on a per-call basis.
Call Transfer allows transferring calls from your hosted phone system to a specified destination number.
This well-known service informs you that another call is being received on your business phone system while already engaged in a call, and offers you the possibility to switch to the second call.
CLI delivery or Calling Line Identification
CLI delivery or Calling Line Identification is a service that allows the person receiving a call to see the number and/or the name of the person calling.
Updated contact lists are difficult to maintain, especially for large businesses. AstraQom’s Company Directory provides a full list of all the active extensions and their users, facilitating internal communication; once an extension user name changes or a new extension is added, the information is updated in the directory without any additional actions. Users no longer need to search the contact information in other systems and dial numbers manually. Also, the Company Directory will ease the access for the callers, as they will be able to reach an extension by entering a part of the user’s name.
Does your company have multiple locations, each with its own PBX? Calling company employees does not require calling a 10-digit number anymore. With AstraQom’s Conduit feature, employees from different offices can call each other just by using the extension number together with a code set for each of your offices. For example, your Ottawa office can have the “10” code and one of your employees can call an extension by dialing 10456, where 456 is the extension of the destination user.
Conferencing allows multiple users to meet in the same call, no matter their location. Your Conference Room can be an option in your IVR menu, or can be configured with a different number on demand. You can even have different local, Toll Free Numbers or international numbers assigned to your conference room, so that each attendee calls a local number.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are software applications businesses use in order to record and track the interactions with current and future customers. Depending on the type of CRM system used, the capabilities may also include inventory management, billing, ticketing, mass marketing, social media monitoring, etc.
A data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. For medium or large businesses, running the IT infrastructure in a data center is preferred for its stability (redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and for information security.
Data Center Colocation
Data Center Colocation means hosting your servers off-site, in a data center where server space and expenses are shared with other companies. Companies choose Colocation Data Center in order to lower their hosting expenses, while benefitting from the advantages of a data center: security, large bandwidth, controlled environment etc.
Direct Inward Dial (DID)
Direct Inward Dial (DID) is an individual number that is used to reach a PBX or an extension. Due to its use for inbound calls, it is also known as a Virtual Number, or Inbound Only Number. In today’s VoIP industry the term is generally used to describe a phone number associated with a SIP Trunk.
Direct Inward System Access (DISA)
DISA stands for Direct Inward System Access and is a way to let inbound callers to reach any internal extension. Once answered, the office phone system will play a message inviting the caller to enter the extension number to be connected to. The system allows also dialing outbound numbers, usually protected by a PIN code.
A Hosted PBX user can receive calls from internal sources, external sources, transferred calls or calls coming to the company or department queue. All these calls can be identified easily by setting a different ringtone for each type of incoming calls.
Do Not Disturb
When active, the Do Not Disturb service determines the PBX system to treat the incoming call just like the user is on another call.
This Virtual PBX feature provides the capability to automatically redirect your incoming calls to another destination (another phone number or extension) when your extension/ number is offline. This feature is crucial to ensure that no calls are missed even in the event of an Internet or power outage.
E999, or Enhanced 999, is an advanced emergency call service that provides the caller information automatically when calling the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).Provided that VoIP services are by default independent of location, using the emergency services has had its limitations.
With the AstraQom e999 service, the emergency services are as available and reliable as they would be with traditional fixed telephone lines. The address on file will be automatically sent during a 9-9-9 call, all users need to do is provide AstraQom with the address where the service is used and ensure that this is updated every time the phone is used in another location.
Fax to email
AstraQom’s Fax-to-Email service, or E-fax, provides a fast, mobile and cost effective alternative to traditional fax machines, enabling the user to receive faxes sent to his number directly in his email account. The expenses for fax machines, paper, toner and storage are completely eliminated. Faxes can be accessed and stored locally on a computer or Smartphone anywhere where an Internet connection is available, with no complex configuration or expensive equipment.
Find me / Follow me
This business phone service allows you to define a phone number which is alerted sequentially or simultaneously with your main AstraQom number upon receiving an incoming call. If you do not answer, the call is released and the service moves on to calling the next number.
In general, a gateway allows two networks that are using different protocols to connect and communicate. A residential gateway allows the connection of a local area network (LAN) to a wide area network (WAN). The WAN can be a larger computer network (such as a municipal WAN that provides connectivity to the residences within the municipality) or the Internet.
High Definition Voice, or Wideband audio, describes the high quality audio during a phone call conversation. If the two parties are using supported devices, the conversation can have twice the audio fidelity, especially for on-network calls. The highly improved quality compared to the standard telephone quality is due to the expanded frequency range of audio signals transmitted over the telephone line.
Hide My Number
Allows the Hosted PBX user to restrict his number from showing when he calls out. The calls are thus sent as anonymous.
PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange, which is a type of private telephone network. The users of the PBX phone system share a single telephone number and a pool of allocated lines for making external phone calls. Each user has an extension which is usually 2, 3 or 4 digits long and can also be assigned a direct number. A Hosted PBX, also known as an IP PBX, is a software-based PBX phone system solution using the VoIP technology to connect the internal private network with other telephone networks. The Hosted PBX is managed remotely, its major advantages being the elimination of premise-based equipment and much more advanced capabilities and features.
