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Zoom Voice Project Information

NDSU has launched a project to convert from an Avaya on-premises PBX system to Zoom Phone cloud-based services.


We're excited to introduce the Zoom Voice project, a cloud-based telecommunications solution that promises to significantly enhance unified communications at NDSU. Departing from our traditional Avaya PBX environment, Zoom Phone offers cost-effective scalability, eliminating the need for on-premises core infrastructure while seamlessly integrating with the broader Zoom ecosystem that we use for hyflex classes, meetings, and events. With a unified Zoom app that encompasses high-quality video conferencing, screen sharing, SMS messaging, and advanced voice services, we're introducing a platform characterized by improved collaboration and flexibility.  Leverage Zoom Phone to elevate communication, foster innovation, and adapt to the evolving needs of our dynamic student-focused, land-grant, research university.


Department migration to Zoom Phone Schedule

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


General Information

1. What's the difference between Zoom, Zoom Meeting, Zoom Phone, and the Zoom client?

Zoom is the organization that started business as a web conferencing company. Their first product, Zoom Meeting, is what we began using in the pandemic for our synchronous classes, meetings, and large web events. You use the Zoom client to do things like change your display name, determine whether all participants are muted to start a meeting, set up security elements so that meetings are not taken over by hackers, etc. Zoom built a new set of products on top of the same Zoom client used for Zoom Meeting. One of those products is Zoom Phone. When we convert you from Avaya to Zoom Phone, you will open the Zoom client used for meetings and find a "Phone" icon in the top ribbon. This is where your voice functionality will be located.

  •  Zoom - company that makes all Zoom-related products
  •  Zoom client (AKA "app") - this is the interface used for all Zoom products including Zoom Meeting and Zoom Phone
  •  Zoom Meeting - product within the Zoom client that is used for synchronous meetings, classes, and events
  •  Zoom Phone - another product within the Zoom client that is used to make, receive, transfer, and perform other functions on voice calls. It provides call queues and auto attendant functions along with SMS text messaging, voice mail, etc.

2. When will the project start and finish?

The project started late this summer with preliminary planning and we are currently targeting to have it substantially complete by 7/1/24. 

3. Which locations will be moving to Zoom?

All locations currently serviced by NDSU IT will convert to Zoom Phone, including:

  • Main campus
  • NDSU Downtown
  • Fargodome
  • NDSU School of Nursing, Bismarck
  • Vet Diagnostic
  • Dickinson Research Extension
  • West Building
  • NDSCS Fargo
  • NDSCS Wahpeton

For the most part, converting from Avaya to Zoom Phone will happen on a departmental rather than location basis.

4. When will my department convert to Zoom Phone? How much notice will telephone administrators be given?

The schedule was sent out to telephone administrators via email mid-November and can be found in this page - Department migration to Zoom Phone Schedule

5. How do my Zoom temporary phone number and my regular NDSU phone number and extension work?

Until NDSU’s phone numbers port from our current telephone carriers to Zoom later this summer you will actually have two phone numbers: 

  1. Regular NDSU phone number and 5-digit extension - allows you to call anyone at NDSU or have anyone from on or off-campus call you like they would today
  2. Temporary Zoom phone number - this will show up on the person you are calling’s caller ID.  You never have to communicate it or even be aware of it, it will be used by the system automatically.  The biggest impact is that if the person you are calling adds the temp number to their phone’s contacts, after this summer it will no longer work

In August the temp number should automatically be removed from your account and the caller ID out will be your NDSU phone number.

Porting NDSU’s phone numbers (over 2,000 active) is similar to the process you would go through when switching from one cellular carrier to another and keeping your phone number.  A phone number can only be with one carrier at any given time. 

6. Will phone numbers be changing?

No, we will be keeping existing phone numbers.

