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  1. Phone-glish A short dictionary of mobile communication in Australia developed by Louise and Bob Bannister for Women With Disabilities Australia June 2008

  2. Home • Help • Disclaimer • Browse

  3. Disclaimer • Welcome to Phone-glish, a PowerPoint tool to help you make sense of phone jargon. • It is a simple glossary of telecommunications terms in alphabetical order. • Unfortunately it won’t solve all your phone confusion - it only gives brief explanations. • So WWDA accepts no responsibility for any action taken on reliance of Phone-glish contents.

  4. Help • Click on any underlined word to find out more about that term. Click here to go to the main page Click here to go to the previous entry, in alphabetical order Click here to go to this page Click here to find out about us Click here to go to the next entry, in alphabetical order Click here to go to the previous page you viewed

  5. Browse • a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0-10

  6. ADSL AMTA Bluetooth Broadband Cable Caller ID Call waiting Cap CDMA Communications device Conference call Computer Cordless Phone A-C

  7. ADSL • ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. It is a type of Broadband connection which uses your landline and a modem to link to the Internet. • ADSL is usually faster than a dial-up connection, and you can use your phone at the same time that you are connected to the Internet. • The speed of your connection depends on how close you are to the telephone exchange. • ADSL2 and ADSL2+ are faster types of ADSL and cost more to use.

  8. AMTA • AMTA stands for Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association. • It is an organisation that represents Australia’s mobile telecommunications industry. • Their web site is at

  9. Bluetooth • Bluetooth is the name of one type of localwireless network. • It works over distances of a few metres, and so is ideal for replacing the multitude of cables that usually join computer equipment (keyboards, mice and printers) together. • It can also be used to link mobile phones to the same sorts of devices such as ear pieces.

  10. Broadband • Broadband is a high-speed way of transmitting data. • Any data transmission faster than dial-up speeds is considered to be broadband. • It can be used for Internet, but also for video and phone connections. • Some types of broadband are ADSL, Cable, and satellite.

  11. Cable • Cable is a type of broadband data connection. • ‘Cable broadband’ is provided via a cable landline to your house or business. • Most cables can carry Internet and television services at the same time.

  12. Caller ID • Caller ID shows you the incoming number of the person who is phoning you. • You can use this to decide whether to answer a call or not. • That phone number is stored on a mobile phone’s ‘call history’ so you can phone back. • You can also hide your Caller ID, so the person you are phoning cannot see your phone number. • You will need to contact your phone service provider to find out how to do this.

  13. Call Waiting • Call Waiting is the beeping sound you hear when you are already on the phone and a second person calls. • Depending on which phone service you have, you can choose to switch over to the second call, or call back when you are finished. • Contact your service provider to find out how to switch on, or switch off, ‘Call Waiting’. • CAUTION: Make sure you ask how much extra it will cost to use the ‘Call Waiting’ service before you decide if it is worthwhile.

  14. Cap • A capped phone service can limit how much you pay each month for your phone. • Suppose that your mobile phone service is ‘capped’ at $30 per month, with $100 credit. • This really means that the cost of the mobile phone is $30 per month, and you have credit for $70 of free calls. • If you use $80, you have exceeded the CAP by $10, so that your bill for the month will be $40 ($30 plus the excess of $10). • Confusing, huh? • CAUTION: There are many, many capped plans available. Generally the lower the size of the CAP, the higher the cost of your calls.

  15. CDMA • CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. It is a way for mobile devices to talk to each other. • In Australia, there were two CDMA networks. One, run by 3 and Hutchison, closed down in 2005. The other, run by Telstra, was used mostly in regional Australia, and closed down on 28 April 2008. • The Telstra CDMA network has been replaced by NextG. • CDMA is still used in some other countries.

  16. Communication device • A communication device may be a phone, cordless phone, mobile phone, satellite phone, computer, laptop, handheld computer or other device that is linked to a network that allows you to communicate. • This means having an exchange of information between two or more points.

