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HOTS 12/2000

Issue: December 2000

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


The ETL SEMKO, Americas division of Intertek Testing Services (ITS), one of the world's largest product and commodities testing organizations, recently announced the ability to perform limited-combustibility testing for plenum cabling products. The NFPA's standard for limited-combustibility defines the acceptable combustibility and fuel load limits for cabling products that are to be installed in return air plenums.

"Because of the convenience of running cable in plenum areas, more and more businesses are using this space for their horizontal cabling infrastructures. Over the years, this has raised fire safety concerns," said Don Nicholson, General Manager, ITS ETL SEMKO. "By adding limited-combustibility testing to our arsenal of cable fire testing services, we're able to provide manufacturers of plenum cabling products with comprehensive fire safety testing and certification services. Cabling products that have been successfully tested and certified by ITS ETL SEMKO will bear the ETL Listed Mark."

Testing for limited-combustibility cabling products centers around NFPA 259 and NFPA 255 testing standards. Limited-combustibility is defined as "potential heat value not exceeding 3500 BTU/lb. (8141 kJ/kg)." For limited-combustibility testing, all materials exposed to the airflow must be non-combustible or limited-combustible and have a maximum smoke developed index of 50.

ITS ETL SEMKO is currently participating in the NFPA Research Foundation's (NFPA RF) limited-combustibility research project in which the feasibility of a new classification called CMP 50 is under investigation.

"Our role as an independent testing lab within the NFPA RF's research project is very important to our business and the entire cabling industry," said Ken Ash, Vice President, ITS ETL SEMKO. "We're working closely with both product safety professionals and cabling products manufacturers as the testing arm of this project in a manner which is unbiased and scientific. The goal of this project is to come to a solution that benefits all - from the manufacturers down to the end-users." (Camarillo, CA) is bringing customers world-class products at prices that save them a significant percentage. They are able to do this by partnering with large, offshore companies that manufacture products for several different markets. They are focusing on premise wiring products (patch panels, jacks, bulk cable, cable assemblies, connectors, tools, etc.) for their first product release. Future releases will enrich their datacom offering.

In the traditional distribution model for products that are sourced from Asia, manufacturers sell to US companies on an OEM/private-label basis. Often, a trading company is involved in this transaction. These products are then sold to distributors, who resell to the installer. By eliminating a couple layers in the supply-chain, they are able to bring quality products to market, with significant cost savings to the customer and improved margins to the manufacturers.

Datacom products sold by will be put through their independent testing program, conducted by ETL. ETL will test their datacom products at the component and channel level to assure they meet the relevant TIA category specification - in this case 568-A for CAT 5e performance.

As a global leader in structured cabling systems, NORDX/CDT plays an important role in shaping industry standards and directions. If every bit of information your company processes is mission critical, you need the built-in performance and reliability of the Beyond Category 6 ™ IBDN System 4800LX. This system combines the power and performance of our PS6 connectivity products with our breakthrough series 4800LX UTP cables to provide the industry's first true end-to-end 300 MHz cabling system. Offering you the highest performance margins in the industry, the IBDN System 4800LX was developed and engineered to support the most demanding ultra-high-speed applications against the unknown but inevitable impact of future "killer apps".

The advanced performance characteristics of the System 4800LX easily outperform all other UTP cabling systems and dramatically exceed all specifications of the current Category 6-draft standard for UTP channels. In fact, with user bandwidth certified at 300 MHz and data rates certified to 4.8 gigabits per second, the IBDN System 4800LX is guaranteed to meet a full set of performance specifications that go Beyond Category 6™, offering a "performance buffer" to accommodate refinements in the still-evolving Category 6 standard. The IBDN System 4800LX gives you performance Beyond Category 6™ today, to meet your network needs of tomorrow.

Fluke Networks has introduced several comprehensive and flexible training options for installation technicians to improve efficiencies on the job and build usable skills in cabling testing, certification, test results management and fault isolation. The certification program and training tools offer several flexible options available to you to create and maintain a qualified installer team.

