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HOTS 09/2001

Issue: September 2001

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


Recession is such an ugly word. Depression is worse. So, let's just call it a temporary economic down turn. That is "corpo-speak" for no sales, no money, and all the associated negatives that go with it. Many companies are focused on better ways of doing work as well as cutting costs. For many individuals, cutting costs means reduced work force and jobs lost.

The recent BICSI fall conference (New Orleans, LA) felt the pinch as many companies restricted travel. The conference had over 1700 registered attendees, however, many folks felt the attendance would have much higher if the economic picture were not so dim. BICSI had numerous attendees who were there to distribute resumes and find new jobs. One executive called it the BICSI Fall training conference and "Job Fair".

The good news, if there is any, is that companies are assessing their projects and avoiding unnecessary spending. We are still seeing some reduction in work forces, but almost all of the manufacturers and distributors reported that sales numbers are no longer falling. On the cabling scene, Information Technology (IT) staff directly affects the operation of almost all businesses. IT has a direct effect on revenues. You can't live without them. The IT organization within the business must be able to communicate. The information flows through the business on the Information Superhighway through the CABLING.

Cabling orders have begun a slight growth in network cable and projects associated with data centers. Central Office and the CLEC's (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers) continue to have minimal activity. Both manufacturers and distributors are analyzing the market and positioning their projects to capture the most value. When the money returns, maybe towards the end of the first quarter, the companies that developed smart plans will be ready to seize the opportunity. Many projects have only been postponed and they still must be done. Information Technology is a key part of corporate strategy and a competitive necessity. This is good for the world of cabling.

Some of the companies that we talked to have plans to move from 10BASE-T directly to 1000BASE-T. They may skip the entire 100BASE-T phase. What's next?

10,000BASE-T is coming soon. Imagine 10GigaBits per second! Unbelievable! Industry insiders have told us that we may see the 10,000BASE-T introduced in a working system at an upcoming trade show or conference. Both the copper and fiber optics technologies already have products that can meet the performance requirements for this jump to warp speed.

These speeds seem like Star Trek to an old timer like me. Sometimes, I feel like "That's very funny, Scotty. Now, beam down my clothes!" Once again, the cabling industry has exceeded our forecasts and expectations. I now have a thirty-year perfect track record of being "wrong". For the past three decades, I have consistently underestimated the capabilities of the players in Wireville. The cabling business will recover.

The reason for so many order cancellations and project postponements is simple enough: The ROI (Return On Investment) isn't there. The reversal of fortunes has decimated the myriad of companies that had no real substance or financial strength to weather the storm. Even the strongest companies have felt the pain on this one. Recovery is inevitable and cabling is mandatory.

This year we have seen a significant growth in cabling "choices". Almost all of the major cabling manufacturers either have or plan to offer the new CMP-50 Limited Combustible Cable. The CMP-50 Limited Combustible CAT 5e cable is made with insulating and jacketing materials of Teflon® FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene). These materials are extremely stable. In other words, they don't deteriorate like some of the cables (made with other materials) have in the past. The CMP-50 Limited Combustible cables deliver improved safety and performance above the standard.

CMP-50 Limited Combustible cable has many benefits, but to quote a good ole country boy I know, "It don't do nothin'. It don't burn, it don't mind heat or cold, it don't deteriorate, and it don't have lead in it." Also, "It don't have dioxins, it don't have phthalates, and it don't have long term liabilities."

Hats off to the companies that have learned to take long-term responsibility for the products they make. A concept called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which is legally mandated in some European countries, but is optional in the United States (for now…) teaches the manufacturers to increase product sustainability. This includes eliminating Hazardous Materials from products and making them easier to recycle. Recently, the PVC industry has come up with compounds that are lead-free. Too bad they didn't do that a long time ago.

We can count on the IT Department to be a smarter user. There are ways to improve purchasing decisions. Our society lost some of its important concepts during the 50's and 60's. We became a throwaway generation. Today, we see many companies returning to their environmental roots with recycling and the decreased costs that come from the recycle approach. Ford Motor Company has created a Recycling Action Team, nicknamed the RAT Patrol. The "RAT Patrol" has also been formed in numerous other large corporations, with the goal of using recyclable materials and finding the suppliers to provide them. You guessed it! CMP-50 Limited Combustible cable is 100% recyclable and contains no HazMat. This cable is fire safe, and environmentally friendly, not to mention a major barrier to long-term liability.

When the mad dog lawyers get through with the tobacco and paint industries, they will be hunting for new targets. So far, the cabling business has avoided this scrutiny, but it can't last forever. CMP-50 Limited Combustible cable is a real break-through in the cabling business world. Mark these words carefully as a warning, or an opportunity in the not too distant future.



Berk-Tek, (New Holland, PA), unveiled their new CMP-50 Limited Combustible cable at the BICSI Fall Conference in New Orleans, LA. To combat the growing concern of the increase in fire loads in air return plenums, Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, announced the creation of a new, more fire retardant version of plenum cable, called Limited Combustible or CMP-50 cable.

