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Unified Communications

Using your new Avaya 9611g UC phone

You've got your new UC phone on your desk.  Now what?

More resources are available under the Support menu of this site

If you have having difficulty using your new phone, contact 4Help.

Fall DCSS Presentations

Review the presentations given by NI&S staff at the Fall 2013 Departmental Computing Support Symposium (DCSS) held on Tuesday, October 22.

Spring DCSS Presentation

Download a copy of the Unified Communications presentation (PDF) given at the spring 2013 DCSS (Departmental Computing Support Symposium).

What's next for you and UC?

You’ve been watching the Unified Communications schedule and note that your building could be getting close. What should you expect next?

While the schedule remains a ‘work in progress’ as wide-ranging issues are dealt with, if your building is listed for the current quarter of the year, UC may—indeed—be coming soon!

When it is time to begin your migration to Unified Communications, Network Infrastructure and Services (NI&S) will work first with department heads and communication liaisons for departments located in your building. Preliminary planning details will be coordinated with your communications liaison. The communications liaison is typically the person responsible for placing telecommunications orders for your department or unit. The Unified Communications teams works with your department through these individuals to ensure your department’s migration is as efficient and straightforward as possible. In collaboration with your department head and communications liaison, NI&S will determine whether implementation will occur during regular business hours with minimal service interruption, or outside of business hours when a longer service interruption will be expected.

University’s telephone service provider to change

During the morning of September 12, all of Virginia Tech's 19,000 Blacksburg telephone numbers will be switched from one telephone service provider to another. The reason for the change is to achieve affordable and reliable telephone connections between the university and external, public telephone systems as we continue to migrate to the voice-over-IP, Unified Communications system.

We expect the move to go smoothly: engineers from Network Infrastructure and Services and from the telephone companies have coordinated to ensure the move's efficiency. However, the complexity and unusual nature of this move means we must consider, and be prepared for, the possibility of service disruptions surrounding the change.

If you learn that you are missing expected incoming calls, please report the problem to the Network Operations Center by calling 540-231-6780.

The change will not affect either calls placed from a university phone to a non-university phone, or internal calls between the university's 231- and 232- phone numbers.

Maintaining telephone communications through power outages

Unified Communications project managers and engineers are working with the Office of Emergency Management and the Virginia Tech Police Department to maintain “high availability” telephone service throughout the campus, even in the event of a power outage. 

Read the article on VT News.

International Calling Rates Comparisons

Beginning in June 2012, Virginia Tech’s rates for calls to most international locations decreased, many dramatically. In general, the largest reductions were for calls to nations in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The largest reduction, over $3 per minute, was for calls to the Republic of Madagascar. Increased rates are generally for calls to Pacific island nations and territories, and for those using satellite telephone systems.

Most European rates are lower. Calls to the United Kingdom are 15 cents per minute lower. Other European nations’ rates have larger reductions. Most South American rates are lower, as are many rates for the Caribbean.

During the 2012 fiscal year, Virginia Tech made the most calls to these international destinations:

UC Building Transition Schedule

The scope of the UC project will vary building-to-building based on the state of the existing communications infrastructure in the building. The schedule below provides insight regarding the availability of UC services in buildings where the UC service migration is scheduled or has been completed.

The work you will see building-by-building

The transition to Unified Communications services, beginning this summer and continuing for two years, will proceed building-by-building, with timing depending in part on the readiness of the existing infrastructure in each building. We’d like to provide an overview of the kind of work that you might expect to see.

Building readiness depends on several factors. First, does a building have the required space to house the electronics and cabling that need to be installed? In some cases, new telecommunications equipment rooms may need to be built. If your building falls into this category, you may see construction activities. Second, does a building have the required cabling to support the new system? If not, upgraded cabling will be added to the building. Again, you may see some types of construction activity as new cables are installed.

Once these elements of the infrastructure are in place, the building is ready for Unified Communications. Many university buildings are already at this stage, and departments in those buildings may see little to no work until the final steps.

The final work includes checking wires from wall portals to desktops: Are they in the right place? Are they long enough? Is something new needed? Final steps also include verifying the number and types of services for a department. And when the building is fully ready, new phones sets will be delivered, connected, and old ones picked up

International calling rates

With the new Unified Communications rate model, the rates for international calls have changed. Rates for many countries are now significantly lower.

Additionally, locations outside the United States dialed with an area code that previously were charged standard long-distance rates (e.g. Canada and Puerto Rico) are now charged as international calls.

Please refer to the tables below for the new calling rates, or use the International Rate Calculator on the Communications Network Services (CNS) website.

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