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HOTS 10/2001

Issue: October 2001

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


September 11, 2001 was a day of tragedy and a day of change. This day has changed our lives and our society forever. The horrific terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, DC, was only the tip of the iceberg. Apparently, the terrorist had much bigger plans under way. Thank God that all of the plans for mayhem and destruction did not materialize. Our prayers are with those who have suffered loss in this tragedy.

H.O.T.S. is an informal column which deals with issues and events in the world of communications infrastructure - cabling. We work diligently to gather the news about who's hot and who's not. We report on events, and products. Then we editorialize on issues, which challenge our industry. However, this month is different. We have been stunned by the events of this past month, and shocked by the realization of our vulnerability.

No matter how hard we try to focus on "business as usual", with this column we are unable to develop the materials in our usual fashion. The entire staff is in shock over these events. But, we must move forward. We are committed to getting the news out to our readers, even if it is not packaged in its typical manner.

Fortune magazine (special report-October 1, 2001) "Up from the ashes" and the rebuilding of Wall Street, gives us a remarkable view of the challenges that we must address within the world of cabling. This report points out, " Gone: 75,000 phone lines, 19,600 miles of phone cables, and enough concrete to build a five-foot-wide sidewalk from Manhattan to Washington". Their estimates don't even include the almost 5,500 miles of data cable in the World Trade Center Towers. The cabling industry is ready, willing and able to fulfill this need without delay.

In previous months we reported on the major reductions in workforce within the communications industry. Now, we can add the transportation industry as a victim. Another victim is the tourism industry, which has experienced an overnight shrinkage to anorexic levels. Tourism is the major industry in Florida and a key financial component in many other areas, like California, New York, and Washington, DC.

We received a note from a business associate who told us about an almost deserted O'Hare airport and planes with much less than 50% occupancy. The change from airplanes packed like cattle cars, to 3 seats for everybody, happened overnight. With some reduced airfares and less crowded seating, we plan to do some additional travel. However, travel agencies, hotels, and theme parks have had an avalanche of cancellations. Several cruise lines have cut their schedules and some even face bankruptcy. Recent news stories reveal there are some unbelievable deals in many of the most popular tourism destinations. Guess what? No lines at Disney World. Universal Studios is offering an enhanced package with the normal entrance fees. Now is a really good time to travel.

In spite of strong rhetoric and cuts in the interest rates, the financial world has experienced a downsizing not seen since the great depression. The Stock Market is bleeding red and hopes of recovery have been extended by an additional six months to a year. Recent days of trading on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) have seen some return to sanity and investment.

In the face of all this depressing news, we have scrambled to uncover positive news items, which reflect the underlying strength of the communications infrastructure-cabling industry. Yes, there is some good news, probably a lot more good news than we have been able to uncover. The USA has been stunned by the terrorist attacks in a fashion more severe than the "Day of Infamy" (December 7, 1941). This time the enemy is unknown. It's not a country. It's a movement. The frustration of not knowing who, where, or when is debilitating. We are still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Many of the people that we have interviewed are now expressing more anger than shock. The United States and the civilized world are like the sleeping dragon that has been awakened by these terrorist acts. The terrorists don't really understand what they have done, but they are going to find out.

How about some good news! The many projects that were put on hold to see what was going to happen are being reconsidered. Some of those projects are getting a green light to proceed even if it is on a limited basis. The R&D (Research & Development) projects to improve products are still moving ahead and achieving some level of success.

The plastics industry has seen the recent unveiling of PVC cable jacketing compounds that do not use LEAD stabilizers. Solvay, Gitto-Global Corporation, and AlphaGary Corporation have introduced PVC compounds that are free of heavy metals. This is a great piece of news for the cable manufacturer, the installer, and the end user. The elimination of these hazardous materials in the cabling products is a big step for safety and improved environmental conditions. The removal of LEAD will have a positive impact on the challenges of recycling. According to Gitto-Global in a recent interview with Wire Industry News (Sept 17, 2001), this new PVC jacketing product is available with no pricing premium.

The new CMP-50 Limited Combustible Plenum Cables are available in CAT 5, CAT 5e, and CAT 6. This offers a complete line of datacom cables, which exceed the minimum fire safety standards, and they are free of LEAD and other heavy metals. In the November issue, we will report on the new Category 6 CMP-50 Limited Combustible Cable which is being introduced by Avaya in their Systimax® product line. This is BIG NEWS and a major advancement in the CMP-50 product line. Today, you can buy CMP-50 Limited Combustible Cables from Mohawk/CDT, Belden, Berk-Tek, and Avaya. Numerous other manufacturers are working diligently to add this new next generation fire safety cable to their family of products.

Are cables more important than lives?

"September 6, 2001 Ratification of the criteria for Britain's Construction Products Directive (CPD) has suffered another blow, following the move by Standing Committee on Construction to postpone until December a decision on the Euroclass Tables for Cables.

Acidity, corrosivity, total smoke production and smoke production rates were all likely to have to meet a voluntary declaration.

This is causing frustration among cable manufacturers trying to plan fire safety measures, and leading to questions on whether the CPD is meeting its objective of providing a common technical specification for health and safety in construction works. There are claims now that the interests of the cabling industry are taking precedence.

