Telephone technology transition at Wright-Patterson

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - Upgrades to the way Wright-Patterson AFB makes and receives telephone calls are under way with replacing the older legacy phone system to the new Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.


The 88th Communication Squadron’s Voice Network Systems Office operates two central telephone offices located in Area A and Area B, maintaining Wright-Patterson telephone equipment and providing the base dial tone. By employing this new system that accesses the telephone through the internet, or NIPRNet, they can now take advantage of more technology by saving time and space.


“Computers and telephones will now use the same backbone, NIPRNet, with VOIP in place,” said Douglas Vonada, chief of Voice Network Systems.


The older legacy telephone system used underground copper wires, circuit cards, and took most of the space in a good sized room. 


“This VoIP system uses servers, switches, and virtual equipment and is able to fit in one cabinet in each location,” said Vonada.


According to Vonada, the big part of the transition was getting the infrastructure and network set up to accept the VoIP service. The voice network systems team converts each building and sets the individual building switches and infrastructure up in order to be able to deal with the system.


“There are a lot of moving parts and coordination within the voice network systems office and it is a total team effort across the infrastructure flight,” stated Vonada.


Both Areas A and B will acquire the new VoIP system. The voice network system shop has already transitioned about 10,000 customer phones on the installation. Due to Wright-Patterson AFB’s large number of personnel, approximately 34,000 more customers are still scheduled to receive the upgraded telephone systems.


“It’s a big transition and we’re a bigger base than most places too,” said Vonada.


In addition to transitioning telephone systems, the voice network systems shop also maintains the records database for all of the phone numbers in the system. The Communications Accounting Information Retrieval System also disperses base telephone number information to the Wright-Patterson AFB fire department’s 911 system so first responders can locate individuals in the event of an emergency.