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HOTS 11/1998

Issue: November 1998

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


Fluke Corporation (Everett, WA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Danaher Corporation, and a world leader in compact, professional electronic test tools, announced their acquisition of Pomona Electronics, a manufacturer of electronic test and measurement accessories, from its parent company, ITT Industries. Pomona will continue as Pomona Electronics and will operate as a division of Fluke Corporation.

Fluke has introduced a Next Generation Digital Cable Tester with diagnostics, performance specified for new standards. The new DSP-4000 also features a fiber optic test adapter. If you were fortunate enough to attend the Fluke Grand Announcement of this new product at the BICSI Las Vegas '98 Conference, you saw a comprehensive presentation by Hugo Draye about this new generation in testing capabilities. The Fluke DSP-4000 Digital CableAnalyzer™ test tool performs tests to 350 MHz and offers enhanced diagnostic capabilities. Furthermore, the tester also features a fiber optic test adapter for two-way testing of dual multimode links. To go right to the information use

The Gigabit Ethernet standard was formally ratified by the IEEE Standards Board, receiving 100% approval and no comments. While the specifications have been stable for many months, ratification of IEEE 802.3z (Gigabit Ethernet) confirms the interoperability and stability of Gigabit Ethernet technology.

According to the Gigabit Ethernet Alliance (GEA), ratification took place during IEEE Standards Board meetings on June 24 and 25. The ratification results from a review by RevCom (IEEE Standards Board Standards Review Committee) and the IEEE Standards Board, the two bodies responsible for ensuring the IEEE procedures were followed in developing the standard.

"All Packet Engines' products are compliant with IEEE 802.3z (Gigabit Ethernet)," commented Bernard Daines, President and CEO of Packet Engines. "Packet Engines is committed to the ongoing development of new standards such as IEEE 802.3ab (gigabit over copper), and furthering technology to take networks to the next level."

Cable Design Technologies released their year-end and 4th quarter results in September. For fiscal year 1998, CDT increased year-over-year sales in all four of its business groups: Network systems products grew 8.6% to $270.7 million; Communications cable grew 24.8% to $122.6 million, and it is estimated that on an adjusted copper price basis versus a year ago, growth was approximately 29.5%; Automation & process control increased 35.2% to $143.4 million; and Specialty electronic increased 102.2% to $103.8 million. What does all this mean? It means that the year ahead is going to be very strong for CDT. The smart money is on CDT and the buyers with an eye for quality are migrating to the products offered by the CDT family of companies.

More hot news . . . CDT recently announced that it has acquired Red Hawk (Network Essentials, Inc.) of Milpitas, CA, for an undisclosed amount.

With annual sales of approximately $5 million, Red Hawk is a rapidly growing supplier of fiber optic assemblies to the OEM market for voice, video and data equipment. Applications for Red Hawk's products include gigabit ethernet assemblies, fiber optic cross connect products and high quality splitter modules for the backbone of the World Wide Web. The purchase of Red Hawk is CDT's second acquisition in the first quarter of fiscal 1999. In August they announced the acquisition of HEW-KABEL of Germany.

Ortronics Inc., Pawcatuck, CT, now offers In House residential and SoHo (small office/home office), complete Category 5 structured cabling systems for multimedia applications such as voice, data, audio, video, internet, security, energy management and other electronic services.

To support this system, a variety of networking products is available including Category 5, fiber optic and coax distribution cabinets and multimedia wall outlets.

The In House Cabinet is the common distribution point of the whole home automation system. There are different styles of cabinets available depending on an owner's application. Cabinets are modular in design and accommodate a variety of In House Media Panels allowing for easy installation, moves, adds and changes and troubleshooting.

In House Media Panels offer the installer or end user the flexibility to configure telecommunications and other electronic services to their specific needs with the ability to upgrade as technology advances.

Alcatel, Paris, France, has launched GIGAlite™, the latest fiber optic cable design that guarantees a transmission of one Gigabit on a distance in LAN's of 550 meters, twice the performance of existing fiber cabling. The recently ratified Gigabit Ethernet Standard from the IEEE 802.3z Committee had previously limited support up to 275 meters, insufficient for many of today's and tomorrow's networks.

At the heart of the GIGAlite™ solution is the latest in optical fiber technology - enhanced performance fibers manufactured by Alcatel. These ultra high-grade fibers, manufactured using Alcatel's patented new APVD (Advanced Plasma Vapor Deposition Process), provide a significant increase in bandwidth along with superior quality, reliability and consistency.

Alcatel is the first manufacturer to introduce a solution that provides enhanced performance solutions for both 62.5/125 multimode and 50/125-multimode fiber. This gives end users the flexibility to choose an enhanced fiber solution that meets their unique requirements, regardless of their existing infrastructure and preferences.

To give engineers more convenient desktop access to technical information, the IEEE will launch Internet and Intranet versions of the IEEE/IEE Electronic Library 2.0 in early 1999. The IEL database contains full-page images of IEEE/IEE journals, magazines, transactions, conference proceedings, standards and colloquia published since 1988.

