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HOTS 06/2002

Issue: June 2002

By: Frank Bisbee


Headline News
 

Featured Story

 


Ripley's Believe it or Not! CAT 6 APPROVED by TIA!

June 5, 2002, an insider at the TIA meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, revealed the committee has finally approved CAT 6. No more revisions or drafts to juggle. One observer commented that we can expect CAT 7 to be approved before the end of the 21st century. Technology marches on, but codes & standards move at their own rate (not: speed). It is improper to use the word speed and standards in the same sentence. Check their website. We expect TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) will post the news soon.

www.tiaonline.org


School will be out in a few days and summer vacations are around the corner. If you think that life has returned to normal, then you are living in Denial, USA. The global economy is still clawing its way out of the hole, and CNN is proclaiming new terrorist threats are being discovered. Forecasters are predicting a very active hurricane season, and drought still plagues large areas.

If you want some good news, stick with me. During the NFPA's (National Fire Protection Association) World Fire Safety Congress & Exposition - Minneapolis, MN (May 19-23, 2002) the NFPA membership voted to approve the listing of "Limited Combustible" cable under the NFPA 90A. This additional listing offers a guideline for specifiers to select an option for cable with a greater degree of Fire Safety than previously designated with the CMP rating for plenum approved cable.

Buried inside of this news is a bonus for safety. These new "Safety" cables are made with sustainable fluoropolymer materials that do not degrade over time and are not affected by reasonable environmental exposure. A major plus with this type of cable is sustainability. We understand that the fluoropolymer materials used in these cables have maintained their fire performance characteristics in an outdoor test for more than 35 years.

Safe today, safe tomorrow.
Specifiers should take special note of this new offering as they design for the challenges that we face in a post 9/11 world.

Safety isn't just a word, it's a mandate.
For the buyer who considers the full life cycle of this new type cable, it is 100% recyclable and carries no hidden downstream cost penalties.

Now that's what I call GOOD NEWS!


NFPA Membership Supports Limited Combustible Plenum Cable Listing

On the Floor of the NFPA Annual meeting in Minneapolis on Sunday, May 19th 2002, the NFPA Membership overwhelmingly approved the NFPA 90A Technical Committee proposals that will clarify the Primary Requirements for Listed limited combustible plenum cables in the new 90A Standard.

NFPA 90A has jurisdiction over the NEC. This action will also automatically carry through into the new NFPA 5000 Building Code, if that Code is approved this year.

The Listing of conventional combustible plenum cables (CMP et al) will still be recognized (unchanged) per the existing optional permissive Exception in NFPA 90A.

This action, if upheld by the NFPA Standards Council, will enable users, regulators, code authorities and building inspectors, etc. to understand, recognize and approve listed limited combustible plenum cables as a clearly identified class of safer, higher fire performance, lower fire-load cables.

These proposals have received extremely strong consensus support (>90%) at every step of the NFPA process. There are no further Re-balloting or Technical Correlating Committee steps for NFPA 90A. Opposition Appeals and Proponent Support will be heard by NFPA Standards Council in mid-July, in Boston.

A new NFPA 90A Standard will issue this fall (2002).


As a long time member of BICSI and a member of the NFPA, this writer strongly recommends that all interested manufacturers, contractors, installers, end users, organizations, AHJ's (Authorities Having Jurisdiction - ie. Fire Marshals), government groups, etc. should be advised to send a simple letterhead letter stating support with something to the effect (but in their own words):

  • NFPA Standards Council Secretary
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • 1 Batterymarch Park, P.O. Box 9101
  • Quincy, MA 02269

Company XYZ supports the strong consensus actions of the NFPA 90A Technical Committee, and the NFPA Membership, to clarify requirements for Listed limited combustible plenum cables in the new NFPA 90A Standard.

For obvious and important fire safety reasons, cables meeting the Mandatory Requirements of NFPA 90A need to be identified with clear and specific Listings and Markings. Please uphold the Committee and Membership consensus actions. Thank you


The following item is UL's announcement of their stand-alone "Limited Combustible" Listing and Marking Program. It's on their website, and its been mailed out by UL. This listing means that this type cable is "uniquely" Listed and identified to the mandatory Primary Requirements of NFPA 90A by the Marking "Limited Combustible FHC 25/50". This Limited Combustible plenum cable does not have to be tested, Listed or Marked to the optional permissive lesser Exception (i.e. CMP-types). It may contain an

"optional" informational marking indicating that it does comply with lesser Exception requirements.


From Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) website: www.ul.com

Online Certifications Directory
OWKS.GuideInfo
Limited Combustible Cable

Guide Information for Electrical Equipment for Use in Ordinary Locations

GENERAL
This category covers electrical and optical fiber cable that meets the limited combustible and smoke developed requirements for cable in ceiling cavity and raised floor plenums in accordance with NFPA 90A, "Standard for the Installation of Air Conditioning and Ventilating Systems." This cable also meets the requirements for cable used in ducts, plenums and other spaces used for environmental air in accordance with Articles 725, 760, 770, 800, 820 and 830 of NFPA 70, "National Electrical Code."

