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The typical telephone systems used by organizations in the recent decades were based on analog communications over copper wiring. Voice over IP or VoIP (pronounced voyp) is a digital replacement for legacy telecommunications that involves routing telephone calls using the data network and equipment. It uses many of the same network switches and fiber connections as the networked campus computers and networks.
Legacy telephone systems have limited capabilities in the age of digital devices and software. For example, it is difficult to block telemarketers or route calls from specific numbers. With VoIP it is possible to deliver voicemails to the campus recipient's email as a file. Users may also be able to set up their own call routing rules. New telephones offer much better quality audio, the possibility of video (which can be disabled by the user), and more convenient telephone features and controls. It will be possible to send broadcast messages to campus telephones, for example in case of an emergency.
Additionally the University's voicemail system is rapidly aging and some replacement parts can no longer be found on the market. Lastly, much of the copper telephone wiring found throughout campus is very old and would be costly to replace.
The VoIP technology will require replacement of all office telephones with VoIP compatible Cisco digital telephones. Opting out of the Centrex to VoIP upgrade is not an option and all new campus telephones will also only be VoIP only. No new Centrex phones (standard or ISDN) will be installed.
The following models have been selected for the typical office phone and conference room phone:
The new telephones will replace both, the "ISDN" and common analog varieties found throughout our campus. The office phones will support up to 5 lines.
Some specialized telephones like courtesy phones, elevator phones, alarm lines, and faxes will remain unchanged for some time.
There will be corded and wireless headsets available at an additional cost.
You can also use VoIP call forwarding. This could be either to a cellular phone number (if signal is available) or call forward to a smart phone with a free internet phone number.
Another option being considered is a "soft-client" where users that don't want to use a physical phone could potentially use their laptop or desktop computer along with a headset to place and receive calls.
Cisco's Jabber will also be explored as a tool for collaboration.
With VoIP telephony, moving telephones will likely require a service order to be placed with Campus Technology Services. This is primarily to ensure that the E911 location information is properly updated.
Most likely no. If you currently have a computer plugged into a network outlet, the VoIP phone will be plugged into that outlet and the computer's network cable will be plugged into the phone. That will not slow down your computer. If you need a telephone where there isn't a nearby network connection, it may be necessary to install an additional network outlet. CTS will work with users and Facilities Management to ensure adequate network connections.
Yes, the plan is to retain existing numbers and port them to the VoIP system.
While it is rare, it is possible we will experience a brief power or network connectivity outage. This will affect VoIP telephone services. Campus Technology Services will work to implement backup power in network closets as funding allows to minimize network down times.
If a VoIP phone loses connectivity, the contingency plan would be that a non-VoIP phone or cellular device be used until the network outage is resolved.
Hallway and public area telephones will remain standard analog service that will not be affected by a network outages. Elevator and Blue Light emergency telephones will not be on the VoIP system and will work the same way they do now.
Steps to take if a VoIP phone loses connectivity:
The project team plans to include training for all users as vendor trainer and user availability allows.
Campus Technology Services staff is now working with College and Department representatives to obtain initial counts of lines and telephones that will be moved to the VoIP system. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and UW System will be assisting us by providing VoIP expertise. Many other UW campuses including UW-River Falls, UW-La Crosse, and UW-Platteville have already migrated to a similar system and will also be helpful resources to the project team.
Preliminary work is already underway. The project will be rolled out to the campus in 2016-2017. The rollout will likely be gradual.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or any of the CTS network staff.