This fall/winter, the phone system used by UW System Administration will be replaced with a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system.  This is a joint project between UW Colleges and UW-Extension Central Information Technology Services (CITS) and the Office of Information Services (OIS).

Some of you may have received information from UW-Madison regarding their VoIP project.  They are transitioning to a VoIP system at approximately the same time we are, but they will be on a different system so the information they share about their project will not apply to you.

Already in use at several UW institutions, the new system will replace the obsolete, expensive-to-support technology with Cisco VoIP technology.  That means phone traffic will be digitized and routed through the Internet instead of the traditional analog phone system.

When will the new phones replace the current system?

CITS began the roll out of the VoIP system to UW Colleges and UW-Extension offices this summer.  The chart below lists the transition period for UW System Administration offices.

Location New Phones Activated
780 Regent St. 10/19/2017 to 10/26/2017
660 West Washington Ave. 11/13/2017 to 11/17/2017
Van Hise 12/20/2017 to 12/21/2017

All employees will receive a new desk phone, and all conference rooms will be equipped with speakerphones.

Your new phone will be placed next to your old one before the cut over, and you’ll have access to both phones for approximately two weeks.  During that period, you’ll have a chance to test the new phone by making outgoing calls.  Once testing is complete, incoming calls will be moved to the new phone system, and the old phone will be removed.

If you have voice mails you’d like to keep, you will need to save them.  You can use UW-Madison’s Web Phone Manager Program to manage your voice mail.  Voice mails won’t automatically be transferred to the new system.

What will change for users? 

The new VoIP phone will include the standard calling features you are used to, plus new built-in capabilities.  For a full list of features, see this user guide.

A few changes might take time to get used to, so please take note of these details:

  • Calls to UW-Madison numbers will no longer be internal calls.  They will be treated as outside calls.
  • Voice messaging features will be similar to the current Centrex voice messaging but will have a different menu and prompts.
  • UW-Madison DoIT will no longer be managing the phones for Madison-based staff.
  • Although internet connectivity issues could interrupt calls, each location will retain a limited number of phones that will work during an Internet outage so you’ll be able to make outgoing calls.  Incoming calls will be redirected to voicemail.

But don’t panic—the new phones are still just phones.  As you learn how to use the phones, CITS and OIS will support you by providing a static FAQ page as well as a contact person who will help answer any questions you may have.

With VoIP, you’ll find that your phone is as sophisticated as the work you’re doing.


Feel free to reach out to us with any questions, concerns, complaints, or other feedback as we transition to the new system.

Thank you!

The VoIP Project Team,