OMR-Optical Fiber Patch Panel


Optical Mark Recognition. Refers to machine recognition of filled-in " bubbles " on reader service bingo cards.

On The Horn

To be "on the horn" in England or Australia is to be on the phone.

On-Demand Connection

An ISDN BRI term . The ability to automatically suspend and resume a physical connection while "spoofing" network protocols, routing and applications. The physical connection is only brought up on-demand. This ensures that users' ISDN holding time charges are proportional to their useful holding time not the total holding time.

On-Demand Dialing

ISDN cost-savings feature that sets up, transfers, and closes a call only if the ISDN device detects a data packet that is addressed to a remote network.

On-Going Maintenance

A term used in the secondary telecom equipment business. A manufacturer's guarantee of maintainability from one owner to the next . There are all types of conditions which must be met, including: The machine has been under the manufacturer's maintenance contract until its time of deinstallation. There hasn't been any damage in storage or transit. And there have not been any modifications made.


When the phone handset is resting in its cradle. The phone is not connected to any particular line. Only the bell is active, i.e. it will ring if a call comes in. On-Hook is thus the normal, inactive condition of a telephone system terminal device. See On-Hook Dialing and Off-Hook.

On-Hook Dialing

Allows a caller to dial a call without lifting his handset. After dialing, the caller can listen to the progress of the call over the phone's built-in speaker. When you hear the called person answer, you can pick up the handset and speak or you can talk hands-free in the direction of your phone, if it's a speakerphone. Critical: Many phones have speakers for hands-free listening. Not all phones with speakers are speakerphones ” i.e. have microphones, which allow you to speak, also.


When a device is actively connected to a PBX or a computer, it is On-Line. Terminals, PCs, modems and phones are often On-Line. More and more people are spelling it online, as one word.


Telephone calls which stay on a customer's private network, traveling by private line from beginning to end are said to be on-net. Here's MCI's definition: Billable calls to MCI-tariffed cities, including those cities reached via leased lines. Can be MCI On-Net or WATS On-Net. Classified as Tier 1 for tariff purposes.

On-Network Calling

A term used to describe a call that originates and terminates within the limits and facilities of a private network.

On-Off Keying

See OOK.


A way of getting onto The Information Superhighway. Such an on-ramp could be anything from a phone line to a two-way cable TV channel. Many companies are trying to create on-ramps, however they define them.

On-the-Fly Switching

Refers to a method of Frame Switching where the switching device commences forwarding a frame after it has determined the destination port without waiting for the entire frame to have been received on the incoming port. Also known as cut-through switching.


See Open Network Architecture.


Operations Network Administration Center.


Off Network Access Line.


Open Network Computing. A distributed applications architecture developed by Sun Microsystems. Includes NFS, NIS and RPC. Now part of Solaris OS.


Part of Sun Microsystems' ENOS Networking Solutions.

One Armed Cable Locator

A backhoe. Ben Kurtzer of Qwest Communications first heard this term at AT&T, but it's used throughout the company here also. It refers to the uncanny ability of the backhoe to locate buried cable, even when you clearly aren't looking for it and, in fact, are trying to avoid it.

One Call

  1. Fax-back system that requires you to call from your fax machine to send documents on the same line after picking from menu of verbal prompts. the other fax-back system is called a two-call system. You dial from one line and tell the fax-back machine on the other end that you want it to send your requested fax to second number, i.e. one where your fax machine will receive your requested message.

  2. In Texas, "One Call" is a special system set up for all utilities with underground installations. It means that you can make one phone call to a toll-free number to get the various utilities to come out to a specific address and mark the exact locations of the underground utilities (gas, electric, cable, telephone, water, etc.). Writes Sally Hahn of the Texas PUC, "With the boom in fiber optic cable installation in and around Austin, we've seen way too many cases in which the installers failed to make the One Call, and have seen gas lines, water lines, and other fiber optic lines destroyed by some over eager (and ill-informed) backhoe operator. The telecom companies (and/or their insurers), and thus their customers, eventually end up eating these costs. I would offer a suggestion to add this additional definition of this term to your dictionary. Maybe someone with a brain will actually look it up before they send out the backhoes."

One Dimensional Coding

A data compression scheme for fax machines that considers each scan line as being unique without referencing it to a previous scan line. One dimensional coding operates horizontally only.

One Hop Set

A set of hosts which are one hop apart in terms of internetwork protocols.

One Number Calling

You give someone a phone number at which they can reach you 24 hours a day. It's typically an 800 number but it could be a local number. Here's how it works: They call the number. A computer answers. That computer might ask the caller to touchtone in some digits. That will identify whom the caller is trying to call. The computer will then check its memory. What number is the person likely to be at, at this very moment? It will then dial that number. If the number answers, it will connect the caller. If the number doesn't answer, it will call another number, and, if it answers, it will connect the call. How does it know which numbers to call? The subscriber (i.e. the person who wants to be reached) might have given the computer several numbers ” office number, cell phone numbers , home number, etc.

One Number Presence

This is the consistent use of one telephone number (particularly an 800 number) across all advertising media. The long distance vendors can arrange this for both in-state and national 800 services.

