TDOA-Telephone Management System


Time Difference Of Arrival. A precise method of locating a radio receiver, TDOA is being proposed to support wireless 911 services for cellular and PCS networks. Operating much like GPS (Global Positioning Satellite Systems), although in reverse, GPOA uses three cell site antennas to lock in on the signal from the cell phone. The times of signal arrival at each cell site are compared through the use of a precise master clock. Although the differences in time of signal arrival may be only microseconds, the location of the cell phone can be determined through a process of time triangulation, allowing the exact location of the device to be plotted. GPOA offers much improved location-determination than does the old method of triangulation, which relies on signal strength. See also 911 and Triangulation.


Telocator Data Protocol. A new 8-bit protocol for sending messages and binary files (images, spreadsheets, word processing files, executables, etc.) to pagers (also known as beepers. The older (and more common) 7-bit messaging protocol now widely in use is called TAP, which stands for Telocator Alphanumeric Paging Protocol. This protocol can only send simple alphanumeric messages, like "Your shares in XYZ are now $23, up 98%."


Time Domain Reflectometer.


In 1989, NASA began a program called Tracking and Data Relay System Satellites (TDRSS), a network of geosynchronous satellites originally designed to communicate with naval vessels and submarines. Today, one of its functions is to use and produce Land Sat mapping data. Using TDRSS, seismic vessels are able to upload information acquired from TDRSS satellites at speeds in excess of 311 megabits per second. The raw data is transferred to an array of space antennas at White Sands Air Force Base in Nevada and then relayed via fiber optics to Houston for processing. Once complete, the entire upload can be put on the Internet and reviewed by anybody who has the code to view it. An entire day's seismic shoot can be shuffled to space and back within a couple of hours.


  1. MCI's name for Terrestrial Data Services, i.e. services that run through on-the- ground fiber, rather than through-the-air satellite services.

  2. Terrestrial Digital Service.

  3. Transmission Data Service.


Transit Delay Selection And Indication.

  1. ISDN Terminal Equipment. See the next two definitions.

  2. Terminal Equipment: As an ATM term , terminal equipment represents the endpoint of ATM connection(s) and termination of the various protocols within the connection(s).


Tape Drive Unit.


Terminating Equipment.


Terminal equipment type 1 that supports ISDN standards and thus can connect directly to the ISDN network. TE1 could be an ISDN telephone, a personal computer capable of working with ISDN, a videophone, etc. In short, any device that can attach to and work with ISDN.


Terminal equipment that does not support ISDN standards and thus requires a Terminal Adapter. Non-ISDN terminal equipment (e.g. analog telephone) linked at the RS- 232, RS-449, or V.35 interfaces.


According to Internet Week, May 17, 1999, teamware is a class of web collaboration tools for sharing information over extranets while sparing IT managers much of the administrative work associated with traditional groupware. Teamware applications lack some customization features but are less complex to deploy because they normally let users perform the majority of management functions and also feature a browser interface. Teamware does not provide connectivity to back-end databases and does not not scale to handle large volumes of data like Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange or Novell GroupWise. However, teamware is intuitive and can be quickly implemented.

Teardrop Attack

A teardrop attack occurs when a malicious person sends instructions over a network to a server attempting to crash the server. Some implementations of the TCP/IP IP fragmentation re-assembly code do not properly handle overlapping IP fragments . Teardrop is a widely available attack tool that exploits this vulnerability. There are workarounds that will prevent your server from being attacked .

Teased Mexican Scorpion

When AOL Time Warner announced a mammoth $98.7 billion writoff in late January, 2003, an analyst on CNBC reported that Ted Turner was mad about the losses. He was, according to the analyst, as angry as "a teased Mexican scorpion."


Abbreviation for thermoelectric cooler .


Telecommunications and Electronics Consortium in the Newly Independent States. An organization based in Moscow and administered by TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) to assist US telecommunications and telecommunications- related electronics companies with doing business in the region.


Traffic Editor Control File.

Tech Wreck

What happened to technology stocks in the fall of the year 2000 and then in 2001 and 2002. They all went out of favor and fell dramatically. See also Small Fortune.


A common campuswide information system developed at MIT. An Internet term.

Technical Advisory

TA. A Bellcore document containing a preliminary view of proposed generic requirements for a technology, equipment, service or interface. The TA document type is being replaced by the Generic Requirements (GR) document type. See Generic Requirements.

Technical Control Center

A testing center for telecommunications circuits. The center provides test access and computer-assisted support functions to aid in circuit maintenance.

Technical Control Facility

A federal government term . A term plant, or a designated and specially configured part thereof, containing the equipment necessary for ensuring fast, reliable, and secure exchange of information. This facility typically includes distribution frames and associated panels, jacks , and switches; and monitoring, test, conditioning, and order wire equipment.

Technical Load

A military term. The portion of the operational load required for communications, tactical operations, and ancillary equipment including necessary lighting, air conditioning, or ventilation required for full continuity of communications.

Technical Means

A term in the spy business which means spy satellites and electronic eavesdropping stations , typically costing tens of billions of dollars.

Technical Office Protocol

TOP. A seven-layer network architecture designed for office automation that uses International Standards Organization (ISO) or ITU specifications at each level. TOP was defined by Boeing Vertol Corp. and is now controlled by the MAP/TOP (Manufacturing Automation Protocol/Technical Office Protocol) Users Group .

Technical Reference

TR. A Bellcore document containing the current view or performance of a technology, equipment, service or interface. The TR document type are being replaced by the Generic Requirements (GR) document type. See Generic Requirements.

Technically Feasible Points

Points at which it is technically or operationally feasible to interconnect with the Verizon network without threatening the reliability or security of the existing network.