The European Union (EU) Enterprise Commission had stipulated that cabling was to be included in the overall Euroclasses system that makes up the bulk of the CPD, classifying materials under requirements, such as fire performance. Initial classification criteria were for cables' reaction to fire under the categories of ignition, flame spread, rate of heat release and fire growth rates.

Europacable, however, put forward an amended proposal detailing a separate classification system for power, control and communication cables--amalgamating the three groups rather than, as in the United States, developing specific criteria for power and communications cables.

This request had received a draft Commission decision, giving cabling a specific set of fire performance criteria within the CPD (provisionally titled Table 3) and looked set to proceed; the only areas to be agreed being test methods and the specific criteria under the Euroclass system.

Uncertainty breeds frustration

But now changes and modifications have been submitted, and the EU's Fire Regulator must consider these before further progress can be made. And because the initial values put forward for criteria such as smoke production and heat release have now changed, manufacturers--many of whom are putting every effort into producing cables with improved fire resistance--are becoming increasingly frustrated.

Cabling requirements in new buildings can no longer be regarded as an afterthought. The rapid increase in demand--more complex ICT systems, extensive voice systems and even building monitoring equipment--means that cables now have to be viewed as a permanent part of a building in the way that conventional construction materials are.

Table 3 is a major step forward in recognizing cables for their properties as well as their performance, but we need to be sure we recognize and prioritize the appropriate criteria.

Fire in cabling systems is a very real risk for the modern building, particularly where the majority of the cables are hidden from view in confined spaces; between floors and ceilings, for example. Heat build-up is rapid in these spaces, and the necessity for all areas of the building to have cable service equally allows fire to spread, potentially unchecked, in these hidden areas. But these areas are used almost exclusively for data cabling, rather than power cables.

Europacable's reclassification of the criteria intended for Table 3 raises some interesting questions about building safety. Lowering the thresholds for total heat release and rate of heat release, for example, could see cables passed for approval that could significantly increase the speed with which a fire takes hold.

Ways to control fire spread

We should be looking to minimize the rate at which a fire spreads, allowing a building's occupants to exit quickly and safely in a fire situation. And while people's safety should take precedence, if possible, we should try to minimize damage to the fabric of the building. Controlling fire spread achieves both.

The way forward is perhaps to take a lead from the U.S., where separate classifications have been developed for power and data cables, reflecting the fact that they are used in varying quantities and different areas of the building. Ignoring such a fundamental point questions whether health and safety issues are really being given the priority they deserve.

To do this and be accountable to a value table focusing on the specific requirements for each type of cable gives manufacturers the flexibility and freedom they need to adapt and improve cables' fire performance qualities.

The original criteria were satisfactory on this front and were within sight of being ratified. Now we have a further delay. Perhaps the time has come to decide on what really constitutes public safety."

The above information was extracted from an article published in Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine (Sept. 2001 issue) - The Number One Publication in Cabling Business.

Cabling Installation Expo and Workshop

The Cabling Installation Expo and Cabling Workshop, now in its sixth year, began as scheduled September 18 - 20, 2001, (Providence, RI), despite the nationwide travel difficulties resulting from last week's terrorist attacks. In opening the Workshop portion of the event Tuesday morning-almost exactly one week to the minute after the first of two hijacked commercial airliners struck the World Trade Center towers-BICSI's treasurer Russell Oliver called for a moment of silence. Vic Phillips, an organizer of the Workshop, led attendees in the pledge of allegiance shortly thereafter. The difficult traveling conditions forced some scheduled presenters to miss the program, although substitute presenters were put in place and every scheduled Workshop session was held as planned.

Jean Caldwell, Marketing Manager for BICSI attended the show and reported that attendees were pleased with the effort that BICSI and Pennwell made to continue with the event in spite of the recent tragedies. BICSI registered 318 attendees for the educational workshops (about 65% of expected attendance) and Pennwell had an additional 650 people registered for the Cabling Expo, so total attendance at the Expo was around 1000. Attendees were very pleased with the workshop presentations and format, and exhibitors reported good contacts and customer development.

Gitto Global Corporation, PVC manufacturer, Lunenburg, MA, said it has taken initiative prior to any government directive to replace LEAD use and employee exposure to lead. According to Jim Grimley, vice president national and international sales/marketing, OSHA has recently established a National Emphasis program, Directive CPL 2-0.130, with the goal of reducing employees' exposure to airborne lead by 15% by October 2002. Grimley said the company has worked with suppliers to find suitable replacements for lead stabilizers in the many of its compound applications. Though not the only PVC compounder to find these alternatives, Gitto/Global said it is offering lead free products for all applications without price premium." According to Wire Industry News a Business Report for Wire Industry Management - Issue Sept 17, 2001 (CRU International, Greenbelt, MD)


Berk-Tek, (New Holland, PA) a Nexans company, announces that its 25 to 300 pair count UTP cables meet the electrical specifications of ANSI/TIE/EIA-568-B for Category 3 standard.

The latest versions to meet the CAT 3 standard are Berk-Tek's 200 and 300 pair cables. Berk-Tek joins a group a limited number of manufacturers who offer a CAT 3-compliant 200 and 300 pair cables.

