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Broadband & Telecom Jargon Terms Glossary

Need-to-know terminology for researching community broadband and wireless projects.

  • Backscattering: Backscattering refers to the reflection of light or other signals back in the direction they came from in fiber networks. This phenomenon is used in optical time-domain reflectometry (OTDR) to identify and locate faults or losses in fiber-optic cables.
  • CMTS: CMTS stands for Cable Modem Termination System. In cable broadband networks, a CMTS provides services to cable modems by managing data flow between the cable network and individual customer devices.
  • CPNI: CPNI stands for Customer Proprietary Network Information. This term refers to the data collected by telecom companies about their customers. Examples of CPNI data types include usage patterns, call history, and billing information.
  • DOCSIS: DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. The DOCSIS standard defines the requirements for delivering high-speed data services over cable networks, allowing for interoperability between different cable systems and devices. The most recent DOCSIS standard in common use is DOCSIS 3.1, with 4.0 scheduled for release in late 2023.
  • Jitter: Jitter refers to the variation in the delay of received packets in broadband internet networks. Jitter commonly impacts the quality of voice and video calls, as inconsistent packet arrival times can lead to audio and video disruptions.
  • OLT: OLT stands for Optical Line Terminal. OLTs are used in fiber networks to connect multiple Optical Network Units (ONUs) and act as an aggregation point for traffic from the connected ONUs.
  • QAM: QAM stands for Quadrature Amplitude Modulation. It is a method for transmitting digital signals over radio frequencies by varying both the amplitude and phase of the signal.
  • XGS-PON: XGS-PON stands for 10-Gigabit-capable Symmetric Passive Optical Network. XGS-PON is a fiber-optic network standard that delivers symmetrical broadband services with up to 10 Gbps data rates for both upstream and downstream.
  • IPBB: term used by AT&T to describe hybrid copper-fiber networks with relatively short hops between local fiber lines and the customer residence. IPBB service provides service in 25–100 Mbps download speed range rather than the 1–5 Mbps typically seen with legacy DSL.

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Jameson Zimmer
Broadband Market Analyst
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Last Update: January 28, 2024
Published: April 18, 2023
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