UW Colleges, UW-Extension, and UW System Administration are in the process of transitioning over to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, which uses Cisco VoIP technology.  That means phone traffic will be digitized and routed through the Internet instead of the traditional analog phone system.

As we roll out the new system, we’re putting together a list of questions we’re receiving and providing answers here as a static FAQ page.  Please contact the VoIP team if you have additional questions, requests, or tips you think might help your colleagues enjoy the enhanced technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the new phones replace the current system?

The phased roll-out of VoIP began for institutions in the UW Colleges and UW-Extension during the summer of 2017 and will continue according to the following implementation schedule, which is subject to change. Please refer to this tentative schedule to see when the changes will impact System Administration employees.

Location Phones Installed Phones Activated
780 Regent St. 12/19/2017 – 1/5/2018 2/26/2018
Van Hise 3/8/2018 – 3/9/2018 3/30/2018
660 W. Washington Ave. 3/22/2018 – 3/23/2018 4/13/2018

What will happen when OIS brings my new phone?

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.

What are some new features of the phones?

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.

How will I access voice mail?

Accessing your voice mail is easy with the voicemail key on the phone (looks like a cassette tape), but in order to get into your mailbox for setup, you will need the default PIN code, which is 15951. The system will walk you through setting up your voicemail and changing your PIN.

Can I retrieve old voice mail?

If you have voice mail you’d like to keep, you will need to save them.  If you use UW-Madison’s Centrex phones you can use the Web PhoneManager program.  Otherwise you will need to use the mechanism provided by your voice mail provider.  Voice mails won’t automatically be transferred to the new system.

How will the new phones’ voice messaging features work?

Voice messaging features will be similar to the current Centrex voice messaging but will have a different menu and prompts.

How do I call someone within the Cisco system?

The new phones have a directory (the key that looks like an open book), which streamlines the process of internal calls.  You can look people within the Cisco system up using this, or you may choose to dial their 7-digit number.

How do I dial out?

You must press “0” first to dial an outside number.  Please note that UW-Madison calls will be outside numbers with the new phone system.

How do I make calls outside of the system?

Once the transition is complete, calling anyone who is not a Colleges, Extension, or System Administration employee will require dialing them as an outside number.

What are some issues I might have with the video camera?

Every phone has a video camera on the top.  Please DO NOT put anything over the camera such as a post-it note or tape. Instead, close the iris on the camera by twisting to the left and point the camera up at the ceiling. Unlike a webcam, there is no way for the camera to be activated remotely if the iris is closed.

Can I adjust the phone?

If you don’t like how the phone sits straight up, you can slightly bend the silver foot that the phone rests on until it sits at a better angle. Please note there is a limited amount of travel though.

Will my old headset work?

Your current phone headset will probably work with your new phone if it has a RJ11 connection; however, it may require some tweaking to get the sound quality correct.

A new option available with the 8845 phone is to pair a Bluetooth headset with the phone instead of a traditional corded or wireless base station headset.

I would like a new headset.  What are my options?

There are two companies we recommend for headsets, Jabra and Plantronics.


This is a lower end option that connects your phone and is available in mono or stereo audio versions: Jambra Pro 900

This is a higher end option that will allow you to use the headset on both your PC and your phone. It is also available in mono or stereo audio versions: Jabra Pro 9450 Mono

The following links will list all compatible Jabra headsets.  Note that DECT technology provides a greater range than Bluetooth.

Jabra Wired or DECT Wireless Headsets

Jabra Bluetooth Headsets

If you want to be able to use the button on the Jabra headset to answer or hang-up calls, you will also need this cable: Jabra LINK – electronic hook switch adapter


Plantronics makes excellent headsets; however, they are higher priced than JABRA.  Check the Plantronics Compatibility Guide for headsets compatible with the Cisco 8845 phone.

Will internet connectivity impact calls?

In the event of an internet outage, connectivity issues could interrupt calls.  Each campus will have phones that work with a router so you’ll be able to make outgoing calls.  Incoming calls will be redirected to voicemail.

Will DoIT continue to manage phones for staff at a UWSA location?

DoIT will no longer be managing the phones.  Instead, OIS will manage the phone system for staff located at 660 West Washington, 780 Regent, and Van Hise Hall.

How does Jabber—the “soft phone” option—work?

The soft phone option, called Jabber, can be installed on any Windows or Mac computer, plus Android and Apple Smart Phones.

Look for it in the Microsoft Software Center on your PC. It should be available for you to install there. If it is not, give your machine some time for the catalog to update. If you have an Apple device, contact the VoIP Team.

The most important thing to note for Jabber is the phone control feature (bottom left of the hub window), which allows you to control your desk phone from your computer. If you want to use it as a true soft client, make sure that it is set to “Use my computer for calls” and that you have a microphone or headset available, just as you would for a Skype call. Jabber is also able to make video calls to a desk phone.

If you have a mobile device, you are also able to install the Jabber client from your device’s app store. However, calling from the mobile app is not configured currently. It is a separate configuration from the PC based Jabber client that still needs to be completed.

How much can my department expect to be charged each month?

Individual departments will no longer be charged for phone lines, voice mail, or phone usage.  All UWSA phone costs will be paid centrally.

VoIP Quick Reference

See the VoIP Quick Reference for basic information to help you through the transition to VoIP.