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HOTS 04/2000

Issue: April 2000

By: Frank Bisbee


 

Featured Story

 


Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) has announced plans to spin off its PBX, SYSTIMAX® structured cabling and LAN-based data businesses to shareowners, forming a separate company that will focus directly and independently on the enterprise networking market. The new company will start out with an $8 billion business and a customer list that includes more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies.

The spin-off, which was approved by Lucent's Board of Directors, is expected to be accomplished through a tax-free distribution of shares to Lucent's shareowners. Lucent anticipates the spin-off should be completed by the close of its fourth fiscal quarter of 2000, which ends September 30.

"With this move, Lucent will focus on extending its leadership in the highest growth areas of communications networking," said Lucent Technologies Chairman and CEO Richard McGinn. "By spinning off our PBX, SYSTIMAX cabling, and LAN-based data businesses, we are sharpening Lucent's focus and creating another leading company to serve business customers."

"Lucent will concentrate greater resources on fast-growing areas like optical networking, Internet infrastructure, wireless, semiconductors, optoelectronics, Web-based enterprise solutions linking private to public networks, and professional design and consulting services for service providers and enterprises," McGinn continued.

McGinn announced that Donald Peterson, currently Lucent Executive Vice President and CFO, will become President and CEO of the new company. Henry Schacht, former Lucent Chairman and a current member of the Board of Directors, will become Chairman of the new company. . After the spin-off, each company will have it own brand, board of directors and R&D organizations.

The new company, to be named at a later date, starts its new life as a market leader with enviable customer relationships and managing some of the biggest enterprise voice networks in the world.

Lucent's enterprise business is growing faster than most of its key markets, including voice, messaging and call center businesses. It remains the worldwide leader in call centers and enterprise voice messaging as well as the U.S. leader in voice systems. It continues to take share in these core markets as it introduces leading edge, next-generation networking platforms in areas such as e-business applications and Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

The new company will include Lucent's core switching business for enterprises, including DEFINITY® IP Solutions; the IP Exchange System for IP networks; call center solutions, including the latest Internet call center technology; Octel® enterprise voice messaging platforms, including the Unified Messenger™ platform and Intuity™ AUDIX®; the Cajun™ campus LAN infrastructure portfolio; conferencing and collaboration systems; SYTIMAX structured cabling systems; and installation, maintenance and remote management services.

The new enterprise business will maintain all of its customer relationships and partnerships, and it will have approximately 34,000 employees worldwide. It is anticipated that the new enterprise company will take a one-time charge for restructuring expenses.

The new Lucent will have approximately 116,000 employees around the world and generated approximately $30 billion in revenues for fiscal year 1999. McGinn remains chairman and CEO of the newly constituted Lucent Technologies. With the appointment of Peterson as President and CEO of the enterprise company, Lucent's Senior Vice President and Controller James Lusk is Lucent's interim CFO. www.lucent.com



Just when you thought it was safe to cable your network, along comes another issue to "make your day". The issue is hazardous materials or compounds (HAZMAT in the jargon of the OSHA rules). The hazardous material is LEAD. We know a great deal about lead and why it is hazardous to our health. You can cruise the internet and find many reams of information about this dangerous element. For years, the construction industry turned a deaf ear to the warnings about asbestos and more recently, the tobacco industry was in denial about the health hazards of tobacco use. I hope we do not have to repeat this scenario regarding lead in cabling compounds.

Some preliminary investigations have revealed lead content in jacketing compounds of five to ten percent. We understand that lead can provide a stabilizer quality to certain PVC jacketing compounds which extends their functional life and enhances electrical performance. Our study on this subject is just beginning and we will provide much more information as it is uncovered.



Cable Design Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA), a worldwide provider of high-speed network connectivity products, recently reported net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2000 of $10.4 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, representing an increase of 16% over last year's second quarter net income of $9.0 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, excluding nonrecurring charges incurred in the second quarter last year.

Sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2000 increased 11% to $178.2 million, compared to $160.9 million in the same quarter a year ago. Category 5e and Category 6 high-speed gigabit network product sales grew 59%, wireless sales grew 48%, and central office telecommunication and computer interconnect products grew 38% year over year. The strong growth in these particular areas can be attributed to one of CDT's principal strategies over the last two years to focus product development efforts on increased bandwidth products that include high-speed network cable and related components, including fiber optic products.