One Number Systems

Also called Follow Me Systems. Follow me systems and services are based on the premise that people are mobile (e.g., they move around a lot in and out of the office), and have many phone numbers or places they might be. A person could have an office number, a cellular number, a voice mail number, a home number, and a pager number. Which phone number will a caller be at? Follow me systems will "track- down" the user being called no matter where they are and connect the caller to the user. The caller need only dial a single phone number. Usually, network or local switch provided call data (or data gathered by a voice response unit) is used to identify each call as being intended for a specific user. Based on options the user has selected, the caller will hear an answering prompt customized to that user, and the one number system will then automatically attempt to locate the user at one of several locations. The tracking-down process varies considerably between follow me systems. Some systems try multiple locations at once, others will try the possible destination locations sequentially. Almost all follow me services provide the caller an exit to voice mail at various points of the call.

One Plus Bulk Restriction

This is the name for a local service provided by a Northern Telecom DMS central office switch. One-Plus Bulk Restriction allows subscribers to deny or permit all one-plus (i.e. long distance) calls from their phones by dialing a special PIN (Personal Identification Number).

One Plus Per-Call Restriction

This is the name for a local service provided by a Northern Telecom DMS central office switch. Subscribers can restrict one-plus toll calls from their phones by requiring that a PIN (Personal Identification Number) be dialed prior to a one-plus call. If the PIN is valid, the caller hears a second dial tone, and the one-plus number can then be dialed . When a one-plus call is attempted without the PIN or with a wrong PIN, the caller is routed to a tone or announcement and is not able to place the one- plus call.

One Plus Restriction

A central office service. Telephone subscribers can now limit one-plus toll calls by selecting an authorization code that must be dialed before any one-plus call will be connected. If the code is valid, the caller hears a second dial tone, permitting the number to be dialed and connected.

One Thirtieth

One thirtieth of a second is the time it takes human eyes to react to light. Project each frame of a home movie for one thirtieth of a second, and viewers , unable to distinguish separate frames , see continuous motion. Light, during the time one frame is projected , travels 6,200 miles. If you climb aboard a light beam in Chicago, you'll be in Tokyo in the blink of an eye.

One Time Programmable

OTP. A term describing memory that can be programmed to a specific value once, and thereafter cannot be changed (or can only be revised in a limited way.) OTP EPROMs are typically ordinary EPROMs that have been packaged in such as way that ultra - violet light cannot be used to erase the contents of the EPROM. Such packaging is usually less expensive.

One Way Bypass

This is a term we are beginning to increasingly see as international telecommunications markets are liberalized, i.e. deregulated and competitors are allowed in. One Way Bypass is an abuse of its dominant position by an incumbent operator in an unliberalised country. The incumbent insists on receiving all traffic into the country via the accounting rate system (and so gets the benefits of very high settlement rates) but takes advantage of the liberalised system in other countries (to avoid paying similarly high outgoing settlement rates) by bypassing the accounting rate system for outgoing traffic and finding other ways to terminate its traffic. Some regulators have devised rules to try to prevent this by insisting that all operators have a proportion of total incoming traffic no larger than their proportion of total outgoing traffic on any given route (known as "proportional return"). See also whipsaw.

One-Way Encryption

Irreversible transformation of plaintext to ciphertext, such that the plaintext cannot be recovered from the ciphertext by other than exhaustive procedures even if the cryptographic key is known.

One Way Operation


One Way Splitting

When the attendant is connected to an outside trunk and an internal phone, pushing a button on the console allows her to speak privately with the internal extension, thus "splitting" her off from the external trunk.

One Way Trade

A call center term. A schedule trade in which only one employee is working the other's schedule.

One Way Trunk

A trunk between a switch (PBX) and a central office, or between central offices, where traffic originates from only one end. You can, of course, still speak and listen on the trunk. It's just like a normal two-way trunk except that a one-way trunk can only be used for dialing out or only to receive calls.

Ones Density

The requirement for digital transmission lines in the public switched telephone network that eight consecutive zeros cannot exist in a digital data transmission. On a T-1 line, 0 means no voltage, no pulse. Too many zeroes and the repeaters lost count because they had no signal pulses to count. Ones density exists because repeaters and clocking devices within the network will lose timing after receiving eight zeros in a row. There are many techniques or algorithms used to insert a one after every seventh-consecutive zero. The question of how many consecutive zeros you can have on a digital line is changing. In the old days, the FCC actually said you could have 15 zeroes in a row. Now the FCC says you can have up to about 40 something (just like you) 0s without 'harming the network." For all practical purposes, seven consecutive zeros is the maximum today. See Bit Stuffing.


  1. Operator Number Identification.

  2. Optical Network Interface. A device which converts photons to electrons and vice versa. It's a device which converts an optical signal into an electrical signal that non-optical telecommunications transmission and switching devices can understand and vice versa.


Available through the computer. Online may refer to information on the hard disk, such as online documentation or online help, or a connection, through a modem, to another computer.

Online Fallback

A modem feature. It allows high speed error-control modems to monitor line quality and fall back to the next lower speed if line quality degrades. Some modems fall forward as line quality improves .

Online Gaming

Gambling over the Internet or on a dial-up connection.

Online Insertion and Removal

OIC. Online Insertion and Removal is the practice of replacing or removing equipment components without powering off the system. This provides a high availability of service because the components are hot swappable. This term is commonly found in Cisco equipment documentation.

