VoIP Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Why VoIP?

A: The consolidation of resources and elimination of aging infrastructure are definitely cost savings over the long-term for the University.  For new construction (574 Boston Ave, SEC, etc.) we are only putting in one data network, not a separate network for data and for voice. This is a big savings for the University as well.  Also, people can now move their own phones if office moves or swaps occur.  With the old system, a technician had to go out and move the wiring in order to move telephones, so this is also a savings especially in the long-term after the entire University is transitioned. Old technology and equipment requires maintenance, even more so as it ages, so we transition to newer technology because it has more advantages such as convenience, mobility, access, flexibility, integration, features.


Q: Will the Tufts Police number be 617-627-6911 (for Medford emergency)? No longer 66911 from campus?  And is Fire still 911?

A: Yes, dial 617-627-6911 for emergencies.  911 is also fine. The Tufts Police number could be added as a speed dial. To add speed dial numbers: From the Jabber Hub window,on PC: Gear > Options > Self Care Portal tab > Open Self Care > Log in > Phone Settings > Speed Dial Numbers > Add New Speed DIal,  on Mac: Jabber > Preferences >  Self Care Portal tab > Open Self Care > Log in > Phone Settings > Speed Dial Numbers > Add New Speed DIal... Give the system a few minutes for the numbers to display on the desk phone.


Q: Do you have any suggestions for creating a Jabber culture in my department? It is such a valuable tool and I wish everyone in our department understood how useful it is.

A: At this point, try encouraging your colleagues by mentioning the benefits. You can also suggest Jabber to others to use it for chat even if they are not on VoIP yet.  And for folks that prefer the desk phone, showing them the use jabber with desk phone feature seems to help get them to try it out.


Q: Is there a "free" Cisco Jabber client for other non-Tufts folks? Say in another lab at another university?

A: In order for external clients to communicate with Jabber users at Tufts, the other party should be using an XMPP compatible federated service, such as Jabber. Having a XMPP client is not enough, you have to be using XMPP service provided by someone. Stanford, Harvard, MIT use/have XMPP federated services, and probably a number of other universities. Depending on the XMPP service, there might be some limitations of what users can do. Most likely anything related to chat is going to be OK.


Q: Privacy - we are concerned that since we are using our computers for phones, that there might be more of a Tufts ability to monitor our communication?

A: Tufts is not monitoring communication!  Traffic within the University is encrypted and external traffic is secure.  Chat is only saved on the computers that send/receive it, it is not saved on any server.

The only data collected by the Cisco servers for voice is the metadata. This means the date, time and duration of a call, the originating number and the number called.  This is the same information that we have always collected and that all phone companies collect.  It is the same information that used to go to the departments when we did monthly telephone billing.  It is not different for VoIP than for the traditional Avaya system.  Tufts does not record or monitor voice calls or Jabber chats.


Q: Will we still get our reports from Pinnacle?

A: Pinnacle - currently -– no, possibly reports may be available in Pinnacle sometime in the future, but this is still being determined.…


Q: Can I use my Mac Contacts (used to be called Address Book) with Jabber?

A: Yes. Select Jabber > Preferences > General tab. Check Integrate local Mac Contacts with your Cisco Jabber contacts. Then restart Jabber. You will now be able to use Jabber to dial a contact from your Mac Contacts.


Q: Can I view my Google calendar on Jabber rather then my Outlook calendar?

A: Yes, on PCs. Click Gear > File > Options. On the Calendar tab, select Google Calendar. Click OK. Exit Jabber by clicking Gear > Exit. Sign back in to Jabber and enter your Google account information at the prompt. In Jabber, click the Meetings tab to see your Google calendar.


Q: Is there a helpful set of directions for Jabber and the phone functions?

A: Yes, TTS has Technology User Guides available here:  https://it.tufts.edu/guides/cisco-jabber-chat-and-voip-telephone


Q: Should we be getting headsets? Those Plantronics ones I've seen look pretty fancy!

A: Yes, you should get a set from TeleComm with your new phone. If you do not, write to teldata@tufts.edu.


Q: I'm a Mac user, and all of a sudden my Plantronics microphone seems to not be working. Any suggestions?

A: Yes, go to Apple menu > System Preferences... > Security & Privacy > Privacy tab > on the left click Microphone > in the "Allow the apps below to access your microphone.", place a check next to Cisco Jabber. See if that solves the issue. If you are not allowed to make those changes on your Mac, ask for an administrator's help.


