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What Is VoIP?

This article describes what VoIP is and what its benefits are.

What is VoIP?

VoIP, which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, is the transmission of voice conversations over a data network. IT Services uses Cisco IP phones, and we consequently use the term IP Phones interchangeably with VoIP.

What are the benefits of VoIP?

Organizationally, there are significant benefits of implementing a VoIP system, such as simplifying our infrastructure, reducing our eventual costs as the world migrates to VoIP, and keeping up with technological trends.

For the individual, VoIP phones offer certain features beyond those of the traditional phone. These features allow you to manage your calls, to access services, and voice communications tools. In addition to the features you already have on your traditional phone, all of our IP phones provide these features:

  • Your IP phone uses "softkeys" for accessing call features and options. Softkeys will dynamically change according to what you're doing, allowing the phone to provide new options based on the status of your call.
  • Easily accessible Call Logs allow you to view missed, received, and placed calls. You can also call a number from your Call Log with a single button.
  • You can search the University Directory on your VoIP phone and then dial the number with a single button.
  • The Mobility feature allows you to redirect incoming University of Chicago calls to different designated phones, such as home or cell phones. You can streamline your communications by giving callers one number to dial.
  • Your VoIP phone has a help button will which give you additional information about an individual phone feature.
  • The iDivert feature allows you to divert a call you cannot immediately answer directly to voicemail with a single button.
  • You can set up one-touch dialing locations or abbreviated dialing for frequently used phone numbers.
  • MyPhone Portal allows you to customize your phone online using your CNetID and password.
  • An LCD display allows you to view more information about who the call is to or from, the duration of the call, and other calls waiting to be answered.

Significant Differences

Some features are significantly different between traditional phones and the VoIP phones. See below for details about these differences.

  • Authcodes: Authcodes are no longer required for domestic long-distance dialing. For international calls, you will still need to use your authcode by dialing 9*, the complete phone number, listen for the prompt and enter your six digit authorization code. Authorization codes may also be used to increase a phone's dialing permissions for example in common areas where phones may be restricted to campus dialing only.
  • Headsets: If you use a headset with your traditional phone and you would like to use it with your VoIP phone, you will need special equipment for your phone. For a list of our recommended headsets, visit our Headsets page.

Questions, Comments, or Requests

To submit feedback or comments about VoIP, please email us at

Keywords:"voice over ip"   Doc ID:19921
Owner:Kathy C.Group:University of Chicago
Created:2011-08-22 18:17 CSTUpdated:2016-03-04 07:07 CST
Sites:University of Chicago, University of Chicago - Sandbox
Feedback:  9   6