Definitions and Common Call Recording Terms Used

Call Recording Terms/Definitions

Definitions and Common Call Recording Terms Used

Alphabetical list of call recording terms:

  • ANI:
    (Automatic Number Identification) ANI information is used like caller ID except for a few differences that make it impossible to block or hide.
  • Analog line:
    The first type of phone lines the phone companies used. An analog trunk line is one coming in from the phone company. An internal analog lines runs within the company to an analog phone, usually over an RJ11 phone cable. A single phone conversation or channel can run over this type of line.
  • Analog phone:
    A regular telephone designed to be used with Analog trunk lines.
  • Call recording:
    (Also known as a Phone recording, Voice logging, Agent monitoring or Call monitoring.) The term call recording means to record a telephone call or other audio source. A call recorder is the hardware and software that tap into a phone line (usually multiple lines or channels) and records or monitors those calls.
  • Channel:
    (Also known as a line or a port.) A channel originally was a term used for a single digital line, but now is fairly synonymous with a line or a port. Sometimes confusing as a Digital line such as a T1 may carry multiple channels. However a channel can only carry one phone conversation.
  • Compression:
    call recordings can be shrunk into smaller computer files that take up less space by using various compressions. Usually the smaller the file size the higher the compression and usually the poorer the audio quality.
  • D channel:
    (Data channel) A special channel on T1 PRI or E1 PRI lines that carries information about the voice or phone channels such as the phone number the call came from (ANI information), and what phone number it is going to. (DNIS information)
  • Digital extension:
    A digital extension is a number assigned by a PBX to a digital phone that allows a single phone number to be subdivided into many sub numbers. A digital phone recorder can capture what extension a call recording was made from when attached by a serial cable to the SMDR port of a PBX. The digital phone recorder must then be able to translate the SMDR data from the PBX and attach this data to the recording. This usually requires a few hours of testing and setup.
  • Digital phone:
    Usually a phone that works with and requires a particular digital PBX or set of PBXs from the same manufacturer. The PBX assigns each digital phone a digital extension number that can be easily changed or reassigned at a later time. Digital phones, just like analog phones use RJ11 phone cables.
  • E1 PRI:
    A digital trunk line that carries 31 channels or phone lines within it and 1 “D” channel, that carries digital information about the other 31 phone lines.
  • E1 regular:
    A digital trunk line that carries 32 channels or phone lines within it.
  • Ethernet cable:
    (Also known as 8P8C, Network cable or mistakenly as RJ45 cable) This is the standard cable used to connect networks and computers together. It has 8 pins at the end but otherwise looks like a large phone cable. A Versadial phone recorder will use CAT 5 Ethernet cable connect to the SPAN port of a hub or switch of a LAN (local area network) to record VoIP calls.
  • Extension lines:
    Internal phone lines that connect the PBX with one or more phones at a location. Recording extension lines allows the collection of a wealth of data from the PBX as well as allowing for the recording of extension to extension calls. This is the preferred way to record though it may be more expensive as there are usually more extension lines than trunk lines at a location. This is because an extension allows several phones to access each trunk line since it is unlikely that all extensions will be in use at once. Extensions communicate in a format determined by the PBX that connects them to the trunk lines.
  • Handset:
    Another name for the phone. A phone recorder can tap into a phone line at the individual handset as well as at a PBX or on from the trunk lines. Recording from the handset has several advantages but involves running an extra cable from each phone to the phone recorder that can be a lot of work and clutter.
  • ISDN BRI:
    An older digital format that carries two phone lines or channels along with a third D channel that carries special information about the two phone lines.
  • Monitor:
    To listen to “live” or ongoing call recordings. Phone lines, radio channels or any type of audio line can be monitored.
  • PBX:
    (Private Branch Exchange) A PBX or PABX is an electronic device used to take incoming trunk phone lines and route them to the appropriate extensions inside a company. There are many brands of PBX with slightly different features. Most have a SMDR port providing a log of call information. The most common reason a company buys a PBX is to allow them to purchase less trunk phone lines from their phone company or telecom provider than they would otherwise have to buy. A PBX could allow a company with 24 digital extensions to only need four or 12 incoming trunk lines. Since it is rare that all 24 digital extensions would be in use at once the PBX is able to route incoming or outgoing calls on available trunk lines. When a PBX is used then the type of handsets or phones used must be compatible with that PBX.
  • PDA:
    A portable digital assistant. Basically a small handheld computer sometimes integrated with a phone and known as a “smart phone.” PDAs usually run either the Palm OS or Windows Mobile operating system. In call recording a PDA may be used to monitor calls, search and access call recordings over a wireless network allowing supervisors more freedom in doing their job. Only Versadial currently offers call recording software that works on a PDA.
  • PABX:
    (Same as a PBX) The more accurate but less used term for PBX.
  • Phone brand and model number:
    Different phones are compatible with different PBXs and call recorders. To find out what model and brand phone you have either ask the telecom provider that sold them to you or look on the bottom of the phone. Most phones have this information printed there. This info could look like this: “Nortel M7280″ or “Plantronics CT12'.
