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HOTS 05/2000

Issue: May 2000

By: Frank Bisbee


 

Featured Story

 


Cable Design Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA), a worldwide provider of high-speed network connectivity products, has decided to intensify their focus on the development and acquisition of fiber optic products utilized in communications, wireless, networking video, CATV and Internet applications. CDT intends to invest up to $100 million over the next 18 to 24 months to expand its offerings of active and passive fiber optic components through internal expansion and acquisition. CDT's fiber optic products have grown approximately 20% year to date.

"CDT will expand its broadband footprint by focusing more resources on active and passive components to further penetrate the global high-speed infrastructure marketplace. This includes increasing our fiber optic research, sales and engineering capabilities as well as making strategic acquisitions that will enhance our existing portfolio of connectivity products," Paul Olson, President and CEO of CDT, commented. "Currently, we design and manufacture fiber optic products in California, Massachusetts, Canada and Mexico and have state-of-the-art R&D facilities that enable us to develop world-class products such as our patented "Optimax" fiber optic connector used by Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) and other communications service providers. In addition, our NORDX/CDT facility manufactures and designs the FiberExpress System, a complete end-to-end fiber optic cabling solution using 50 micron multi-mode fiber capable of delivering gigabit speeds. This increased focus will allow us to expand the breadth and depth of our fiber optic product offerings and complement our twisted-pair gigabit connectivity technologies. We also have a multi-year supply agreement with Corning for the glass fiber used in our production of single-mode and multi-mode fiber optic cables."

"Furthermore, we want to infuse capital into another important operation, our Red Hawk division, located in Silicon Valley. Red Hawk is in the process of expanding their product offering including advancing their design of a cutting-edge fiber management system, which comprises all essential fiber optic cable and fiber-to-copper electronic media conversion products in a plug and play environment. The ability to harness and manage a myriad of broadband connective technologies is very important for companies to take full advantage of the high-bandwidth opportunities available." Olson concluded, "We are taking this aggressive step because the proliferation of the Internet, high-speed communications and e-commerce in our everyday lives is becoming more prevalent. By focusing more resources on this area, we will be in a stronger position to capitalize on the rapid deployment and convergence of voice, video and data over new or existing networks and to provide the best connectivity solutions in the industry." www.cdtc.com



Datacom Textron, a Division of Greenlee Textron/Subsidiary of Textron Inc., has announced the MicrOTDR™ Optical Fault Locator. The MicrOTDR makes accurate length measurements of multimode and singlemode fiber optic cabling from one end and determines the location of up to seven optical events (loss points) caused by connections, splices, and tight bends. The MicrOTDR is particularly well suited for checking spooled fiber optic cabling for length and flaws, and for determining the location of bad connections in installed fiber optic links.

The MicrOTDR uses 1310nm laser pulses and proprietary digital signal processing technology to detect up to seven optical events in less than three seconds. Distance to faults or the cable end are measured with up to 2 meter accuracy for lengths out to 20 kilometers. Unlike other optical fault locators, the MicrOTDR allows the user to select the index of refraction (IOR) so that accurate length measurements can be obtained from different cable indices.

"Multimode and singlemode mini-OTDR's are not only expensive, they require a very skilled technician with extensive training to use properly," stated Jim Bordyn, Strategic Marketing Director at Datacom Textron. "For those installing optical fiber for premises wiring applications, the MicrOTDR solves many of the common fiber for premises wiring applications, the MicrOTDR solves many of the common fiber troubleshooting needs. It is simple to use, and is less than 30 percent of the cost of a mini-OTDR."

Designed for field installation and service, the handheld MicrOTDR performs fiber length and optical fault identification with a simple one-button keystroke. Distances to multiple events are stored and then sequentially displayed under the control of the operator. The dead zone is less than 30 meters and the maximum range is beyond 20 kilometers. The MicrOTDR performs over 13,000 measurements per battery set and its output connector is the ST-style. Other connector types can be accommodated with hybrid fiber patch cords.

