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HOTS 10/1998

Issue: October 1998

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


Cable Design Technologies Corporation (Pittsburgh, PA) announced August 4th, 1998 that it has acquired 80% of HEW-KABEL in Wipperfurth, Germany for an undisclosed amount.

HEW-KABEL had sales in fiscal year 1997/1998 of approximately $45 million. The company is a leading European manufacturer of fluorocarbon, fluoropolymer and silicon-insulated specialty cables for process control, robotics, transportation, signaling, medical and other specialty applications and has an excellent established base of electronic specification approvals. HEW-KABEL employs over 300 people at a 300,000 square feet, state-of-the-art manufacturing and R&D facility near Cologne. The company is vertically integrated from copper fabrication to patented specialty insulation systems. HEW-KABEL's product lines will open new markets previously not supported by other CDT divisions. HEW-KABEL will become a part of CDT's specialty electronics products business group. The acquisition will allow significant cross-selling opportunities between CDT's specialty electronic facilities in Europe, Scandinavia and North America, and will strongly enhance its strategic position in the European marketplace.

In discussing the announcement, Paul M. Olson, President and CEO, stated, "With the acquisition of HEW-KABEL, we are confirming CDT's vision of expansion into profitable niche markets for specialty electronic cable products outside of North America. HEW-KABEL is a well-established manufacturer of cables requiring customized mechanical and high temperature capabilities including a wide variety of insulation and sheath materials for extreme and hazardous conditions. HEW-KABEL is one of the largest suppliers of tape-wrapped PTFE Teflon® cable products in Europe. CDT will enlarge the product offering of the HEW-KABEL facilities to include high tech specialty Internet cable products (both copper and fiber optic) for local and wide area networking, and communication systems. We are pleased to welcome HEW-KABEL and its employees as they bring to CDT a vast array of technical skills that will enhance the broad spectrum of our product offerings."

Cable Design Technologies is a leading manufacturer of technologically advanced electronic data transmission cables for network, communications, specialty electronics, and automation and process control applications, including complete voice and data wiring solutions, fiber optic connective solutions and other components required to build high performance telecommunications infrastructures.

ICC (International Connectors and Cable Corp.) continues to innovate with a total systems approach. ICC has introduced the HiPerLink 1000® (High Performance Link) channel to provide network users with a superior cabling solution for high-speed networking, including Gigabit Ethernet. The HiPerLink 1000® channel is an end-to-end connectivity system, which uses ICC's enhanced power sum components as building blocks. ICC components, such as the IC1078E5 CAT 5e connector and ICC enhanced Category 5 patch panel, are matched with CAT 5e horizontal cables from approved cable partners. The ICC components specified in a HiPerLink 1000® channel exceed the requirements of the proposed CAT 5e channel specifications.

Another milestone in the world of high-speed copper cable connectivity is achieved as Prestolite Wire Corporation and Ortronics Connectivity Solutions earn certification for meeting the Anixter Levels ChannelSM (ALCSM) 6 performance requirements. These High-Speed LAN Technologies combine to offer more reliable and consistent transmission channels.

The two technologies recognized by Anixter, Inc. are Ortronics' end-to-end connectivity products and the Prestolite Wire's Netlink 2000.

The Anixter Levels Channel program was created in 1997 to define cabling system performance beyond 100 MHz. The complete channel, or cabling infrastructure, includes connectors, patch cords, patch panels, information outlets and cable.

Anixter tests all technologies in its state-of-the-art Structured Cabling Interoperability Lab in Mount Prospect, Ill., certifying that each component of a system when linked together meets the ALC 6 requirements. To assure customers that they are receiving Anixter Levels-certified product, the Anixter part number and the "Anixter Levels Tested & Certified" logo appear on all packaging.

UNICOM, Inc. (City of Industry, CA) a manufacturer of networking products, unveiled it's newly built world-wide headquarters on July 30th, 1998. The event was a proven success and one of UNICOM's highest achievements.