Network Communication segment sales for the quarter grew 14% over last year to $120.3 million and represented 68% of total company revenues. Growth in this segment was led by increased sales of gigabit network cable, central office, computer interconnect and wireless cable and assembly services. Growth in demand for increased bandwidth for premise network systems has led to increased sales of gigabit network cables, and growth of competitive local exchange carriers ("CLECs"), internet service providers ("ISPs") and application service providers ("ASPs") within the telecommunication industry has driven an increase in demand for central office and computer interconnect products. Demand for cellular communications has resulted in the expansion of the Company's cable sales and assembly services to providers of wireless services and products. The growth from these product lines was partially offset by a decline in sales of the lower performance rated Category 5 network cable. www.cdtc.com



Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel company, has strengthened its California and West Coast sales organization with two major appointments according to Paul F. Trunk, Berk-Tek Senior Vice President of Sales.

Phil Radics has been promoted to Western Regional Manager for Berk-Tek with responsibility for directing sales efforts in California, as well as Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming and Nevada.

Berk-Tek has also expanded the sales territory of its manufacturer's rep firm, West Cal Sales, headquartered in Santa Cruz, to include Southern California and appointed Steve Fritz, previously Berk-Tek's Western Regional Manager, as a partner in West Cal Sales with responsibility for Southern California.

Radics has been Berk-Tek's Manager of Marketing programs and was largely responsible for the success of the company's OASIS (Open Architecture Systems Interconnection Solutions) Program.

Radics also had served as Berk-Tek's NCS Manager for Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. He has more than 14 years experience in telecommunications and also worked as a Sales engineer and Project Manager for a major California integrator, as the South Valley Construction Manager for Pacific Bell and as Telecommunications Officer for the U.S. Army.

Radics is a member of BICSI and a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD). He has a BA in Radio and Television Broadcasting from California State University Fresno and is a Distinguished Military Graduate from the U.S. Army Officer's Candidate School and the Army's Signal Officer Basic and Advanced courses. Radics was awarded the Bronze Star for service during Desert Storm.

Fritz joined Berk-Tek in February 1989 and served as Vice President of Sales before moving to Scottsdale, AZ in 1993 to become Western Regional Sales Manager. Prior to joining Berk-Tek, Fritz spent 13 years with Brand-Rex, including field sales and product management and serving as Director of Marketing Services, and three years with Judd Wire as General Sales Manager. Fritz is a graduate of the University of Southern California where he received BS degrees in marketing and finance.

Radics will be based in Fresno, CA while Fritz's West Cal Sales office will be in Irvine. www.berk-tek.com



There must be real opportunity in the market for residential cabling systems. Everyone wants to get in on the act! The Copper Development Association (CDA) and the FCC have endorsed the new TIA residential standard. ACP also says congratulations to Bob Jensen of 3M, who chairs TIA's residential cabling committee, and committee members for establishing this breakthrough standard.

The CDA voiced approval of new standards set by the Federal Communications Commission for telephone wiring installed inside homes and other buildings. The new rule requires that when copper wiring is installed for telecommunications applications, at a minimum it must be solid, 24AWG or thicker, twisted pairs, marked to indicate compliance with specifications for Category 3, as defined by ANSI/EIA/TIA Building Wiring Standards. The standard applies to both new construction and retrofit installation.

"CDA applauds the FCC's effort to encourage builders to install quality wiring to ensure that consumers have access to widely available communications services," said William T. Black, Copper Development Association Vice President, wire and cable. "The new standard will benefit consumers as carriers deploy broadband services that are more demanding than traditional voice telecommunications," said Black, referring to the surge in the number of phone lines to accommodate Internet and fax connections, as well as developing technologies such as high-speed data transmission, computer networking and video services.

Black pointed out that the process leading to publication of the new standard began more than four years ago. He said, "Today Cat 5 copper communications wiring is the recognized minimum for broadband services, with more than six times the capacity of Cat 3, Cat 5e is becoming the new standard. Any of the Cat 5 or better cables has capacity and speed several times greater than needed for today's high-speed Internet services, such as DSL and cable modems. Installing the more advanced cables now provides a comfortable cushion for the future.

"Installers, builders, remodelers and consumers should take note that the new FCC rule specifies Category 3 wiring or better," said Black. "The emphasis should be on better. The more advanced wiring offers incremental performance benefits at little or no additional cost. And people shouldn't hesitate to install phone jacks no wherever they think they might need them in the future - wherever they or the next family that owns their home might want to plug in a laptop or other communications device." The FCC's new rules apply to installations made on or after July 8, 2000. www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Common_Carrier/Orders/2000/fcc99405.doc



From the Teflon® Team at DuPont (Wilmington, DE): Janis L. Webb, Senior Marketing Representative, Fluoropolymers Sales, is promoted to Accounts Manager, continuing to report to Robert D. Smith, Sales Manager - Fluoropolymers. Congratulations to Janis on this well deserved promotion. www.teflon.com/cablingmaterials



Vatar® is a fluoropolymer resin designed to offer the plenum premise cabling market with a superior jacketing material alternative. Vatar® provides an economical jacketing solution for dependable performance cable designs. Attributes compared to highly filled PVC jacketing materials include the following:

  • Dependable performance in a temperature range of -40 degrees Celsius to +125 degrees Celsius (PVC, 0 degrees C to 75 degrees C). No cracking in low temperatures.