This cable has a maximum Potential Heat value of 3500 Btu/lb when tested in accordance with NFPA 259 (date), "Standard Test Method for Potential Heat of Building Materials." This cable has a maximum smoke developed index of 50 and a maximum flame spread index of 25 when tested in accordance with UL 723 (NFPA 255), "Test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials" before and after exposure to elevated temperature and humidity. The cable also meets the requirements for plenum cable in one or more of the following product categories:

  • Power Limited Circuit Cable (QPTZ) - Types CL2P or CL3P
  • Communications Cable (DUZX) - Types CMP or MPP
  • Power Limited Fire Alarm Cable (HNIR) - Type FPLP
  • Nonpower Limited Fire Alarm Cable (HNHT) - Type NPLFP
  • Optical Fiber Cable (QAYK) - Types OFNP or OFCP
  • Community Antenna Television Cable (DVCS) - Type CATVP
  • Network Powered Broadband Communications Cable (PWIP) - Type BLP

PRODUCT MARKINGS
This cable is identified by the marking "Limited Combustible FHC 25/50" on the surface of the jacket or on a marker tape under the jacket. This marking is immediately followed by one of the Type designations shown above. The cable also has the required markings including optional markings as indicated in the Guide Information for the categories shown above. This cable may also be Verified for transmission performance if authorized in the Guide Information for the product categories shown above, and will bear the appropriate performance verification marking.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For additional information, see Electrical Equipment for Use in Ordinary Locations (AALZ).

UL MARK
The UL symbol on the product and the Listing Mark of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. on the attached tag, the reel or the smallest unit container in which the product is packaged is the only method provided by UL to identify products manufactured under its Listing and Follow-Up Service. The Listing Mark for these products includes the UL symbol (as illustrated in the Introduction of this Directory) together with the word "LISTED," a control number, and the product name "Limited Combustible Cable."

Cable which is also Verified to the UL Data Transmission Performance Category Marking Program has the marking "Verified to UL Performance Category Program," or the UL Verification Mark along with the words "Performance Category Program" together with the Listing Mark information on the tag, reel or smallest unit container. Cable which is also Verified to another transmission performance specification has the marking "Verified in Accordance with [Specification name and/or number]" or the UL Verification Mark along with the applicable Specification name and/or number together with the Listing Mark information on the tag, reel or smallest unit container.
OWKZ.GuideInfo Limited Combustible Cable

www.ul.com


CBS Marketwatch - CDT 3rd QTR FY2002 RESULTS - Profits UP!

Sales Increase 12% Sequentially

Pittsburgh, PA, May 29, 2002 - Cable Design Technologies (NYSE:CDT) reported net income for its third quarter ended April 30, 2002 of $3.9 million, or $0.09 per diluted share. Sales for the third fiscal quarter 2002 were $141.8 million, which represents a sequential increase of approximately 12% over the second fiscal quarter.

See the full story at: http://www.cdtc.com/news/052902.html


BICSI Spring Conference was a success

VIVA LAS VEGAS
The winners were the attendees of The BICSI 2002 Spring Conference. Over 2,470 registered attendees were treated to technological marvels in the exhibit hall and global educational presentations. The BICSI Fall Conference will be held in spicy New Orleans, Louisiana, August 19-22, 2002. This conference will be filled with technical presentations and marvelous exhibits. Don't miss the next exciting opportunity to get up-to-date information and network with telecommunications professionals from around the globe! www.bicsi.org

All of the leading communications publications were well represented..

Be sure to check out the May 2002 issue of CI&M for the BICSI Product Showcase.


Fluke closed Fotec

Fotec, an optical fiber training resource and a manufacturer of optical fiber test equipment, is closing. Fluke Networks acquired Fotec last year. Fotec's operation in Everett, MA, is scheduled to close on May 17.

Fotec carried a vast line of optical fiber test equipment and accessory lines, from electronic to cleaning kits. Much of this equipment will now be rebranded into the Fluke Networks FNET line.

"We are just being really smart in a very tough environment. That is why we are consolidating," says Julie Kuntz, public relations manager for Fluke Networks. "We don't think our intent is to short the marketplace of training. We value the technology, and it will continue in various forms."

Jim Hayes, principal engineer for Fluke Networks, launched Fotec, an acronym for Fiber Optic Test Equipment, in the fall of 1980. "We'd sell equipment to people who didn't know anything about fiber optics, its use or installation," says Hayes. "We would teach people how to install and service it."

Fotec employees have participated in industry standards groups, and helped write many standard test procedures for optical fiber test equipment. The company developed optical fiber test kits in 1982 as solutions to testing network problems.

Fotec also designed a series of portable instruments. The "Smart Instrument" concept uses a microcomputer operating system in optical fiber power meters and sources that are preprogrammed to make optical fiber loss measurements automatically. Besides the Smart Sources and Meters, the company has written software called FOtest that works with the Smart Instruments to guide installers through measurements, including loss and return loss, then logs the data to files and prints it for permanent records. Most of this equipment will now carry the Fluke Networks logo.

"We are consolidating anything previously labled Fotec," says David Coffin, general manager of enterprise supervision for Fluke Networks. While most of Fotec's revenues came from the sale of optical fiber testing equipment, Fotec launched a "hands-on" optical fiber training conference called "Fiber U." The program was intended to be an adjunct to the test equipment business, but Hayes says Fotec trained 10,000 to 15,000 people in person. Hayes says that the program weathered a difficult economy in the past two years. Yet still, cable contractors sent employees to the course to learn optical fiber installation techniques.

"The need and the want always are in conflict because the overall economy is down, as is a lot of money for training," says Hayes. "But the people who are still having their boys trained these days are the people who see they have now got room to breathe. They say, 'I should get training because when the economy comes back, I will be prepared."

