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Information Technology : Learning Resources : Telephone



IP Phone 8841/8851/8861 User's Guide

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Voice Over IP (VoIP) FAQ

What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol is a telephone system which takes advantage of the existing data network converting the voice signals to digital information and sending them over a computer network [instead of over traditional telephone lines].

What is the difference between an analog and digital telephone?

An analog phone is a single line phone, whereas a digital phone can display multiple line appearances and handle the calls on those lines. Fax machines and modems are examples of devices that use an analog line.

What is the telephone system that the college has?

Mission College has a 15-year-old Private Branch Exchange (PBX) telephone system. PBX phone system was the standard for many years. It is expensive, high maintenance, and difficult to upgrade.

Why was the VoIP selected to replace the PBX system?

The shift to VoIP is driven by the lower cost of the services: the cost of maintaining and upgrading the PBX in the next five year would be higher than the cost of implementing the new VoIP phone technology. One example of lower maintenance costs involves moving phones due to employees changing their campus location. Since VoIP is a network-based service, the phone set can be simply moved and connected at the new location; no additional work or cost is required to move the phone line. In addition, VoIP offers many standard features and services that are often available only for an additional fee on traditional phone systems. These features include caller ID, three-way calling, and conferencing. Moreover, it is much easier to provide for call control redundancy and disaster recovery in VoIP systems. VoIP also offers mobility features not available with a traditional phone line, such as the option to use many different types of endpoints and computers to make and receive calls. The new VoIP system also offers the ability to check your voice mail messages from anywhere using Outlook Web Access.

What are the disadvantages of VoIP?

Although VoIP has many advantages, it also has some disadvantages. The major one is that the VoIP services may not work during extended power outages. However, the college data center in the LRC building was configured with an uninterruptable power system (UPS) which can hold the data and keep the voice network in operation for up to 3 hours. The ethernet switches in the telephone closets are able to power the IP phones for up to 20 minutes.

If the Internet is unstable, does that affect my phone?

No. The connection to the outside world from the campus still occurs through trunks provided by the local carrier. Problems with the Internet connection should not impact outbound traffic. The internal campus network has a large bandwidth that is sized much larger than the Internet connection. Thus, all voice traffic is prioritized on the internal network to ensure it will pass at all times.

Can I use my computer while I talk on the phone?


Does my computer have to be turned on to talk on the phone?

No. Most users will have their computer attached to the phone but the switching mechanism in the base of the phone makes the two devices operate independently of each other.

Can I download customized ring tones to my new phone?

At this time, there is no mechanism for customizing the ring tones to your phone, beyond the existing 25 ring tones built in to the system. We have the capability to add ring tones at a system-wide level, but not on a per phone basis. At this time we are not adding new ring tones to the IP phones.

Can I have a custom background for my IP phone?

The only phone that currently supports custom background is the model 7970 phone. As with ring tones, backgrounds can only be added on a system-wide basis.

What is the emergency procedure call after the cutover?

The campus Sheriff's station can be reached directly at extension 7843. Calls to 911 will route to the off-campus emergency dispatch just like it does at your home. However, the new VoIP system is also able to report zone location information to the dispatcher so that emergency responder will know what area or building the call originated from instead of only having the main campus address to respond to.

Can I receive faxes in my Outlook Inbox?

Yes. The NEC vendor and IT department are working on the Fax over Internet Protocol (FoIP) features. We will have an update to campus community soon



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