Online Service

A commercial service that gives computer users (i.e. its customers) access to a variety of online offerings such as shopping, games , and chat rooms, as well as access to the Internet. America Online and Microsoft Network (MSN) are examples of online services.

Online System

A communicating system that requires a terminal to be in communication with and usually under control of a central point ... as in the case of a telephone set.

Online Transaction Processing



Open Network Management System. Digital Communications Associates architecture for products confirming to ISO's CMIP.


  1. One Night Process.

  2. Open Network Provision.


Object Name Service. An Auto-ID Center-designed system for looking up unique Electronic Product Codes and pointing computers to information about the item associated with the code. ONS is similar to the Domain Name Service, which points computers to sites on the Internet.


Optical Network Terminal. Also known as Optical Network Unit (ONU). See ONU.


Optical Networks Technology Consortium. This research consortium was organized and coordinated by Bellcore's Optical Network Research Department with assistance from ARPA. The ONTC's research spans material and device technologies to network design and management. Other ONTC members include Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University, Hughes Research Laboratories, Northern Telecom, Bell Northern Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Rockwell Science Center, United Technologies Photonics, and United Technologies Research Center.


Optical Network Unit. Also known as ONT (Optical Network Terminal). A device serving to terminate an optical circuit at the customer premises, at the curb, or in the neighborhood, an ONU is one of the primary elements of a FSAN (Full Service Optical Network). Various hybrid networks make use of ONUs to accomplish the interface between fiber optic feeder cables and metallic cables (e.g., coaxial cable or twisted pair), converting optical signals to electrical signals and vice versa. See also FSAN and HFC.


Object-oriented call model.


  1. Out Of Frame. A designation for a condition defined as either the network or the DTE equipment sensing an error in framing bits. It's declared when 2 of 4 or 2 of 5 framing bits are missed (the OOF condition existing for 2.5 seconds generally creates a local Red Alarm). See LOF.

  2. Out Of Franchise. Often used by a local phone company to refer to business and other activities that are outside its local franchise boundaries. The concept often is that these OOF activities are often subject to fewer government regulations. Also referred to as OOR, or Out Of Region.


On-Off Keying (OOK) is a digital signal modulation format that simply involves the representation of a 1 (one) bit by the presence of a signal and the representation of a 0 (zero) bit by the absence of a signal. OOK is used in telegraphy, with various combinations of short and long signal pulses, or dots and dashes, separated by pauses, represent alphanumeric characters . OOK is used extensively in optical systems, including both fiber optics and FSO (Free Space Optics) due to its inherent simplicity and low cost.


Optical-Optical-Optical. Conventional fiber optic transmission systems generally are not purely optical in nature. Over a distance, the optical signal attenuates (i.e., weakens) to the point that it must be boosted. In conventional fiber optic transmission systems, that boosting unit generally is in the form of a regenerative repeater, which is an OEO (Optical- Electrical-Optical) device. That is to say that the incoming optical (O) signal is converted to electrical (E) format, boosted in signal strength and filtered for noise, and the outgoing signal is converted back into (O) optical format as it exits the repeater. It works just fine, but OEO repeaters are expensive, are prone to failure, require local power, and must be upgraded as network speeds increase. OOO (Optical-Optical-Optical) techniques have been developed in the forms of Erbium-Doped fiber Amplifiers (EDFAs) and Raman amplifiers , which generally are considered to be substantial improvements over OEO repeaters. See also EDFA, Raman Amplifier , and Repeater.


Object-oriented programming (OOP) is simply combining objects to produce a finished software application. The real work is developing the objects that carry out tasks within the program. Programs can be produced by recycling objects from other programs and upgraded by replacing old objects.


Open Outsourcing Policy Services. A specification from the IETF for policy-based networking. OOPS defines a protocol for exchanging QoS (Quality of Service) policy information and policy-based decisions between a RSVP-capable router and a policy server. The data are transferred between routers and servers via TCP/IP. Proposed for use in large and complex networks, OOPS is intended to allow the prioritization of traffic based on policy- level parameters established by the network administrator. Those parameters are stored in a policy server, which is queried by the client routers. This centralized approach avoids the requirement for programming each router. See also Policy-Based Networking, QoS, and RSVP.


See OOF.


Outside Plant Access Cabinet.


On Premise Box. A box used by broadband cable systems to house and protect splitters, filters and/or coaxial connectors against atmospheric conditions and vermin.


Means the circuit is not complete or that the fiber is broken. There is a break in it. A break does not necessarily mean it's malfunctioning, only that it's been turned off.

Open Air Transmission

Referring to a transmission type or associated equipment, that uses no physical communications medium other than air. Most radio communications systems, including microwave, shortwave and FM radio and infrared are open-air (also called "through-the-air") transmission systems. Open air transmission is not to be confused with the OpenAir specification, an ad hoc standard promoted by the Wireless LAN Interoperability Forum (WLI Forum). See also OpenAir.

Open Application Interface

See OAI.

Open Architecture

See OAI.

Open Circuit

A circuit is not complete. There is no complete path for current flow. Electrical current cannot flow in the circuit. In electrical engineering, a loop or path that contains an infinite impedance. In communications, a circuit available for use.