Coffin says the economy was not the only reason for the consolidation decision. "These have been challenging times financially, but that isn't the sole reason for consolidation," says Coffin. He also says Fluke Networks will continue to offer a commitment to cable installation training through SuperVision Workshops, and a sponsorship of cabletesting.com.

He says Fluke Networks is optimistic about the future. "The prospects for our forecast are changing, and we are cautiously optimistic about our overall sales," he says.

www.cable-install.com

www.flukenetworks.com


Solvay completes acquisition of Auismont

Following approval by the European Commission and the United States Federal Trade Commission, Solvay completed its acquisition of Ausimont, the fluorinated specialties group, from Edison and Longside International. As announced on December 21, 2001 (see Solvay's press release of that date), this EUR 1.3 billion acquisition is the largest in the history of Solvay. The integration of Ausimont doubles the size of Solvay's activities in the high-growth, high-added-value fluorinated specialties sector, while extending the Group's product portfolio significantly. On the basis of 2001 figures, Solvay's fluorinated specialties generate a total annual proforma turnover of EUR 860 million, with 2,700 employees. See the full story on www.solvay.com


Cabling Installation - what lies beneath.

Reprinted with permission from Cabling Systems Magazine, May/June 2002 issue. Article written by: By Paul Lima www.cablingsystems.com

Hazardous materials may be hiding in the walls, waiting above the ceiling tiles or concealed in many other places where line and cable installers tread. Workers must take all of the necessary precautions to avoid close encounters with such substances.

See full story


BICSI Announces Pre-Conference Workshops and Session Speakers for Fall Conference

BICSI, an international educational association for telecommunications infrastructure designers and installers, will hold three workshops on August 19, prior to its 2002 Fall Conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA, USA.

The six-hour workshop is a popular addition to BICSI's traditional general session educational format. Each workshop begins at 9:00 a.m. and will be held in a more intimate setting, allowing the instructors to present complex issues and encouraging audience participation. Workshop fees are US$49 for conference attendees and US$99 for those not registered for the conference.

The Fall Conference will officially begin on Tuesday, August 20, with an inspiring keynote address by Brett A. Smith, a BICSI trained cabling installer, who will relate the speed, teamwork, and passion of rebuilding at New York City's Ground Zero after September 11.

Tuesday's first technical presentation "Critical Infrastructure Security After September 11" by Jerry Bowman, CISSIP, RCDD/LAN Specialist, of Superior Systems Technologies will outline ten domains of Information Security (InfoSec) and how they impact the designer/installer. Other sessions include

  • "An Architect's View of Convergence" by David Clary of AV Architeks;
  • "CCTV: The Next Network Platform" by Frank LaPlante, Anixter, Inc;
  • "Best Business Practices to Increase Contractor Profitability" by W. Keith Denning, SupplyWave, Inc.;
  • The New ANSI/EIA/TIA/606-Labeling Standard" by Todd Fries,
  • HellermannTyton; "WAN Manageable Optical Ethernet" by Alex Saunders, Metrobility Optical Systems, Inc.;
  • "To Infiniband and Beyond" by Sean Maguire, RCDD, VIEO, Inc.

Motivational speaker Julio Melara will open Wednesday's sessions with a dynamic presentation on how to succeed. Technical sessions include "50 vs. 62.5 Micron Optical Fibers for Short Reach Applications" by John George, OFS; "Free Space Optics" by Jeff Hinton, Dominion Lasercom, Inc.;

"Laser Optimized Fiber Cabling Systems for 10 Gigabit Applications" by Robert Jensen, RCDD, Fluke Networks; "Power Over Ethernet" Tim Kraft; and "Firestopping - Problems or Profits?" by Mike Tobias, Unique Fire Stop Products.

Educational sessions conclude Thursday morning with "Why Most IT Projects Fail: How to Organize and Manage for Success" by William Briggs, APS Consulting, and "Legislative and Regulatory Report" by Richard Reed, RCDD/OSP Specialist, BICSI Governmental Relations Representative.

Additional pre-and post-conference activities include committee meetings, the RCDD/LAN/OSP Specialty exams, and BICSI's award-winning infrastructure design and installation courses. Courses and exams require separate registration fees and are not included in the conference registration.

The BICSI Fall Conference is a premier event for voice, data, and video cabling infrastructure professionals from around the world. In addition to the pre-conference activities and conference general sessions, more than 110 industry exhibitors will present new products and services in the morning and evening expo. The expo attendance fee is US$25 nightly for

visitors not registered for the conference. To register for the BICSI 2002 Fall Conference or for more information, www.bicsi.org or call BICSI at +1 813-979-1991 or 800-242-7405 (USA/Canada toll free).


Ortronics Expands ''Clarity'' Product Line to Include New Series II Modules, Eight-Port Patch Panels and Enhancements to the Clarity6 110 Block

Ortronics (New London, CT) is pleased to announce the expansion of Clarity6, an evolutionary advancement in Category 6 connectivity that was the first completely standards compliant connectivity system in the market today to meet TIA Category 6 component specifications (draft 10). This groundbreaking line of connectivity products now includes Series II one and two port modules, eight port patch panels and enhanced 110 blocks.

Ortronics new Clarity6 Series II offering includes one and two port modules that are precisely targeted to the family of Clarity6 patch cords for optimum performance that is field measurable in the channel. Clarity6 Series II modules use dual reactance technology to enhance signal-to-noise ratio, providing a nearly transparent signal path.

