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					Humanities and Social Sciences Multimedia Centre
Faculty of Arts and Science
University of Toronto

Ontario Universities Computing Conference Presentation Notes
Paul Ruppert
Monday, May 27, 2002, 9:00am

While the technology for Voice Over IP (VOIP) is relatively mature and well understood, there are
many factors that should be considered before implementing such a structure. Outlined below are
some of the “whys” of VOIP technology. Keep in mind that the University of Toronto currently uses
mainly Centrex service, with fixed costs determined by the CRTC. Adding phone lines is not an easy
issue.

Arguments for VOIP


Here are some of the applications where VOIP looks pretty good for a setting such as the University of
Toronto. Because of our heavy existing cabling infrastructure, it really only makes sense for niche
applications, with some niches being quite large (1,000+ lines). Strategically, VOIP is the direction
that the telecoms are heading, so we have to be prepared and respond to developments.

1. New buildings
      With the cost of Cat5e and Cat3 cable approximately equal, it makes sense to run only 5e, and
then use whatever you want to handle the voice. Data cabling is a given, so now you can run only one
type of cable, or only one cable rather than two. This will save money, once the termination capability
is sorted out.

2. Infrequent use
      Telephone surveys - We have some courses where students are required to obtain telephone
survey information. This runs for approximately 2 weeks per year. It is too expensive to install lines
in a classroom for such a short duration.
      Special events - Sometimes we need a few phone lines added to a location for a short duration.
Cell phones do not work in all our buildings.

3. Rapid deployment
     With VOIP, you can set up a telephone line anywhere on campus there is a data jack. With the
wireless network, the availability of voice and video communications is even more flexible.

4. Fast move, add, change
     For some systems that are MAC address based, plugging in a DHCP based phone is all that is
required for activation of a phone number to that location. Most systems can be self administered via
web interface, and updated immediately.

5. Call centre


Paul Ruppert
Director, Instructional Technology for Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts and Science, 15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3H7
Em paul.ruppert@utoronto.ca                               Ph 416 978-8098                                                 Fx 416 971-2027
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Humanities and Social Sciences Multimedia Centre
Faculty of Arts and Science
University of Toronto

     Within minutes, a computer lab can be turned into a Call Centre using soft clients. This allows
flexibility for special functions, conferences, etc.

6. Special applications
     Classroom support - To bring in an audioconference, we need a system to connect to a room AV
system. This is easiest done from a PC client application. Cell phones do not have line out and line in
connections. We cannot deploy phone lines in the classroom for cost and security reasons.

7. Remote locations
     In our situation, locations like the affiliated Colleges, Dentistry, etc, are either incapable of
connecting to our dialplan, or only at premium price capable of connecting to our internal system.
VOIP virtualizes locations and can thus extend 5 digit dialing to places that could otherwise not have
it. Some US schools are even extending local dialing to affiliate locations all over the world.

8. Unique constituencies
     Graduate Students - due to funding requirements, telephone costs cannot be paid for with grant
money. The result is that many students share a common telephone. With VOIP, each graduate
student can get their own extension and voice mail, increasing efficiency and service.
     Local Departments - based on statistical call data, PBX type VOIP can be deployed within some
of the larger departments to significantly reduce their telecommunications fees.
     Students - As a competitive advantage, each student could be assigned their own telephone
number, voicemail and email account, that could follow them through their career at university, as they
may move from department to department, and residence to residence.

9. CRTC flexibility
     Since VOIP is a data service, not a voice service, there are chances to provide service that would
otherwise be impossible due to some tariff regulations. Tariff rate reductions with CLEC’s becomes a
possibility.

10. Enhanced student services
     All the modern features of a PBX plus all the features of email, voicemail delivered right to your
inbox as a .WAV file, etc. all translate to better experience for students.

11. Support
      Any public access computer on campus could have a soft client installed, with appropriate
restrictions and capabilities. Support services could be delivered directly to the staff/student when and
where they need them, integrated with call tracking and advanced ACD functions.

12. TAPI applications
     There are all kinds of applications emerging for integrated voice/data. Everything from improved
support to new collaborative work tools could enhance the educational experience.


Paul Ruppert
Director, Instructional Technology for Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts and Science, 15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3H7
Em paul.ruppert@utoronto.ca                               Ph 416 978-8098                                                 Fx 416 971-2027
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Humanities and Social Sciences Multimedia Centre
Faculty of Arts and Science
University of Toronto


13. Convergence
        We understand our data networks quite well. Adding voice (and video) does not create a new
division, and only a very small delta in administrative load. The benefits are very demonstrable.


To retrofit everything we have is not practical. Even though the business numbers might indicate a 2-3
year payback on investment, wholesale switchover would require resources that do not let us realise
enough of a gain, given the pain - the ain't broke scenario. Hardware costs alone do not tell the whole
picture. Depending on the implementation, training costs for the users could stretch out the ROI curve
much longer than expected.




Paul Ruppert
Director, Instructional Technology for Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts and Science, 15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3H7
Em paul.ruppert@utoronto.ca                               Ph 416 978-8098                                                 Fx 416 971-2027
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