  • Two times superior moisture permeability resistance.

  • Superior mechanical properties that protect from tearing during installations.

  • Lower dielectric constant that allows for a thinner wall primary insulation thus reducing the overall size of the cable.

  • Superior chemical resistance over a wide range of applications.

  • Excellent flexibility and slicker surface for easier installations with no kinking.

www.ausiusa.com



About Harbour's Cat5e Extreme, Harbour's VP of Engineering, Bruce Debree, tells us "the cable exceeds all electrical requirements for TIA/EIA 568A's current proposal. It was developed for "demanding" environments while most other plenum rated data cables are designed for an air-conditioned environment. We also find it easier to install, as the cable is more resistant to kinking and less likely to catch on sharp corners." Harbour's Extreme cable is ideally suited for applications within chemical and fertilizer plants, oil refineries, various marine applications and "factory" floor processing environments just to mention a few.

When you specify an "all fluoropolymer" cable, don't sell yourself short. Be specific to include the overall outside jacket as part of the specification. To get the optimum protection for your cabling infrastructure investment, all plenum cable components should be specified to be fluoropolymers. This includes the primary insulation, the outside overall jacket insulation and in the case of some high-bandwidth cables the center member being used to dampen the effects of crosstalk (crossweb insulation). Also, when an all fluoropolymer cable is used, you can rest assured that contribution to fuel loading is minimized. www.harbourind.com



New from Dan Strachan with NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association): NEMA WC 66-1999 was adopted for use as a "non-governmental standard" by the Department of Defense on January 21, 2000.

A "non-governmental standard" is a commercial standard that is used for procurement purposes by the DoD. In the past, the DoD had used military specifications for procurement purposes. In recent years, the DoD has been moving away from developing new military specifications and has begun adopting commercial standards that have met their requirements. NEMA WC 63.1-1996 is used by the DoD for procurement of Category 3 and 5 cables. www.nema.org



Sumitomo Electric Lightwave's (Research Triangle Park) FutureFLEX® Air-Blown-Fiber® Optic (ABF) Cabling Systems offer an innovative and cost-effective choice for local area network (LANs), that require frequent reconfiguration. An advanced, flexible "superhighway", the FutureFLEX ABF System allows for significant LAN growth and change without risking the fiber optic investment.

Fully compliant with all applicable industry standards for structured cabling systems, FutureFLEX fiber optic networks can be designed to meet the specific needs of various user topologies (ring, bus, star or hierarchical star). The FutureFLEX ABF System is currently used in a wide variety of campus networks, including government and military installations, hospitals, research centers, universities, corporate campuses, manufacturing plants, hotels and casinos, and penitentiaries. While some of these networks feature a fiber optic backbone design, others have deployed a total FutureFLEX Fiber-To-The-Desktop (FTTD) solution as an alternative to copper or conventional fiber. www.futureflex.com



BICSI (Tampa, FL), a Telecommunications Association, reported record breaking membership and cabling installation program growth in its 1999 Annual Report. "As the world's largest professional membership association for low-voltage cabling installation and design, BICSI reflects the global expansion of the industry," said BICSI Executive Director Jay Warmke. In 1999, the association gained 5175 new members, more than its total membership from 1974 - 1994.

BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International) is a professional, not-for-profit telecommunications association (with revenues in excess of $12 million per year) that serves over 17,000 members in every state and over 85 countries around the world. www.bicsi.org



TIA offers the following data as benchmarks for gauging competition in the telecommunication industry. While much commentary is readily available on the 1996 Telecommunications Act's effectiveness, a standard measurement of competition - the goal of the Act - has not been developed. Therefore, Congress and the FCC have had to rely on anecdotal and episodic information when making key decisions, such as the FCC report on the deployment of broadband services to all America. TIA continues to track the marketplace because it believes benchmarks in investment and market share, among others, provide a much-needed yardstick.