Technicolour Yawn

What Americans refer to as throwing up, Australians say, more politely, "to make a technicolour yawn." Some American campuses do have an expression "to raise the technicolour flag." In dire cases (i.e. where you are very drunk), this is also know as "hugging the porcelain god." "In extremely dire cases, Chuck McDonald suggests calling Ralph On "The Porcelain Phone. "


A geek. See Geek.

Technology Investor

Another term for masochist, according to some of my friends .


Trunk Encryption Device.

Teddy Bear

A stuffed animal named after President "Teddy" Roosevelt, a keen hunter who once took pity on a baby bear and didn't shoot the baby. At the height of the teddy bear's huge popularity in the early 1900s, a Michigan priest publicly denounced the teddy as "an insidious weapon." He claimed that the stuffed toy would lead to "the destruction of the instincts of motherhood and eventual racial suicide."


Trade Electronic Data Interchange Systems.

Teen Service

A feature of some central offices which allows two telephone numbers to be assigned to a single party phone line. Each number has a distinctive ringing pattern so that the called parties can recognize which line is ringing. The inventor of this service named it after the fact that his teenage children were always receiving phone calls. And he wanted a way for them to recognize when the calls were for them and when they were for the parents. Sadly, this phenomenon now begins earlier in life, with children as young as six receiving their own calls. We speak from experience. Teen service is now used by home businesses, roommates, boarders, college dorm suite-mates, and live-in relatives.

Tee Coupler

A three-port optical coupler.


Telecommunications Entrance Facility (also called EF or Entrance Facility).


Dupont's registered trademark for fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP). In addition to working its wonders in the modern kitchen, Teflon is an exceptional insulating material for cable systems. Teflon is also coated on cables. See also FEP.


See Tail End Hop-Off (traffic engineering).


Terminal Endpoint Identifier. Up to eight devices can be connected to one ISDN BRI line. The TEI defines for a given message which of the eight devices is communicating with the Central Office switch. In general, more than one of the eight may be communicating.


Traffic Encryption Key.

Tekelec Adaptation Layer Interface





A term coined by John Haugh of Telecommunications Advisors in Portland, OR to include "insider" toll fraud, waste and abuse.


Banking transactions conducted through telecommunications.


  1. The local telephone company. Often a term of endearment. Americanism for local telephone company.

  2. In some LAN circles, a telco is known as a 25-pair polarized connector that is used to consolidate multiple voice or data lines. Also known as an amphenol connector.

Telco Farm

A building housing many phone companies ” typically one ILEC and many CLECs.

Telco Hotel

Also known as a Carrier Hotel or Neutral Central Office (NCO), a telco hotel is a neutral location in which carriers can lease space for termination of circuits and placement of equipment. See Carrier Hotel for a full explanation.

Telco Splice Block

What some parts of the data communications industry call a 66-block, i.e. a terminating block for twisted pair voice and data cable.

Telcordia Technologies

Telcordia Technologies is the new name for Bellcore. Here's how Telcordia describes itself and its history: Bell Communications Research, or Bellcore, was created during the divestiture of the Bell System in 1984 to serve the Bell operating companies by providing a center for technological expertise and innovation. Eighty percent of the U.S. telecommunications network depends on software invented, developed, implemented, or maintained by Bellcore. We hold hundreds of patents, including key patents for broadband data communications technologies like ADSL, AIN, ATM, ISDN, Frame Relay, SMDS, SONET, and video-on-demand. We currently keep more than 100 million lines of code maintained and running, through more than 150 operations support systems. We are the world's largest provider of telecommunications training services; each year we train more than 30,000 students from 1,300 companies. In 1997, Bellcore was acquired by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), one of the world's largest providers of systems integration and program management.


  1. Tele comes from the Greek word meaning "far." Telecommunications is therefore communicating over a distance. Television is seeing over a distance.

  2. For any word that you think should be spelled tele-word, please check the definition below, spelled without the dash.

Teleaction Service

In ISDN applications, a telecommunications service using very short messages with very low data transmission rates between the user and the network.


A means in GSM (non-North America cellular digital standard) to update a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card via a short message sent by the network operator using Short Message Services (SMS). In GSM, the SIM card is located in the cell phone's handset and is customized to a specific subscriber's service options. TeleAdmin is also known as remote SIM card updating.


A British term for telemarketing. Here's a definition I found in England: Activities conducted by telephone in a planned and controlled manner. The term encompasses telesales, telemarketing, customer service and information broadcast. Telebusiness can be conducted between an organization and its customers and prospects, or conducted as in internal service.


Business centers where many companies rent space for their employees . Centers are equipped with receptionist , clerical help, e-mail, and voice mail.


A shortened and perfectly acceptable way of saying the word "telecommunications." See Telecommunications.

Telecom Bus

A byte-serial TDM (Time Division Multiplexed) bus technology, which has become something of a de facto standard.

Telecom Hotel

See Carrier Hotel.

Telecom Operations Map

TOM, or eTOM (for enhanced Telecom Operations Map). This definition is from Frankly I don't get it, but a kindly reader of this dictionary said that I should include a definition. So here goes: "enhanced Telecom Operations Map (eTOM): The Business Process Framework-for the Information and Communications Services Industry - GB921 v3.0 Saturday, June 01, 2002. The enhanced Telecom Operations Map (eTOM) Business Process Framework serves as the blueprint for process direction and the starting point for development and integration of Business and Operations Support Systems (BSS and OSS respectively). The eTOM Framework also helps drive TM Forum member's work to develop NGOSS solutions. For service providers, it provides a neutral reference point as they consider internal process reengineering needs, partnerships, alliances, and general working agreements with other providers. For suppliers, the eTOM Framework outlines potential boundaries of software components , and the required functions, inputs, and outputs that must be supported by products. This document consists of:

  • A description of the role of the eTOM Business Process Framework.

