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HOTS 10/2000

Issue: October 2000

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


As we push into the fourth quarter of 2000, we are pleased to report lots of good news. The cabling marketplace is experiencing robust sales and accumulating some backlog of orders. This trend is expected to continue through 2001. We forecast a growth rate of 7½ to 11 percent. The more successful manufacturers and distributors will be over 10 percent growth. Please do not forget that we experience the occasional unexplained and unforeseen quarter of declining orders, however, we are confident that the overall growth will happen.

Avaya (formerly Lucent) has come into the ring swinging. They've got new products like the CMP-50 High Performance Limited Combustible Plenum UTP Cable (Product #4061). Avaya's premiere at BICSI in Nashville was a big hit. Avaya provided a show within a show.

Cable Design Technologies (CDT) continues its remarkable growth and success as CDT diversifies and increases its family of cabling products. You can spot the investors who bet the farm on CDT a year ago. They are the ones with the GREAT BIG SMILES. The depth of the management team and the production staff at CDT continues to grow without any loss of experienced personnel.

Berk-Tek (Alcatel) is having a great year and their alliance with Ortronics to offer the "NetClear" high-end performance cable and connectors has produced better than expected results. The market acceptance of this combo has been excellent.

KRONE (Prestolite Wire), Helix/Hi-Temp (Draka), CommScope, Belden, and BICCGeneral are all reporting strong order volume. We see no negative changes in this market activity as the end users continue to grasp the importance and value of an infrastructure capable of adapting to increasing demands. Cabling, when done right, is the best dollar value in the marketplace. Information equals power and success and the Information Super Highway starts in Wireville. As cabling systems continue to improve, we can expect the costs to rise with the added value.

Graybar, Anixter, Rexel, and a host of independent communications and electrical distributors are reporting outstanding sales and forecasting more of the same. Acquisition and consolidation in this sector is continuing to develop at a very rapid pace.

All the news in Wireville is not good. The manufacturers, distributors, contractors, and even end users are experiencing a painful shortage of skilled and experienced technicians and other personnel to support the existing marketplace and the growing demand. ACP (Association of Cabling Professionals) and BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International), as well as numerous independent training facilities across the nation, report strong enrollment in training classes and the upgrade of the various certified (ACP) or registered (BICSI) technical training courses. Look for announcements on these courses within the quarter.

On the international scene, Canada, Australia, Central and South America, and the European markets for cabling continue to grow and evolve to similar international standards. We have been unable to develop meaningful data on the markets in Africa, India, Asia and the Pacific Rim.

Cable Design Technologies (CDT- Pittsburgh, PA), a provider of high-speed network infrastructure connectivity products, has announced that Peter Ford has joined CDT as Group President of Fiber Optic System Products.

Mr. Ford is a 20-year veteran of the networking interconnect industry. He joins CDT from Volex Group plc, a data and telecommunication cable assembly company specializing in fiber optics, radio frequency (RF), and high-speed networking products. At Volex, Mr. Ford was a member of the board of directors and responsible for the global sales, marketing and business development efforts of the company.

In commenting on the announcement, CDT President and CEO Paul Olson said, "Mr. Ford is a vital addition to CDT's executive management team. He will be responsible for making CDT's existing fiber optic business units more cohesive by increasing their focus on high growth, high margin markets. He will also be a key member of the business development team that identifies, analyzes and recommends fiber optic acquisition candidates. By leveraging his experience and worldwide contacts, I am confident he will be able to build global brand recognition of our fiber optic cable and active and passive components. Mr. Ford's leadership and industry knowledge will have a significant impact on the Company's increased penetration of the fiber optic marketplace and we are very pleased to have him as a member of our executive management team."

Westek Electronics, Inc. (Santa Cruz, CA), a provider of high-speed telecommunications cords, cables, and test equipment, recently announced it has quadrupled its production capabilities of DSL, broadband, and fiber connection cables with its recent expansion of two large manufacturing facilities.