Founded in 1986 by Mr. Jeffrey Lo, UNICOM developed high-end solutions for local area networks. Throughout the years, UNICOM's products endured in quality, performance and reliability and are now becoming a standard in the networking community. End-to-end solutions include the latest in high-speed data communication components such as hubs, switches and media converters. UNICOM provides all physical data connections for multi-story and campus premises, such as the FASTRAK350 products that allow for greater data bandwidths, higher speeds and enhanced network performance.

UNICOM continues to meet and exceed network requirements around the world while providing a high level of customer service and technical support. The new facilities mark the DAWNING OF A NEW DECADE for UNICOM.

Get your FREE copy of UNICOM's Ethernet & Fast Ethernet solutions. This comprehensive catalog reveals information on how to interconnect the most popular network applications such as 10Base-2, 10Base-T, 100Base-TX and 100Base-FX. Detailed full-color diagrams show you how it's done. Plus, you'll find everything from compact hubs and switches to converters, transceivers and adapter cards.

Hats off to Jack "J.R." Sigmon, Jr. - President of FiberCor, Inc. (Statesville, NC - 704/871-8108) for building a top-notch fiber optic cable installation firm. For almost a decade, the FiberCor team has grown and added an impressive list of accomplishments. They are experienced with Lucent, 3M, Siecor, AMP, Molex and numerous other Fiber Optic materials. Their primary market area is the Southeastern United States; however, their specialized fiber optic installation vehicles could be directed to a job anywhere in the country. J.R. and his wife/partner, "Rocky", uphold the finest business traditions and quality control through continuous staff training with the Association of Cabling Professionals (ACP), BICSI, and a host of manufacturer-specific certifications. We've had a chance to see their workmanship and talk with their customers. We agree that FiberCor, Inc. is the kind of installation company that gets the job done right - on time and often under budget.

When it comes to expertise, Champlain Cable Corp. has a real winner on their team. Dick Patterson, senior design engineer at Champlain Cable Corp, has consistently been one of the industry's leading experts. Whether as a member of a TIA working group or as the designer of a new high performance cable, Dick has consistently displayed his technological expertise. Since coming to Champlain in 1989, he has lead the charge in helping to design leading edge cable products. Among them are a 25 pair power sum cable that has no bundles, wraps or inner jackets and the newly released Megaclear which delivers "Category 6" performance without the use of fillers or bonded pairs. Dick's expertise is often sought out at TIA meetings and he has become a strong force in the recent review of Addendum #3 addressing alien crosstalk in bundled cables. Although he may not be verbose, his opinion is highly regarded and his foresight is extremely helpful. We are thankful to have professionals like Dick working in our industry helping us to stay ahead of the technology curve.

Champlain Cable's Megaclear is one of the highest performing UTP cable designs on the market today. The cable's electrical performance meets or exceeds all existing or proposed standards (this includes Category 6 and Anixter Level 7). By maintaining a Power Sum ACR measurement of 15 dB out to 200 MHz, Megaclear exceeds these standards by a wide margin. Unique in design, the product is easily terminated and has no fillers or bonded pairs. Megaclear is readily available in plenum and riser designs.

Ausimont USA, Inc. (Thorofare, NJ) has introduced an ECTFE based resin utilizing their new copolymer synthesis technology. This new resin, VATAR™ XT, developed to meet the tough requirements of our ever-changing industry, was specifically designed for profile extruded components.

VATAR™ XT fluoropolymer resin possesses the properties of standard ECTFE (Halar®) but has been modified to dampen the effect of pair-to-pair crosstalk in Level 7 UTP cable constructions. VATAR™ XT also has excellent electrical properties; compliments the all fluoropolymer design criteria with regard to fire and smoke plenum safety and is flexible for easy installations, even in low temperatures.

