Success Story

Top Colombian uni opts for the decentralised switching approach: The Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano (ITM) in Medellin uses MICROSENS technology

The ITM (Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano) in Medellin is known beyond the borders of Colombia as one of the top universities in South America. The number of students enrolled continues to rise: Over 24,000 young people now attend the university in Colombia's second-biggest city. The public university was the first research and education institution to receive quality accreditation from the Ministry for National Education in 2014. In addition, 16 study programmes are certified by ICONTEC (L’instituto Colombiano de Normas Técnicas y Certificación). The modernisation and expansion of the university is a measure to safeguard the quality of research and education over the long term. With this goal, the project has now begun to equip lecture theatres and computer rooms with a new, high-performance network. Thanks to a decentralised approach with micro-switches from MICROSENS, the ITM has put a cost-effective and highly efficient infrastructure into place.

Broad ranging curriculum
The four faculties of the ITM – Social Sciences, Business and Administration, Applied Sciences and Engineering - offer a total of 25 bachelor degree courses and eleven graduate programmes. Physically, the educational facilities are distributed over five different locations in various districts of Medellin. They all have one thing in common: They offer students very good study conditions that are continuously expanding – also to keep up with the steadily growing student population.

High-performance infrastructure
As one of the first modernisation projects, the governors of the university decided to completely renew the network. All lecture theatres and computer rooms were to be connected with Gigabit Ethernet and new IP telephones installed in this process. The customer's key requirements:

  • Provision of a high bandwidth
  • Connection of existing IP telephones to the network
  • Use of copper cabling partly already ordered
  • Reduction of the cable connections between the lecture theatres and the central telecommunication room

Significant savings
Firstly the IT team planned the setup of a structured network in star topology. However, following contact with MICROSENS, it was possible to replace this complex cabling technology. The powerful yet compact micro-switches can be installed within a short time in the cable duct or floor box. The use of the decentralised switching approach significantly reduces cabling complexity, as demonstrated by the figures from the first project phase: Not every terminal device requires its own connection, instead four terminal devices are connected via an uplink. On this level alone, the number of copper cables routed, as well as the number of central switching ports, could be reduced to a quarter. Further cascading with Gigabit Ethernet switches from MICROSENS saved a further 50 percent of cables.

Moreover, the decentralised switching technology offers other key advantages that play a major role, especially in modernising existing buildings:

  • Fire protection - a lower number of cables reduces the fire hazard. Less fire-resistant sealing of the cable paths and smaller wall cut-outs are necessary when routing cables through fire zones.
  • Space requirement – fewer cables are required and this saves space in cable channels and cable ducts.

Easy IP telephony
Through the use of PoE-enabled installation switches, the university was able to connect all the new IP telephones directly via the switches to the network. The IP telephones with a power or 5 or 9 W are supplied with electricity directly via the network cable. The significant cost-savings from the decentralised switching approach, the easy installation and the overall smooth progress of the first project phase impressed the officials at the ITM. Modernisation and continued expansion of the university involves a total of 1,500 connection points being equipped with MICROSENS technology through to the end of 2019.

Image galery


Transmitting information via fiber optic connections offers numerous benefits. MICROSENS GmbH & Co. KG recognised this very early on. As one of the pioneers, the company has developed and produced high-performance communications and transmission systems in Germany since 1993. Individually matched to the demands of diverse usage areas and embedded in comprehensive concepts for individual sectors. But, above all, close to the customer. Technical challenges from customer projects are incorporated directly into product development. This way, IP-based automation solutions are created for modern buildings, cost-efficient network concepts for the office and workspace, robust and fail-safe solutions for industrial environments, optical transport systems future-oriented wide area networks and efficient coupling of sites and computer centres.