  • The telecommunications industry has grown more than twice as fast as the U.S. economy in recent years, generating nearly $518 billion in 1999 spending, nearly $100 billion more than in 1997. The industry represented 5.6 percent of the overall U.S. economy in 1999, up from 5.1 percent in 1997.
  • Overall U.S. telecommunications equipment spending totaled $135 billion in 1999, an increase of 11.5 percent over 1998 and nearly 80 percent higher than in 1995. The market has been stimulated not only by the entrance of new competitors but also by increased spending on the part of incumbent carriers. The demand for broadband services, convergence, and the emergence of high-level applications have been principal drivers of equipment spending.



The Mohawk division of Cable Design Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA) has recently announced a multi-million dollar fiber optic order with a global provider of Internet, long-distance and competitive local exchange services in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

Paul Olson, President and CEO of CDT, commented, "This order validates our strong and growing presence in the fiber optic arena and we will continue to build upon this win. We think we are well positioned to capitalize on the extension of fiber from the long-distance market to the local market and the need for multi-service optical provisioning platforms that competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) are making available to their customers."

Olson continued, "CDT's goal is to further penetrate the optoelectronics marketplace by expanding our fiber capacity and by pursuing other strategies that broaden our existing comprehensive suite of high-bandwidth products. We are continuing to strengthen and increase the visibility of our global brand of fiber optic and gigabit products. Our main focus is to deliver value-added products to service providers, enabling them to expand their bandwidth through the rapid deployment of high-speed infrastructure." www.cdtc.com



CYNET, Inc. (Houston, TX), a provider of full service Internet Application Services, has announced the appointment of David Hearon as Senior Vice President of Institutional Development. They have also appointed Mike Galloway to the position of Vice President of Technical Operations.

As the Senior Vice President of Institutional development, Mr. Hearon will take on the responsibility of spearheading the efforts of CYNET with key institutions. "CYNET has many institutions that we intend to target for the implementation of CYNET's products and services, and this is very exciting for me," stated Hearon. "I look forward to the challenges ahead and expect great things to come."

Prior to joining CYNET in March of 1998, David Hearon enjoyed a successful career of more than 36 years with the Bell System, Western Electric, AT&T, and Lucent Technologies. Involved in numerous telecommunications projects, Mr. Hearon was instrumental in the development of several of the premier digital switching systems used in today's telecommunications networks. He also played an integral part in the creation of world-class call centers, voice systems, and data network operations. In 1996, Mr. Hearon retired from Lucent Technologies as the Director of Data Networking and Information Systems and went into private consulting, working with small businesses to enable them to become ISO 9000 certified. In 1998, he joined ADP for a short time to provide solutions for upgrading and consolidating their call centers. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Hearon joined CYNET as the Vice President of Technology.

Mike Galloway has joined CYNET as Vice President of Technical Operations. He will oversee the Engineering, Research and Development, Network Operations Centers, and Technical Support Services for CYNET. "I am happy to be taking on such a great task. The challenge of directing the technical operations of an emerging corporation is exciting."

Mr. Galloway comes to CYNET from General Motors International Operations in Berkshire, UK, where he held the position of Executive Director of Change Management. His many responsibilities included operations management; process engineering and IT program management. He also served on several technical teams, leading the development of global voice and data strategies and customer-facing Internet applications, web hosting and architecture. Prior to his position at General Motors, Mr. Galloway held positions with Dresser-Kellogg Energy Services, Merck & Co., McDermott International and Brown & Root, Inc. www.cynetinc.com



The SUPERCOMM 2000 conference, to be held June 4-8 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, presents their keynote speaker, Robert W. Lucky, Corporate Vice President, Telcordia Technologies and Chairman, FCC Technical Advisory Committee. Lucky will close the distinguished communications technology event with his address at 8 a.m. on Thursday, June 8.

A 20-year veteran of the telecommunications industry, Lucky is excited to have the opportunity to share his vision of the field at SUPERCOMM 2000. "Watching the merger of the telephone network with the Internet is like seeing the collision of two giant galaxies," says Lucky.

"We all can see and feel the light and energy being thrown off in their evolution of becoming something both unpredictable and different. SUPERCOMM 2000 will be an ideal time and venue to talk about the new force that is shaping our industry."

Robert Lucky began his career in telecommunications at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he headed the Communications Sciences Research Division. As corporate vice president at Telcordia, he leads their applied research division. He is widely known in the industry as an inventor, author, and visionary.

He has been invited to speak at more than one hundred different universities and has appeared a number of times on network television. He is the author of "Silicon Dream," "Lucky Strikes Again," and has written a popular bimonthly column of personal reflections in Spectrum Magazine since 1982.