The MicrOTDR is backed by Datacom Textron's USERGuard User Protection Policy which includes a 2-year parts and labor warranty, free loaners during any required servicing, and unlimited access to a Technical Support Technicians. www.datacom.textron.com



Electricsmarts.com (Windham, CT), a leading electrical industry Smart Site, provides a comprehensive resource for manufacturers, distributors, contractors, engineers, purchasing and facilities managers, consultants, and other electrical industry professionals. However, electricsmarts.com offers visitors more than just the ability to connect directly with the electrical industry's leading vendors. As a Smart Site, electricsmarts.com anticipates the information and services visitors need and then organizes it to logical, easy-to-use sections. Electricsmarts.com is a highly interactive compilation of information, delivery ability, and e-commerce capability. Electricsmarts.com searches other websites and intelligently arranges information its visitors seek.

Keith Peck, electricsmarts.com's president, comments, "There's an amazing amount of valuable electrical industry information of the Internet - if you know where it is. We established electricsmarts.com to allow electrical industry professionals to find - and use-information they need as efficiently as possible. We've provided easy access to all electrical industry information resources in one Smart Site."

Peck brings considerable electronic communications experience to electricsmarts.com. At ICS Communications, he has built websites for the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), TED Magazine, Electrical Publication, NSI Polaris, Vicor, and other organizations. He has developed and implemented configurator (drill down) electronic catalogs for leading industrial companies such as Ingersol Rand, Wiremold, LoDan, and others.

Electricsmarts.com visitors will be able to view new product listings by category or by manufacturer. Using the Notify Me feature, visitors will be sent updated information as new products or services are added to their selected areas of interest. Also, visitors can search for meetings and training sessions by organization, region, or type - and use the Remind Me feature to request and automatically receive a reminder before selected events.

Electricsmarts.com allows manufacturers to develop their own Service Center within the electricsmarts site. This will allow contractors, distributors, engineers, and other electrical professionals to find new products, request literature, conduct e-commerce, and more. www.electricsmarts.com



Microtest Inc. (Phoenix, AZ), has announced the opening of a Chinese headquarters office in Beijing with satellite support in Shanghai. The office will contain sales and marketing personnel as well as manage the Chinese International Service Center. Complementing the office opening, Microtest has also announced the release of a fully localized Chinese version of MICROSCANNER™ which will help add to Microtest's presence in China.

The Beijing office is located in the heart of the commercial district providing Microtest with a prime site from which to access government and decision-makers. That access can lead to the development of strategic alliances with Chinese corporations. This is a vital link to the very large and rapidly growing networking market in China. The growth rate in the premise structured wiring market in China, a prime target of Microtest's Network Test and Measurement division, is expected to be two or three times that of North America and Europe over the next three years (BSRIA, Feb 2000). The central location in China will aid in conducting quarterly technology seminars throughout the country. In the coming months, Microtest will increase its presence in media and trade exhibitions. Sales and service from the Beijing office will cover all Microtest products including those from both the test and measurement and network attached storage industries.

According to Robert Vandevoort, Microtest's International Managing Director, "We are committed to increasing our presence in the Asian markets and this office provides us a way to continue to gain market share in the region. The Chinese offices and our office in Singapore enable us to respond to our Asian customers at any time of day." Vandevoort added, "We are now shipping hundreds of MICROSCANNER™ to China. Its entry level price and complete localization in simple Chinese assures its popularity across China." www.microtest.com



Focal Communications Corporation (Dallas, TX), a national communications provider, has announced the appointment of Robert Danmeyer to General Manager for the Dallas and Fort Worth markets. Danmeyer will be responsible for sales, customer care and day-to-day operations for these metropolitan areas. Danmeyer will report to Andy Robitshek, Vice President for Focal's western region.

"Bob has extensive experience and knowledge of the telecommunications industry," said Robitshek. "We look forward to the contributions of Bob's staff in Texas as Focal continues to move ahead and rapidly grow our business."

