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HOTS 02/1999

Issue: February 1999

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


The "spec" (rental space) market is sizing up the move into structured wiring and the resale of IS type services. Both BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) and NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties) are looking at these potentially lucrative areas of pulling dollars out of non-traditional budget columns. Think of the opportunities as over ONE HUNDRED BILLION SQUARE FEET of office space changes from an unmanaged expense mode to an asset driven infrastructure investment. Yes, indeed, 1999 may be a "biggee" for the Cabling Business.

Telecommunications has held a firm position on the BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) agenda for several years, and after several hard-earned victories in 1998, BOMA is aimed at further reform in the new year. Some telecommunications providers want government-mandated access to free or reduced-rate space within office buildings for the installation of their equipment and wiring. Such "forced entry" proposals, which would disregard space limitations, safety, security, provider's reputation and the economic impact on the property - in addition to the taking of space without proper compensation -threatens the property rights of the building owners. Currently, the legality of forced building entry is being challenged in five states and as many as 12 states are considering the issue. BOMA International encourages real estate professionals to become actively involved at the state level to protect our rights from this unjust taking of space by telecommunications companies.

Environmentally, BOMA International will continue to support the reauthorization of Superfund legislation to foster the cleanup of contaminated sites and improve our quality of life. Absent this legislation, BOMA supports brownfields legislation to transform the contaminated urban sites into useable, economically self-sufficient properties.

Why Structured Cabling?

The Big News in "Wireville" is MOHAWK/CDT's new program for structured cabling. CDT (Cable Design Technologies) has taken the best features of all the industry programs and eliminated the problems and shortcomings of the earlier issues of their competitors' plans. The new structured program by CDT addresses all the issues, which are important to the contractors and vital to the end users.

The cabling infrastructure is as important to a building utility as heat, power and plumbing. Voice and data communication is the life-blood of the business enterprise. Network downtime losses can often run to thousands of dollars per hour. The cabling infrastructure must be able to accommodate business growth in changing personnel functions as well as evolving communication technologies. Mohawk/CDT has introduced a standards based structured cabling utility called SystemMATE™ to provide the critical path system performance necessary to enable the business network to operate with current and NEXT generation technology. When it absolutely, positively, must work in your network... SystemMATE™ is definitely the SEXY solution for the new millennium.

SystemMATE is an industry standard structured cabling utility that enables seamless communication between active devices across the enterprise. SystemMATE addresses all of the elements of infrastructure cabling to facilitate moves, additions, and changes of end-user applications. Commercial buildings, manufacturing facilities, college campuses, and hospitals can be cabled with a comprehensive system solution that offers electrical and optical performance, mechanical reliability and an industry leading warranty.

The scope of the SystemMATE Cabling System encompasses:

          • Cabling topology

          • Cabling components

          • Installation cabling practices

          • Cabling field tests

          • Administration - Labeling

          • Warranty

          • Certified Sub-contractor and Installer

          • Customer service and support

Figure 1

SystemMATE Cabling - ISO/IEC 11801 - TIA/EIA 568

High Performance Fiber and Copper Cabling

SystemMATE provides a comprehensive portfolio of high performance fiber and copper cabling options for Gigabit Ethernet and beyond. SystemMATE includes patch cords designed to guarantee the performance of the end-to-end transmission path connecting active equipment.

Figure 2
Channel Model

Recognized as the industry benchmark for high performance cabling solutions GigaLAN™ copper and AdvanceLite™ fiber are key components of SystemMATE.

As we move into the new millennium, and the countdown to Y2K (Year 2000) computer problems capture our attention, there's some good news for the end user. The cabling infrastructure is at the top of the list for reusable valuable assets. The distribution system may easily outperform the best stock market investments for value. We now have the technology to record, evaluate, and manage this previously elusive investment.

