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HOTS 04/1998

Issue: April 1998

By: Frank Bisbee

Featured Story

ALLTEL Supply has recently opened a distributor location in Jacksonville, Florida with a twist. They offer professional education in an advanced classroom setting with hardware demonstrations. Many of their contractor customers have already used these facilities to demonstrate products and make sales. "This site is only one of 26 similar locations for ALLTEL Supply." said Chris Hodgens, Communications Products Centers Manager, ALLTEL Supply – Jacksonville, FL. As an example, on April 21st ALLTEL will host the JACKSONVILLE TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE with over 30 Vendors and a steak dinner. The traditional distributor is certainly changing. The parts counter is becoming the help desk.

Smaller size, lower costs and easier installation is promoting an increase of fiber installations in the workplace. Fiber is actually being installed to the user and not just as backbone cabling. Many communication managers are considering fiber to the workstation where the application is justified.

Fiber-optic Leaders Announce the MT-RJ - - A System That Speeds Adoption of Fiber to Desktop and Computer Networks. Developers AMP, Hewlett-Packard, Siecor, US Conec and Fujikura Report Excellent Results in Field Trials.

Five leading vendors of fiber-optic components today announced the commercial availability of a connection system called the MT-RJ, which provides a comprehensive, end-to-end solutions for the installation of fiber-optic cable to computers and local area network (LAN) equipment. The announcement was made at the Optical Fiber Conference held in February.

The connector allows fiber cables and equipment to use an optical RJ-style plug and jack similar to the popular RJ-45 used in copper cabling. It is expected to begin showing up in network products beginning this spring. The system, consisting of connectors, connecting hardware, cable and transceivers, provides the speed and reliability of fiber optics with the installation convenience associated with copper.

AMP Incorporated, Siecor Corporation and Fujikura Limited, leaders in fiber-interconnect technology, developed the MT-RJ connector with US Conec Limited, a leading ferrule supplier. Optoelectronic leaders Hewlett-Packard Company and AMP developed the MT-RJ fiber-optic transceivers.

AT&T and WorldCom/MCI are alert to a real competitor, Sprint. The February 23, 1998 issue of Forbes magazine had an interesting article on Sprint and their role as an integrated global competitor on the data and telecommunications stage. This article only hinted at the new expanded role for Sprint in premise cabling and network implementation. Sprint has led the market place with many firsts. The Forbes article said that Sprint Chief Executive William T. Esrey is betting the company on new technologies. Esrey’s strategy is to spend what it takes to be a technology leader. Sprint was the first to build an all-fiber, digital long distance network a decade ago, Sprint has gone on to a number of other firsts: It was the first to deploy a synchronous optical network (Sonet), which greatly increases the transmission speed of fiber. It was the first with bi-directional Sonet rings and the first to introduce asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), which increases data transmission speeds on the network. Sprint was also the first to use wave division multiplexing, which increases the capacity of a two-way fiber pair.

In digital PCS (Personal Communications Services) Esrey took another huge technological gamble: Instead of using tested technology, Sprint bet on an untried one – Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) – which, theoretically, would carry several times the amount of data as existing technologies. Skeptics, FORBES included, doubted CDMA would work. They were wrong. Shrugs Esrey: "We’re going with what we believe to be the best technology that leapfrogs what was there before."

With a strong foothold in premise business communications systems and service, Sprint will emerge as a major player in cabling infrastructure to support the sophisticated new offerings, which demand BANDWIDTH… and MORE BANDWIDTH.

Cabling Business Magazine gets a new look on their website. An entirely revamped website for Cabling Business Magazine was also moved last month to a new server for improved service and faster response. They have lots of new information on the Magazine, the Editorial Calendar, Advertising Packages, Cabling the Workplace (CTW ’98), Cabling Business Institute training schedules and much, much more…

Growth is tough and success is even tougher. When the going gets tough you can bet that Cabling Design Technologies will be in the winners circle. Last month, Cabling Design Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA) announced two senior management promotions. Mr. George Graeber has been appointed the newly-created position of Chief Operating Officer and to the Board of Directors of CDT. Mr. Graeber will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of CDT’s specialty electronics and automation & process control groups, including Montrose/CDT. Mr. Graeber has been instrumental in helping build CDT’s electronic cable business. Mr. Graeber, 55, is currently Executive Vice President of CDT and President of Montrose/CDT, an Auburn, MA manufacturer of computer interconnect products. He joined in 1992 and has over 25 years experience in the wire and cable industry. Before joining CDT, Mr. Graeber was President of Brintec’s (Brand Rex) electronic and industrial cable division and was a Vice President of Anixter, Inc., one of the largest distributors of network products in the world. The company also announced the promotion of Mr. Peter Sheehan to Executive Vice President of network products developing the U.S. sales and marketing. Prior to joining CDT in 1995, Mr. Sheehan held a senior executive position with a major network cable manufacturer.