Berk-Tek's Limited Combustible cables are available in Category 3, Hyper Plus (CAT 5), Hyper Plus 5e, (CAT 5e) and LANmark™-350, (Enhanced CAT 5e) cables. The products are jacketed and insulated with FEP fluoropolymer and have been tested by Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) to meet the stringent requirements for lower smoke emissions and less flame spread. These cables will also meet the same electrical specifications as the CMP and CMR rated versions.

"We are very concerned about the accumulation of combustible materials and the fire hazards they present to the end use community," says Dan Kennefick, Berk-Tek copper products business manager. "As an industry leader we feel a responsibility to introduce CMP-50 Limited Combustible cable to the industry."

Kennefick pointed out the CMP-50 Limited Combustible product will not eliminate Berk-Tek CMP or OFNP plenum cable. "This new classification is additive and is being established as a more fire safe option for those who wish to install cable in air return plenums."

The Limited Combustible product line is available for immediate shipment. The LANmark-350 CMP-50 Limited Combustible cable has been independently tested and is certified for inclusion in the NetClear GT Enhanced Category 5e solution, offered by Berk-Tek and Ortronics.

So, why all the fuss about Limited Combustible issues?

In the early 1990s, there was an explosion of cable usage with the proliferation of Local Area Networks and client server computing. Roughly two-thirds of commercial LAN cabling in the U.S. typically used plenum-rated cable in suspended ceilings, which was then abandoned during upgrades and network reconfigurations. Generations of this cable have accumulated in air plenum spaces. Such potential fire hazards have caught the attention of the National Building Code Community, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and two key groups within the NFPA; the 90A Heating and Ventilating Group and the 70 National Electrical Code Group.

This issue has also caught the attention of OSHA and the EPA. You don't want to know how much lead is in those abandoned cables, or how much lead is leaching out in lead dust. It will not be long before the building owners will face the removal responsibility from the cable that they or their tenants left in the building. Who should pay? $ ?

Say good-bye to Privacy…Say Adios to Security...

The news about the wireless communications world is on many lips. The wireless communications vendors are very busy making sure that this new form of communications gets lots of positive press. Wireless communications has many excellent applications. However, WIRELESS IS WEAK ON SECURITY. There are spectrum, reliability and security issues that will take a generation to overcome, if then. On the other hand, there are many wireless applications where those issues are not "killers".

Recent developments in the wireless world have shown that the encryption codes, which support the basic transmission, are relatively easy to overcome. If someone wanted to look at your sales results, personnel folders, and other sensitive financial data, all they would have to do is sit outside and "pluck" the material without even trespassing. You may not have heard a lot about this weakness in the wireless world because their spin-doctors can't tell us about a cure for the problem. There has been a great deal of time and effort spent on this problem, and there is still no solution on the horizon.

We have heard from some cabling contractors that they fear the loss of future cabling business to the wireless world. Some cabling companies have even predicted a total replacement of cabling with wireless. This "The Sky Is Falling" doomsday talk about the end of cabling is very wrong. Today, and as far as we know in the future, cabling offers the best known security networking system for the transmission of corporate communications. It's all about security and privacy. We are talking about privacy at both the corporate and personal levels.

Privacy is something we all take for granted until we lose it. E-mail, surfing the web, and other online resources open the door to a whole new world of communication. However, these data transmissions are not conducted in private: employers, advertising companies, government officials, information providers and others are watching the net to see what is being said and done. This monitoring is easily performed, and often impossible to detect. As a matter of fact, you are probably being "watched" right now as you read this article. The geometric growth of the Internet has led to increased concerns regarding privacy. Since detection of privacy violations is difficult, prevention is the key. Corporate spying has been around forever, but a new development has made this a real problem for everyone. Network "hacking" has been around since the first computers, but thanks to the wonderful world of wireless communications, it is now possible to pluck information right out of thin air! Because nothing was actually taken, just listened to, we never know what hit us. If your data and corporate information flows through a wireless network anywhere in the overall network, then you are vulnerable. If your credit card company has a wireless link in their system, your information could be extracted. That sure is a scary thought.

A recent survey of 7,000 consumers indicated that more than 80% are concerned about the privacy of their Credit Card transactions done over the Internet and 60% say that they are so concerned that it prevents them from doing business online. Every time you order a shirt, or book a hotel room online, someone is watching and gathering information all about YOU.

One of the ways to assure security is using Encryption, which scrambles the electronic transmission and enables the individual to have private phone conversations and send e-mail messages that are secure. Encryption codes your words so that they cannot be deciphered by people listening in on your conversation or reading your mail. Remember, most networks do not encrypt the information internally. Their focus has always been on the outside network. Now, we have to worry about the inside network, not only yours, but anyone else's in the network where your information is flowing.

Tell Chicken Little that the sky is not falling, and the cabling business is secure, and has strong future. Cabling is your best bet for privacy.