We refer to the application of handheld cable test equipment. The Datacom Textron LANcat® is an outstanding example of this user friendly, highly valuable end user tool. The LANcat® will enable the user, contractor or building owner to capture and utilize millions of dollars worth of infrastructure cabling systems. It's not a throwaway asset. The LANcat® does more than test to a minimum standard like CAT 5. This tool will enable the user to build barriers against obsolescence and reuse facilities in new or non-traditional applications.

Remember: there is a vast amount of information flowing through our facilities that is not categorized as telephony or computer telephony, like energy control, safety and security systems, environmental controls, etc. Imagine a world where the building owner could offer a reusable asset of cabling infrastructure for the tenants at a rate far below the cost under our current methodology of "build it and abandon it".

There are a lot of issues for the end user to consider in specifying the best design for their needs and their pocket book. Jim Bordyn, Director of Marketing for Datacom Textron told us that we may see some significant applications and new releases for the LANcat® during early 1999. Recently, Datacom Textron published a white paper "Testing Enhanced CAT 5 and CAT 6 Links" (written by Dave Rumpakis). This paper is available on their website: We feel that the four major issues in the paper merit repeating. From the white paper:


In late 1995 a 100 MHz test specification for 4-pair UTP cabling was ratified. Category 5 remains the most stringent cable certification standard recognized today. Since that time, network cabling and components have improved in performance well beyond the Category 5 level. Consumers now face references to "enhanced", "improved", and "high-performance" cabling systems promising to exceed CAT 5 requirements and increase useable bandwidth.

This has raised several key questions from "what should I buy and install?" to "how do I test the quality of the components and the installation?". Lacking a standard that encompasses the improved electrical characteristics of high-performance cabling systems, users are left wondering if their cabling installations are tested to an appropriate level. Will the cabling support future network transmission rates if tested to today's Category 5 standard? What, if any, tests should be conducted additional to Cat 5 requirements? What network standards are on the horizon that predicate the need for higher-level testing? The key to answering the dizzying array of questions is to understand what is driving the demand for greater than CAT 5 performance and what additional steps need to be taken beyond CAT 5 to future-proof the cabling system.

The Driving Force

The burden on the network continues to increase due to data intensive applications, streaming video, multimedia and rapid growth of the number of users. It is unlikely that the complexity of applications or the number of users is going to decrease, so it can be presumed that the demands on network cabling will continue to increase as well. The standards bodies are well aware of networking trends and look beyond Category 5 in anticipation of the future bandwidth requirements of extremely high data rate networks.

Beyond Category 5

Standards organizations, such as EIA/TIA and ISO/IEC are developing standards that go beyond today's Category 5. This is in direct response to both the needs of emerging and future networks, as well as the recognition that network cabling and connectors are vastly improved over offerings from just a few years ago. New standards will include Enhanced Category 5 (CAT 5E), Category 6, and Category 7.

Impact of 1000Base-T on Cabling Certification

The IEEE 802.3 Standards Organization defines Ethernet signaling for transmission over coax, twisted pair and fiber optic media. Established data rates are 1,10 and 100 Mbit/second. Currently under development are proposals for 1000 Mbit/second data rates over both fiber and copper. The goal of the 802.3 work group is to develop a standard for gigabit throughput over today's installed base of Category 5, 4-pair 100 MHz copper cabling.

The techniques for gigabit signaling over CAT 5 UTP are very different from its predecessors. While Fast Ethernet (100 Mbit/second) transmits and receives in only one direction utilizing one wire pair for transmitting, one for receiving (two pair, half duplex operation), Gigabit Ethernet will utilize all 4 wire pairs transmitting simultaneously in both directions (multiple pair, full duplex operation). The added complexity of 1000Base-T requires the cabling media be tested for electrical characteristics not required by today's topologies.

  • PowerSum - (3 disturber) testing becomes critical since all 4 wire pairs are simultaneously active. PowerSum testing will not replace pair-to-pair crosstalk measurements, but will be additive.

