University of Tennessee

Bringing the University of Tennessee’s campus up to speed

The University of Tennessee (UT) constantly looks for ways to update its networking power to provide staff and students the fastest and most secure wireless experience possible. As a part of a $1.2 billion renovation and expansion project in pursuit of that goal, UT turned to CommScope to deploy more outdoor wireless access points and security cameras throughout its campus.

The university’s IT department chose to test out the CommScope Powered Fiber Cable System before committing to a full partnership that would keep the university’s staff and students constantly connected. The Powered Fiber Cable System consists of hybrid copper/fiber cable and power over Ethernet (PoE) extenders. The CommScope system also comes with cable/fiber management, power transmission management, safety and overload protection and a universal power supply. The entire system is built to withstand the elements of an outdoor setting.

The trial run demonstrated faster, more reliable Wi-Fi access with strong security benefits and competitive pricing, but CommScope still had one more hurdle to clear. The university’s beautification committee had to sign off on the project. CommScope was able to show how its PoE extenders could be mounted on discrete brackets or neatly tucked away inside lampposts. Connecting cables could run inside the post to the Wi-Fi access points and security cameras. After seeing how the Powered Fiber Cable System could blend into its surroundings and leave an uninterrupted view of the university’s pristine campus, the committee gave its stamp of approval.

Company fast facts


  • Founded in 1794, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is older than its state.
  • The university has grown to over 28,000 students and houses the country’s fifth -largest stadium with seats for over 100,000 screaming fans.
  • UT has indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi access points, operates three data centers, and maintains 220 miles of singlemode fiber optic cable and hundreds of security cameras across its 580 acres.


  • Deploying an outdoor wireless network with secure, seamless performance across a large university campus presents a unique set of challenges:
    • Gaining access to the necessary electrical power for an effective network can be difficult and expensive.
    • Safety is an issue when this much power is in play.
    • A jumble of cables and visible “big boxes” for wireless access would mar visual aesthetics, particularly at a campus as beautiful as UT.


  • Powered Fiber Cable System
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