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HOTS 06/1998

Issue: June 1998

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


SyNet, Inc. (Warwick, RI), a member of the Association of Cabling Professionals, BICSI, and a RDNP - Registered Data Network Professionals for Prestolite products, has just announced the completion of a Telecommunications Infrastructure and Datacom Hardware installation for AAi/Foster Grant in Smithfield, RI. SyNet was awarded the contract by AAi/Foster Grant to install a telecommunications infrastructure in the new facility. The infrastructure consists of a 12-strand multi mode fiber optic backbone and a copper distribution to over 100 locations.

Last month at CTW 98 Cabling The Workplace '98 Jeff Deckman, President, SyNet, Inc., delivered a presentation on Licensing, Regulation and the Telecommunications Industry. This non-technical session explained the cabling industry's concerns with emerging licensing, regulation, restrictions, certification training and legal limitations. There was considerable interest in this subject by union and non-union participants.



Believe It or Not. Prestolite Wire Corporation is expanding AGAIN. When you're hot, you're hot! New equipment continues to funnel into Prestolite's main production facility in Sidney, Nebraska. Tim Berelsman told us that the demand for their new products is skyrocketing and they are making the necessary investments to serve their growing customer base. www.prestolitewire.com



Web Server Statistics for WIREVILLE

Total hits for the week ending ending 5/31/98: 13,853.

Average hits per day: 1,979.

Average Annual Hit Rate: 722,335.

Randy Harris, Webmaster, ACP, has announced a major expansion program for the websites at www.wireville.com and www.cablingbusiness.com. This comprehensive update and expansion for these websites is designed to deliver more information and value to the cabling industry contractors, vendors, manufacturers and members of ACP The Association of Cabling Professionals, Inc. Mr. Harris reminds the cabling industry and related information technology industry of the reference section of www.wireville.com , which offers hotlink connections to other websites. There is no charge at this time for this service. You can reach Mr. Harris at 904/645-6018 or by e-mail at webmaster@wireville.com



Dr. James R. Hoover, Senior Regulatory Programs Manager, DuPont Fluoroproducts (Wilmington, DE) was appointed by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) as a principal member of the Technical Committee on Air Conditioning representing the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. Dr. Hoover has long been active and involved in improving fire safety with both NFPA and UL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.). Dr. Hoover and other members of the fire safety team at DuPont have made significant contributions to the development and maintenance of cabling fire safety codes and standards both in the United States and abroad. DuPont led the way to fire safety in plenum approved cables with their premier product TEFLON® - FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene) which is the benchmark for protecting life and property.

FEP has truly found a value niche in high performance copper cable constructions for plenum applications. The physical and electrical properties of this material make it ideal for transmission performance as well as the leading safety insulation or jacket. Look for more news in this area as fire safety standards tighten up through improved testing procedures. FEP demand is up and DuPont is expanding their production facilities. Gettin' ready for Gigabit cable speeds!




Getting information on fire safety just got easier. The NFPA (The National Fire Protection Association) Directory contains the Regulations Governing Committee Projects, and new Guide for the Conduct of Participants in the NFPA Standards Development Process. The Committee List is now available quarterly and can also be found on the Internet. www.nfpa.org



MOSCOM Corporation (Pittsford, NY) has recently announced that it has entered into a Strategic Partnership with Phoenix-based Cablesoft Inc. in which MOSCOM will market Cablesoft's Crimp for Windows cable and infrastructure documentation and management software. MOSCOM will market Crimp for Windows as a stand-alone product and integrate it with its portfolio of call accounting, telemanagement and subscriber billing products.

Traditionally, the telephone company managed inside cabling. Now it's the responsibility of each company to manage building wiring and network links. Most building management teams are growing leaner as companies focus on core competencies. Further, as connectivity related problems account for more the 50% of all downtime, accurate documentation of the network and physical layer is essential. Crimp for Windows provides a solution to these problems, by equipping network administrators with at critical and highly flexible management tool for providing a responsive operation in an increasing complex environment.

David G. Mazella, MOSCOM President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "MOSCOM is setting a new standard for comprehensive network billing and cost control. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on infrastructure upgrades and replacements in corporate multimedia networks. This new partnership will help our customers control hidden assets, maximize availability of critical network resources and dramatically improve overall network service quality."

