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HOTS 01/1997

Issue: January 1997

By: Frank Bisbee

Featured Story

Every now and then we see a really innovative product from a small company. Well, we found a nifty tool for locating facilities in a WAN (Wide Area Networks) environment. GPS Quik Fix by Craig & Jones Co. (POB 266, Hamilton, MT 59840) 406-363-3283 is a template device for locating points on all USGS and USFS maps. The GPS Quik Fix navigation template comes with an easy-to-use set of instructions and description of its features. We showed the template to a group of telephone company network service managers and service managers from an electrical utility company. Their reaction was a unanimous "thumbs up". Almost immediately they started talking about how they could apply this template to tracking and finding locations of service outages or transformers or..., etc. With the GPS Quik Fix you can transfer your position latitude and longitude (Lat and Lon) to your map (a position fix) in seconds or you can pick a landmark or point of interest and find it's Lat and Lon just as quickly. Once you enter the goto landmark into a GPS (Global Positioning System) device it will give you the distance and heading to your destination. It seems simple but it can save dollars and possibly lives in the right situation. This is one hell of a value for under $20.

Ortronics hits the web! Ortronics (Pawcatuck, CT), 860-599-1760, is on the web and what a site! "Putting a 136 page item catalog out on the Internet was no simple matter," says Gerard Nania, senior vice president of Ortronics. "Communications is the key word at Ortronics and we needed to harness this technology to give us a global presence round the clock 7 days a week. Navigation had to be nonlinear for quick searching to any one of the 1,500 products we have to offer," he states.

BLS Communications Ltd. (Conifer, CO), 800-847-6504, has expanded the courses and the locations where they will offer review courses for the BICSI exams. Unofficially, we understand that BLS has the best results on students passing the BICSI tests. Jim Hakanson, President, BLS, NW told us that BLS plans to expand their offerings to more locations during 1997. Contact Cheryl McCabe for schedules.

Power is tricky. If you don't respect it, you are in for a very expensive lesson. We found a good piece of educational material without a big price tag. APC American Power Conversionr (Kingston, RI) 888-289-2722 ext.8023 has introduced a great new 60 page Power Protection Handbook - FREE.

AMP, Inc. (Harrisburg, PA), 800-835-7240, has the right answers for connecting at a higher level and will give you a no obligation assessment of your networking needs. We checked it out and found the system solution approach with the AMP family of products was a real value. We got the answers we were looking for. Or you can check'em out on the net:

We just received the program "Conference at a Glance: CABLING THE WORKPLACE 1997 Technical Conference and Exhibition". The schedule begins with registration on Monday morning, May 12, 1997, and runs through Thursday afternoon, May 15, 1997. Where? The new Convention Hall in Atlantic City, NJ.

For more information, contact Cindy Webb at 214-328-1717. If you are in the cabling business, as a user or a vendor, this conference is, without a doubt, the best educational value in the 1997 lineup.

KGP Telecommunications, Inc. (Faribault, MN), 800-824-7788, a distributor of voice and data products, announced the opening of a sales office and warehouse location in Plymouth, Minnesota. KGP is a twenty-year veteran in the telecommunications industry and this is their ninth office. Although KGP offers a myriad of products, their primary focus is on cabling products. They offer customized copper and fiber cable assemblies.

Fastening products are a very important component in a successful cabling system and the ERICO® Fastening Products Group (Solon, OH), 800-252-2339, has some of the best. ERICO® , Inc. has a new video on the CADDY® Datacom Products. The video features all the latest solutions to properly support low voltage datacom cables, meeting the latest standards and codes. Look for more step-by-step videos in the future from this fine company.

BTC Electronic Components, (800-526-2828), relocated its headquarters to Raleigh, North Carolina and expanded industrial distribution. BTC's new 15,000 square foot facility offers custom connector and cable assemblies built to customer specifications.