Is an IP Phone connecting to an IP PBX system. The IP Phone is specially designed for VoIP services, thus it can be connected directly to the Internet without the need of an adapter. The IP Phone uses the Internet to connect to the main PBX system which is hosted on a remote server and from there to all the other telephone networks.
The Hunt Group distributes a call coming on one number to multiple devices, ringing all idle users, until the call is picked up. The office phone system can be configured to ring simultaneously (all users at the same time), sequentially (if the first user is not available, ring the next available agent) or in a cycle (in a loop).
The feature also allows the user to choose whether to accept a call or reject it, using the Call Prompt option. Once a call comes in, the user is prompted to enter 1 to accept the call or 2 to reject it; this option is available for the Cycle and Sequence modes.
Interactive Voice Response
Interactive Voice Response, also known as the Auto Attendant feature, provides the caller with a list of choices designed to connect to the desired extension much faster. As such, the Auto Attendant decreases pressure on the company’s receptionist by eliminating the need to filter and distribute calls. Multiple IVR trees are available at no additional charge.
AstraQom can set up a paging extension that will send intercom calls over the speaker system integrated in your IP Phones. If you want to relay a message to some or all employees in your company, you only need to dial the paging extension and the other parties will hear your voice on their speakerphones without the need to pick up a call. You may choose between two-way audio, so that the other party can respond, and one-way audio, when your voice is sent to the devices without the possibility of receiving an answer.
iNum stands for International Number and represents a non-geographic global dial code (“country” code). It is used by international organizations such as NGOs and institutions, but also by global enterprises, allowing their callers to call without incurring international call costs.
All the computing devices (computers/ hosts) communicating between them using the same protocol form a network. An IP network is a group of devices that share a common connection, all using Internet Protocol as their communication protocol.
An IP Phone, or a VoIP Phone, is a telephone set designed specifically for use in a Voice over IP (VoIP) system by converting standard telephone audio into a digital format that can be transmitted over the Internet and by converting incoming digital phone signals from the Internet to standard telephone audio. A VoIP phone allows the user to take advantage of VoIP technology without involving a personal computer, although an Internet connection is required.
IP restriction is a feature that allows you to restrict the access to the hosted phone service to only one IP address. This option is crucial if you wish to increase the security of your lines and ensure that they are not used by anyone outside your network.
Local Virtual Phone Numbers
Is an inexpensive solution allowing businesses to have a local presence anywhere, just by adding numbers from different area codes to their main phone number. The Local Virtual Numbers enable callers to contact businesses at only a local cost and attend to conference calls from any location.
Long Distance Provider
Is an alternative to an existing subscription that routes long distance calls through its network instead of a user’s default one. Long distance providers are not only used for long distance calling, but also for international calling. The service is normally used through access numbers that the businesses dial and enter a PIN number; once the identification number is entered, the call is sent to the destination and it will appear on the long distance provider’s phone bill.
Managed Phone System
A managed phone system refers to a Hosted phone system that is managed and administered remotely. Traditional PBX systems usually require businesses to have a dedicated employee to handle the addition/ removal/ reconfiguration of users, updates and upgrades and feature allocation. With a remotely managed system, all the users need to do is plug their phones and connect them to the Internet (plug and play). All the maintenance works and configurations are handled by the Hosted PBX provider, making the system more flexible and scalable with minimum of resources allocated to its administration.
Manager Call Monitoring
The Manager Call Monitoring feature allows you to listen to an ongoing conversation taking place between one of your company’s lines and an outside line or between two internal lines. You may access the call with two-way audio (call participants can hear you), use the Whisper option to communicate with one of the parties or the Spy option, without those persons being aware they are being listened to.
Short for mobile application or just app, it is an application software designed to run on Smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. Apps are usually available through application distribution platforms which are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry App World. Some apps are free, while others must be bought. Usually, they are downloaded from the platform to a target device, such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android phone or Windows Phone.
A telecommunications network is a collection of links, switches and computers (nodes) which are connected to enable data transfer and exchange (audio, video) among multiple users between the terminals. The signal is sent through the links and nodes and use switches to reach their correct destination. A network between computers, a telephone network and even the Internet are all considered telecommunications networks.
PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange which is a type of private telephone network. These are usually used within a company. The users of the PBX phone system share a number of outside lines for making external phone calls. A PBX connects the internal telephones within a business and also connects them to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
PRI (Primary Rate Interface)
PRI (Primary Rate Interface) is a telecommunications service used for carrying multiple DS0 voice and data transmissions between a network and a user. PRI is mostly used for providing telecommunications services to offices and it consists of 24 channels in North America.
PSTN or Public Switched Telephone Network
PSTN or Public Switched Telephone Network is the international telephone system and consists of telephone lines, fiber optic cables, microwave transmission links, cellular networks, communications satellites and undersea telephone cables. PSTN allows us to communicate world-wide. It was originally a network of fixed-line analog telephone systems but now is almost entirely digital in technology except for the final link from the central (local) telephone office to the user.