Clarity6 Series II modules reflect mechanical improvements, which make it easier to terminate the larger conductors of Category 6 cable. They also include new low emission IDC contacts and utilize a standard termination practice using a 110 impact tool for quick and reliable termination. Clarity6 Series II one and two port modules offer easy-to-follow universal wiring labels, fit all Series II faceplates and housings, are icon compatible, and include a C6 marking on the jack face. Clarity6 Series II is available in four colors and is backward compatible to Category 5e, 5 and 3.

Ortronics has also expanded the Clarity6 offering of patch panels to include high-density patch panels with eight-port modules. Clarity6 patch panels (PHD68 series) are precisely targeted to the Clarity6 patch cords for optimum performance that is field measurable in the channel. Panel connections use dual reactance technology to enhance signal-to-noise ratio, providing a nearly transparent signal path.

Clarity6 patch panels include new low emission IDC contacts that support a standard termination practice using a 110 impact tool for quick and reliable termination. A single piece IDC housing is designed to accept larger Category 6 conductors, and easy to follow universal wiring labels are quick, user-friendly and eliminate confusion. Panels are supplied with labeling for T568B wiring, but can be easily converted to T568A with the simple change of a supplied label. The new Category 6 panels include supplied front labeling fields and rear cable management. Panels are icon compatible and backward compatible to Category 5e, 5 and 3.

Ortronics is also pleased to announce the following enhancements to its offering of Clarity6 Category 6 110 Block Kits. The ease of using Ortronics Clarity6 110 blocks has been improved by adding cable feed openings to the base of the blocks for better cable management. This assists with routing larger diameter cables to the punch-down positions.

Clarity6 110 blocks also now boast an improved designation method, providing labeling locations along both sides of the block in addition to the normal designation between connector rows. This new feature also increases the routing space for cable by lifting the horizontal strip further away from the block.

Lastly, Ortronics has expanded the Clarity6 Category 6 110 Block family by adding a 48 pair 110 block (in a 50 pair footprint) to the existing line, which includes a 96 pair block (100 pair footprint) and a 288 pair block (300 pair footprint). The use of a signal feedback technique internal to the Category 6 110 block controls cross-talk without compromising impedance, thus allowing Clarity6 blocks to exceed TIA Category 6 (draft 10a) component compliance within the footprint of standard 50, 100 and 300 pair blocks. Clarity6 110 blocks provide a termination point that is more transparent to the signal for significant improvement in signal-to-noise ratio. Clarity6 110 Blocks have been third party tested by ETL to meet TIA Category 6 component specifications (Draft 10).
www.ortronics.com


BICSI Prints New Telecommunications Dictionary and Offers Translated Version Online

BICSI, the international telecommunications association, announced the publication of the BICSI Telecommunications Dictionary, 2nd edition. This edition of BICSI's popular dictionary is 50% larger and includes North American, European, and Australian terms. Additionally, it offers a convenient listing of international telecommunications standards, codes, and regulations, as well as contact information.

Defined and refined by a panel of industry experts, the dictionary serves as a common reference for those who perform telecommunications design and installation worldwide, and is intended to be the standard for all glossaries contained in BICSI technical publications. BICSI publishes several books on telecommunications topics including distribution design, network design, customer-owned outside plant design, cabling installation, and residential network cabling.

As an educational service to the industry, BICSI has posted the first edition terms in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese on its Web site in a searchable database. The French version will be added in June.

The BICSI Telecommunications Dictionary, 2nd edition, sells for US$29 for BICSI members and US$39 for nonmembers. It contains 1880 terms, 1420 acronyms and abbreviations, and 150 symbols. To view the 1st edition dictionary, or sample chapters of BICSI manuals without charge, visit the association's Web site at www.bicsi.org.

Headquartered in Tampa, FL, USA, BICSI is a not-for-profit professional association dedicated to serving the industry with standards-based technical publications, training, registration exams, and educational events. Telecommunications infrastructure designers and installers may advance their careers by earning the prestigious RCDD® (Registered Communications Distribution Designer) designation, or BICSI Registered Installer or Technician designation for commercial installation. In 2002, BICSI began offering training and exams for BICSI Residential Network Installers.


SBC Communications (San Antonio, TX) says it will slice 5,000 jobs - another sign that the communications-industry slump is far from over. SBC said the layoffs will center on managers and workers not directly involved in serving customers.

Shares of SBC Communications (SBC , news, chart, profile) were up 84 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $32.89 in midday action.

"The soft economy-- and regulations which our competitors don't face-- have combined to force us to cut expenses and jobs," SBC President William Daley asserted in a statement.

Daley was alluding to state and federal oversight of the local-phone industry. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Baby Bells by upholding the method by which regulators determine how much they can charge rivals for leasing access to their networks.

The Bells have complained they are forced to offer prices below what it cost to supply the service. The Court rejected that claim, siding with the Federal Communications Commission and competitors of the Baby Bells.

SBC said it has cut its workforce by about 10,000 in the past six months. In April, the company said it would eliminate as many as 4,000 additional positions by the end of 2002.

"Reducing our workforce is something we try to avoid, but until the economy begins to recover, it's something we have to do," Daley said. The layoffs will be completed by the end of June.


Anixter's First Quarter: Sales Down 30%

"Softness in all customer markets" caused Anixter's sales to dip to $615 million in the quarter ended 3/31 -- down 30 percent year-over-year. The drop in profits was more severe -- down 61 percent. Despite the big dips, free cash flow for the quarter actually was higher than one year earlier.