  • Return Loss - or signal echo must be tested since unwanted reflected transmissions could corrupt the real data signal.

  • Far End Crosstalk (FEXT) - becomes a vital measurement due to the presence of multiple far-end receivers.

  • Delay/Delay Skew - are required parameters for parallel transmission schemes. Data must arrive at the receiving end nearly simultaneously and within a specific time limit.

First, there were the "Burger Wars" between McDonald's and Burger King, now it's the "Fiber Wars". Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) has announced that it has filed suit against Fibercore, Ltd. (Southhampton, Hampshire, UK) for infringing two of Corning's fiber patents and for unfair competition. Corning filed suit in the United States District for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. Corning is seeking an injunction and unspecified damages.

According to Corning officials, Fibercore Ltd. has been using Corning's U.S. Patents 4,339,173 and 4,478,489 to manufacture optical fiber and then sell that fiber in the United States. The first of these patents is related to Corning's invention of silica-based fiber containing germania and phosphorus. U.S. Patent No. 4,478,489 relates to one of Corning's polarization maintaining fiber inventions.

The unfair competition claim relates to Corning's assertion that Fibercore is misleading customers to believe they are not purchasing infringing fiber from Fibercore by posing on its internet website "Corning has no quarrel with Fibercore Limited."

In commenting on this latest action, Dr. Gerald Fine, Vice President and General Manager of Corning's Photonic Technology Division, stated "While all of Corning's intellectual property is considered to be of utmost importance, the patents involved in this action are particularly valuable to the Photonic Technologies Division because of their relationship to our optical components technology. This is one more assertive measure being taken to protect our extensive body of patented processes."

Between the ballgames and the race to the Superbowl we have been exposed to the Super Stars of Football. As we move into the new millennium there are some definite MVPs in the cabling world. At Mohawk/CDT, they have an outstanding team. Chris DiMinico, Director of Network Systems Technology, provides technical direction for the development of copper and fiber optic cabling components and systems with emphasis on gigabit transmission performance. Chris has more than 30 years experience in the cabling industry both in design and installation. The past five years have been exceptional for DiMinico's accomplishments at CDT and contributions to the industry at large.

While our industry struggles with codes and standards to keep pace with technological advancements, DiMinico has been very active in IEEE and TIA (elected TR41.8.1 liaison to IEEE 802.3) as well as producing white papers and technical abstracts for publication. Just a while ago in November 1998, DiMinico presented two abstracts at the International Wire and Cable Symposium (IWCS), covering the development of fiber optic and copper cabling specifications for Gigabit Ethernet. In July 1998 he received an award of recognition from the IEEE 802.3/z (Gigabit Ethernet) Task Group for the technical contributions to the development of the Gigabit Ethernet Standard.

This list of accomplishments and awards could go on for pages, except for the fact that Chris and his bride have a thirteen-year-old son, who thinks they don't understand ANYTHING. In a few years they will have two more teenagers to add to the scenario. By then DiMinico will be just as dumb as all of the other parents of teenagers. Chris is also an athlete involved with handball, running, and winter outdoor swimming in New England. That's what it takes to keep in shape for those exciting codes and standards meetings.

American Access Technologies Inc. (Altamonte Springs, FL) has closed on its acquisition of privately held specialty metals manufacturer Omega Metals, Inc. (in beautiful downtown Keystone Heights, FL), which the company had contracted to purchase on July 28, 1998. The transaction was structured as a pooling of interests with an exchange of 226,000 shares of American Access common stock, which have a present market value of approximately $4 million.

American Access President Richard A. Murray said that this acquisition of one of the company's parts subcontractors was the first step in the company's plan to solidify production capability for its Zone Cabling products. "In addition to servicing our own internal growth, Omega will continue to generate revenues from a broad range of other customers," Murray noted.

"Vertically integrating Omega Metals should add approximately $5 million to revenues and approximately $1.2 million to net income over the next twelve months," said CFO Bobby Story.