Q: Does Tufts offer Wireless Headsets? Can I use a Bluetooth device with my VoIP phone rather than the Plantronics headset or my desk set?

A: Tufts does not offer Wireless Headsets. But there are audio devices that will work with Jabber, including Bluetooth, but we have not yet set up models, suppliers, or a business model for supplying alternate audio devices (i.e.,  departments would be charged for this).  Jabra (Jabra not Jabber) is a good brand and has many devices compatible with Jabber.  If you can find one that is compatible with Jabber, you can order it yourself.  We have just not had bandwidth/resources to take on the Bluetooth options yet. For wireless headsets or other non-standard accessories for use with either Jabber or the phones - departments can purchase this type of product from the vendor CDW-G on the Tufts Marketplace using Pcards.  CDW-G offers many Jabra headset options and their website should state if a product is compatible with Cisco Jabber. 

There is also model of wired headset that TTS can provide for the VoIP phones. If you cannot find something acceptable, email teldata@tufts.edu and they can see what they can find (this would only be for the telephone set, they do not choose Jabber accessories for clients as there are too many to choose from).


Q: Do end users have Jabber pushed to their machines as part of the rollout?

A: We do not push Jabber as part of the rollout but it is supposed to be pushed to user machines if they have LANDesk and if the machine is on the Tufts network. A transition email is sent to new VoIP users with the transition/training date, some basic information, and it does state that they should check for Jabber (Start > Cisco Jabber > Jabber) and that it is recommended to install it prior to the transition. Jabber can even be self-installed on your home machines via this same Chat page. Contact the Service Desk if you need to have it installed.


Q: Can I make two different calls to two different people from two phones, such as my headset and my desk phone, at the same time?

A: Yes, either from Jabber or the phone. You can put one call on hold and initiate another call.  If you are not using "Use my Desk Phone for Calls," you can place calls from Jabber and the desk phone at the same time.


Q: Can a lab have its own phone number? (For example not even using a physical phone in the lab, but just having Jabber on a PC.)

A: Labs can have their own phone numbers (many do) but there is no way to have a group account for Jabber.  Jabber has to be connected to an individual's UTLN.  So for most labs who have many researchers, students, etc. the physical phone is usually the best option.  In some labs over 40 people use the lab.  Most of the Grad Student offices also have a physical phone and not Jabber for the same reason.


Q: Do students get Jabber too, or just grad students if they are employed by Tufts?

A: We try to limit any student telephone Jabber accounts unless the department really needs the student to make lots of business calls on behalf of the department when they are not physically working at the department offices (this is not usually the case).  Generally, students/grad students do not use the phones very often.  Since once Jabber is enabled for a student, they could use it from any of their devices anywhere, we don't want to give the impression that we are giving students free telephone service.  Most student workers either have no phone or use a physical phoneset at the department when they are working there.


Q: How many people can be conferenced in at once?

A: Up to 6 including the phone that is initiating the conference.


Q: If there's a power failure, what should we do in an emergency?

A: There may still be a few analog phones that would still function in a power outage.  The emergency phones (blue lights) would also continue to work. Either use one of these or your cell phones to notify Tufts Police of the power outage.


Q: How secure is using the attach file function in Jabber?

A: This is secure as the person has to accept the attachment before they can access it.  All Jabber traffic is encrypted within the University.


Q: Should we stay away from using PI in our chats, such as SS#s?

A: Yes. Since the chat history is retained on the screen, it is not advisable to chat PI information.  Again, it is encrypted data traffic, but someone could potentially see the information on a computer screen if the chat window is open.


Q: If my computer is shut off, will my desk phone still ring?

A: Yes.


Q: If I use my cell phone for Tufts business, will my cell phone # display on the recipients phone?

A: Once the cell phone is added in the Self Care Portal (regardless of whether you have SNR enabled or not), if (and only if) you are calling another person that is also on Tufts VoIP, the call does appear as if it is from your Tufts number.  However, if you are calling anyone else, including folks still on our Avaya system or any external number, the call appears as from the regular cell number.


Q: Can I add my own ringtone?

A: No. 


Q: Do I need internet or data coverage to use the Jabber app on my cell phone?

A: Yes, you do need internet or data coverage to use the Jabber app on a cell phone.  It can be the phone carrier's data or another wi-fi data connection, but it does require data.  However, you can use Single Number Reach without data coverage as it sends the calls to the phone's voice (telephone) connection like a regular cell call and does not require data.


