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HOTS 11/2000

Issue: November 2000

By: Frank Bisbee


 

Featured Story

 


Recently, a subscriber sent us some statistics which were extracted from a recent study (source unknown). We compared these figures with studies at the Association of Cabling Professionals (Jacksonville, FL) and found similar forecasts, only with slightly longer time frames.

Today:

  • 250,000 homes are wired for home automation in the US today.

  • 210,000 new homes will be wired this year.

  • 133,000 of existing homes will be retro-fitted with high tech wiring this year

  • In 2004:

  • 700,000 of new homes will be wired

  • 231,000 of existing homes will be retro-fitted

There will be an estimated 3.4 million wired homes in the U.S.

While predicting cable installation in the home automation market, we should not lose track of the consistently growing cabling marketplace in the business sector. Infrastructure cabling and high-tech services have become a real hot button for the tenants in the leased office space market.

"Spec buildings" (speculative investment) in rental space may offer as much as 9 billion square feet of available space with upgrades and retrofits occurring every four to seven years. Using a rule of thumb formula of 2.7 cable runs (horizontal) for each 220 square feet of building space, with an average length of seventy feet, we are looking at a predictable 51.3 Trillion feet of cable to be installed in the spec space alone over the next seven years.

Fiber optics and copper cable manufacturers are smiling. Their investors are smiling also but the big grins belong to the end user who is receiving one of the best values in today's high technology marketplace. Cabling infrastructure is a valuable asset (even when considered on a short term basis).

Recently, we were introduced to a leasing program offered by Graybar which allows the end users to lease the cable even in "spec" structures. With the advanced technology and capital available for wiring the world, we see a very solid market growth. New codes and standards continue to improve the product reliability and safety. Today, our information systems retain a substantial portion of our business tools and assets. Cabling plays an important role in protecting those assets (most of which are not protected by contents insurance). As information users, we understand the threat of a virus in our computer systems. However, relatively few MIS Managers and upper management recognize the threat to the information system by the corrosive properties of some cables in a fire hazard situation. The computer systems are far more susceptible to significant damage by smoke than the operators in the same environment.

Look for a significant increase in demand for the new limited combustible (CMP-50) high fire performance cable. AVAYA (formerly Lucent) and CDT have already introduced these products and we envision the other cable manufacturers will join them quickly. Cable, even plenum-approved cable, contains significant fuel load. These new CMP-50 cables are not only code-compliant but also have a low fuel load and an extremely low smoke load. The name of the game is to protect the staff and the information systems which are so vital to our businesses.

Both ACP (Association of Cabling Professionals) and BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International), www.bicsi.org, support this important new development in cabling fire performance.



NORDX/CDT Inc. (Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cable Design Technologies (CDT) Corporation, today announced that their revolutionary connectivity modules - GigaFlex PS6+™ and GigaFlex PS5+™ - have reached a milestone: one million units sold. "Less than ten months after their launch and only five months after their introductory phase, more than one million of these modules are in service, confirming their technological superiority as one of the most advanced UTP module in the industry," said Michèle Raymond, Strategic Marketing and PLM Director at NORDX/CDT.

The GigaFlex PS6+ and PS5+ punch-down UTP (unshielded twisted pair) connectors benefit from a patented encapsulated lead frame technology that 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, GigaFlex modules can be mixed and matched with a variety of adapters, allowing their use in almost all computer network applications.

As part of the IBDN™ Modular Connectivity product line, the GigaFlex PS6+ modules have been tested by the European Cabling (EC) group of DELTA and comply with the components requirements as per Category 6 draft 7. "We designed their characteristics to guarantee 300 MHz available channel bandwidth performance for PS6 connectivity, and 160 MHz for PS5 connectivity," explains Benoit Chevarie, Product Manager, IBDN Copper Connectivity, at NORDX/CDT.

The GigaFlex PS6+ connectivity module was the first 300 MHz connector on the market. Considered as the preferred connector for IBDN System 4800LX and System 2400 installations, the GigaFlex PS6+ offers backward compatibility with category 5 and category 5e that 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, this module meets the requirements of all gigabit applications with a usable bandwidth of 160 MHz and 1.2 Gb/s data capability when used as part of the IBDN System 1200. www.nordx.com



GS Metals (Pinckneyville, IL) has introduced a new method for a fast, easy installation of its FLEXTRAY® Cable Management System. The new Toolless Connector offers a quick way to attach FLEXTRAY to a wide variety of support options. The snap in locking pin secures the Toolless Connector to the support in one easy movement. The Connector is designed with a dual attachment that will secure any size of FLEXTRAY straight section for a safe, secure hold down. In addition, the Toolless Connector carries a plenum rating for installation in any environment. The addition of the Toolless Connector to the FLEXTRAY product family provides a unique solution that is not only cost effective, but also highly innovative in terms of labor savings.

