Highland Community College Deploys Campus-Wide Emergency Communication System Using NVT Phybridge PoE Technology

NVT Phybridge Case Study: Highland Community College

3 minute read time.

Highland Community College’s mission is to meet the needs of the Greater Northwest Illinois community through quality educational and cultural programs. The College serves thousands of students at its Freeport campus and satellite locations throughout the district. The institution offers comprehensive academic programming with over 60 degrees and certificates.


On any given day, thousands of students and hundreds of instructors can be on campus at Highland Community College. To ensure everyone’s safety, the institution wanted to prepare emergency response plans in the event of a tragedy. Whether it was a natural disaster or a human-made crisis, the College needed a dependable system to transmit communications throughout the campus to students, teachers, and visitors.

Highland Community College needed to build a robust IP voice network for the emergency phone system without high costs or disruption. The College has eight main buildings that were constructed over four decades. The existing phone system was a 12-year-old digital PBX that was no longer supported, and spare parts were becoming difficult to find. The institution wanted an IP phone solution. However, due to budget constraints and security concerns, the College wanted to keep voice communications traffic on a separate network. The College did not want to layer voice on the data local area network (LAN) and go through the disruptive and expensive LAN readiness requirements.


Due to the project’s challenges, Highland Community College’s telecom provider, ATI, recommended NVT Phybridge Power over Ethernet switch innovations. The NVT Phybridge PoE solution would leverage the campus’s existing and reliable CAT3 infrastructure to create a robust IP backbone for the new IP phone system. The NVT Phybridge switch also extends connectivity up to four times farther than standard solutions, providing new capabilities and flexibility in network design. The College was impressed with the solution and decided to move forward using the NVT Phybridge switch.


ATI was able to install, configure, and test the new IP phone system in just a few days without complex integration issues with the data network. “Installing the NVT Phybridge solution was incredibly smooth,” said Tom Bruehler of Highland Community College. “There was a week allocated for the implementation, and the entire 8-building campus was up and running in just a few days.”

The customer maintained its physically separate voice network while modernizing to IP, increasing reliability and overall quality of service. The College was impressed with its new robust voice and data communication capabilities. The extended reach capabilities of the NVT Phybridge solution ensured that all PoE equipment was consolidated in one location, significantly reducing the network’s cost and complexity.

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