"Berk-Tek is known for high performance and quality in its copper products," said Dan Kennefick, Berk-Tek copper products business manager. "We have incorporated the knowledge and superior technological resources into our 200 and 300 pair cable, by specifying them to the Category 3 standard requirements."

High pair cables are used mainly for backbone cabling for voice or low speed data applications. Berk-Tek's CAT 3-compliant high pair count cables are verified to support 10 BASE-T, Token Ring and Voice Telephony applications, and are available now in plenum and riser-rated versions.

Message from the CEO of Solvay, Mr. Michielsen To our American Colleagues

As the world watched in horror and disbelief at the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the Solvay community expressed its concern for the security and safety of our colleagues and their families in America. I want to extend my deepest sympathies, personally, for any loss or injury of your loved ones, and collectively, for the national tragedy which is still unfolding.

Today, as you come into your workplace with perhaps a stunned silence, I want you to know that you have our full support. On a personal level, Solvay has the human resources in your offices to support you with any distress you may be feeling. We will back any local initiatives you have for assistance. On a national level, I have asked Whitson Sadler to assess how Solvay could intervene efficiently to help alleviate the suffering caused by this tragedy.

Our world has changed in the last 24 hours. Please know that you can depend on us for continuity and assistance. In this time of tragedy and loss, as you regroup and pull together as a nation, a family and a person, remember that I speak for the entire Solvay community when I say you have our sympathies and our support.

BICSI Signs French Publishing Agreement

for Standards-Based Cabling Manuals

August 19, 2001 (New Orleans, LA) The Board of Directors of BICSI, the international telecommunications association, formalized an agreement with the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) to create French language translations of BICSI's structured cabling installation manuals on August 19 at the BICSI Fall Conference in New Orleans.

The CCQ, with the financial support of the Fonds de formation des travailleurs de l'industrie de la construction, will translate the 3rd Edition of BICSI's Telecommunications Cabling Installation Manual and the Residential Network Cabling Manual.

The translated material will become a part of the formal training provided by CCQ. Since 1988, CCQ has offered training, competency cards, and other services to the construction industry workforce. While searching for new technology opportunities for its own membership, the Fraternité Inter-Provinciale des Ouvriers en Électricité (FIPOE) approached the CCQ to add low-voltage installation training.

FIPOE proposed that CCQ negotiate with BICSI in order to provide quicker access to the technical information needed for this new initiative. BICSI's manuals are well known for their technical expertise and easy-to-understand format.

BICSI, headquartered in Tampa, FL, is a not-for-profit professional association providing technical manuals, training, conferences, and registration programs for cabling infrastructure designers and installers.

BICSI has 20,000 members in over 85 countries around the world. Nearly 6000 members have attained the prestigious designation of Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) and more than 10,000 installers have been registered in the Telecommunications Cabling Installation Program.

Even before to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, companies across industries grappled with how to rethink disaster recovery. Now that the unimaginable has occurred, IT departments are working in overdrive to ensure failsafe protection for their companies, their products and services, and their customers.

What was clear prior to September 11, is still clear today: Disaster recovery / business continuity is not the sole responsibility of IT, or any one group under the IT umbrella. That's because IT pervades all enterprise business and seeps across business units, departments and locations. What was traditionally known as disaster recovery in the 1980s, when it emerged as a formal discipline, has evolved into something broader and more complex: Disaster recovery in and of itself is not an exclusive strategy. It has evolved to be more broadly defined as business continuity and contingency planning, or the recovery of business processes.

Organizations have to decide to what level they want to grow their business continuity plans, for example, are they looking for traditional disaster recovery or are they looking for high availability and instant fail over? Once an organization has a business recovery plan in place it must get revisited because the IT infrastructure is always changing as is the business, its needs and requirements.

CommScope and The Siemon Co. have opened a jointly operated training facility in Sparks, NV. The two companies offer a suite of cabling systems marketed under the Vision brand name.

According to C.K. Siemon, vice president of reseller services with Siemon, the Vision solution has created significant demand for certified installer training. "This new facility significantly increase the number of classes we can offer each month, which should alleviate any backlog in training scheduling," he says. In addition to supplementing the capacity of the existing training facilities in Watertown, CT and Miami, FL, the Nevada location is expected to be more convenient for installers located in the Western states.

The Vision certified installer program is intended for system designers and installers. It covers industry standards, requirements for designing and installing copper and fiber cabling systems, design exercises, and hands-on training. It includes a final exam. Students who pass qualify for 25 credit hours toward renewal of BICSI's Registered Communications Distribution Designer designation.



Effective October 1, 2001, Solvay Advanced Polymers, Inc. will become Solvay Fluoropolymers, Inc., according to Laird McBeth, the company's President. The new name will more closely indicate that the focus is on Solvay's U.S. fluoropolymer business, including Solef® PVDF resins and vinylidene fluoride monomer (VF2) activities. Solvay Fluoropolymers, Inc. will continue to headquarter in Houston, Texas. The company's new PVDF plant in Decatur, Alabama became operational in December 2000.

