Welcome to ETH World

sipETH: Internet Telefonie for the ETH Zurich

ETH World 2000-2005

The ETH World program came to an end in 2005. This website is no longer updated and contains archival information about the activities.


The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich, ETH) business telephony system was extended by ETH World with SIP telephony during a technology exploration project.

ETH Zurich's IT Department (Informatikdienste) have now converted this exploration project into a regular service named PolyPhone.

This project has been inspired by the Internet2 initiative. During the exploration process many new ideas have led to a new vision for our project. In this document we describe not only the technical implementation concerning the initiative but also our new vision and what we are doing to achieve it.

Vision Developed During the Exploration Project

ETH Zurich intends to introduce SIP telephony with audio, video, presence and instant messaging (IM) for all its stakeholders (staff, students, former collaborators, and alumni).

The physical ETH campus currently consists of multiple spatially separate locations. The vision of the sipETH project (working title) is to extend and make closer the physical ETH campus. Independent of where ETH members are (regardless they are on site, at home, en route, or at another university), they will stay part of the campus. In the future, their presence at a particular location will even more extend the campus space to that location.

The community will be able to communicate over voice, video and instant messaging. Every person will be identified by a personal (phone) number. A gateway supports phone calls (voice) to and from the traditional phone network (PSTN). Communication costs for calls over the gateway will be billed at special conditions. Our infrastructure is based on the standard SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). In the future additional services (e. g. application sharing) can be added.

The project is innovative regarding the following two aspects:

  1. Spatial extension of the campus ("Personal campus" or "The person is the campus") - The borders of the physical campus disappear: All community members independently of where they are can communicate and cooperate.
  2. Temporal extension of the campus ("Campus for life") - Members will be able to communicate and cooperate (for free and over different channels) with all other present and former ETH members. Accounts will be kept along their career.

Project Sponsors for the Exploration Project

sipETH is a joint project of IT Department (ETH World) and the IT Department (Informatikdienste).

Web-Pages of PolyPhone

The Web pages of PolyPhone are here.


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© 2012 ETH Zurich | Imprint | Disclaimer | 1 July 2005