Peter Pela, President of Cablesoft, Inc. added, "MOSCOM is the established international leader in telecommunications network usage management products. They have an enviable list of marketing and technology partnerships with firms like Lucent Technologies, Nokia Telecommunications and Alcatel Telecom. Our new partnership with MOSCOM will provide us with access to vital new market segments and customer opportunities." Other Cablesoft partners include Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, ITT Network Systems, Anixter Supply and British Telecom.



Anicom, Inc. (Rosemont, IL), a national leader and specialist in the distribution of the multimedia wiring products, has announced record financial results for the first quarter of 1998.

Net income for the quarter ended March 31, 1998 increased 200.3 percent to an all-time high of $2.7 million, as compared to $888,000 the first quarter of 1997.

Net sales for the first quarter of 1998 increased to a record $102.1 million, a 126.8 percent increase over netsales of $45.0 million in first quarter 1997. The significant increase is attributable to the continued success of Anicom's integrated growth strategy. Since its IPO in 1995, Anicom has completed 14 acquisitions and grown to over 55 locations nationwide, including the completion of its most recent acquisitions of Yankee Electronics and Optical Fiber Components Inc. in March.

Scott C. Anixter, Chief Executive Officer, commenting on the company's results, said "I am proud of the success Anicom has achieved to date. Our current financial strength will allow us to continue growing aggressively, while maintaining our emphasis on improving the bottom line. Anicom is the 'General Store' for the telecommunications gold rush. We supply the multimedia with wiring and connectivity products that are the pots, pans and jeans of the information super highway."

Anicom's Chairman of the Board, Alan B. Anixter, added, Our focus over the next 18 month will be to continue to maximize operating leverage from our acquisitions through gross and net margin improvement in our core component products, as well as the pursuit of additional markets and selected acquisition opportunities as they develop."

Anicom provides products that "interconnect the Internet" and serves as a vital link to the ever-growing global communications industry.

Anicom has also recently announced that it has entered into a letter of intent to purchase Superior Cable and Supply, Inc. This would be Anicom's 15th acquisition since its IPO three years ago.

Superior Cable (Tulsa, OK), has six additional locations and is a specialty distributor of multimedia wiring products, which had revenues of approximately $5.5 million in fiscal 1997.

Additionally, Anicom has received commitments to increase its unsecured line of credit from $50 million to $100 million. Don Welchko, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, stated, "This new added financial flexibility increases our ability to continue to actively pursue our goal of becoming a very profitable multi-billion dollar corporation." www.anicommm.com



CrossCom National Inc. (Buffalo Grove, IL), an international telecommunications and data systems management company specializing in the unique needs of retailers, has been hired by Bally Total Fitness.

CrossCom will provide telephone system installations and service for a majority of the Chicago-based health club chain's 323 locations nationwide.

CrossCom National offers retailer a single source for all in-store communications. With its combined retail knowledge and technical expertise, CrossCom provides customized telecommunication and data systems, as well as maintenance for existing store systems. CrossCom also provides POS/data communications staging and installation services. The company offers these comprehensive services though its Chicago-based technical center and its nationwide network of certified field service companies.

Since 1981, CrossCom has provided nationwide installations and service for some of the world's largest retailers.



FEP continues in adequate supply while the demand for enhanced performance cables continue to grow at double-digit rates. Daikin America, Inc. (Orangeburg, NY) announces the expansion of its FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) facilities in Decatur, Alabama. Additional FEP will become available in multiple stages immediately. This expansion will more than double the current capacity. Decatur has been producing FEP since, 1995. The Decatur facility will also be producing PFA and more ETFE by the end of this project. Daikin's FEP capacity in Japan is also being expanded.



ACUTA, the Association for Telecommunications Professionals in Higher Education, is completing final touches on their value Annual Conference. This year' 27th Annual Conference, "Charting the Future: Sailing New Waters", will be held July 12-16 in San Diego. ACUTA's fine staff has consistently prepared outstanding educational sessions, blending presentations on "the technology tidal wave that has become the driving force for so much change on campuses everywhere" with training and professional development in managerial skills. ACUTA recognizes the importance of the cabling infrastructure and, with the support of ACP (Association of Cabling Professionals), is conducting an information packed one-day pre conference seminar on Cabling and Infrastructure Standards and Design. Visit the ACUTA web site at www.acuta.org for more information on the association and conference.



IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. (Sycamore, IL), has announced an innovative, new tester for troubleshooting voice systems. The new ABS Tester (Almost a Butt Set), a pocket-sized, affordable telephone tester.