The performance of Solef® PVDF is recognized in such diverse industries as: semiconductor manufacture, plating and surface finishing, oil & gas production, pharmaceutical manufacture, metal refining, nuclear chemistry, and the manufacture of wire & cable. Solef® PVDF is used in the manufacture of piping systems and fluid handling components, microporous membranes, mono- and multifilaments, and lithium ion batteries. Solef® PVDF Copolymers are used extensively in the manufacture of plenum rated copper cables, fiber optic cables and optical fiber raceways.

Solvay Fluoropolymers, Inc. is wholly owned by Solvay America, Inc., a member of the worldwide Solvay Chemical and Pharmaceutical Group.

Fiber Optic Curing Ovens

Are you using thermal cure epoxy as your fiber optic connection method? The Light Brigade manufactures 2 models of curing ovens for laboratory, manufacturing and field applications.

The T-50V-BRC Programmable Curing Oven is a microprocessor-based ramping control oven. This is an excellent tool for both manufacturing and laboratory use. The oven features a 24-step program capability, ramp-rate or time - base programming, guaranteed soak deviation, program looping and status selection and easy to use non-ramping set point of operation. The oven cures up to 12 connectors simultaneously. Other features include strain relief of cordage, side access doors for easy insertion and removal of the plug adaptors. All standard adaptor plugs are available.

Our standard T-50V Curing Oven provides an internal thermal coupler for temperature stability, and external controls for temperature and time. The oven is designed for laboratory, manufacturing and field use. Features include adjustable strain relief, cooling blocks and a variety of connector adaptors.

Leviton (Bothell, WA) Voice & Data Division introduced its high quality Voice Grade Patch Panels. Pre-configured in 24 and 48 port densities, and designed specifically for voice grade applications. These new panels are a cost-effective alternative to the more expensive Category 5, 5e or 6 panels, which are frequently used to connect voice circuits onto the data circuit horizontal cabling when high performance Category 5 or higher cabling has been run to every port at the work area outlet. The panels are available in a quick installation 25-pair preconnectorized version, and a standard 110 IDC style featuring a unique rear label that delineates one pair and two pair termination and shows 25 pair color coded termination.

Leviton's new Voice Grade Panels mount on standard 19" TIA equipment racks and accommodate top, bottom and side cable entry. To facilitate in the laying of cables, a Cable Management Bar is offered as an accessory.

Leviton's new Voice Grade Panels are part of a complete system of quality patch panels, including Universal Patch Panels that accommodate both T568B and T568A wiring configurations and deliver reliable, error-free network transmission in an active, real-time network environment.

Leviton's Lifetime Warranty on certified installations covers all Voice Grade Panels.

Solvay Signs Agreement with Kobe Steel

Aiming At Introducing Vinyloop® in Japan

Solvay's innovative PVC recycling process takes first step in Asia. Solvay and Kobe Steel have just signed a cooperation agreement with a view to introduce and market Solvay's Vinyloop®PVC recycling process in Japan. The agreement includes carrying out feasibility and market studies to promote the application of the innovative process in Japan. The studies are anticipated to be completed by the end of this year.

"The alliance with a quality partner such as Kobe Steel paves the way for the development of Vinyloop® in Japan. We are convinced that in this essential market, like in Europe, we will be able to demonstrate that PVC is an environmentally sustainable product and that recycling PVC can itself develop into a significant, economically viable and profitable business", said Patrick Crucifix, Solvay's Vinyloop® project leader.

"Solvay's Vinyloop® process provides impressive technical advantages and commercial competitiveness. We believe this promising technology will dramatically improve PVC waste recycling in Japan." said Yukihide Nosaka, General Manager of Kobe Steel's Energy & Engineering Department. "This process enables waste PVC plastic to be reused to make new PVC, an environmentally sound practice in resource utilization", he said.

One of the advantages of PVC is that it is totally soluble in certain solvents. Using this characteristic, the Vinyloop® technology developed by Solvay Research & Technology allows the complete separation of PVC material from other components, which are combined with PVC in many of its applications. The biodegradable solvents are used in a closed circuit and regenerate PVC of a quality equivalent to the original product. This efficient and competitive technology provides the answer to one of the obstacles generally faced in recycling composite materials: to separate various intimately linked materials. Details are available at the new Internet site

Solvay's initiatives in the field of recycling are part of its "Responsible Care®" commitment for continual progress in terms of eco-efficiency, the key for a more sustainable development. Kobe Steel, Ltd. is a major infrastructure and plant engineering company with head offices in Tokyo and Kobe, Japan. One of Japan's leading steel producers, also producer of aluminum and copper products, Kobe Steel also has businesses in welding consumables, industrial machinery, electronics and information systems. Fiscal year 2000 consolidated sales totaled 1,373 billion yen. Employing about 30,000 people, Kobe Steel operates in Japan, the Americas, Asia and Europe. More information is available at:

Solvay is an international chemicals and pharmaceuticals group with headquarters in Brussels. It employs about 32,000 people in 50 countries. In 2000 its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 8.9 billion generated by its four activity sectors: Chemicals, Plastics, Processing and Pharmaceuticals. Solvay is listed on the Euronext 100 index of top European companies. Details are available at



Berk-Tek, (New Holland, PA) a Nexans Company, announces the recent appointment of Britt Johnson to Western Regional Sales Manager. Johnson is responsible for sales accounts and manufacturer's representatives throughout Berk-Tek's Western Region. He will work out of his San Francisco area office.