"DSL technology is being implemented at an unprecedented rate throughout the U.S. and the world," said Michael Hushaw, Vice President of Operations. "Our expansion has enabled us to provide the best product in the shortest amount of time, and time is critical in this industry."

Westek's two new manufacturing facilities total 50,000 square feet, one of which is dedicated exclusively to the production of DSL, broadband and fiber connection cables. The other building houses the production of patch cords such as the DS1, and test cords including the DS3, plugs, adapters, CO/OSP Test Kits, the Tel-Line Tester and other data communication and specialty products. Westek will also now focus on the expansion of its two outside offices in the South Central and South East Regions to enhance customer service and timely, cost effective delivery of products, said Hushaw.

Westek relocated its team of 150 employees from Scotts Valley, CA to Santa Cruz, CA (a short distance) in late June 2000 with virtually no interruption in delivery time of its high-speed cables and other telecommunications products. "It was a very smooth transition for our people," said Hushaw, who acknowledged that production rates will continue to accelerate at Westek as they implement multiple around-the-clock production shifts to deliver high-speed cables at a rate far faster than its competitors can provide.

Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel company, recently appointed Cabling Technologies, Inc. (Weston, FL) as its new manufacturer's representative for Florida. CTI will be part of the company's Southeast Region with headquarters in Lawrenceville, GA.

CTI is a newly formed manufacturer's rep organization and will represent Berk-Tek and other cabling equipment manufacturers, reports Dominic Cozzolino, CTI president who has more than 13 years experience in structured cabling solutions. Cozzolino most recently worked as a Senior Regional Manager for Ortronics, Inc.

Cozzolino said CTI has named three representatives. Kathleen Overton (941/359-3056), former sales rep for Ortronics, will cover Tampa and the West Coast, including Ft. Myers; Jeffrey Jones (352/315-1747), formerly a National Project Manager for a major insurance firm, will cover the Orlando and Space Coast areas; and Julie Clements (904/287-8796), a former rep for both Berk-Tek and Ortronics, will call on end users in the Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Gainesville markets. Cozzolino will take care of South Florida.

Cozzolino said CTI will rep all Berk-Tek products and programs, including the recently introduced NetClear™ program, a technology and marketing alliance of Berk-Tek and Ortronics that offers precisely engineered structured cabling solutions that deliver maximum channel capacity with optimized enhanced copper and fiber cabling networks.

Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel company, recently announced that its LANmark™-1000 series riser and plenum enhanced UTP copper and patch cables are the first to receive independent certification as meeting the Telecommunications Industry of America (TIA) Category 6, Draft 6 standard.

Intertek Testing services (Cortland, NY), formerly ETL Testing Laboratories, granted the certification to the LANmark-1000 CMP (plenum), CMR (riser) and CM (patch) products. All three LANmark products were granted certificates of conformance for meeting the latest specifications to TIA/EIA 568-B.2 Category 6 Draft 6 and ISO/IEC 11801 Draft N598. The products will carry the ETL-Verified mark.

The latest draft specifies lower levels of attenuation. "The primary changes to this draft is a slight tightening of the attenuation requirements," said Dan Kennefick, Berk-Tek Copper Products Business Manager.

Kennefick said the LANmark-1000 CMP, CMR and patch cables each exceeded the new standards. He said Berk-Tek recognizes the importance of third party verification to many of its key customers. "ITS is a third party testing group that carries with a lot of credibility. All LANmark-1000 UTP cable that we make is tested to meet or exceed the Category 6 standard," Kennefick said. "The Berk-Tek name has come to mean innovation in data communications cable solutions with products that consistently outperform industry standards."

Jeffrey S. Deckman, founder and CEO of SyNet, Inc., a Warwick, RI-based telecommunications integration firm, has been named President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Technology Council (RITec).

A resident of West Warwick, Deckman is bullish on Rhode Island. "We are very well positioned to compete with Route 128 as a technology powerhouse," he says, "and RITec offers us a great opportunity to maximize our resources in promoting the state's IT industry."