Q: Can group calls be made? E.g., calling your team all at once?

A: You cannot dial more than one number at once, but you can do a conference call (same as on Avaya system). Either the Jabber Chat Room or WebEx would be best for team meetings.  Chat Room is good if all do not need to see the information at the same time, or if some people cannot log in at the same time, this way they can see the historical chat conversation.  WebEx is good for live team meetings or troubleshooting but is typically only heard/seen by those in attendance at the time (you can record them but I don't think many folks listen to those after the fact).


Q: Is there a way to use Jabber to save money on international trips?

A: Regarding international calling, if you take either your laptop with Jabber on it, or the Jabber app on your cell phone overseas, when you make a call back to the US, it is a regular, local call. So that will save money. President Monaco was an early Jabber adopter during his trips to England. (You just need access to reliable WiFi.)

However, if you call internationally while traveling, for example you want to call someone in the country that you are visiting, using Jabber you would still have to dial 011 and this would be an international call and Tufts would pay for the international calling charges (the same as calling that country from your office phone).

So, Jabber is great for calling to/from the USA while in another country, but it is probably best to have some way to make local calls within that country if you need to call people there.

And we use Windstream Communications as our service provider. So we still have favorable international calling rates.


Q: Is there a way to preload department members into the Jabber contacts? So when we get Jabber, all of our colleagues will already be listed?

A: You can open a ticket with the Service Desk and they should be able to assist you in creating an XML file that can be imported into Jabber.  You could have your list divided up by workgroups within your department.  This works great, but is not dynamic (doesn't automatically update when a colleague leaves Tufts or a new person joins your department) so you would have to continue to add new people, etc.  Also, the Service Desk might be able to push the XML file out to your Jabber clients.  You could request this on one ticket (e.g., Please create XML file for Jabber departmental contacts and push to department members' Jabber clients).


Q: What are my options for receiving calls?

A: You can receive calls using either a headset, a physical phone or using your computers speakers. We recommend you use the headset when you first convert to Jabber.


Q: Why can't I hear through my headset?

A: When you log into Jabber the first time, you will need to instruct it to recognize your headset. See Updating Audio Preferences in Cisco Jabber.


Q: Why did my call go straight to voice mail?

A: If you have not logged into Jabber on any device, your calls will automatically be routed to voice mail. We suggest checking the 'Start Cisco Jabber when my computer starts' option. (From the Jabber Hub window, on PC: Gear > Options > General tab,   on Mac: Jabber > Preferences >  General tab)


Q: Why can't I make a call to a 5-digit internal Tufts extension?

A: The Jabber platform requires you make calls using all 10 digits.  You will no longer need to dial 9 when calling someone off campus, and you generally don't have to use a 1. Continue to begin international calls with 011.


Q: I'm working from home and connected to Jabber. Why does my Jabber say it is disconnected?

A: If you use Jabber from home, it will only be as stable as your Internet connection. If for any reason your Internet connection fails, Jabber will be disconnected.


Q: Can I install Jabber to make phone calls on my Tufts laptop to use from home or on my home computer?

A: Yes. You can even install Jabber on iPads and tablets. To self install Jabber on mobile devices, go to the App Store or Google Play and search for Cisco Jabber. It's a white whirlwind icon on a blue background. For computers, download it from the Chat page.


Q: Why can't I use the Jabber app on my Windows mobile phone?

A: There is currently no Jabber app available for Windows mobile phones. The app is available for Apple and Android based mobile devices.


Q: Can I go back to the old system?

A: No, this is the system that eventually will be used by the entire Tufts community.


Q: Can I increase the number of times the phone rings before it goes into voicemail?

A: Yes, send an email to teldata@tufts.edu, provide your phone number, and request the specific number of rings you would like before the calls go to voicemail.


Q: How do I add speed dial numbers to my desk phone?

A: Speed dial numbers are added through the Self Care Portal. Log in > Phone Settings > Speed Dial Numbers > Add New Speed DIal. If you have added more Speed dial numbers than available buttons on the desk phone, you need to remember the Speed dial number you assigned to each additional phone number. • Press the number(s) on the keypad for the Speed dial you want to use. • Press the soft key button below the dots on the LCD screen. • Press the soft key button below Speed dial. The phone will dial the phone number assigned to the speed dial number you entered.