Ausimont also has their VATAR 2000 fluoropolymer, which is designed as a flexible JACKETING material for all-fluoropolymer UTP communications cables. VATAR 2000 passes the UL 910 Steiner Tunnel Test as a jacketing material over four twisted pair FEP primaries.

Reported to meet the 125°C temperature rating requirement, the properties of the resin allow for the production of smooth translucent jackets up to 10 mils thick. VATAR shows significant improvements in flexibility while maintaining the desired electrical properties (Translation: no kinking problems!).

There are many changes on the codes and standards front. You can spend a fortune in research time OR you can subscribe to Cabling Standards UPDATE (Pleasanton, CA - 800/492-8422). We like the format and explanations in the Cabling Standards UPDATE quarterly publication. This is a real bargain and discounts are available to members of ACP and BICSI. Their website is

Corning Incorporated has introduced a new multimode optical fiber product line designed to revolutionize the performance and design of local area networks by enabling longer link lengths at Gigabit Ethernet speeds.

Corning® Infinicor™ fiber offers an unparalleled level of performance to the networking industry with longer lengths for today's fastest LAN protocol, Gigabit Ethernet. Many fibers in the industry are specified only in terms of overfilled bandwidth, as a measure of performance with existing LED sources. They also may not characterize for use with laser sources such as those used in the latest generation LAN protocols.

Corning is able to contractually guarantee Gigabit Ethernet link lengths for two reasons. First, Corning uses a unique, patented Outside Vapor Deposition (OVD) process to manufacture optical fiber. The OVD process produces the highest quality, most consistent multimode fiber available, supporting both existing LED sources as well as newer laser sources. Second, Corning uses innovative manufacturing quality architecture to ensure achievable link lengths. According to Windsor Thomas, Corning Incorporated's Premises Product Line Manager, "By guaranteeing link lengths, Infinicor™ fiber has significantly simplified the fiber purchase decision. We have narrowed the decision criteria to something everybody can easily understand - length. Network planners will no longer need to determine what bandwidth they need to assure optimal network performance for today and into the future."

Corning's new product line includes two new fibers: Infinicor™ 300 fiber and Infinicor™ 600 fiber. Infinicor™ 300 fiber is guaranteed contractually to transmit at Gigabit Ethernet speeds to 300 meters at 850nm and 550 meters at 1300nm*. It is well suited for centralized cabling, riser and fiber-to-the-desktop applications. Infinicor™ 300 fiber is a fully standards-compliant 62.5-micron fiber that is guaranteed to be completely compatible with existing multimode fiber networks. It is capable of meeting not only today's bandwidth needs, but also the needs of emerging high-bandwidth applications well into the future.

Infinicor™ 600 fiber is guaranteed contractually to transmit at Gigabit Ethernet speeds up to 600 meters in both the 850 and 1300nm operating windows*. It is designed to cover local area network applications including: backbone or campus, riser, centralized cabling and fiber-to-the-desk. Infinicor™ 600 fiber is a fully standards-compliant 50-micron fiber that is guaranteed to be completely compatible with existing multimode fiber networks. Infinicor™ 600 fiber is the best value in the industry - providing twice the link length at comparable installed costs. It offers local area network designers the ability to control costs while meeting all current and future bandwidth needs.

According to Wendell Weeks, Corning Incorporated's Senior Vice President of opto-electronics, "Infinicor™ 300 and Infinicor™ 600 fibers offer superior performance and value in the premises environment. By providing a longer link length at Gigabit Ethernet speeds, Infinicor™ fiber bypasses all of the complexity in the purchasing decision by giving end users what they are actually interested in - link length."

Established in 1851, Corning Incorporated creates leading-edge technologies for the fastest-growing segments of the world's economy. For communications and communications-related industries, Corning manufactures optical fiber, photonic components, high-performance glass and components for television, and other electronic displays and equipment. Corning also manufacturers advanced materials for scientific and environmental markets. Corning's total revenues in 1997 were $3.5 billion. More information on the company is available at

*NOTE - when transmitting at lower speeds - such as 100 Mbps - Infinicor™ 300 and Infinicor™ 600 support much longer distances.

