NYTimes writes about what is perhaps the largest of its kind application at Dartmouth College:
This week, as classes begin, the 1,000 students entering the class of 2007 will be given the option of downloading software, generically known as softphones, onto Windows-based computers.
Using the software together with a headset, which can be plugged into a computer’s U.S.B. port, the students can make local or long-distance telephone calls free. Each student is assigned a traditional seven-digit phone number.
The software, supplied by a variety of companies, works on laptops and desktop computers alike. Over the next six months, the softphone platforms will expand to include Apple computers, as well as Palm and Pocket PC hand-held devices.
When running, the software appears on the screen as a phone with a dial pad. Phone numbers are dialed by clicking the numbers on the key pad.
Voice over Internet protocol is not new. But running so much voice over a wireless data network is.
“As far as I know, no one has done a wireless voice-over-I.P. network this large before,” said David Kotz, a computer science professor at Dartmouth.
The network is being phased in across the entire campus with plans to reach 13,000 people, including faculty and staff.