"The quality goes in before the name goes on" has real meaning at CDT (Cable Design Technologies). The numerous companies in the CDT Corporation continue to stay focused on top quality workmanship and materials. Recently, we received a large shipment of Mohawk/CDT MegaLAN™ plenum cable. The cable in the "reel in a box" was the same top quality we have become accustomed to.

We got a bonus from Mohawk/CDT in the packaging. The cable boxes were graphically unique and the labeling was extremely easy to read. That may not seem important at first, but it is very important when you wonder if the cable installer has pulled the correct cable box out of the warehouse for installation. The attention to labeling by the CDT companies is an example of their concern for total quality for the customers.

Imagine the cost and embarrassment for a contractor who has just discovered that their team of installers has spent the last week installing the wrong cable on a major project. Their customer said, "It's okay. Now pull out the wrong stuff and put in the right stuff. Oh, by the way, we want you to stay on schedule." This scenario has occurred more often than you might expect. The chances of that disaster happening to you are greatly reduced by the packaging used by CDT. Even the distributors have this problem of "pulling" the wrong boxes. The team at Mohawk/CDT went the extra step to make their products better and make our jobs easier. Yes, the quality went in AND the name went on.

From the desk of Jay Warmke, Executive Director of BICSI (a not-for- profit, international telecommunications association), we learned about BICSI's plans to add more value for their membership.

The BICSI 2001 Fall Conference was a success. Attendance was down about 10% from projections, but roughly at the same level as last year's event in Nashville. While BICSI had obviously hoped for better - they were quite relieved that attendance was a good as it turned out to be (given the recent "melt-down" in the communications industry).

Calling the conference a "job fair" is perhaps a bit harsh - although largely accurate. An awful lot of folks found themselves unemployed (particularly in the manufacturing arena) just prior to the Fall Conference. BICSI hopes to put something in place (i.e. a searchable job bank) for use at the 2002 Winter Conference, January 21-24, 2002 , in Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Orlando, Florida.

As President Reagan used to say, "A recession is when your neighbor is out of work, a depression is when you are out of work." So how bad things are is largely a matter of perspective. We all know the situation (from an industry perspective) is temporary, but it is none-the-less devastating if you are the one caught up in the middle of a "down-sizing." Hopefully, BICSI can be helpful to their members who are coping with this market reality.

Ortronics, (New London, CT) is pleased to announce the development of a new surface mount unit designed specifically for the MDU (multi-dwelling unit) market. This new product is one of several recent additions to Ortronics residential/small commercial product line.

The new wall mount unit provides basic voice and video distribution. Its compact design and economical price make it ideal for apartments and condominiums. This enclosure will distribute up to four incoming phone lines to as many as nine locations and also provides video distribution to four locations. The MDU Surface Mount Unit comes pre-assembled and complete with a 4 x 9 bridged telco board and a 1 x 4 (2 GHz) video splitter that can be used for CATV or satellite applications but is not intended for bi-directional applications. A video mounting shelf is provided to accommodate other splitters, such as a 1 x 6 or 1 x 8, when more than four video locations are desired.

The new MDU Surface Mount Unit provides a cost-effective method to retrofit older apartment buildings that are inadequately wired to support today's needs by eliminating some of the labor cost associated with having to run wires in the wall. Doing so allows property owners and managers to be competitive with newer properties that offer the benefits of a structured cabling system that was installed at the time of construction.

Features of the new enclosure include a 16-gauge steel white base (8.86" H x 6.9" W x 3.5" D) and a 16-gauge steel white cover. The white powder coat finish on both the base and cover provide an attractive, durable finish and helps protect against scratches and corrosion. There are cable entry/exit holes at both the top and back of the unit. Also included are a 9-port 110 IDC printed circuit board voice bridge, a 4- way video splitter 40-2050MHz, four mounting holes, one cable tie lance and one screw for latching the cover. The new surface mount unit may also be mounted inside Ortronics 12" enclosure for recessed mounting.

Surge ahead with the advanced 2002 National Electrical Code®. Reserve your copy today from the publishing source!

The most widely adopted element of a building code in the United States and the world, the NEC® is the benchmark for safe and efficient electrical installations. Make sure you're up to date on the latest changes.

Safety improvements in Article 110 and 430 are just the beginning. You'll...

  • Get more Code support when installing transient voltage surge suppressors using the new Article 285

  • Improve your efficiency handling receptacles, cord connectors, and attachment plugs by following the one-stop Article 406

  • Access rules covering fuel cell systems in the new Article 692

  • Save time with new parallel numbering systems for Raceway and Cable Articles in Chapter 3: Wiring Methods and Materials

  • Follow clearer safety guidelines with the reorganized Hazardous (Classified) Locations Articles

  • And more.. Like: the new requirement for the removal of abandoned cable!

With over 400 major revisions from cover to cover, you need the 2002 NEC as soon as it's available! Reserve your copy now and we'll ship your 2002 National Electrical Code as soon as it's off the presses this coming September!

Attention BICSI Members: Vote for your BICSI Officers online!