Open Collaboration Environment

O.C.E. Apple's Open Collaboration Environment extends the Macintosh operating system to provide a platform for the integration of fax, voicemail, electronic mail, directories, telephony and agents . From a user's perspective, according to Apple, O.C.E.'s functionality will be seen through:

  • System-wide directory services, including a desktop directory browser and electronic business cards.

  • A compound mailbox for mail from all sources ” fax, voice mail,e-mail, pager, etc.

  • Application integration, with all applications having the ability to send documents.

Open Database Connectivity


Open End

The end of a Switched Access Service that transmits ringing and dial tone and receives address signaling.

Open Ended Access

Term used to describe the ability to terminate a call to any public network destination. For example, on the open end of a foreign exchange circuit, the customer may call any number in the local calling area without being charged for long distance service.

Open Financial Exchange

See OFX for a full explanation.

Open Grid Services Architecture Working Group

OGSA WG of the Global Grid Forum (GGF).

Open Ground, Neutral Or Hot

In AC electrical power, an "open" is a break, an extremely loose or an unconnected wire in any electrical path. Dangers of an "open" GROUND include serious shock and fire hazard and are life- threatening . Caution: an "open" GROUND will not stop equipment from operating. However it will stop a fuse or circuit breaker from operating should a ground fault occur.

Open Line Dealing

This is a term used by British Telecom in its turrets. The system electronically recreates the original "pit" share trading environment in the stock exchange in which everybody could talk to everybody else. In open line dealing, the trader has the ability to program a number of parties onto speakers. Full duplex speech is achieved using the associated microphones and all lines receive a simultaneous broadcast.

Open Loop System

A control system which does not use feedback to determine its output.

Open Network Architecture

ONA. The "network" refers to the public switched network. The FCC wants to encourage companies to get into the value-added telecom business ” voice mail, electronic mail, shopping by phone, etc. These companies may be called "value added providers" or "enhanced service providers." The FCC's idea of encouraging companies to add value to phone lines is a nice idea, except that all these companies will rely on phone lines provided by local phone companies who also want to be in value-added telecommunications business. And the local phone companies would prefer that the business be a monopoly (easier to manager, higher prices, etc.) If the FCC is to allow the Bell operating companies and other local phone companies into the value- added business and encourage others in, then it must figure a way the Bell operating companies don't organize things so they have an unfair advantage. The FCC's latest idea is called ONA ” Open Network Architecture. Under this concept, the telephone companies are obliged to provide a certain class of service to their own internal value-added divisions and the SAME class of service to nonaffiliated (i.e. outside) valued-added companies. The concept is that the phone company's architecture is to be "open" and that everyone and anyone can gain access to it on equal footing. ONA is only a concept at present and still needs some rigorous defining. There is not much pressure from outside entrepreneurial companies for ONA access. Thus ONA at the FCC and elsewhere drags its feet.

The March 18, 1991 issue of Telephony Magazine said that as conceptualized by the FCC, ONA "is the overall design of a carrier's basic network facilities and services to permit all users of the basic network, including the enhanced services operations of a carrier and its competitors, to interconnect to specific basic network functions on an unbundled and "equal access" "basis." Selected regional Bell holding companies ONA services would include:

  1. Basic Serving arrangements (BSAs):

    A BSA is the basic interconnection access arrangement which offers a customer access to the public network and provides for the selection of available Basic Service Elements (BSEs, see below). Basic serving arrangements are:

    • Switched, line side connection

    • Switched, trunk side connection

    • Dedicated, metallic dedicated

  2. Basic service elements (BSEs):

    Basic Service Elements are optional basic network functions that are not required for an ESP to have a BSA, but when combined with BSEs can offer additional features and services. Most BSEs allow an ESP to offer enhanced services to their customers in a more flexible manner. BSEs fall into four general categories: Switching, where call routing, call management and processing are required; Signaling, for applications like remote alarm monitoring and meter reading; Transmission, where dedicated bandwidth or bit rate is allocated to a customer application; and Network Management, where a customer is given the ability to monitor network performance and reallocate certain capabilities. The selection of available BSEs is an ongoing process, with new arrangements being developed many times in response to customer demands. ANI, Audiotext "Dial-It" Services, and Message Waiting Notification are all examples of BSEs, which also include:

    • Multiline hunt group

    • Uniform call distribution

    • Central office announcements

    • Three-way call transfer

  3. Complementary network services (CNSs):

    CNSs are basic services associated with end user's lines that make it easier for ESPs (Enhanced Service Providers) to offer enhanced services. Some examples of CNSs include

    • Call forwarding Busy/Don't Answer

    • Three way calling

    • Call waiting

    • Virtual dial tone

    • Message waiting/indicator

    • Speed calling

    • Warm line

  4. Ancillary services.

    Ancillary Services. These are options available to an ESP which support and complement the provision of enhanced services. Examples of ancillary services are protocol conversion, and DID with third number billing inhibited.

In June, 1991, according to Communications Week, the FCC established a tariff structure that will determine how much the telcos can charge enhanced-services providers ” and ultimately how much end users will have to pay for those services. FCC Chairman Alfred Sikes called the agency's action "one of our most pivotal steps" in the implementation of ONA. The FCC's idea is that ONA tariffs will be filed with the FCC in November, 1991 and will take effect February 1, 1992. They didn't. At the time I wrote this, the FCC had a new chairman, with a different agenda.