Through leadership positions in several professional organizations, including the New England Interconnect and Data Communications Association and the Association of Cabling Professionals, Deckman has played an active role in Rhode Island's high tech community for more than a decade. He has also logged many hours of public service, having served a five-year term on the state Board of Telecommunications System Contractors, Technicians, and Installers, and co-authored the state law that governs licensing of the telecommunications industry - a statute that created the nation's first state telecommunications licensing and review board. Deckman has focused his energies on the critical challenge of building Rhode Island's high tech workforce. He has worked extensively with programs geared towards introducing and enhancing technology in the school systems, for the purpose of workforce development.

GenTek Inc. (Hampton, NH) has announced it has agreed to acquire the assets of Vigilant Networks, Inc. from LeCroy Corporation for $12 million. As part of the transaction, GenTek will also receive a two-year warrant to purchase 200,000 common shares of LeCroy at an exercise price of $10.05 per share.

Vigilant (Burlington, MA) develops, manufacturers and sells networking equipment used to monitor communications network activity, performance and throughput. Its products use advanced signal acquisition technology to characterize the performance of live network channels, eliminating the need to disable a network to conduct troubleshooting. Vigilant's technology is unique in its ability to diagnose network performance issues in all seven layers of the communications network, including the physical layer, which is increasingly critical as data communication accelerates to fast Ethernet and gigabit speeds.

"We have used Vigilant's technology extensively in our on-site customer network testing to demonstrate the capabilities of our TrueNet™ system," said Paul M. Montrone, chairman of GenTek. "Direct access to this unique technology will accelerate GenTek's introduction of additional throughput enhancement solutions in the future. We also believe that Vigilant provides a foundation from which GenTek can build a substantial network diagnostic services business with exciting growth prospects."

GenTek has also entered into an agreement to source digitizer products from LeCroy for use in Vigilant's products. KRONE Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of GenTek, has been working in cooperation with Vigilant for nearly two years, using the company's equipment to refine product design and testing methodologies to provide improved signal transmission in local area networks.

HellermannTyton, a global manufacturer of network product solutions, introduces its InfoStream™ multi-channel raceway. InfoStream features a unique, elliptically shaped profile which is currently offered only by HellermannTyton. The rounded profile offers both a sleek appearance and also helps absorb shock if the raceway is inadvertently struck. InfoStream speeds installation as the raceway's hinged cover can be partially mounted prior to laying cables, while doubling as a ledge, preventing wire and cable from falling out of the raceway during installation. Compatible with HellermannTyton's single channel TSR line of raceway, InfoStream offers up to 4 separate channels for electrical, voice, data, video or fiber optic cabling. The InfoStream system is U.L. Listed to U.S. and Canada safety standards.

InfoStream's system includes fittings, boxes, faceplates, and jacks, although all NEMA standard faceplates will work with the raceway. All of the system's fittings maintain the required 1" minimum bend radius per TIA/EIA-568-A and 569-A standards. Beyond the standard fittings available with many raceway systems, InfoStream can come with an offset elbow which offers a targeted solution for navigating around close comers during installations.

InfoStream works with HellermannTyton's complete line of networking products for integrated installation solutions. The line includes connectivity products which exceed the industry's latest standards, faceplates, fiber products, wire managers and organizers, shelves and racks, hook and loop cable ties, and wide range of identification products for labeling wire, cable, components, and telecommunications rooms.

Berk-Tek, an Alcatel company, has enhanced the performance of its industry leading GIGAlite™ optical fiber solutions, when used with vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL).

GIGAlite optical fiber solutions are engineered for users who demand high-speed performance in their horizontal and backbone fiber optic structured cabling systems. GIGAlite fiber solutions were the first to guarantee extended GBE distances. Specifically designed for use with VCSELs, Berk-Tek also guarantees GIGAlite fiber performance beyond the IEEE and ATM Forum distance limitations for the standard multimode fiber optic cable, supporting Gigabit Ethernet®, Gigabit ATM and 622 Mbit/s ATM at both operating windows (850 and 1300nm) and at distances up to 600 meters and beyond.