BICSI's 2001 Board of Directors Election is now under way. To vote electronically for this year's candidates, go to BICSI's home page and look for the Vote Online! link, which will take you to the online ballot.

At the login page, use your Election Validation Number and BICSI Member Number . If you need assistance, click on the Help button on the login page to access the help screen. Please take a moment to cast your vote. Voting will close on Oct. 12. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

New TIA Working Group to Address Internet Data Centers

At its summer meeting, TIA Engineering Committee TR-42 approved the formation of a new working group on network distribution nodes. This addition resulted from recommendations of a study group, showing clear support for creation of a standard that addresses facilities with primary focus on information technology. These types of "application spaces" include Internet data centers, service distribution nodes and storage area networks. These spaces have been recognized as critical to the deployment of a number of next-generation standards. They may be dedicated to a private company or institution or occupied by one or more service providers to host Internet connections and data storage devices.

According to the study group co-chair, Chris DiMinico, "The call for interest confirmed two things. That a need exists and that there are companies and individual experts prepared to contribute their time and expertise to this work."

The study group also recognized the need for rapid development of the standard. DiMinico adds, "The study group felt that the initial project should be completed within 24 months."

The scope of the working group will include topologies and performance for copper and fiber cabling, and other aspects of the IT infrastructure that will enable these facilities to rapidly deploy new technologies, such as emerging 10 Gb/s networks. Requirements will consider the need for flexibility, scalability, reliability and space management.

According to TR-42 Chair Paul Kish, "Each new standard that TR-42 has set out to create has attracted new members whose expertise and professionalism provide a new dimension to our engineering committee and subcommittees. We expect that the same will be true of this new initiative."

TIA Cabling Seminar to Answer Questions About New Standards

Special Note: Seminar to be rescheduled

Do you know everything you need to know about the industry's newest cabling standards? TIA's eighth annual Telecommunications Infrastructure Cabling Standards Seminar will answer questions about what's best for horizontal cabling, status of Category 6 and Category 5/5e systems, changing requirements for testing, optical fiber, multi-tenant units, cabling administration and more.

The seminar WILL NOT be held November 9 in Dallas, at The Fairmont Hotel, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., immediately following the TR-42, Telecommunications Infrastructure Requirements Engineering Committee meeting. The focus of the seminar is to provide registrants a brief overview and update on cabling standards.

All speakers are members of TIA's Engineering Committee TR-42, the group responsible for creating TIA/EIA-568-B, Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard. The seminar -- approved for seven BICSI RCCD continuing education credit hours -- will present several panels, each covering standards activities under TR-42.

- Copper Systems Panel

This panel will explain the standards recommendations for copper cable system testing, shielding and connections. Panelists will discuss the copper systems of TIA/EIA-568-B.1, B.2 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standards. Masood Shariff of Avaya begins the panel with a discussion on copper systems. Paul Vanderlaan of Belden will give a presentation on advances in copper cable technology. Then Valerie Rybinski of Hitachi will discuss connectivity, and Henrincus Koeman of Fluke Corporation will follow-up with a review of the latest in testing copper cabling.

- Fiber Systems Panel

This panel explores the optical fiber premises cabling recommendations in TIA/EIA-568-B.1and B.3 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standards. Industry experts review optical fiber system design, capabilities and connectors.

Herb Congdon of Tyco Electronics will be presenting an overview of fiber systems. Paul Kolesar of Lucent will be discussing the advances in optical fiber technology. Ken Chauvin of Corning Cable Systems will give an update on fiber cable and connectivity. Dennis Horwitz of RIFOCS will lead the discussion "What's New in Optical Fiber Testing."

- Pathways/Spaces, Administration Panel

Bob Jensen of Fluke Networks will be giving an overview on recent modifications to the pathways/spaces (TIA/EIA-569-A) standard. Scott Neal of Cooper/B-line will give a presentation called "Cabling Pathway Alternatives." Steve Hufaker of Riser Management will also be presenting on the topic of "Planning for Multi-Tenant Buildings" and Mel Lesperance of Ortronics Inc. will be discussing "What's New in Testing Copper Cabling." Panel members also will discuss the revisions TIA/EIA-606, Administration Standard for the Telecommunications Infrastructure of Commercial Buildings.

- Grounding/Bonding, Residential, Building Automation and Industrial Cabling Panel

Ray Keden of Erico will be giving an update on grounding and bonding, Bob Jensen of Fluke Networks will be the discussion leader on "Residential Cabling -- The New Frontier." Bill Fortin of Avaya and Julie Rot of NORDX/CDT will be giving a presentation on building automation systems.

Alcatel, and a myriad of start-ups, making deals and receiving funding, giving the industry hope, maintaining, if you will, the industry's backbone. This is really good news.

We have searched the media and internet for information about what's going on and what we can do about it. We found an interesting item in an open letter from Donald K. Peterson, President & CEO of Avaya that was sent to potential attendees of Networld+Interop. Don Peterson, who will be speaking at Networld+Interop, said: "The economic disruption of 2001 marks a time of decision in networking. Eighteen months ago, rapid adoption of Internet-based technologies seemed poised to disrupt both the communications networks and the business models of companies around the world. Today, as the economic slowdown spreads globally, the very survival of many companies depends on their business performance.