The Electrical Contracting Foundation, Inc. have conducted studies over the past two years on the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) among electrical contractors. The use of this valuable tool increased 8% between '95 and '96 and is expected to rise 30% before the turn of the century. The challenge remains for cabling contractors to increase their competitive edge by including CAD technology. The CAD and the text records of facilities are an often under appreciated component in an effective cabling system. If you don't know what you have and where it is, it's pretty hard to reuse it. Cable management in any form is a value add to the package.

The value of the distribution system continues to be driven to higher levels by the introduction of terminal hardware/software solutions and applications. One technology is driving another and vice versa. For example, Bay Networks (San Antonio, TX), 210-979-2002, has recently announced it's new 20-user version of their award winning LAN-to-Internet access server, INSTANT INTERNET! The Bay Networks hardware/software solution delivers a solution and a value to the end user that can only be achieved with a properly designed and installed cabling system. We will continue to see more applications delivered to the user through hardware connected by cabling systems. Cabling is a critical component of the nervous system of the Information Age. Without cabling, nothing works.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc.® announced new labeling for ISO/IEC 11801 specifications effective October 9, 1996. This labeling will cover cables that meet the parameters for this quality assurance program. (& are identical to those for UL's Data-Transmission Performance-Category Program.)

Check out the new Hewlett Packard® CERJAC OC3 port & Plus Handheld ATM Tester. This tester for troubleshooting ATM networks quickly and efficiently is lightweight and portable. It is also powerful enough to isolate and diagnose almost all ATM network problems. It is not cheap, but it is certainly worth the investment if you are challenged with nailing a problem in your network. Use the right tool for the right job and you'll be better off every time. Hewlett Packard (Santa Clara, CA), 800-452-4844.

By mid-1996 ANSI/TIA/EIA (American National Standards Institute/Telecommunications Industry Association/Electronics Industry Association) issued a News release indicating that specifications for delay skew of 50 nanoseconds (ns) over 100 meters of cable has been proposed as the industry standard. By December 1996, we began to see Beta tests of terminal hardware (hubs and routers) which required no more than 25 nanoseconds of delay skew. This industry continues to challenge us to seek out the best materials and designs in order to build a better barrier to obsolescence. Cabling should be the best investment you can make in the communications industry. Unfortunately, many end users and contractors tend to follow a few "bell cows" even when their guidance is vested in a less than optimum direction.

On the FEP scene, this valuable insulating material continues to be found in good quantity and most of the cable manufacturers have introduced new high-performance cables using all FEP insulation. These new cable constructions significantly exceed the old "Cat 5" performance. While debates continue as to the equivalent value of cheaper constructions, most of the arguments do not address the full capabilities of the FEP insulation.

On the fiber scene, a recent presentation by a proponent for fiber installed universally was getting all smiles from the "glass" manufacturers, until the recommendation to use plastic multimode in the intrabuilding horizontal cable applications. You could hear the screech of brakes throughout the auditorium. The glass camp wanted fiber to the desktop, provided it was only glass. Well, what do you know, even the fiber optic cable industry has division with vested perspective.

Boston Optical Fiber, Inc. (Westborough, MA), 508-836-2700, the exclusive U.S. manufacturer of step and grade index plastic optical fiber and systems, recently announced it has installed the first plastic optical fiber network designed for high speed data applications such as multi-media, video calling, and fast Internet access. Plastic optical fiber (POF) is an easy-to-use, high band-width alternative to glass fiber. POF is the natural evolution to the next generation of network performance and represents a milestone in high speed fiber optic delivery systems.

Chuck Nichols resigned his position as president of W. W. Gay Integrated Systems to take on the presidency of Jacksonville Teleport, L. C. (Jacksonville, FL), 904-381-7252.

"Jacksonville Teleport will begin to take its successful approach to fiber optic service in the metropolitan area network to a national scope," said Nichols.

Jacksonville Teleport is a licensed alternative local exchange carrier with a 20 mile fiber optic ring in Jacksonville, FL. The company also builds dedicated fiber to client specifications in the metropolitan network and provides full fiber optics service and support.