While the traditional butt set is an essential tool for daily users such as telco technicians, it may not be the best tester for occasional users. The new IDEAL ABS Tester is the perfect alternative-small, easy to use and equipped with the features most frequently needed to test analog voice systems. It tests dial tone quality, jack polarity, and detects tracing tones to identify specific conductors in a cable run.

The IDEAL ABS Tester indicates call addressing for correct telephone extensions and has a volume control. The durable, moisture-resistant case will provide long life for both installers and maintenance technicians.

At CTW 98, we saw a host of new (and really neat) tools displayed. This company is on the move and providing quality tools to meet the new challenges of the contractors and installers. You may want to check out their website to get a glimpse of all the new stuff. www.idealindustries.com



Field installers pick a winner in the connectors game. We polled installers from several regional Florida cabling contractors and found a strong preference for the ST & SC multimode fiber optic connectors made by Methode Electronics, Inc. They said the connectors were easier to work with and very reliable, not to mention, affordable. "That's a pretty strong vote of confidence in my book." commented Michael Shannahan, Vice President of Operations, Communication Planning Corporation.

Recently, Methode Electronics, Inc. (Chicago, IL) has come out with the Methode® 908 Series ST® and 308 Series SC Connectors, which are designed and manufactured to meet EIA/TIA FOCIS intermateability specifications. www.methode.com



Cabling The Workplace '98 Technical Training Conference and Exhibition was an unqualified success for all attendees. Not only were attendees happy, but exhibitors were thrilled with the qualified traffic they received. We even heard compliments from one vendor who has traditionally set the high mark for complaints. Making this fellow happy ranks right up with "a miracle." The technical sessions were better prepared and presented than anything we have seen in the last couple of years. Applause by the attendees was frequent at the end of the sessions.

In addition to the traditional vendor booth exhibition, there was plenty of time and space for vendor/attendee interface to take place. Dr. Steve Paulov added several new features to the format. The technical/hands-on presentations in the four exhibit hall technical pavilions were heavily attended and received a big thumbs-up from both the vendor presenters and the attendees. The punch down rodeo for tool kit prizes was a big hit and drew a good crowd. We expect a few ringers next year. (Imagine cabling as a high dollar sport on TV.)

The entertainment at this conference was limited and low-key. CTW 98 did not offer days and days of high level business meetings on the golf course. However, the conference offered a very nice networking luncheon on the opening day. The following evening, after a heavy schedule of classes, presentations and exhibits, CTW 98 featured a country western dinner party ( 6 -9 p.m.). This fabulous out-door evening of fine food and family style merriment was held at the nearby Hyatt Bear Creek recreation area. From the country music and line dancing to the lariat practice, the feeling of friendship and camaraderie was universal. There was volleyball and horseshoes to go with the great weather, fine food, fun music and Big Texas atmosphereand best of all, no bugs. The attendees and exhibitors were frequently overheard commenting on the friendly spirit felt throughout the entire conference. We heard many promises to return next year with more employees as students. The educational value for the price was a very good deal. All around, CTW 98 was a win-win scenario for everyone.




Market Outlook for mid-1998. Our market contacts report further strengthening in CAT 5 and Levels 6 & 7 plenum cable prices. As a minimum, look for market prices to remain stable, but plan on them rising 5-8% above current levels in the weeks ahead. Strong market demand continues to fuel the supply engine, particularly on the higher performance Level 7 and equivalent cables. We're seeing the natural effect of heavy investment by cable manufacturers in new equipment and sophisticated process control hardware (required for highly balanced cable designs). We're paying more for plenum cable, but consider what's involved in the incredible performance improvement cable manufacturers have achieved, and the heavy capitol investment required to keep up with steady double digit plenum cable growth over the past few years. Yes, Virginia you do get what you pay for. Actually, the value has risen much more than the price.



Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) and CTR Group, Ltd. (Woodcliff Lake, NJ), announced that Corning will be the exclusive optical fiber sponsor of Project OXYGEN, the global undersea optical fiber communications cable network being constructed by CTR Group, Ltd. The sponsorship agreement allows Corning the opportunity to supply submarine fiber form its line of non-zero dispersion-shifted fibers, optimized for very high capacity and long distance, for use throughout the OXYGEN Network.

Project OXYGEN Network is a planned global optical fiber undersea cable communications network with a phase comprising approximately 158,000 kilometers of optical fiber cable, 101 landing points in 74 countries and locations, and a minimum capacity of 640 Gbit/s on every segment. Cable installation is scheduled to begin in 1999, with the major Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific links operational in 2000.