Avaya maintains a perspective that the leveraged interworking of data and voice is critical to helping enterprises adapt to economic disruption and find new, positive ways to disrupt lagging business models and deploy networking for greater competitiveness".

Mr. Peterson, we agree!

In the world of fiber optics, Avanex announces fourth quarter results, reduces workforce. Avanex President and CEO said, "We are using this time to restructure our operations in order to lower costs, increase cash flow, and improve our position with customers."

Those are familiar words, which we have heard from all quarters. The headlines say "The Economy Barely Moved This Spring", and the growth of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was only 0.2%, the smallest in 8 years.

If you want Good News, get a fiction novel. Now for more real news...

...Lucent is optimistic it can weather the downturn. Lucent cuts another 2,200 positions and notifies an additional 2,500 employees, they will be laid-off starting in September. Including jobs lost through outsourcing, Lucent plans to cut 17,000 jobs between July and March. Henry Schacht, of Lucent, said, "You want to do this as quickly and humanely as possible."

...Agilent Technologies, a maker of test and measurement equipment spun off from Hewlett-Packard, said that it is cutting 4,000 jobs. The job cuts follow a 10% cut in pay that took place in April.

...Corning Inc., the industry giant of optical fiber and cable sector, heightened investors' worries about when corporate profits will recover. Corning, is cutting 1,000 jobs from its fiber unit, and plans short-term shutdowns at two North Carolina facilities due to slack demand for optical fiber and cable. The company also said overall market growth for optical fiber in 2001 will be significantly less than its prior forecast for a 15 percent rise.

When are these guys going to throw away those prior forecasts? They don't fit the situation anymore.

We could all use some good news. Graybar is alive and well… and growing. Graybar has announced the opening of a regional distribution center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Continuing to expand its logistics network, Graybar Electric opened its eleventh regional distribution center. Graybar, a nationwide distributor of electrical and communications/data products, will use this 158,000 sq ft. distribution center to provide next-day service to customers in North and South Carolina.

Each of Graybar's regional distribution centers maintains a multimillion-dollar inventory of electrical, communications and data supplies and equipment. The centers serve as replenishment and shipping facilities for Graybar's 292 branches. When Graybar's logistics network is complete early next year, the distributor will have 16 regional zone warehouses strategically placed nationwide and will be able to ship orders to 98% of its customers within 24 hours.

Sales and customer service functions, as well as counter and will-call service continue to be handled out of Graybar's eight branches in the region. Inventory to serve customers' same-day needs is maintained in these branches close to Graybar's customers. The regional zone warehouses enable the company to enhance its customer service by consolidating order for next-day delivery and by stocking slow moving and hard to find items, those not required every day by its customers. Graybar is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the United States with over 10,500 employees.

Michael A. Shannahan, Vice President of Communication Planning Corporation, (Jacksonville, FL) announced the promotion of Diane K. Santarelli to Executive Administrator of Network Services, including the administration of Ms. Santarelli, who recently joined CPC from Staples Communications, has kicked-off a program, which will completely redesign the look of Wireville. Look for her articles and materials in the "Heard On The Street" column in the future.

Just when we learned what a Gigabit was… along comes Terabit. Nortel Networks has completed the design and construction of a Terabit-capable optical backbone network for UK operator Kingston Communications, providing a high-capacity foundation capable of carrying Gigabit Ethernet and other local broadband services.

CommScope to partner with Furukawa Electric to acquire interest in Lucent's Fiber Optic Cable business as part of Furukawa's purchase of Lucent's Optical Fiber Business. CommScope to Pay $650 Million in transaction that doubles its revenues, combining the leading manufacturer of coaxial cable with a major global manufacturer of fiber optic cable. The result is a complementary channel access to provide customers with end-to-end cable solutions.

CommScope Inc., (Hickory, N.C.) announced on July 24th, 2001, that it will partner with Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. of Japan to acquire the Fiber Optic Cable business of Lucent Technologies. The transaction will enhance CommScope's technology platform with key intellectual property and research and development, expand its channel access by adding complementary capabilities and provide it with a strategic position in fiber optic manufacturing.