"SUPERCOMM attendees will leave the show with a comprehensive understanding of existing and emerging technologies and will gain industry knowledge from some of the most prominent figures in the telecommunications arena," said Roy M. Neel, President and CEO, United States Telecom Association (USTA), co-sponsor of SUPERCOMM. "Lucky's address will leave exhibitors and attendees with a solid understanding of how their day-to-day business needs can be met." www.supercomm2000.com



Anixter Inc. (Skokie, IL), a global distributor of communications products, reports that slow networks and the slow transmission of data are hindering productivity within companies across the country, and in many cases, the problem lies within the cabling system.

"Companies that rely on their networks know the cost of downtime, but no one is effectively measuring slowtime," states Robert Grubbs, President and CEO of Anixter. "The sluggish movement of data is usually blamed on the hardware or software, but we estimate that 50% of network problems are related to cabling systems, which represents only 2% of the typical IT department's budget. Preventing and correcting the problem can be a modest investment."

Grubbs pointed out that multimedia applications and graphics-heavy files, combined with increased remote access and the growing use of the World Wide Web, are tying up bandwidth and straining the cabling pathways. He says faster access methods like Fast and Gigabit Ethernet as well as ATM help, but also make a network more susceptible to data signal distortion from simple cabling and connection problems.

"A system can be running at 100 megabits per second, but if the data is corrupted along the way and the server has to attempt to send it repeatedly until it gets through, the true speed might be closer to 60 megabits per second."

Grubbs says the problem will become more evident as companies run faster speeds, send bigger files, and push more data down the crowded information highways. "Both their network and their bottom line will suffer."

New testing procedures by Anixter Levels Lab verify deficiencies. Pete Lockhart, Vice President of Technology and head of the Anixter Levels Lab, reports that there are several reasons why cabling systems contribute to slow transmissions.

"Improper installation of the cable, temperature and humidity swings, and interference from electrical devices are factors, but the most common problem is in the quality of the copper cabling," states Lockhart. "Some cable is inferior to others. They might all meet industry standards, but the standards are almost always outdated and only establish minimum requirements for performance. And no standard exists that even takes the transfer of data into consideration. They test only the electrical characteristics of cabling, which is only part of the story. Live data is a whole other ball game."

Lockhart says the Anixter Levels Lab tests network cabling for criteria that exceeds industry standards. Until recently, Anixter only tests products in a passive state, but new testing methodology allows active networks to be tested with live data to determine if the data is getting through.

"We now know for certain when information packets are being distorted and have to be resent," reports Lockhart. "Cabling that meets industry standards when tested passively might perform inadequately when tested with active data running from PC to hub. Cabling that meets Anixter's more stringent requirements transmit data faster."

Anixter has also determined that throughput is hindered when the cabling, connectors and patch cords are not properly matched or aligned. "The weak link can be something as simple as the patch cords, the short cables that run from the PCs to the wall outlets," says Lockhart. "If companies can ensure that every component in their networking channel is functioning in sync with all other components at a level that meets their needs, they might not have to constantly invest in hardware upgrades."

Anixter recently produced a Network Performance Guide to help network professionals understand how cabling affects the network's performance. It is available free through www.anixter.com.



Universal Access, Inc. (Chicago, IL), a provider of integrated solutions for communications network transport and infrastructure services, has announced that in addition to its current operational sites in Chicago and Santa Clara, five Universal Transport Exchange (UTXSM) facilities are under construction in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The company expects to begin the construction of eight additional facilities in 2000.

The UTX facilities provide interconnection points between multiple competing network service providers and transport suppliers, such as local exchange carriers, interexchange carriers, competitive local exchange carriers, ISPs and ASPs.

"These new UTX facilities are a key part of our strategy to provide neutral interconnection points for multiple carriers," said Ken Napier, Executive Vice President of Operations. "We intend to construct UTX facilities that are designed to meet specific service requirements of major metropolitan areas, regional sites and high occupancy buildings."

The UTX provides up to 100 tons of air conditioning equipment for client and carrier equipment. A minimum of 750 KW diesel generator back-up, a host of battery back-up units and a 250 Kva uninterruptible power supply assure operational reliability. Each UTX also has its own automated security system and a FM 200-fire suppression system.

"We believe these facilities will provide our clients a convenient and cost-effective method to interconnect with multiple service providers and transport suppliers," said Patrick Shutt, CEO and President. "Our UTX facilities are integrated with our Universal Information Exchanges (UIX) databases, enabling us to provide more efficient circuit provisioning and network monitoring services for our clients." www.universalaccess.net



Cable Design Technologies Corporation (Pittsburgh, PA) has announced that it has acquired Industria Tecnica Cavi (ITC), an Italian manufacturer of high-quality coaxial cables. ITC, located near Bologna, Italy, also manufactures cables for telecommunications, robotics, data transmission, industrial and safety system uses. The acquisition is expected to be accretive.