"The sales shortfall, versus our previously stated expectations, was principally related to a carryover of the holiday-related softness at the end of 2001 into the first several days of January," said Robert Grubbs, president/CEO. "Once we were beyond the first couple of weeks of the year, we saw fairly stable levels of sales and bookings. However, during the quarter we saw weakness in all of the markets we serve -- from both a customer-type as well as a geographic perspective."

What about the future? "While there are indications that the economy, in general, is beginning to improve, we think it is prudent to continue to take a conservative view . . . At the same time, we have not seen any signs that would suggest that the second quarter would be worse than the recently completed quarter." Anixter projects a slight sales increase in the quarter -- to $625-$650 million in sales.

Analysts at CIBC World Markets noted (in the 4/29 Industrial Materials Weekly) that Anixter missed "guidance provided at the Q4 conference call of $640-660 million. The chief catalyst was failure of project work to materialize rather than tough holiday timing (as the firm asserts) . . . Management indicated that market tone has been 'flattish' since February, but with no sign that customer are preparing to open purse strings on new projects."
www.anixter.com


BICSI Partners with ElectricSmarts.com to Offer Telecommunications Manuals and Video

BICSI, (Tampa, FL) the professional telecommunications association, and ElectricSmarts.com, (Glastonbury, CT) the leading electrical information and services site, announced a partnership agreement allowing ElectricSmarts.com to market and sell BICSI technical manuals and its training video to electrical distributors and contractors.

Under the terms of the agreement, ElectricSmarts.com will offer the BICSI products at a discounted rate to its contractor and distributor customers.

"We are pleased to offer products by the most respected name in the telecommunications industry," said Keith D. Peck, president of ElectricSmarts.com. "Electrical contractors and distributors recognize the revenue opportunity in telecommunications work and want the best education available. BICSI's Introduction to Voice/Data training video and workbook is a perfect introductory tool for those new to telecommunications."

Electrical contractors who visit www.electricSmarts.com will find the BICSI series of educational materials including the Introduction to Commercial Voice/Data Cabling Systems training video, the BICSI Telecommunications Dictionary, and the following 3-ring binder publications:

  • Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual
  • Network Design Reference Manual
  • Customer-Owned Outside Plant Design Manual.

ElectricSmarts.com is "the industry's website" for electrical, voice data and security. As such they provide deep links to manufacturer's websites. Besides linking to their domains, ElectricSmarts.com also links to Spec sheets, MSDS sheets and other important and useful information. Best of the Web offers categorized links to other websites that contain on-line calculators cross-references, code charts, how to articles and more.

Finally, the services area contains NetPricer - an online pricing service for contractors and distributors, Surplus Exchange - buy and sell surplus, e-leads, Ballast Recyclers, Equipment Rentals, E-Jobs, Logo Wear and more.

www.electricsmarts.com

Headquartered in Tampa, FL, USA, BICSI is a not-for-profit professional association dedicated to serving the telecommunications industry with standards-based technical publications, training, registration exams, and educational events. Telecommunications infrastructure designers and installers may advance their careers by earning the prestigious RCDD® (Registered Communications Distribution Designer) designation, or BICSI Registered Installer or Technician designation for commercial installation. In 2002, BICSI began offering training and exams for BICSI Residential Network Installers. For more information, visit www.bicsi.org or call

813-979-1991 or 800-242-7405 (USA/Canada toll free).


Nortel Networks to Cut 3,500 Jobs

Nortel Networks Corp.'s latest round of job cuts is unlikely to be its last and could indicate another wave of storms is ready to batter the telecommunications industry, experts said Wednesday.

The Canadian company is laying off 3,500 workers in the next four months and may divest its optical components business as it girds itself for another year or more of austere telephone- company spending. As financial worries continue to haunt phone companies, Nortel, which has its U.S. headquarters in Richardson, has no choice but to pare back its already shrunken operations.

On Tuesday, German telephone giant Deutsche Telekom AG said it would lay off 22,000 workers and cut a host of other costs.

"The industry downturn has taken another turn for the worse," said Jay Ritter, a Morningstar Inc. analyst. "It's still a bit uncertain when things are going to improve." Nortel's stock closed down 17 cents to $2.35.

Of Nortel's three businesses, long-haul optical, which supplies equipment to long-distance companies such as WorldCom Inc., is being hit the hardest. The latest job losses will come from long haul, which includes the components division, and will cost Nortel $600 million in earnings charges.

"We are aligning our optical business model to where we see the industry going to ensure we are well positioned when spending resumes," Nortel president and chief executive Frank Dunn said in a statement.

After engaging in a building binge during the late 1990s, long-distance telephone and Internet companies are laboring under huge debts and overcapacity.

Carriers have repeatedly slashed spending on networking equipment that transmits and directs light pulses on hair-thin fiber-optic lines.

The Dell'Oro Group, a Redwood City, Calif., research firm, said capital spending by 16 carriers it tracks will be down 40 percent in 2002, compared with a drop of 16 percent in 2001.

The carnage is worse in long-haul optical, where certain product segments are expected be down 57 percent, said Shin Umeda, a Dell'Oro analyst.

"What we have projected is consistent with the actions that Nortel is taking," Mr. Umeda said.