Berk-Tek, New Holland, PA, announced in September 1998 that Leviton Telcom is an approved Connectivity Partner for all copper and fiber optic solutions being offered to the data communications market under Berk-Tek's Open Architecture Systems Interconnection Solutions (OASIS) Program.

On the college scene, Berk-Tek provided cable for a major, recently completed project - a new $3 million voice, data and Internet campus network of Kutztown University, Kutztown, serving nine dormitory buildings.

Some 600,000 feet of premises distribution fiber optic cable from Berk-Tek has enabled Kutztown University to move into the world of 21st century communications, noted Kent Dahlquist, director of Housing and Residence Life. The fiber (4 multimode, 2 singlemode) "future-proofs" the new ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) campus network that also includes a Category 5 voice and data and coaxial cable run to more than 3,000 drops in the dorms. Four new common student computer areas are also part of the new network that connects with the university's existing switched Ethernet campus network.

Chromatic Technologies, Inc. (Cti), Franklin, MA, a leading manufacturer of fiber optic cables, and Helix/HiTemp Cables, Inc. (HHT), Franklin, MA, a leading supplier of premise and electronic wire and cable products, introduced their new structured cabling program, Harmony™. The Harmony™ program is an open architecture solution that brings together multiple component vendors to provide their customers with highly flexible end-to-end structured cabling solutions guaranteed to meet and exceed industry standards for link and channel performance.

A number of prominent component manufacturers have created a new organization to promote the use and deployment of the VF-45 fiber interconnects in optical fiber networks. The VF-45 Action Group will actively support the VF-45 connector, the leading next-generation interconnect design for premises networks, in standards organizations, industry forums, and product design and development. The vendor alliance will also educate OEMs and end users on the benefits of fiber optics.

The VF-45 Action Group is an independent industry organization comprised of electronics manufacturers and networking hardware vendors. The partnership's mission is to increase market acceptance of the VF-45 fiber interconnect by supporting standards organizations, industry forums, and product design and development. The vendor alliance educates both OEMs and end users on the benefits of fiber optics in premises networks.

Alcatel (Paris, France) and Packet Engines, Inc. (Spokane, WA) today jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Alcatel will acquire Packet Engines, Inc. in a cash transaction. Packet Engines delivers one of the highest performance wire-speed routing and Gigabit Ethernet solutions available today. This acquisition is in line with Alcatel's previously stated strategy to enter the IP market with closely controlled technologies and to expand its presence in the U.S. Packet Engines' product lines will also complement Alcatel's current data and enterprise offering with high-end routers and Gigabit Ethernet LAN switches.

Mohawk/CDT announces the release of the AdvanceLite™ fiber optic cable product line designed for use with gigabit networks. The cables provide guaranteed link lengths to handle Gigabit Ethernet transmission, while maintaining full compatibility with existing installed FDDI-grade cable. AdvanceLite™ cables are manufactured exclusively with Corning™ Infinicor™ fiber to provide the highest level of quality and consistent performance. Along with Mohawk's standard TruLite™ fiber optic cables, AdvanceLite™ cable comes with the industry's only third party verified performance to TIA/EIA-568-A.

Today's newest optical networking technologies are being designed with laser-based transmitters instead of traditional light emitting diodes (LED's). The advent of Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSEL) has led to the deployment of low cost, high speed sources. These sources are used in 1000 Base SX transmitters, which operate at the 850nm wavelength. In traditional multimode fibers, the bandwidth is characterized with an LED overfill source, which does not sufficiently characterize the performance of the fiber under actual operating conditions. AdvanceLite™ cables, with Infinicor™ fiber, are designed to work with VCSEL's, and other laser sources, as well as LED-based sources.

AdvanceLite™ 300 provides for a 300-meter cable length as defined by TIA/EIA TSB-72. AdvanceLite™ 600 provides for a 600-meter cable length, which exceeds the requirements of ISO 11801 and IEEE 802.3/z.

Has technology got your head spinning? The speeds of our networks continue to reach higher and higher levels and are far beyond our earlier predictions of the edge of the envelope. These new fiber optic possibilities are so amazing in speed and bandwidth that we will see a whole new generation in networks very soon . . . Gigabit Ethernet may be for Freshmen and beginners before you know it.

Picture this, a few years from now (in the new millennium) we may have warning labels on the cable boxes:


Accu-Tech is a remarkable company. Their steady growth and market penetration originally attracted Anixter to acquire their company. Since then, their growth has continued in a very healthy fashion. They recently opened another new branch in Pompano Beach, FL and Todd Delavie, Branch Manager reports top notch results in that area. Over all, the Accu-Tech organization has seen virtually no change or loss of the "entrepreneurial staff" that originally built this dynamic company. The Anixter influence has been positive but has not altered the winning combination that was already in place. Remember: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.



Texcan had fiscal 1998 revenues of $116 million

Texcan has 20 North American locations

Anicom (Rosemont, IL) has announced it has acquired Canadian distribution specialist Texcan Cables for a purchase price consisting of approximately 1,400,000 shares of common stock, preferred stock convertible into approximately 1,400,000 additional shares of common stock, and $27 million in cash. Anicom will also assume approximately $12 million of bank indebtedness. This marks Anicom's 16th acquisition in the last three years.