  17. Computer • A computer is a device which processes many sorts of data. • At first they were gigantic in size and filled whole rooms. Then we learned to make them smaller and smaller, so they could fit into our offices, and then into our lounge rooms and bedrooms. • Now they are so small they fit on our laps and in our pockets. They help run our phones, cars, banks and supermarkets. • In fact these days they are pretty well unavoidable.

  18. Conference Call • A conference call allows people with different phone numbers at different locations to talk together during the same phone call, instead of having a conversation with just one person. You might use them for important family meetings, to have a committee meeting for your club, or talk with staff at a remote office. • Your Service Provider can tell you how to organise a Conference Call. You may have to start an account with a Conference Call company such as ‘Genesys’, ‘MyConference’ and ‘Quorum’. • CAUTION: Conference Calls can be very expensive. The person who organises the Call will be sent the Bill for the cost of the Conference Call.

  19. Cordless Phone • A cordless phone allows you to use your phone while you move around your home or business. • It has two parts, a base station and a handset. The base station stays plugged into both the landline (via the phone attachment on the wall) and to the electricity supply. • The cordless phone handset will only work within a short distance (50-100 metres) of the base station. • To move around more, you will need a mobile phone.

  20. D-G • Data • Disability Equipment Programs • Dial-up modem • Disability Services • Ethernet • GSM

  21. Data • Data is any information that can be sent from one communications device to another. • Data can include text, voices, pictures and video. • Data is sent from one device to another over a network.

  22. DEP • Disability Equipment Programs (DEP) are programs available to provide specialised telecommunications equipment to people with special needs so they can access a standard phone service. Telstra’s DEP is considered to be the main program. Optus’ DEP is a smaller program. • If you are not a Telstra customer, your Service Provider should be able to rent equipment from the Telstra DEP on your behalf. Make enquiries about it. • There are other disability services available.

  23. Dial-Up modem • A dial-up modem connects to the Internet using your landline. • Dial-up internet connections are generally slow to transfer data, and you can’t use your phone while connected to the Internet. • Any connection which transfers data faster than dial-up is called broadband. • See also ADSL.

  24. Disability Services • National Relay Service (NRS) • Disability Equipment Program (DEP) • Telstra Disability Services (information you should check out) • Teletypewriters (TTY) • Disability Enquiry Hotline • • Directory Assistance Helpline • (an easy read explanation) •

  25. Ethernet • Ethernet is the name of the most commonly used type of Local Area Network (LAN). • Ethernet LANs are used in offices to link computers together using wires. • See also WiFi. • The plug for an Ethernet cable looks like the one for your home phone but is just a bit bigger.

  26. GSM • GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications. • World-wide GSM is the most common way that mobile phones talk to each other. • GSM pioneered SMS. It also uses TDMA.

  27. Hotspot iDEN Internet ISP LAN Landline Laptops H-L

  28. Hotspot • Hotspot is a place that offers a public WiFi service. They are usually cafes, restaurants, libraries, or airports. • If you have a WiFi device, you can access the Internet at such places, usually for a fee.

  29. iDEN • iDEN is a system developed by the company Motorola that puts mobile phone and two-way radio functions into the one device. • Think of it as a mobile phone mixed with a walkie-talkie. • The walkie-talkie can be used over a greater range than most mobile phone systems. It is “trunked”, meaning that communication is kept private to a small group.

  30. Internet • The Internet is a network made up by linking computers and other devices from all around the world. • You access the Internet through an ISP.

  31. ISP • ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. It is a company or organisation that connects you to the Internet.

  32. LAN • LAN stands for Local Area Network. • A computernetwork that allows several devices in the same house or building to talk to each other.

  33. Landline • A landline is a wire that comes into your house or business. It can be used for both telephone and data. • It most cases it is your “home phone“. You rent a landline from a service provider. • See ADSL, Cable, Dial-up, Twisted pair

  34. Laptops • A laptop is a small computer, but one not small enough to fit in your pocket. • If it fits in your pocket, it is a Palmtop. • Laptops usually have an inbuilt Modem to connect to the Internet. The connection can use a physical link via an Ethernet cable from computer to the phone plug, or via a wireless connection using WiFi. It may be able to talk to a number of other devices like a digital camera or mobile phone using the wireless Bluetooth system.