On Wednesday, Nortel said second-quarter revenue could fall as much as 5 percent from the first quarter. It also predicted a smaller operating loss, excluding certain items. After the latest cost-cutting, Nortel expects to be able to break even with $3.2 billion in quarterly revenue, down from $3.5 billion. It's had $2.9 billion in first- quarter revenue.

That shortfall probably will lead to even more cost-cutting, said George Notter, an analyst at Deutsche Banc Securities. "Some of that certainly can come from reduced head count," he said. "Some of that will come from being more judicious about spending."

Another challenge Nortel's other challenge will be raising funds to support itself and pay off debts. The company said it was considering an "equity-based financial transaction," which could include the issuance of stock.

At the end of March, Nortel had $3.1 billion in cash and $4.8 billion in long- and short-term debt.

In April, Moody's Investors Service reduced the company's debt rating to junk status, making it harder for Nortel to issue new debt.

Mr. Notter said the company should still be able to raise money, because it supplies the world's largest telephone companies. "Wall Street realizes this company is not going away," he said. "Given the right set of terms on a financing, I definitely think Nortel could get something done."

http://www.cablenet.com/news/newspage.jsp?id=1291


Anixter and Intel Sign Reseller Agreement

Anixter Inc. (SKOKIE, Ill), the world's leading distributor of data communications products and electrical wire and cable, has recently signed an agreement to sell Intel network interface cards. The decision to sell the product set was based in large part upon extensive tests conducted in the Anixter Levels Lab.

The Anixter Levels Lab, located in Mt. Prospect, IL, has been testing the performance of a variety of network infrastructure components since 1995. Recent studies of network interface cards (NIC) determined that the performance of the cards can vary significantly, even across products produced by the same manufacturer. But when Intel cards were tested, this variation was minimal in comparison. This means that networks using Intel NICs perform at a better, more consistent output level.

"Intel products have proven to be a high-quality product that we feel confident about selling to our customers," said Frank Coletto, Anixter's Senior Vice President of Marketing. Other tests conducted in the lab show that high-end cabling infrastructure solutions that exceed the minimum standard requirements out-perform those testing at or below the minimum standards. Therefore, when Intel products are combined with high-end cabling systems, the network produces better throughput and performance levels than other gigabit solutions.

Based on these positive test results, Anixter has agreed to distribute Intel products to its North American customers when Gigabit Ethernet solutions and wireless systems are specified.

According to Steve Dallman, Director North America Channels for Intel, "Anixter has the distribution network capabilities needed to get our products in the hands of customers across the country." He added that, "The tests conducted in the Levels Lab further validate our high-end products consistent performance at gigabit speeds."

www.anixter.com


Graybar To Light Up, Network Federal Offices, Other Installations

Graybar (St. Louis, MO), the leading distributor of networking, telecommunications, and electrical products and services, announced today it has signed two, five-year contracts with the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide lamps, ballasts and technology products to the federal government. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Under the first contract, Graybar will sell energy-saving General Electric lamps and ballasts - including incandescent, fluorescent and high-intensity lights - to GSA buyers across the country, including all federal offices, military posts and bases, and other government installations.

The contract for the technology products includes communications and data products distributed by Graybar for internal fiber optic networks from Nordx/CDT, Southwest Data Products, Panduit and St. Louis-based Belden Technologies.

Besides GSA, Graybar holds additional contracts with two other government agencies - Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and U. S. Communities - through which government buyers can purchase products from Graybar.

St. Louis-based Graybar specializes in project and supply chain management services, and is the leading distributor for some 4,500 manufacturers of components and equipment for the telecommunications, networking, electrical, manufacturing, commercial and utilities industries.

"We help our customers power and network industrial facilities, offices, and housing with speed, intelligence and efficiency," said Graybar President and Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Reynolds Jr. "And our leading-edge information technology and logistics capabilities are raising the bar on performance and value for our customers, which include the federal government."

"We're very excited about the opportunities these federal contracts provide," Reynolds added.

Graybar has set up a centralized service group in St. Louis to handle government orders, which will be shipped out of Graybar's strategically located zone distribution facilities or its local branches throughout the United States.

Today's announcement follows Graybar's recent push to increase its sales to federal, state and municipal governments. In January, the company named Jeff M. Cook vice president of Government Sales, and established a separate district to more actively pursue government business.

This district is building on already established relationships with DLA and U. S. Communities (state, local and municipal governments). While Graybar has maintained a four-year relationship with DLA and U.S. Communities, these are the first contracts Graybar has achieved with GSA.

www.graybar.com


General Cable will close two plants

General Cable Corp. is closing two of its seven North American plants that manufacture communications cables. The plants, located in Monticellow, Ill., and Sanger, Calif., employ about 200 associates and utilize more than 350,000 square feet in the production of service wire sold to the telecommunications industry. The company has also sold its small, non-strategic United Kingdom-based specialty cables business, and has formed a joint venture company to manufacture and market optical fiber cables, and plans to record an additional charge related to these actions.

The company expects to report in its second quarter 2002 results for its continuing operations a $20 to $25 million non-recurring pre-tax charge of which approximately $7 million will be cash costs and a $6 million pre-tax charge for discontinued operations, of which approximately $2.6 million will be cash.

"The prolonged downturn in the demand for communications cables provided the opportunity for us to further enhance our cost leadership in these products," says Gregory Kenny, president of General Cable. "We believe that the relocation of the productive capacity from these plants to other existing facilities will allow us to significantly reduce our communications products. At the current levels of production, the plant closures are expected to generate a net cash positive result in less than one year."

