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Softphone - Service FAQ
This article explains answers to a set of frequently asked questions regarding Softphones.
A softphone is a software program for making telephone calls over the internet or University Data Network using a computer or laptop, rather than a deskphone or landline. A softphone is designed to behave like a traditional telephone, sometimes appearing as an image of a phone, with a display panel and buttons with which the user can interact.
This service is one of many University of Chicago Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies available for staff, faculty, students and in the future, Medical Center professionals.
At the University of Chicago, our solution is Cisco IP Communicator or Cisco Unified Personal Communicator (CUPC), coming soon.
Available Today: Cisco IP Communicator appears no different than a Cisco deskphone, including line buttons, dynamic soft-keys, volume controls and mute/speaker buttons, and contains all of the features you currently utilize on your VoIP desk phone.
Coming Soon: The CUPC enhances the voice communication experience by enabling Presence functionality. Similar to IM (instant messaging), Presence provides real-time status for coworkers, integrating with calendars for meeting notifications and allowing real-time chat, voice or video communication. IT Services is currently refining the Presence integration and feature development.
How will I know which is right for me?
- Cisco IP Communicator is not available for Mac devices, but CUPC is compatible with Macs.
- CUPC is compatible with most laptop make and models – CUPC will be the University of Chicago standard.
- Allows an employee to use University telephone service as an application while working across campus buildings or from remote locations (home, hotel, conference, vendor facility, etc.).
- Because the call uses the internet, the local long-distance phone cost to the University is eliminated.
- A softphone can displace the need for a deskphone and therefore saves the purchase of these devices.
- Low monthly recurring cost.
- If you use your Softphone on the University network your call quality should be just fine. Call quality while working off-campus is dependent on the local internet provider and may affect your service, i.e. either in call completion, call quality or call continuance. In some locations, you may find the call quality is lower than that of a deskphone, maybe comparable to a cell phone.
- You may also require a headset to ensure confidentiality in your communications. Headsets vary in cost, performance and longevity (expect to replace your headset in 2 years). Economical headsets ($20) are compatible with Cisco Softphones.
Like all University of Chicago purchasing, please review a headset purchase requirement with your Manager and FAS account owner.
No. Softphones are available for VoIP users only. We expect to make this available for independent workers who are not using VoIP currently. This means:
- Your current telephone does not include co-worker telephone extensions
- Your extension does not appear on any co-workers telephones
- Your extension does not forward to any co-workers telephones to be answered
- Your extension does not receive calls from other non-VoIP extensions if they are not answered
- We recommend considering the option to eliminate the deskphone if your job and your voice communications requirements can continue without the use of a deskphone.
- The Softphone is priced at $15 per month for service and support. This cost is lower than a deskphone, eliminating the need to purchase a device.
- You may also choose a deskphone and a Softphone, although each will incur its own monthly cost.
- A University of Chicago CNetID
- University of Chicago telephone number
- Laptop – info needed: make, model, operating system, version
- Example: Apple MacBook Pro, OS X, 10.6.6
- For assistance, contact 2-5800
- University of Chicago VPN: https://cvpn.uchicago.edu/+CSCOE+/logon.html
- Headset (Optional): Having the headset available at time of install will ensure all items (headset wizard, sound adjustments), can be setup with Softphone installation
- iPhone Cisco Mobile 8 (Optional): If you’re interested, we can add Cisco Mobile 8 for your use at an additional monthly charge
- Review this service with your manager
- Forward your manager's written approval to firstname.lastname@example.org, copy your department’s Account Administrator and include the FAS account to receive the monthly charges
- Include your CNetID, University telephone number, Laptop information
- Your availability (Date/Time) to complete the installation
Expect 3 business days for delivery and 20 minutes for installation and testing.
- An IT Services technician will contact you at the agreed time
- We will assist you by either accessing your laptop remotely or assisting you in downloading the software from a secured source
- We will ask that you have your headset available (if needed)
- We will complete standard call-completion testing (inbound and outbound call placement)
The first step to using the Softphone the is to connect to the University VPN. Your VPN should be set up when your Softphone is installed, but you must connect to it each time you launch your Softphone. This short video will show how to connect to the VPN.
View the Video
The Audio Tuning Wizard will take you through several steps to improve the quality of the soft phone audio. This short video will lead you though the steps of using the Audio Tuning Wizard.
View the Video
If you are unsure about how to use the features on your Softphone, then let this short video guide you through them or help you get started.
View the Video
- User Guide: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/cipc/7_0/english/user/guide/ipcugov.html
- Data Sheet: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/voicesw/ps6788/phones/ps5475/data_sheet_c78-669663.html
Contact IT Services at 2-5800. Be prepared to provide a brief explanation of what may not be working.
- If you feel that you can you work exclusively with a Softphone or Mobile 8 device and no longer require a deskphone, send an email to email@example.com, and copy your department's Account Administrator.
- Your deskphone will be picked up for re-use and your Business Unit Cost Center will be adjusted for the next billing month.
- As with any lost or stolen device, report the missing asset to IT Services and the Department of Safety & Security to initiate a police report.
- IT Services will suspend the Softphone license use and assist you in reactivation with a replacement laptop when you are ready.
IT Services best practice processes will include periodic firmware, or software, upgrades for communication end-points. Firmware upgrades are normally conducted after business hours and result in little or no service interruption. Most firmware upgrades are for the purpose of service improvement with some small portion of end-user functionality improvements. Where major improvements are expected, IT Services will post upgrade improvements on our IT Services webpages.