William D. Charuk, Berk-Tek's Fiber Optic Group Business Manager, said Berk-Tek's GIGAlite solutions utilize fibers with an improved index of refraction profile. "As a graded index fiber, it's vital to eliminate any nonuniformities of the fiber's index profile. This fiber's index profile was optimized and the performance results with VCSEL transmitters improved substantially," Charuk said. "We are now incorporating fibers in our GIGAlite cables that were tested using restricted mode launch techniques, thereby, improving the quality and consistency of the fibers offered."

Charuk said that technological advances like VCSELs have changed the way in which multimode fibers are specified. Mode conditioning patch cords - which ensure off-center transmission of 1300 nm laser signals in multimode fibers - are required to counter distortion caused by irregularities in the fiber's index of refraction.

"Because of this," Charuk said, "a significant percentage of the currently installed fiber premises backbones will not support Gigabit Ethernet at both 850 and 1300 nm. Our GIGAlite solutions will. And they don't require a mode conditioning patch cord since the fiber index of refraction profile contains virtually no anomalies or center line dip. That saves on total system cost and installation times."

He said the data communications applications of tomorrow would replace LED's with laser transmitters. However, while geared toward future applications and VCSEL based systems, Charuk stressed that GIGAlite optical fiber solutions still offers unmatched performance with LED-based systems.

Communications Supply Corporation (CSC - Chicago, IL) has announced that it has completed the purchase of Communication Products Unlimited (CPU). Founded in 1990, CPU is one of the industry's fastest growing distributors of communication infrastructure products, including cable, fiber optics, network electronics and other related communication products. The deal gives CSC a strong foothold in the Maryland, Washington D.C., and northern Virginia markets. CPU becomes CSC's 29th location in the United States.

Under the deal, CPU will operate as a standalone operation within CSC, with Lee Osterman remaining as CPU's General Manager, and all of CPU's staff staying in their current positions. "In buying profitable businesses, it's important to retain the entrepreneurial talent that made the business what it is," explains Steve Riordan, President and CEO of CSC.

The merger provides substantial service enhancements for CPU customers - including access to a broader product line, additional inventory, and nationwide shipping locations. As Lee Osterman, General Manager of CPU notes, "The two companies share the same corporate culture, including heavy emphasis on employee and vender relations. That's one of the main reasons we decided to merge with CSC." He adds, "Our customers will still deal with the same staff they've grown to depend on. The only difference will be significant customer service enhancements, much broader product inventory lines, and 28 additional locations to service customers from. It's a win-win solution for CPU and our customers."

Every day, headlines announce the newest "ground-breaking technology" or a product that's going to be a part of the "office of the future." But your business customers need that office of the future today, and they're relying on you to make it happen right now. What's more, your boss needs you to bring in more $$$ and keep costs low. The good news is that you can make both your boss and your customers happy.

Imagine your business customers: Are they road warriors - those constantly traveling sales managers who need a "virtual office" wherever they go? Do your customers want to have all of their familiar Centrex phone features delivered to multiple office locations? Do they want to offer their employees the opportunity to work from home? Or perhaps, they want to create a virtual call center with all their telemarketers working from various offices or homes around the country?

Lucent Technologies is helping service providers meet this market demand today by offering the 7R/E™ iMerge Centrex Feature Gateway (CFG) and iMerge Network-based Call Signaling Gateway (NCSG). These advanced voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and IP Centrex solutions offer customers multiple applications that are easy to deploy and manage.

iMerge gives your customers multilocation Centrex features. You can use iMerge to create a virtual office for your road warriors. It will also offer a seamless work environment for teleworkers or create a virtual call center.

iMerge combines the inherent reliability of the public switched telephone network with the cost-saving advantages of the packet network. The iMerge CFG offers existing service providers a seamless migration path to packet networks and provides emerging carriers with the ability to build a new packet network. The iMerge NCSG is targeted at cable television operators that want to offer reliable telephony and high-speed data services over existing cable networks.