7. Will the whole campus be converted at the same time?

No, we will be doing the transition on a departmental bases as opposed to moving everyone at the same time. Being able to migrate on a departmental basis, rather than building-by-building or physical site/location basis, is one of the benefits of primarily leveraging the Zoom app.

8. Will I need any new usernames, passwords, or PINs for Zoom Phone?

For the most part, no. The Zoom app uses your regular NDSU Bison Login and in most cases long distance authorization codes will not be necessary. The only time when a unique PIN will be required is if you want to dial into the system from a landline or cell phone to listen to voice mail messages (vast majority of people will listen to them in the Zoom app or from their email box) or if multiple users “hotel” in a common area and use the same traditional telephone set.

9. Will NDSCS continue to be a partner and supported by NDSU with Zoom Phone?

Yes, NDSU has a great partnership with NDSCS. And it will be converting to Zoom Phone along with NDSU.

10. What will the monthly costs be for Zoom Phone?

For this fiscal year (FY24) it will follow the same rates as we have for the Avaya lines (i.e., what you are paying today you will continue to pay until 6/30/24). The costing process for FY25 will be finished this spring with new rates starting 7/1/24 (FY25). The rates are based on actual costs to run voice services at NDSU and include licensing, infrastructure, and staffing.

11. With Zoom Phone, are telephones and telephone numbers going away at NDSU?

Telephone numbers and traditional telephones are not going away at NDSU. Existing telephone numbers will convert over to the new Zoom Phone environment. And there will still be conventional telephone sets in locations such as hallways, labs, etc.

What is changing is the proliferation of telephone sets on campus. We are moving to having as close to zero traditional telephones as possible (see App/Phone FAQ #1 for more information), which means the typical interfaced used by a person issued a telephone number will be the Zoom app instead of a traditional telephone.

12. Can MS Teams still be used once we convert to Zoom Phone?

Yes, it can continue to be used as before.  Departments may want to move some functions such as Chat to Zoom or use it for point-to-point video communication similar to MS Teams, but this at their discretion. 

13. We already have Microsoft Teams, why not just use this for telephone service?

Both MS Teams and Zoom have become strongly embraced by the campus.  As of this spring, MS Teams (administered by NDUS) was designed to be administered centrally and offered challenges for us to administer (such as the inability to use our automated infrastructure). MS Teams also had limitations with texting, in providing advanced contact center functionality, and providing some life safety elements we utilize. Zoom Phone has features that address these concerns and through contact with colleagues at Minnesota State, University of Southern California, University of Arizona, and others as well as engaging our long-time voice system architect and engineer we found that Zoom was better suited to our needs. 

14. It wasn't that long ago we got new telephones, why change now? 

We did move from analog telephones as the primary voice technology on campus to new Avaya SIP telephones (a project delayed due to the pandemic that eventually started in late 2021 and was completed in the summer of 2022), but the back end telecommunication infrastructure was unchanged. The timing to move to Zoom Phone now is advantageous because approximately 30 servers need to be upgraded/replaced, the existing Avaya contract is up in less than two years, and Zoom offered strong incentives. The Avaya SIP phone replacement project also allowed us to introduce advanced E911 services and resolve data-related challenges that will benefit the Zoom Voice project.

15. Will we have a choice of using Zoom or Avaya for our phone service?

NDSU will be transitioning from Avaya to Zoom and deprecating all Avaya servers as part of the project.

16. If the "network" is down, is phone service also down?

Just like our Avaya environment today, there are a number of scenarios that affect the answer to this question.  If the Internet link to NDSU is down (see General Information FAQ #17 on Internet redundancy below for more information) then apps and phones connected to the NDSU network will also not be able to make or receive calls.  If the network is down for a building on campus, the apps and phones connected to the network in that building cannot make calls.  Mobile devices using cellular data can still make and receive calls depending on if you have already authenticated into Zoom. Please note that it is rare for NDSU to suffer a complete loss of Internet connectivity.

