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HOTS 03/1999

Issue: March 1999

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


Cable Design Technologies Corporation (CDT - Pittsburgh, PA) recently announced that it has signed a multi-year contract renewal to supply telecommunications exchange cable. Bell Canada, a subsidiary of BCE Inc., is the largest provider of telecommunications services in Canada.

CDT's cable will be manufactured by the NORCOM Division of Nordx/CDT at its recently expanded facility in Kingston, Ontario. NORCOM's expansion reflects the profound changes occurring in the telecommunications market including increasing Internet use, multiple home lines, telecommuting and interactive CATV to the home. CDT's NORCOM manufacturing plant is the largest of its kind in Canada.

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. The Company's products are manufactured or distributed under the trade names Montrose/CDT, Phalo/CDT, West Penn/CDT, Mohawk/CDT, Manhattan/CDT, X-Mark/CDT, Dearborn/CDT, Thermax/CDT, Barcel/CDT, Red Hawk/CDT, NORDX/CDT and NORCOM/CDT in Canada, NEK/CDT and Orebro/CDT in Sweden, Anglo American/CDT and Raydex/CDT in the UK, Cekan/CDT in Denmark, and HEW-KABEL in Germany.

Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel company, is consolidating its New Holland and Montreal (Hochelaga), Canada, UTP cable manufacturing capabilities to its New Holland facility. This facility will also undergo a major expansion that will create a number of jobs and add significant manufacturing and office space, according to William R. Francis, Berk-Tek's Executive Vice President of Operations and Technology.

Francis said the consolidation and planned expansion essentially will eliminate duplicate operations and allow Berk-Tek to more cost-effectively and efficiently serve its growing customer base in North America and throughout the world. The company also has major facilities in Fuquay-Varina, NC and San Paolo, Brazil, which will be unaffected by the change.

"We have built Berk-Tek into a leading-edge and highly respected provider of products and solutions for the data communications market and this consolidation underscores our global commitment to that market. For us to achieve the synergy necessary to continue to provide the highest level of service to our customer base, we felt it was necessary to focus out UTP cable manufacturing capabilities at New Holland," Francis said.

He noted that Berk-Tek will make a significant capital investment that will increase the size of the New Holland facility by about 25 percent and add numerous jobs expected to be filled by the Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks County workforce.

"We regret the loss of jobs at our Hochelaga plant, but we have offered our employees there an opportunity to relocate to New Holland and will establish a career center to help find employment for those who choose not to relocate," Francis said. He added that the consolidation will have no effect on Berk-Tek's existing direct sales force that will continue to serve Canadian customers.

Corning Incorporated was recently presented with the 1999 Laser Focus World Commercial Technology Achievement (CTA) Award in the fiber optics/optoelectronic components category for LEAF® optical fiber. The award was presented during the Laser Focus World Laser Marketplace Seminars reception at the Photonics West Conference in San Jose, California.

According to Carole Root, CTA Awards Coordinator for Laser Focus World, "This recognition gives Corning the unique distinction of having brought to market a product deemed of exceptional commercial significance. Corning is one of only eight winners to receive this prestigious award."

LEAF optical fiber, introduced by Corning in February 1998, was the first commercially available non-zero dispersion-shifted (NZ-DSF) large effective area fiber. With its large effective area, LEAF fiber can support multi-channel dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) systems at high bit rates, over longer distances, and with lower non-linear distortions that can degrade system performance. LEAF® fiber's large effective area reduces the overall light intensity thereby allowing more power to be pumped into networks and greater distance to be achieved, while providing a long-term cost savings advantage.

Yanming Liu, Ph.D., the principal developer of LEAF fiber, was at the conference to accept the award on behalf of Corning. "This is a tremendous honor for Corning that reinforces the technological superiority of LEAF fiber over other NZ-DSF's on the market. With LEAF fiber, Corning opened the door to a whole new generation of optical fiber that provides greater bandwidth, optical reach and cost efficiency for the telecommunications networks of today and tomorrow," said Liu.