In commenting on the announcement, Paul M. Olson, President and CEO, stated, "Industria Tecnica Cavi gives CDT additional coaxial cable capacity and a base in southern Europe to manufacture and sell other CDT products. We were particularly impressed with the strong management team at ITC and their skill in producing high-grade coaxial cable. Demand for coaxial cable is being driven primarily by the growth in the CATV market. The size of the worldwide CATV market and the proliferation of cable modems will place us in a strong position to capitalize on this rapidly expanding market."

Olson continued, "Over the past 3 years ITC has achieved annual operating profit growth in excess of 20%. In addition, ITC recently acquired the assets of another coaxial cable manufacturer located near its plant, which will increase Industria Tecnica Cavi's stock. The remaining 15% of the stock was retained by the two managing directors of Industria Technica Cavi and is subject to an agreement to purchase the stock in the future. Cavour Corporate Finance headquartered in Bologna, Italy, advised Industria Tecnica Cavi. www.cdtc.com



Xros (Sunnyvale, CA), a new optical networking company, is announcing the launch of the world's highest capacity optical cross-connect system for open optical networks. Based upon the company's revolutionary silicon-based micro-mirror technology, the system addresses a crucial business problem faced by the telecommunications providers today: remaining competitive as the grow their networks in a rapidly-changing market environment.

Optical cross-connect are used in the "core" of the worldwide telecommunications network to connect high-capacity fiber optic communications channels coming into a particular location or "node" with any of hundreds or more outgoing channels. Their principal application is "provisioning" a circuit - the semi-permanent connection of numerous intermediate links to create a continuous pathway between endpoints anywhere in the network, and "protection" - the instantaneous re-routing of a circuit in the event of a catastrophic failure of an intermediate link.

The new Xros system, designated the X-1000, is capable of arbitrarily connecting up to 1152 pairs of inputs and outputs with an all-optical pathway from each input to output. www.xros.com



Cybex Computer Products (Huntsville, AL) and Apex Inc (Redmond, WA)have announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to combine in a merger valued at approximately $2 billion. The combined enterprise, which will named at a later date and will be headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, should be well-positioned to speed the development of advanced solutions for efficiently managing large data centers worldwide. Like Apex and Cybex today, it will design, manufacture and market progressive solutions for network management, including KVM switching console systems, KVM extension products, digital video solutions and remote access management tools.



Hewlett-Packard has just released version 1.1 software for the WireScope 350 cable analyzer. This FREE software upgrade is now available for download from the wirescope website at www.wirescope.com. In addition, Release 1.1 includes an on-screen manual and catalog for accessories and probes, which include digital pictures and part numbers.

You will be asked to fill out a short software registration form before downloading the software. If you have any questions about downloading software or upgrading your tester, please contact technical support by phone (800-931-0055 OR 508-486-0450) or by e-mail at sales@wirescope.com.

HP has also just added a new search engine to the wirescope website. Search the entire wirescope website using simple or advanced queries at www.wirescope.com/search/



Datacom Textron (Everett, WA), a division of Greenlee Textron/ Subsidiary of Textron Inc., has announced the N XT - Network Test Tablet and Interchangeable Test Modules. The N XT is a modular network test platform utilizing the Windows CE Operating System. Windows CE enables the N XT to provide on-board applications like E-mail, Internet Explorer and Pocket Word. It also allows the N XT to enhance its capabilities through third party software applications. The N XT also has a built Type II PCMCIA slot, which supports unlimited flash memory, modem communications, Ethernet attachment and more.

The highlight of the N XT platform is its expandable design, which gives the user the flexibility to perform a multitude of tests spanning LAN/WAN/TELCO through Xpand™ modular technology. Through Xpand interchangeable modules that plug directly into the N XT platform, the user can easily change its functionality as testing and troubleshooting needs vary. From Fiber Optic verification and Category 6 certification with the XA.C.T.™ module to Network Diagnostics and Analysis with the XAMINE™ module, the N XT was designed with the advanced requirement of today's Network Engineers, Technicians, Integrators, and Installers in mind. The XA.C.T. module sets a new standard by integrating both Category 6 twisted pair and fiber optic testing capabilities into one module. The XAMINE module transforms the N XT platform into a powerful network diagnostic and troubleshooting everything in between. The N XT, XA.C.T. and XAMINE will be available in the first quarter of 2000 through authorized Datacom Textron distributors and resellers. www.datacom.textron.com



Wavetek Wandel Goltermann (WWG) has announced the availability of the LANchecker 100, the premier network diagnostic tool in WWG's family of handheld LAN cable testers. The LANchecker 100 is an active LAN test set for installing, monitoring, and maintaining 10/100 Mbps Ethernet networks. The LANchecker 100 provides installers with a highly sophisticated and portable LAN troubleshooting and diagnostic device for measuring LAN performance in today's Ethernet-based computing environments.

