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ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) - A telephone system that manages incoming calls and distributes them based on caller commands or preferences. An ACD is a staple of call centers that need to direct calls to specific agent groups in sales, service, and support capacities.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) A version of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), ADSL allocates greater resources to transmit data from the internet to the user than it does from the user to the internet. ADSL is most common for consumers, since they generally use their service to browse the internet and the faster downstream speeds more closely meet their needs.
Adjunct Any device added to an existing telephone extension, such as a Caller ID unit or a headset.
Algorithm A problem-solving technique. Algorithms are characterized by a specific formula, finite length, and a clear end result and termination.
Amplifier In general, any device that increases the voltage, current, or power of a signal. In telecom contexts, it refers to any device placed along a phone line that strengthens a voice signal. Most telephone headsets include an amplifier that provides both signal boosting (volume and transmit control) as well as tone control to adjust sound quality.
Amplifier settings The brains of any headset system, the amplifier houses all the controls for your headset. When you first connect your system, you may need to adjust the amp settings, so your headset works with your specific phone or phone system. On some systems you just push a button, and the amp learns your phone, then sets itself up automatically. Others require simple manual adjustment via small switches that are usually located on the back, bottom, or side of the amplifier.
Analog Refers to a continuous, variable sound wave that is used to transmit signals from one location to another. Television, radio, and telephones have traditionally used analog signals as their carrier waves, transmitting signals via modulation in amplitude (AM) or by modulation in frequency (FM)
Authentication The process of confirming that an individual or computer is who or what it claims to be. Authentication of a person is typically handled by a password in the user log-in process. Knowledge of a private password is considered sufficient to verify the identity of the user.

Authentication of a computer is a little more involved. Typical methods include hashing (a specific numeric code that represents the message or data being sent and changes if the data is altered in any way); digital signatures (specific to a computer); and digital certificates issued by a certificate and registration authority that include public/private key encryption. A combination of these methods currently provides the best available security.

Automated Attendant A "robot receptionist" that answers and routes incoming calls. This feature is often coupled with voice mail in order to provide answering and recording capabilities for calls that cannot be connected.
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