Johnson brings extensive sales and sales management experience to his new position. His 12 years of experience in the datacomm industry includes five years with Ortronics as regional and national sales manager and most recently with Cisco Systems as a major account manager.

He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in Consumer Science. Johnson's knowledge of the active and passive networking markets combined with his sales management skills makes him a major asset to Berk-Tek.

NEW! 2002 NEC® Changes Online Seminar

The new National Electrical Code® has been completely reorganized and contains hundreds of changes and revisions that affect how electrical professionals do their job. NFPA's NEC Changes Online Seminar is the most convenient and cost-effective way to bring your whole team up-to-date on the 2002 NEC!

  • Two online four-hour sessions for one low price

  • Comprehensive discussion of the major changes by the experts who know the Code best

  • Interactive Q&As at the end of each session let you ask specific questions or clarify key points

  • $383 per connection ($349 for members) lets you train multiple users

  • Earn .4 CEUs for each 4-hour session

  • Free preview to familiarize you with the online workshop format

Don't miss this chance to learn about the NEC straight from the source! For more information or to register for the workshop or free preview, visit

New CENELEC Standard incorporates NFPA 262 Protocols. The new European standard was passed incorporating test protocols developed in The Research Foundation's International 262 Fire Test Harmonization Project. The new European norm, prepared by CENELEC Technical Committee CLC/TC 46X under the CENELEC Unique Acceptance Procedures is designated EN50288-4-11 Communication Cables - Specification for Test Methods Part 4-11: Environmental Test Methods - A Horizontal Integrated Fire Test Method.

The Protocols are coming to be known generically as HIFT, or horizontal integrated fire tests, for wire and cable. When the enhanced NFPA 262 was accepted as a Temporary Interim Amendment by NFPA's Standards Council in 2002, it was one of the most extensive TIA's ever passed. The European norm intended to measure all five essential fire parameters including time to ignition, flame spread, heat release, smoke, and flaming droplets. Any "tunnel" test apparatus adapted to follow the Euronorm can also perform the NFPA 262 protocol.

AlphaGary, Afofina, Ausimont USA, Avaya, Diakin American, DuPont, Lucent Technologies, and Solvay Advanced Polymers supported the Foundations Harmonization project. Round robin testing was carried out at Intertek Testing Services/ETL and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. in the U.S.; the Building Research Establishment and the Loss Prevention Council (now a part of BRE) in the U.K. and JECTEC in Japan.



Due to transportation concerns resulting from the recent tragic events in New York City and Washington, D.C., we have RESCHEDULED the EC&M Seminars' CHICAGO 2002 NEC CODE CHANGE CONFERENCE to OCTOBER 15, 16 at the HOLIDAY INN O'HARE. We are also RESCINDING the registration deadline to accommodate those having difficulty getting approval for attendance.

Don't miss the EC&M 2002 NEC CODE CHANGE CONFERENCE in CHICAGO. Where: Holiday Inn O'Hare, When: OCTOBER 15-16.




Berk-Tek, (New Holland, PA), a Nexans company, announces the appointment of The Ascend Group, Inc. for manufacturer's representative for the Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana sales territories.

Effective September 1, 2001, The Ascend Group will represent all Berk-Tek products and programs, including NetClear™, a technology and marketing alliance of Berk-Tek and Ortronics that offers precisely engineered structured cabling solutions.

Established in 1997, The Ascend Group and its staff have been recognized for their experience, knowledge and professionalism in the Data and Telecommunications Industry.

  • Mark Halleck has over 22 years sales, marketing and managerial experience including 17 years in distribution.

  • Richard Tuite has more than 14 years sales, marketing and managerial experience including nine years in distribution.

  • Craig Yates, RCDD has more than seven years industry sales and marketing experience in distribution and direct manufacturing sales.

  • Patrick Savarese has over 10 years sales and marketing experience in manufacturer's representative organizations.

  • Dave DuPont has over 14 years of sales and marketing experience in distribution and direct manufacturing sales.

Graybar's Wichita branch on the move

Graybar has moved its branch in Wichita, KS to the site at 3609 West Pawnee on September 17. The company says the new site is more than 250% the size of the current facility. The site employs 16.

The move of the Wichita office coincides with the opening of Graybar's 11th regional distribution center. This one is in Springfield, MO. The Springfield regional zone will consolidate and ship orders directly to customers and serve as a replenishment facility for 13 branches, including Wichita.

"Our new location will allow us to expand our inventory, and the opening of the Springfield regional zone will give us access to a deeper and broader inventory," said Wichita branch manager Scott Kent.

Market Focus an interesting perspective on copper

Although companies like Erni Components Inc. (Chester, VA) are jumping on the fiber-optics bandwagon, they believe copper solutions still have a long way to go. "Our key strategy is to keep pushing the technology for copper solutions. There are a lot of new technologies that are being offered that will allow copper to operate up to 20 to 25Gbits/s", said Mike Savage, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Erni.