Quality of Service (QoS)
Quality of Service (QoS) – is the overall performance of a telephony or computer network, particularly the performance seen by the users of the network. To quantitatively measure quality of service several related aspects of the network service are often considered, such as error rates, bandwidth, throughput, transmission delay, availability, jitter, etc. Quality of service is particularly important for the transport of traffic with special requirements. In particular, much technology has been developed to allow computer networks to become as useful as telephone networks for audio conversations, as well as supporting new applications with even stricter service demands.
Rack is a frame or enclosure for mounting multiple equipment modules. The height of the rack-mounted equipment is standardized as multiples of 1.75 inches (44.50 mm) or one rack unit or U (less commonly RU).The industry standard rack cabinet is 42U tall.
The telecommunication meaning of a Remote Office is that of a feature that enables users to connect multiple IP Phones across multiple locations into one unified network. Thanks to the VoIP technology, a telephone line is no longer physically tied to one location but can be used anywhere in the world where there is the possibility to connect to the Internet.
This feature is a website script which can be used by customers on their websites. Your website will ask the user to enter his call-back number and will connect to your Hosted PBX in order to make an outgoing call to the specified number.
Selective Outbound Destinations
This feature allows you to restrict an extension from placing calls permanently or to certain destinations. You can choose between having all destinations allowed, all restricted, allowed if matching certain prefix criteria or restricted if matching prefix criteria.
SIP Trunking or Session Initiation Protocol Trunking connects a PBX to the Internet using VoIP. SIP Trunking is a service used by the Internet Telephony Service Providers to deliver telephone services.
A Softphone is a software application that uses a computer for making telephone calls over the Internet.The software uses the computer’s sound card, microphone and speakers or a headset, and they are designed to contain contact lists, dial pads, call logs and often have IM & presence.
This feature allows you to set up short numbers to call your favourite numbers easier.
Telecommunication is the general term that describes communication at a distance, through electrical signals or electromagnetic waves. Electrical and electromagnetic telecommunication technologies include telegraph, telephone, networks, radio, microwave transmission, fiber optics, communications satellites and the Internet.
This service enables you to connect with two other parties in the same call through your Hosted PBX system.
Toll Free Number (1800 Numbers)
Toll Free Numbers (widely known as 1800 numbers) are telephone numbers that enable businesses to take over the costs of incoming calls, allowing their callers to reach the company at no cost. As such, customers and business partners can call the same number from anywhere in South Africa and the US, all charges being supported by the recipient of their call. Toll Free numbers are configured on top of an existing telephone line, whether it’s an AstraQom line or provided by another phone carrier.
Vanity Phone Numbers
In a nutshell, Vanity Numbers are Toll Free Numbers or regular local numbers that spell a word when replacing the digits in the phone number with the corresponding numbers or a telephone’s dial pad.
Vanity numbers are an excellent choice for all businesses, providing the callers with a simplified way of memorizing a number. Vanity numbers are configured on top of an existing telephone line, whether it’s an AstraQom line or provided by another phone carrier.
Virtual Call Center
As opposed to the traditional call centers, virtual call center platforms are deployed on the provider’s premises or a third party’s hosted site instead of the client’s premises.A Call Center can be set up so all the equipment except for the agent terminals are on the hosted platform. Virtual call centers provide all the features and benefits of traditional ones with less cost and without the user having to handle the technical side.
Virtual Phone Number
A Virtual Phone Number is considered to be a number that does not allow two-way communication, and cannot function on its own. Virtual Numbers are numbers that allow only incoming calls and need to be configured as “attached” or forwarded to a main line. Toll Free Numbers, Virtual Local Numbers and International Numbers are considered to be Virtual Numbers.
Virtual Receptionist will take calls in the name of a customer. Small businesses use this answering service because their call flow is too low for full time reception employees or they require only a part of their calls to be taken by an assistant (during meetings, after hours, etc.). The virtual answering service will respond to phone calls, take messages that are later on forwarded to the customer or distribute calls to the members of the organization.
This service enables your callers to record messages in case you are not answering, are busy or not reachable, as well as press a key to reach an emergency number of your choice. A copy of the message is sent by email to the address(es) of your choice in audio format (wav) and with a text header showing source of the call and is also available for download on the AstraQom WebCare portal. This unique feature allows you to retrieve, listen, read and store your messages at any time and in any place
Voice Over Internet (VoIP) is a technology that allows telephone calls to be made over computer networks like the Internet. VoIP converts analog voice signals into digital data packets and instead of being transmitted over a circuit-switched network the digital information is packetized, and transmission occurs as Internet Protocol (IP) packets over a packet-switched network..
VoIP Termination is the process of routing calls from one Internet Telephone Service Provider to another, across the globe.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a virtual machine sold as a service. A Virtual Machine is a software which behaves exactly like a physical computer, by running its own copy of an operating system, and can be accessed and managed remotely by each user. The use of a Virtual Machine – Virtualization allows the users to share the costs of a server, it saves rack space on premise and provides a higher level of security. The Virtual Machines save resources as well, as they enable several operating systems to run concurrently on a single computer, and allocate resources dynamically when they are required by one of the components.