Major IP telephony development planned for Durham University

Durham University is to embark on a major overhaul of its entire internal communications infrastructure; a move which, in common with many modern business phone systems, will also encompass the implementation of a new state of the art internet protocol (IP) telephony system.

The new communications infrastructure is expected to be in place across the entire university by 2013, with the aim of providing the institution’s entire population of 15,000 students and 3,000 staff with the highest quality information technology and telecommunications facilities.

It is also hoped that the new infrastructure will help the university gain important efficiency savings, particularly given that phone costs are generally much cheaper with VoIP than with traditional telephone company land line-based phone services.

The proposed new IP telephony system is regarded as one of the key features of the new infrastructure since it is expected to increase network capacity whilst at the same time improving the reliability of data and telephony transmissions.

In addition, to try and ensure complete user friendliness of the system, the university will be installing VoIP handsets similar to the business VoIP (voice over internet protocol) telephone handsets used in many modern companies. It is planned to have an initial 12,000 such VoIP handsets up and running across the university by 2012, covering 30 separate areas of the campus.

Among the features eventually likely to be incorporated on the handsets will be that of ‘presence’, whereby each user can indicate whether or not he or she is currently available.

Commenting on the importance of IP telephony to the overall project, Durham University’s head of CIS network support, Colin Hopkins, said that the technology would ‘create a more efficient phone network that will ultimately support our ambitious plans to deliver outstanding service to our student base’.