The Certified Cabling Test Technician (CCTT) Certification Program is a factory sponsored training program on transmission theory basics and industry standards for testing and certification reporting. Students will work with Fluke Networks' DSP-4000/4100 Series Digital CableAnalyzer™ and real world cabling situations in a hands-on lab. Successful completion of the written and lab exams qualify for CCTT Certification. This full day certification course is a great value at $139.00 per person. Fluke Networks has teamed up with The National Media and Fiber Optics Training Centers to conduct this certification training at established labs in most major cities throughout the US. Special on-site training can be arranged for groups of 12 or more.

The Fluke Network Installer Training Tool CD has many valuable training materials that offer a generic look at data transmission fundamentals and industry cabling test and certification standards that can be easily integrated into and installation-training program. The CD includes a training segment on the DSP-4000 Series Digital CableAnalyzer™ which provides a structured approach to training personnel on test, certification and troubleshooting capabilities of the instrument. Certification test segments are included for both UTP and fiber cabling testing using specific cabling link adapters for CAT 5/5e, CAT 6, Multimode and Singlemode fiber. Additional segments cover CableManager™ Results Management Software covering specifications and proper maintenance. Application notes are also included to address special training for SFF fiber connectivity and custom Link Interface Adapters for Category 6 rated systems.

The DSP-4000 Series Digital CableAnalyzer™ User Training Video is a 28-minute video that can be used to familiarize anyone on the capabilities of the DSP-4000 cabling test instrument with a quick overview of general operation for anyone unfamiliar to cable certification. Request the video by contacting your local sales representative or Fluke Networks and as for DSP-4000 User Training Video, Lit#1578947. You'll find these tools helpful and informative in educating your crew on the latest technology, standards and Fluke Networks products.

Cable Design Technologies (CDT - Pittsburgh, PA), a worldwide provider of high-speed network connectivity products, today reported record net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000 of $17.4 million, of $0.39 per diluted share, representing an increase of 29% over last year's fourth quarter net income of $13.4 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, excluding nonrecurring gains for both periods.

Network Communication segment sales for the fourth quarter grew 29% over last year to $160.0 million driven by strong internal growth, and represented 70% of total company products. Gigabit network sales were up 98%, central office sales grew 70%, and fiber connectivity product sales were up 42%. Pricing of Category 5 and higher network cable in the United States remained stable in the fourth quarter when compared to previous quarters. Gigabit network cable represented 56% of Category 5 and above network cable sales.

Specialty Electronic segment sales for the fourth quarter were $67.1 million, representing an increase of 12% over the prior year. Growth in this segment was primarily the result of a 23% increase in sales of automation and process control cables, including sales attributable to the recently acquired coaxial cable manufacturer Industria Technica Cavi (ITC). This growth was partially offset by a 13% reduction in sales of specialty cable for the aerospace and transportation marketplaces.

Sales outside of North America for the fourth fiscal quarter increased 31% over the same period last year to $50.1 million due primarily to increased sales of Network Communication products in Western Europe and the ITC acquisition.

More than 2000 people traveled to Las Vegas to attend the first ever Voice-Data-Video (VDV) Conference and Expo, May 21-23, cosponsored by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The Conference was the first of it's kind, bringing together national and local leaders representing both labor and management to discuss the role of the electrical construction industry in the ever-growing voice-data-video market. The VDV Expo, which was open to all industry members, featured the latest in VDV equipment and services offered by over 70 exhibitors. NECA President D.R. Borden addressed an audience of nearly nine hundred NECA contractors and IBEW electricians and union officials. "NECA and the IBEW are not upstarts in the VDV market. We helped build it. We have set a standard of quality for VDV installation," said Borden. "We [NECA/IBEW] are taking an integrated approach to securing a prominent place for IBEW workers and signatory contractors in the VDV arena."

Edwin Hill, IBEW international secretary treasurer, spoke of changing times and the need for electricians and contractors to embrace the emerging VDV market. "What once was only an electrical system is now also a communications system," said Hill in his address at the VDV conference. "The good news is that our experience, our dedication to high standards, and our world-class training programs give us a leg up over the competition." He went on to say that NECA and the IBEW must take advantage of the new opportunities now rather than wait and be left behind.