FLEXTRAY is an innovative, wire mesh cable management system. As the pioneer, market leader and recognized name in flexible wire management solutions, FLEXTRAY provides total on-site flexibility. Its design enables faster installation with less labor and materials. Simply cut and bend to create drops, bends, climbs and intersections. Its comprehensive product offering, US based manufacturing, sales and marketing, and leading channel partners all provide the highest quality products and customer support. FLEXTRAY will continue to lead in the market, as its products and services evolve to offer the highest in quality and value to both its customers and the marketplace. www.flextray.com



Avaya (Basking Ridge, NJ) is building six new IP telephony hardware and software products intended to help VOIP (voice over IP) technology make the jump from smaller businesses to large-scale enterprises.

  • The six new products kick off the company's new Enterprise Class IP Solutions (ECLIPS) product line, aimed at midsize to large enterprises. The ECLIPS line of IP telephony products are intended to operate as a complete replacement system for circuit-switched PBX, voice mail, and call center technologies.

  • THE ECLIPS product launch will offer large enterprises the first line of IP telephony hardware and software that can scale to meet the user demands of a large enterprise, claimed Carl Wiese, Vice President for product management at AVAYA.

  • The six products being announced are:

  • The Avaya IP600 IP Communications Server, a 19-inch rack-mounted, Windows NT-based IP PBX, which includes voice mail, six-party calling, automated attendant, and call center features for 20 to 200 seats, with maximum support for 12,000 seats.

  • The Avaya R300 Remote Office Communicator, a remote/branch office IP telephony device, which extends a central office voice system and voice applications as well as firewall and VPN capabilities to remote offices with up to 25 users.

  • Definity IP Solutions software, which slips with the IP600 and provides traffic handling, call control, and routing for Avaya IP telephones and software-based phones.

  • The Avaya Directory Gateway, an LDAP-compatible, Web-based tool that provides centralized management of an entire enterprise phone network and integrates with other enterprise directories.

  • Avaya 12-button 4612 and 24-button 4624 IP telephones feature a 10/100 Mbps Ethernet connection for a desktop PC and can be configured with DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) or statically configured with an IP address.

  • Avaya IP Softphone software for PCs, which emulates Avaya digital phone functions and includes video conferencing capabilities.

Pricing, availability, and more details can be found at www.avaya.com.



The Cabling Standards UPDATE is distributed in both Japan and in Europe. In Japan, it's translated into Japanese and in Europe it is sold in English and in the future may be translated into German or French. They are currently working on a new section called, "For the Installer".

Hats off to Marilyn Michelson, Publisher of Cabling Standards UPDATE (Pleasanton, CA). This publication offers a very high-value to the subscriber who wants to stay on top of the codes and standards game. Personally, we like the material because it is structured in an easy to understand fashion and in relationship to other activities in the cabling industry. The staff at Cabling Standards UPDATE continues to deliver the "goods". You can reach Marilyn at 925/846-9900 or e-mail her at randm@ix.netcom.com.



Intertek Testing Service (Boxborough, MA) has formed a strategic alliance with leading cabling products manufacturers around the world to review and discuss testing standards while working together to mainstream the acceptance of the ETL Listed Mark in the cabling industry.

Referred to as the Steering Committee, this cabling industry group is meeting semi-annually to openly discuss their needs and the issues they encounter when working with an independent third-party testing laboratory.

The first Steering Committee meetings were held last September and again in January at the BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International) conferences, where over 25 cabling products manufacturers voiced recommendations as to what their industry needed from the product safety testing industry. Topping the list was increased awareness of a third-party testing alternative with an acceptable mark, such as ITS' ETL Listed Mark.

ITS team members who helped organize the Steering Committee meetings said that, in the wire and cabling products business, new technologies and time-to-market are the main drivers.