Clearly, the outside networks (and their increased speed) are having a big impact on the future requirements of the cabling within the building. Some forecasters see the new activity at network level as the tail wagging the dog. As an example, Metromedia Fiber Network, Inc. (New York, NY), announces plans to build an intra-city network in the Boston metropolitan area, increasing the total number of Tier One markets in which the Company will offer local fiber optic infrastructure to five. The Company also announced the signing of a 25-year agreement enabling Metromedia Fiber Network to extend its fiber optic network north of New York and in the Boston metropolitan area.

"Our extension into Boston will further enhance our unprecedented offering to corporations, carriers, and government agencies-the ability to lease unmetered and virtually unlimited bandwidth along a single network connecting New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia," said Howard Finkelstein, President of Metromedia Fiber Network.

Metromedia has also recently announced the signing of a $33.2 million, 20-year contract with PSINet Inc. to lease PSINet dark fiber infrastructure in the Northeastern corridor of the United States. PSINet is the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) to take advantage of Metromedia Fiber Network's dark fiber service offering.

"Metromedia Fiber Network is introducing the ISP marketplace to a new concept in network infrastructure - dedicated dark fiber," said Howard Finkelstein, President Metromedia Fiber Network. "As Metromedia Fiber Network's first ISP customer, this contract with ISPNet marks a major milestone for us. PSINet is a leader in the Internet marketplace, and their recognition of the value of our unique service offering indicates that ISP market is ready to accept dedicated dark fiber as a new way to build their businesses."

Dedicated dark fiber offers many advantages over traditional leased capacity including the ability to add bandwidth as business requirements increase with no corresponding increase in cost. PSINet will be able to utilize the newest optical electric equipment to light the fiber, upgrading the equipment as required for more capacity while using the same fiber strands through the twenty year life of the contract.



"INFORMATION FRIENDLY" FURNITURE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

ANIXTER ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH HAWORTH AND KRONE

EVOLUTIONARY DATATHING PANEL-TO-PANEL COMMUNICATIONS CABLING FROM THE COMPANY RESPONSIBLE FOR PRE-WIRED MODULAR PANELS

The smart building or intelligent building concept was thrown at the marketplace a few years ago. It didn't fly. The resale of local service and lack of data networks were huge roadblocks to the concept. Today, those roadblocks are getting the same treatment as the Berlin Wall. However, in the rental world of spec buildings, modular furniture continues to offer a host of technical and financial nightmares for a serviceable high performance cabling infrastructure to deliver the features envisioned by the promise of a smart building. This breakthrough by Haworth, Krone, and Anixter may deliver the values to make the intelligent building in the spec market a reality instead of a political promise. After all, Haworth was the pioneer to pre-wire high voltage into modular furniture design. Looks like they have done it again, only this time with communications.

In New York City, on April 29, 1998, Anixter Inc., the global networking and cabling infrastructure specialist, Haworth, Inc. and Krone, Inc. introduced DataThing, a panel-to-panel cabling system expected to revolutionize today's modular workplace. Anixter will provide cabling infrastructure expertise as well as value-added distribution services for DataThing.

As revolutionary today as the pre-wired power panel Haworth introduced in 1976, DataThing™ puts plug-and-play bundles of voice and data cabling into systems furniture to make it information friendly. DataThing™ consists of three simple components: in-feeds, which connect furniture cabling to building cabling; Communication Distribution Assemblies (CDAs), which distribute plug-and-play bundles of voice and data cabling through the panels to streamline moving furniture; and outlet-tap assemblies, which provide plug-and-play outlets for telephones, computers, fax machines and other communications equipment to streamline moving people and equipment.

DataThing gives facility managers, architects and designers a high-quality, high-performance cabling solution for creating adaptable workspaces. Because moving power and data-communications lines alone can account for $300 to $600 per person (or office) when changing or relocating offices, DataThing also helps their clients save money by simplifying change and by decreasing reconfiguration time from hours to minutes.

DataThing's three simple and intuitive components are easily snapped together on site and are just as easily moved, added to, or taken apart and reused in different configurations. This flexibility, in turn, enables systems furniture for the first time to work as it was intended - in a true modular fashion where the panels, the electrical wiring and the communications cabling all snap together.

"DataThing takes modularity and flexibility in furniture systems to a new level without sacrificing the electrical performance required for today's and tomorrow's information application," said Gary Conrad, Senior Vice President, Structured Cabling, Anixter. "Verifying this electrical performance has been one of the key roles Anixter has taken in this innovative partnership, which we're proud to be a part of. Anixter's other role is providing value-added distribution as a leader in the structured cabling industry."

