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HOTS 02/1998

Issue: February 1998

By: Frank Bisbee

Featured Story

FLUKE CORPORATION (Everette, Washington), has announced that Underwriters Laboratories (UL), has verified the Fluke DSP Series for cable testers meets Level II of accuracy for both the Basic Link and the Channel. Currently, Fluke remains the only organization to achieve UL certification for its cable tester, verifying compliance with the Level II accuracy specified by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) test standard TSB-67.

Following a random selection of DSP Series cable testers from factory goods, UL performed full product evaluations as specified by the TIA TSB-67. UL re-certified the DSP-100 CableMeter® test tool and extended certification to the DSP-2000 Digital CableAnalyzer test tool.

COMMUNICATION SUPPLY CORPORATION (Stamford, CT), has announced that it has completed the purchase of GNWC Wire, Cable and Network Products Inc. (GNWC). GNWC, founded in 1983, is a distributor of wire, cable and network products for the voice, data, low voltage and industrial marketplace, with seven branch locations.

According to CSC President and CEO, Stephen Riordan, "The combination of these two fine companies strengthens CSC's geographic footprint and ability to service the continental U.S. with localized inventories while significantly CSC's presence in the voice, data voltage markets.

CSC is one of the nation's largest privately held distributors of data, voice, low voltage and industrial cable products. The acquisition gives CSC seventeen (17) branch locations throughout the United States.

CSC has also announced that it has secured a senior credit facility of approximately $75 million form LaSalle National Bank and Heller Financial, Inc. to fund working capitol and the company's long term expansion strategy.

WIDEBAND CORPORATION (Blue Springs, MO), has tested and certified NETLink 2000® Category 5 Cable for use with WideBand® Gigabit Networking. This high-quality cable is made by Prestolite Wire Corporation of Southfield, MI, their latest of high-performance cable.

Prestolite's NETLink 2000® is a 350 MHz UTP Cable, with a high attenuation-to-crosstalk ratio and near-end crosstalk ratings better than industry standards. This high technology cable performance provides extra headroom for high-speed networking today, with the confidence of excellent bandwidth capacity for networking improvements in the future.

In a WideBand Gigabit Network, copper cable is given a real test. Most high speed networking designs call for fiber instead of copper cable, the assumption being that gigabit speeds over twisted pair cable are out of the question. However, through the unique design of the WideBand Network, and assurance of quality delivered medium such as Prestolite, the business world can now enjoy state-of-the-art high speed networking used relatively inexpensive, easy to install twisted pair cable.

New WGNA Workgroups Proceed To Define Standards For WideBand Channel Specification Will Lead to Category 7 Cable.

The new WideBand Gigabit Networking Alliance (WGNA), which was established to promote WideBand as a networking industry standard and to assure its accessibility to that industry, announced the formation of two WGNA workgroups to begin the procedure of defining the WideBand channel.

The new workgroups are the Cable group, being chaired by Bill Slater, of Belden Wire & Cable, and the Connector group, chaired by Dave Barnum, of Stewart Connector. The work of the two groups will eventually lead to the new, WideBand compliant Category 7 cable specification and cable-testing procedures.

ORTRONICS (Pawtucket, CT), a leading manufacturer of structured cabling networking products and flexible solutions worldwide, was purchased by Pass & Seymour/Legrand(Syracuse, NY), a leading producer of electrical wiring devices. The announcement was made by William M. Nuckols, president of Pass & Seymour/Legrand, and Stephen Orlando, fromer Chairman and CEO of Ortronics, the transaction was completed Janurary 2, 1998.

According to the agreement, Ortronics will continue to operate as an independent company. The Ortronics management and sales team will also stay intact to continue to serve the company. "THE PURCHASE OF ORTRONICS BY PASS & SEYMOUR/LEGRAND WILL ALLOW NEW TECHNOLOGY EXPANSION FOR ORTRONICS, PROVIDING A BROADER LINE OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES TO OUR CURRENT AND FUTURE CLIENTS WORLDWIDE." states Orlando.

"Ortronics position in integrated premises wiring products fits with Legrand's position in the electrical wiring markets outside of North America," adds William M. Nuckols, President of Pass & Seymour/Legrand. "Ortronics is also a strategic complement to Pass & Seymour/Legrand's total product offering."