Stephen R. Bell is the newly appointed President of W. W. Gay Integrated Systems (Jacksonville, FL), 904-387-7999, the communication and cabling division of this Northeast Florida regionally prominent mechanical contractor. Their services include alarm, video, security, telecommunications and data systems and cabling.

Under the light of the flashing blue police car beacon, the policeman said, "Mr. Wilson, did you know you were going over 85 miles per hour?" The driver responded, "No Sir! I was watching the speedometer and it never went over 65!" Then, Mrs. Wilson chimed in, "Honey, why are you telling this officer a big fat story? You know you always drive about 85!"

Then the police officer said, "And, from the speed that you got out of the car, I doubt that you were wearing your seatbelt." Mr. Wilson snapped back with, "Of course I was wearing my seatbelt!" Again, Mrs. Wilson chimed in, "Honey, you know that's not true! You never wear your seatbelt!"

The police officer turned to Mrs. Wilson and inquired, "Does he always lie to the police?" Mrs. Wilson smiled and said, "Oh no, my husband is a very honest man. He only lies when he's had too much to drink."

Condumex, Incorporated (Arlington, TX), 817-649-1171, is a marketing and purchasing arm of Grupo Condumex, a Mexican based corporation committed to supplying quality products and services for the Automotive, Construction, Electrical, and Telecommunications industries.

Responding to market requirements, Condumex, a North American manufacturer of wire and cable products is saying YES! Condumex, Incorporated is now stocking Category 5 UTP plenum rated cable insulated with 100% Dupont Teflon® FEP for sales through wire and cable distributors. This high performance cable has been in high demand over the last year and the market requirements in the future are still aggressive, Condumex is saying YES even when you need it today. Look for the Dupont Gold Mark label on Condumex packaging to ensure superior performance for today and tomorrow!

A recent article touted the value of a commercial cable loosener (by American Polywater Corp. - Stillwater, MN). It really works! However, sometimes the cable has been sitting in the conduit for too long, the bends are too tight, or the jacketing has stiffened in an interlocking pattern with the other cables, or the conduit itself ... in that case you may wish to use a "come-a-long" winch, hydraulic jack, or a small nuclear device, because the usual shaking, pulling, pushing, and cussing won't work.

High performance cables are a HOT item and the associated terminal hardware is equally HOT. Numerous manufacturers have introduced new MultiMedia Outlets. These products are quickly becoming "systems" in conjunction with other connecting products and materials. These systems will be the end user and contractor's new benchmark to identify high performance quality products while the marketplace waits for the standards committees to agree on anything. Remember Category 6?


AMP Inc. (Harrisburg, PA), 800-835-7240, has the HIDEAWAY outlet, which provides 45 UTP connections and 90 fiber-optic connections.

Hubbell Premise Wiring Inc. 860-535-8326 is releasing their AMO multimedia housing, which offers capacity for 12 fiber or UTP terminations. (All connections exiting from the bottom.)

Leviton Telcom (Bothell, WA), 206-486-2222, has the QuickPortr multimedia outlet system (MOS) with a dual-ring system on the surface-mount box that stores and manages the fiber loop and protects bend radii to each port.

MOD-TAP (Harvard, MA), 800-266-3827, has the PassPort family, which includes high-density wall plates and matching electrical duplex and switch-cover plates. The optical-fiber outlet installs "in seconds" and manages bend radius, fiber loops and strain relief.

Ortronics Inc. (Pawcatuck, CT), 860-599-1760, has the Ortronics® Open System Architecture Fib-or-Cop workstation outlet with six copper ports on the faceplate, six fiber connections in the base, and four ring clamps to manage internal fiber cable.

Panduit (Tinley Park, IL) ,800-777-3300, ext. 8314, has the MINI-COM Network Cabling System.

The Siemon Co. (Watertown, CT), 860-274-2523, has the CT multiuser/multimedia surface-mount box that accepts 6 CT couplers, 12 ports of mixed media or 24 fiber ports.

The Wiremold Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 800-523-0130, has the Communication Activation Series, which installs into raceways, tele-power poles and surface- or flush-mount boxes.


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