Before joining Focal in 1999 as area sales director, Danmeyer worked at Anixter International as Vice President of International Sales with responsibility for sales and marketing for Fortune 100 companies. Prior to Anixter, Danmeyer held several executive positions including co-founding Lincom Corporation and as president of Contel Office Communications (now GTE), along with technical positions at both MCI and AT&T. www.focal.com



Fluke Corporation (Everett, WA), a provider of products and related services for the installation and maintenance of communications networks, has introduced its latest performance enhancement for the DSP-4000 Digital Cable Analyzer™ test tool. Utilizing High Definition Time Domain Crosstalk (HDTDX™ and High Definition Time Domain Reflectometry (HDTDR™) diagnostics, the Fluke DSP-4000 Version 3.0 is the industry's first cable tester to instantaneously pinpoint sources of crosstalk and return loss anywhere along the entire link length, saving users hours of troubleshooting time.

"Today's high performance cabling and stringent return loss test specifications make diagnostics more critical than ever," said Hugo Draye, Marketing Manager for Fluke Media Test Products. "Version 3.0 builds upon Fluke's pioneered TDX technology, making it even easier and faster for cable installers and network owners to certify high-speed, copper and fiber cabling."

New HDTDX technology utilizes faster pulse diagnostics sourced from both ends of the link to "profile" the crosstalk along the total length of the link-under-test, saving the time and effort of tracing connections and performing individual tests along a link. The DSP-4000 adjusts the signal to provide equal sensitivity and visibility throughout the entire length. Additionally, new HDTDR capabilities of the DSP-4000 will show sources of return loss anywhere along the entire length of the link. This information is interpreted by the DSP-4000 and presented to the user in easy to understand picture format. Problems with connectors, cable, or patch cords are also quickly located and graphically displayed.

"The margin of error between the component specifications and the link specifications is rapidly shrinking as the installed links need to provide better transmission characteristics," explains Draye. "Superior diagnostic capabilities, such as HDTDX and HDTDR, are mandatory to precisely locate defects or marginally performing components in a link." www.fluke.com/nettools



Graybar (Clayton, MO), an independent distributor of communications and data products, has announced the new Graybar epoint incentive program for voice system dealers. An innovative, web-based program, Graybar epoint offers voice system the choice of more than 2,000 incentive awards for the purchase of selected telephone systems and accessory products from Graybar. Participating resellers earn incentive points, which are deposited into an electronic point bank that resellers can access via the internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week (24x7)to exchange for merchandise and/or travel.

Graybar has initially joined with Comdial, Mitel, Panasonic and Vodavi to develop unique customized websites for each reseller segment. These dealer-specific, web-based reseller communities offer up-to-date, value-added information consolidated on customized, manufacturer specific extranets. Other manufacturers participating in the program are ADC Access Products Division (Kentrox), AllenTel, Allied Telesyn, Bogen, Brother International, Carrier Access Corporation, CPI (Chatsworth Products), Microtest, Minuteman UPS, Motorola Radios, Panamax, Plantronics, Polycom, Telematrix, Valcom and Viking Electronics.

The Graybar epoint program offers an Internet location dedicated to Graybar value-added services that are reseller specific. Initially, the site will contain a lease calculator, developed by Graybar Financial Services (GFS), a reseller purchase report generator for each participating sponsor, and other tools to help the dealer with its business. Web-based training programs may be added to the site at a future date. Dealers will have access to their site 24X7.

"This is a unique program for our industry. It will provide our resellers with tools they need to help their business grow, and it differentiates Graybar from other telephone system distributors. The program theme 'Working together to help you do business' is very appropriate for this initiative," said Dennis Sousa, Graybar's Vice President, Comm/Data Marketing. "The participation of data networking suppliers such as ADC, Allied Telesyn, Carrier Access Corporation and Microtest offers our resellers a single point of contact for the converged voice and data solutions in demand by small businesses today," said Karl Griffith, National Market Manager, Graybar.



Cable Design Technologies (CDT - Pittsburgh, PA), a worldwide provider of gigabit network connectivity products, has announced the acquisition of BoseLAN, a small Silicon Valley based active fiber optic components company. BoseLAN is a developer of high performance fiber optic components, including multiplexers, switches, media converters and Ethernet test equipment used in a wide array of voice, video and data connectivity applications.