See also CompuCALL, Enhanced Services, OAI, and Open Application Interface.

Open Office

Typically, this layout places the manager's desk in the foreground, within view of all other desks and enclosed spaces. The first open office appeared around 1960 when it was introduced in Germany as the "office landscape."

Open Outcry Auction

An auction in which bidders openly shout out their bids.

Open Skies

When a government or government agency allows virtually anyone to sell satellite telecommunications service, you have "OPEN SKIES." The United States has an Open Skies satellite policy. Virtually anyone can apply to launch and operate a telecommunications satellite and, with a high degree of certainty , you'll be granted your wish. The European community is just now (summer, 1991) beginning to think of opening its skies. They have gone one small step ” namely allowing anyone to buy and operate a receive- only satellite earth station not connected to the public network.

Open Software Foundation

OSF. An industry organization founded in 1988 to deliver technology innovations in all areas of open computer systems, including interoperability, scalability, portability and usability. The OSF was an international coalition of vendors and users in industry, government and academia that work to provide technology solutions for a distributed computing environment. In February 1996, the OSF consolidated with X/Open Company Ltd. to form The Open Group. See The Open Group

Open Solutions Developers

A Dialogic term for companies which develop and sell end-user voice processing applications. We'd probably call these people value added resellers (VARs).

Open Source Software

Open source software is typically free. It's typically written by programmers all over the world contributing their efforts for the common good of mankind. Linux is open source software. So is something call OpenOffice. According to the website,, open source promotes software reliability and quality by supporting independent peer review and rapid evolution of source code. To be certified as open source, the license of a program must guarantee the right to read, redistribute, modify, and use it freely . See the next definition.

Open Source Software License

An open source softare license permits users to read, access, change and reuse the source code of a software product. See also Open Source Software.

Open System Interconnection

OSI. A Reference Model published by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization, as translated into English) that defines seven independent layers of communication protocols. Each layer enhances the communication services of the layer just below it and shields the layer above it from the implementation details of the lower layer. In theory, this allows communication systems to be built from independently developed layers, i.e. software and hardware developed by different people. See OSI.

Open Systems

Open systems refers to that best of all possible worlds , where everyone would comply with a set of hardware and software standards. You could buy a server from company A, a client from company B, a networking system from companies C, D or E, and applications software from companies F-Z, and everything would work harmoniously. In real life, some "open" systems are more open than others. Some companies talk, without embarrassment, of their "proprietary open systems." Some things are open and closed. PBXs have many "open" ports on which you can attach things. But there are no PBXs I know of which have open backlanes, meaning you (or someone else) can design a board and plug it into the PBX's backplane. That's closed. The concept of open systems has been more popular in the computer industry.

Open Systems Interconnection

See OSI.

Open Toolkit Developers

A Dialogic term for outside developers (outside of Dialogic) who provide applications generators that simply application development and work in a variety of operating systems ” including MS-DOS, UNIX, OS/2, Windows , etc.

Open Wire

A transmission facility typically consisting of pairs of bare (uninsulated) conductors supported on insulators which are mounted on poles to form an aerial (above ground) pole line. Most basic of all practical types of transmission media. Open wire may be used in both communication and power.


A wireless LAN specification promoted by the Wireless LAN Interoperability Forum (WLI Forum), Open Air is recognized by many as an ad hoc standard. Actually an interface specification, OpenAir describes the physical and MAC layer (Layers 1 and 2 of the OSI Reference Model) interface used by WLI Forum products. Based on the RangeLAN2 protocol developed by Proxim, the specification employs Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology in the 2.4 GHz portion of the unlicensed Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) radio band . The specification includes Access Points (APs) in the form of protocol-independent wireless bridges which connect to a standard wired backbone, such as IEEE 802.3 Ethernet. Client workstations are equipped with compatible client adapters, completing the wireless circuit. Security is provided at several levels. First, the FHSS implementation includes 79 frequencies, each of which can be used in a pseudo-random fashion in any of 15 hopping sequences. Second, every station is programmed with a 20-bit security code number which must be validated by the network during the process of circuit initiation and network synchronization. Third, the security code is encrypted. See also FHSS, ISM and WLI Forum.


OpenCable is a trademarked term for a project established by CableLabs and aimed at defining a next-generation digital device for interactive services over CATV networks. The project addresses both hardware and software specifications. See also CableLabs.


Hewlett-Packard's suite of a network-management application, a server platform, and support services. OpenView is based on HP-UX, which complies with AT&T's Unix system.


That which is being operated on. An operand is usually identified by the address part of an instruction.

Operating Agency

See OA.

Operating Environment

Referring to the combination of (usually IBM) host software that includes operating system, telecommunications access method, database software and user applications. Some common operating environments include MVS/CICS and MVS/TSO.

Operating Company Number

OCN. A code used in the telephone industry to identify a telephone company. Company codes assigned by NECA (National Exchange Carriers Association) may be used as OCNs. See also AOCN and NECA.