And what about your boss? Your boss will be happy because iMerge allows you to increase your market reach by serving locations out of your local service area. iMerge also brings in new revenue streams from access fees, telecommuter lines and Centrex virtual private networks. In addition, iMerge helps you maintain customer loyalty with the ability to bundle new data and broadband services. And because iMerge is compatible with any GR303 switch, you can implement a single solution across your network, saving time and money.

Have you or your clients missed a phone call in the last year? You've tried voice mail, pagers, cell phones, but people are still missing calls. You've tried telling yourself that missed phone calls are a fact of life. No single system can coordinate calls in the office and on the road. You reassure clients that the solution is just around the corner and they just need to have patience.

Why be patient? A year ago, AG Communication Systems, a subsidiary of Lucent Technologies, introduced the ROAMEO® wireless office phone system, which offered the mobile work force a convenient way to always stay in touch.

From the boardroom to the factory floor, ROAMEO is perfect for any company with employees who need to be accessible - wherever they are. ROAMEO integrates your wireless handset with your existing in-house phone system. When you're in the office or on campus, ROAMEO directs incoming office calls to both your desk phone and wireless handset, so you won't miss a call. Plus, all the features of your desk phone - such as call transfer, call forwarding and three-way calling - are automatically available on your handset when you're within ROAMEO's range. Out of the office, ROAMEO redirects incoming office calls to your wireless handset.

ROAMEO is a digital wireless office phone system that enables you to use your office phone and a standard digital handset as a single number that reaches you wherever you are. The system conforms to the TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) IS-136 standard. ROAMEO connects with any PBX, Centrex or key system that provides analog line or T1 line side connectivity. It also supports subscriber concentration connectivity to make efficient use of your existing system resources. The system can be installed in a distributed base station configuration or as a distributed antenna configuration. These two RF design options provide maximum flexibility and scalability to best accommodate a variety of building environments.

There are no codes, menus or user programming required to use the ROAMEO system. By simply turning on the wireless handset, both ROAMEO and the outside wireless network know the user's location. Automatic coordination between the two systems removes the need for manual intervention by the user as they move from one network to the other.

ROAMEO is also just as easy to administer as it is to install. Traffic is displayed in real time, so you'll always know system status. Database modifications can be made with point-and-click ease. And its self-diagnostic function can detect possible problems before they affect users. The ROAMEO system supports up to 2,000 registered users. It has been successful in both small locations and large campus environments, covering multiple buildings over several square miles.

The BICSI Winter Conference, scheduled for January 15-18, 2001 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, FL, will offer managerial and technical sessions for the telecommunications infrastructure professional coping in a global marketplace.

Conference attendees can visit 200 industry exhibits before and after the educational sessions each day. Other activities include a BICSI members only technical seminar titled "Designing for an Open Office Environment," and the 15 pre and post-conference BICSI design and installation courses. Courses require separate registration and are not included in the conference registration.

The annual awards ceremony will recognize outstanding individuals within BICSI, and in the telecommunications industry. Nominations are now being accepted for the "Harry J. Pfister Award for Excellence in Service to the Communications Industry Award," presented by the University of South Florida. Conference details and on-line registration are available on the BICSI Web site,

The need for additional lines for voice and data is one of the most common problems when creating the office of the future. The demand for additional lines for office and residential users will only continue to grow. However, the limited availability of copper pairs often constrains the number of additional lines. Laying new copper wiring is costly and time-consuming. What if you could deliver added voice lines without adding any new copper? And what if you could deliver maximum-allowable analog modem connect speeds and even Ethernet data rates of half a megabit per second over that same wire? That's exactly what the SuperLine Access System offers today.

