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HOTS 02/2002

Issue: February 2002

By: Frank Bisbee


Headline News
 

Featured Story

 


The market is improving. Even the pessimists admit that "at least it's not falling anymore". A few sources report sales flat but potentially much stronger in the second quarter of 2002. The rest of the economy seems to echo the same message.

Sales are improving. Distributors are rebuilding radically reduced inventories. Many projects that were put on hold between the beginning of March and the end of September, 2001, are being reactivated. One distributor told us that they were hearing the same question more frequently each day: "Is the price still good?". However, investment capital continues to be difficult to attract. We feel that part of the capital situation stems from the corporate integrity environment. If this was Baskin-Robbins, we might call it "flavor of the month: Enron Fudge".

There have been numerous victims of these difficult financial times. Some companies did not make it. Some companies may take a long time to rebuild their skilled employee teams and restore the financial health that they were accustomed to just two years ago. The raw materials sources have also felt a big pinch. The vinyl industry has watched the prices for PVC and some other compounded plastics fall to possibly the lowest levels ever recorded. Now, those industries are grasping at anything that might help them recapture the "glory days" when they owned almost all of the marketplace and they received top dollar for the products.

PVC appears to be a products which is under close scrutiny and attack from many sides. One industry analyst said their problems just got worse as the European vinyl producers seemed to be "dumping" and forcing prices even lower. **We understand that representatives of the vinyl industry have appealed to the U.S. Government for assistance and protection. You can bet the airlines industry has already made designs on those billions. And if there is any left over, New York City has a spot in line.… remember there were miles of communications cables in the World Trade Center buildings and when you burn PVC, you get problems.

One of the byproducts of the manufacture and also the incineration of PVC is dioxin, which:

  • Has been identified as the contaminant present in Agent Orange responsible for the health-related problems of Vietnam-era servicemen exposed to the herbicide

  • Is considered to be one of the most toxic chemicals known and is in fact on a list of persistent organic pollutants named in a recent U.N. treaty signed by 122 countries banning toxic chemicals worldwide

  • Accumulates in the fatty tissues of animals and the concentration of dioxin increases as you move up the food chain

  • Is a known carcinogen in humans; it compromises the immune system and causes disease across several organ systems

  • PVC burned in building and industrial fires is responsible for perhaps the largest release of dioxin to the environment. In the cabling industry, the heavy metals lead and cadmium are used to achieve and maintain PVC pliability. Both of these heavy metals contribute their own host of complications to the well being of human health, and can contribute to an unhealthy environment in a building.

www.getfortune.com



Like two freight trains on the same track, from different directions, we predict a head on collision between the powers that drive a $300+Billion dollar plastics industry, particularly vinyl compounds, and the national mood, which is demanding that we put security and safety first. September 11th, 2001, has changed our world forever.

Many experts predict that the vinyl industry will not be successful in reducing fire safety standards, and approving products, which do not pass the current safety testing methods. Finding new tests, which will pass flammable materials that are not acceptable today, is no substitute for real safety. Building Owners are the center of the target when it comes to responsibility for the lives of the occupants in their structures. The Building Owner is responsible for the materials that they allow in the building, and the resultant damages that those materials may generate. Watch how quickly the leases are rewritten to address these threats to LIFE, LIMB, and LIABILITY.

In the last year or so, we discovered that most of the PVC compounded jacketing materials in cabling, contains LEAD, CADMIUM, and other Heavy Metals. These Hazardous Materials pose a huge problem to the removal and recycling challenge, which we face under the new NEC 2002 rules. Abandoned Cable must be removed. Who is going to pay to get it out of the building? And, who is going to pay to dispose of the waste? Right now those questions are very high on the list of concerns for Building Owners across the country. Hospitals, Universities, Banks, Insurance Companies, Schools, Dormitories, and a long list of other hypersensitive locations, will need to address these questions in 2002.

Can you get cables that are free from the heavy metals and meet or exceed the current Fire Safety standards? YES! Most of the major cable companies have that available now.

Meanwhile, the vinyl industry representatives and their consultants/lobbyists are pressuring the Codes and Standards bodies to eliminate the optional category of Limited Combustible cabling products. They seem focused on permitting more flammable materials, instead of additional safety. We understand their financial motives and we sympathize with their plight. SAFETY still comes FIRST!

**SPI asks government to help lower value of dollar WASHINGTON (Feb. 1, 10:40 a.m. EST) -- Rather than simply touting the benefits of free trade, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. has a new policy that asks for government intervention to lower the value of the dollar. SPI said it is maintaining its traditional free-trade approach, but the sharp rise in the dollar's value against other currencies since 1997 makes U.S. exports more expensive and hurts the industry's ability to compete. www.plasticsnews.com



The cabling industry is well represented by several strong players in the media. Cabling Systems Magazine was well represented by their staff at the BICSI Winter Conference In Orlando, including Ms. Janine Strom, Editor, jstrom@corporate.southam.ca and Mr. Vaios Petsis, Publisher, vpetsis@corporate.southam.ca. This growing publication consistently delivers on the important news in our industry.

From their website, we captured the Cabling Systems "BICSI Winter Conference 2002 Report" 3 very well written articles by Janine Strom. www.cablingsystems.com

Check this magazine and this website out. Its full of Good Reading.

BICSI CONFERENCE: GOOD THING IN SMALLER PACKAGE

By Janine Strom

www.cablingsystems.com


ORLANDO, FL -- Despite hotel operators who routinely tell you to "have a magical day" each time you use a telephone, it is still possible to have a good time at a conference in Walt Disney World.

Or so thought a good number of the 3,000 cabling and telecom professionals who gathered from January 21 to 24 to Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, FL for the 30th annual BICSI Winter Conference.

While the telecom organization's numbers were down from its record showing of 3,800 at last year's event, the numbers were much in line with its showing in 2000. The number of Canadian visitors dropped this year as well -- down to 94 from the 200 Canadian attendees in 2001.

"One reason for this is the state of the economy," noted Porter, Region 5 Director for BICSI, who noted that the numbers were still a very good showing for BICSI. "The other reason might have to do with the fact that we are holding an extra North American conference (Quebec) in 2002 and many people might be opting to attend that one."

But those who did attend the Orlando were met with a conference that seemed to be "all about business" this year. While there was still a good deal of "schmoozing" in the bar after hours, many companies were definitely feeling the pinch (make that squeeze) of a bad economic situation. This seemed to result in more "working" lunches and booth meetings in favour of the usual slew of parties and concerts -- definitely a sign of the times.

PAYSEUR OUTLINES GOALS

Of course, as things change in the outside world, so do they within BICSI. At this conference, attendees were introduced to BICSI's new president (John Payseur), president-elect (Russ Oliver) and executive director (Al Feaster).

"Thank you for the ride -- it was truly a great one," noted outgoing president Richard Powell at BICSI's annual business meeting.

John Payseur, who is Powell's successor for the 2002-2003 term, was also on hand to tell attendees about his " high goals" for the organization over the next few years. He spoke at length about what he called the organization's main areas of focus: education, publications, registration and conferences.

Concerning education, Payseur said the BICSI curriculum must become easier for members to obtain. "Our international membership has taught us that educational programs aren't easy for everyone to take," he said, adding that he plans to adjust the pricing scheme of BICSI education outside of the United States.

Other plans for education include establishing a satellite training centre and growing BICSI's college curriculum into ten states by the end of 2003.

In terms of registration, Payseur has several objectives: to increase the value of installation registrations within the industry; add a wireless specialty to the RCDD program; and convert all BICSI exams into an online format.

Payseur's aim when it comes to the translation side of things is to continue translating all of the BICSI manuals into the dominant languages of regional members: Spanish, French, German, Italian and Japanese. "No longer will we expect people to rely on English," he noted.

His blueprint with regard to conferences included adding pre-conference and conference training, increasing the content and value of U.S. regional meetings, and moving the Caribbean conference to Miami from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In addition to the Powell-Payseur change, Al Feaster stepped in to take the reigns as BICSI Executive Director from Jay Warmke, who is leaving the position he has held since 1992 to relocate to Europe.