Ortronics Corporation (Pawcatuck, CT), a leading manufacturer of flexible networking solutions for structured cabling systems, has expanded its international operations with the opening of seven new offices in Europe, Central/South America and in Asia.

Ortronics International Ltd., the European arm of Ortronics, has seen tremendous growth over the past ten months. A 400% increase in sales in the European market has enabled Ortronics International to open four new European offices located in France, Sweden, Spain and Turkey to accommodate the rapid growth. Ortronics Inc. opened Ortronics International initially with offices in the UK and Italy.

The management team at Ortronics headed by Howard Odom, President and CEO has added two new Vice President appointees. Rob Rouse has been appointed Senior Vice President of Global Marketing. He will be responsible for overseeing all product-marketing activities, corporate strategic planning and he will be working closely with sales agents and distribution channels. Rouse brings 25 years of international marketing, sales and management experience to Ortronics. He has held vice president positions within divisions of Hubbell, Inc., Siemens and Emerson Electric.

The other appointee, David Gibson, in now Ortronics' Vice President of Marketing. Gibson will be responsible for coordinating inter-company market strategies and the integration of Ortronics' product offerings with the Legrand subsidiaries, maximizing Ortronics' position in the marketplace. Gibson has 20 years of marketing and sales experience in the electrical industry.

American Access Technologies, Inc. in Altamonte Springs, Florida, announced recently that it has begun supplying Harris Semiconductors (Melbourne, FL), a unit of Harris Corporation, with multiple units of its Zone Cabling Termination Cabinet product for raising floors. Anixter International, Inc. acts as distributor in the sale.

American Access' patented, UL-approved Zone Cabling Termination Cabinet (ZCTC) products for ceiling grids and raised floors apply the concept of "Zone Cabling" to replace conventional telecommunications wiring with a system that provides complete flexibility for voice and data cabling infrastructures. In addition to the benefits of greater convenience and ease-of-use, zone cabling is estimated to reduce the long term cost of installing and maintaining a telecom wiring system by as much as 70%. Richard A. Murray, President & CEO of American Access Technologies, Inc. proudly noted that Harris Semiconductor engineers had even replaced the floor tiles in their mainframe room with 1½-inch clear acrylic to show off American Access' new technology.

Anicom, Inc. (Rosemont, IL), a national distribution specialist of multimedia wiring systems which sees itself as a "general store" supplying the multimedia wiring and connectivity products that are the posts, pans and jeans of the telecommunications and Internet gold rush, has announced record results for the second quarter and first six months.

Net income available to common stockholders for the quarter ended June 30. 1998 increased 194% to an all-time high of $2.8 million, from $1.0 million in the second quarter of 1997. For the six months ended June 30, 1998, net income available to common stockholders increased 197 % to $5.5 million, up from $1.9 million reported at June 30, 1997.

Main Highlights from the TIA Meeting on August 17-19, 1998 in Calgary, Canada:

Cat 5 and Cat 5e: The draft addendum for Additional Transmission Parameters for CAT 5 has been changed to TSB-95 "Technical Systems Bulletin" (advisory). Draft Addendum #5 will be issue for CAT 5e. Both proposed standards are in the balloting process which stalled when TIA failed to send ballot documents to all members. No substantive technical changes. Approval of both proposed standards is still expected by the end of September.

New multimode fiber for horizontal: 50micron multimode fiber has been proposed as an addition to the list of approved cable types for horizontal cabling. This fiber type was introduced to overcome the problem with 62.5micron for Gigabit Ethernet.

New 568 B standard: The next generation standard, 568B, is moving forward slowly. The goal is to issue the document by the year 2000. However, no committed time line has been developed and meeting this date looks doubtful.