  • An ebusiness context for service providers and the more complex Business Relationship Context Model required.

  • A high-level business process framework and explanation of service provider enterprise processes and sub-processes that are top down, customer-centric, and end-toend focused.

  • A total enterprise framework for service providers.

  • Process Decompositions of all processes from the highest conceptual view of the framework to the working level of the eTOM and many selected lower level decompositions in the Framework

  • Selected process flows and descriptions of the decomposed processes that include the process purpose or description, business rules, high level information and more.

Telecom Server

A telecom server is Intel's word for a computer that directs telephone calls and computer traffic across networks. Such servers allegedly meet rigorous tests for telecom equipment, including the ability to survive extreme heat and cold, earthquakes and fires. I think the more common word for a telecom server is a switch.


A British was of saying telemarketing. See Telemarketing.


British usage. A shortened and perfectly acceptable way of saying the word "telecommunications."

Telecommunication Architecture

The governing plan showing the capabilities of functional elements and their interaction, including configuration, integration, standardization, life-cycle management, and definition of protocol specifications, among these elements.

Telecommunication Facilities

The aggregate of equipment, such as telephones, teletypewriters, facsimile equipment, cables, and switches, used for various modes of transmission, such as digital data, audio signals, image and video signals.

Telecommunication Service

Any service provided by a telecommunication provider. A specified set of user-information transfer capabilities provided to a group of users. The telecommunication service provider has the responsibility for the acceptance, transmission, and delivery of the message.

Telecommunicationally Challenged

A politically correct term for being under-phoned, i.e. having too few phones. This definition contributed by John Warrington of Ashland University, Ashland, OH.


  1. The art and science of "communicating" over a distance by telephone, telegraph and/or radio. The transmission, reception and the switching of signals, such as electrical or optical, by wire, fiber, or electromagnetic (i.e. through-theair) means.

  2. A fancy word for "telephony," which it replaced and which many thought meant only analog voice, but didn't.

Telecommunications Act of 1981, U.K.

The Telecommunications Act of the U.K. is passed. It is the first step towards liberalizing the telecommunications market in the U.K. and has four main consequences:

  • The General Post Office (the erstwhile monopoly provider of telecommunications services in the U.K.) was divided into two separate entities: The Post Office and British Telecommunications (BT), which retained the monopoly over existing telecommunications networks.

  • It determined that a duopoly would be created as a first step towards the introduction of competition in telecommunications.

  • The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was empowered to license other organizations to be known as Public Telecommunications Operators (PTOs), to operate public telecommunications networks (including cellular networks) in the U.K.

  • It paved the way for the gradual deregulation of equipment supply, installation and maintenance which had previously been the monopoly of the GPO. Following the Act, Mercury Communications, majority-owned by Cable & Wireless was created to compete with British Telecommunications.

Telecommunications Act of 1984, U.K.

The 1984 Telecommunications Act established British Telecommunications, now known as BT, as a public limited company which would, as such, have to apply for a PTO licence from the Secretary of State. Following the Act, BT was privatized. The Act also created Oftel, the office of telecommunications, to become a watchdog over all aspects of the telecommunications industry in the U.K. See also Telecommunications Act of 1981.

Telecommunications Act of 1996, U.S.

A federal bill signed into law on February 8, 1996 "to promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for American telecommunications consumers and encourage rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies." The Act is widely reputed to be among the worst pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress. The Act required local service providers in the 100 largest metropolitan areas of the United States, i.e. the local regional Bell operating companies, to implement Local Number Portability by the end of 1998. The Act also allowed the local regional Bell operating phone companies into long distance once they had met certain conditions about allowing competition in their local monopoly areas. The main thrust of the bill was to force the local phone companies to rent their local copper loops to new telecommunications carriers, later called CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers). The first and main service provided by the CLECs was a service called DSL (Digital Subscriber Line). Subscribers could use these line to access the Internet at 50 times faster than a traditional dial-up phone line. President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 into law using the very pen President Dwight D. Eisenhower used in 1957 to authorize the interstate highways. "We will help to create an open marketplace where competition and innovation can move quick as light," Clinton said. The Act lead to an explosion in the number of new phone companies ” especially CLECs ” and to a lesser extent, combination CLEC/long distance carriers. Wall Street raised billions of dollars for these new companies. Observers, journalist and Wall Street analysts fell in love with the new opportunities. The words "the demand is insatiable" was seen in print again and again. And the shares of many of these new companies took off for the stars. By the middle of 2001, the whole telecom boom had pretty well bust. Most of the CLECs were in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Many DSL lines had been disconnected. And billions of dollars of telecom debt was now valueless. History will probably ascribe the collapse of the CLEC boom to the local phone companies, who pretty well did everything they could to deny their new CLEC competitors timely access to the lines the Act had made them, theoretically, entitled to. You can read the entire Act on See also CLEC. Some important sections of this law are:

Section 251

Sets interconnection requirements for ILECs and CLECs.

Section 254

Defines and sets the principles of and procedures to review Universal Service.

Section 271

Sets the requirements and process for Bell long distance re-entry. Details the 14-point checklist. See 271.

Section 706

Requires the FCC and state regulatory agencies to promote the deployment of advanced telecommunications services throughout the United States.

The following are some definitions contained in the Act.

Affiliate ” The term 'affiliate' means a person that (directly or indirectly) owns or controls, is owned or controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with, another person.

For purposes of this paragraph, the term 'own' means to own an equity interest (or the equivalent thereof) if more than 10 percent.