Recently, our staff attended a presentation hosted by Freeman & Associates representative, Mac Stokes and Larry Bines of Wavetek (San Diego, CA). Our technical staff and our installers gave the products in this demonstration a resounding "thumbs-up". Mr. Bines showed us the Cable Verifier (CV/FV) Series, a new line of cable and connections troubleshooting tools.

For LAN cable applications, Wavetek has six new models. These basic testers are simple, low-cost products that test for pair continuity, shorts, opens, mis-wires, and split-pairs in various types of LAN cables. These testers are among the smallest in the market and will easily fit in your shirt pocket. Testing is easy. Just plug in the connectors to the tester and view the status of the front-mounted LED array. Their two-piece design means that they can be used before or after cable installation. Models are available for 10BASE-T, T568, Thinnet and Token Ring.

The "Universal" LAN cable tester CV50 Series are dual-function instruments that allow installers and network technicians to verify cable and monitor for traffic on a number of different types of cable. The various models of this series test 10BASE-T, T568, Thinnet and Token Ring cable schemes. The top of the line model, CV52, uses an LCD readout to digitally display cable condition test results and traffic as a bargraph. For all testers in the universal series, the cable-checking mode verifies cables for continuity and correct terminations, and in the traffic mode, the instruments show hub activity and the presence of actual traffic on the network.

A unique line in Wavetek's Cable Verifier Series is the FV40 series. These tools offer low-cost solutions for testing multimode fiber optic cable. The skyrocketing use of fiber optic cables has led to a demand for low-cost solutions for verifying fiber optic cable and determining power loss. The FV40 series' small and easy-to-use design proves to be a superior value over competitive power loss meters or OTDR's when installers and service providers are looking for quick, basic operational testing of fiber optic cable.

Wavetek is also helping wiring installers and service technicians in the Telco industry verify proper wiring. Wavetek's CV21 and CV33 are specifically designed to check USOC telephone wiring for correct pairs, crossed pairs, opens and shorts on both RJ11 and RJ45 connector schemes. The module's bi-colored (red and green) LEDs quickly indicated good and bad wiring. The model CV33 offers added features over the basic CV21 including a live pair test mode that uses an internal beeper to indicate when an error is detected, a self-test mode and a talk battery operating mode.

For CATV, Wavetek offers the CV23 to provide quick, easy and low-cost verification of 75 Ohm CATV cabling or any coax cables with "F" type connectors. This unique tester conducts several tests on CATV cables including Live Cable, Cable OK, Open Cable and Shorted Cable. It will test cable up to 200 meters long. All products in the cable verifier series are covered by the company's exclusive No Hassle™ warranty program. These tools are inexpensive . . . not cheap!

Ortronics Inc. (Pawcatuck, CT), a leader in high performance network solutions for structured cabling systems, introduces its 10/100Base-T Fast Ethernet Interconnect Solution.

Designed for cross-connect closets, the 10/100Base-T Fast Ethernet Interconnect Solution is comprised of the following components: Ortronics 48 port 10/100Base-T Fast Ethernet Patch Panels, CAT 5 25-Pair Cable Assemblies, CAT 5 Modular to 110 Patch Panels, CAT 5 Interface Cords, Cable Management Panels and Ortronics Mighty Mo II Cable Management Racks. Because components are modular in design, it allows for plug & play capabilities for ease of installation and at the same time reducing costs and labor.

Ortronics New Modular Mini-Mod End-to-End Fiber Optic System offers the highest density fiber solution for systems that are small in scale or where space is limited at the cross-connect, as well as allowing for future upgrades and expandability. The enhanced performance and flexible Mini-Mod System is also ideal for a fiber backbone to fiber horizontal distribution system. Mini-Mod Surface Mount Fiber Optic Cabinets allow for more fiber (34 to 50% more) in less space in the telecommunications closet. Depending on the application and the environment, a variety of Mini-Mod workstation solutions are available to choose from. The Mini-Mod System is fully compatible with new enhanced performance fiber distribution cables and patch cords and is further enhanced by Ortronics 25-year warranty programs.