"Due to the rapid advancement of technology and the speed with which a manufacturer must get their products to market, this industry needs a more responsive partner for its product safety testing needs," said Don Nicholson, Global Industry Manager for the cabling products testing group at ITS' Cortland, New York facility. In fact, Nicholson suggests that, in any stage of a product's development, service options and alternatives are a necessity. This would include the use of an independent and nationally recognized source such as a product safety testing service, he added. "No one wants to wait in line to get their products to market."

"The high technology manufacturers within the networking and telecommunications industries are focused on sending more data at faster rates, and are in a constant foot race to stay ahead of technology, changing standards, and their competition," added Nicholson. www.worldlab.com



Intertek Testing Services (ITS - Boxborough, MA), a product and commodities testing organization, recently announced that its ETL SEMKO, Americas division recently appointed Kathy Bishop as customer service coordinator of its Cabling Products Group (Cortland, NY). Bishop's duties include scheduling and coordination of cabling products testing projects. She is also the Group's client liaison, responsible for client contact, project scheduling and tracking, and follow-up services.

Bishop has over seven years of multi-departmental administrative experience with ITS, including purchasing and sales. She joined the Cabling Products Group in 1998.

ETL SEMKO, Americas is a division of Intertek Testing Services Ltd., the world's largest product and commodities testing organization, which operates in 244 laboratories and 483 offices in 85 countries throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. ITS provides product safety testing and certification, EMC testing, performance testing and quality management systems registration for global clients in such industries as medical, HVAC, telecommunications, semiconductor, building products and power generating systems.



Fiberworks (Atlanta, GA) has been named one of the fastest-growing companies in the country by Inc. Magazine, which recently released its annual ranking of the Inc. 500, the comprehensive guide to America's fastest growing private companies.

The Inc. 500 is an exclusive report on the companies and CEOs who are changing the face of American business. Noteworthy alumni include such household corporate names as Microsoft, Timberland, Dominos Pizza and Patagonia.

Metro Atlanta's Fiberworks is a telecommunications firm that designs, builds and maintains fiber optic networks for carriers, service providers, telecom engineering firms, real estate professionals and large enterprise companies.

Recently, the company announced plans to construct all-optical, all-fiber Metro Access( networks in Atlanta and 14 other Southeastern U.S. cities to link businesses to the public telephone and Internet backbones. Fiberworks ranked number 380 on the Inc. 500.

"The past year has seen a period of great accomplishment for Fiberworks, culminating in our realization of the goal to become a premier, full-service fiber infrastructure provider," said Scott P. Burkholder, President and CEO. "Each day brings new opportunities for our company. I'm confident that we'll continue to grow through offering new innovations and launching new ventures. Every move affords a broader outlook for Fiberworks, from strategic partnerships with companies like Holder Properties and Nortel Networks, to the development of new services centered on our expertise in fiber optic technology," he added.

Fiberworks is one of the 25 firms in the Atlanta metro area to have made this year's list. Atlanta has seized the number one spot for the first time among cities in the 19th annual Inc. 500. The City of Atlanta boasts more companies on the list than any other city nationwide with 15. The Atlanta metro area also has the fourth most companies ranked in comparison to other metropolitan areas.

To be eligible for the Inc. 500, companies have to be independent and privately held through 1999, have at least $200,000 in sales in the base year, 1995, and their 1999 sales must have exceeded their 1998 sales. The ranking is based on the percentage increase in sales from 1995 through 1999. Inc. verified all information using tax forms and financial statements from certified public accountants and by conducting interviews with company officials. Fiberworks, with revenue at $5.7 million in 1999, increased its percentage in sales by 707% since 1995. www.fiberworks.com



A major concern among IS managers involves the ability of cabling systems to efficiently support today's, as well as tomorrow's, business applications.

In response to this concern, Berk-Tek and Ortronics, manufacturers of network components and cabling, have joined forces with Anixter, the world's leading provider of data communications products, to offer a 25-year warranty on products and services purchased under the manufacturers' NetClear™ structured cabling system and Anixter's Levels XP™ quality assurance program.

With the NetClear program, Berk-Tek and Ortronics are assuring customers that their systems will:

  • Maximize network efficiency

  • Minimize CRC or frame errors

  • Provide ample bandwidth for applications like 100BASE-T and 1000BASE-T and beyond

  • Meet/exceed all Anixter purchasing specifications-Component, Channel, and Expanded Performance (XP)

Berk-Tek and Ortronics have been working closely together for over three years on the co-development of patch-cord design and the interoperability of cabling and connectivity. Their labs in New Holland, PA and New London, CT are synchronized, utilizing identical test methodology for repeatable static, dynamic and application testing.