Major network providers continue to select large effective area fiber technology as the fiber "platform" for the high-data-rate networks. Key LEAF fiber customers to date include GST, IXC Communications, Ledcor, Level 3 Communications and Williams Communications - among others.

Users saw plunging Gigabit Ethernet prices in 1998 - along with broader protocol and WAN support for Layer 3 switches - and these trends, along with developments in policy networking, are expected to grab the technology spotlight this year.

These technologies promise to reshape the way users build and manage corporate networks, as they provide more bandwidth and the ability to phase out routers and offer new tools to administer networks, analysts said.

"These things are important because users can never get enough bandwidth and control," said Braig Johnson, President of the PITA Group, a Portland, Oregon consultancy. "And the great news for users is pricing for Gigabit and Layer 3 switches is coming down because of intensified competition."

On the Gigabit Ethernet front, prices dropped from $2,500 per port to under $1,500 per port with 3Com Corporation's SuperStack 9300 family. Prices are expected to continue falling this year as competition swells among vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc., Nortel Networks and Cabletron Systems Inc., and as a few start-ups jump into the fray. Work on a specification that will support 1Gbit/sec data transmissions over twisted-pair wire should draw even more attention to the technology.

Switches with built-in routing, also known as Layer 3 switches, are expected to catch on as router replacements once the boxes are equipped with WAN interfaces and support for multiple protocols - two features backbone routers have long had.

"Once vendors support more protocols, acceptance of Layer 3 switching should increase dramatically," said Eric Pylko, global infrastructure coordinator at Eastman-Kodak Corporation in Rochester, NY.

Policy networking - the ability to set per-employee rules for network access and prioritize applications for bandwidth-constrained times - is also expected to draw users' attention this year.

"[Policy networking] is important because it gives network administrators the tools they need to provide a specific quality of service when, where and to whom it's needed," said David Stone, IS manager at EideBailly LLP, an accounting firm in Fargo, ND. "We definitely see a use for it as we look at delivering video training to the desktop."

While Nortel Networks, Lucent Technologies Inc. and others have already licensed Novell Inc.'s Novell Directory Services (NDS) for policy networking, Cisco is going with Microsoft Corp.'s Active Directory, which is part of Windows 2000 (the next version of Windows NT, due to ship this year). Cisco has a deal with Novell, but hasn't licensed NDS.

Alcatel is the leading ADSL vendor in North America and globally, according to a report recently released by Ryan Hankin Kent (RHK), a leading telecommunications market research firm

Alcatel is the clear market leader among ADSL vendors, with 52 percent market share in North America, the RHK study reports. The study noted that Alcatel has delivered more than 400 Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (DSLAMS) in North America in 1998, allowing several million potential ADSL users to connect to a high speed Internet service. Alcatel supplies its ADSL equipment to major Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), including Ameritech, BellSouth, and SBC PacBell. Its Canadian customers include Bell Canada and Sasktel.

Globally, Alcatel has also established the leading ADSL market position with more than 35 percent market share. Its customers include Singapore Telecom, Belgacom, Telefonica in Spain, France Telecom and Turk Telecom. Pilot projects have also been ordered by Korea, Japan, and Denmark.

"Alcatel's starting building its lead in the ADSL arena with its selection as the established vendor for the Joint Procurement Consortium (JPC) of Ameritech, BellSouth, Pacific Bell, and Southwestern Bell," said RHK Senior Analyst Claude Romans, who authored the "Loop Access Systems: Technology and Markets" report.

Over the next three years, Daikin Industries of Osaka, Japan will undertake capital expenditure investments of approximately $130 million in its goal to further strengthen its overall fluorochemical business. The first step, which is already well underway, will be to double FEP capacity, a melt-processable fluoropolymer used primarily in LAN cable systems.

Daikin is investing over $85 million in its American subsidiary - Daikin America, Inc. (DAI), with the aim of vastly expanding production capacity for both FEP and monomers (already underway). Over the same period, Daikin will also be expanding FEP production capacity in its Kashima, Japan plant. Daikin plans to continue to keep up with the demand for FEP.

