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Overview of Voice Mail Systems at Penn

As part of the initiative to provide the next generation of integrated communication services (data, voice, Internet, media) to the University community, ISC will replace the existing Octel voice mail system. The new system, already in use by PennNet Phone customers, provides a high availability voice mail solution using modern servers and networks. This new system can recover from a server or machine room failure in a well-structured and rapid way, as we do for campus email and web services.

What this Means Now
No campus-wide rollover to the new voice mail system has been planned. Instead, as departments and users migrate to the PennNet Phone service, they will also migrate to the new voice mail system.

You should continue to access your voice mail as you normally do. If you are responsible for your department's voice services, you may want to consider transitioning your department to the new PennNet Phone and voice mail service.


  • The current voice mail server, Octel, has been in use for almost 15 years. It is expensive to maintain, and has no ability to interface with outside systems (like email).

  • With the Octel server, recovery is cumbersome and time consuming, and would involve at least some loss of message data.

  • Although you may need to learn a few new prompts, for the most part, key presses in the new system for common voice mail features such as save, delete, and replay are the same or similar to those in the current system.


Page updated on September 21, 2009


Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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