Next generation CAT 6: CAT 6 will be the focus of the UTP systems task group at their next interim meeting October 6 & 7, 1998. (Anixter may host.) A new draft standard has been developed but it will not go out for ballot in the near term. Electrical performance will be specified to 250 MHz with positive ACR at 200 MHz. Improved attenuation has become a contentious issue along with accuracy levels of field testers and other technical issues waiting in the wings. Overall, cable design and performance are ahead of connectors and test equipment but a standard will not go out for ballot until these pieces have been defined. One TIA committee member expects it will probably be 2 years before the CAT 6 standard is issued. At a recent IEEE meeting, a representative of Lucent said that he believed CAT 6 could be 90% of the market in 2 years. This was perceived as overly bullish but mention was made of a Forrester study that estimated CAT 6 could be 10% to 50% of the market. Currently, we do not know timing of the Forrester report projections.

FO Connectors shot down: New fiber optic connectors were developed to further reduce cost and improve competitiveness vs. copper. Although these new connectors are simpler and offer higher density, this effort may have backfired. Consensus is that none of the five (5) new connectors evaluated offer a sufficient level of improvement to qualify as the new TIA approved connector. While there was an attempt to allow all candidate connectors in the standard, the proposal did not fly. It was seen as degradation of the 568 A standard which could trigger a FO connector "free for all" in the market. This would represent a black eye for TIA if accepted. Moral: new components and/or systems must display a "step change" in performance to gain support for a new standard.

Last month, we told you about the EZ Tray cable tray system from Cablofil Inc., St. Louis, Mo. Cablofil, Inc. has now produced an accompanying product to make the EZ Tray even easier to install. Cablofil's patented Fast Assembly System (FAS) reduced installation time by utilizing a one-step process that doesn't require any screws, bolts, or other tools. The only tool required with the FAS is a screwdriver. This innovative product also makes installation safer because installers will not have to deal with small nuts and bolts in high places.

The FAS is engineered from rugged and rust-resistant galvanized steel and comes with a versatile range of profiles and brackets adaptable to virtually every type of application. Check this product out. FAS has the potential to save you time and money during every phase of any project you tackle.

Belgacom North America (Westport, CT), the North American arm of Belgacom, Belgium's national and international telecommunications carrier, has launched their first Internet-based Consultant Liaison Program (CLP). Designed for telecommunications consultants with an international focus, the website requires qualified consultants to register in order to join the CLP. Once issued a password, consultants have access to information and assistance specially designed to help them better serve their clients. The CLP meets the unique requirements of consultants developing Requests for Proposals (RFP's) or preparing presentations. Consultants can register online at or call (203) 221-5217.

A new school district has been established inside the town limits of Wireville. It's called "SAFE SCHOOLS". Its purpose is to provide critical information on the fire safety of data communications cable for cabling K-12 schools. Information on the fuel load of various materials is provided along with some good technical papers. We encourage all of those interested in K-12 cabling and school fire safety to check out the new section of Wireville.

A lot of folks anticipated there would be another FEP supply crunch that would drive up prices for CAT 5 plenum cable. It ain't happenin'! Since demand still appears to be fairly strong, many believe that soft cable prices are due to overbuilt inventories. The "make it low…sell it high" formula doesn't seem to be working. With all of the CAT 5 plenum cable capacity added over the past few years, one tends to wonder if there isn't an industry shake out and consolidation on the horizon.

Despite market gyrations and the imminent Enhanced CAT 5 (CAT 5e) standard, almost all cable manufacturers are uniformly using 100% FEP for superior electrical and fire safety properties. And speaking of Enhanced CAT5, which is recommended for new cabling projects designed to support Gigabit Ethernet, what is going to happen to good ole CAT 5? Except for upgrades to existing CAT 5 infrastructure cabling, why would anyone install CAT5 if CAT 5e is the best available industry standard? Now include Anixter Levels 6 and 7, which go beyond minimum industry standards, and we have a real interesting scenario. When it comes to CAT 5 we can't help but remember the old adage: "Today's new pup is tomorrow's old dog". Interesting times ahead.