Anixter engineers have tested DataThing components in the company's Structured Cabling Lab in Mount Prospect, Illinois, and have verified that it meets the electrical performance requirements for the Anixter Level 6 designation. This level of performance exceeds the Category 5 performance requirements of the ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A standard. In addition, DataThingä is UL 1873 listed.

DataThing is supported with a 20-year warranty and application insurance from Haworth/KRONE. Developed by Haworth and KRONE, Inc. and distributed by Anixter Inc., DataThing fits within Haworth's systems furniture and Causeway® spine wall.

Anixter Inc. (NYSE: AXE) is a $2.8 billion value-added provider of integrated networking and cabling solutions that support business information and network infrastructure requirements. Anixter teams with customers and contractors to implement these solutions, by combining a variety of integration services and products from the world's leading manufacturers and superior logistics management through a global network of 180 locations. Founded in 1957, Anixter is headquartered in the Chicago area.



For many months, news has trickled into the market place about some technical problems with Multimode Fiber optic cable systems. The news is based on real problems that require real solutions. Recently, a reliable source told us about a new fiber optic break through and solution to the multimode problem. Apparently, Berk-Tek has the magic bullet to slay the transmission monster, which has plagued the light guide-cabling sector. Berk-Tek has distinguished its products in the last several years by pushing the edge of the envelope with better and higher performance solutions.

In June, Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA) www.berktek.com, an Alcatel company www.alcatel.com, may launch GIGAlite enhanced fiber solutions to meet requirements of Gigabit Ethernet; first to offer 62.5/125, 50/125 standards-compliant options.

Berk-Tek, an Alcatel company, may have immediate availability of a next-generation series of fiber solutions to meet the demands of gigabit application protocols such as Gigabit Ethernet and ATM. GIGAlite fiber solutions guarantee that data communication networks will be capable of running the high-speed applications that will be necessary to support the organizations of the future.

During the ongoing development of the Gigabit Ethernet standard, there have been a number of issues raised regarding the capability of the current installed base of multimode fiber. One of the most significant issues concerns the maximum distance that Gigabit Ethernet can run on standard FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface) grade 62.5/125 mm fiber. The current standards draft limits this maximum distance to 220 meters at 850 nm, which does not support many of the intrabuilding and interbuilding backbones in existence.

This inability to support Gigabit Ethernet at the distances necessary with many current LAN installations has created the need for an enhanced performance fiber solution such as the GIGAlite option. The Berk-Tek GIGAlite fiber cable solutions extend the maximum distance to at least 500 meters at both 850 and 1300 nm, giving the network manager the ability to easily upgrade or to immediately utilize Gigabit Ethernet or other Gigabit protocols.

At the heart of Berk-Tek's GIGAlite solution is the latest in optical fiber technology--enhanced performance fibers manufactured by Alcatel. These enhanced performance fibers, manufactured using Alcatel's patented APVD process, provide a significant increase in bandwidth along with superior quality, reliability and consistency. Alcatel is a global leaders in optical fiber technology and is continuing to invest heavily in technology to be able to offer more value to the user.

GIGAlite fiber cables are available with 62.5/125 or 50/125 multimode fiber, each with greatly improved bandwidth over the 62.5/125 FDDI grade multimode fiber, which is the current industry standard.

The aboved described product may mean that Berk-Tek is the first manufacturer to introduce a solution that provides enhanced performance solutions for both the popular EIA-568A compliant 62.5/125 multimode and less widely used 50/125 multimode fiber. This provides the end user with the flexibility to choose an enhanced fiber solution that meets his or her unique requirements.

According to our sources, the introduction of Gigabit communications protocols has invalidated the commonly held assumption that standard 62.5/125 multimode fiber has adequate bandwidth to support all future applications. GIGAlite solutions are an answer to this dilemma, and provide bandwidth that will not only support Gigabit Ethernet, but also the emerging multigigabit protocols such as 2.4 Gbit ATM.

Berk-Tek is one of the global leaders of indoor/outdoor and outside plant fiber optic cable manufacturing. The Berk-Tek plants are UL-registered and ISO 9001. The Berk-Tek fiber optic cables qualify to all current applicable networking standards and provide capabilities for future requirements. Not too shabby! Our hat is off to anyone who can get our industry out of the technical bind we are facing with the current multimode fiber optic cabling system.

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