AT&T Consent Decree ” The term 'AT&T Consent Decree' means the order entered August 24, 1982, in the antitrust action styled United States v. Western Electric, Civil Action No. 82-0192, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and includes any judgment or order with respect to such action entered on or after August 24, 1982.

Bell Operating Company ” The term 'Bell operating company'

(A) means any of the following companies: Bell Telephone Company of Nevada, Illinois Bell Telephone Company, Indiana Bell Telephone Company, Incorporated, Michigan Bell Telephone Company, New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, New York Telephone Company, U S West Communications Company, South Central Bell Telephone Company, Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, The Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Maryland, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Virginia, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia, The Diamond State Telephone Company, The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, or Wisconsin Telephone Company; and

(B) includes any successor or assign of any such company that provides wireline telephone exchange service; but

(C) does not include an affiliate of any such company, other than an affiliate described in subparagraph (A) or (B).

Customer Premises Equipment: The term 'customer premises equipment' means equipment employed on the premises of a person (other than a carrier) to originate, route, or terminate telecommunications.

Dialing Parity: The term 'dialing parity' means that a person that is not an affiliate of a local exchange carrier is able to provide telecommunications services in such a manner that customers have the ability to route automatically, without the use of any access code, their telecommunications to the telecommunications services provider of the customer's designation from among 2 or more telecommunications services providers (including such local exchange carrier).

Exchange Access: The term 'exchange access' means the offering of access to telephone exchange services or facilities for the purpose of the origination or termination of telephone toll services.

Information Service: The term 'information service' means the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing , or making available information via telecommunications, and includes electronic publishing, but does not include any use of any such capability for the management, control, or operation of a telecommunications system or the management of a telecommunications service.

Interlata service: The term 'interLATA service' means telecommunications between a point located in a local access and transport area and a point located outside such area.

Local access and transport area: The term 'local access and transport area' or 'LATA' means a contiguous geographic area ”

  1. established before the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by a Bell operating company such that no exchange area includes points within more than 1 metropolitan statistical area, consolidated metropolitan statistical area, or State, except as expressly permitted under the AT&T Consent Decree; or

  2. established or modified by a Bell operating company after such date of enactment and approved by the Commission.

Local exchange carrier: The term 'local exchange carrier' means any person that is engaged in the provision of telephone exchange service or exchange access. Such term does not include a person insofar as such person is engaged in the provision of a commercial mobile service under section 332(c), except to the extent that the Commission finds that such service should be included in the definition of such term.

Network element: The term 'network element' means a facility or equipment used in the provision of a telecommunications service. Such term also includes features, functions, and capabilities that are provided by means of such facility or equipment, including subscriber numbers, databases, signaling systems, and information sufficient for billing and collection or used in the transmission, routing, or other provision of a telecommunications service.

Number portability: The term 'number portability' means the ability of users of telecommunications services to retain, at the same location, existing telecommunications numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience when switching from one telecommunications carrier to another.

Rural telephone company: The term 'rural telephone company' means a local exchange carrier operating entity to the extent that such entity ”

  1. provides common carrier service to any local exchange carrier study area that does not include either ”

    • any incorporated place of 10,000 inhabitants or more, or any part thereof, based on the most recently available population statistics of the Bureau of the Census; or

    • any territory, incorporated or unincorporated, included in an urbanized area, as defined by the Bureau of the Census as of August 10, 1993;

  2. provides telephone exchange service, including exchange access, to fewer than 50,000 access lines;

  3. provides telephone exchange service to any local exchange carrier study area with fewer than 100,000 access lines; or

  4. has less than 15 percent of its access lines in communities of more than 50,000 on the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Telecommunications: The term 'telecommunications' means the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received.

Telecommunications carrier: The term 'telecommunications carrier' means any provider of telecommunications services, except that such term does not include aggregators of telecommunications services (as defined in section 226). A telecommunications carrier shall be treated as a common carrier under this Act only to the extent that it is engaged in providing telecommunications services, except that the Commission shall determine whether the provision of fixed and mobile satellite service shall be treated as common carriage .

Telecommunications equipment: The term 'telecommunications equipment' means equipment, other than customer premises equipment, used by a carrier to provide telecommunications services, and includes software integral to such equipment (including upgrades).

Telecommunications service: The term 'telecommunications service' means the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used.

See also CLEC for an assessment of the impact of the Act.

Telecommunications Bonding Backbone

A conductor that interconnects the telecommunications main grounding busbar (TMGB) to the telecommunications grounding busbar (TGB).

Telecommunications Broker

A person or an organization which buys telecommunications services at bulk rates and resells these services at below "normal" i.e. retail prices.

Telecommunications Carrier

A broad term for any company which provides telecommunications transmission services. That company might be any company from a huge, established local phone company, such as Bell Atlantic or the tiniest CLEC with three subscribers. The term is about as broad as it gets. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 defines it as any provider of telecommunications services, except that such term does not include aggregators of telecommunications services (as defined in section 226). A telecommunications carrier shall be treated as a common carrier under this Act only to the extent that it is engaged in providing telecommunications services, except that the Commission shall determine whether the provision of fixed and mobile satellite service shall be treated as common carriage.

Telecommunications Closet

TC. A closet which houses telecommunications wiring and telecom wiring equipment. Contains the BHC (Backbone to Horizontal Cross-connect). May also contain the Network Demarcation, or MC (Main Cross-connect). The telecommunications closet is used to connect up telecom wiring. The closet typically has a door. It's a good idea to lock the door and not put anything else in the closet, like mops, buckets and brooms.

Telecommunications Information Networking Architecture Consortium


Telecommunications Lines

Telephone and other communications lines used to transmit messages from one location to another.

