IP Telephony

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a general term for a family of transmission technologies for delivery of voice communications over IP networks such as the Internet or other packet-switched networks. Other terms frequently encountered and synonymous with VoIP are IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband (VoBB), broadband telephony, and broadband phone.

“IP telephony saves UNLV the infrastructure costs associated with running two networks — one for data, one for voice,” said David Peers, manager of network development and engineering for the office of information technology (OIT). “By converging the voice and data onto the same network, UNLV focuses its support and start-up costs on one infrastructure. Phones at the student union have a plug in the back where a computer can be connected so that a computer and phone can share the same wall port for data and voice service, saving on building wiring and equipment costs.”

Future features will include easy and seamless video conferencing, software-based phones installed on computers and laptops, and wireless phones that use the UNLV wireless data network for communication. Integration between voicemail and e-mail will create a single place to store all messages and allow access to those messages from a variety of devices.

Implementing the new technology took more than three years of planning by telecommunications, campus planners, architects, and vendors. The Student Union was the first campus building to open with IP Telephony.

All new buildings are being designed for IP telephony. Remaining campus buildings will move to IP phones as wiring and electronics infrastructure are upgraded.

As space available for staff offices and parking becomes limited, the IP phone system could allow an opportunity for telecommuting. Staff members could work from home and still have 5-digit dialing, easy voicemail access, and the convenience of an enterprise-grade phone, just as if they were in their offices. Staff who travel, like recruitment officers or coaches, would be able to take advantage of phone software installed on their laptops to take calls while connected to a public wireless network.

Questions about IP Telephony at UNLV can be directed to David Peers.