USAFE specialists install softphones

U.S. Air Forces in Europe communications specialists are leading Air Force transformation and are currently implementing the latest in telephone service technology: telephone services directly on your computer desktop.

While base communications squadrons have been busy rolling out those familiar Cisco phones to replace the older phones, the next step in telephone system transformation is the installation of software phones or “softphones.”

Cisco IP Communicator is the program USAFE is providing to perform softphone functions. Once installed on your computer, the softphone application will provide the same look, feel and service as the Cisco phone that physically sits on your desk.

“Softphones are much less expensive than traditional telephones and significantly easier to field and maintain,” said Adam Sowells, the USAFE theater engineering lead. “In a future of constrained resources and a cultural change to adopt application based services, softphones are a necessity. When coupled with virtual private network client software, softphones provide DSN access anywhere to connect to the high-speed internet. Softphones also facilitate telecommuting and continued DSN connectivity while TDY.”

The only cost in implementing softphones is the purchase of a headset, normally $30 to $60 each, a bargain when compared to the $700 (or more) cost of a traditional phone. Individual units will be responsible for providing headsets to their personnel.

How do you get the softphone installed?  Simply contact the Enterprise Service Desk at 478-HELP (478-4357) to open a trouble ticket. Softphone installation requires local administrator rights. Tell the ESD technician you would like to have Cisco IP Communicator installed on your machine. A local Client Systems Team technician will install the software and ascertain other technical information they will need to complete the process.

Still have questions? Contact the local communications squadron. They have all the information needed to start “going soft.”

(Provided by U.S. Air Forces in Europe/U.S. Air Forces in Africa A6CE Engineering and Architecture Branch)