/ Computing and Information Technology

The New Phone System

Hope's 32-year-old phone system is being replaced by a brand new, state-of-the-art system! Here's everything you need to know.

What's Not Changing

  • Your phone extension and ten-digit phone number (616.395.XXXX)
  • Most dialing procedures, such as in-campus dialing extensions, "dialing 8" to dial out, and others
  • The phone on your desk (if you have a standard, single-line phone)

What Is Changing

If we were to replace every phone on campus with a fancy new VoIP desk phone, it would be enormously expensive. We think that there are better ways to use Hope's resources than... desk phones. With that in mind:

  • The system that the phones connect to in the basement of Graves Hall is being completely replaced. It will be going from an "analog switch" to a much smaller "VoIP" system. The older system is about the size of six refrigerators, and the new one is around the size of eight pizza boxes.
  • There will be a new voicemail system. This will include following new prompts and recording a new greeting.
  • If you have a multi-line phone, it will be upgraded to a newer model. The current "Digital Multi-Line" phones are incompatible with the new system.
  • You will no longer have to use an auth code to dial any U.S. phone number. International calls will require a new auth code.
  • Phone billing is now managed from a central college budget, so you will no longer receive emails about phone costs. Departments no longer need to manage individual phone budgets.

What We Could Do Someday

The main reason we are moving to this system is to mitigate the risk of something inevitably happening to our current system. It's only a matter of time before it stops working, and nobody provides support for a system like ours anymore. With this upgrade, we tried to take an approach that would be as minimally disruptive and as cost-effective as possible. With that in mind, this new system will possibly enable us to someday improve things like Caller ID, voicemails that arrive via email, ringing multiple phones at once that have the same number, and maybe even a directory of numbers on the phone itself. These improvements will be looked at in the months following the upgrade date.

Implementation

REGULAR SINGLE-LINE PHONES
Your existing desk phone will work with the new phone system! The biggest change that you'll notice is the new voicemail system. 3500 will still work to dial your voicemail, but 7300 is now the recommended number. Your dialing procedures (such as "dialing 8" to dial off-campus) will all remain the same.
VoIP SINGLE-LINE PHONES
A small desk phone with the numbers under the headset

Some places on campus are hard to reach with traditional phone lines, such as the Plaza on 8th Street. These places have been using an experimental VoIP system. If you have been using that phone, you will be given this phone, the Mitel 5304.

  1. It is much simpler and much easier to navigate than the old phone interface
  2. CallerID will work for all inter-campus calls, and for now, will only show the extension of the caller. In the future, this may change.
  3. You will have two buttons that you can program to be custom speed dials
In the days leading up to the upgrade date, anyone who has an existing VoIP Phone will be given a new phone to run side-by-side with their current phone. Before that date, your new phone will only work to call other new campus phones. During this time, you can set up your new voicemail box and try out the new phone. On the upgrade date, your new phone will become your main phone, and will gain the ability to make and receive calls from outside of campus. CIT will then come by in the following days to collect your old phone.
VoIP MULTI-LINE PHONES

A desk phone with a small screenA desk phone with a small screen and lots of buttons on the right side

If you have an existing multi-line phone (also called a "digital phone"), that will not work with the new phone system. You will be getting this phone, a Mitel 6920. Many departments that keep track of lots of numbers will also get a "sidecar", which has an additional 28 buttons and attaches to the right of the phone.

In the days leading up to the upgrade date, you will be given this new VoIP Phone to run side-by-side with your current phone. Before that date, your new phone will only work to call other new campus phones. During this time, you can set up your new voicemail box and try out the new phone. On the upgrade date, your new phone will become your main phone, and will gain the ability to make and receive calls from outside of campus. CIT will then come by in the following days to collect your old phone.

  • Programmable Keys
    On the Soft Keys, some of the buttons are programmable. Press and hold the button you'd like to program, then enter the target number. That button will now Speed Dial when pressed.
  • Mute
    Press the Mute button to mute the microphone on the handset or speakerphone
  • Hold
    Press the Hold button to place call on hold. To resume your call, press the Soft Key to the left of the screen that corresponds to the call that's on hold.
  • Missed Calls
    Press the Call History button to see recent incoming, outgoing, or missed calls. Press the Call History button again to dial.
  • Transferring a Call
    To transfer a call, press the Transfer Soft Key below the screen and dial the extension. Press the Hang Up button to complete the transfer.
  • Transfer Directly to Voicemail While on a call, press the Voicemail button, dial an extension, and hang up
  • Conference Calling
    While on a call, press the Add User softkey and dial the other party. When they answer, press the Join Calls Soft Key.