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HOTS 05/1998

Issue: May 1998

By: Frank Bisbee

Featured Story

Six R Communications (Monroe, NC), majority owned by Alcoa Fujikura, Ltd. (Brentwood, TN) has announced that it has acquired TICS Corporation (Charlotte, NC), a leading provider for network communication solutions for voice and data applications. Richard Phillips, president of Six R Communications, L.L.C., said: "The combination of TICS' leadership in local area network and campus area networks, along with Six R Communications' full service capabilities will provide our customers with a total solution for their network needs."

Joseph Lonardo, President of Global Cabling, Inc. (Highlands, NJ) announces that Allen Hirsch has joined the voice and data network-cabling contractor as their new Project Manager/Account Executive. Hirsch will be involved in sales as well as project management. Hirsch brings extensive industry experience from Forest Datacom Services, New York.

Anixter Inc. (Skokie, IL) has recently announced LeCroy Corporation's (Chestnut Ridge, NY) NEWSLine, the IT industry's first product capable of characterizing network channels.

NEWSLine, which is designed to fill a critical gap in reliable network performance, measures and tests network channels. While the industry has established specifications for testing individual components, there are no equivalent standards for cross-connect, patch and horizontal cable performance when linked to create live network channels.

"You have to measure the combination of all the elements after they are installed, and measure the channel performance with live traffic," states Frank Coletto, Vice President of Marketing, Structured Cabling, Anixter. "NEWSLine is the only product that can do this."

According to Anixter, there are three reasons why it is critical to characterize and verify network channels: uneven performance of cable components, which can vary as much as 50 percent among the 150 designs of Cat 5 cable available from over 45 vendors; incorrect installation techniques; and noise emissions from dozens of sources - from office equipment to cable in wiring closets. Further complicating matters, various Network Interface Cards (NICs) respond to such obstacles differently, cutting throughput and boosting bit error rates.

Pete Lockhart, Director of Technology and Marketing, Structured Cabling, Anixter, explains, "NEWSLine allows us to deliver the first emissions analysis tool for networks, discovering crosstalk, interference and noise sources that can interrupt network traffic. You just can't do that with standard monitoring equipment. As a field troubleshooting tool or an embedded monitoring tool, NEWSLine truly pushes the envelope of LAN testing into the 21st century."

Leslie Swanson, Vice President, General Manager, Network Products Division at LeCroy, notes, "Anixter is a recognized innovator for solutions at the physical layer of networks. By working with Anixter as a partner, we are bringing a high-end, one-gigasample acquisition technology - previously reserved for laboratory measurements - to the end-user market. The advantage is that one instrument can simultaneously provide two types of analysis. First, we can verify the cabling while the network is running, so there is no need for costly network downtime to test cable. Second, we can verify that the active components are generating signals according to specification - and that the signal arrives at the end of the channel according to specification, also."

Wandel & Goltermann Management Holding GmbH and Wavetek Corporation (San Diego, CA) jointly announced at the CiBit Exhibition that they have reached an agreement in principle to merge the companies. The agreement is subject to execution of definitive agreements and approval by stockholders and regulatory agencies. This merger will create the world's second largest communications test company with annual revenues in excess of $400 million (700 million DM).

Wandel & Goltermann's strength in telecommunications and data communications test equipment complements Wavetek's leadership position in cable television test and its strong position in wireless communications test. By combining the strengths of these two communications test leaders, the new company will be positioned to provide customers with a complete portfolio of test and measurement products, services, and test solutions for the development, integration, type testing, installation, diagnostics, maintenance, service and operation of voice, video and data communications networks. The combined company will employ over 2,400 people in 11 operating units and 29 sales and service companies, with presence in 87 countries.

SyNet, Inc., a Warwick, Rhode Island based LAN/WAN network integration firm offering design, engineering, installation, certification and training services for telecommunication infrastructure systems and associated connecting hardware, announces record sales.

Citing an enhanced product line and the addition of key management personnel as the primary reasons for the company's growth, SyNet's CEO, Jeffery S. Deckman said he was pleased over the company's performance.

"This has been a long time in the making", stated Deckman. "It is exciting to see our plan come together. Over the past 2 years we have essentially reinvented our organization", he continued, "in the past we were primarily a contractor who focused on the installation of cable only. Now we have evolved into one of New England's fastest growing full service LAN/WAN integrators."

"With the addition of a new Director of Operations to our staff; a revamped sales strategy; and improved product offerings - rooted in a complete Cabletron line of LAN/WAN products - - SyNet has quickly proven itself to be a major contender in the LAN/WAN scene."

Deckman is forecasting to double SyNet's growth in sales for fiscal year 1998.