Since the need for higher speed is the main driver in the datacom and telecom markets, connector companies will have to be more involved with signal integrity and board development, Savage said. "It's not just the connector anymore; the whole system has to be looked at, including the layout of the board, size of vias, how the connectors mount onto the board, and the connector itself, which are all very integral in the high-speed realm."

This excerpt is from EBN magazine July 16, 2001,



Belden Electronics Division, (Richmond, IN) a worldwide leader in the development of wire and cable products for a wide range of communications, entertainment, industrial, and network applications, has announced the launch of a new line of UL (Underwriters Laboratories) verified Category 5e structured cabling products for the single- and multi-family intelligent home markets and for smart office commercial applications. These products can provide a wide range of voice, video, data, security, and entertainment services through a single composite cable.

Belden's new HomeChoice™ line of structured cabling products allows a wide range of services to be provided through the home easily and cost effectively. Through a single composite cable, any room in the home can be wired for computer multimedia and networking, cable and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television, telephone services, security and energy management systems, and more.

"HomeChoice cables allow contractors to meet the demands of homeowners and builders for high-tech cabling solutions," said Bill Miller, Director of Marketing for Belden Electronics Division. "Because the finished composite cables meet CAT 5e standards, installing HomeChoice today creates 'intelligent homes' that can accommodate the next generation of home entertainment and connectivity."

Unlike other composite cables, the finished Belden HomeChoice cable is UL verified to meet Category 5e performance standards.

"Other manufacturers may include CAT 5e data cable components, but their finished cable performance may be compromised when they are built into a composite cable. In contrast, Belden cables provide CAT 5e verified performance as part of the HomeChoice composite cable," Miller said.

The HomeChoice line includes four structured cabling solutions verified to meet Category 5e performance standards. They include:

  • Belden 7910A, one Series 6 (RG6) Duobond Plus® coax plus one Cat 5e DataTwist® cable.

  • Belden 7876A, two Series 6 (RG6) Duobond Plus coax plus two Cat 5e DataTwist cables.

  • Belden 7877A, two Series 6 (RG6) Duobond Plus coax plus one Cat 5e DataTwist cable.

  • Belden 7878A, two Series 6 (RG6) Duobond Plus coax plus two Cat 5e DataTwist cables and two multimode fibers.

The Series 6 coaxial cables are all certified to 2.25 GHz and feature solid copper conductors and Duobond Plus shields. Duobond Plus is a Belden innovation that features a three-shield construction consisting of a Duobond II foil tape surrounded by an 80 percent braid and an outer layer of foil with a unique shorting fold. The combination offers superior high frequency shielding when compared with traditional quad shields and can be stripped easily in one step, speeding installation. Standard Series 6 (RG6) connectors may be used for termination.

DataTwist cables feature Belden's unique and patented bonded pair design that yields a number of performance advantages over standard UTP cable, including the ability to operate at higher frequencies and improvements in attenuation, power sum NEXT, ACR headroom, and return loss.

The fiber component is multimode, 62.5 Micron LANLite ® distribution fiber optic cable.

In addition to the Category 5e structured cabling systems, the HomeChoice line also includes two products that offer Category 5 performance. They include:

  • Belden 7913A, two Series 6 (RG6) Quad shield, sweep tested to 2.25 GHZ coax plus two Cat 5 unbonded DataTwist UTP cables.

  • Belden 7914A, two Series 6 (RG6) Quad shield, sweep tested to 2.25 GHZ coax plus two Cat 5 unbonded DataTwist UTP cables and two multimode fibers.

All HomeChoice systems feature flame-retardant green PVC jackets and 10-year product warranties. Other custom configurations are available upon request.

"When you put it all together, our product line offers everything from the most comprehensive, high-performance cables on the market to solutions for value-priced applications," Miller said.

New Product Announcement: Lantegra™ Supports Zone Cabling Systems

Superior Modular Products, (SMP) and Hitachi Cable Manchester, Inc. (HCM) have released the industry's first structured cabling solution designed specifically for use in multipair environments. Lantegra™ Zone 5e solutions support high-density applications (such as open office architectures) and are constructed from premium SMP connecting hardware and high performance HCM cable. Featured system components include category 5e Telco patch panels, zone distribution boxes, multipair cables, and hybrid cables. In an improvement over other system offerings, Lantegra Zone solutions exceed industry standard's requirements for performance within each 4-pair group and are additionally qualified to minimize the adverse effects of undesired signal coupling from outside pairs (alien crosstalk). A comprehensive product and applications warrantee backs all Lantegra cabling systems installed by a Lantegra Certified Installer for a period of 25 years.

Real estate groups applauds decision restricting telecom access

The Building Owners and Managers Association International issued a statement applauding a Massachusetts court decision restricting telecommunications carriers' access to buildings. BOMA brought a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE) in response to a DTE ruling stating that building owners would be required to provide telecommunications carriers access to their buildings.

The judgment stated, "A landowner's grant of space to one licensee does not equal a grant of space to all other licensees wanting access to his tenants. Therefore DTE is not empowered to create easements and access, but only to regulate attachments voluntarily created by landowner and licensee."

"BOMA applauds the Massachusetts Superior Court, which found that the ruling-passed last year-constitutes the taking of private property without just compensation," BOMA said in a statement.