17. Will there be Internet redundancy to keep phone service up on campus if our main Internet connection is down?

NDSU’s Internet1 service is provided by two different carriers with 100G connectivity.  The second carrier was added in July 2023 and was in response from NDIT to continually improve resiliency.  A couple of things to note about Internet-related outages:  1) they are rare, for example our last major outage (a fiber cut – occurring before we had the upgrade to a second carrier) was around April 2022,  2) most large organizations with onsite telephone systems use the Internet to provide connectivity (SIP trunks) to the telephone company so they have similar susceptibility to Internet issues as using a cloud provider.

18. How do telephone administrators cancel telephone service so particular telephones lines don't carry over into the Zoom Voice Project (e.g. conference room telephones no longer being used)? 

At some point later this fall or early winter we will need to freeze moves/adds/changes in the Avaya system to concentrate on converting departments to Zoom Phone, but until then, please use regular processes with VCS.

19. How do I become familiar with the basics of the Zoom app?

Checkout the links in the Training Resources and Information section. Also, please see links in the Related Resources Section


1. Will departments have a choice in whether they use traditional telephones, the Zoom app, or a combination? 

One of the goals of the project is to have as close to zero traditional telephones on campus as possible. We continue to develop the particulars of how this will be look, but are working toward a model where traditional telephones are used only in areas where they are needed for compliance and life safety, multiple individuals use a single location and computers are unavailable/app is a poor fit for the space/function, or where data connectivity is not available (very few locations on campus). 

2. What accessibility options are available for hearing impaired users?

The Zoom app provides live transcriptions in multiple languages and also has the functionality for hosting meetings and events with support for university or third-party sign language interpreters in the meeting.

The Zoom app also has various settings to help the hearing impaired including the ability to work with third-party USB devices that light up when calls come in.

Through Poly phones, visual message indicators, and visual notifications are used, and volume can be increased. They have hearing aid compatible (HAC) handsets and have telecoils that magnetically couple to most forms of wearable hearing aids per FCC section 508 (compliant to ADA Section 508 Recommendations: Subpart B 1194.23), and they provide TTY support for devices such as the Ultratec Superprint and provide acoustic coupled TY support as well.

3. How is the audio quality of the Zoom application for voice calls?

There are two ways of looking at audio quality:  

  • If a person has a poor Internet connection, their computing device is experiencing problems, etc. their audio quality is often impacted (same holds true for traditional SIP telephones);
  • Voice vendors employ technologies that amplify speaking voices and limited background noises.

In terms of the second type, according to the telecommunication system solution architect that NDSU has partnered with for 30 years, Zoom's is the best in the industry. One person recently had a new roof being installed and they were in Zoom Meetings on the second floor of their home. While it was deafening at time for the person having the new roof installed the other participants in the meetings heard the person well and rarely, if ever, heard the nail guns of the roofers (even when directly overhead).

4. Campus telephone service has worked well for decades using traditional telephone sets, why not continue to use them as the primary means of voice communication for Zoom?  Many would prefer a traditional telephone.

We recognize that this is a change that several people are concerned about. The industry has changed dramatically in the last few years and has moved away from legacy PBXs to cloud-based services This has led to a rapid shift away from from traditional telephones in many situations. Also, when we reached out to other Zoom Phone customers such as the University of Arizona and University of Southern California, they strongly recommended moving away from traditional telephones based on their experience.

The Zoom app, which is already used for meetings, will also be used for phone services (available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android), and offers a greater number of features (such as texting to and from your NDSU phone number) and is often more intuitive to use for advanced features than traditional telephones. Traditional telephones are now small computers (even having mini web servers integrated) that must have their software maintained like a computer, have a limited life span (typically five to seven years), cost roughly $100 to $200 each, though some components can be recycled they are overall not very sustainable, departments already invest heavily in computers, and traditional telephones require additional staff time for setup, inventory, surplussing, etc. In addition, Zoom provides monthly updates to the apps that add over 400 features a year to their products whereas traditional telephone features remain essentially static.