"The international environment is the future of BICSI and the future of our industry, and Europe represents the greatest potential I think of any single region within the BICSI environment," noted Warmke at a press briefing during the show. "It also represents the greatest challenge to BICSI in that regard as well."

His plans will include working to build up BICSI within Europe, supporting activities in the UK, and helping to take "the global entity of BICSI and bring it in and tailor it to local marketplaces."

NEW PRODUCTS DISPLAYED

In addition to BICSI "business", the Winter Conference included a comprehensive conference program with topics that ran the gamut from firestopping to fiber optics to non-competing telecom organizations.

And 202 exhibitors -- roughly the same number as last year -- from all areas of the telecom and cabling arena were also on hand to showcase their cabling products and services.

Trends swayed to fiber offerings, firestopping products and a more than usual number of residential products. For instance, Pass & Seymour/Legrand introduced a modular home network bracket, designed to manage a variety of low voltage applications in one central location. And Fluke Networks Inc. announced that it will expand the Microtools line of handheld diagnostic tools. Designed by Microtest for residential cable installers, Microtools will be repackaged under Fluke's line of "SuperVision Solution products.

Also on the residential front, BICSI's new Residential Network Cabling Manual was hot off the presses at the conference. And the organization's new residential training course -- RES150: Residential Network Cabling -- also kicked off during the show.

Outside of the show floor, BICSI Cares -- the charitable arm of the organization -- was raising funds for the Children's Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. BICSI Cares raised US29,000 for the centre, which supports children with cancer or chronic blood disorders and their families.

Those who missed this event can make plans to attend BICSI's spring conference will be held at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, NV from May 6 to 9, 2002.

BICSI will also be holding a Canadian conference in Quebec City from September 16 to 19. Full CEC credits will be given to attendees of the conference, and all presentations will be simultaneously translated in English and French.



VENDORS SHOW NEW WARES AT BICSI SHOW

By Janine Strom

www.cablingsystems.com

ORLANDO, FL -- A variety of new products and services were announced at the BICSI Winter Conference, held January 21 to 24 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida. Here is a brief look:

Brady Worldwide, Fluke Networks and Tempo - Pleasant Hill announced a partnership that will result in an automated documentation and labeling system that complies with the TIA/EIA-606A standard. Through this affiliation, Tempo's docIT cable management software will interface with Brady's LabelMark label design software and Fluke's DSP-4300 Digital Cable Analyzer and CableManager software.

Ideal Industries launched its LANTEK 7 cable tester, which is? compliant with the emerging Category 7/ISO F standards and is capable of certifying up to 750 MHz. Ideal also announced its LANTEK 6, a Category 6/ISO E cable tester with a frequency range up to 350 MHz.

OFS, which was sold by Lucent to Furukawa Electric Co. and CommScope Inc. last November, showcased its newest optical connectivity and premises cable products at the conference. The reorganized business is comprised of: OFS BrightWave -- the fiber cable side of the business, and OFS Fitel, which comprises the optical fiber manufacturing operations, specialty fiber and components operation, fiber optic apparatus and the R&D labs.

Corning Cable Systems announced its new Fiber Zone Box, a multi-user telecom distribution facility for fiber-to-the-desktop or zone cabling applications. The Box, which can be mounted in a drop ceiling, under a raised floor or on a wall, is designed to reduce real estate requirements for wiring closets.

Federal Mogul presented Roundit-SE to show attendees, a product which was introduced last August, but which made its show debut at BICSI. Designed to "clean up" the appearance of cabling in racks, Roundit-SE is a product used for the bundling, abrasion and routing of fiber optic cables.

Pass & Seymour / Legrand announced its offering of FiberSmart field configured Black Fiber Optic Rack Series enclosures. The enclosure has a configurable panel architecture that allows for the use of modular RS6 Series adapter strips and offers patch capacity of 144 fibers. The company also introduced its FiberSmart pre-terminated shelves.

Fluke Networks announced the availability of its new OMNIScanner2 cable test and certification tool for long reach Ethernet (LRE) Technology. The tool can establish communications over 5000 feet and offers extended dynamic range for attenuation.

HellermannTyton introduced a shuttered jack system -- part of its GigaBand Category 6 and MegaBand Category 5e cabling lines. Consisting of modular jacks and single gang, horizontal and vertical faceplates, the system prevents dirt and dust from settling in the jack when not in use.

The Siemon Company released its new IMAX industrial plug and outlet with Category 5e Ethernet performance. The new cabling components are designed for industrial applications where harsh environmental conditions exist.

Super TeleCom Inc., through its Super Essex Communications Group, introduced the QuickCount marking system for its TeraGain and TeraGain XT fiber optic cable product lines. With this feature, the cable jacket is printed with the exact number of feet remaining on a reel.

Middle Atlantic Products/Datatel debuted a line of cable ladders at the show. The fully welded cable ladders are available in 6' and 10' segments that are 12 inches wide and feature triangle wall support brackets.



INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS HONORED AT BICSI SHOW

By Janine Strom

www.cablingsystems.com

At a lavish closing banquet and awards ceremony, held on January 23 during BICSI's Winter Conference in Orlando, Florida, BICSI honored its own by handing out awards to three industry professionals.

Ron Provost, RCDD, who has done an abundance of work on BICSI's Governmental Relations committee, accepted the Harry J. Pfister Award for his outstanding contribution to the telecom industry.

Andrew L. Stevens of UK-based CableNet Training Services received the David Blythe/University of Kentucky Distinguished Service Award.

And Canada's own Peter Olders, RCDD/LAN/OSP of Terra Communications in Scarborough, ON received the Larry Romig Committee Member of the Year award.

But perhaps the most captivating moments of the award ceremony were those honoring the work and accomplishments of outgoing Executive Director, Jay Warmke, who is relocating to Europe to represent the organization abroad. A slide show featuring Warmke was presented, and an award given for his work within BICSI.



The BICSI Winter Conference, which was held last month in Orlando, Florida was successful. The number of vendor companies that attended was almost the same as 2001, however, the size of the vendor teams was reduced considerably as these companies downsized their participation.

  • 2002 Registrations: 2967
  • 2001 Registrations: 3770
  • 2002 Exhibits: 201
  • 2001 Exhibits: 203

The BICSI Spring Conference will be in held May 6 - 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada www.BICSI.org



Cleaning up after ourselves - Editorial

From the January, 2002 issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine (A Pennwell Publication) By: Patrick McLaughlin, Chief Editor www.cable-install.com

We need to be proactive in removing old or unused cable from the plenum. Hanging on my kitchen wall is an excerpt from the book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. As its name suggests, the book says that no matter how complicated our lives appear at times, the answers lie in a handful of timeless tenets that most of us learned before we were six years old.

Author Robert Fulghum started the book as some going-away-to-college advice for his son. Once he got rolling, he couldn't stop. Examples of the wisdom in the book include, "Don't take things that aren't yours," and "Put things back where you found them."

I wouldn't bring it up if I couldn't apply it to this industry, so here goes. One of the kindergarten rules that the cabling industry could remember a little better is, "Clean up your own mess." I am referring here to the growing problem of abandoned-in-place cable that affects a great number of end-user organizations. The problem has been mentioned in this publication several times.

In the spirit of Mr. Fulghum's simplicity, the problem has arisen this way: Lots of users put lots of cable into their plenum spaces; then when those cables became obsolete, it was more convenient to leave them up there than it was to take them down and get rid of them. Need some new cable? It will fit up there; you don't have to take the old stuff down. One short decade of this attitude brought a problem to our doorstep, and a couple more years of the same attitude have put some end users in an unenviable position.

One factor that may have exacerbated the problem is that users have been sold for some time on the idea that CMP-rated cable is fire-safe. But now, even providers of CMP-rated cable are going on record commenting about the increase in a building's fire load resulting from the cables in plenum spaces.

So, we have not cleaned up after ourselves, as Robert Fulghum urges us to. But we can do something about it. Contractors can offer to remove unused cable as part of their value-add services. Likewise, end-user organizations can mandate such removal as part of their next installation project. In this economic environment, I would be surprised if that stipulation chases away any bidding contractors.

While I don't remember learning about pathways and spaces, eight-pin modular plug termination, or proper cable-labeling techniques in kindergarten, I think we could all benefit from revisiting some of what we did learn way back then. And if we end up cleaning up somebody else's mess in addition to our own, how are we any worse off for that?