According to BOMA, under the DTE ruling "building owners would have been forced to assume responsibility, maintenance, liability, and cost for telecom wiring regardless of an owner's objections, space limitations, and safety and security concerns."

"This judgment is another step towards preserving building owners' private property rights and management options to guarantee flexible and dependable telecommunications services to their tenants," said Sherwood Johnston III, BOMA's president.



Belden Electronics Division, a worldwide leader in the development of wire and cable products for a wide range of applications, has announced the introduction of the first Class 1shielded round cable products for use in DeviceNet industrial network applications.

Belden's new 7896A is a "thick" CL1 600v Type TC DeviceNet cable that allows end users to put more power on the network and realize more installation flexibility through more robust rating. The cable is designed for cable tray use and can occupy the same tray or conduit as other 600-volt power cables.

In DeviceNet applications, all cable must be rated for Class 1 applications if the power supply and connected equipment are Class 1 rated. On the network that can support up to 64 nodes with an end-to-end varied distance based on the network speed, Belden 7896A Class 1 cable allows for a trunk distance of up to 420m (1, 378 feet) at 125 Kbps. At the highest speed, 500 Kbps, the maximum network distance is 75m (246 feet).

Belden 7896A cable is twisted and shielded for noise immunity and features cost-effective heavy-duty industrial PVC jacketed construction. It may be used for both trunk and drop applications in DeviceNet networks.

"In combination with other products currently offered by Belden, these new cables let the user run DeviceNet applications in virtually every location," said Marty Van Der Burgt, senior product engineering project manager at Belden.

Also new from Belden is 7897A, a Class 1 High Velocity version that allows for a trunk distance of up to 500 m (1,640ft.), and several new 300-volt Class 2-rated cables for DeviceNet applications. Other standard constructions include thick, thin (shielded and unshielded), mid, and flat constructions that may be used for either trunks or drops, depending on system speed and overall end-to-end distance.

Category 7 finds a home at sea

France-based cabling manufacturer Nexans is installing a Category 7 structured cabling system on The World of ResidenSea luxury cruise ship-intended to be a floating home on the high seas.

Passengers own their own multi-million dollar (U.S.) suites and live on-board year-round as the ship cruises around the globe.

With the Nexans Category 7 installation, residents in each luxury suite will be able to conduct business-as-usual, with access to communications services such as fax, e-mail, the Internet, and remote LAN.

The installation includes a mix of structured cabling-Category 6 connectivity, Category 7 for the resident suites, and Category 5e for the crew. The 65 kilometers of copper cabling connects to an optical-fiber network. All cables, Nexans says, are LSZH (low-smoke, zero-halogen) flame-retardant to meet safety requirements.

The ship is being built in Trondheim, Norway and is due for its maiden voyage in January. Its first port-of-call will be London's Tilbury Docks.

General Cable Wants Out, Southwire Wants In

Southwire is set to become the nation's largest producer of building wire, as soon as its deal to acquire General Cable's building wire assets closes later this year. Essentially, Southwire went for the conventional business wire market, while General Cable opted for the voice-data-video market. Included in the transaction: General Cable will acquire Cyber Technologies, Southwire's data communications cable business. Southwire acquires manufacturing facilities in Kingman, Ariz., and Watkinsville, Ga., as well as manufacturing assets now located at a General Cable building wire plant in Plano, Tex. General Cable says it will get roughly $112 million in cash from the deal, "which approximate the book value of the assets to be sold."

Southwire angle: The company "believes in the future of its core wire and cable markets, and continue to invest whatever is necessary to lead these markets," said President Stuart Thorn of the family-owned business. "We are excited that this acquisition will help us grow yet closer to our customers. General Cable angle: The company also said it has stopped making consumer cordsets, closing down a facility in Montoursville, Pa. Four regional distribution centers will be closed as well; the company will also reduce "redundant inventory" and "reduce its selling, general and administrative costs." The goal of all of this, General Cable said, was to create "an even more efficient business model." See full coverage on this story and other manufacturer news at



A Number of Actions Taken to Improve Near-Term Operating Margins

Anixter International Inc. (Skokie, IL), the world's leading distributor of communication products, today said it expects sales, in the third and fourth quarters of fiscal 2001, to be 10 to 15 percent lower than reported in the second quarter ended June 29, 2001. The drop in revenues is attributable to a combination of increased economic softness and continued deterioration of the near-term fundamentals in the telecom and technology marketplaces.

As a result, the company expects to report lower earnings along with a one-time charge associated with reducing its workforce and closing or consolidating some facilities. The one-time charges are intended to reduce Anixter's cost structure so it can return operating margins to the 5 percent corporate goal or higher in the shortest possible time frame.

Net income for the third quarter now is expected to range between $7 to $7.5 million, or 18 to 20 cents per diluted share, before the one-time charges mentioned above. The after-tax cost associated with the workforce and facility actions is expected to be between $16.5 to $18 million, or 43 to 47 cents per diluted share.

Deteriorating Market Conditions

Commenting on the market conditions underlying the lower expectations, President and Chief Executive Officer Robert W. Grubbs said, "While we have seen some firming of orders in the past few weeks, the facts are that the economic news of the past few quarters has caught up with us. During this period, as the economy has been exposed to a stream of negative economic news, we have seen customers steadily and consistently react by cutting costs and capital spending. Early in this cycle, the major impact on us was with larger capital spending projects. Increasingly, however, this has affected our day-to-day, expense-type business, as more customers seem to have focused on the short term.