Telecommunications Network

The public switched telephone exchange network.

Telecommunications Relay Service

Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS), formerly called Dual Party Relay Service, is available to hearing impaired customers. Defined by the Communications Act of 1934, telecommunications relay services mean "transmission services that provide the ability for an individual who has a hearing impairment or speech impairment to engage in communication by wire or radio with a hearing individual in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of an individual who does not have a hearing impairment or speech impairment to communicate using voice communication service by wire or radio." NECA (National Exchange Carrier Association) administers the Telecommunications Relay Services Fund, collecting from approximately 3,000 companies based on interstate revenues , then disbursing it to the providers of interstate TRS. Some states, such as California, also have state-level funding mechanisms in place in the form of line-item surcharges on your telephone bill. These various funds are used to compensate the LECs (Local Exchange Carriers) for the incremental cost of providing TDDs (Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf), volume-controlled telephone handsets, and other compensating devices and features. See also NECA, Separations and Settlements and TDD.

Telecommunications Resellers Association


Telecommunications Supplier

This is the term used in Europe for a company that sells, installs and supports business telephone systems. This type of company may be known as an Interconnect Company in North America.


The process of commuting to the office through transferring information over a communications link, rather than transferring one's physical presence. In short, working at home on a telephone, a computer, a modem and maybe a facsimile machine, rather than going into the office. As the story goes, the concept of telecommuting was invented and the term was coined in 1973 by Jack Nilles, a spacecraft designer for The Aerospace Corp. Nilles was intrigued by the questions posed by an urban planner who wondered why we could put a man on the surface of the moon but couldn't solve the problems of vehicular traffic congestion on the surface of the Earth. Eventually, Nilles left his job to become director of interdisciplinary programs at the University of Southern California, where he studied telecommuting for the next 10 years or so. There are clear benefits to telecommuting: you can live and work somewhere charming. There are disadvantages, especially accentuated if you work with others: "When you're getting data from afar, you're not in touch with the soul of the business, anymore," according to one telecommuter interviewed by the New York Times. He went on to say, "All the electronic communications are simply backup, I just hadn't factored the importance of personal loyalty and contact into the equation. And I was very wrong." Ray Horak, my Contributing Editor, telecommutes. He works on this dictionary from his SOHO in Seattle, WA, and sends me new definitions and edits old ones electronically over the Internet. The key to this successful relationship is severalfold: What's we're both doing ” writing a dictionary ” is a very defined, very structured and quite simple task. We both know what our goals are ” to make the dictionary the best in the world. And we know how to do it. We're not debating the design of a new automobile or selling customers. These sorts of activities are far more people-oriented and are less conducive to telecommuting. In short, the nature of the task determines its success for telecommuting.


Telecomputer appears to be the couch potato's ultimate toy. Peter Coy writing in Business Week of November 1, 1993 called telecomputer a "computerized television." He said "the idea is that you can watch anything in the (on-line) video library anytime . Your telecomputer lets you scroll through a menu of programs, click on your choice, and send an order up the line." James H. Clark, chairman of Silicon Graphics Inc., a manufacturer of computers with heavy video skills calls telecomputer a term for a combination computer/CATV controller that is being popularized by the new media industry. The idea is to use the telecomputer to do interactive games , choose a movie to play out of thousands of choices, buy things, send electronic mail, etc.


A telephone conversation with three or more people. They may be distant from each other. They may all be in the same office.


A term for a conference of more than two people linked by telecommunications through a conference bridge. The term is applied to voice conferencing, which also is known as audioconferencing and which can include other forms of audio, such as music. Teleconferencing, in the broader sense, also includes videoconferencing and document (data) conferencing. For years, teleconferencing has been heralded as a great coming event, and a significant replacement for travel. As corporations increasingly down- size , decentralize, and encourage telecommuting, they will continue to expect more productivity from fewer people who are geographically dispersed. Teleconferencing, clearly, is one powerful solution to this dilemma. See NetMeeting, IP Telephony, The Internet, TAPI 3.0.

Teleconnect Magazine

Teleconnect was a monthly magazine covering developments in telecommunications equipment. Its job was to help its readers choose, install and maintain their telecom equipment. It is published by the same nice people who publish (but not write) this dictionary. I founded Teleconnect. It was my first magazine. Sadly, the new owners just closed it down. i don't know why. They never told me.


A fancy word for a facsimile or fax machine.


The domains of technology unleashed by the discovery of the electromagnetic spectrum and the photon. Fiber optics, cellular telephony, and satellite communications are examples. George Gilder made this term up. It's the name of one of his books. This is his definition.


High-ranking telephone company executives who speak more like government bureaucrats than businesspeople. There are many of them.


A measure of the number of phone lines per 100 of population. Originally teledensity meant landlines. And between 40 and 50 lines per 100 of population indicated pretty good density. Under 10 indicated pretty bad density. Now you have to factor in landlines and mobile lines. Teledensity is a measure of a country's economic development. Over 70 means your country is pretty advanced. Some towns, like Washington, D.C., are over 100. That means there is more than one phone for every person. Whether this means Washington, D.C. is more advanced than other places is an interesting question.