Patrick McLaughlin says: "We need to be proactive in removing old or unused cable from the plenum." WE AGREE!



Finding an independent resource to guide your organization through the confusing and rapidly changing telecommunications environment is a real challenge. Many large firms and building owners have turned to an elite group of consultants that have the knowledge and experience to deal with this new flood of communications codes and standards, policies, and procedures, and liabilities. We found one such firm, which we felt, was on the "cutting edge".

Fortune Consulting, West Long Branch, New Jersey, www.getfortune.com

provides communications technology and business management solutions for companies in a wide-array of industries. They match business and industry needs with the appropriate suppliers of quality voice and data communication products and services at the best available prices. As an independent consulting organization, FCI is not tied to any specific carrier or product.

Fortune Consulting has been in business since 1994 and are located in West Long Branch, NJ. Most of Fortune's technical staff are Society of Telecommunications Consultants (STC) members.

Fortune Consulting provides advice and counsel that creates confidence in their clients voice and data communication investments and management decisions. Currently, five Fortune staff professionals are members in good standing of the internationally recognized Society of Telecommunications Consultants (STC). As STC members, Fortune staff consultants subscribe to a rigorous Code of Ethics for consulting and related services. The STC member screening process is very rigorous. With over 37,000 telecommunications consultants available in the U.S., only about 200 have passed the STC screening process. And five members of that group are Fortune consultants.

On the Fortune Consulting website, we found their quarterly newsletter, Convergence. The material in this newsletter confirmed our assessment of their sophisticated capabilities. The following article was posted in the inaugural issue of Convergence. This material indicates that this firm has the capabilities to guide the building owner and/or cabling specifier through the maze of conflicting technical arguments, which are being spread by a host of spin-doctors like so much fresh fertilizer.


Abandoned Cabling: A Hazard to Your Health and the Bottom Line What you don't see can hurt you...and the bottom line.

by Dino Kusulas, Telecom Consultant

Fortune Consulting

Abandoned cable can prove costly

One of the most overlooked components of an intra-building communications network is the infrastructure cabling, especially after it has been installed. Abandoned cable may on the surface seem innocuous, merely presenting an inconvenience to the cable installer for the next tenant, but - depending on where the unused cable is located - it can prove hazardous and costly down the road for both building owners and tenants. You can't take it with you.

The problem with abandoned cabling lies with the flammability of cable sheath and insulation

Cabling infrastructure is one IT asset that a company must invest in but can't take with it when it's time to pull up stakes and set up shop elsewhere. Unused cable is usually cut away from the equipment or outlet it served and unceremoniously stuffed into a ceiling space or wall for the next tenant to deal with. Typically, the next tenant is hurried and doesn't bother with the abandoned cabling except to maybe use some of the existing cable as drag lines for laying their own cabling. The problem with abandoned cabling lies with the flammability of cable sheath and insulation.

Low risk vs. High risk installation

There are generally two areas that voice and data cabling, also known as unshielded twisted pair (UTP) are installed.

Low risk- Plenum areas- A plenum, in construction terms, is an enclosed space in occupied buildings used as an air exchange (i.e. the areas above a dropped ceiling or below a raised floor. ) Because a plenum area is part of a building's ventilation system and has airflow that would feed a fire and can distribute noxious smoke to the building's occupants, the use of cabling with a low-smoke, fire retardant sheathing (plenum-rated cabling) is required by code.

High risk- Non-plenum areas - A dropped ceiling or raised floor that does not enclose an air exchange space is not a plenum area and the use of non-plenum rated cabling is technically allowed. The problem is that most non-plenum cabling is manufactured with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sheathing and insulation. PVC is a widely used plastic with diverse applications and, if a fire erupts, PVC can be toxic.

One of the byproducts of the manufacture and also the incineration of PVC is dioxin, which:

  • Has been identified as the contaminant present in Agent Orange responsible for the health-related problems of Vietnam-era servicemen exposed to the herbicide

  • Is considered to be one of the most toxic chemicals known and is in fact on a list of persistent organic pollutants named in a recent U.N. treaty signed by 122 countries banning toxic chemicals worldwide

  • Accumulates in the fatty tissues of animals and the concentration of dioxin increases as you move up the food chain

  • Is a known carcinogen in humans; it compromises the immune system and causes disease across several organ systems

PVC burned in building and industrial fires is responsible for perhaps the largest release of dioxin to the environment. In the cabling industry, the heavy metals lead and cadmium are used to achieve and maintain PVC pliability. Both of these heavy metals contribute their own host of complications to the well being of human health, and can contribute to an unhealthy environment in a building.

Removal of hazardous PVC may be mandatory in the near future

Some speculate that the PVC cabling, abandoned or not, present in the walls and ceilings of our office buildings may one day have to be removed as part of a PVC abatement program. The costs for removal and disposal of this "hazardous material" will be significant and will most likely be borne by building owners. Savvy building owners will start to include lease clauses that require departing tenants pay for the removal of their abandoned cable. PVC has in general fallen out of favor for use in the construction industry. Internationally, several countries, including Germany, Belgium and Sweden, have mandated the limited use of PVC in construction materials. The costs for removal and disposal of this "hazardous material" will be significant.

PVC is extremely flammable. While PVC in and of itself cannot cause a fire, its fuel-load approaches that of gasoline. Building spaces laden with abandoned PVC cabling can become infernos if fire takes hold, releasing massive amounts of dioxin and poisonous gases. The presence of PVC provides an immediate danger to life and limb in the event of a fire, and could also have far-reaching effects over time on victims exposed to the contaminants.

Another byproduct of PVC incineration is hydrogen chloride. This compound contributes to acid rain in the environment. In the case of even a small fire, the release of hydrogen chloride into a building could eventually affect the performance of electronic equipment.

Conclusion:

What are the alternatives to PVC? In a word: Teflon. The best plenum-rated cable is sheathed and insulated with Teflon. DuPont Teflon® FEP:

  • Is Flame Resistant

  • Is low to zero smoke produc

  • An excellent insulator

  • Has a very low fuel load

  • Is dioxin-free

Teflon is more expensive than PVC and there are cheaper plenum-rated products out there that constructed of fire resistant PVC or PVC/Teflon hybrid sheathing. But the safety benefits of Teflon far outweigh its costs. Leaving abandoned PVC in place just doesn't make sense. PVC can fuel a building fire thus increasing danger to people and property. PVC will likely be the next asbestos; a health threat; something to be avoided; a substance to be blamed for long term contamination of our living and working spaces and environment; perhaps something on which to base a lawsuit.

Dino Kusulas, Telecom Consultant

Mr. Kusulas joined Fortune after working at The New York Daily News as Voice Operations Manager, supervising four technicians in managing the PBX system and cabling infrastructure. Dino is Fortune's cabling specialist, and he provides design and implementation services in this critical area. Previously, Dino was in the United States Army as a mobile communications system crew chief.

www.getfortune.com



BERK-TEK INTRODUCES LANmark-100 COPPER CABLE

Berk-Tek, (New Holland, PA) a Nexans company, introduces LANmark-100, enhanced Category 5e Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables. Designed for horizontal applications in a structured cabling network, LANmark-100 is a cost effective solution that supports today's network applications.

"As a part of an ongoing effort to offer the most complete line of (Local Area Network) LAN products to our customers, we are announcing the addition or LANmark-100 to our LANmark family," said Dan Kennefick, copper products business manager at Berk-Tek.

LANmark-100 has been verified to the TIA/EIA-568-B.2 Category 5e standard by ITS ETL SEMKO, an independent product and commodities testing organization. The new product line is available for immediate shipment in plenum (CMP), riser (CMR) and limited combustible (CMP-50) versions.

LANmark-100 joins Berk-Tek's renowned LANmark_ product family of high performance UTP copper cabling solutions. LANmark-2000 enhanced CAT 6, is a multimedia cable that comfortably supports Gigabit Ethernet and the convergence of voice video and data. With the superior headroom and usable bandwidth beyond 200 MHz, LANmark-1000 CAT 6 copper cabling solutions are engineered for users who demand the ultimate performance in their horizontal structure cabling systems. LANmark-350 is Berk-Tek's premium CAT 5e solution, engineered for users who demand enhanced channel performance for their network. LANmark-350 sets new standards for 100BASE-T Ethernet network performance, far exceeding the specifications for CAT 5e.