5. Will conference rooms that currently have dedicated conference telephones still have dedicated phone numbers or will they need to use a person’s phone number?

If a space has a conference telephone it will continue to use the existing telephone number. Please note that existing Avaya conference telephones are not compatible with other manufacturers such as Zoom.

6. Are existing Avaya desk and conference phones compatible with Zoom Phone?

No, they are proprietary to the Avaya system and will not work with Zoom.

7. If it's determined my department needs a traditional telephone set or a new conference phone, will they be provided at no charge in this project?

We will likely keep the existing model - a set up fee charged to departments for desk telephones (covers a large portion of the cost of the device) and the full purchase of a conference phone.

8. What is the difference between purchasing a traditional telephone and being charged a setup fee?

A setup fee includes a large portion of the actual cost of the phone (presently 90%) and allows the phone to be turned in and re-used by other departments. When starting new service and a traditional telephone is required, a setup fee is charged to the department.

In purchasing a phone, the department covers the full cost of the phone.

We have found that in most cases the setup fee is better fiscally for departments and can be a more environmentally sustainable option because well-maintained phones are reused. But if a department stops telephone service and restarts sometime in the future it can be more expensive.

9. If it's determined my department needs traditional telephone sets, what model(s) will be available?

The manufacture is Poly (formerly Polycom), but exact model(s) have not yet been determined.

10. Will "side cars" be available for traditional telephone sets?

This is still being determined. Note that to provide this functionality would require a different line of Poly phones that is more expensive than what would typically be used.

11.  If my Avaya phone is still plugged in after my department migrates to Zoom Phone, will it still work?

No, it needs to be unplugged and brought to your telephone administrator as quickly as possible.  If you pick up the phone it will sound like it is working (you’ll hear a dial tone), but it won’t allow calls to it or out.  This means that these phones cannot be used for 911 calling.

12. What will happen with our existing Avaya phones?

In the past we have found vendors willing to purchase our old telephones and we will be researching that possibility for our Avaya SIP telephone as well.

13. What headsets are used with the Zoom app?  Will they be provided to departments?

Standard computer headsets can be used, and IT will be working with the Bookstore to stock ones that have been tested. Web mics and computer speakers used for Zoom Meetings and MS Teams can also continue to be used. New headsets will not be provided in the project, but the Bookstore will have them available for purchase as-needed.

14. Are there data or SMS charges when using Zoom app on a personal device?

There are no SMS charges for using the Zoom app (even when using it to send text and recieve messages), but the app does use the mobile device's data when not connected to WiFi.

15. Can those who don’t currently have an Avaya phone sign-up for Zoom Phone service?

Yes, but that will not be available until at some point in late fall or early winter. At that time all new phone requests will be fulfilled using Zoom Phone instead of Avaya.

16. Is there a device that can be used with the Zoom app that lights up when I'm on a call so those who walk up to my desk will know I'm unavailable?

Yes, and we plan to provide the model information to the Bookstore for them to stock.

17. What headsets are available? 

Many varieties are available for use with Zoom Phone on your desktop from the NDSU Bookstore.  Below are the ones VCS tested to provide some information that might be helpful when making your purchase. 

  • Logitech H390 wired USB headset  

This headset is inexpensive and works great.  It is lightweight and has good sound quality.  Microphone works well and can be adjusted up and down.  The only drawback is that this headset does cover both ears.  

  • Microsoft Wireless Headset USB headset with noise reduction 

This headset works great with good sound quality.  Microphone is muted when putting in the up position when wearing it.  Has a comfortable fit and good sound quality.  Background noise is reduced so good that the caller on the other end can’t hear any of the background noises.  This headset covers both ears. 