"Certainly, the VDV Expo and Conference exceeded all expectations," comments Mark Ayers, Director of the IBEW's construction and maintenance department. "We are just very pleased with the total number of people that are in attendance at the conference as well as with the number of participating exhibitors and attendees on the trade show floor. It's been fantastic."

NECA exposition sales manager Beth Ellis echoed Mr. Ayers comments, "We were stunned and thrilled to have such an outstanding turnout (nearly three times the anticipated number) for a trade show debut."

The National Electrical Contractors Association, founded in 1901, represents companies that install communications and electrical power systems for business and industry. This segment of the construction market is comprised of over 70,000 electrical contracting firms. The industry employs over 650,000 electrical workers and produces an annual volume of over $65 billion. NECA includes 118 U.S. chapters in addition to others in countries around the world. NECA is dedicated to enhancing the industry through continuing education, labor relation, current information and promotional activities.

The exploding demand for internet access to WEB based applications as well as integrated multimedia applications (voice/data/video) has fueled the need for higher bandwidth LANs. Cabling is a key consideration in the design and implementation of these next generation networks. The rapid adoption into the commercial market of 100BASE-T (100Mb/s - Fast Ethernet) and the expectation of 1000BASE-T (1000Mb/s - Gigabit Ethernet) migration is driving the use of higher performance copper cabling solutions.

Mohawk/CDT's GigaLAN is the highest performance unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable available today. The "FlexWeb" construction isolates the cable pairs and enhances the pair-to-pair balance for superior crosstalk, LCL and LCTL performance. Compact cable design meets the diameter requirements specified in TIA/EIA-568-A, providing flexibility and ease of installation. Electrical performance is third party verified to TIA/EIA Category 6 Draft 7.

Anixter (Skokie, IL), a leading provider of communications equipment and cabling, has published "Communications Products 2001,"a catalog containing over 12,000 products, including 1200 new items, which are highlighted throughout 11 product categories. The product categories include sections on copper and fiber solutions, networking and industrial products, test equipment and voice products. Each section contains an extensive table on contents that identifies products by vendor and contains updates on the newest developments in LANs and WANs.

The comprehensive, 970-page catalog also includes a technical appendix consisting of a reference guide consolidating key aspects of ANSI/TIA/EIA568-A, 569, 606 and 607 standards. According to Steve Keller, Anixter's Vice President of Marketing, new products and technological developments have created a demand for an up-to-date catalog to serve as a concise reference guide for the industry.

"Fast-paced changes in communications called for a centralized source of information that could be easily referenced," Keller explained. "That's why, in addition to over 1200 new products, we've included features in the catalog such as the Technical Appendix and the most extensive glossary in the industry."

The catalog also include more than 30 pages about Anixter Levels - the cabling and component testing program that exceeds all existing industry standards and ensures cabling performance. Detailed is the latest Levels Lab discoveries about active testing and the five Levels XP solutions that allow optimum network efficiency and increased productivity.

The Anixter Communications Products 2001 Catalog can be ordered direct through your local Anixter sales office and will also be available soon on Anixter's website at

SCTE, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers. SCTE hosts a Conference on Emerging Technologies (ET) once a year. ET is a highly technical conference that attracts more than 1,000 Professionals from within the broadband community. The 2001 conference is set for January 8-10 in New Orleans.

Cable Design Technologies (CDT - Pittsburgh, PA), a leading worldwide provider of high-speed network connectivity products, has announced projects with financial, governmental and transportation customers in Dubai and Singapore. The aggregate value of the projects is expected to be in the $3 to $5 million range.

The customers will utilize a combination of the complete end-to-end IBDN Optical Fiber System and the IBDN Gigabit System 1200 and 4800LX, manufactured by CDT's Nordx operations, to accelerate the buildout of their broadband infrastructure utilizing twisted pair technology.

The IBDN Optical Fiber System includes advanced products designed in the research and development labs of CDT. The IBDN Optical Fiber System includes the patented, field installable Optimax2 fiber optic connector, the MDVO Multimedia Outlet, and the FiberExpress Manager, which allows fiber optic backbone termination in telecommunication closets or main distribution rooms.

