Michigan State University (MSU) was founded over 150 years ago. Today, over 10,000 academic and support staff serve more than 50,000 students. MSU was ranked by Times Higher Education as one of the top 100 universities in the world, and in the top 8% of universities in the United States. To continue their commitment to world-class education, the university decided it was time to modernize their communication capabilities.


Michigan State University was relying on an outdated analog communication system that could no longer meet the demands of the organization and was becoming too expensive to maintain. The university was interested in the advanced features of an IP telephony solution that were not available with their current system. MSU was looking to modernize all the existing analog and digital phones to IP while also deploying new IP phones in additional locations. However, the university was concerned with the requirements to upgrade the existing network infrastructure to support the new IP system. The existing voice solution was supported by a CAT3 infrastructure that the university was not willing to rip-and-replace due to concerns of:

  • High costs and permit complications to renovate the older buildings on campus
  • Significantly extended project timelines due to a network overhaul
  • Months of daily disruptions to over 60,000 staff and students
  • Installing hundreds of IDF closets on campus to support the new IP phones exactly where they were needed


While attending the Avaya ENGAGE show, Michigan State University was introduced to Avaya DevConnect Technology Partner NVT Phybridge. Given the customer’s needs, Avaya was confident in recommending Modern LAN Principles and the NVT Phybridge PoLRE® (Power over Long Reach Ethernet) switch solution. The award-winning PoLRE switch, with SmartPathPoE™ technology, transforms any new or existing CAT3 voice infrastructure into a secure and reliable IP path with power. MSU was impressed with the technology but was unsure if the solution would work in their environment given the immense scale of the project.

NVT Phybridge assisted the university in organizing a no-obligation proof-of-concept to test the solution on campus. After a few simple setup steps, the PoLRE switch transformed the existing and proven voice infrastructure into a robust IP backbone for the new Avaya IP phones. With reach capabilities up to 1,200ft/365m (4 times farther than standard PoE switches), the university could connect their new Avaya IP phones exactly where they were needed without installing IDF closets along the way. Additionally, upgrading multiple buildings on campus would be simple and fast with PoLRE’s repeatable, predictable and scalable deployment methodology.

“The port locking feature on the PoLRE switch has helped us track phone moves for e911 reporting requirements” – Nick Kwiatkowski, Unified Communications Manager at Michigan State University


Thanks to the PoLRE switch, Michigan State University was able to simplify their digital transformation by avoiding years of re-cabling and construction work. The university was able to deploy over 4,000 new Avaya IP phones in buildings where it would have never been possible. “Our older buildings did not have a communication room within 300ft of where we needed the new IP phones. PoLRE’s long reach capabilities allowed us to support the new IP phones exactly where we needed them while connecting each one back to a central location”, said Nicholas Kwiatkowski, Unified Communications Manager at Michigan State University. “PoLRE allowed us to maintain our physically separate network for voice, ensuring our emergency communication system remains operational in the event of a power outage or other event”. By leveraging Modern LAN design principles and innovative switch technologies, MSU was able to:

Improving Outcomes for Customers and Partners

Avaya and NVT Phybridge took a pro-active approach to find new and better ways to support the customer’s IP modernization objectives in a financially and socially responsible manner. By applying Modern LAN Principles and leveraging innovative switch technology, Avaya was able to:

  • Accelerate and increase revenue recognition
  • Collapse sales and deployment cycles
  • Improve their margin
  • Differentiate their market offering with thought leadership and innovation
  • Deliver a great user experience

Learn more about how Avaya and NVT Phybridge are helping organizations simplify and accelerate their upgrade to IP and the Internet of Things

This successful project was recognized by IoTG (Internet of Things to the Power of Green), an association of businesses that support and recognize responsible digital transformations. Using an innovative analytical tool to measure environmental impact, Michigan State University received the highest rating, 5 stars, for their environmentally responsible modernization to IP.

Follow us on Social Media

One of the largest U.S federal government agencies, serving over a million households across multiple locations, was using a variety of outdated less reliable PBX solutions from various vendors. The agency wanted to consolidate all locations to a single IP based VoIP solution from a single vendor, they chose the Avaya Aura solution. The plan was to deploy a private cloud based solution and connect all locations to it allowing them to improve PBX management efficiency, reduce cost and complexity, and centralize monitoring, management and updating requirements. This would be a significant benefit for the agency. The agency faced a significant barrier to their IP modernization plans, the local area network infrastructure was not ready and would require a major overhaul.