"While this behavior has had a negative impact on us, there are long-term positive aspects to it," Grubbs continued. "Specifically, there should be a growing backlog of deferred work that will be released into the market as the economy regains strength down the road. Equally important is the fact that the drop in revenues, while it has affected most of our customer markets, has been disproportionately centered in our service provider business. This has made it easier to identify expense reductions that will improve near-term performance, while minimizing the affects on other parts of our business.

"This later point is particularly important," said Grubbs, "since portions of our business remain in comparatively good shape despite the overall economic issues. We continued to see steady progress in the growth and profitability of our Latin American business. We continued to expand our integrated supply business -- despite the telecom sector economic issues confronting many of those customers. We also have seen our specialty wire and cable business hold up pretty well in the face of a drop off in OEM sales to technology-related customers."

Staff Reductions

"People and facility costs represent just over 70 percent of our operating expense structure," Grubbs explained. "While we steadily reduced our workforce in the first half of the year, the reductions were inadequate relative to the drop in revenues we now are expecting in the third quarter. As a result, we decided to take a more significant step to bring our staffing in line with current business conditions. This action -- which we expect to be the final staffing reduction -- will bring the total decrease in headcount to approximately 14 percent. As a result of the reductions initiated since July 1, we will record a third quarter pre-tax charge of approximately $7 to $8 million for severance and related termination costs. The headcount reductions made in the third quarter will lower our annual operating expenses by approximately $35 million."

Facilities Restructuring

"We also reevaluated our facilities infrastructure and made decisions to close or consolidate approximately 1 million square feet of space. The reduction in space primarily represents a decrease in space committed to our service provider sales programs, which have been downsized to reflect current market conditions. This action will generate a pretax charge to earnings of $13 to $14 million. Going forward, we expect this to lower our annual operating expenses by approximately $6 million," Grubbs said.

Exiting the Korean Market

"Another major action we took in light of current market conditions was to review our portfolio of international locations. As a result, we decided to leave the Korean market. We have successfully completed a number of significant customer projects in the three years Anixter has been in Korea. Unfortunately, we have been unable to generate a sufficient volume of higher gross margin day-to-day business to give us the necessary gross margin and cash flow required for a sustainable operation. While closing this business will result in a pretax charge of approximately $5.5 to $6 million, it will eliminate an operation that was on track to generate operating losses of approximately $1 million in the current year," said Grubbs.

Outlook for the Fourth Quarter

"We believe these actions will adjust our business model to the realities of current market conditions. It's important to note that we have seen some firming of order trends in the past few weeks. While it is too early to say with certainty that this is a sustainable trend, we are approaching the fourth quarter on the basis that the only further drop in sales should be due to the normal holiday-related softness. Despite this seasonality, we expect our staffing and facility actions will generate improved operating margins in the fourth quarter. Looking to 2002, we anticipate that some additional firming in volumes will help us restore operating margins to 5 percent or more during the year," commented Grubbs.

Strong Cash Flow Continues

"Despite the shortfall in earnings this quarter, we expect to show further significant reductions in borrowings. While we will generate less cash than expected from operations, we will again have reductions in working capital in line with our lower revenue base. As a result, we expect to end the quarter with leverage ratios that are equal to or better than those at the close of the second quarter. We continue to be in a very strong financial position. This gives us substantial flexibility to deal with further economic uncertainty as well as to capitalize on future growth opportunities," Grubbs concluded.

RCDD to manage and supervise technical aspects of all projects U.K. companies subscribing to the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Qualified Cabling Installation Company Scheme (TIA-Q) must now employ a qualified BICSI RCDD to manage and supervise the technical aspects of all projects.

Cable U is offering a free online self-study course on fiber optic testing using optical time domain reflectometers (OTDRs). The course can be found at

The course is one of a series of free virtual courses developed by Cable U, based in Medford, Mass. The courses are designed to show fiber installation and testing procedures in a step-by-step fashion using Web-based training.

The fiber optic testing course covers how to test fiber optic cables using OTDRs. OTDR testing methods are more complicated than testing with sources and meters and few installers are familiar with the instruments. The course will show students how to set up and use the instrument and interpret fiber traces captured by the OTDR.

The Cable U Web site offers free online training in fiber optics and communications wiring as well as technical information on cabling technology, standards, installation and testing.

TestMart announced that the e-commerce marketplace at is now live and electronically processing General Purpose Electronic Test Equipment (GPETE) orders for the Department of Defense Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP). Authorized buyers are now able to purchase from a catalog of products from more than 30 test and Measurement suppliers. All products in the catalog have been negotiated Under contract by NAVICP and comply with the Competition in Contracting Act.

Authorized purchasers include personnel in the armed services, employees of government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, and government contractors performing to authorized contracts. Authorized users have a choice of payment methods including government purchase cards, government or commercial checks, commercial credit cards, and online electronic versions of the more traditional MILSTRIP (Military Standard Requisition and Issue Procedures) forms.


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