The increasing drive toward convergence of high-bandwidth and mission critical applications over the local area network into the wide area network has put network designers, installers, and administrators under tremendous pressure. Networks have become vital lifelines without which we can no longer function efficiently or competitively. To support these demanding business applications, network administrators and cable installers need testing tools to improve network performance and productivity. The WWG suite of complementary products, including LT 8000 Series cable testers, LANchecker 100 and LinkView/Domino, can help the network administrators and cable installers with these challenges.

WWG, headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and in Eningen, Germany, is a leading designer and manufacturer of a comprehensive range of communications test equipment and systems. Wavetek Wandel Goltermann is present in more than 80 countries through its manufacturing facilities and its direct and indirect sales organizations, employing 2600 people worldwide. www.wwgsolutions.com



Graybar (Clayton, MO) has announced the second phase of its VIP program - VIP2000 - which verifies the performance of cabling systems with more headroom and usable bandwidth than the TIA/EIA Category 6 draft proposal.

The Graybar VIP (Verified Independently for Performance) program provides testing and certification of complete cabling systems through an independent third party, Intertek Testing Services (ITS/ETL), a large product and commodities testing organization. Phase one, VIP1000, was introduced last summer.

"VIP2000 offers verification that the cabling systems our customers install will perform at levels beyond the Category 6 proposed measurements," stated Dennis DeSousa, Graybar's Vice President - Comm/Data Marketing. "Cabling systems verified to the VIP2000 standard provide more headroom, resulting in fewer retransmissions and more bandwidth, which extends the networking potential of the cabling system."

Designed for long-term tenants and higher speed networks, the program measures laboratory performance beyond the TIA/EIA Category 6 proposed standard. By extending the frequency of positive Power Sum Attenuation to Cross Talk ratio (PS-ACR), and also requiring improvements to Return Loss, cabling systems verified to be VIP2000 compliant offer customers additional headroom for the future. VIP2000 verified cabling systems provide performance enhancements including 20DB of PS-ACR at 100MHz, positive PS-ACR at 250MHz and improvements on Return Loss at all frequencies.

Graybar's VIP program administered by ITS/ETL is the only independent verification of channel performance in the industry today. Graybar customers can also have specialists field-test the systems purchased from Graybar after they are installed. This field-testing option gives customers the ultimate in applications assurance for the future.

DeSousa stated, "Graybar's active participation in the standards process provides us with insights on developing programs that enhance the efforts of the TIA/EIA. Since we distribute products from the industry leaders, our program can require "beyond the standard" performance. This helps us deliver the best solutions for our customers nationwide."

The VIP testing regimen is based on random product samplings from Graybar's 270 U.S. locations. Products have been tested to the VIP limits using the latest equipment by the ITS/ETL Wire and Cable laboratory in Cortland, New York. The ITS/ETL equipment is capable of testing out to 1.3 GHz - exceeding the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) requirement for testing to 100MHz for Gigabit Ethernet connections. www.graybar.com



NORDX/CDT introduced two revolutionary connectivity modules: GigaFlex PS6+ and GigaFlex PS5+. Launched during the recent BICSI show, the performance of these new connectors surpasses that of all others currently available on the copper cabling market.

The new GigaFlex PS6+ and PS5+ punch-down UTP (unshielded twisted pair) connectors are part of the IBDN Modular Connectivity product line. Their patented encapsulated lead frame technology ensures excellent long-term reliability and extremely stable transmission performance. Their unique termination interface allows quick and easy installation using BIX, 110 or Krone punch-down tools. Considered the connectors of choice for terminating UTP cables into the MDVOFlex Outlet Series, these modules can be mixed and matched with a variety of adapters, allowing their use in almost all computer network applications.

"The unmatched connection performance of the PS6 and PS5 modules exceeds all industry standards," explains Selim Soussa, Executive Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, NORDX/CDT. "We designed their characteristics to guarantee 300MHz mated connection performance for PS6 connectivity, and 160MHz for PS5 connectivity. The performance superiority of these products puts us way ahead of he competition and confirms our technological leadership in the structured cabling industry," concludes Mr. Soussa.