Under the terms of the transaction, CommScope and Furukawa will enter into two joint ventures, one for the fiber cable portion of Lucent's fiber optic business and one for the transmission fiber portion of the same business. CommScope will invest approximately $650 million for its ownership in the two joint ventures, which will be funded through the issuance of a combination of debt and equity. Based on CommScope's preliminary due diligence, management believes that this transaction will be accretive to CommScope's earnings in the first full year, excluding one-time, transition-related charges. CommScope will own 51% of the fiber cable joint venture, which includes transmission fiber and cable manufacturing capabilities at a 2.9 million square foot facility in Norcross, Georgia, as well as facilities in Germany and Brazil and a joint venture in Russia. With a majority ownership in the fiber cable joint venture, CommScope expects to consolidate those operating results in its financial statements, which for the last twelve months would have more than doubled CommScope's revenues. In addition, the cable joint venture will acquire Lucent's 51% interest in Fitel, a joint venture between Lucent and Furukawa that produces high-performance loose tube cable. The fiber joint venture will be 49% owned by CommScope, with Furukawa owning a 51% interest, and is expected to be accounted for by CommScope using the equity method. The transmission fiber joint venture includes the Multimode Optical Fiber Center of Excellence in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, which develops and manufactures graded-index multimode optical fibers, as well as Litespec, a joint venture between Lucent and Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corporation that manufactures single mode optical fiber. This transaction is part of a $2.75 billion purchase by Furukawa and Corning Inc. of Lucent's entire Optical Fiber Solutions Business, which includes the Optical Fiber and Cable business (including specialty and transmission); Fiber Optic Apparatus and Premises business; and Specialty Fiber Devices business. The transaction, which is subject to various regulatory approvals and other usual closing conditions, is expected to close by the end of September 2001. CIBC World Markets Corp. is serving as CommScope's financial advisor on the transaction and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson are the Company's legal advisors.

CommScope, Inc (Hickory, N.C.,) a world leader in the manufacture of broadband and high-performance communication cables, today announced second quarter results for the period ended June 30, 2001. Earnings for the current quarter, excluding charges related to impairment of certain assets, were $13.9 million, or $0.27 per diluted share compared to $0.42 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2000. Including these charges, net income for the current quarter was $6.0 million, or $0.11 per diluted share.

Sales for the second quarter decreased 17% to $199.9 million, compared to $241.2 million in the second quarter of 2000. Revenues reflect the slowdown in telecommunications spending. Domestic sales were $156.0 million in the current quarter, compared to $180.5 million in the second quarter of 2000. International sales were $43.9 million in the current quarter, compared to $60.7 million in the same period last year. Orders booked in the current quarter were $156.2 million, down 47% from the $293.4 million booked in the second quarter of 2000.

Fluke completes the acquisition of Microtest and pledges support for the Microtest OMNIScanner hand held tester. Fluke Networks announced the closing of the acquisition of Microtest on August 9.

How would you like to get all the news worth having about the world of testers in one easy click? The place is on the Internet at Fluke Networks News site. It's the place to go to get all the Fluke Networks news you can use. And you can sign up so it will be delivered monthly, to your inbox. From new solutions and product updates, industry coverage to on the job tips and product demos, enhance your Network SuperVision at:

At the BICSI conference in New Orleans, the media was well represented by various publications. Cabling Installation and Maintenance Magazine (CI&M), and Lightwave Magazine (a Pennwell publication), had a full crew working hard to gather the news and learn more about their advertisers objectives. It is no wonder that Pennwell publications are Number One in our industry.

We also met Janine Strom, Editor of Cabling Systems Magazine, a Canadian publication. Cabling Systems is a publication for the structured cabling industry, covering the latest developments in telecommunications and data cabling systems in building facilities. This outstanding publication is published by Southam Magazine Group Limited, a Southam Inc. company. Southam Inc. is a leading Canadian information company with interests in daily and community newspapers and business-to-business information services. Recently, Cabling Systems won a Silver Award at the 2001 Kenneth R. Wilson awards, held June 8, in Toronto. The awards, sponsored by the Canadian Business Press (CBP), recognize excellence in business trade publishing. This publication is free in Canada; however, there is a small charge for postage in the United States.

Additionally, we were introduced to Fred Ouimette, Publisher of Structured Cabling Magazine, another Canadian publication. This magazine is another fine example of a well-done publication for our industry. Structured Cabling Magazine is a Kerrwil publication. We were impressed with the articles and their focus on safety issues in our industry. The magazine in free in Canada, but has a small charge for postage in the US. Don't miss the occasional article by Marilyn

Michelson, publisher of the quarterly Cabling Standards UPDATE.

If you are looking for the real inside scoop of the standards game, you may wish to subscribe to Ms. Michelson's excellent publication. With her publication you are not likely to get caught between the rock and the hard place by unexpected changes in "The Rules". This is a subscriber paid publication with no advertising. We give Cabling Standards Update a 5 Star Rating.

Fotec, a subsidiary of Fluke Networks, (Medford, MA), has introduced new "Smart" Fiber Optic Test Kits that can cut fiber optic network testing time in half by automated dual wavelength testing. The DT300 and DT3000 series kits are available for both multimode and singlemode fiber networks.

Architects Continuing Education Now Includes

BICSI Telecommunications Courses.

BICSI, (Tampa, FL) a telecommunications association, is now a Registered Provider for The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Continuing Education Systems (CES). AIA members may now increase their knowledge of the telecommunications infrastructure requirements within commercial and residential buildings while earning Learning Unit Hours (LU Hours) from the AIA/CES. Prior to deregulation, architects and engineers relied on experts from the local telephone company to design the telecommunications cabling infrastructure within commercial and residential buildings. The standards-based, vendor-neutral education provided by BICSI will foster greater communication between architects and the specialized professionals who perform this design work today. BICSI's courses develop an understanding of how to prepare for current and future needs in regards to pathways and spaces, telecommunications and equipment rooms, and telecommunications administration.