According to the 1998 Data Communications annual "Data Comm Users' Survey", Sprint Corporation "has crashed the perennial favorite's party" - AT&T- by delivering to customers data communications services that address the emerging needs of business and facilitate the exchange of information.

The annual survey asks corporate data users to rate long distance carriers on network performance, customer service and value-added perks. The results show Sprint's strong leadership over AT&T, Worldcom and MCI in the customer services arena, while moving ahead of the competition in the value-added and technical services categories of Frame Relay an Internet Access.

"Sprint is extremely excited to be recognized as the industry leader in providing data communications services. We make it a priority to understand the data transmission challenges of a global information-based economy and deliver solutions that address the needs of business customers," said Michael Franz, President of Sprint Business.

The Data Comm user Survey award comes on the heels of Sprint's number one ranking in an annual customer satisfaction survey from J.D. Power and Associates. For the fourth consecutive year, Sprint was rated #1 in overall customer satisfaction among high volume residential long distance customers.

Sprint has proven its capability to effectively diversify and succeed. We will see a much greater level of participation by Sprint in high performance cabling for the on-premise marketplace. From long distance to wireless PCS (and the building cabling in between) Sprint has plans for a significant market share.

You can find the complete results on the Data Comm User Survey in the August 7, 1998 issue of Data Communications magazine or check it out on the web at

AMP under attack. AMP faces hostile takeover. AMP rebuffs AlliedSignal. Things settle back to normal. Now that's the condensed version "Reader's Digest Style".

There's a new gun in town. Bob Kenny has recently moved from Belden to Prestolite Wire Corporation. We asked Bob for his reaction to the new environment. Bob said he was very pleasantly surprised to find the advanced level of technical capabilities at the plants in Nebraska and Vermont, and commented, "this is a world-class operation with some big surprises in the near future". We asked if the big surprise included a new plant (somewhere in the central Sunbelt) and we got the "No Comment" kind of response that indicates we may have been on the right track.

Bob Kenny has been a technical team leader for Belden with DataTwist™ and MediaTwist™ to his credit. In the last decade, Bob has earned six (6) U.S. and two (2) international patents with a host of patents pending. Mr. Kenny's addition to the already impressive team at Prestolite Wire translates into more high-performance and high-quality as their family of products continues its rapid growth to meet the challenges of the new millennium before it arrives. With Bob Kenny and Tim Berelsman on the same technical team, the energy is high and the possibilities are exciting.

Preston Speers, Vice President and General Manager of Prestolite Wire has made some changes in his team roster as they prepare to win the "Cabling Superbowl". Here's the line-up:

Tim Berelsman Director, Technology Development and Integration

Fran Towey Director, Marketing and Sales for the

Telecommunications Products Group

Ray Brookings Director of Sales,

North American Premise Wire Market

Bill Mills Director, Telecommunications OEM Sales

David Janusz (Assumes additional responsibilities of searching for

OEM sales opportunities in the West.)

David Burton Federal Markets Manager

Bob Kenny Director of Data Cable Technology

Bill Fetter Ingram Micro Global Account Manager

Brenda Fuson Field Sales Representative - Michigan

Be sure and check the class schedule for Cabling Business Institute in Dallas. CBI has also added the ACP certified 200 course to their offering They have a world-class training facility with regular classes on installation, structured wiring with Category 5 certification, LANs, fiber optics and design.

ACP Continuation Training Program

Course 200

Available at Cabling Business Institute


On the Road from ACP: When you want it & Where you want it.

For additional information, contact:

Grace Shimp at ACP at 904-645-6018, email


Cindy Webb at Cabling Business Institute 214-328-1717,



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