The GigaFlex PS6+ connectivity module is the first 300MHz connector on the market. It exceeds all component requirements listed in the proposed Category 6 standards. Not only the preferred connector for IBDN System 4800LX installations, this module also allows NORDX/CDT to expand and strengthen their certification program for System 2400 installations. The backward compatibility of GigaFlex PS6+ with Category 5 and Category 5e ensures optimal performance in all systems, answering both current and future needs.

The GigaFlex PS5+ distinguishes itself with an exceptional performance/price ratio. Exceeding all requirements for UTP channels in the latest Category 5e TIA/EIA proposals (document approved for publication as TIA/EIA 568-A-5), this connectivity module meets the requirements of all gigabit applications with a usable bandwidth of 160MHz and 1.2Gb/s data capability when used as part of the IBDN System 1200. www.nordx.com



LeCroy Corp., a network testing and measurement company, said Monday that it has spun off its network products division to form Vigilant Networks. The startup has developed Big Tangerine, a network monitoring product.

Big Tangerine tests all network components, including switches, routers, hubs, and cables, to detect the cause of network congestion without having to shut down the network. The product uses gigasample acquisition technology, which captures electromagnetic waves, enabling network managers to identify the location of illegal packets or collisions throughout the network and noise from outside sources. "You can see the degradation of components before they actually fail," says Leslie Lawson, Vigilant's President and CEO.

Big Tangerine begins testing at the first layer of the network infrastructure, which is where problems are sometimes overlooked, according to Tere Bracco, principal analyst for enterprise infrastructure at Current Analysis.

"A lot of problems occur at level one - the signal level - such as environmental problems, changes in temperature, and radio frequency interference," he says.

The product has already begun shipping and is being used by customers such as Boeing, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, NASA, MCI WorldCom, and Oracle. Pricing starts at $25,000. "Vigilant Networks" is online at www.vigilantnetworks.com. You should take a minute and check it out. They have two white papers posted there.



Staples Communications has announced the appointment of Bill Nebes to the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Bill brings to Staples Communications many years of senior financial and operation experience. Bill has been working with Staples Contract and Commercial division as Vice President of Administration. In that capacity, he has been a member of the Leadership group and had responsibility for the financial planning, budgeting and reporting of the division.

Upon joining SCC, Bill possessed seventeen years of diversified management experience with multi-site retail/wholesale operations. He spent several years as a consultant for a variety of turnaround and growth companies in both Massachusetts and California. Prior to consulting, Bill worked for Webber Lumber and was promoted from CFO/Controller to EVP/COO to President. www.staplescom.com



COMING NEXT MONTH, as Paul Harvey would say, "The rest of the story . . ." Adapting space to electronic cabling needs is almost always inefficient, cumbersome, and expensive but Cablefloor can change all that. This novel product can make changing floorplans almost as easy as changing light bulbs. Want to know more? www.cablefloor.com

Graybar has a new and remarkable program for getting the right products and verifying the quality after it's installed. Want to know more? www.graybar.com



Across the country, there are a series of high-level technology events (exhibitions, conferences, and seminars) packaged and presented by ITEC (Information Technology Exhibition and Conference [American Show Management]). These shows are regional, manageable, and filled with the right "players". ITEC has researched the market to find the right vendors to appeal to the right buyers. The Association of Cabling Professionals and many of its member companies have elected to participate in these valuable events.

Now, the ACP has stepped up its involvement in these quality events by sponsoring a special Cabling Pavilion. They are looking for cabling industry companies interested in participating. Presentations and seminars are part of the plan in the attached Cabling Theater. Call Grace Shimp, Executive Director of The Association of Cabling Professionals at 904/645-6018 or e-mail her at grace@wireville.com.

Check these websites for additional information:



Three reasons to specify a Teflon® FEP for the primary insulation of your plenum cable requirement: It's safe. It's soft and easy to handle. It's the best value that we have found for today's requirements and tomorrow's speeds. The DuPont Company has a real winner in this product and the applications to the data network cable challenge. The past ten years have revealed many benefits for the use of this remarkable material in the communications cabling infrastructure. Our studies have shown that Teflon® FEP is the best choice for performance in the plenum... until DuPont discovers another "miracle" material. Want to know more? www.teflon.com/cablingmaterials

Don't miss the Telfon® FEP 40th birthday party at BICSI in Fort Worth, TX (May 8-11) and look for the Goldmark™ seal on the top cabling products. Make damn sure you are getting the "reel deal" with Teflon® FEP. While you are in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area make a special effort to visit the Cabling Business Institute/ Cabling Business Magazine headquarters. This is one of the premiere "hands-on" cabling instruction facilities in the country. Remember what you don't know can kill you, or at least cost you a bundle.

 

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