Teledesic LLC is a private company that tried to build a global, broadband "Internet-in-the-Sky." Teledesic's idea was 288 LEOs (Low-Earth-Orbiting satellites) plus spares , operating in the Ka- band of radio spectrum (28.6-29.1 GHz uplink and 18.8-19.3 GHz downlink). The system was proposed to support millions of simultaneous users, with each having asymmetric, two-way connectivity at rates of up to 2 Mbps on the uplink and up to 64 Mbps on the downlink. The user equipment will be in the form of small (laptop-size) antennas which will mount flat on a rooftop. Teledesic was founded in June of 1990 and is headquartered in Kirkland, Washington, near Seattle. The Teledesic vision was created by Craig O. McCaw, founder of McCaw Cellular Communications (now AT&T Wireless), and William H. Gates III, co-founder of Microsoft. Principal investors include McCaw, Gates, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal ($200 million), and Boeing, which is providing the launch vehicles. Motorola and Matra Marconi Space round out the founding industrial team. Latest estimate of the required total investment-a mind-boggling $9 billion. On September 30, 2002 Teledesic announced that it had suspended work under its satellite construction contract with Italian satellite manufacturer Alenia Spazio SpA and will significantly reduce its staff as it evaluates possible alternative approaches to its business. "Teledesic has dedicated and talented employees passionate about the Teledesic vision, leading industrial partners , and some of the most astute private investors from around the world," said Teledesic Chairman and Co-CEO Craig McCaw. "We have met our regulatory milestones to date and remain financially solvent. Our decision to suspend our activities results from an unprecedented confluence of events in the telecommunications industry and financial markets. We do not presently see elements in place that would result in returns to our shareholders that are commensurate with the risk. We continue to believe that the Teledesic service would ultimately provide unique and measurable benefits to the world, and we are looking at scenarios to preserve the ability for that service to be realized." And that's the last press release on the company's web site ” ” as of this writing, December, 2003.


  1. European term for fax.

  2. A high-speed, 64 kilobit per second facsimile service that uses Group 4 fax machines and one Bearer channel of an ISDN circuit, or any other 64 Kbps circuit. Group 4 fax machines take about six seconds to transmit a page. They're fast and impressive.


Another made-up word from the people who are trying to sell you consulting services. This from Jennifer Poulsen, Consultant, High Road Communications, "Telco fraud is a big problem, and getting bigger. In 1997, phone companies across North America lost more than $12 billion in long distance to tele-felony, a term that accurately describes one of the biggest issues facing the telephone world. The perpetrators for this crime have been dubbed tele-felons. Tele-felons hack their way into company phone systems and make lengthy and expensive long distance calls all over the world. They gain access to corporate calling card numbers for the same purpose. They even let friends make such calls from a number where they work. And the damage doesn't stop at the phone system. Once the PBX is hacked, it's merely a conduit to the computer system and a gold mine of valuable data. Here are some facts:

Fraudsters love targeting new competitive carriers first as they know (or hope) the infrastructure is not in place. An average hit by an organized fraud group costs telcos $350,000 per occurrence (two hits by an organized fraud group could wipe out a new telco's entire yearly profit). A telco's image as a quality service provider is tarnished without fraud protection. Fraud is a cause of customer churn and retaining customers is crucial to the long-term viability of CLECs."


Using communications lines ” from dial-up through local area networks through WANs ” to play games interactively with someone at the other end. The upcoming expected explosion of telegaming is what's driving the growth of DSVD (Digital Simultaneous Voice Data) modems and ultimately the growth of ISDN lines.


Hard-copy information, in written, printed or pictorial form, routed to the general telegraph service for transmission and delivery to the addressee. Telegrams are dying due to the high cost of delivery.


A system employing the interruption of, or change in, the polarity of DC current signaling to convey coded information.

Telegraph Key

A type of switch for making and breaking a circuit at will for the purpose of transmitting dots and dashes.


Aging data transmission technique characterized by maximum data rates of 75 bits per second and signaling where the direction, or polarity, of DC current flow is reversed to indicate bit states.


A term coined by Telecom Australia for "the first wave of informal and unofficially sanctioned telecommuters ” those who occasionally work from home with the informal approval of their immediate boss." Says Telecom Australia, "They're the ones whose bosses say, 'I don't care where you work as long as you get the project finished.'"


Offering space, security, and environmental controls for equipment owned by various carriers. This allows a telecom giant like a RBOC to rent space to friends and competitors in their Network Access Points and other similar facilities.


A term for the application of computer systems to the management of the telephone and telecommunications expenses of a user organization. Telemanagement includes virtually every function which the contemporary corporate telecommunications manager performs . Ray Horak, my Contributing Editor, says that tele- management comprises the management of costs, assets, processes and security. Cost management includes call accounting, cost allocation, bill consolidation, and bill reconciliation-costs include usage-sensitive network costs (e.g., long distance calls), nonrecurring costs (e.g., installation and repair), and recurring costs (e.g., circuits and maintenance agreements). Asset management includes the cradle-to-grave management of systems (e.g., PBXs and computer systems), terminals (e.g., phones and PCs), and inside cable and wire systems. Process management includes work order and trouble ticket management, traffic analysis, and network design and optimization. Security management includes the management of toll fraud and network abuse/misuse. Telemanagement systems generally are in the form of premise -based application software systems, which typically are modular. Such systems typically are either PC-based, or client/server (PC-LAN) in nature; very large user organizations make use of mainframe-based systems. Service bureaus also offer telemanagement services, although they tend to be limited to call accounting and cost allocation.

TeleManagement Forum

TM Forum. The TeleManagement Forum has provided leadership, strategic guidance and practical solutions to improve the management and operation of information and communications services. The TM Forum boasts 340 members worldwide including incumbent and new-entrant service providers, equipment suppliers, software solution suppliers and Systems Integrators (SIs). The TM Forum's New Generation Operations Systems and Software (NGOSS) program is a widely accepted integrated framework for developing, procuring and deploying operational and business support systems and software. See also MTMN Version 3.

Telecommunications Maintainer

The European terms for a company that does not sell or install a business telephone system, but is authorized by the manufacturer to maintain it. This is more common in Europe than in North America.