SuperLine offers three fully-featured phone lines and Internet data over a single copper twisted pair. These new lines support all CLASS and Centrex features, such as call waiting, call forwarding, distinctive ringing and caller ID. In addition, the sound quality of the additional voice lines is indistinguishable from traditional phone service. SuperLine also offers maximum-allowable speeds on V.90 56Kbps modems using AG Communication Systems' SuperSpeed technology. For even faster data rates, an Ethernet data option offers speeds up to half a megabit on normal loops. What's more, voice and data calls can occur at the same time.

Telecommunications and cable companies are working with AG Communication Systems to offer Superline. If your clients have to search elsewhere to create their office of the future, then someone else might start taking care of their business.

BICSI issued their membership financial report (for the United States only) at the BICSI meeting in the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. With 63 percent of the year over, BICSI had accumulated $8,035,424 in revenues and had an excess of assets over liabilities of $4,451,180. "Not bad for a non-profit organization."

This writer can remember when BICSI "passed the hat" at the Holiday Inn in Tampa to pay for the postage on the BICSI Newsletter. They've come a long way. Now the lodging is a bit more upscale. For example:

  • The Westin Brisas Beach Resort in Ixtapa, Mexico.
  • Hyatt Regency Cerromar Beach Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in DisneyWorld, Florida
  • Ritz Carlton Hotel in Melbourne, Australia

NOTE: The resort for the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil event is unannounced.

CommScope, Inc. (Hickory, NC), a leading manufacturer of broadband communication cables, has announced that it has achieved several key milestones in its ongoing business expansion. These expansions are intended to support the company's expected worldwide growth opportunities in the telecommunications industry.

CommScope also closed on a previously announced purchase of a former Motorola facility in Jaguariuna, Brazil. The Brazilian facility is expected to provide more than 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space when modifications are complete around mid-year 2001. The company has also conducted a grand opening of its new 225,000 square foot distribution facility in Sparks, Nevada and announced its plans to relocate to a new corporate headquarters building in Hickory, N.C. late next year.

"We continue to be excited about the worldwide opportunities for broadband cables due to the expanding bandwidth needs in the 'last mile' of telecommunications," said Frank M. Drendel, CommScope's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

"Over the past 12 months, we have added nearly 1,000 employees company wide and announced new manufacturing and distribution expansions totaling more than one million square feet. To support this growth, we also need more space for certain administrative, sales, marketing and customer service activities," Drendel added. "Leasing a larger facility is a cost effective way to provide adequate space for current and future needs." The new corporate facility will be built near the northwest corner of the intersection of Lenoir-Rhyne Blvd. and Interstate 40 in Hickory, N.C. Occupancy is scheduled for December 2001.

Grace Shimp, Executive Director of the Association of Cabling Professionals (Jacksonville, FL), announced that the ACP certified training courses will be released next month. The technical training package is a three stage certified program for the cable installer technician. "We are excited about the building block approach to hands-on, performance-based training. Of course, these programs will be under constant review for updates and improvements."

The Siemon Company (Watertown, CT) has officially unveiled its enhanced corporate web site this week at The site showcases Siemon's full line of copper and fiber structured cabling products and programs. It also features comprehensive information on industry standards and installation practices.

"We've added new content and capabilities to make navigating the site easier and more rewarding," commented Frank Velleca, Marketing Manager. "Our new search engine lets visitors type in a keyword or two and quickly locate information. We've also added many new on-line resources such as downloadable versions of our marketing materials, technical papers, case studies, even our entire catalog."

The launch kicks-off a series of enhancements planned for the coming months. An interactive cabling system application guide is planned, which will walk users through a new e-catalog™ and aid selection of appropriate components for their systems. An online tour of The Siemon Company's museum will also be launched in the coming months.

As part of the new web site kick-off, The Siemon Company will be offering a complimentary subscription to their Cabling For The Future magazine. Visitors can sign-up for a subscription on-line. The web site is best viewed with Internet Explorer 5 or above and makes use of the Macromedia Flash browser plug-in. "Flash technology lets us use animation and sound to highlight important products or announcements," adds Mr. Velleca.


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