Kennefick said that LANmark-100 is part of Berk-Tek's Open Architecture Systems Interconnection Solutions (OASIS) Program, which offers the highest performing structured cabling solutions in partnership with approved connectivity partners and independent testing laboratories. Through a global network of certified OASIS integrators, the OASIS Program offers what is considered, the industry's finest open architecture warranty: a 25-year extended product application assurance and installation labor guarantee. The OASIS warranty ensures that the structured cabling systems installed today will support the applications of tomorrow.

www.berktek.com



DRAKA COMTEQ EXPANDS

Draka Comteq Brand Name Expanded to Include Draka Holding's Global Datacom Companies

Helix/HiTemp Cables and Chromatic Technologies (USA), Draka Norsk Kabel (Norway), Draka Fileca and Draka Foptica (France), Draka Multimedia Cable (Germany), Draka Cardinal Cable (UK) and Draka Data Cable Technologies (Singapore) have adopted the Draka Comteq marketing label for Draka Holding's offering of communications cables.

These companies, all part of Draka Holding, add cabling for data, voice, video and premise wiring for office and home applications for data communication in local area, wide area and campus networks.

Draka Comteq, introduced in 2000 as the marketing label for Draka Holding's copper and optical fiber telecommunications cables, with the addition of these data communications companies, now includes the world's broadest offering of communications cable capability and availability. This is in response to the developing global demands to service the digitalization and convergence of multiple communications technologies. The individual companies remain responsible for their own local activities and sales. "But as our customers act more and more on a global level, and demand high standards in terms of production capacity and know-how, Draka Comteq is positioned as the strategic partner for these customers. To service these customers we need to remain ahead of those market developments, and the cooperation of the worldwide Draka Comteq companies allows us to do so", agree Mr. Joe Dixon Group Vice President and Mr. Bill Dungan Group Vice President of Draka USA.

About Draka Comteq

The core activities of Draka Comteq are the development, production and sale of data and telecommunication cables and systems as well as optical fibers. Within this field Draka Comteq offers the widest range of products and services: from development and production of optical fiber, optical fiber cable, copper cable, Antenna Line Products (RF-cable) and modules for CCTV and CATV to the installation and maintenance of these cabling systems. The combined product portfolio and global presence enables Draka Comteq to actively respond to customers' needs and demands, both locally and globally.

www.drakacomteq.com

About Draka Holding

Draka Holding N.V., based in Amsterdam, is the holding company of a number of companies that are engaged in the worldwide development, production and sale of cable and cable systems. Draka Holding focuses on communication cable and systems and low voltage and special purpose cable. Draka Holding has over 60 operating companies in 25 countries in Europe, America and Asia and employs worldwide some 8100 employees. Each operating company enjoys a large measure of independence and is accountable for its own profit. In 2000 sales totalled € 1.7 billion. www.drakaholding.com



Looking for innovative universal solutions for your fiber management needs? Fiber Management Solutions, Inc. www.fibermanagement.com

offers the latest in design, development and manufacturing of passive fiber optic components and hardware. Fiber Management Systems offers a complete line products to serve your fiber connectivity needs.

Check them out…



Anixter Studies Reveal Critical Flaws in Cat 5e Cabling Systems

Anixter, the world's leading distributor of data communications products, today released the results from a series of performance tests conducted by its UL-certified Levels Lab® on six computer networks across the country. These performance tests examined how 100BASE-T, or Fast Ethernet traffic, is affected by different cabling options. In all six cases, network performance showed significant improvement following the installation of the new Levels XP-rated cabling systems. ''I was shocked at the amount of data we were losing, almost nine percent, and we made the Category 5 and 5e installation according to standard guidelines,'' said Ken Parkin, Manager of Telecommunications at the New York City Library. ''Once the Levels XP 7 system was installed we had virtually no errors. Almost every bit of data was received without error and the bandwidth was restored. The XP 7 system is much better equipped to handle Fast Ethernet traffic.''

Anixter's Levels Lab first tested for electrical and active data performance relative to the Category 5e standard and then conducted the same tests on the Anixter Levels XP(TM) purchasing specification. The test data results show that Category 5e standard systems functioned at an average retransmission rate of 20.97 percent. That number dropped to 0.20 percent after the installation of the Levels XP systems. This improved electrical performance provides companies with better throughput, or fewer retransmissions, due to frame or byte errors. ''Better throughput performance ensures that network users are more productive since they aren't losing time waiting for their computers to download, open files, save files, and perform other routine tasks,'' stated Pete Lockheart, Vice President of Technology for Anixter Inc. ''A few seconds extra delay can make a world of difference as today's marketplace demands real-time response. Successful business models don't cater to waiting time because customers will no longer tolerate it.''

Any slowtime ''(SM) that a network experiences can be directly related to productivity and, in turn, related to hard dollars lost. At an average profit loss of $3.77 per hour, test results show that Category 5 and 5e systems were costing companies an average of $7,541 per year per user in lost productivity. This cost was significantly reduced with the installation of the new Levels XP cabling systems. While the testing looked only at Fast Ethernet, the implications for Gigabit Ethernet are even more dramatic as efficient operation will require an even greater margin above baseline standards, such as Category 5e (or even the proposed Category 6).

The tests clearly demonstrated that Levels XP systems perform significantly better, both electrically and actively, than both the Category 5 and 5e systems. This means there is more data-carrying capacity in the cabling system and that it will transport the data traffic more efficiently and reliably -- a crucial factor in improving business productivity and extending the life of the cabling investment. Anixter offers five XP-rated cabling solutions from the world's leading network cabling manufacturers. These test results, along with complete details of each of the six case studies, can be found on Anixter's web site. www.anixter.com



For many of us industry insiders, the past six to eight months has been anything but fun. The technology news has been suppressed as many companies waited for a better time to introduce new products and services. That time has arrived. BICSI (January) gave us a hint of the new products. We forecast that the big blowout of new products and services and how they dovetail to existing systems will take place at the Voice Data Video (VDV) Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 9 - 14, 2002.

For all of you budget minded players, we compared the costs of lodging, food and transportation between Las Vegas and Atlanta or Dallas. Vegas was less expensive. This show is packed to the roof with value and excellent programs. If you are trying to catch up or get ahead, BE THERE…

VDV Expo, March 9-14, Offers Education, Information, Products

A new venue, new dates, and new opportunities mark the VDV Expo 2002, to be held March 9-14 (conferences) in Las Vegas, Nev.

Conferences and educational events to be held in conjunction with the VDV Expo begin March 9. The Expo itself, featuring products from the top suppliers to the voice-data-video marketplace, runs March 11-12-13. Changes in this, the third annual event, include:

  • Dates have changed. The first two events were held in March.

  • The event's location has been moved to The Las Vegas Hilton.

  • Schedules now avoid conflicts between Expo show hours and educational events.

More than 40 workshop session and seminars are scheduled, with sponsors including The Fiber Optic Association, the NECA-IBEW training program (the NJATC), the Home Automation and Networking Association (HANA), and NECA's Management Education Institute.

The NECA/IBEW VDV Conference will have some outstanding speakers in their general sessions and workshops. These industry experts include, but not limited to:

Donna Ballast, TIA

Bob Jensen, Fluke Networks

Jim Hayes, Fotec, Inc.

Marilyn Michelson, Business Communication Services

F. Douglas Elliot, Elliot Technical Services

Fred Paris, Paris Consulting & Assoc

Tony E. Beam, AMP NETCONNECT/Tyco

The VDV Expo remains the only special "datacom" event aimed at those in electrical construction. A quick look at the event's 16-page brochure will show you that it offers more educational opportunities than any event in the industry. Details can be found online at www.vdvexpo.org

Note that the event's sponsor is Electrical Contractor magazine, which will host on-the-show-floor receptions on March 11 and 12. Endorsers include TED magazine (which serves electrical distributors) and Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine. A 20-hour Cable U. educational event begins March 9; HANA's two-day "bootcamp" on home automation and networking is also included among the event's activities.