  • JBL VibeBeam/Perfect Fit  

These are wireless earbuds so they do require that your computer supports Bluetooth connectivity. The 1st thing I noticed is that the cover on the charging case does not open far enough and makes it a bit difficult to remove and replace the earbuds.  Pairing to the computer via Bluetooth was simple and I was able to do it without reading the instructions.  They were comfortable to wear and the sound quality was good.  The sound quality from the microphone to the other end on a zoom call was not great.  I would not recommend these earbuds for phone use. 

  • UBL Harman Tune 130NC earbuds 

These wireless earbuds are very comfortable to wear, pairs easily for the computer that supports Bluetooth. They come with three different earbud ends for personalized sizing to the users.  Background noise is reduced so good that the caller on the other end can’t hear any of the background noises.   

18. I have a conference room that does not have a computer, what are my options for making conference calls? 

If needed the Poly REALPRESENCE TRIO 8800 IP POE CONFERENCE PHONE is compatible with zoom phone and can be purchased through the NDSU Bookstore and normally available within a week. 

If there is access to a laptop that has the zoom app installed a zoom phone user to can get the conference experience using just a speaker with mics.  The Anker Zoom Certified Conference Speaker with 6 Mics, 360° Enhanced Voice Pickup, 24H Call Time, Bluetooth 5.3, USB C is one option can be purchased through the NDSU Bookstore. 

Calling Features

1. Will we still need authorization codes to use long distance?

In most cases authorization codes will no longer be needed because:  

  •  Logging into the Zoom app with your Bison Login is essentially the same as using an auth code, and
  •  U.S. and Canada long distance is included in our licensing at no additional cost.

2. How many concurrent calls can I have on-hold at one time?

Four and one more line is available that can be used to make a call out at the same time.

3. My department's mainline is on many staff members' telephones today or is picked up by many staff members, will this be possible in Zoom Phone?

Yes, there are multiple methods to provide these features through Zoom Phone.

4. My department's mainline has a phone tree that allows callers to pick from various options, leave voice mail messages, etc. Will Zoom Phone provide this type of feature?

Yes, Zoom offers a robust set of these capabilities in their auto attendant and call queue functionality.

5. When calling out the person I dial currently sees my department's caller ID rather than my individual NDSU phone number, is this possible with Zoom Phone?

Yes, and using the app allows you to change this on a per call basis.  For example, you may generally want the caller ID to show your departmental mainline but when calling a colleague regarding a particular situation you may want to show your individual phone number instead.

6. Can I still forward my NDSU phone number to my cell phone?

Yes, but it is not a recommended method. If you use the Zoom app on your cell phone there are many benefits you don't get by simply forwarding all NDSU calls to it: the Zoom app allows you to keep your cell phone number private (all outbound calls use your NDSU phone number, not the cell phone's), when someone calls you and they leave a voice mail it is left in Zoom and not your cell phone, all of your NDSU voice features like call transfer are available, etc.

7. Does Zoom Phone have EC500?

No, EC500 is a legacy Avaya feature that is not supported by Zoom. EC500 rings your desk phone while forwarding incoming calls to a predetermined cell phone at the same time, and when calling into NDSU from that cell phone it looks like you are calling from your Avaya station. Zoom Phone alternatives are to use the Zoom app (many benefits described in answer to FAQ #6 above) or forward all calls (not recommended).

8. Can I still use five-digit dialing between the main campus, Bismarck School of Nursing, West Building, and the NDSU Downtown ?

Yes, and you will also be able to easily dial by typing in a name.

9. Can I still five-digit dialing to call other ND University System campuses and ND state government offices?

No, due to limited use, cost to maintain, etc., that service was deprecated in the Avaya system in late September 2023. 

10. Will fax machines, credit card terminals, modems, etc. work with Zoom Phone?

Yes, but there will be a converter box/gateway used to translate between the analog signal to Zoom. We have not yet determined, but an additional charge for this device may be required.