  • Phone line:
    The cable that brings audio to a phone. A phone line may be digital or analog and usually consists of a single channel allowing one call at a time to be transmitted over it. Some digital lines may be subdivided to carry multiple channels, each with a phone conversation. Such digital lines are T1s, E1s, ISDN or similar digital lines.
  • Phone recorder / Digital phone recorder:
    (Also known as a Call logger, Voice logger, Agent monitor or Call monitor.) A phone recorder consists of the hardware and software necessary to tap into, monitor and record phone lines, radio transmissions or any type of audio line. Most call recording is done by recorders that can monitor and record multiple lines simultaneously as well as providing ways to search call recordings by various means, and grade or attach custom notes to these call recordings. Phone recorders range in price from the cost of a computer up to tens of thousands of dollars for large systems with complex software. Digital phone recorders are specialized to record directly from digital trunk lines, or from the PBX.
  • Port:
    (Also known as a line or a channel.) Port refers to the plug in spot for an incoming line being recorded. A phone recorder with 4 ports would be able to record 4 phone lines or 4 conversations at once.
  • Punch down block:
    Usually a small plastic frame box that allows multiple RJ11 phone cables to be plugged in and connected to a large Telco cable that can carry all the lines within one cable. This is useful in reducing the number of cables having to be run to between the phone recorder and the phones to be recorded.
  • RJ11 cable:
    (Also known as a standard phone cable) Everyone has seen and used on of these standard phone cords. With 4 pins on a transparent plastic connector and a gray cable these usually only carry one phone line or channel.
  • Serial cable:
    A serial cable is a common computer cable used to connect peripheral devices such as a modem to a computer and has 25 pins. Used by a phone recorder to connect to the SMDR port of a PBX.
  • SIP
    The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an IETF-defined signaling protocol, widely used for controlling multimedia communication sessions such as voice and video calls over Internet Protocol (IP). The protocol can be used for creating, modifying and terminating two-party (unicast) or multiparty (multicast) sessions consisting of one or several media streams. The modification can involve changing addresses or ports, inviting more participants, and adding or deleting media streams. Other feasible application examples include video conferencing, streaming multimedia distribution, instant messaging, presence information, file transfer and online games.
  • SMDR port:
    (Station Message Detail Recording) This serial port is common on most modern PBXs and provides information such as what phone numbers called in, what extensions they called to, and what time of the day they called. This valuable information can be harvested by the phone recorder and attached to the call recordings automatically by plugging a serial cable between the phone recorder and the SMDR port of a PBX.
  • Telecom cable:
    (Also known as an Amphenol or Telco cable) A heavy 50 pin connector cable used to carry multiple phone lines inside a company. This cable handles up to 25 channels or phone lines within it and is typically used to connect from the phone recorder to a block with up to twenty five RJ11 or phone cables.
  • T1 PRI:
    A digital trunk line that carries 23 B channels or phone lines within it and 1 D channel, that carries digital information about the other 23 phone lines.
  • T1 regular:
    A digital trunk line that carries 24 B channels or phone lines within it.
  • Trunk line:
    An incoming line from the phone company or telecom provider. These incoming lines can be analog, T1, E1, ISDN or PRI and often carry multiple channels pm each capable of carrying its’ own phone conversation. Tapping into trunk lines for call recording is usually more cost effective and easier than recording from the extension lines but may make it harder to search the call recordings later as the detailed extension information is not available unless a workaround such as SMDR integration is used.
  • Voice logger:
    (voice recorder) The term voice logging means to record a voice or audio source. Voice logging is synonymous with call recording.
  • VOIP:
    (Voice Over Internet Protocol) A newer technology that allows phone conversations to be digitized and sent as packets of information transferable over the Internet or local networks and then translated back into phone conversations. VOIP specific phones are necessary to translate the information into sound and some type of a network to carry the information. Phone recorders can capture and record VOIP conversations in a variety of ways.
  • VOX:
    (Voice activation) Voice activation allows a phone recorder to start recording once a sufficiently loud sound comes in over a phone line. The volume level necessary to trigger recording can be set by a user in the VS Logger software. Choosing VOX as a triggering mechanism has pros and cons. VOX requires no compatibility between the PBX and the recorder and can be used to save storage space by getting rid of hold time. The disadvantages to VOX are the amount of time needed to determine the best threshold level to activate recording. If the level is too low then low volume connections may get missed, but if it is too high then ambient noise may trigger unwanted recordings. Other options for triggering recordings include “on-hook/off-hook” or an event such as the pressing of a defined button on the phone or on a computer.
  • WAV file:
    An industry standard file used to store a piece of audio. This standard is playable on any Windows based computer and is the recognized standard. It is not a compressed format though and the file size is quite large. WAV files can easily be converted into other compressed file types.