Other highlights include:

A variety of conference formats, including a NECA-IBEW-only event; an "open conference" that features seminars on fiber optics, structured cabling, home networking, and security; information on Cisco Academy training, LonWorks, and wireless installation; and management-oriented seminars (including sessions on VDV estimating).



Molex Premise Networks Launches "Real Time" Patching System

Molex Premise Networks, a leading Structured Cabling System manufacturer, today announced plans to launch its Molex "Real Time" Patching System. This intelligent connectivity management system provides IT managers the ability to manage and monitor the physical network layer and associated IT hardware.

The Molex "Real Time" System, which comprises of intelligent patch panels, patch cords, cable and physical layer management hardware and software provides IT managers with real time cabling infrastructure information, monitors moves adds and changes and facilitates automated network mapping and works orders. Configuration of the system is simple and integral self-learning port identification reduces set up time. Scalability of the system is unlimited and it can be managed locally, remotely or via web connection.

The Molex "Real Time" System is intended to support multimedia connectivity including copper, fiber, cross connect and coaxial connections. A key feature of this system is that it can be retrofitted to legacy cabling systems in addition to new installations, thus giving companies the ability to migrate to intelligent connectivity management throughout their organizations regardless of the age and tenure of their existing infrastructure. Additional management software expands the capability of the system with modules available to support Network Asset Management, diagnostics and mapping to MAC address level and the facility to use AutoCAD and Visio packages for planning and documentation. This software has been designed and developed by the iTRACS Corporation (USA). www.itracs.com

Lloyd Mariner, Chief Operating Officer of Molex Premise Networks stated "As the complexity of cabling infrastructure increases in organizations, intelligent Connectivity Management Systems such as the Molex Real Time System offer IT Managers significant savings in the form of reduced downtime, foolproof maintenance and the elimination of manual documentation which is both time consuming and prone to human error. We are very excited about this addition to our product portfolio. We will have product available to ship in November and already have customers who want to use the system as it offers them numerous advantages and cost savings when compared with their existing infrastructure. The Molex "Real Time" System will be an important offering to the market being addressed by Avaya's "iPatch" and RIT'S "PatchView" System."

About Molex Premise Networks

Molex Premise Networks is a subsidiary of Molex Incorporated - a 62-year-old, $2 billion, manufacturer of electronic, electrical and fiber optic interconnection products and systems. Based in Lisle, Illinois, USA, the Company operates 52 manufacturing facilities in 19 countries and employs approximately 19,000 people world-wide.

Molex Premise Networks manufactures a wide portfolio of products specific to the transmission of voice, data and, video imaging signals. In supplying innovative structured cabling solutions world-wide, Molex Premise Networks' reputation is one of technological excellence.

Molex Premise Networks manufactures a comprehensive product range including UTP, STP, FTP and Fiber Optics. All products and services comply with or exceed recognized industry standards, including ISO 11801, EN50173 and EIA/TIA 568A.

Appreciating the need for customer confidence in their chosen installation, Molex Premise Networks offers a Global 25-Year System Performance, Application Assurance and Product Warranty. In accordance with this, Molex Premise Networks continually develops its products to meet emerging technologies such as Category 6 and 7, remaining at the forefront whilst stretching the boundaries of cabling communications technology.www.molexpn.com

At the BICSI Winter Conference, we had an opportunity for a hands on demonstration of The Molex "Real Time" System. This system lived up to all of their claims. As a matter of fact, the system seems to offer financial benefits far greater than the savings numbers presented by their team. I just love it when a product does that. The principal savings area of this system when implemented, comes from reduction of waste in time, materials, and repair. A system that lets you know what you have and where it is, will offer the user the opportunity to capture major values in the areas of:

  • Imporved repair Service
  • Reduced costs and interval
  • Improved disaster recovery potential
  • Increased productivity (user)
  • Faster response time
  • Improved delivery of new technologies

The above listed values easily exceed the projected savings, which were identified by the Draka/Molex team. Most vendors tend to compare their management systems against existing costs without adding the efficiency of the system to the business operation of the user departments. All of these areas have real and significant value. Buying a system like RealTime is a no-brainer… Every day you put it off, adds unnecessary expenses. Remember, the old saying, (which is still true today), "NOTHING GOES TO THE BOTTOM LINE FASTER THAN REDUCED EXPENSES."



Tyco Electronics new CAT 6 UTP Copper


Tyco Electronics today announced a new unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) copper networking and communications cable that significantly exceeds the proposed requirements for Category 6, as well as the performance of competitive cables on the market. The new cable incorporates a central spline that serves to provide additional physical separation between the individual twisted copper wire pairs carried within the sheath. The performance parameters in high speed UTP cables are intricately related, and improving one parameter may adversely affect another. The use of the spline allows optimization of all Category 6 performance parameters without unwanted trade-offs. Parent company conglomerate Tyco International Ltd saw its stock price dive 20% Tuesday to a two-year low as questions swirled around accounting for its myriad acquisitions. www.tyco.com



Draka Comteq Introduces MaxCap, MMF for 10 Gb/s Applications

At BICSI's Winter Conference, Draka Comteq demonstrated MaxCap, a low-cost multimode fiber solution for high-bandwidth and high-speed LAN (Local Area Networks) and SAN (Storage Area Networks) backbone applications.

"Exploding demands for bandwidth, both in Datacom and Telecom, is boosting the development of 10 Gb/s systems," states William Dungan, Group Vice President, Draka USA. "To prepare for the convergence of voice, data and video applications, which are already pushing higher bandwidths to extreme rates, the MaxCap fiber will allow for tomorrow's upgrades in today's systems," he adds.

Traditional short-reach multimode fiber has been maintained in the IEEE 802.3ae 10 GbE proposed standard to utilize 850 nm VCSEL sources. "Ideal for this next generation is MaxCap, a 50 µm multimode fiber, optimized for 850 nm laser launch and produced by means of the PCVD (Plasma-activated Chemical Vapor Deposition) process, suitable for 10 Gb/s applications over 300 m," explains Rob Gilberti, Jr., RCDD, Director of Marketing for Specialty Fiber Cables. "MaxCap has an Effective Modal Bandwidth (EMB) of minimum 2000 MHz-km at 850 nm as specified in the proposed TIA/EIA-492AAAC detailed fiber specification," he adds.

"With the launch of MaxCap MMF, Draka Comteq once again underlines its reputation as a world leader in multimode fiber products, offering low-cost short reach solutions for 10 Gb/s at 850 nm, while at the same time supporting backwards compatibility to legacy systems," states Harry van der Meer, RCDD, Director of Technology. "The MaxCap 10 Gb/s MMF is the solution that bridges 1 Gb/s capable horizontal cabling systems based on ordinary Category 5e or 6 copper products with 10 - 40 Gb/s systems in the WAN (Wide Area Networks) and MAN (Metropolitan Area Networks) over singlemode optical fiber," he adds.

"Any Draka Comteq cable can be produced with MaxCap fiber in all jacket constructions -- tight buffer or loose tube -- and can be installed in inter-building applications via duct, direct buried or aerial; or inside the building in trays, riser shafts, wiring closets or plenums," states Ed Wiencek, Engineering Manager, Optical Fiber Products. "This new technology also eliminates the need for expensive mode-conditioning patch cords," he adds.



Ortronics and Berk-Tek Offer Guaranteed 3dB Performance Above the Category 6 Standards with the Introduction of NetClearGT3


NetClear™, a Berk-Tek/Ortronics alliance, introduces NetClearGT3 - the next generation of NetClear and the future of high-performance cabling technology. NetClearGT3 is a fully compliant Category 6 cabling solution that integrates LANmark™-2000 cable and cordage, the latest development from Berk-Tek, a Nexans company, with Ortronics Clarity6 optimized Category 6 components, to deliver maximum network performance and channel capacity with guaranteed installed channel performance 3dB above the Category 6 draft 10 standard.

NetClearGT3 offers: optimal mated connector and cable balance to minimize the impact of media change on the transmitted signal; higher signal to noise ratio for 3.0 Gb/s guaranteed channel capacity; and connector elements that are all tuned to the center of the TIA target de-embedded values.