Operating Income

There are two ways American telecom companies traditionally report their earnings ” operating income and net income. Operating income purports to show how much money the company earned from running its basic business ” that of making and selling its primary products and services. Operating income starts with total revenues (i.e. sales from products and services) and then deducts the cost of delivering those sales, i.e. raw materials, components, supplies , packagings, etc. In short, all direct costs. Next deduction is sales and marketing expenses. The final result gives you "operating income." If you then deduct interest expense (or add in interest income), goodwill amortization, "other (unusual) income or losses" (e.g. profit or loss on the sale of a building) and state and federal income taxes, you end up with a number that is referred to as Net Income. See GAAP.

Operating System

An operating system is a software program which manages the basic operations of a computer system. It figures how the computer's main memory will be apportioned, how and in what order it will handle tasks assigned to it, how it will manage the flow of information into and out of the main processor, where in memory it will place material, how it will get material to the printer for printing, to the screen for viewing, how it will receive information from the keyboard, etc. In short, the operating system handles the computer's basic housekeeping. These days operating system also handle the computer's access to various flavors of networks ” from local area networks (LANs) to corporate networks that span the world and, of course, to the Internet. MS-DOS, Linux, UNIX, PICK, Windows, Solaris, Symbian, etc. are operating systems. Historically, an operating system was the minimal set of software needed to manage a device's hardware capability and share it between application programs. Practically, "OS" is now used to mean all software including kernel, device drivers, communnications, graphics, data management, GUI framework, system shell application, and utility applications. See also NOS (Network Operating System).

Operating Time

The time required for seizing the line, dialing the call and waiting for the connection to be established.

Operation Code

The command part of a machine instruction.

Operational Data Integrator

ODI. An MCI term: Combines data from the Customer Information Manager, the MCI Information Manager, and the Management Information Systems to build databases containing network information.

Operational Fixed Station

A service established by the FCC operating between 2.65 GHz and 2.68 GHz.

Operational Grammar

A voice recognition term. A vocabulary structure where certain word sets activate other word sets.

Operational Load

The total power requirements for communication facilities.

Operational Security

OPSEC. A thorough on-site examination of an operation or activity to determine if there are vulnerabilities that would permit adversaries and exploitation of critical information during the planning, preparation, execution, and post- execution phases of any operation or activity. A Federal Government definition.

Operational Service Period

A performance measurement period, or succession of performance measurement periods, during which a telecommunication service remains in an operational service state. An operational service period begins at the beginning of the performance measurement period in which the telecommunications service enters the operational service state, and ends at the beginning of the performance measurement period in which the telecommunications service leaves the operational service state.

Operations Applications

OAs. A telephone company AIN term. A class of functions to provide provisioning, administration, maintenance, and management capabilities for network elements, network systems, software, and services (e.g., assessment of service quality over the group of systems and software that support the service). These functions usually reside in Operations Systems but may be assigned to network elements or network systems.

Operations Domains

A telephone company AIN term. The set of operations functions residing in network elements, network systems, Operations Applications, and associated interfaces necessary to accomplish memory administration, network surveil- lance, network testing, network traffic management, and network data collection.

Operations Evaluation System

OES. An MCI internal system, which generates daily, weekly, and monthly switch data reports ; used to scan high-level switch degradation problems and to analyze specific switch problems.

Operations Support System

See OSS.


  1. Employee of telephone company, or an individual business or institution, who aids in the completion of phone calls. Traditionally a woman 's occupation , now increasingly the role of men and machines. In some countries, like Germany, the phone company doesn't have operators.

  2. In PCs, an operator is a symbol that represents a mathematical action, such as a +/ and * (plus, minus, divide and multiply). Operators can also be words like AND, OR and NOT.

Operator Assisted

A phone call placed with the assistance of the carrier's operator. You pay more when you use an operator.

Operator Console

Same as attendant console. See Attendant Console.

Operator Service System

Equipment capable of processing certain kinds of traffic originating or terminating to an end office; this processing may take place either with or without an operator's assistance. Use of such equipment includes call rating and charge recording functions, operator assistance functions, coin control and collection functions, automatic or manual identification of calling line number, and verification of the busy/idle condition of subscriber lines.

Operator Services

OS. Any of a variety of telephone services which need the assistance of an operator or an automated "operator" (i.e. using interactive voice response technology and speech recognition). Such services include collect calls, third party billed calls and person-to-person calls. The responsibility for operator services used to be very straightforward. The LECs had their own operators and so did the IXCs. That's no longer necessarily true. Many IXCs use an Alternative Operator Services (AOS) service bureau , which essentially is a huge incoming call center. The AOSs typically provide operator services for a large number of small long distance companies, many of which are resellers and aggregators who don't own their own facilities. That is to say that they own no switches or transmission facilities ” they simply resell long distance services which they buy at bulk wholesale rates from the larger carriers. Since the MFJ (Modified Final Judgment) broke up the Bell System in 1984, operator services have gotten more confusing still. The RBOCs can, and generally do, provide their own operator services for both local and IntraLATA calls within their home states. The Telecom Act of 1996 added to the confusion. Where the RBOCs operate outside their home states, they may provide operator services directly or they may use an AOS. The larger CLECs (Competitive LECs), many of which also are IXCs (e.g., AT&T, MCIWorldcom, and Sprint), also generally provide their own operator services; the smaller CLECs generally use an AOS. As a rule, operator services are much faster today, thanks to automation. Also as a rule, operator services today are much less personal, much, much more expensive, and much less accurate. Accuracy is a problem particularly in the case of Directory Assistance. See also Directory Assistance.