Modular in design, the Mini-Mod System allows for ease of installation, future moves, adds and changes through a myriad of front removable flush or angled recessed snap-in Mini-Mod Fiber Modules. Modules support single-mode and multimode fiber and the interfaces are available in ST, SC and FC connectors. For other multimedia applications a large variety of interfaces are also available. All Mini-Mod Modules meet all FCC Part 68 specifications and are ANSI/TIA/EIA-568A compliant.

For telecommunications suppliers, a single network failure can disrupt business for miles around and inconvenience tens of thousands of customers.

Shaw Communications (Calgary, Canada), a leader in cable television and radio communications, relies on the mechanical strength and system reliability of ZETABON™ coated steel armor, supplied by The Dow Chemical Company (Midland, Michigan), to protect its overhead and underground fiber optic cable systems, and minimize network disruptions.

For twenty-five years, Shaw has provided quality cable services to its subscribers across Canada. At present, Shaw serves approximately 1,500,000 subscribers - 265,000 of which reside in Calgary. The majority of outside plant fiber cable within Shaw's network for both aerial and underground cable is supplied by Pirelli Cables and Systems North America in Surrey, British Columbia. "Currently, we have approximately 75% overhead and 25% underground cable in Calgary," explains Keith Wells, construction supervisor for Shaw Cable Communications in Calgary. "And, we have aggressive plans to nearly double our network capacity in the next year. With these ambitious goals, it is crucial that we have reliable fiber optic cables."

According to Wells, Shaw gained its aerial cable presence in the Calgary area two years ago. In most cases, the fiber cable containing ZETABON™ coated steel armor is lashed to a coaxial system, which is supported by a steel messenger.

According to Mark Henning, Global Business Manager, Engineered Laminates, The Dow Company, ZETABON™ products have been the material of choice for more than 30 years for a wide range of shielding applications in the telecommunications industry because of their ability to protect cable cores from a host of environmental hazards.

A cost-efficient alternative to stainless steel and many other metal armoring/shielding products, ZETABON™ armor is produced by applying a patented polymer coating to a base metal, such as steel. The coated metal is then manufactured into cable by cable suppliers. This polymer coating forms a strong, adhesive bond to both the metal substrate and to the cable jacket, thus providing excellent protection of the cable core.

"The result is a highly versatile cable protection technology that effectively minimizes the effects of chewing rodents, moisture, lightning, corrosion and physical stress - all enemies of cable system reliability," explains Henning.

Hubbell Premise Wiring (Stonington, CT) has announced the release of the NEXTSPEED™ 660 high performance UTP cabling system. Anticipating the development of new transmission performance standards beyond Category 5e, Hubbell developed the NEXTSPEED™ 660 channel solution to exceed proposed ISO-IEC Class E and TIA Category 6 requirements, delivering unmatched channel performance in a UTP cabling system.

The Hubbell NEXTSPEED™ 660 system is a complete channel solution that includes high performance UTP connecting hardware (jacks and patch panels) and specially balanced patch cords that have been extensively tested and qualified with the industry's top performing horizontal cables. Hubbell selectively partnered with several of the industry's leading cable manufacturers (General Cable, Mohawk, Belden, CommScope) to create a balanced system that optimizes channel performance. By partnering with these cable partners Hubbell is able to provide a consistent, repeatable level of performance while providing users with flexibility in selecting a cable type that satisfies their requirements.

John Szupiany, Vice President of Marketing, stated: "Hubbell introduced the NEXTSPEED™ 660 system in response to growing customer requests for a cabling system that meets pending ISO-IEC Class E and TIA specifications for Category 6, as well as to support Gigabit Ethernet and other emerging standards and applications."