LANmark-2000, enhanced Category 6 is the highest performing UTP cable available from Berk-Tek. This breakthrough product is advantageous for running numerous networking applications. LANmark-2000 is a multimedia, multipurpose-do everything cable for the new millennium that will comfortably support Gigabit Ethernet and beyond, in addition to supporting the convergence of voice, video and data.

The LANmark-2000 cabling solutions product line received independent verification from ITS ETL SEMKO as meeting the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Category 6 Draft 10 standard. To support ongoing efforts to provide the ultimate in enhanced UTP copper structured cabling solutions to match the needs of end-users, Berk-Tek consistently verifies its products to meet or exceed the latest industry requirements.

Clarity6, an evolutionary advancement in Category 6 connectivity from Ortronics, is the first completely standards compliant connectivity system in the market. Clarity's Category 6 component compliance has been independently 3rd party tested and verified by ETL. 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. Using Clarity Category 6 Connectivity in a connector interface provides targeted balance, minimizing the impact of media change on the transmitted signal. Additionally, the use of dual reactance Clarity technology provides a nearly transparent interface, allowing significantly improved signal to noise ratio. Clarity's Category 6 Component Compliance also insures optimum performance results with field test equipment.



Avaya Names Michael Thurk to Lead Converged Communication Systems Business Former President of Ericsson Datacom Inc. to Lead Avaya's Growth in Converged Voice and Data Systems

Avaya (Basking Ridge, NJ), a global leader in corporate communications networking solutions and services, today announced that Michael Thurk, 49, will join the Avaya senior leadership as group vice president, systems.

Thurk will oversee Avaya's systems for enterprise communications -- including network solutions for large data networks and Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications networks. He will be based at Avaya's Concord, Massachusetts location. ''Businesses are moving towards truly converged communications, and Avaya is determined to strengthen its leadership in converged voice and data communication for enterprises worldwide,'' said Don Peterson, President and CEO, Avaya. ''We are delighted to welcome Mike Thurk to lead Avaya's worldwide efforts in systems. Mike is a data industry veteran with deep and broad experience in all aspects of data and IP communication, along with a keen understanding of enterprise customers and their global needs. He is well equipped to lead Avaya's efforts to develop and offer converged communication solutions to meet businesses' needs, today and in the future.''

Peterson said Thurk will have responsibility for voice and data converged systems, and will work closely with the leaders of Avaya's other three business groups, focused on applications, services, and connectivity solutions. Thurk will join the company's Global Governance Team and will report to Peterson.

Thurk has almost 30 years of telecommunications experience, including management positions at Ericsson and several U.S. data communications companies. At Ericsson, he was Executive Vice President, Division Data Backbone and Optical Networks and President, Ericsson Datacom, Inc, where he built a new organization focusing on carrier, ISP and enterprise edge segments. Before his assignment with Ericsson, he was president of Boston-based Xyplex Networks, a network equipment developer. Thurk was senior vice president for two years with General DataComm, with responsibility for marketing and service. Prior to that, he worked for 14 years with Digital Equipment, in senior roles and a vice president responsible for enterprise network and telecommunications related businesses.

Thurk has a B.S. in computer science from Purdue University, an M.B.A. from Babson College, and completed the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD in France. www.avaya.com



Graybar Introduces VIP FiberSM Industry's first independent testing program for fiber optic cabling system

Graybar announces the expansion of its successful VIPSM program with the introduction of VIP FiberSM, the communication industry's first comprehensive testing program for multi-mode fiber optic cabling systems. Fiber optic cabling systems using 62.5/125 and 50/125 micron multi-mode fiber are used primarily in communications networks for commercial buildings and campuses. The VIP Fiber program tests and certifies these cabling systems to assure they exceed the stringent TIA/EIA and IEEE standards

ITS ETL SEMKO Testing Laboratories, the world's largest product and commodities testing organization, is the independent laboratory used for Graybar's VIP programs. Based on the success of its VIP 1000SM and VIP 2000Ò programs, Graybar selected ITS ETL SEMKO to perform the testing and to monitor the new VIP Fiber program.

Graybar introduced its VIP (Verified Independently for Performance) program several years ago with the VIP 1000 and VIP 2000 programs designed for copper channels. When businesses and their contractors install a cabling system approved for Graybar's VIP program, they are assured that the tested channels will exceed the TIA/EIA Category 5e and proposed Category 6 standards.

The Graybar VIP Fiber program extends that assurance to fiber optic cabling systems and provides new industry performance criteria, with specifications exceeding the TIA/EIA and IEEE standards. The stringent Graybar VIP Fiber program is the first fiber optic cabling system measurement in the industry.

"With VIP Fiber we provide our customers with the assurance they need to comfortably select and install fiber solutions from Graybar that are verified and tested," said Dennis DeSousa, Graybar senior vice president of sales and marketing. "This independent verification program sets the new industry benchmark for product performance exceeding the standards," he added.

VIP Fiber assures customers they are installing fiber optic cabling systems that will work properly in the 1Gigabit and 10Gigabit networking environments. "Maximizing the performance of a cabling system means supporting the networks of tomorrow, not just those in place today," said Rob Bezjak, vice president of market development for Graybar. "Fiber still has some mystery to it," Bezjak commented. "This program removes the guesswork. The VIP Fiber program addresses the basic questions: What is the application speed? What is the length of the channel? How many connections, and what type of connectors are used?"

"The VIP Fiber testing procedure is identical to our other VIP programs," Bezjak added. "The cable and connectors tested come directly out of Graybar's inventory. The same material the customer would buy is the same material tested. To ensure consistency, once a cabling system is approved for our VIP program, ITS ETL SEMKO randomly selects material from our inventory for testing each quarter."

Cable and connectors are tested in various combinations to ensure they meet the VIP Fiber performance requirements. The combinations that pass the testing become part of the program. The combinations remain in the program as long as they meet the quarterly testing audits.

www.graybar.com



Graybar Opens Regional Distribution Center in the Cincinnati Area 152,000 Square Foot Facility to Service Customers in Five-State Region

Continuing to develop its nationwide logistics network, Graybar, the nationwide distributor of electrical and communications/data products, has opened its thirteenth regional distribution center. Graybar will use the new Cincinnati area distribution center to provide next-day service to customers in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Located at 8814 Trade Port Drive in Hamilton, Ohio, the 152,000 square foot regional zone warehouse maintains a multimillion-dollar inventory of electrical, communications and data supplies and equipment. It serves as a replenishment and shipping facility for Graybar branches in the area. When the rollout of the logistics network is complete, Graybar will have 16 regional zone warehouses strategically placed nationwide enabling the company 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 existing Graybar 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 orders for next-day delivery and by stocking slow moving and hard-to-find items - those not required every day by its customers.

In addition to the Hamilton facility, Graybar operates regional zone warehouses in Lewisville, Texas; Austell, Georgia; Joliet, Illinois; Fresno, California; Cranbury, New Jersey; Stafford, Texas; Taunton, Massachusetts; Youngstown, Ohio; Puyallup, Washington; Rogers, Minnesota; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Springfield, Missouri. The next regional zone opening is scheduled for February in Tampa, Florida.

The goal of the company's logistics strategy is to improve service on items needed the same day by its customers and to provide next-day service through its network of regional zone warehouses.

Vice President-Logistics Ed Keith emphasizes that the objective of the regional zone concept is to enhance customer service. He states, "A key element of the regional zone concept is the demand-planning process that the company undergoes prior to each regional zone opening to ensure inventory is in the right place in the right quantities to serve our customers' needs. After opening, regular demand-reviews enable the company to adjust local and regional inventories to keep current with market demands."

The new Hamilton facility employs 42 people. Zone Manager Paul Burgess spearheaded the opening preparations. Burgess states, "Graybar has stringent training requirements for all employees, especially new hires, before they can receive and fill orders and operate the machinery required to run a warehouse of this size. Graybar is ISO registered nationwide, and all employees must be trained in our quality and warehouse management system process prior to opening."

Graybar uses a paperless Warehouse Management System (WMS) from Provia in its regional zone warehouses. "This system helps us increase inventory and shipping accuracy, increase order fill rates and provides us with greater flexibility to serve our internal and external customers," Burgess stated.

www.graybar.com



Wire2002 - will organizers deliver the visitors?