Kenny says if telecom spending remains low throughout the summer, General Cable will reduce production levels in its two domestic telephone exchange cable plants beginning in the third quarter.

"At the anticipated reduced production levels, the resulting unabsorbed overhead in the plants would reduce the company's earnings per share by approximately $0.10 to $0.12 during the second half of 2002," Kenny says.

General Cable, based in Highland Heights Ky., manufactures copper, aluminum and optical fiber wire and cable products. For more information visit

www.generalcable.com

http://cim.pennnet.com/home.cfm


NetClear jumps the border

The Berk-Tek/Ortronics Alliance is introducing NetClear to the Canadian market. NetClear is a cooperatively engineered, tested and marketed end-to-end structured cabling solution that offers dynamic performance for enhanced Category 5e, Category 6 and beyond and optical fiber channels.

"2001 was a difficult year, due to the economic downturn in the telecommunications sector, as well as the uncertainty that surrounded the horrible events of Sept. 11th in the U.S.," says Scott Dawdy, Ortronics business development manager for Canada. "2002, however, brings renewed promise of diplomatic world order and forecasted economic recovery''.

"As such, Ortronics and Berk-Tek have taken this opportunity in Canada to reinvest in technology and program development, personnel and services in order to offer NetClear," Dawdy adds.


NetClear offers the NetClearGT Enhanced Category 5e Solution, the NetClearGT2 Enhanced Category 6 Solution, and the recently released NetClearGT3 Premium Category 6 Solution that guarantees channel performance 3dB above the Category 6 Draft 11 Standard. NetClear also offers the NetClearGTO Fiber Optic Solution.

Each NetClear solution encompasses all horizontal and backbone systems including high-performance interface cords, workstation outlets, cross-connect panels and enhanced performance horizontal and backbone cabling.

NetClear solutions are engineered to minimize the unwanted noise caused by the structured cabling system, which improves the network's ability to tolerate additional noise before the bit error rate increases beyond an acceptable level. NetClear solutions are independently verified to exceed TIA/EIA requirements for channel performance.

NetClear is a Technology and Marketing Alliance between Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, and Ortronics to further advance their enhanced copper and fiber cabling solutions. Ortronics Inc. is part of the Legrand group, Limoges, France. Berk-Tek has manufacturing facilities at New Holland, PA, Fuquay-Varina, NC and Elm City, NC.

www.netclear-channel.com


Online poll suggests label-makers are popular

Results of a survey conducted on this Web site, www.cable-install.com , suggest that label-generating equipment is popular and widely used within the cabling industry.

Over a one-week span in mid-May visitors to the site were asked to identify what they use to label their own, or their clients', cabling runs. Options were machine-generated labels, hand-written labels, and nothing. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they use machine-generated labels. Another 19% use hand-written labels, and the remaining 4% said they use nothing.

The recently completed TIA/EIA-606A standard, specifying administration procedures for cabling systems, states that all labels must be machine-generated. As is the case with all TIA standards addressing the cabling industry, compliance is optional, but these results indicate that many contractors and end-user organizations already comply with that part of the spec.

Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine assistant editor Ryan Cliche used the results while researching an article on cable labeling equipment that will appear in the July issue of the monthly publication. That article will update readers on trends and technologies in labeling equipment, and will include information on manufacturers of such devices.


Z-Band MDS: RF Video Distribution over UTP.

Information comes in many forms, such as data and voice. Real-time video, uncompressed, from multiple sources, has been the missing piece of the information puzzle. Now that piece can be easily added with Z-Band's MDS Product Line. The system distributes full motion, bi-directional video, such as Cable TV, DSS and modulated baseband outputs (form VCR's, DVD's, PC's, etc.) over UTP (CAT 5-5e-6) per the EIA/TIA 568 Global Wiring Standard. The MDS is an agile, hardware based, plug-and-play product with no additional RF engineering or line amplification required during the initial installation or when adds, moves or changes are made. The system uses a patented Automatic Gain Control (AGC) to regulate the signal strength. Up to 4000 drops per system are possible by cascading the product, all with the same high picture quality.

Z-Band's system is the perfect solution for video distribution in Education, Healthcare, Government or Business environments. One building or entire campuses can be connected (up to 25 km with the addition of a Z-Band fiber optic transceiver).

Overall, this innovative solution provides improved installation efficiency and scalability over competitive video distribution systems. If you install 568 wiring, you can install the MDS, with virtually no additional training required. The Z-Band video solution not only adds value to your customers networking performance, but also increases your productivity and the potential for market share and profit gains.

www.z-band.com


Mastercom, Draka in Fiber Optic Manufacturing Joint Venture

Brazilian communications company Mastercom and Dutch telecoms group Draka Holding plan to launch on Thursday a fiber optic cable manufacturing joint venture called Draktel, with a factory in Sorocaba, Sao Paulo state, the partners said in a statement.

The partners obtained 40mn reais (US$15.8mn) financing for the venture from Brazil's economic development bank BNDES and European bank EIB. The factory will have an initial production capacity of 600km of fiber a year, destined for local and South American markets.

Draka also has a similar joint venture in Sorocaba with Mastercon subsidiary Telcon, as well as a plant at Campinas, Sao Paulo, producing cabling for the mobile telephony industry.


PVC coated power cables yummy to insects.

