Thanks to the flexibility and cost savings it offers, VoIP technology is becoming increasingly popular for businesses. If you’re new to the field, however, you may be confused by some of the jargon used, so here is the first part of our guide, to help you understand what it all means.

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Standing for Voice over Internet Protocol, this is a technology that allows voice calls to be made via an internet connection. You can usually make calls to other users on the same network for free. Calling conventional numbers incurs a charge, but this is much less than when using normal PSTN services. The cost is determined by wholesale VOIP termination rates, so may vary between suppliers.

Unified Communications

Unified Communications, UC for short, aims to make communication more convenient by having an integrated standard for all forms of connection, including phone, fax and instant messaging services, all on the same network.


A gateway is a device that converts from ordinary analog phone lines and associated networks to VoIP. This means that your VoIP system is able to talk to other, non-VoIP, systems, and it also allows you to migrate your systems gradually to a supplier like IDT EXPRESS, and still maintain communication. The different types of gateway are explained below.

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Analog Gateways

An analog gateway converts your legacy phone system along with its lines, phones and other equipment, to work with a VoIP system.

Digital Gateways

A digital gateway is similar but converts other digital technology, such as ISDN to work with the VoIP system.

GSM Gateways

A GSM gateway connects your VoIP network to a mobile carrier via a SIM card.

PBX systems

A Private Branch Exchange, or PBX, is the system used within an organisation to route calls to different extensions and share external lines.


Like a PBX, an IP PBX works using Internet Protocol technology. It allows easy switching between analog and VoIP services, as well as offering extra features like voicemail, call logging and so on.

Asterisk framework

The Asterisk framework is used to build VoIP applications. It’s the underlying technology that permits VoIP, IP PBX and a range of other communication systems to work together. Asterisk is used by companies of all sizes to permit all of their communications technology to work smoothly and in harmony.