WCISA, a nonprofit corporate membership organization of North American suppliers of machinery, materials, and accessories to the wire and cable industry, announced that 25 of its 89 member companies will be exhibiting at the wire 2002 show in Düsseldorf.



PolyOne dumps GP, taking distribution in-house

PolyOne Corp. of Cleveland, OH, will end its PVC compound distribution arrangement with General Polymers at the end of March. PolyOne, which ranks as North America's largest PVC compounder, reported its year-end results Jan. 30. The firm lost $46 million for the year, as sales fell 15 percent to $2.7 billion. More than half of PolyOne's 2001 sales - about $1.4 billion - came from its global PVC, engineering resin and color compounds business. Sales of those products in North America were down 20 percent in 2001, while foreign sales slipped 7 percent. The firm is in the midst of a restructuring that will close 18 plants - including 14 compounding sites - and eliminate 600 jobs by the end of 2002. In a Jan. 31 conference call, PolyOne Chief Financial Officer David Wilson described the firm's 2001 results as "disappointing and unacceptable." "We saw an abysmal level of business activity at the end of the year,"

www.polyone.com



Corning still sees no industry bottom but hopes for a rebound

Corning Inc. the world's largest maker of fiber-optic cable, said on Thursday it still saw no bottom to the fall-off in industry demand, but that it hoped a rebound could begin in the second half of this year. Corning reports net loss of $5.5 billion for 2001. Corning Incorporated yesterday reported a fourth-quarter pro forma net loss of $261 million, down significantly from pro forma earnings of $307 million, in the fourth quarter of 2000.

''Do we think we're at bottom? You know, we're not quite sure,'' President and Chief Executive John Loose told analysts on a conference call. ''We think we're bouncing along the bottom. We are not ready to declare it. Since last fall we have consistently said we may begin to see signs of a recovery in the second half of this year, but the fact remains that no one really knows,'' he added.

www.corning.com



Breakthrough DataMax® 6e Patch Cable Introduced Tuned to Improve Category 6 Channel Bandwidth

Quabbin Wire & Cable, North America's largest patch cable manufacturer, is now producing a stranded patch cable specifically designed for use with the very best Category 6 hardware and horizontal cable systems. The cable is electrically tuned to provide outstanding channel attenuation and crosstalk at the highest frequencies.

Patch cords assembled using this new stranded cable design typically provide 1 - 2 dB improvement in channel attenuation coupled with significant crosstalk noise reduction. This produces positive ACR (Attenuation to Crosstalk Ratio) channel performance at frequencies that often exceed 375 MHz. Positive ACR at higher frequencies yields fewer bit errors, greater channel throughput, and improved network performance margin.

This new patch cable is quite different than Quabbin's previously introduced DataMax 6 stranded product. Both use superior design and process control to deliver high performance for less expense without relying on bonded pairs, internal splines or other non-conventional constructions. However, Quabbin's earlier DataMax 6 product was created to optimize channel Return Loss (RL), and this newest DataMax 6e patch cable provides optimized channel ACR performance. The earlier design provides improved performance for legacy Category 5, newer Category 5e, as well as earlier Category 6 networks. This breakthrough DataMax 6e patch cable is specifically designed to operate with and extend the bandwidth (positive ACR) performance of the newest Category 6 premise systems now being introduced.

In addition to the above electrical differences, Quabbin's newest DataMax 6e stranded patch cable has important physical enhancements as well. These result in a cable with a smoother cosmetically appealing appearance, as well as improved electrical stability. Patch cords assembled with this cable are thus even more resistant to degradation when subjected to bending, repeated flexure, or other mechanical stress.

Quabbin Wire & Cable Co., Inc., acknowledged as the industry leader in stranded patch cable technology, now has an even broader range of stranded cables designed for flexibility and long flex-life LAN applications. Quabbin's quality system complies with ISO 9001.

www.quabbin.com



New 3Com NJ100 Network Jack available now at Graybar

Graybar, St. Louis, MO, now has 3Com' new NJ100 Network Jack in stock for immediate delivery. This revolutionary networking product, which provides four 10/100 unmanaged switch ports that fit into a standard wall cutout or modular furniture opening, will help businesses save money on the implementation of active desktop ports and CAT 5/5e cable while giving optimal connectivity flexibility for users.

''This technology breakthrough is an excellent opportunity for resellers and contractors wanting to deliver switched Ethernet to their clients and at the same time reduce the volume of horizontal network cabling. The NJ100 is an ideal solution for the modular furniture environment and areas with high concentrations of workstations such as college dormitories and call centers," says Karl Griffith, Graybar Director of Reseller Markets.

www.graybar.com



CABA (Continental Automated Buildings Association) is North America's only industry association for companies involved in integrated systems and the automation of buildings and homes. Members can profit from the following benefits: CABA's searchable online publications. CABA's reports and publications offer your company valuable and timely competitive intelligence on the integrated systems industry, concise summaries of conferences and further insights into the integrated systems industry. What this means to you: Your staff will lose valuable time and waste extra travel budget while gathering strategic intelligence if you do not take advantage of CABA's extensive research library. Feel free to search this www.caba.org

CABA Intelligent Buildings Council. The Council's Mandate is to identify and evaluate initiatives in the Intelligent Building Industry that will serve to move this industry forward. What this means to you: By being a part of the CABA Intelligent Buildings Council, you will have the opportunity not only to promote what you are doing, but also to learn what others are doing and influence the direction of the Intelligent Buildings industry.



BELDEN REPORTS FOURTH-QUARTER PROFITS

Belden Inc. announced that net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2001, was $6.4 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, compared with $16.2 million, or $0.66 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2000. Revenues were $204.8 million, down 33.9 percent from record revenues of $309.9 million in the year-ago quarter. www.belden.com



CDT Announces Preliminary Second Quarter FY200 Revenue and Earnings Outlook

Cable Design Technologies , Pittsburgh, PA , a leading worldwide provider of high-speed network connectivity products, said slower-than-anticipated business conditions during the quarter, most notably during December, would result in expected fiscal second quarter 2002 sales of approximately $124 million and a net loss in the range of $1.8 million to breakeven, or a loss of $0.04 to $0.00 per diluted share, before restructuring and other charges of approximately $9.0 million, or $0.12 per diluted share. Full second-quarter results will be released Feb. 28.

www.cdtc.com



AT&T posts fourth-quarter loss on lower revenues

Long-distance telephone and cable-tv posted a fourth-quarter loss as revenues fell 9.5 percent.AT&T's core long-distance business suffered from low calling rates, competition from the Baby Bells and a shift by customers to wireless telephones and electronic mail.

Even AT&T's new businesses suffered. Sales of data and Internet services rose, but the rate of growth slowed as corporate customers curtailed spending in the weak economy. Revenue growth at AT&T Broadband, the cable television business being sold to Comcast Corp, also slowed due to lower advertising sales.

New York-based AT&T had a net loss of $1.39 billion, or 39 cents a share. That compared with a loss of $1.64 billion, or 45 cents a share, a year before. "Our results reflect a business managing through a difficult economic and industrywide climate,'' said AT&T Chairman C. Michael Armstrong. Excluding a $1 billion charge to cut 10,000 jobs, and other items, fourth-quarter profits dropped to 5 cents a share, from 24 cents a share in the year-earlier quarter.



Global Crossing files for bankruptcy protection

Global Crossing, one of the most ambitious fiber-optic communications ventures of the late 1990s, at one time having a capitalization on the Wall Street gambling casino of nearly $50bn, Monday filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code. The bankruptcy filing is the biggest so far in the worldwide collapse of the telecom industry. Global Crossing was founded by Gary Winnick, at one time an associate of disgraced financier Michael Milken. Global Crossing assembled a worldwide network to capitalize on the surge in communications. However, massive over-investment in 'backbone' networks, along with slowing of growth in internet traffic, has produced a slump in demand for the wholesale communications capacity sold by companies like Global Crossing and left them unable to support mountains of debt. The bankruptcy filing does not include Asia Global Crossing, a separately quoted subsidiary the release said. www.globalcrossing.com



Lucent says Global Crossing owes them $123 million

Lucent Technologies this week filed a motion with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the southern district of New York State alleging that Global Crossing owes it $123 million, not the $31 million indicated in the bankrupt long-haul carrier's Chapter 11 filing.



