VoIP telephony


  • VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol
  • instead of analog phone lines, VoIP uses standard data networks like we have in the building and across campus. calls go over the Internet. the audio is encrypted in transit.
  • nevertheless, a VoIP phone is a telephone and works like one


  • cost. per-line cost will be substantially lower than the Bell Centrex services the University currently uses.
  • changes to service (moves, connections, disconnections) will become low- to no-cost and speedy. at present these can be expensive and slow to happen.
  • flexibility. a telephone line will no longer be tied to a specific pair of copper wires in a specific location. A phone and its associated number can move practically anywhere.
  • long distance in NA is free. international LD is cheap.


  • UofT has set a target of Nov 2019. After that the Bell contract ends and traditional lines will get even more expensive
  • we’ll aim to be finished by next summer
  • we have about 20 people switched over and it has gone smoothly


  • you keep your number
  • on-campus 5-digit dialing works (however during the transition, people still on the Bell system need to dial your 10-digit number to reach you). no longer a need to dial 9 to call outside numbers.
  • 911 service works differently because numbers are no longer tied to a specific location. Phone location/address must be provided with order, and updated should it change. Emergency services will receive this information when a call is made.
  • health & safety rules require a phone in laboratories

features and alternatives

  • standard features: caller ID, call forwarding, conference calling, call pulling. fancy features available like video calling but generally overlap with existing features of Office 365/Skype
  • more control over voicemail — disable it altogether, or have voicemail messages sent to your email address as an audio attachment
  • your number can ring on different devices in different places. If you’re out of the office you can use a “softphone” — an app on your cell phone or computer to make and receive calls.
  • you don’t have to have a desk phone. if you rarely use it, you can go app-only and use a smartphone or computer to make and receive calls. alternatively, you can skip the softphone apps and forward your campus number to your cell number


  • wiring in areas of ESC and RW is a concern. many offices and labs are still serviced by network wiring installed in the 1990s, and barely up to spec.
  • some offices and labs have a single jack for the entire space. We have some tricks to work with these situations, but in selected cases wiring may need to be upgraded. We will survey each area in advance of migration.

More information available at: voip.utoronto.ca