"This strategic acquisition strengthens our position in the active fiber optic components marketplace and complements our existing fiber optic operations portfolio in Silicon Valley, New England, Canada and Mexico," Paul Olson, President and CEO of CDT commented. "BoseLAN will allow us to further penetrate the Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC), Application Service Provider (ASP) and Internet Service Provider (ISP) markets by delivering a comprehensive portfolio of fiber optic products. BoseLAN will also continue to support its present relationships with large OEMs and network system manufacturers while designing new products that will complement our existing gigabit structured connectivity systems."

"Today's optical communication systems must combine high density fiber management with features such as copper-to-fiber media conversion as well as ATM and Ethernet switching technology," said Red Hawk Company President, Andrew Galli. "By consolidating BoseLAN's technical resources with Red Hawk's passive fiber optic component offering we will be able to offer the market plug-and-play optical networking systems that combine gigabit speeds with ease of installation."



Recent findings at the Anixter Levels Lab (Skokie, IL) indicate a causal relationship between mismatched network components and poor network performance.

The research is part of Anixter's Levels Lab's study of how cabling systems, transmitters and receivers interact and transfer data from the server to the PC. According to Anixter's findings, there is a direct correlation between impedance mismatches in network components and network inefficiency. Data traveling through the network is corrupted by changes in electrical resistance, or impedance, that occur at transition points where a patch cord plugs into information outlets/panels, or where horizontal cable is terminated.

Where impedance mismatches occur, portions of the data signal are reflected back to the original source. This reflection is known as return loss. Return loss creates two significant problems that inhibit effective network operation. First, the signal that is reflected back toward its source imposes additional noise onto the cabling system, making it more difficult for the receiver to distinguish noise from signal.

Pete Lockhart, Anixter's Vice President of Technology and Product Design, says the source of the problem often goes undetected because the mismatched components can be in compliance with the minimal-and grossly insufficient-industry standards for Category 5 and the emerging Category 5e cabling.

"Current industry standards reflect minimum requirements, and therefore, ensure only minimal performance," Lockhart advises. "For optimum network efficiency, go with cabling systems and compatible components that have been tested above the current requirements of your network." In short, make sure the cabling and components have matched impedance characteristics to avoid frame errors. www.anixter.com



Sole source procurement in the private sector is a coup for the vendor who assisted in specifying their own product. We might even refer to the scenario as "aggressive marketing" or "sealing the deal". In the public sector, sole source procurement must meet a rigid set of requirements and in many cases these requirements are backed up by law (local, state, or federal ordinances). These laws are clearly formulated to protect the taxpayers' dollar from possible misuse or waste. In a competitive marketplace, like cabling and connectors, it is highly unlikely that a purchasing agent in the public sector could justify a sole source bid requirement for CAT 3, 5, 5e cabling and connectors. A bid request for a single product in our highly competitive industry could well be reviewed for possible "bid rigging" or other misconducts in the public purchasing environment.

Most public entities have published their standards for purchasing as well as a clear definition of sole source. Recent public bids have come out requiring the contractor to belong to BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International) and to have a RCDD (Registered Communication Distribution Designer) on staff. A recent check of this organization and its registration show that it is a private industry association and the registration is not supervised nor has it been reviewed and approved for certification by any state government. This requirement is a violation of the sole source principle and the education is available from many different sources other than BICSI. This may account for the recent "attacks" on BICSI by IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association), and a host of PEs (Professional Engineers).

We support vigorous marketing and the continued drive for improved value and higher performance products. Be careful not to step across the line in your zeal to seal the deal. The rules in the public sector are different. If you know about any situations as described above, please contact this magazine or writer with the details. We'll do our best to check it out.