Anixter's XP designation is applied to all products sold under the NetClear alliance. It means that those products have been tested under the most stringent specifications, surpassing all accepted industry specification standards. As part of the testing procedures conducted at the Anixter Levels Lab® (Mt. Prospect, IL) the products are tested for dynamic applications, as well as static performance.

According to Pete Lockhart, Anixter's Vice President of Technology, the NetClear/XP program represents the most reliable performance of network cabling systems in the world. "As faster network access methods, such as fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet, become a reality, the effect that a cabling system can have on network performance is becoming more and more apparent. Lower performing cabling systems can hinder transmission of data, contributing to slowtime and lost productivity," explained Lockhart.

Kevin St. Cyr, President of Berk-Tek, said the information technology marketplace is demanding more efficient and reliable cabling systems that are capable of supporting sophisticated applications that are bandwidth intensive. "We are excited about the joint NetClear/XP warranty. Anixter, Berk-Tek and Ortronics all have strong leadership positions in the market. As a result, our customers will benefit from the advantages of having leading cable manufacturer's products engineered to optimize a leading connectivity manufacturer's product line, and meeting the very stringent purchasing specifications set forth by Anixter. NetClear will set the standards for horizontal and backbone structured cabling solution performance, as well as overall network performance," St. Cyr said.

"The IT marketplace and our customers have driven the demand for higher performance structured cabling systems that run more sophisticated applications with expanding capabilities and require more bandwidth," states Howard Odom, Ortronics president and CEO. "The NetClear/XP warranty will allow Anixter's customers to benefit from the unique value associated with the Berk-Tek and Ortronics NetClear alliance. NetClear has been independently tested to prove performance beyond the standards and now has the added security of the Anixter NetClear/XP warranty. The installation of a NetClear enhanced frequency system solution to handle today's emerging technologies, with headroom as insurance for future network evolution, will allow customers to get the maximum return on their investment," comments Odom.

Anixter developed the new Levels XP performance specification in response to dramatic findings that revealed a strong correlation between corrupted data and mismatched components. Until now, all cabling systems were tested with only passive electrical signals which could not give a true indication of how the cabling system would work when active data signals were transmitted.

As an added reassurance, the Anixter Levels Lab and its testing procedures are now certified by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). As the premier standards-based testing organization in the world, UL continues to provide guidance and confidence to the data communications industry. Under its Certificate Services, UL conducts an independent, third-party, engineering and management systems audit to verify the compliance of Anixter's Levels Lab with the testing processes, personnel training and data recording procedures associated with the Levels program. Anixter submits its Levels Lab to these audits each year to check that Anixter Levels' results are independently repeatable and verifiable. For more information visit Anixter's website or the NetClear program website.



Daikin America Inc. (Orangeburg, NY) has announced the establishment of Daikin Institute of Advanced Chemistry and Technology, Inc. (DAI-ACT) incorporated in the state of Delaware on June 22, 2000. DAI-ACT is Daikin's innovative virtual R&D facility that will act as a main research center in the U.S., committed to fostering uses and developing the newest technologies in fluorochemicals.

DAI-ACT commissions outside sources such as universities and venture companies for this activity, allowing for smooth and effective expansion of its fluorine chemical market. Through the use of 21st Century technology, DAI-ACT has already formed a strong human network of highly self-motivated, pioneering researchers focused on investigating application projects in aerospace, semiconductor and information technology industries. In keeping with Daikin's cutting-edge spirit, contracting out new technology development work to the world's top researchers and entrepreneurs will increase the applications of technological breakthroughs in an effective and timely manner.

Daikin America, the second largest fluoropolymer supplier in the US, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daikin Industries Ltd. of Osaka, Japan. Daikin began investigating fluorine chemistry in 1933 and is now Japan's leading manufacturer of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, as well as Japan's largest producer of fluorochemical products. www.daikin-ny.com



World record holder Pat Rummerfield, who will attempt to establish another world Land Speed Record this month in the Graybar-sponsored White Lightning II streamliner, has been chosen to receive Intersport's ARETE Award for displaying uncommon courage in sports. The award winners will be honored during the 11th annual ARETE Awards for Courage in Sports October 20 at the Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois.