The IBDN Gigabit Systems are capable of supporting data rates from 1.2 Gb/s to 4.8 Gb/s using 1000BASE-T technology. These systems employ the state-of-the-art automated connectivity facility located in Denmark.

Paul Olson, President/CEO of CDT commented, "We are very pleased to announce the further deployment of our high-speed systems in the Asia region, an area in which CDT grew sales approximately 40% during the most recent fiscal year. Our complete end-to-end fiber optic and gigabit twisted-pair cabling systems serve as an example of our continued advancement into the next generation of fiber optic and gigabit connectivity technologies."

He continued, "Our Nordx/CDT subsidiary, based in Quebec and acquired from Nortel in 1996, has a very strong presence overseas and we are working to aggressively expand our networking system footprint across the globe. The sales of our complete end-to-end broadband systems are indicative of the global brand recognition we are building in this region and highlight the increased interest we have been experiencing from potential customers."

Representatives of The Wiremold Company have announced the introduction of a major new perimeter raceway system. Representatives of The Wiremold Company can handle questions on the new products (Profile Series Raceway), and other issues relating to the wire and cable management infrastructure.

The DataComm Division of Kent Electronics Corporation (Sugar Land, TX) is currently experiencing tremendous growth. In fact, Kent Electronics Corporation was just recognized as the 4th fastest growing company in Houston. As a result of this growth, they have open positions for Project Managers and cable technicians at various branches across the United States

CommScope, Inc. (Hickory, NC) a world leader in the manufacture of high-performance broadband communication cables, recently announced that it is evaluating several locations in Western North Carolina to be the site of a new manufacturing facility for broadband cable.

"Due to the demand we are experiencing for broadband cable to serve our telecommunications customers, we need additional manufacturing floor space as soon as we can get it," said Frank Drendel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CommScope. "We think that it will be quicker and more cost-effective to build a plant rather than try to locate and renovate an existing one."

CommScope is looking at several locations in Western North Carolina as possible sites for this new facility, which is expected to be more than 200,000 sq. ft. in size and provide jobs for more than 150 employees when it is fully operational.

"In response to demand for broadband cable," Drendel continued, "over the past year CommScope has added more than one million square feet of manufacturing and distribution space to meet worldwide demand for our HFC cable products."

Drendel noted, "We are looking to build a facility that will be reasonably close to our other North Carolina facilities. Other major factors in our decision include availability of a municipal wastewater treatment system, good roads and rail access as well as the proximity of a good work force. We also seek strong support from the surrounding communities as well as the local and county governments."

While CommScope has identified a site in Cleveland County, NC, near the town of Kings Mountain, the final purchase is subject to standard due diligence. The Company has not made a final decision to purchase the land.

BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International - Tampa, FL), the international telecommunications association, has announced the results of its annual Board of Directors election and the addition of its second international board member. Board members are elected by the general membership and serve two-year terms.

Newly elected directors are: Secretary John J. Bakowski, RCDD/LAN Specialist, Bell Gateways, Toronto, ON, Canada; Region 2 Director Chris Lake, RCDD, AVAYA Communications, Norcross, GA; Region 4 Director Steve Calderon, RCDD/LAN Specialist, I T Design Corp., Westlake Village, CA; Region 5 Director Greg H. Porter, RCDD, Tyco Electronics, Markham, ON, Canada; and Region 7 Director Jose Roberto da Silva, RCDD, Panduit do Brasil, Ltda., São Paulo, Brazil. This is the first election for (Brazil) Region 7, which was officially recognized as a BICSI Region when membership exceeded 500 on July 3, 2000.

Existing board members serving though 2001 are: President Richard Powell, RCDD, KRONE, Inc., Orlando, FL; President-Elect John Payseur, RCDD/LAN Specialist, BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., Charlotte, NC; Treasurer Russell B. Oliver, RCDD/LAN Specialist, CTC Communications, Waltham, MA; Region 1 Director Edward J. Donelan, RCDD/LAN Specialist, Telecom Infrastructure Corp., Brewster, NY; Region 3 Director Albert L. Feaster, RCDD, ADC, Minneapolis, MN; and Region 6 Director Carole El Zein, Anixter International, Roissy, Cedex, France.