A Pirelli product called 'Termitex' is providing Broome in Western Australia with an ant-proof power supply. The local power distributor, Western Power, teamed up with Pirelli in a recent upgrade to the towns power distribution network. It was the first time underground cables containing Termitex, a cable insect protection technology, were used in a significant public network. Western Power now hopes it is free of all-too-regular complaints from consumers that their power supply was suddenly interrupted. Research traced the problem to termites eating through the PVC coating of the cables.

http://www.cablenet.com/news/index.jsp


Ortronics the latest to announce intelligent patch panel

Ortronics recently introduced what it calls the iTRACS-Ready Calrity patch panel. In announcing the product, Ortronics says it is "for intelligent structured cabling solutions.

"When deployed with iTRACS' network monitoring software, Ortronics' new patching systems will ... automatically document network topology and moves, adds, and changes, as well as identifying port connectivity problems in real time," the company also stated.

The new panel will incorporate the proprietary patch cords, sensor strips, and analyzers required to transmit network information to the iTRACS software.

The iTRACS system self-discovers the network topology in data centers, communications rooms, and wiring rooms; automatically detects and differentiates between authorized and unauthorized changes; uses technology to pinpoint wiring trouble spots; notifies interested parties of problems via alarms, e-mails, pages, user-defined scripts and photos; and issues work orders or trouble tickets to initiate corrective action.

The announcement by Ortronics comes soon after Tyco Electronics' AMP Netconnect group announced a similar partnership with iTRACS, and several months after Molex Premise Networks introduced a patching system that also incorporates the iTRACS technology.

The July issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine will include an article on the technologies behind so-called "intelligent" patching systems

www.ortronics.com


European fiber journal appoints publisher

PennWell Corp. www.pennwell.com , publisher of Lightwave and Lightwave Europe magazines, recently named Michael Wolf publisher of Lightwave Europe. Wolf most recently was international sales director for BusinessWeek magazine.

PennWell also publishes Cabling Installation & Maintenance and other high-technology trade journals.

Previously, Wolf held positions of managing director-international for Data Communications and tele.com magazines, and has held sales-director positions for Telecommunications, Microwave Journal, Journal of Electronic Defense, and Communications magazines.

Lightwave Europe covers fiber-optic technology exclusively for the European telecommunications industry.


CommScope introduces Toneable Conduit (TM)

CommScope (Hickory, NC) , announced Friday the addition of its patent-pending Toneable Conduit(TM) to its line of ConQuest(R) conduit products. ConQuest Toneable Conduit offers precise detection capabilities using an 18 gauge copper clad steel (CCS) tone wire extruded within a high density polyethylene conduit wall, a characteristic CommScope believes is unique within the cable industry. The tone wire is coated with moisture-resistant fluoropolymer that both protects the wire from moisture incursion and allows it to be accessed easily from outside the conduit wall.

http://www.wireworld.com/wirenews/


SEC Begins Investigation of Tyco Ex-Chief

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has opened a preliminary investigation into reports that Tyco International Ltd.'s former chief Dennis Kozlowski didn't pay taxes on artwork and that he used a company loan to buy the art, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In its online edition on Thursday, the Journal also said that New York prosecutors are now looking into whether Kozlowski improperly used company funds to buy his $18 million New York apartment and whether he got interest-free loans from the firm to buy art.

Kozlowski resigned from Tyco, one of the world's largest conglomerates, on Monday. A day after, he was charged with conspiring to avoid paying more than $1 million in sales tax on paintings by masters such as Monet and Renoir.

The Journal said the New York inquiries are part of a widening probe of Kozlowski's dealings by Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. Citing people familiar with the situation, the Journal said one area that prosecutors are exploring is whether Kozlowski failed to pay income tax on any company funds used for his personal benefit.

Prosecutors are also looking if Tyco did pay for the apartment and extend the loans. Failure to disclose these could be a violation of federal securities laws. The Journal said the inquiries remain at a preliminary stage and was not clear whether they will lead to any charges.

Kozlowski ran Tyco for nearly a decade and was instrumental in building it from a little-known company into a sprawling international conglomerate through hundreds of acquisitions valued at about $62 billion.

www.yahoo.com


Carl Lagerquist Dead

Carl Lagerquist, a long-time executive of St. Louis-based Graybar Electric Co., died suddenly of an apparent heart attack on April 11. He was 54. Lagerquist was a 32-year veteran and director of advertising and sales promotion for Graybar. Lagerquist transferred to Graybar's St. Louis corporate headquarters in 1989 after serving in several advertising and sales promotion positions with the company in the New York area. Lagerquist is survived by his wife, Michelle Lagerquist; two daughters, Emily Catherine Lagerquist and Kristen Ann Lagerquist; his mother, Martha Nilsson; and sisters Lisa Schneider and Linda Formica. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the donor's choice.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS JUNE 2002

SUPERCOMM
June 2 - 6
Atlanta, GA
www.supercomm2002.com

7x24 Exchange Spring Conference
June 2 - 5
Orlando, FL
http://www.7x24exchange.org

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo
June 4 - 7
San Antonio, TX
www.scte.org

NEMA's 8th Annual Spring Conference
June 11 - 12
Tampa, FL
http://www.nema.org/index_nema.cfm/517/

Wire Expo 2002
June 8 - 13
Chicago, IL
http://12.26.25.192/WC_EventsCalendar/wire_expo/expoidx_from_interwire_expo.htm

BOMA 95th Annual Convention
June 21 - 25
Chicago, IL
www.boma.org

UTC expo
June 24 - 26
Las Vegas, NV
www.utc.org

 

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