1. Plug in phone to wall with ethernet cable
  2. Someone calls a phone number
  3. Your phone rings

What is the correct, vendor-neutral term for this service?

Unfortunately different vendors call this same service many different things. I would like to know what the vendor-neutral term for this type of service is. I have researched the following examples:

  • Comcast calls this service "Phone"
  • 8x8 calls it "Hosted PBX" and "Virtual Phone"
  • AT&T calls it "VoIP Services".
  • Ooma calls it "Free Home Phone Service"
  • Jive calls it "Hosted VoIP"

I am confused by whether PBX and VoIP are the same thing since two companies selling the same thing are using different words for it.

  • With a thriving ecosystem for resellers, Google SEO/CPC has been gamed so hard that it is impossible to get any information on telephony service through them. Apr 9, 2014 at 17:20
  • 6
    ... 4. Profit!!!
    – saltface
    Apr 9, 2014 at 17:46
  • lol, nice @saltface
    – TheCleaner
    Apr 9, 2014 at 18:49
  • @saltface for the phone company. Toll-free numbers are expensive :(
    – voretaq7
    Apr 9, 2014 at 18:51
  • @HopelessN00b sorry, I have included the research in the question. Apr 9, 2014 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


VOIP. Voice over IP. It requires quite a few more things to be configured than plugging a phone into ethernet, but that puts you in the neighborhood.

  • and to be clear: for me as someone that want a phone bill and no servers in my office, is there a difference between VoIP, Hosted VoIP, virtual VoIP, cloud VoIP, or are all these the same thing? Apr 9, 2014 at 21:30
  • 2
    Except for "VOIP", all of those are marketing terms and can mean whatever the vendor wants them to mean. If you're not an IT person and just want to make something work, hire an IT person or trust your vendors.
    – mfinni
    Apr 9, 2014 at 21:32

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