Rummerfield, a recovering quadriplegic from Belleville, Illinois, will return to the Bonneville Salt Flats for more record attempts in the Graybar White Lightning II streamliner, beginning October 19. A year ago, Rummerfield set a certified two-way Land Speed Record of 245.523 mph in the same car and topped that mark the next day with a two-way run of 251.322 mph, which stands as a national record in Class E/III. With Graybar's help, he will attempt to set a speed mark in a lighter, less powerful class (E/II).

Rummerfield was nearly killed in a highway accident in 1974 and was told that he would remain a bedridden quadriplegic. After months in the hospital, he began painful therapy that gradually helped him regain the use of his arms and legs. After learning again how to walk, he became determined to do more - to run and swim, eventually becoming a competitive triathlete. Eighteen years after his accident, Rummerfield completed the prestigious Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii in 1992. He even competed in the Antarctic Marathon in 1997, perhaps one of the toughest sporting events ever organized.

Despite years lost to recovery, Rummerfield then set his sights on auto racing. Ed Dempsey, a businessman from Santa Ana, California, selected him to drive the electric streamliner. Rummerfield set his first speed mark - 237 mph - in the electrical vehicle in 1997.

Rummerfield was nominated as an amateur athlete. Nominations were received from sportswriters at 500 leading newspapers, and a blue ribbon panel of judges made final selections in each of six categories. The ARETE awards ceremony will be broadcast on ESPN in November.

Graybar is sponsoring Rummerfield in the upcoming round of speed runs at Bonneville. Supporting Graybar in its sponsorship are GE Lighting Systems, Advance Transformer and Lutron Electronics.

Graybar (St. Louis, MO), a Fortune 500 service provider, is engaged internationally in the wholesale distribution of electrical and comm/data equipment and integrated supply services, primarily to contractors, industrial plants, telephone companies, power utilities, and commercial users. Graybar is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the United States, with approximately 9,500 employees and 292 stocking locations throughout the U.S. and Canada and locations in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Singapore. The company has been in business for 130 years. Annual sales in 1999 exceeded $4.3 billion. Headquarters is in St. Louis, Missouri.



Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel company, provided more than 12 miles (20 kilometers) of singlemode and multimode fiber-optic cable to the 2000 Summer Olympics site at Homebush Bay at Sydney, Australia, through its Alcatel Australia Limited operations based at Alexandria, Australia.

Berk-Tek's fiber is being used for data communications and Closed-circuit television (CCTV) applications, providing the backbone for the Olympic Stadium connecting the large TV screens, as well as some fixed camera sites. Berk-Tek's fiber also supports the site's entire CCTV security and car park management (five separate parking areas) systems, and links the security system with ticketing offices, boom gate facilities and cashier systems.

The application is part of Berk-Tek's OASIS (Open Architecture Systems Interconnection Solutions Program). Under the OASIS Program, Berk-Tek, in partnership with approved connectivity partners and independent testing laboratories, offers leading-edge high-performance copper and fiber-optic structured cabling solutions. Through its global network of certified OASIS integrators, the OASIS Program offers, what is considered, the industry's finest open architecture warranty - a 25-year extended product, application assurance and installation labor guarantee, which is one of the reasons why the Olympic Committee chose Berk-Tek fiber.

Alcatel Australia Limited provided about seven kilometers (4.3 miles) of six-core singlemode and 12-core multimode outside plant and 13 kilometers(8 miles) of 24-core multimode (OPD) fiber-optic cable to the Olympics venue. The installation, which also included Methode connectivity products, was completed by Commstar Communications. www.berktek.com



CommScope, Inc. (Hickory, NC), a leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance, broadband communication cables, today announced a cable performance breakthrough that can also offer a cost savings of up to 30% or more in coaxial cable used in wireless systems. The application of new, advanced manufacturing technologies allows 1-5/8" Cell Reach(R) cable to achieve 8-10% lower attenuation across all frequencies than comparable corrugated coaxial cables. This is a significant benefit to system designers since it provides a measurable reduction in overall signal loss at a reduced cost.

"This improvement represents a major breakthrough in foam dielectric RF (Radio Frequency) transmission line performance," said CommScope's Executive Vice President of Development Larry Nelson. "Cell site designers and planners are constantly challenged to improve system performance and provide better coverage. With the reduced attenuation of our 1-5/8" transmission line, they can achieve this with no increase in site cost. In addition, for many installations there can be a significantly lower cost since 2-1/4" corrugated coaxial cable would not be required."