BICSI courses accepted by the AIA are recognized for 14 to 42 LU Hours and include introductory courses, a six-day design course, and review courses for BICSI's registration exams. Course outlines and schedules may be viewed on the AIA/CES Web site at

Headquartered in Tampa, FL, USA, BICSI is a professional, not-for-profit telecommunications association that serves 22,000 members from more than 85 countries around the world. BICSI offers educational courses, conferences, publications, and professional registration programs for telecommunications cabling distribution designers and installers. Nearly 6000 individuals have earned the prestigious Registered Communications Distribution Designer RCDD® designation.

Despite reporting a 99 percent drop in earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter, Cisco Systems Inc.'s chief executive John Chambers warns that the business has not yet hit bottom. How low can you go??

We would like to bring a unique home and business coax connection product to your attention. They have developed a break through product - a revolutionary patent pending connector that makes attaching coaxial cables literally a snap with the same RJ form factor as an RJ45 used for telephone, networking and communications products. If you would like to make attaching coax easy, please go to the website: or

It's that time of year again, when UL recertifies Anixter's Levels Lab. Anixter announced that Underwriters Laboratories has recertified the company's Levels Lab. This is an important validation of this special testing facility.

BICSI Releases New Edition of Cabling Installation Manual

BICSI (Tampa, FL), a telecommunications association, published the 3rd edition of its popular Telecommunications Cabling Installation Manual (TCIM), the principal resource for standards and procedures on installing voice, data, and video cabling systems in commercial buildings.

"BICSI sold over 7000 copies of the 2nd edition of the TCIM. With more companies entering the lucrative telecommunications market, we project even higher sales figures for this edition," said Sharon Ballas, BICSI's manager of publications. "Our research shows that BICSI manuals have a well-earned reputation for careful research, precise writing, and an easy-to-understand format." The TCIM serves as a job function-related reference manual for telecommunications cabling installers. Guidelines and tasks are based on the latest industry codes and standards. The 3rd edition is updated to reflect the latest technologies and changes in the industry, and focuses on pathways, spaces, and associated hardware. The 10 chapters include industry background, planning, installing supporting structures, pulling cable, firestopping, cable termination practices, splicing and testing cable, troubleshooting, and retrofit installations.

BICSI's 800 page TCIM, 3rd edition, is available in the easily referenced 3-ring binder format or on CD-ROM, and sells for US$99.

Ortronics Achieves Clarity with the Introduction

of their New Category 6 Connectivity Technology

Ortronics, (New London, CT), announced the introduction of Clarity, an evolutionary advancement in Category 6 connectivity that is the first completely component and channel standards compliant line in the market today. Clarity includes new modular 110 jacks, patch panels and patch cords as well as 110 blocks and 110 cords.

In addition to component compliance, Clarity's enhanced technology significantly improves the performance of the link and channel. Ortronics has accomplished this breakthrough with three critical elements:

  • Optimal Mated Connector Balance - Using Clarity Category 6 Connectivity in a connector interface provides targeted balance, minimizing the impact of media change on the transmitted signal.

  • Higher Signal to Noise Ratio - The use of dual reactance Clarity technology provides a nearly transparent interface, allowing significantly improved signal to noise ratio.

  • Backward Compatibility - Clarity's Category 6 Component Compliance insures backward compatibility and interoperability with other standards compliant cabling elements and field testers.

Anixter scores again with a new publication to help the customers. This new publication is the Anixter Hidden Cost Guide, and it's ready for you now. The Anixter Hidden Cost Guide reveals the unknown costs associated with deficient network performance and excessive procurement costs. The information in this book will save your company time and money.

CDT Acquires Connectivity Company; Acquisition of A.W. Industries

Expands CDT's Presence in the Connector Marketplace

CDT Cable Design Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA) announced the acquisition of A.W. Industries, a fully integrated company that designs, engineers and manufactures connectors for use in networking environments, automotive, marine and other industries. AWI, with annual sales of approximately $10 million, is headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The acquisition of AWI is expected to be immediately accretive.

Paul Olson, CDT President and CEO, commented, "AWI is an excellent strategic and complementary fit that specializes in niche markets for the enterprise networking system marketplace. When evaluating this acquisition, we were particularly impressed with the AWI management team's industry knowledge. We believe by combining the AWI product line with our worldwide sales and marketing efforts that we can improve sales growth in CDT's network connectivity segment with minimal capital investment."

CD-ROM helps building owners through service-provider snafus. BOMA, The Building Owners and Managers Association International has released a CD-ROM in response to the rapid changes in the telecommunications arena. "The Property Professional's Telecommunications Tool Box" provides information for commercial real estate professionals, and offers steps to minimize or eliminate adverse affects that occur when telecommunications service providers change their business plans.