Paul M. Olsen, President and CEO commented that the BILLION DOLLAR sales target is achievable with the team and the quality that is CDT. This outfit is a tough competitor and already has an impressive track record for top quality cable products in a marketplace that demands better performance all the time.

Wavetek’s new LT 8000 series of Cable Testers is getting quite a reception in the marketplace. Users are particularly excited about their Investment Protection Program, which allows customers to upgrade form one model to another at any time. This "future-proofing" helps alleviate worries about what the future brings. It’s about time someone brought this value-added service to installers!

The new testers include all the latest tests to satisfy current and proposed standards. Power Sum NEXT, Power Sum ACR, ELFEXT (Equal Level Far-End Crosstalk), Power Sum TEXT, Propagation Delay and Delay Skew, Two-way Return Loss, and Headroom measurements can all be done with the LT 8155. The testers also include a number of clever bells and whistles like integrated full-duplex Talkset capability, built-in Toner, and slick new PC based Test Record Manager for storing test data and generating custom certification reports.

There are three models in the new line now. The LT 8000 is a full CAT 5 Level II Go/No Go tester for troubleshooting and verification. The LT 8100 adds increased storage capacity and supporting data for test and is ideal for entry-level installers and smaller jobs. The flagship model is the LT 8155, which can store 1,500 Cat 5 Autotests; display graphical plots, and support Fiber Optic power loss testing. Wavetek is also establishing new price points by reducing the entry cost for Cat 5 testers by almost 50%!

Pioneer Datacomm Inc. (League City, TX), one of the Southeast’s leading telecommunications cabling contractors, announces the launch of its newest "full function" division in Sulphur, Louisiana.

Offering a full range of services, including complete LAN/WAN and telephone low voltage cabling solutions. Pioneer Datacomm has been serving the telecommunications needs of small to "multi-national" companies throughout Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Pioneer Datacomm also offers a cost-effective microwave solutions for those voice & data applications with limited options. The RACON Micopress wireless system, operating at a reliable 23.1 GHz, provides simultaneous voice & data with up to two, two-way channels at 20 Mbps Full Duplex Ethernet + E1.

The Laser Institute of America is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year and they are still driving for new and improved standards for light guide. In February, the leaders in Laser Safety release New ANSI Z136.2 Standard. Personnel that install and service optical fiber communication systems (OFCS), will soon have a new set of guidelines to use. The Laser Institute of America, secretarial and publisher of the ANSI Z136 series of laser safety standards, will release the newly revised ANSI Z136.2-1997 Safe Use of Optical Fiber Communication Systems Utilizing Laser Diode and LED Sources in November 1997.

Changes in the standard will address the dramatic increase in OFCS over the past several years, including the extreme power levels that are now being pumped into fiber optic cables. Since risk for exposure is normally experienced during service and installation of OFCS, the concept of "service group" (SG), instead of "class", is used to define potential hazards. SG’s are based on anticipated realistic viewing conditions and do not align with traditionally defined laser exposure (MPE) values in the IR, were made to keep standard consistent with others in the series.

"OPEN SYSTEMS!" We are hearing a lot more these days about mix and match CAT 5 cabling systems, or for those of you who want to impress customers, or the boss... "interoperability of components". These installations use cable, connectors and other hardware from any CAT 5 compliant manufacturer to perform at or above CAT 5 system requirements. Remee Products Corporation, Prestolite Wire Corporation and Berk-Tek are three top quality cable manufacturers who have built new programs around the novel concept of open systems. Remee’s Certified LAN Cabling Professional Program (CLCPro™) offers contractor training and system performance guarantees. Prestolite has their Registered Data Networking Professionals program (RDNP™). Berk-Tek’s program is called OASIS™.

In the "GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES" category, two new ingenious products, that we have been tracking, are growing in the cabling business. FiberNet Technologies Inc. of Aurora, Illinois produce the Fiber Optic ID Lite™. This neat invention is a continuity tester, which uses a MAGlite® with different color lenses in a mating assembly for ST or SC connectors. It’s inexpensive, simple, and it works! Also, the Perfectpatch™ from Perfectsite, Inc. is a simple plastic clip type device that allows the user to adjust the slack length of each patch cord separately. The Perfectpatch™ is doing a remarkable job of cleaning up the pervasive problem of patch cord wiring closet at a time. Check out their very informative and cool website, We applaud these creative inventors who solve problems.