For example, in a typical installation at PCS frequencies with a 3db loss budget, 1-5/8" corrugated coax cable has a maximum run length of about 193 feet and an equivalent configuration of 2-1/4" corrugated coax can only reach 220 feet. Cell Reach 1-5/8" smooth-wall coax, on the other hand, can reach 223 feet when used in conjunction with our patent-pending TranSplice(TM) connectors. Therefore, a 220-foot tower that formerly would have required the use of 2-1/4" corrugated coax can now use 1-5/8" Cell Reach cable at a cost savings of up to 30% or more.

"In addition to reduced product costs," Nelson continued, "our customers also benefit from simplified purchasing and inventory management by eliminating the need for another size cable with all its related hardware and accessories. When a service provider is engaged in a major system build out, this can amount to savings of hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars."

Beginning in January 1, 2001, all 1-5/8" cable shipped from our distribution centers will be tested to verify it meets these new specifications. www.commscope.com



The United Telecom Council (Washington, DC), a global trade association for utilities, pipelines, and other critical infrastructure companies, has announced that Jill M. Lyon will join the organization as its new vice president and general counsel. In this position, Lyon will direct UTCs Public and Technology Policy programs and oversee UTCs Frequency Coordination and Spectrum Services.

"I am very pleased to welcome Jill Lyon aboard as a partner and the newest member of UTCs senior staff," said UTC President and CEO Bill Moroney. "Over the years, UTC has worked very hard to build a legal team that can provide our members with timely, sound legal/regulatory guidance and effectively advocate their needs to legislators and policy makers. "We are fortunate to have someone with Jill's leadership skills and knowledge to continue the departments tradition of excellence."

Lyon joins UTC from the American Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) where she served as the senior vice president for regulatory relations and deputy general counsel. "In that position, Lyon was responsible for AMTAs regulatory information activities, chairing its Regulatory Forum, and coordinating AMTAs work with the FCC, Congress, and other government agencies."

"I look forward to working with the staff, members and Board of UTC on the wide variety of issues facing the critical infrastructure industries," Lyon said. "This continues to be an era of rapid change for all segments of telecommunications, and I'm very pleased to be joining the Association at such an exciting time."

Prior to joining AMTA in 1994, Lyon practiced communications law, specializing in mobile wireless issues, and worked in litigation and real estate for two Washington law firms and a Washington area county government. Lyon is a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar and holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. with honors in Broadcast/Telecommunications from the University of Tulsa. www.utc.org



Berk-Tek's HyperPlus Category 5 UTP horizontal cable was recently used in the vice presidential debate on October 5th. Approximately sixty miles of Berk-Tek cable will transmit telephone, computer and television signals from Centre College (Danville, KY), the host of the event, to the rest of the world.

"We knew this job was coming out and we put our heads together and went at it very aggressively," said Jeff Nash, communications specialist, A.L. Pickens Company, Inc. (Louisville, KY). "We had a little less than a week and a half to put this thing together, and have the product there ready for installation, and ready to go." The debate preparations were delayed for several weeks by a dispute between the Bush and Gore campaigns over debate locations.

"There was going to be all kinds of media there," said Nick Pipes, RCDD, operations manager, Warren Technology, Inc. (Louisville, KY), who was responsible for the design, layout and installation of the network cable infrastructure. All of the major Broadcasting networks and their affiliates will contribute to the coverage of the event.

To meet the demands of the media, the design of the infrastructure needed to provide the bandwidth capabilities and meet various voice and data applications. "I chose Berk-Tek cable because I've used it in the past and I've never had any testing problems, attenuation or crosstalk problems," Pipes said.

The network topology was in the form of a star and consisted of more than 1500 drops running through three buildings of the college. "We were prepared for about 1500 Plain Old Telephone sets of ISDN lines," said Pipes. "We also prepared for the dot com's to come in to have T-1 lines available."

In addition, 200 lines were run outside to more than 30 uplink satellite and network trailers. More cable was available for last minute orders, Pipes said. BellSouth (Nashville, TN) provided the dial tone and special circuits. BellSouth engineer Craig Douglas contracted Warren Technology Inc. for the installation on the job.

As for the cabling side of the event, Pipes said it was "basically fool proof because we added more lines than they were going to need. If a cable was to be severed, or a jack to be pulled out, we had a back-up plan so we could switch them over."

Nash credits the job's success to a mix of several key player. "We had the product available, the technical support, local accessibility, and the installer's expertise to make the project a perfect fit for Centre College and the vice presidential debate," he said. www.berktek.com

 

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