In a recent meeting at ACP (Association of Cabling Professionals) headquarters in Jacksonville, FL, we were given a presentation by Paul Palmisano of Carlson Company Manufacturers Representatives and Mickey Reyes, Field Sales Manager-Southeast, Datacom Division for Ideal Industries, Inc. Mr. Reyes explained how Ideal Industries stays in touch with the end users and contractors to continue upgrading their family of products. The meeting resulted in a vigorous exchange of information from our technical staff and Ideal. All parties left the meeting with a better understanding of the available technology in tools and the new challenges and applications. Iacoca once said "You can lead, follow, or get out of the way." At Ideal, their game plan is to "lead". www.idealindustries.com



Rittal Corporation's (Springfield, OH) latest innovation, the QuickRack, is a cost-effective, installation-friendly solution for network and electronic applications. The QuickRack Value Pack offers a variety of cabinets with heights ranging from 24 to 47U. This standard package includes a front glass viewing door, a vented rear steel door, 19" mounting angles and horizontal rail supports, both front and rear. For the more advanced network cabinet offering, the QuickRack Power Pack includes these standard features, plus an eight outlet power strip and a roof with fan tray.

The QuickRack offers a high level of stability through a multi-folded vertical profile and four leveling feet. All cabinets are available with or without sidewalls, and an extensive range of Rittal accessories includes slide rails, component shelves, and much more. Rittal's newly designed QuickBox Distribution Enclosure eliminates the need for complicated custom fabrication. This single enclosure is available in thirty-six different variations to suit nearly any network or distribution need. Easily removable housing covers allow for unrestricted access to all components inside the enclosures. Security locks, brush inserts, ventilation slots and cable collecting combination rails are standard advantages of this system.

An optional security door with viewing window provides easy observation and component access. The enclosure can be further customized through various solutions for cable management, component installation, wall mounting, and climate control. www.rittal-corp.com



A recent informal poll of the cabling manufacturers and distributors indicates a very healthy market. Belden, Mohawk, Nordx, CommScope and Lucent are reporting outstanding market growth in CAT 5e and proposed CAT 6 copper products. Fiber Optics continues to gain strength in the backbone market. We will continue to see a healthy mix of products to meet our networking needs. Copper UTP and STP, Coaxial, Fiber Optics and yes, even wireless, continue to report healthy growth. Marketshare for Category 3 UTP is reduced. Graybar, Anixter, AccuTech, AllTel and Rexel continue to push quality and education programs for their customers. Don't miss out on these valuable training opportunities.

Some of the warranty programs have become so convoluted that it seems impossible to describe a situation in which the customers would get any value out of the warranty. Read those warranties carefully and ask about an example where a warranty has paid off. If you don't understand the warranties, that's okay because we believe some of them were drafted by the same people who wrote the IRS code and the telephone company tariffs. When in doubt, stick with a manufacturer with an established reputation for quality and value. If they've got the cheapest deal, it's probably not the best value.



Belden's Electronics Division (Richmond, IN) has announced the installation of more than 900,000 feet of Belden Brilliance® cable throughout the new American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The American Airlines Arena, new home to the NBA's Miami Heat, is also the future home of the WNBA's Miami Sol. Located on 14.63 acres, this nearly 1.5 million square foot arena (including parking garage and terraces) seats close to 20,000 game and concert attendees. The Belden cables support the arena's extensive, state-of-the-art sound system and broadcast capabilities.

About half of the cable installed is Belden 1505A, which is part of Belden's Serial Digital Interface (SDI) product offering. These SDI cables are sweep-tested to 3GHz and are specified at -- 21dB, which far exceeds today's electrical standards and provides the lowest Return Loss characteristics in the industry.

Many of the other cables used are Belden's Riser-rated audio snake cables. These cables bring superior, economical performance to a wide-range of broadcast industry applications but are traditionally used to connect multiple audio channels in low-level (microphone) and high-level (line) components.



Pro Sound, an installation company located in Miami, Florida, installed the RF, TV and broadcast cabling systems for the arena. "We have been using Belden products almost exclusively for some time now," says Rod Sintow, President of Pro Sound. "They make life easy, and they make a great product." Belden has been the supplier of choice for many of the state-of-the-art broadcast and sports facilities in the U.S. today. Recently, we toured the Belden website. Wow, they have done a great job to make this site rich with valuable information. www.belden.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 this website and www.asmcorp.com 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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