President Clinton recently announced the winners of the 2000 National Medal of Technology, the highest honor bestowed of the President of the United States of America's leading innovators. Drs. Donald B. Keck, Robert D. Maurer and Peter C. Schultz, who invented low-loss optical fiber while working at Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) in the 1970s, are included among this year's recipients. The honor marks the third time Corning has been affiliated with the National Medal of Technology since its inception in 1985.

You've seen the ads, you've heard the talk. The home of the future will be chock full of networked appliances - the TV remote talks to the dishwasher, which talks to the refrigerator, which talks to the grocery store about delivering more hummus. An unusual group of top-tier companies says it will work to finally deliver on that promise.

Sun Microsystems, 3Com, Panasonic, and others are expected to reveal the formation of the Internet Home Alliance. Media reports indicate the alliance includes retailers Sears, Roebuck and Co., Best Buy, and CompUSA, along with Cisco Systems, NewPower, Motorola, Invensys, Honeywell, and General Motors.

But it's going to take more than marketing and boosterism to wire your home. While forecasts indicate the home-networking market to reach $5 billion in product sales by 2004, competing standards, limited hardware and software, and costs are creating roadblocks on the way to the networked home.

Technical advancement and consumer protection are converging as more-stringent, limited-combustibility requirements are put in place. In January, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL - Northbrook, IL) responded to industry requests, mainly from authorities having jurisdiction (fire marshals and inspectors), and decided to offer an optional limited-combustibility marking for plenum cables.

The new marking of "Limited Combustible" is available for all UL-listed products that already comply with the existing UL-910 standard, and means they pass UL's potential heat, smoke-developed index, and flame-spread index tests.

The foundation for the new optional marking was built approximately 20 years ago when the UL-910 standard, consisting of the cable flame-propagation and smoke-density test, came into play as an addendum to the existing National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 90A standard. The NFPA 90A standard contains the requirements for "limited-combustible material," but UL 910 was created to provide specific requirements for plenum-cable compliance.

"The new marking is a more-stringent smoke requirement," says Randy Laymon, UL's engineering group leader of wire and cable flammability testing. He points our, however, that the marking is not currently required. "It is optional testing we [UL] can do if a manufacturer wants," Laymon explains.

In early August, communications systems provider Avaya Inc. (Basking Ridge, NJ), formerly Lucent Technologies' Enterprise Networks Group, introduced a high-performance local-area-network (LAN) cable that received the new marking.

The SYSTIMAX Power Sum 4061 cable is designed to transmit both voice and data at a performance level that exceeds Category 5E standards. To meet the UL requirements, the 4061 cable was insulated and jacketed with Dupont Teflon fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) resin. Avaya says the 4061 cable is not subject to performance changes caused by aging or environmental conditions.

The 4061 cable has been specifically designed for areas in need of high performance, including high-occupancy public buildings, healthcare facilities, research laboratories, and structures that house sensitive, electronic mission-critical equipment. Laymon noted that while Avaya was the first to receive the marking, additional cables are following in its footsteps.

Cable Design Technologies (CDT - Pittsburgh, PA) recently announced an initial $5 million fiber optic order with a major telephone operating company for its single-mode fiber optic cable used in the local loop. The identity of the customer has not been disclosed due to expected follow-on orders of comparable size.

"This order validates CDT's presence in the growing local loop fiber optic marketplace. We are expanding our presence in this important market in order to capitalize on the extension of fiber from long-haul to metropolitan applications," commented Paul Olson, President/CEO of CDT.

He continued, "It is our goal to provide the most comprehensive selection of high-bandwidth products to the global telecommunications marketplace. Our broadband products give service providers the ability to rapidly build their infrastructure while advancing their voice, video and data capabilities. The convergence of these mediums creates an opportunity where we are focusing our engineering and sales efforts to address many profitable broadband markets by delivering a diversified network communication product portfolio."