"The surge is far from over. Our position as a Cabletron Synergy Plus Partner, coupled with our increased infrastructure installation (Prestolite's RDNP program using Anixters Level 5, 6, & 7 rated cables) business sets the stage for us to experience phenomenal growth in 1998. In addition, we have developed and honed a strategy for success which is based on offering the customer an integrated single vendor solution for their networking connectivity needs."

TIA UTP Systems Task Group Meeting was held April 7th & 8th, 1998, in Chicago, Illinois. The following were some main points from the meeting:

  • The main subjects for this meeting were definition and isolation requirements for hybrid cabling and CAT 6 cabling requirements. This is the first major effort by TIA to address CAT 6 requirements now that the CAT 5 addendum and Cat 5e (enhanced CAT 5) proposals are out for committee ballot. The "Next Generation" cabling system has moved to the front burner.

  • The Task Group goal is to include CAT 6 channel requirements and 568B, which is scheduled for first ballot in November.

  • New definitions for hybrid cabling and cabling bundles were developed. A 9dB isolation (noise) limit was established. Also 25 pair cable will likely not be recommended for Gigabit Ethernet. TIA will also not recommend mixing categories (e.g. CAT 3/CAT 5 for hybrid cable bundles).

  • Bundled Cable Definition: "An assembly of two or more cables bound together to form a single unit. Examples of terms that are used for bundled cable assemblies that are considered to fall within this definition include: Composite, loomed, zip cord, speed warp, cable tie and whip cable constructions."

  • Cable bundles installed in overhead trays have not been addressed at this time.

  • Paul Kish, NORDX/CDT submitted a CAT 6 contribution for UTP cable which exceeds the 200 MHz performance requirements proposed by ISO. If accepted the new proposed cable requirements would be 3dB better ACR at 200 MHz, and be categorized to 250 MHz. This improvement provides 2X the signal power vs. ISO and 4X vs. CAT 5. Lower attenuation will be more important for electronic developers. Noise can be canceled out. Lower attenuation provides higher signal strength and hence less costly electronics. For the first time, beyond gigabit capabilities over UTP are being discussed in TIA. The new cable requirements generated a number of questions and challenges. Kish will provide samples at the next meeting to demonstrate full-scale production capability. A key issue will be whether other cable manufacturers can produce the design so it is not limited to a single manufacturer. Kish stated the new cable uses fluoropolymer insulation with a FRPVC jacket.

UNICOM Electric, Inc. (Santa Fe Springs, CA) introduced its new line of ENHANCED CATEGORY 5 products. These products provide increased headroom (more than 3dB) to help networks reach a higher level of performance. They support Fast Ethernet, 155 Mbps ATM and higher speed applications, with Power Sum performance designed for any combinations of transmission schemes. Tested up to 350 MHz!

Enhanced Category 5 products include:

      • 110-Type Patch Panels

      • Fast Termination IDC Tooless Keystone Jacks

      • UTP Patch Cords

      • Plug-to-Jack Adapter Cords

GE SUPPLY (Shelton, CT) EXPANDS GLOBAL PRESENCE. GE Supply, a full-lined distributor of electrical, voice and datacom products and a $1.8 billion business of General Electric, announced it has entered into a joint venture with Pordisa, a high tech automation products and services distributor based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The joint venture combines the extensive global resources of GE Supply with Prodisa's experienced customer service organization to provide the most comprehensive package of products and services in Latin America's biggest electrical distributor market.

Prodisa has been a leading distributor of high-tech products, automation controls, PLCs, industrial PCs, packaged drives and sensors in Brazil since 1994. GE Supply do Prodisa will now be able to offer Prodis'a clients and prospective customers, one of the largest inventories of electrical, voice, datacom and high tech products from GE and other leading manufacturers.

John McCarthy, president and CEO of GE Latin American, noted that "GE Supply's presence in Argentina, Chile and now Brazil will enhance GE's capabilities in providing solutions to an industrial market that is increasingly demanding turnkey and quality service."

About GE Supply

GE Supply is a full-line international distributor of electrical, voice and datacom equipment and supplies from General Electric and other leading manufacturers. Headquartered in Shelton, Connecticut, the company utilizes 4.5 million square feet of warehouse space in 42 states and has 140 branch offices and 5 distribution HUBs throughout the U.S. and in Mexico, Chile, Argentina and the Middle East, as well as affiliates throughout the world.

Web Server Statistics for WWW.WIREVILLE.COM

- Total hits for the week ending 3/29/98: 12,725.

- Average daily hit rate: 1,855.

Average HITS per year: 677,075. Translation: There is a great deal of interest in communications cabling. The combined traffic on this site sponsored by The Association of Cabling Professionals and the website sponsored by BICSI is representative of the hunger for information dealing with the infrastructure cabling for the information age. The amount of money at stake is more than 100 times larger than the actual investment in cable. The proper design and smart investment decision on installed facilities is the gatekeeper for applications to become active. The applications generate the revenue. The revenue is far greater than the cost. Remember: No highway system…No traffic.