Telecommunications Management Network

See TMN.


Marketing and sales conducted via the telephone. There are two sides to telemarketing ” incoming and outgoing. Incoming telemarketing is largely run through 800 toll-free IN-WATS numbers and local FX (foreign exchange) lines. Outgoing telemarketing is organized over OUT-WATS lines. An expanding range of telecom gadgetry is being developed to automate telemarketing ” including automated outbound dialers, voice processing technology and automatic call distributors . The tone recognition, voice detection and transaction audiotex and transaction processing capabilities of voice processing gear can be used to enhance all telemarketing applications.

Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Protection Act

A Congressional bill passed in August 1994 with the stated purpose of combating the growth of telemarketing fraud. The bill gave law enforcement agencies new tools, and consumers new protections and guidance to help prevent the planned, fraudulent use of the telephone. See Telemarketing Sales Rule.

Telemarketing Sales Rule

This rule was adopted by the FTC December 31, 1995 pursuant to the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Protection Act of 1994. Key provisions require specific disclosures, prohibit misrepresentations, set limits on the times when telemarketers may call customers, prohibit calls after a consumer requests not to be called, set payment restrictions for the use of certain goods and services, and require that specific business be kept for two years. See Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Protection Act.

Telematic Agent

TLMA. An X.400 AU (Access Unit) serving Teletex users of other telematic services (using Teletex, Fax, etc.).


  1. A generic term for a wireless network supporting the collection and dissemination of data. Static, or fixed, applications include SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition), which is used in the power utility industry for meter reading and load control (e.g., load shedding). Mobile applications include vehicle tracking and positioning, on-line navigation, and emergency assistance. Probably the best known example is GM's OnStar system, which automatically calls for assistance if the vehicle is in an accident . These systems can also perform such functions as remote engine diagnostics, tracking stolen vehicles, providing roadside assistance, etc.

  2. The use of wireless data transmission to and from your car, to be used for everything from GPS (global positioning systems) to surfing the Internet.


The provision of health-care services from a distance using networks supporting audio, video, and computer data transmissions. Telemedicine traditionally uses videoconferencing to diagnose illness and provide medical treatment over a distance. Often used to view or teach surgical procedures. Used also in rural areas where health care is not readily available and to provide medical services to prisoners . At the ICA Show in 1994, Southwestern Bell demonstrated telemedicine applications including a dermatology microscope, a video scope, an electronic stethoscope and a telepathology system that allows a pathologist to exercise computer control over a remote microscope.


A communications system for the transmission of digital or analog data which represents status information on a remote process, function or device.

Telemetry, tracking and control

TT&C. These three functions control and monitor a group of satellites.


I was given this definition by a fine gentleman, who'd just been given the job of running his company's call center. He was, as you can, quickly disgusted with the quality of the labor he had to manage. He says he didn't make this term up. It's for real. Maybe. Anyway, here goes. A pejorative word for a call center agent. Originally companies staffed their centers with highly educated, well-paid agents who were usually capable of thinking independently when dealing with a customer's inquiry, but now companies have started to replace such staff with less educated , less trained, and lower paid agents who are trained to respond to customers' inquiry by referring to a database help desk, guide book or manual. Hence the idea that monkeys could handle an agent's job.


A private, commercially available network providing both packet-switched and circuit-switched service to subscribers in North America, Europe and some parts of Asia.

Telenet Remote Login Protocol

A virtual terminal service specified by the U.S. Department of Defense and implemented by most versions of UNIX.

Telenet International Quotations

TIQ. A market data information subscription service operated by Telrate International Co. over a network that uses proprietary protocols to enhance security and other functions.


Bandwidth economics, referring to the buying and selling of telecommunications capacity and bandwidth.


Parents who equip their children with pagers before allowing them to go out.


  1. The invention of the devil .

  2. Telephone in London cockney rhyming slag is dog 'n' bone, bone obviously rhyming with phone, In most cases of cockney the rhyming word is dropped, leaving just dog.

  3. The most intrusive device ever invented.

  4. The biggest time waster of all time, as in: "What did you do all day?" "Nothing. Just spent the day on the phone."

  5. Also a truly remarkable invention. Here are the eight things a telephone actually does.

    1. When you lift the handset, it signals you with a dial tone. The dial tone actually comes from the central office, not the phone. But most people think it comes from the phone.

    2. It indicates the phone system is ready for your wish by receiving a tone, called a dial tone.

    3. It sends the number of the telephone to be called.

    4. It indicates the progress of your call by receiving tones ” ringing, busy, etc.

    5. It alerts you to an incoming call.

    6. It changes your speech into electrical signals for transmission to someone distant. It also changes the electrical signals it receives from the distant person to speech so you can understand them.

    7. It automatically adjusts for changes in the power supplied to it.

    8. When you hang up, it signals the phone system your call is finished. And, most remarkably, most simple telephones cost under $20. See Bell and Bell, Alexander.

Telephone Account Management

TAM. A telemarketing/call center term. Using the telephone channel to proactively cover an assigned group of customers with the objectives of building and retaining revenues from these customer accounts. Most often primary coverage and revenue responsibility lies with the Telephone Account Management team and individual Telephone Account Management Representatives "own" a specific set of accounts within the team. TAM coverage often requires multiple outbound and inbound contacts with assigned customers driven by information uncovered by the TAM Representatives and not by any preset campaign parameters.

Telephone Amplifier

A device to amplify the sound of the receiver. Something no phone should be without. Some devices work strictly on line power. They can only increase volume by 10 dB, which is often not enough (especially if you're over 40). The best telephone amplifiers are powered by AC/DC adapters. Newer ones are powered by nicad batteries. They will amplify to 20 dB.