The CD-ROM "will help commercial real estate professionals avoid being blindsided by companies filing for bankruptcy," said BOMA president Sherwood Johnston III.

BOMA says the CD will help commercial real estate professionals:

  • Understand telecommunications jargon

  • Identify tenants' needs

  • Provide access to service providers

  • Protect owners and tenants in the event of a service-provider failure

  • Understand radio-frequency emissions standards

The CD also includes sample building-access and telecommunications-license agreements, negotiating points, and answers to frequently asked questions. It costs $20 for BOMA members and $35 for non-members.

Area Communications Company, a regional full service communications provider in North Florida, has expanded their division specializing in datacom cabling. Mr. Brian Chancey, President/CEO, announced the promotion of Edward M. Hopkins, RCDD to Division Manager.

Molex features online multiple language search

Molex Inc. lets engineers look for technical information using multiple languages on the company's web site. General web site information is available in Japanese, Korean, and English. The technical feature search in the online catalog has been expanded to include English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian as well. In addition, interactive functions such as sample ordering and customer questions submitted via the web site are also handled directly in the user's native language.

"Adding multiple languages to the feature search was a logical step, as customers increasingly use the Internet to source information on new and existing products," says Chuck Bartlett, vice president, e-commerce and logistics at Molex.

During the next year, Molex plans to continue building upon both the web site's technical depth and the multi-language content.

The stock slide in the US Market is looking like Japan's. Some experts have compared the NASDAQ activities with the NIKKEI's decline. US investors are getting a real taste of what a no-growth, Japanese style stock market slide feels like. Some pessimists are even comparing the US markets to Japan's 11-year stock plunge. The NASDAQ is doing what the NIKKEI did. We have gotten used to stocks bouncing back, but that's not what always happens. Obviously, Japan's plight is much worse. Remember, the aggressive interest rate cuts had no effect for the Japanese. Japan has cut rates to zero, but its economy and stock market are still lifeless. Did you hear that Mr. Greenspan?

The weeding out process is taking place in the US and many businesses are fighting their way back to acceptable levels of profitability. However, we must accept the fact that we will not see profit levels like we did during the Dot. Com sizzle. Most companies are going back to the boardroom to reappraise their forecasts. Many companies had promised to deliver results that may not be attainable in this economy. Executives have to swallow the medicine and re-write their objective numbers. The forecasts that were written a year ago, are unreal in todays scenario.

Toshiba to Cut Jobs, Faces Record Loss

Toshiba Corp, (Tokyo) Japan's biggest chipmaker, faces record losses. Toshiba announced that it will cut 18,800 jobs -- almost solely in Japan -- and streamline its sprawling industrial empire by March 2004 as it faces its worst net loss ever.

The company, which now expects a net loss of 115 billion yen ($957 million) for the year to next March after projecting a 60 billion yen profit just four months ago, will also consolidate or close six of its 21 domestic plants over the same period.

"With this action plan, we want to regenerate the company," Toshiba President Tadashi Okamura told a news conference. The job cut total represents 10 percent of the global workforce, the firm said.

The restructuring, which will cost Toshiba 120 billion yen in special charges this business year, comes as the global semiconductor industry slogs through its worst-ever downturn. Investors poured money into Toshiba after news leaks indicated that the company was going to announce hefty job cuts.

Rivals such as NEC Corp and Fujitsu Ltd. have already announced steep workforce reductions and stern profit warnings.

KRONE® Public Networks Product Solutions Wins Renewal of Major Supply Contract with Verizon. MARLTON, N.J., Aug. 29, 2001 - KRONE's contract to supply network connectivity products and solutions to Verizon has been renewed. KRONE, a wholly owned subsidiary of GenTek Inc., is an international manufacturer of high-performance telecommunications solutions. The new multi-year contract for KRONE's high-performance connectivity solutions is a multi-million dollar agreement with the nation's largest telecommunications company. KRONE's public network connectivity solutions incorporate its patented silver-plated 45-degree insulation displacement connector (IDC), which provides the most secure and reliable termination in the world. KRONE's solutions provide Verizon with the flexibility, density and reliability it requires to maintain the high quality of service that its customers demand.

KRONE is a leading manufacturing company, with more than 2,000 patents and more than 70 years of experience in the design, development and supply of cable and connectivity solutions for enterprise and public networks. KRONE is a wholly owned subsidiary of GenTek Inc.

GenTek Inc. (NYSE: GK) is a technology-driven manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and other products.

Hewlett-Packard buying Compaq. High-tech giant Hewlett-Packard Co., (San Jose, Ca), is buying rival Compaq Computer Corp. for approximately $25 billion in a huge merger that most certainly will cause waves in the sinking computer industry. This merger created by a stock swap will make this union about $87 billion dollars in revenue - about the same size as IBM - but with a larger scope of products.

This is a really great match-up for both firms in virtually all areas. The merger is expected to close in the first half of 2002. The new HP will be 64% owned by HP shareholders, and 36% owned by Compaq shareholders.


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