11. Does Zoom Phone have any spoofing and spam filtering?  Can I block unwanted callers from calling me back? 

Yes, Zoom Phone utilizes the FCC's Caller ID Authentication mechanisms (STIR/SHAKEN) as well as its own filtering technology.  In addition, you can block individual callers, and a potential feature we may employ is a crowd sourcing option that allows NDSU users to indicate if a number is spam. 

12. Can I receive voice calls from the Zoom app while in a Zoom Meeting?

Yes, and there is a setting you can set to not receive calls during Zoom Meetings.

13. If I’m on a voice call in the Zoom app, can I take and receive text messages too?


14. Can anyone record their calls in Zoom Phone like we can do for Zoom Meetings?

No, as today, this will be limited to departments where it is an essential function.

15. Can a Zoom traditional phone (Poly) that is not assigned to an individual be added to Zoom Phone app Contacts?

Yes.  You can search in the Contacts area of the Zoom app for the name of the phone (e.g. “QBB Open Computer Lab”) and when the phone comes up in the search results, press the ellipsis button (…) and select “Star this Contact”.  Can also be added to the Zoom Phone Assistant (AKA “widget”) as a Speed Dial via the Search result.

Unified Communication Features (Voice Mail, SMS, etc.)

1. Can I still get my voice mail messages via email?

Yes, voice mail messages will be sent to email (wave file for listening and a readable transcription) and you can listen/see them within the Zoom Phone portion of the app as well.

2. The voice mail transcription we get from the Avaya system is fairly poor, how does Zoom Phone's compare?

Zoom Phone's transcription services for speech-to-text (STT) are considerably better than what we experience with our Avaya product today.

3. What file types can be sent via SMS?

Files which can be attached to an SMS message include: .jpg, .png, and .gif.

Life Safety

1. Will existing emergency phones and services on campus (blue light phones, elevator emergency phones, etc.) work with Zoom Phone?


2. Will Zoom Phone provide location information to the appropriate 911 operator if I need to dial 911?

Yes, but there are a few different scenarios:  

  • If calling from on campus with the Zoom computer app, NDSU UP&SO and the 911 operator will have specific location information provided (most accurate with wired devices)
  • If the Zoom app is used on a cellular mobile device, the call in most cases will be sent via the device's cellular system, and location coordinates will be provided to the 911 operator as if you dialed 911 directly from a cell phone
  • If the Zoom computer app is used off campus (non-cellular), you will be prompted to put your address into the Zoom app. That address will be sent to the 911 operator during a 911 call  
  • Other unique scenarios may occur.

3. Can Zoom Phone be used to receive campus emergency notifications?  Text messaged notifications?

Yes, if a Zoom Phone number is in the emergency notification system to receive calls it will receive them. If the Zoom Phone station is configured to do SMS texting, it will receive those as well.

4. Will Zoom Phone work if I plug my computer or Poly phone into a data switch in my office (not directly into the wall data outlet)?

We highly do not recommend this scenario.  Phone service may work properly (although this can be problematic too), but in many cases this network configuration will result in an inaccurate 911 location being sent to NDSU’s UP&SO and the 911 operator.  Computers running the Zoom app and Zoom Poly traditional telephones should be plugged directly into an NDSU IT-provided wall jack

5. If my Avaya phone is still plugged in after my department migrates to Zoom Phone, will it still work?

No, it needs to be unplugged and brought to your telephone administrator as quickly as possible.  If you pick up the phone it will sound like it is working (you’ll hear a dial tone), but it won’t allow calls to it or out.  This means that these phones cannot be used for 911 calling.

Please note that answers to these questions are subject to change as the project continues to unfold.

Training Information and Resources

Related Resources

Keywordszoom call, zoom voice, zoom meeting, zoom phone, zoom client, avaya, phone, call, voice mail   Doc ID131809
OwnerSharley K.GroupIT Knowledge Base
Created2023-09-30 12:45 CSTUpdated2023-12-05 14:41 CST
SitesIT Knowledge Base
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