Telephone Answering

A feature of some voice mail systems in which incoming callers are immediately directed to the called party's voice mailbox where they hear a personalized greeting in the called party's voice and are prompted to leave a detailed message.

Telephone Channel

A transmission path suitable for carrying voice signals. Defined by its ability to transmit signals in a frequency range of about 300 to 3000 Hz.

Telephone Circuit

  1. All telephones are made up of just three circuits, The Ringer Circuit, The Mouthpiece Circuit, and the Earpiece Circuit. The ringer circuit and the mouthpiece circuit are connected in parallel. The hookswitch keeps the mouthpiece circuit open whenever the telephone is hung up. The earpiece circuit is coupled to the mouthpiece circuit with a transformer.

    The Ringer circuit is across the incoming telephone line pair at all times. The ringer circuit consists of a ringer, some sort of bell or buzzer, and a capacitor. The capacitor serves to block DC current since the telephone company's central office determines whether a phone is on or off hook by measuring the DC resistance across it's line pair. To ring the telephone's bell, a high voltage alternating current is sent down the telephone line pair.

    The mouthpiece circuit is also referred to as the primary circuit, talk circuit, and DC loop. When the handset is lifted from the cradle to the off-hook position, the hookswitch closes , and creates a closed DC circuit from the central office through the line pair and to the microphone in the handset of the telephone and the primary coil of the transformer that couples the microphone circuit to the earpiece of the phone.

    The DC resistance of the mouthpiece circuit is lower than the resistance of the ringer circuit. When the telephone is off hook, the central office detects the change in resistance. When the telephone is off hook, the central office will disconnect the ringing generator so as not to send high voltage down the line to a phone that is in use.

    The earpiece circuit is also referred to as the secondary circuit and listen circuit. The last of the three circuits differs from the other two in that it is never directly across the incoming lines. Instead it is coupled to the primary circuit by a transformer. The current in the primary coil of the transformer is modulated by the microphones at both ends of the telephone call. This varying current induces a current in the secondary winding of the transformer. This induced current generates sound from the loudspeaker in the earpiece of the phone.

  2. Electrical connection permitting the establishment of telephone communication in both directions between two telephone exchanges.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

TCPA. Legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president in 1991. It restricts specific types of unsolicited telephone calls. Among the provisions were a prohibition on calling emergency numbers or numbers for which the recipient was charged, limiting the placement of unsolicited calls to between 8 am and 9 pm, and removing people from calling lists who request that they not be called again.

Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act

TDDRA. The federal law that governs the pay-per-call industry, such as 900 number services. It mandates disclosure requirements and outlines the responsibilities of service providers while providing some relief for consumers with disputed charges.

Telephone Drop-in Mouthpiece

A telephone drop-in mouthpiece used for bugging looks very much like the carbon microphone in the mouthpiece of a telephone. It is installed by unscrewing the mouthpiece, removing the old microphone, and dropping in the wiretap device. The transmitter draws power from the telephone line and only operates when the telephone is off hook. Both sides of the conversation are picked up and transmitted to a remote location. The telephone line is used as an antenna. Drop-in transmitters are simple to install and hard to detect. They require access to the telephone instrument.

Telephone Equipment Order

TEO. TEOs are orders placed by Central Office Engineering for telephone apparatus and equipment. These orders may be telephone company or Vendor Engineered and are usually the downstream product of a Network Design Order (NDO).

Telephone Exchange

A switching center for connecting and switching phone lines. A European term for what North Americans call central office.

Telephone Frequency

Any frequency within that part of the audio frequency range essential for the transmitting speech, i.e. 300 to 3000 Hz.

Telephone Hotel

Also known as a Neutral Central Office (NCO). A neutral location in which carriers can lease space for termination of circuits and placement of equipment. See NCO adn Telco Hotel for a full explanation.

Telephone Line Simulator

Also called ring-down box. Ring down boxes, also known as CO simulators, are simple devices used for generating calls from a POTS line to a computer telephony system (or vice versa). When one side goes offhook, the ring down box will "ring" the other side. When both sides are offhook, both sides are coupled together and the line is powered. Ring down boxes are available with various options and configurations. These include the ability to provide dialtone to the caller side (required to test applications with modems, faxes, or other automated outdialing devices), caller ID, and disconnect supervision. They are generally available in one to four line sizes, although special configurations may support more. Ring-down boxes are used for giving demonstrations and testing. We use them in our test labs to testdrive new computer telephony systems.

Telephone Man's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep;

A reel of cable at my feet.

If I should die before I wake,

Blue, orange, green, brown, slate,...

Telephone Management System

The term originally meant a system for controlling telephone costs by:

  1. Automatically selecting lower-cost long distance routes for placed calls;

  2. Automatically restricting certain people's abilities to make some or all long distance calls; and

  3. Automatically keeping track of telephone usage by extension, time of day, number called, trunk used and sometimes by person calling and client or account to be billed for call.

These days the terms means those three functions plus a whole lot more, typically those associated with professionally managing the corporate or government telecommunications expenses, including (but not limited to):

  • Computerized inventory monitoring,

  • Computerized traffic engineering and network design,

  • Departmental telephone bill allocation and invoicing ,

  • Automated telephone directory, etc.

  • Project tracking,

  • Automated equipment and service ordering. In short, all the functions of professional telecommunications management that can be automated or organized in some way on a computer. The telecommunications management system thus refers to the computer hardware and the software. For more on this subject see the latest June issue of TELECONNECT Magazine. See also Call Accounting System.

Newton[ap]s Telecom Dictionary
Newton[ap]s Telecom Dictionary
ISBN: 979387345
Year: 2004
Pages: 133 © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: