Taking a Byte of Telephony Costs: UAA Migrates to VoIP

Taking a Byte of Telephony Costs: UAA Migrates to VoIP

Bogdan Hoanca (University of Alaska Anchorage, USA) and Richard Whitney (University of Alaska Anchorage, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/jcit.2010100102

Abstract

In 2006, the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) upgraded the telephone system at its main campus in Anchorage from a traditional private branch exchange (PBX) architecture to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system. This case describes the organizational decisions that led to the change; the scope and the process of upgrading; and the current status of the new VoIP system. The actual migration to VoIP was completed less than a year after the start of the project. The transition process went smoothly. User satisfaction with the performance of the VoIP system is very high. Based on extensive interviews with decision makers and the technical personnel involved, this case also describes financial considerations (including “creative” ways to stretch a limited budget), outsourcing considerations, training related issues, as well as lessons learned.
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Setting The Stage

VoIP is a technology that allows the transmission of voice communications over data networks. The technology is considered part of digital convergence and unified communications, a communications revolution that brings to users low prices, increased flexibility and added functionality. Digital convergence refers to the melding of voice, video and data. Unified communications seeks to consolidate all forms of electronic communications within a single platform. Even into the early 2000’s, voice, video and data used to be delivered and billed differently, over different types of communications channels, in different systems sold by different vendors. Introduced at different times in the history of technology and evolving independently and at different paces, voice, video and data naturally converged when voice and video moved to digital formats.

VoIP is the technology of transmitting voice over digital data networks, typically using the Internet Protocol (IP). The low cost and flat rates are familiar features to users of online VoIP services (for example, as provided by Skype or Vonage), contrasting to the traditionally higher and metered (per call) charges for regular long distance phone calls. The challenge in transmitting voice over data networks is to ensure that the delay of the voice packets is small enough to avoid degrading the transmitted voice signal. This small delay is measured by the so called Quality of Service (QoS) of a network.

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