PA Campus Shifts to VoIP in Construction Project

Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA said it has begun a transition to voice over IP to accommodate new construction. The university, which has 2,000 students on a 600-acre campus, made the decision when it was faced with a project to move telephone poles and lay new cables to provide telecommunications for new buildings.

"As we looked at our building plan, we realized that we had outgrown our current Siemens telephone system," said George Pyo, director of administration/management information systems for Saint Francis. "We worked with our Siemens team and determined that a new VoIP system would be the best choice for us as we continue to expand the campus and look to offer new services to our faculty, staff and students."

The school installed a Siemens HiPath 4000 system. It acknowledged that the upfront costs for the deployment will be greater than recabling. The return on investment will be returned over five years.

"From a longer-term budget perspective, VoIP just made more sense for us," said Pyo. "Plus, with the new technology we are able to offer new services to our users and we're well positioned to continue adding new features and functionality." Among the new features are disaster recovery and redundancy, which the campus doesn't have for its traditional telecommunications setup.

Saint Francis has split the campus between logical and cable infrastructure, enabling the the school to continue to leverage some of the existing services on campus while using VoIP to solve the cabling issues with new buildings.

The project, supported by two project managers from Siemens who worked onsite, took four months and was completed in time for the start of classes in August 2007.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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