CDT is a leading designer and manufacturer of high-bandwidth network connectivity products, fiber optic cable and connectors, assemblies, components, computer interconnect cables for communication switching applications, and communications cable product used in wireless, central office and local loop applications. CDT also manufactures electronic data and signal transmission products that are used in automation and process control and specialty applications.

Paul J. Evanson, President of Florida Power and Light (FPL), focused on the importance of telecommunications ventures to the growth of his organization during the keynote address of the United Telecom Councils (UTC) Utilities Telecom Summit 2000 in Bal Harbour, FL (November 2000).

Evanson identified FPL's telecom assets and the organizations commitment to pursuing emerging business opportunities as key factors that have made it a top utility. "FPL began expanding its fiber network in the mid-1980s to lower our telecom costs and improve internal operations. We began marketing the network to outside users in 1996," Evanson explained. "Now, FPL has plans to install more than 500,000 fiber miles."

In its third quarter 2000 report released October 19, 2000, FPL Group, Inc. reported a net income of $314 million and basic earnings per share of $1.85, compared with $291 million net income and $1.70 EPS the prior year quarter. Florida Power and Light Company, FPL Groups principal subsidiary, contributed $275 million in net income, or $1.62 EPS, up 5.2 percent from prior year quarter.

Evanson's presentation kicked off the two-day conference that annually attracts chief information officers, business development management, and other senior telecom and information technology executives at utilities, pipelines, and other critical infrastructure companies; their technology partners; and Wall Street analysts. Evanson is one of many industry leaders who discussed how utility companies could leverage their assets to improve shareholder value.

The 3M Enterprise Network Business Unit has been formed to manage the company's ongoing growth in the enterprise market, and to position 3M to expand the breadth of its enterprise solutions beyond fiber to the desk into both active and passive equipment for copper, fiber and wireless networks. The business will be led by newly appointed director Herve Gindre, former global marketing manager for 3M Interconnect Solutions Division.

"The creation of this new business unit is key to 3M's strategy to gain increased value for its New Economy businesses," said Roger H.D. Lacey, division vice president, 3M Telecom Systems. The formation of the enterprise network business is part of reorganization within 3M's telecom division to increase focus on its mission: to enable the delivery of reliable, personal bandwidth to its customers via fiber, copper or wireless access.

3M's enterprise business is poised for growth upon completion of the acquisition of European telecommunications equipment supplier Quante AG in fourth quarter 2000. The acquisition significantly expands 3M's lines of copper cabling and networking products for the enterprise market. The acquisition will also bring to 3M the Pouyet brand enterprise solutions and the SysKonnect brand, a leading name in Gigabit Ethernet network interface cards and high-end network products.

3M (St. Paul, MN) is a $15.7 billion diversified manufacturing and technology company with operations in more than 60 countries. 3M makes a variety of products serving customers in dozens of markets, including industrial, electronic, automotive, telecommunications, health care, transportation safety, consumer and office.

The BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International - Tampa, FL) Telecommunications Cabling Installation Training and Registration Program has received warranty certification approval from numerous leaders in the premises cabling components industry. Endorsing the BICSI training program to date are ADC, Minneapolis, MN; Homaco, Inc., Chicago, IL; and Elgadphon Communications, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Steve Roth, Security Group President, has announced that Joe Cappelletti has been named President of ADI. Cappelletti, who was promoted to General Manager of ADI earlier in the year, will now succeed Steve Roth in leading the North American wholesale distributor of security and low voltage products.

Cappelletti's track record with the sales organization, commitment to the customers, as well as his understanding of the importance of ADI's suppliers, make this a natural progression in Joe's long career in the industry. "I feel extremely privileged to have been handed the baton to run ADI," explains Cappelletti. "Steve Roth led us to become the most preferred supplier in the industry. Now that he has moved up, it's up to us to take this company to the next level. To do that we must continue improving our service level and providing our customers with the best products from the top manufacturers."

Having joined Pitway as a sales representative in 1978, Joe was part of the group that started ADI in 1985. He was then promoted to Vice President of Sales and went on to become Executive Vice President. In that time, Joe has seen ADI grow from10 branches to more than 120 convenience centers and nearly 800 sales people.


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