Avaya posts loss

Communications equipment maker Avaya Inc. posted a fiscal first-quarter loss amid the communications industry's spending slowdown, and said the continued weak economy may require more job cuts.

The Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based company also said, given the uncertain timing of a U.S. economic recovery, it saw second-quarter revenues about flat with the first quarter, ''with a variance of plus or minus 4 percent.'' It said it planned to restore profitability no later than the end of fiscal 2002. The company said its ability to predict results beyond the fiscal second quarter was limited. ''Given the difficult economy and the fact that their customers are in the mode of cutting their (information technology) budgets, if they can come in the next quarter with flat revenues, that will be pretty good,'' CIBC World Markets analyst Joseph Cyr said. He added he believed Avaya could return to profitability in its targeted time frame.

ECONOMY TOUGHER THAN EXPECTED

''U.S. economic conditions in the first fiscal quarter were even tougher than we had anticipated,'' Avaya Chief Financial officer Garry McGuire told analysts on a conference call. ''We know we aren't the only ones who will be telling that story this quarter, but the fact we have company doesn't make the experience any more satisfying,'' he added. ''The economic slowdown hit hard in our U.S. businesses as a group.'' The slowdown led corporations, which make up the bulk of Avaya's customers, to drastically curtail spending last year, hurting communications equipment makers' revenues. U.S. information technology (IT) spending fell 1 percent last year, compared to an 11-percent gain in 2000, said McGuire, adding it is hard to know when or how fast the U.S. economy will recover, how fast IT spending will rebound, and whether overseas markets would lead or follow the U.S. recovery. Avaya executives said global IT spending is expected to grow 2 percent to 5 percent this year, but most of the growth will be in the second half, meaning Avaya will not likely see much impact in its current fiscal year that ends in September.

MORE JOB CUTS POSSIBLE

The company said it would closely monitor revenue levels in January and February, and make adjustments to expenses as necessary to keep costs in line with sales. To achieve that goal, Avaya said it planned to take actions in 2002 designed to yield annualized savings of $200 million to $250 million. Those actions could include more job cuts at the company, which now employs about 24,000 people, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Don Peterson told Reuters in a telephone interview. He said some of them could come through attrition. Avaya will cut its 2002 capital spending budget, previously set at $200 million, by 12 percent to 15 percent, CFO McGuire said. The company, whose technology is used for operator call centers and cabling systems for corporate campuses, posted a first-quarter operating loss of $16 million, or 8 cents a diluted share, versus an operating profit of $51 million, or 16 cents a diluted share, in the same period last year.

Sales in the quarter fell 26.8 percent to $1.306 billion from $1.785 billion last year, due largely to a drastic slowdown in the month of December, Avaya said. It had sales of $1.44 billion in its previous quarter. Avaya, spun off by Lucent Technologies Inc. in 2000, said last week that it would post a first-quarter loss of 8 cents to 10 cents instead of a profit as Wall Street had expected. It also said sales would come in at about $1.3 billion. Including restructuring charges and $6 million in pretax expenses related to outsourcing of certain manufacturing operations, Avaya posted a first-quarter net loss of $20 million, or a loss of 9 cents a diluted share. That compared with a net profit of $16 million, or 3 cents a diluted share, in the same period last year. www.avaya.com



Anixter's 4th Quarter Sales: 9% Below Last Fall's Estimate

Anixter revealed that conditions were worse than expected in comparison to its 2001 fourth quarter projection made on Oct. 23. At that time, Anixter's "guidance" was that sales would be $725-$735 million. Now, the company said-in a 4th-quarter "pre-announcement"-it seems sales are likely to come in at a range of $660-$665 million. www.anixter.com



Corning Workers in Wilmington Won't Be Recalled

Hundreds of Corning Inc. employees laid off since October won't begin returning to jobs at an optical fiber plant this week after union members refused to change the method of recalling workers. Corning Inc. had said it would begin recalling some of the 400 workers laid-off temporarily as long as new rules sought by management were approved. But in voting that ended Saturday, two-thirds of the union members rejected the changes to a labor contract signed three years ago, said Carl Millinor, president of the American Flint Glass Workers Union Local 1025. At issue was allowing the company to consider job classification and seniority when selecting employees to return to work. Union officials had argued that callbacks should be based on seniority alone.

A decision not to restart idled production lines in Wilmington would bring the number of plant employees on permanent layoff since October to more than 850, Millinor said. Millinor said it was the company's decision to scrap the planned startup rather than abide by the terms of a contract signed three years ago. Corning officials said the proposed seniority plan change was necessary to avoid a lengthy arbitration battle over interpretation of the contract. www.corning.com



Tyco seeks plastics buyer, will split up what´s left

Multinational giant Tyco International Ltd. plans to sell off its large plastics subsidiary and split its remaining operations into four independent companies. The publicly held company expects to raise $3 billion to $4 billion in cash by selling Tyco Plastics to the private market, L. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco chairman and chief executive officer, said during a Jan. 22 meeting with analysts and investors.



Japan's Furukawa Elec Starts Temporary Furloughs at US Plant

Furukawa Electric Co. has begun sending workers home for two weeks a month at its main U.S. plant, which was acquired from Lucent Technologies Inc. in November.

The measure will affect 2,900 employees until the end of March, as the company aims to prevent inventory from swelling by lowering its capacity utilization rate amid declining orders from telecommunications companies in North America, the world's largest market.

The plant, located in Georgia, is the largest among eight major factories acquired from Lucent. It manufactures fiber-optic conductors and fiber-optic cables consisting of several conductors. Judging that fiber-optic demand will unlikely recover by June, Furukawa will consider temporary furloughs at its plant in Massachusetts as well.



From the desk of Larry Johnson, President of The Light Brigade

"The Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) the largest conference on fiber optics in the world will be held again in March in Anaheim, California. I met with the Optical Society of America (OSA) in Washington DC while at Comnet. Booth sales are up to 1200 vs. 970 (in 2001). Nice barometer for what's coming."

www.osa.org

Now available from The Light Brigade - Fiber Optic Testing Instructional Videos and CD-ROMs

Understanding how to test a fiber optic network is critical for those responsible for installing and maintaining a fiber optic network. The Light Brigade has 4 instructional videos and CD-ROMs on Fiber Optic Testing:

  • Fiber Optic Testing, Troubleshooting and Documentation
  • Understanding and Using the OTDR
  • How to Perform Optical Loss Testing
  • How to Perform an Acceptance Test

Each of these videos/cd-roms is professionally produced and use close up photography, onsite location shots and high quality graphics. They are non-vendor specific. Information covered can be applied to any manufacturer's applicable product. Both the experienced fiber technician and those new to fiber can learn the theory and techniques of fiber optic testing by viewing these videos and CD-ROMs.

www.lightbrigade.com


EVENTS FOR FEBRUARY 2000

FEB 6 -8 Internet Telephony conference & expo
Miami, FL www.tmcnet.com/itexpo

FEB 5 -7 OSS World 2002
San Diego, CA www.telestrategies.com

FEB 11 - 13 Electric West 2002
Las Vegas, NV www.electricshow.com

FEB 11 - 13 12th Annual Call Center &CRM Solutions Conference & Expo
Las Vegas, NV www.cc-crmvegas.com

FEB 18 - 22 BICSI Level 2 Training
Dallas, TX www.comnetcomm.com

FEB 20 - 22 Internet World Wireless East 2002
New York, NY www.internetworld.com

FEB 25 - 28 VOICECON 2002
Washington, DC www.voicecon.com

FEB 18 - 22 Technician Training Class
Dallas, TX www.comnetcomm.com

FEB 28 - March 1 Federal Telecom Conference
Reston, VA www.telestrategies.com

MARCH 9 - 14 VDV Expo and Conference
Las Vegas, NV www.vdexpo.org

TRAINING

Kitco Fiber Optics Training
www.kitcofo.com

IES Training Services
www.iestraining.com

BICSI Training
www.bicsi.org

The Light Brigade
www.lightbrigade.com

ComNet Communications,Inc.
www.comnetcomm.com

 

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