  35. Mobile network Mobile phone Mobile phone standard Modem MMS Multimedia National Relay Service Network Next G M-N

  36. Mobile network • Mobile Networks connect your mobile phone or computer to other phones or the Internet. • They are run by a Service Provider. • To use a Mobile Network, you need a mobile phone and to choose a mobile network service provider to subscribe to. • Which one you choose will depend on the Phone Plans they offer and how much you want to pay. • A SIM card in the phone connects you to the Mobile Network, and stores all information about your phone use.

  37. Mobile Phone • Mobile phones differ from ordinary phones in that they do not need a landline to work; and differ from cordless phones in that they can be used a long way from a base station. • Mobile Phones use a Mobile Network. • Mobile phones offer all POTS services, plus 2G and 3G services.

  38. Mobile phone standard • There are many different ways in which mobile phones can talk to each other. Each is governed by a different ‘Standard’. • It can be thought of as a way to allow people to talk in a crowded room. TDMA restricts when people can talk, so that only one pair are speaking at once. CDMA allows more people to talk at the same time, but each connected pair talks a different ‘language’, so that there is no confusion between the different ‘conversations’. • See CDMA, GSM, iDEN, NextG, TDMA, 3G

  39. Modem • A modem is usually a box that plugs in between your computer and your landline. It also plugs into the power point. • A modem allows you to send and receive data. • Most mobile phones can also work as a modem when connected to a computer. • See Dial-up, ADSL.

  40. MMS • MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. • It is sending pictures, spoken messages or short videos via a phone. • MMS is different from SMS, which can only be used for text.

  41. Multimedia • Multimedia is messages and documents that have more than just writing and text. • Multimedia includes sounds, pictures and video. • Multimedia is a type of data.

  42. National Relay Service • The National Relay Service (NRS) is an Australia-wide telephone access service provided for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. It is also available to anyone who wants to call someone with a hearing or speech impairment (via TTY). • The NRS website is: • There are other disability services available.

  43. Network • A network is a way of linking phones, computers and other devices together. • See also: Bluetooth, Ethernet, Internet, LAN, Mobile Network, WAN.

  44. NextG® • Telstra’s3Gmobile network. • It is the largest mobile network in Australia. • Telstra’s CDMA customers were encouraged to move to NextG® when the Telstra CDMA network closed on 28 April 2008.

  45. Optus Optus’ DEP Overseas Palmtop Phone Post paid POTS Prepaid O-R

  46. Optus • Optus is the second largest telecommunications company in Australia. • It is owned by Singapore Telecommunications. • Optus owns Virgin Mobile. • It has its own network, but uses Telstra Wholesale to provide network services where its customers are not covered by the Optus network. • It is a Mobile Network provider, a Service Provider for home phones, and an Internet Service Provider. • More information can be found at

  47. Optus’ DEP • Optus operates a small Disability Equipment Program (DEP) offering a number of equipment solutions such as TTYs and Volume Control Handsets. Optus also provide advice on mobile phones for hearing aid users. • More information on the DEP is at: • !!!!

  48. Overseas • There are world standards which govern how phone networks in different countries can talk to each other. • Before you take your mobile phone overseas, you need to contact your service provider to organise Global Roaming. • CAUTION: There will be different charges for Global Roaming depending on which country/ies you travel in and whether you use a pre-paid or post-paid service.

  49. Palmtop • A palmtop is a computer that is small enough to fit in your pocket. They are also called ‘organisers’. Usually they don’t use the Windows program commonly used by computers. • Often, these devices will double as a mobile phone, or at least talk to your mobile phone using WiFi or Bluetooth. • You may have heard people talk about their: PalmPilot, Message Pad, Pen Pad or Pocket Book.

  50. Phone • Once a black box with a handpiece and a dial, phones are now push-button devices with which you can talk, message, send photos, watch television, surf the Internet and just about anything else. This is called progress. • Since there was no acronym for phones, one had to be invented. They are called POTS.