Challenge: The customer was operating a variety of aging TDM PBX’s in the multiple locations. They knew this was inefficient and they required to modernize to a robust, Voice over IP based infrastructure solution to improve customer experience, internal communications and increase productivity. With no appropriate LAN infrastructure, the agency realized the project would be financially prohibitive, operationally complex and disruptive, and risky to their business. They would need to rip-and-replace all wiring infrastructure, establish PoE switch fabric to power the phones, address IDF closet requirements including power availability, backup power, cooling and rackspace in every location. This was a significant barrier to deploying the new Avaya VoIP solution and IP phones. The customer needed a simplistic, robust solution that would permit a more graceful modernization while reducing disruption, cost, complexity and risk to business.

Solution: The customer was introduced to the NVT Phybridge PoLRE (Power over Long Reach Ethernet) managed switch, by integrator Optivor Technologies. Using the PoLRE, the customer was immediately able to quickly convert their existing infrastructure into a robust IP platform with power to support the new Avaya Aura phone solution. The award-winning PoLRE provided Ethernet and PoE over a single-pair of UTP with up to 1,200ft (365m) reach, and, not only transformed the existing infrastructure into a power-packed IP platform, but also established a point-to-point voice LAN dedicated to the new phone system.

Result: The NVTP PoLRE solution immediately solved the customer’s problem, allowing them to modernize from their digital system to Avaya IP phones seamlessly, cost-effectively, and with no risk or disruption to business. As Rob Wynn, Operations Manager at Optivor recalled, “There was literally no disruption, the employees left work one day and returned the next day to a new IP phone. The customer experienced a $1.2 Million savings thanks to the PoLRE switch, which greatly reduced costs to establish a robust, easy to manage PoE backbone to support the IP phones allowing the agency to proceed with the project and allocate more of their budget to IP application driving a better return on investment. The PoLRE eliminated the risks associated with the massive modernization, and allowed the Agency to centralize call control and move to an all IP platform – with the same repeatable, predictable and scalable deployment experience across all locations. Since the installation there have been no quality of service issues, as Wynn mentions, “I was expecting issues, like we usually see with large deployments, but when there were none, I was actually surprised.” “In addition to no day two LAN issues, we were able to fast track the IP modernization given the simplicity, repeatability and effectiveness of the PoLRE switch offering.” Thanks to NVT Phybridge technology, each location, regardless of size was able to quickly and easily transition to IP phones without risk, disruption, network complexity, and high costs. In addition, the agency was able to modernize to a PoE backbone VoIP in an environmentally responsible manner, repurposing and reusing the existing infrastructure, greatly reducing waste and other negative environmental impacts.


Click here to view full pdf



One of the world’s leading food and beverage manufacturers needed to modernize their analog voice systems to IPT throughout multiple factories. The extensive replacement of single-pair/CAT3 wiring with Ethernet across all locations posed a massive barrier to the project, causing a 1-2 year implementation roll-out. That’s when Avaya brought in NVT Phybridge to fast-track the modernization with plug and play PoLRE IP-enabling solutions.

Challenge: The customer needed to upgrade from an aging but reliable single-pair wiring infrastructure to IP with power and longer reach than the 300ft Ethernet limit. The first phase of the project was to implement the new VoIP solution across 47 factories. However, being quoted 1-2 years for a full deployment was overwhelming and frustrating. The implementation was critical for business growth – but IP modernization posed several challenges as the process would be lengthy, complex, and disruptive to business.

Solution: The customer engaged integrator JT Global who introduced the NVT Phybridge PoLRE (Power over Long Reach Ethernet) solution as the modernization problem-solver. In just a few simple set-up steps, the plug-and-play PoLRE switch eliminated the infrastructure barriers the customer had been facing. In addition to supporting the new phone system and thousands of connected IP devices, the PoLRE switches enabled a point-to-point voice LAN dedicated to the new voice system, physically separating it from the production data LAN at each desktop, and providing a further layer of system redundancy.

Result: The new, centralized VoIP solution was deployed across the 47 factories in a record-breaking 4-month IP modernization. The NVTP PoLRE solution helped the customer leverage their existing, reliable telephony wiring while simplifying management with a common infrastructure topology – saving millions of dollars as a result. “Achieving IP connectivity first to support our new Avaya solution was where we exhausted most of our planning time. When we learned about the NVT Phybridge PoLRE product, we were able to move straight into implementation,” said the Sr. Telecommunications Manager. “The PoLRE literally solved every modernization concern we had, especially around costs and complexity. Its simplicity, stability, and ease of deployment quickly provided the IP we needed to support our new Avaya system and features for all of our users.”

Click here to view full pdf