Operator Workstation

OWS. The OWS is an advanced voice and data workstation (typically a PC running a flavor or Windows) that streamlines and automates many of the routine tasks of an operator, thus reducing the amount of time needed for call handling. Color screens, pop-up windows, one-touch commands, and database look-up are some of the features that simplify the operator's tasks and speed call processing.


OPerating EXpenses. See also CAPEX, which stands for CApital EXpenses.


A BASIC-like programming language, for rapid application development, used in Symbian OS.


See VMN.


My dear wife doesn't appreciate my sense of humor. She claims that I never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.


Operations Order Review.


  1. Operator Services.

  2. Off-Premises Station. See Off-Premises Extensions.

  3. Open Profiling Standard. A recent (1997) privacy initiative intended to provide guidelines for collecting information on users accessing Web sites. OPS software will allow the user to fill out a personal profile, which will be stored in a file residing on a client computer. The OPS file will conform to the vCard specification which is managed by the Internet Mail Consortium. Much like an electronic version of a business card, the OPS file will store information such as name, company, address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address. The OPS information will be shared only with the consent of the user ” very much unlike a cookie, which is embedded by the host of the Web site in a file on the client computer. It's a privacy issue. See also Cookie and vCard.

  4. What my wife calls my messy home office ” my Own Personal Slum.


Verb meaning to choose. You can opt in, meaning you choose to join or receive something. You can opt out, meaning you choose not. In short, opt in means to give your consent. Opt out means not to give your consent.

Opt-in Email

To sign up for an email newsletter or other regular communications. See Opt.

Optical Amplifier

A device to amplify an optical signal without converting the signal from optical to electrical back again to optical energy. The two most common optical amplifiers are erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs), which amplify with a laser pump diode and a section of erbium-doped fiber, and semiconductor laser amplifiers.

Optical Attenuator

In optical communications, a device used to reduce the intensity of the optical signal. In some optical attenuators used in optical fiber systems, the amount of attenuation depends on the modal distribution of the optical signal.

Optical Bandpass

The range of optical wavelengths that can be transmitted through a transmission medium.

Optical Bands

The generation of optical signals over optical fibers is accomplished by lasers, which produce light waves in very narrow optical wavelengths. In telecommunications networks, the three main center wavelengths used by source lasers are 1550nm, l600nm, and 1310nm, encompassing the C, L, and S optical bands.

  • C band (1530nm-155Onm). Because the atomic structure of erbium provides light amplification in this range, this is the spectrum at which the first erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) operated.

  • L band (1565nm-161Onm). Longer than the C band, the L band enlarges the usable spectrum for optical transport, thus increasing the number of DWDM channels. With higher dispersion (spreading) of the optical signal than at the C band, however, additional EDFAs are required for optical transport.

  • S band (1460nm-1500nm). Wavelength at which original single mode fiber was optimized. providing a large effective area for transmission of optical signals.

Optical Blank

A casting consisting of an optical material molded into the desired geometry for grinding; polishing; or, in the case of some optical fiber manufacturing processes, drawing to the final optical/mechanical specifications.

Optical Cavity

A region bounded by two or more cavity surfaces, referred to as mirrors or cavity mirrors, whose elements are aligned to provide multiple reflections of light- waves. The resonator in a laser is an optical cavity.

Optical Channel

OCh, or OCH. In a network based on WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing) or DWDM (Dense WDM), each wavelength, or lambda, also is referred to as an Optical Channel. See also DWDM and WDM.

Optical Channel Spacing

The wavelength separation between adjacent WDM channels.

Optical Channel Width

The optical wavelength range of a channel.

Optical Character Recognition

OCR. Reading data using a machine that visually scans the characters in a document and converts that data into standard form which can be stored on conventional magnetic medium, e.g. floppy or hard disk. OCR is not 100% accurate and so requires manual cleanup or fuzzy logic to make your OCRed relatively clean and thus retrievable through a search engine. See Optical Scanner.

Optical Code Division Multiple Access


Optical Combiner

A passive device in which power from several input fibers is distributed among the smaller number (one or more) of output fibers.

Optical Computer

A computer that uses photons, not electrons as in today's old- fashioned computers. Scientists think photon computers and photon switches could be a thousand times faster than present computers and switches, and, of course, totally impervious to electromagnetic interference.

Optical Connectors

Connectors designed to terminate and connect either single or multiple optical fibers. Optical connectors are used to connect fiber cable to equipment and interconnect cables.

Optical Continuous Wave Reflectometer

An instrument used to characterize a fiber optic link wherein an unmodulated signal is transmitted through the link, and the resulting light scattered and reflected back to the input is measured. Useful in estimating component reflectance and link optical return loss.

Optical Cross-Connect

See OXC.

Optical Cross-Connect Panel

A cross-connect unit used for circuit administration and built from modular cabinets . It provides for the connection of individual optical fibers with optical fiber patch cords.

Optical Drive

See Optical Storage Device.