Szupiany also stressed that not only have all NEXTSPEED™ solutions been extensively tested by Hubbell and its cable partners, but also by ETL, and independent test agency. In doing so end users and specifying consultants can feel confident they have selected an integrated high performance cabling system with proven performance.

Hubbell's NEXTSPEED™ 660 Cabling System is designed to meet the demands of future high speed networking equipment. The 660 series provide a positive ACR beyond 300 MHz and full backward compatibility with Hubbell Category 5 and Category 5e products. The 660 series provides pair-to-pair and Power Sum NEXT, ELFEXT, ACR, and Return Loss performance well beyond proposed Category 6/Class E requirements. In addition, Hubbell guarantees the system will support any Category 6/Class E application, including Gigabit Ethernet. All products are available immediately.

Hubbell offers a comprehensive extended warranty through its Mission Critical Warranty Program and Certified Installer network. The Mission Critical Warranty provides a 15 year extended product warranty and application assurance that channel performance will exceed pending Category 6 channel requirements providing warranty coverage that is unmatched in the industry.

Hubbell Premise Wiring is a leader in the development of high performance copper and fiber optic cabling systems. Hubbell's extensive product offering includes work station products, patch panels, patch cords, raceway system, cable management systems, cabinet, racks and fiber optic products.

Just as K-MART and WAL-MART have become Supermarkets for the home, Staples is expanding to be the Supermarket for the business. Staples has spotted a winner and grabbed it. Staples has announced a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Claricom Holding Inc. (Milford, CT) an industry leader in providing innovative telecommunications products and services to small businesses, for $140 million in an all cash transaction.

The agreement is subject to approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, federal and state regulatory approvals, and customary closing conditions. The transaction will be completed as soon as possible.

"Our planned acquisition of Claricom will help address the technology and telecommunications services needs of our customers," said Thomas G. Stemberg, Staples' Chairman and CEO. "Building our services capabilities is an important part of Staples' growth strategy."

Claricom is privately owned by Bain Capital, Triumph Capital and its senior management team.

Claricom currently has about 1,200 employees in more than 60 sales locations nationwide. Its 1998 revenues are expected to be about $200 million. Staples plans to operate Claricom as a separate subsidiary. Edward Lavin, Claricom's current Chairman and CEO, will continue to head the operation after the sale is completed and will report to Joseph Doody, President of Staples Contract and Commercial. Neil Lichtman will continue as Claricom's President and COO.

Claricom provides more than 100,000 business customers nationwide with advanced telecommunications services including key systems, PBX systems, voice messaging, automated call distribution systems, video conferencing, Internet, paging, wireless, long distance, data and other related network services ... and high performance computer telephony cabling systems.

If you've watched the stock market over the past few months, you have seen some unbelievable increases in stock values for some companies involved in the Internet. The Internet is having a huge impact on ALL of our business sectors ... including cabling. The Internet is changing and supplementing our traditional sales, marketing, and education methods. The arcane world of cabling is going public. Follow the wireville router to a host of information packed websites. The end users and the contractors are getting much smarter ... faster.

There are some real eye-popping e-commerce numbers. Forrester Research (Cambridge, Mass.) sees U.S. business trade on the Internet exploding from $43 billion in 1998 to $1.3 trillion in 2003. In a recent report, Forrester said it expected online business trade to surpass 9 percent of total U.S. business sales by 2003.

Online business trade will find its way into all U.S. business supply chains over the next five years, although not all industries will adopt Internet commerce at the same rate, the report said.

Forrester said it expected nearly $20 billion in online sales in 1998. By 2003, the leading industries will include aerospace and defense, petrochemicals, utilities, and motor vehicles.

The research predicted the value of participating in Internet commerce will increase dramatically as more companies join in. Forrester said Internet trading initiatives generally start small, as early adopters use their industry clout to pull suppliers and customers online.