Association of Cabling Professionals (ACP - Jacksonville, FL) announced the promotion of Grace T. Shimp to Vice President. Ms. Shimp has served the ACP organization since its formation. She will continue to serve as Membership Coordinator, however her expanded responsibilities will include Conferences and Expositions.

"The Information Superhighway begins in Wireville" is the motto for the website of the Association of Cabling Professionals. However, there is a new highway in Cable Land. Prestolite Wire Corporation (Southfield, MI) has developed a new product to meet the challenges for the discerning buyer who wants to step up to the new Enhanced Category 5 cable performance requirements. Their new product is called 55E. Compared to the new paths for our information needs, this product is like a new interstate, ready to handle the load.

Cablofil, Inc. (St. Louis, MO) has introduced a Resource Guide on compact disk to make specifying and ordering the EZ Tray™ system easier than ever. For product overview, the CD Resource Guide features the EZ Tray™ and Fas System™ catalogs, as well as illustrations of the EZ Tray™ system and components, AutoCad drawings and EZ Tray™ product specifications. For users who are ready to specify a project, the fill ratio table is useful for determining the amount of cable a particular tray will hold.

Fred Fromm has been named President and CEO of Siemens Information and Communication Networks Inc., a newly formed United States-based company resulting from a global reorganization of the information and communication businesses of electronics and engineering leader Siemens AG.

From the Siemens Information and Communication Networks headquarters in Boca Raton, Fromm leads an extensive organization of approximately 8,000 employees, including facilities in Santa Clara, CA, Cherry Hill, NJ, and Lake Mary, FL, and sales and support offices located throughout the United States. At the international level, the Siemens Information and Communication groups represent approximately 40% of the $64 billion in revenues that Siemens reported in fiscal year 1997 and about 25% of its worldwide employee base.


Recently, some Lucent ads have appeared with a Pawley Island style hammock made from SYSTIMAX® SCS cable. I wonder how many thousand feet of cable ordered would be required to get the hammock. The SYSTIMAX® SCS will definitely take a load off your network and your mind with its vast bandwidth.

Do you want the most up-to-date SYSTIMAX product information, anytime, for free? Check out the SYSTIMAX Online Catalog at, and click on "online catalog." There you'll find a wealth of information about their entire product line, including product overviews, specifications and photos as well as comcodes and product numbers. Don't forget to check our website's ROUTER for links to most of the leading cabling industry websites.

Who is Champlain Cable Corporation? From their humble beginning (1955) in Winooski, VT as American Super Temperature Wires, Inc. to their Swiss-based international headquarters, this company has become a major "player" in the marketplace. Keep an eye on them for new high performance cabling products.

For over 40 years, Champlain Cable Corporation has been recognized as one of the leading producers of high performance insulated wire and cable. Originally focused on aerospace and military markets, Champlain Cable demonstrated the ability to develop products with outstanding mechanical performance and resistance to temperature extremes, fuels, solvents and outgassing. Champlain continues to meet performance requirements with increasingly smaller and lighter designs.

Supported by the global resources of its Switzerland-based parent company, Huber+Suhner AG, Champlain serves an expanding customer base. Automotive, industrial and data communications companies increasingly rely on Champlain Cable.

The BICSI Fall '98 Conference was held in Las Vegas, NV. The program was well planned and executed. This conference was enhanced by several extremely valuable side bar presentations. Fluke unveiled their new super tester for cable in a black tie affair that was quite impressive. Mohawk/CDT and Corning, Inc. made a joint luncheon presentation on the new fiber optic disciplines. Be sure and check out the new expanded website in case you missed their program:

There were several other outstanding programs. Anixter/Krone/Haworth presented the DataThing™. This new pre-wired high-performance cabling system for Haworth modular furniture will quite possibly change the office place by putting us one giant step closer to the "smart building" particularly in the spec space of the rental marketplace. This patented product will offset many costs that occur in the MAC (moves, adds, & changes) environment with modular furniture and highly mobile tenants. Look for cost data to be released soon.

LeCroy (Chestnut Ridge, NY) teamed with Anixter to demonstrate NEWSLine™, a network analysis system that incorporates many technologies in one product. This system provides cable testing, transmitter characterization (tests signal strength and integrity), emissions analysis, protocol decoding and event counters in a single probe. This is the first seven-layer probe (based on the ISO Open Systems Interconnect Model Layers) that crosses the technology barrier between the physical layers and the upper layers dealing with protocol and analysis of the network from the top down. If you are looking for a full spectrum of facilities and network management, this is your baby. We were "blown away" by the capabilities and the reasonable price tag.

In the highly competitive world of cable testers, Scope Communications Inc. (Marlborough, MA) is making their mark. Scope is now five years old and has been growing by leaps and bounds. They are likely to make the Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies this year. Peter Williams, President stressed the corporate focus on quality, quality, quality. "We are growing but we are not sacrificing our high standards for product performance and service." ETL has selected the Scope Communications Inc. test equipment for their performance analysis testing. That's a major confirmation in the Scope story.

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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