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Mighty Power with Mini Cost: How The Little Sisters of the Poor Upgraded to VoIP

A charitable residence, Little Sisters required an upgrade to their phone systems, but couldn’t afford to tear down walls.
Feb 14, 2020

The Little Sisters of the Poor is a charitable nursing care and residential home located on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Their open doors welcome the elderly poor, and provide skilled nursing and independent living apartments. Their phone system was running off twisted-pair copper cable – which was current in 2002, when it was installed – but it prevented them from upgrading their phone system to 100% VoIP phones.

VoIP phones are not only cheaper to operate but are far more versatile. In a facility such as Little Sisters, with its fluctuating population, it was beneficial to provide residents with their own phone communication and then simply make changes to phone numbers and handset systems as occupants moved around. Analog or digital phone systems are tethered along dedicated phone lines, with each line assigned a unique phone number. Whereas, a VoIP system is far more pliable. Simply unplug a handset, insert it into a different network port down the hall, and the phone number can move along right with you.


The challenge was the building itself. Built in the 1970s using cement and concrete between walls, it would be prohibitively expensive to strip out the old wiring and insert new Cat 5 cabling that could support VoIP. Drawing from its toolbox of solutions, Dagostino installed an Alcatel Lucent OXE and a Patch Panel. This solution allowed Little Sisters to retain their older wiring throughout their facility but still be connected to the new Cat 5 wiring at the head-end. It essentially provides the capability of VoIP phones while still supporting native analog or digital phones.

With their signature attention to detail, Dagostino also straightened up the wiring and installed tie cables at the MDF (main distribution frame). Little Sisters can now benefit from the powerful functionality of a VoIP phone system at a fraction of the cost.

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