"Once these companies realize the efficiencies of Internet trading, they will persuade their business partners to join them online," Forrester said in a statement.

In mid-1997, Forrester predicted that U.S. Internet business trade would reach $327 billion by 2002. But in the subsequent 18 months, the pace of growth has exceeded the level Forrester expected, leading to the new forecast.

"One of the major factors in the new forecast is recent research indicating that the United States has entered the commerce threshold - an 18- to 24-month building period preceding five to 10 years of Internet commerce hypergrowth," Forrester said. Computing and electronics sectors have already entered a "hypergrowth" phase and several others are set to follow, the report said.

This is already happening in the cabling world. Recently, a major cabling manufacturer set up an E-mail/E-Commerce system with a large customer to facilitate their order processing nationwide.

The "GOOD STUFF" just got BETTER. Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel Company, has introduced an improved version of its leading edge LANmark™-1000 enhanced UTP, 4-pair cable. The new version retains the same small, round and flexible shape without bonded pairs, yet it now offers end users more powerful draft Category 6 component and channel performance.

Dan Kennefick, Copper Products Business Manager for Berk-Tek, said using innovative engineering techniques, Berk-Tek was able to improve several important cable properties including attenuation, NEXT, PSNEXT, ACR, PSACR, ELFEXT and PSELFEXT. These important electrical properties are critical to high-speed protocols such as Gigabit Ethernet, Gigabit Token Ring and Gigabit ATM. The new LANmark™-1000 version is fully compliant with the latest #3 draft of the TIA Category 6 standard.

The new LANmark™-1000 product specification has also been upgraded to reflect these significant improvements in electrical performance.

Kennefick said Berk-Tek redesigned LANmark™-1000 to give integrators, installers, consultants and end users the best balance of electrical performance and craft friendliness.

The new LANmark™-1000 version should be currently available through Berk-Tek's distributor / representative network.

Berk-Tek introduced the enhanced LANmark™-1000 cable series in August 1997. It was the industry's first cable fully characterized for complete power sum electrical parameters - PSNEXT, PSACR and PSELFEXT - and was specifically designed for use with present and future applications such as Gigabit Ethernet, which uses full duplex operation over four twisted pairs. Other protocols such as 622 ATM and digital and analog broadband video are also well handled by LANmark™-1000 cable.

LANmark™-1000 cable was the first to set requirements for cable balance, the critical performance parameter affecting cable emissions. LANmark™-1000 cable - specified and tested to 500 MHz - also meets or exceeds ANSI/TIA/EIA-568A, ISO/IEC 11801 and EN 50173 standards.

As part of its solutions approach, Berk-Tek offers the data communications market the LANmark Gigabit Solution incorporating LANmark™-1000 cable as part of its OASIS (Open Architecture Systems Interconnect Solutions) Program. This open architecture channel solution incorporates a select group of connectivity partners' proposed Category 6 connecting hardware. The result is the highest-performing horizontal UTP channel solution available. The OASIS Program backs each of its copper and fiber solutions with a comprehensive 25-year warranty.

After Chicago got hit with the worst snow storm in 30 years and most of the country had a severe dose of old man winter, more than one fellow was ready for the BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International) conference at Disney World. Florida can be nice in January. We understand that quite a few members brought spouses for the fringe benefits of the world class entertainment in the Orlando area.

There were numerous side bar presentations packed with lots of valuable information. Mohawk/CDT had a presentation on fiber optics that was filled with new educational material to assist the specifier and designer. Additionally, NORDX/CDT hosted a luncheon with a presentation on new offerings that will carry the end user well into the next millennium.

The theme of the BICSI conference was, "On the Threshold of a New Era". Jay Warmke, Executive Director, explained that this new era included a 109% expansion of the Global Membership (Outside the U.S. and Canada) and a 22% overall growth. The current membership (approx. 14,600) is expected to grow to almost 17,000 by year-end. Mr. Warmke said, "The cabling industry is set for some monumental changes, and BICSI will be ready."