Channel Technology Group, LLC [CTG] (Saddle Brook, NJ ), a manufacturers representative firm serving New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware has recently added Thomas & Betts and Prestolite Wire Corporation products to their offerings. Christy Kozlowicz and John O'Brien commented that these new offerings will make a significant contribution to the accounts served by CTG.

A recently conducted informal survey of manufacturers, distributors and contractors found the new ENHANCED CAT 5 Cabling products in good supply in spite of a surge in demand for these new products with expanded capabilities. The Anixter Levels program has focused the buyers attention on a specification level which is higher than the old existing ANSI (American National Standards Institute) CAT 5 Standard for cabling. This increased barrier to obsolescence has allowed the contractor to add value to the installed system for the end-user. Through the Anixter Levels program, future proofing becomes a term based in reality (no longer just hype).

The fiber-optic products and connectors continue to improve in availability and "connect-ability" while reducing in cost. Some of the multi-mode fiber-optic cable problems previously identified are on the drawing board for correction soon. Owens Corning may announce some product improvements soon. The recent introduction of new shielding and waterproof protection using Kevlar® on fiber-optic cables has been well received by the marketplace.

On the copper cabling scene, the demand for high performance cabling referenced above has been met by available base materials. The FEP supply seems to be adequate for the increased demand associated with the new construction of high-performance plenum cable. The prices for the high-performance cables have increased proportionally with the increased capabilities of transmission. As the value of the investment increased so did the cost. However, informal cost studies show the value has increased for the end-user substantially more than the cost.

We spoke with a couple of manufacturers which are recognized for their cutting edge copper cabling technology. Berk-Tek credited many of their recent technical achievements to the capabilities and design vision of Eric Lawrence, Manager, Design & Development Engineering. The LANmark-1000 cable product is one of the development accomplishments guided by Eric Lawrence. The round construction with non-bonded pairs makes the LANmark-1000 cable one of the only cables capable of exceeding Anixter Level 7 and ISO Category 6 performance standards…and be universally adaptable to almost all connector systems without proprietary limitations. This cable is available in plenum, non-plenum and even stranded patch cord cable.

Prestolite Wire Corporation told us that their technical guru is Tim Berelsman, Data Market & Technical Team Leader. Mr. Berelsman's accomplishments are too numerous to list. However, recently Mr. Berelsman has guided the Technical Development Team in the refinement and improvement of the Prestolite high-performance copper cable products. Those products include NETLink 2000®, NETLink GX™, and a new shielded CAT 5 product. The recent TIA meeting included only the NORDX/CDT contribution on cable. Due to limited time TIA did not see the new technical package by Prestolite. We understand that the new Prestolite product exceeded the capabilities of the NORDX/CDT product that had the attendees all excited. As industry observers, we salute the accomplishments of these companies and individuals. There are a few others which deserve similar recognition and we hope to make that possible in the up-coming months.

ANICOM, Inc. has moved to a new Tampa, Florida location recently. Check their website for more details.

The Siemon Company (Watertown, CT) has recently introduced The Siemon Home Cabling System. Their information package on this system was filled with valuable ideas and concepts. We agree that the residence market is growing substantially due to more home offices and Internet use.

Cable Design Technologies Corporation (CDT) (Pittsburg, PA), reported results for the second fiscal quarter ended January 31, 1998. Net sales rose by $41.6 million, or 36.6 % to $155.6 million versus $114.0 million for the same period last year, including $29.7 million of additional sales attributable to CDT's recently acquired businesses, primarily Dearborn/CDT. Operating income for the period was $17.4 million versus $13.8 million last year.

CDT has also announced that it has acquired Orebro Kabel A.B., headquartered in Orebro, Sweden, with 1997 sales of less than $10 million, Orebro Kabel is a well-respected manufacturer of custom-designed wire and cable for wireless communications, robotics and other industries. Orebro will become a part of CDT's specialty electronic cable group.

Good 'ole Rule of Thumb: When designing conduit requirements, REMEMBER: The O.D. must be greater than the I.D. ( or the hole will be on the outside ).

Gators in Canada? YES! Fiber Connections, Inc. (Schomberg, Ontario, Canada) is a manufacturer of high quality fiber optic cable assemblies and other fiber distribution products. In addition to their full line of fiber optic patch cords, pigtails and cable assemblies, they have developed a modular fiber distribution system. This "plug in" system eliminates the need for field terminations and allows you to concentrate on the more important parts of the job at hand. At the heart of this system is the Gator Patch.


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