"Good News!" We have received reports from reliable sources that another manufacturer may be following in the wake of DuPont’s big expansion in Teflon® FEP fluoropolymer resin capacity. This important material is utilized in the construction of many high performance UTP Plenum cables. FEP is desirable for the fire safety benefits and the insulation properties that promote transmission. DYNEON, a fluoropolymer manufacturer, is investigating the investment in expanding their current FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene-Propylene) manufacturing facilities. With DUPONT, DAIKIN and DYNEON, there may be more long-term capacity to keep up with the growing demand for this leading insulation material.

Cabling is gaining in popularity and exposure at major conferences. COMMUNICATIONS MANAGERS ASSOCIATION (CMA) expects to have more cabling and physical layer exhibitors at their upcoming 50th Anniversary Annual Conference (New York, NY) in November, as well as a cabling seminar in the conference program. CMA continues as one of the strongest associations and conferences available. The ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY TELECOMMUNICATION ADMINISTRATORS (ACUTA) has added a full day pre-conference training program on cabling to their Annual Conference (San Diego, CA) in July. The ASSOCIATION OF CABLING PROFESSIONALS (ACP) is supporting both CMA and ACUTA on these educational programs. The CMA and ACUTA members are rapidly becoming more aware of the importance and value of the cabling infrastructure.

When it comes to carefully. We’ve seen some confusion out there. Too often we think and read only in terms of power protection. There are two types for LAN systems: data line surge protectors and AC power protectors. Both important engineering solutions for guarding against the disastrous consequences of rogue electrons from whatever source. The CYLIX™ Corporation, makers of data line surge protectors set us straight on the downside of unprotected data lines and designing for security. The alternative to not protecting your systems is a really good claims adjuster to work with your really sweet and understanding insurance company.

Randy Harris, The WebMaster for The ASSOCIATION OF CABLING PROFESSIONALS and CABLING BUSINESS MAGAZINE was named employee of the year 1997 for his contributions to the increased value for the membership of the association and the readership of the magazine. The website for ACP has grown to an annual hit rate in excess of 800,000 and the numbers continue to increase. Mr. Harris recently completed a major facelift of the website for Cabling Business Magazine - The website offers an ongoing fresh selection of information for the magazine readership and students of The Cabling Business Institute.

ANIXTER® Levels™ CHANNEL Solutions for structured cabling is the hot word in high performance cabling as we move into the millennium. The standards have not changed in five years. Has your network? Today the available processor is 333 MHz and that is one hell of a lot faster than the speeds of five years ago. Anixter figured it out too. That is why they designed a set of solutions to meet the users needs today and tomorrow. The cabling systems are a long term investment and need current solutions not obsolete designs.

ANIXTER® Levels™ CHANNEL (ALC) is a new specification for the whole structured cabling system, from the PC to the hub. Their goal in creating ALC was simple: to help customers easily select and design a reliable structured cabling infrastructure that allows them to run their current and future applications without trouble. Customers should not have to worry about problems occurring in their cabling infrastructure and they should not be concerned with technical issues such as impedance smoothing or attenuation-to-crosstalk ratio. Plugging the patch cable from a computer into a wall outlet should be as foolproof as plugging the cord of a lamp into a wall socket. And they believe the results should be just a predictable—peak performance every time.

Structured cabling performance is determined by how the entire channel performs—cable, connecting hardware, information outlets, and patch cords. Anixter has simplified the often confusing process of selecting channel components by offering three performance levels of channel components by offering three performance levels of channel solutions to choose from: ALC 5, ALC 6 and ALC 7.

ALC System and Component Performance is an essential part of capturing the investment value in the cabling system. To create a high quality, dependable structured cabling system, it is critical that all components work together effectively. To be considered an ALC system, each component must meet the Anixter Level 5, 6, or 7 requirement individually as well as with other components as a combined ALC 5, 6 or 7 system. Just because a connector is rated Anixter Level 7 does not mean that it is the ideal connector for every ALC 7 system. They custom-match every part of every ALC solution they recommend, so that we know how much complete system is going to perform.

Some companies claim they can create a channel solution by mixing and matching components with different degrees of performance, but often the best result they can achieve are Anixters worst case scenario. At this performance level, why mess around?


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