Pass & Seymour/Legrand, a wholly owned subsidiary of Legrand of Limoges, France, is a leading producer fo electrical wiring devices in North America. Legrand is the world's leading producer fo wiring devices with sales of more than $2 billion in 1996, operations in 40 countries and 22,000 employees worldwide.

"This alliance will open many global opportunities for Ortronics, which will accelerate growth and profitability." states Howard Odom, president and CEEO of Ortronics.

The news of this acquisition came as a surprise to few industry watchers. Ortronics is a value-driven business that continues to offer better products in a growth market. The cost to deliver the level of quality which is associated with Ortronics is significant. The financial resources required to grow the business will be available through this "merger". This is definitely a win-win acquisition.


Here's another mystery to ponder: Why did the Gigabit Ethernet Committee vote to approve 50/125-micron optical fiber? Can you imagine the disastrous effect this decision will have on end users? They'll say, "Now we've got another fiber to consider, so obviously fiber has no standards at all!"

Jim Hayes

President, Fotec Inc.

Medford, MA

Jim also reports that many conversations with his contacts throughout the fiber optic contractors have uncovered a definite opposition to the 50 micron optical fiber. There are some significant underlying factors in this scenario which are coming to the surface. Also, reports are surfacing that the LED drivers for multi-mode fiber optic cables will not meet the speed challenge of gigabit Ethernet. These fiber optic questions are significant and play a major role in the roll out of "fiber to the desk top". This is not a technological solution which is ready for the market. In the next few months we hope to bring you more news and details on these issues.

Web sites are a great source of information. They should be evolving, growing and changing. A great example of new expanded web info on cabling is, [ Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA)].

The BICSI Winter Conference was held at Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on January 19-22, 1998. Each year the Bicsi Conference seems to kick off trends. This year, market stability and product improvement seem to be the by-laws. The products are becoming more expensive because the products are getting better. More focus on matching the right product to the right job and a lot more focus on the Anixter Levels Program because the standards have not addressed the higher performance requirements. This will be a good year for the cabling industry and the end-user.

The Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOC's) want back in the long distance business. The Public Utility Commissions said not until you offer more access to competitors for local service. And AT&T wants the best of both worlds. A recent court decision overturning a key provision of a 1996 telecommunications law also may spur a flurry of copycat lawsuits as Bell Companies scramble to win free entry into the long-distance business. Translation: This new development will effect the infrastructure of local service cabling and offerings. Will it be fiber to the pop and coax or UTP to the doorstep or will it be fiber to the doorstep.and if so how will it be financed. Will it be an add on to CATV, some new AT&T offering or part of the local service configuration from the telco. In any event it’s a Billion dollar question and there are quite a few players who would like the answer. Well, we think it’s going to be a mixture of ALL of these alternatives. The Public Utility Commissions are not likely to support a major investment in fiber optic to the doorstep for the telco’s due to the other carriers impact on the market.

Alcatel Telecommunications (ATC, Claremont, NC), has just announced that James Berry has been named director of fiber operations, Alcatel Telecommunications is a fiber-optic cable products manufacturer. Previously, Berry served as plant manager, fiber optic cable development manager, and engineering manager at various ATC facilities.

Telect Inc. (Liberty Lake, WA) is relocating the manufacturing operations for its proprietary products group to a new 120,000-square-foot facility at 2111 N. Molter Road, Liberty Lake, WA 99019. The Diversified Products Group, cable assemblies operation, and the Control Products Group will remain in their present locations.

NextLevel Systems Inc.'s (Chicago, IL), has announced that Edward Breen, president, Broadband Networks Group, since February 1996, has been named acting chief executive after the resignation of Richard Friedland, who was chairman and chief executive. Previously, Breen was executive vice president of terrestrial systems for General Instrument Corp.

The value of the end-user dollar is finite. Those purveyors which recognize this value as a limited resource with investment opportunities are the companies which focus on FUTURE PROOFING as a concept. The concept, simply put, is we will try to build products with reusable value and a vision for a barrier to obsolescence. THOSE VENDORS WHICH DO NOT PRECEIVE THE END-USER AS A LIMITED RESOURCE OFTEN DO NOT INCLUDE FUTURE PROOFING IN THEIR CONCEPT OF PRODUCT VALUE. You might say that kind of company sees the end-user as an artesian well. Caveat Emptor.


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