IT Connect
Your connection to information technology at the UW

Telecommunications Upgrade Project


VOIP graphic with earth and laptopUW Information Technology (UW-IT) operates the UW telephone service supporting 30,000 customers across three campuses and multiple off-campus locations. In 2011, UW-IT embarked on a major transformation of the legacy UW telephone service, which was no longer supportable by the vendor. Based on emerging technologies, UW-IT developed an architecture and detailed proposal for a multi-year effort to integrate and revolutionize communications across all three UW campuses.  This effort involves integration of voice communications with other forms of communications including voicemail and email.

The project was divided into three distinct phases:

  • Phase 1, completed in 2012, stabilized critical customers by upgrading infrastructure hardware and software.
  • Phase 2, completed in 2013, implemented a new Avaya communications core that will replace the existing legacy communications core no longer supported by Avaya.
  • Phase 3 commenced in early 2014 and is the third and final phase of the multi-year initiative. This final phase migrates existing telephone customers from the legacy telephone core to the new communications core using Voice over IP (VoIP).

Project Goals

The goals of the Telecommunications Upgrade project align with UW-IT’s strategic mission as follows:

  • Provides access to excellent infrastructure via communications core
  • Enhances collaboration by setting the foundation for Unified Communications services
  • Reduces enterprise risk by retiring aging, out of service equipment
  • Improves service levels by installing Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) in customer locations to provide emergency power for network and telephone equipment in the event of a power outage


The project is part of the infrastructure upgrades approved by the UW’s IT Service Investment Board and IT Service Management Board.

Phase 3 Implementation

The implementation phase is being carried out in concert with other technology refresh efforts, such as building cabling infrastructure and networking upgrades.  The goal is to have all end users migrated from the aging infrastructure during a three-year window.

The project is targeting locations that are ready to support VoIP technology with a high level of service, i.e. buildings that have the adequate space, power, HVAC, cabling, etc. As the other refresh efforts work in parallel, a new set of buildings will be ready for the telecommunications upgrades the following year.

How Does This Affect Our Customers?

  • woman with headsetExisting digital or IP handset customers will be migrated, where supported, to the new VoIP technology and will be issued new telephone handsets at no cost.
  • Analog handset customers will be migrated to new VoIP handsets if the site is VoIP ready.  VoIP customers can also choose to migrate to a software phone (softphone) for use on their PC instead of a VoIP handset.  Sites that are not VoIP ready will remain on the older analog service.
  • UW-IT will provide Softphone-only customers with a free headset that will be maintained by the customer.

For specific handset information, see the table below.

Softphone Is Now Available

As part of the upgraded Telecommunications systems, Softphone is now available. Softphone is a software program for making telephone calls over the Internet using a computer, rather than using dedicated hardware. You can choose to replace your desktop handset with Softphone. Unlike the desktop handsets, Softphone is available as part of the existing Dial-Tone fee, with no monthly lease fee.  However, if turning in your desktop phone is not an option, Softphone can still be run side-by-side with your desktop phone using the same extension and giving you an enhanced experience with the flexibility to keep your legacy deskphone as well as allow you to use a laptop as your phone when you are mobile on the UW campus (not for telecommuting).

Phone Types

What You Need to Know…

NEW Softphone Choose:
1) Replace desktop handset with Softphone
2) Augment your desktop handset with Softphone
3) Neither
Note: UW-IT will initially provide, for Softphone only customers, a headset at no cost, which will be maintained by the customer
Existing VoIP Phone – 4602, 4610, 4620, 4621, 4622 If you have an existing 4602, 4610, 4620, 4621, or 4622 phone, it will be replaced with a new 9611 phone at no additional cost to your department.
Existing VoIP Phone – 9608, 9611 If you have an existing 9608 or 9611 phone, it will be replaced with one that has upgraded software at no additional cost to your department.
Existing Digital Phone – 2410, 2420, 6408, 6416, 6424, 8405D, 8410D, 8411D, 8434D If you have an existing 2410, 2420, 6408, 6416, 6424, 8405D, 8410D, 8411D, or 8434D phone, it will be replaced with a new 9611 phone at no additional cost to your department.
Existing Analog phone – various phone models If you have an analog phone, you have a few options:
1) Replace your analog phone with a Softphone on your PC or Mac. UW-IT will provide a standard headset or you can purchase your own.
2) Replace your analog phone with a VoIP phone.
3) Depending on the infrastructure at your location, you may choose to keep your current analog phone line. If you choose to migrate at a later time, the installation fee (currently $147) may apply.

colorful cablesHow Does the Upgrade Process Work?

  1. Notice: A department’s computing director and/or department administrator will be notified five to six months prior to any migration activity.  An additional notice of 30-45 days will be sent to any identified department and building points of contact.
  2. Site Survey: A building site survey will be performed to gather phone and outlet counts and office space layout. This information will be used to create a customer profile.  (A site survey takes one to two days, and all effort is made to keep customer impact at a minimum.)
  3. Meeting: A customer engagement meeting will be scheduled in order to explain migration procedures, choice of phone services, and high-level training on new phone features.
  4. Migration: Lastly, a migration cut-over date will be established and migration performed. (Currently from one to three days per building, depending on office layout complexity, time of day, etc.; minimal impact to each customer is paramount, with phone service being affected).
  5. Support: Customer service will be available during migration as well as site specific support for one week.  Regular customer service will remain in effect after migration is completed to customer’s satisfaction.

 Training/Additional Information/FAQs



Phone: (206) 221-5000