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IP-based Services at NU

IP telephone service, based on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) technologies, is the leading communication service at Northwestern. Simply put, IP service is the transmission of voice traffic over IP-based networks.

With IP-based telephone service, the signal that carries calls between your telephone and Northwestern's centralized voice switching equipment is in reality, a data network. That means your phone connection is part of the Northwestern network instead of being hooked into the wiring of the traditional Northwestern telephone infrastructure.

Fully transitioning the University to a converged communication platform is a multi-year, phased project. Most recently, Northwestern IT successfully upgraded the Chicago and Evanston campus networks to IP-enabled service and has merged the networks into a single system.

This has allowed for the University community to benefit from enhanced, IP-based telephone services in upgraded buildings. Moving forward, Northwestern IT will only deploy IP-based service in new buildings and newly-renovated buildings, along with the following campus locations:

Common questions about IP services at Northwestern include:

How can I obtain IP-based service?

Users in upgraded buildings and newly constructed or recently renovated buildings can begin to order the technology available for general use.

Isn't this just another phone?

Yes, a phone and more — IP-based service enables easier call forwarding, caller ID, and three-way calling. Additionally, it is anticipated that Northwestern users will be able to make calls from a computer with software called a soft client.

Can I obtain a soft client?

Soft clients are not available at this time but are anticipated to become available for the Northwestern community in the future.

How is sound quality on an IP-based phone?

On properly configured networks, IP service will provide high-quality sound, as good as a regular phone.

Last Updated: 11 April 2019

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