Optical Disk

Peripheral storage disk for programs and information. Optical disks are emerging as computer storage devices because of their tremendous storage capacities in comparison to magnetic disk. Optical disks include CD-Rs and DVDs. Originally optical disks were WORM - which stands for Write Once, Read Many Times, meaning you wrote once to the disk, and read that information many times. However re-writable CDs are available which allow overwriting of data. Emerging standards, such as Blu-ray, offer up to 27 gigabytes (GB) on a single-sided 12-centimeter disc, the same size and shape of a CD you currently buy recorded music on. See also OPTICAL STORAGE DEVICE, CD-R, Blu-Ray.

Optical Ethernet

A new platform for extending Ethernet "natively" from the LAN into the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network), affording enterprise users unprecedented bandwidth at LAN costs. For service providers, Optical Ethernet establishes an entirely new service platform that is data-optimized, easily provisioned and as scalable as SONET/ATM solutions are ” without the cost penalties or complexity of management. It is a "super- charged" Ethernet, suitable for service providers' access and transport networks. Optical Ethernet leverages the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of Ethernet and the reach and reliability of optics, overcoming traditional LAN Ethernet limitations of distance, quality of service and scalability. It provides carriers with a unified protocol for converged network services and gives enterprise users ways to access broadband applications or outsourced network resources at affordable costs. This definition contributed by Henry Brent.

Optical Fall Time

The time interval for the falling edge of an optical pulse to transition from 90% to 10% of the pulse amplitude. Alternatively, values of 80% and 20% may be used.

Optical Fault Finder

A device which measures power and distance characteristcs in fiber-optic cable. Optical Fault Finders are more expensive than Optical Power Meters but have the additional ability to make distance measurements and locate tiny fiber breaks called Microbends. See Optical Power Meter.

Optical Fiber

A thin (approximately 125 micro-meters in diameter) silica glass cable with an outer cladding material and around 9 micro-meters diameter inner core with a slightly higher index of refraction than the cladding. A typical index of refraction is 1.443 so that light travels in a fiber at roughly 2/3 the speed of light in a vacuum . Optical fiber is made of glass or plastic, and guides light, whether or not it is used to transmit signals. Optical fiber is an almost ideal transmission medium. It has these advantages:

  • Transmission losses are very small.

  • Bandwidth is greater than any other transmission medium we know of today. And we have no idea what the theoretical bandwidth of a strand of fiber might be.

  • Fiber is immune to electromagnetic interference. This means it can operate in hostile or hazardous environments, like on the factory floor, in elevators shafts, on battleships, etc.

  • Fiber does not radiate. You can't place a receiver next to it and figure out what's going on the fiber, as you can with cable.

  • You can put many strands of fiber carrying much information in the same bundle and they won't interfere with each other, i.e. there won't be any significant crosstalk between the adjacent fibers.

  • Its basic raw material, silica (sand) is the second most abundant element on earth. Actually, optical fiber is made from a synthetic glass produced by burning two chemicals together; the resulting soot collects on a bait rod or in a bait tube, and is baked until all moisture is removed. this is called the blank which fiber is drawn from. The insulating properties of the glass fiber produces the only major disadvantage . Metallic conductors need to be included to power repeater amplifiers needed over long fiber runs. However, these can form the strength members that are necessary to aid the laying of fiber cables. Typical fiber applications range from use in local area network sections, where there is a high degree of electrical interference, to trans-oceanic telecommunications cables.

An optical fiber not carrying signals is typically called a "dark fiber." There are two types of optical fiber: Single Mode and Multimode. In single mode fiber, light can only take a single path through a core that measures about 10 microns in diameter. A micron is one millionth of a meter. Multimode fibers have thicker cores ” typically 50 to 200 microns. Single mode fiber is more efficient. It offers low dispersion, travels great distances without repeaters and has enormous information-carrying capacity. The relatively large core of multimode fiber lightguide allows light pulses to zig-zag along many different paths. It's also ideal for light sources larger than lasers, such as LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). Multimode fiber is not the preferred method of optical telecommunications any longer. See also Fiber, Optical Fiber Cable and Optical Spectrum.

Optical Fiber Cable

A transmission medium consisting of a core of glass or plastic surrounded by a protective cladding, strengthening material, and outer jacket. Signals are transmitted as light pulses, introduced into the fiber by light transmitter (either a laser or light emitting diode). Low data loss, high-speed transmission, large bandwidth, small physical size, light weight, and freedom from electromagnetic interference and grounding problems are some of the advantages offered by optical fiber cable. There are five common types: single, dual, quad, stranded, and ribbon. See Optical Fiber.

Optical Fiber Duplex Adapter

Mechanical media termination device designed to align and join two duplex connectors.

Optical Fiber Duplex Connection

Mated assembly of two duplex connectors and a duplex adapter.

Optical Fiber Duplex Connector

Mechanical media termination device designed to transfer optical power between two pairs of optical fibers.

Optical Fiber Facility

Transmission system which uses glass fibers as the transmission medium. See Optical Fiber.

Optical Fiber Patch Panel

One way to terminate fiber optic cable. Fiber patch panels have a fiber splice tray with pigtails. Pigtails are fiber connectors with a piece of fiber optic connected so fiber from within a cable can be easily spliced to it. Connectors are on the front of the fiber patch panel.

Newton[ap]s Telecom Dictionary
Newton[ap]s Telecom Dictionary
ISBN: 979387345
Year: 2004
Pages: 133 © 2008-2017.
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