In addition to the regular meetings, BICSI has planned international meetings for Brazil in April, Australia in May, Paris and Tokyo in September. Plus, their website will offer language translation and capabilities by international district. Globalization is a very important area for the cabling industry.

The Outside Plant Manual has been sent to the printer for the initial run. The Installer course is being upgraded to match the revised installation manual. Additionally, BICSI and NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association) are discussing a possible cooperative effort to develop a joint standard on installation.

COMNET 1999 in Washington DC was bigger than ever. Remember, this is a tradeshow not an association conference. COMNET has its roots in the government market; however, the scope of attendees now includes many of the nation's largest communications users in the private sector. The increased interest in the cabling products was evidence of the focus on well-designed infrastructure. The Internet was the dominant hot area for this conference but the cabling sector continues to grow.

Prestolite Wire Corporation (Southfield, MI) announced the introduction of a REELEX II® package, a new and improved pull-box, pop-box, un-reel package. The REELEX II® package has the advantage of no inner reel, which allows easier handling and less waste.

"At Prestolite Wire, we have been working with Windings, Inc. to refine our REELEX® equipment and packages to assure that the exceptional performance built into our products is maintained once it leaves the box," said Tim Berelsman, Director of Technology Development & Integration. "Prestolite is proud to introduce its 55E™ and NETLink 2000® products in REELEX II®."

To distinguish this package from the original REELEX® package and imitation brand packages, the Prestolite box prominently displays the REELEX II® logo from Windings, Inc. Windings President, Thomas R. Copp said, "End users should look for the Windings' logos to be sure they are getting our tangle-free REELEX® Technology."

Prestolite Wire Corporation has also announced the capability to provide countdown footage markings on spools and reel-in-a-box packages. This feature is standard on Prestolite's NETLink GX™, an Anixter Level 7 Certified Cable, and is offered on request at no additional charge on Prestolite's 55E™, a Level 5 Certified Cable, and NETLink 2000®, a Level 6 Certified Cable.

Initial feedback on this feature has been extremely positive, especially from Prestolite's RDNP's (Registered Data Networking Professionals). The addition of countdown markings on cable provides a simple method for verifying cable length before pulling from a previously used box. RDNP companies said countdown markings will save time and reduce material scrap in the field.

The Internet is fast becoming a major information resource for the cabling industry. Some vendors have great sites, others are sleeping pills online.

If you want to use a refreshing and useful website that doesn't beat you to death with mega-doses of product information, check out DuPont's newly revamped site at: We like the fact that DuPont built their new site with an external customer focus, rather than an internal product focus. No question, DuPont's Teflon® FEP resin is a great product. Innovative 4x0 cable designs which use FEP are the almost unanimous industry choice for future proofing. It's just nice to see a website site built from the perspective of end users, such as network managers, and direct customers for a change. Best of all, cabling contractors can download information useful to their customers. Our recommendation . . . surf on in.

We have just previewed Nordx/CDT's new PSP program (Professional Support Program). This program is HOT and "stronger than new rope". The PSP is geared for designers, consultants and architects who specify structured cabling systems. This is one very impressive high power, high value program. It includes: Newsletters, Technical Updates, a complete product Reference Manual, a time-saving Generic Specification Model, a clip art library, well organized, full-blown training programs... even breakfast meetings to build professional contacts relationships.

There is also a "second step", higher level version of the PSP program, which adds online business referrals, additional training and "AutoCAD" design and technical support for cabling projects.

Peter Sheehan, VP Nordx/CDT said, " A lot of thought went into structuring the PSP program. We relied heavily on what designers and architects said was important to them and built the program to deliver what they value. We have made a major commitment of resources to attract and keep designers who specify our IBDN products. Our goal is to make PSP the best consultant/designer support program our industry has to offer". Visit the Nordx/CDT Website, for more information.

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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