Production of other products currently being supplied from Daikin's Japan plants will be shifted over to DAI. Prominent among these products is the High Purity PFA resin used in the semi-conductor industry. The hope is to relocate production of this product to the US by the year 2001. Daikin is also laying the groundwork to shift the entire production process for Unidyne™ Fabric and Carpet Protector over to DAI. By moving operations closer to the end-market, Daikin will be able to offer a product-service package that can quickly and efficiently respond to the needs of its U.S. customers.

American Access Technologies, Inc. (Altamonte Springs, FL) recently announced that it has received a second order from Silicon Valley networking leader Cisco Systems, Inc. for multiple units of its cost-saving Zone Cabling telecommunications product. The second purchase comes after a successful six-month trial of the first order on voice lines at Cisco's facilities in Austin, Texas

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 telecom 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%.

"Cisco's decision for more Zone Cabling units is based on its initial trial in Austin, which demonstrated the potential of the American Access Zone Cabling System to significantly reduce both the time and expense associated with the constant changes to wiring made to maintain and improve Cisco's telecommunications networks," said American Access CEO Richard A. Murray.

The American Access ZCTC units were originally specified for Cisco's Austin facilities by architects at Facilicom of Jackson, WY and installed by telecom contractor ACS Dataline of Austin, TX. Anixter International Inc. serves as distributor for both orders.

Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel company, has announced that Panduit 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.

Berk-Tek chose Panduit based on their extensive range of structured cabling connectivity products. Phil Radics, Berk-Tek's Marketing Programs Manager said, "Panduit has always demonstrated superior product design and customer service. Panduit's complete line of voice, data and video communications connectivity products, which include patch panels, interface cords, workstation outlets, cable raceway and cable management systems, will be featured in the OASIS Program."

Berk-Tek has designed the OASIS Program to meet the most challenging customer bandwidth requirements and to give network designers the ability to offer the highest performing structured cabling solutions. Under the OASIS Program, Berk-Tek, in partnership with Panduit and ETL independent testing laboratories has designed the LANmark™ Enhanced Solution, LANmark™ Gigabit Solution and GIGAlite™ Fiber Solutions to exceed the additional transmission performance specifications necessary to support high-speed gigabit protocols.

Anicom, Inc. (Rosemont, IL), a leading North American distributor of multimedia wiring systems, has announced an agreement in principle regarding an exclusive distribution agreement for North America with NetWolves Corporation for their FoxBox, a multi-services Internet communications gateway product. In connection with this transaction, Anicom will receive warrants to purchase 300,000 shares of NetWolves common stock at $5 per share.

Scott C. Anixter, chairman and CEO, stated, "This terrific opportunity allows Anicom, in partnership with NetWolves, to offer a simple, more cost-effective communication solution using only one device to access the Internet for the flow of e-commerce over the World Wide Web. The FoxBox will complement our product portfolio which consists of components for the infrastructure that interconnects the Internet."

Carl E. Putnam, President and COO, said, "Our company is actively engaged in electronic commerce and currently has a program in development called "A-trade" to further amplify Anicom's sales on the Internet. We are in conversations with several integrated service suppliers to connect our respective Web sites in order to offer a complete computer network solution for commercial and consumer Internet users. We are very excited about the substantial prospects for enhanced growth and profits through our efforts to move more of our products to the market over the Internet. Anicom's multimedia products are the link for the flow of information that "Interconnects the Internet" allowing people and companies to transact business. As the general store for wire and connectivity products for the Internet, we offer the nuts and bolts that make this cyberspace market work."

Alan B. Anixter, Chairman of the Board, stated, "1998 was a record year. For the full year, we expect revenues around $470 million and earnings per share (exclusive of the third quarter integrated acquisition charge) indications are $0.44 to $0.46 per share, an excellent performance by any standard of measure. The fourth quarter of 1998 was the company's best revenue quarter in its history, with approximately $131 million in sales. Earnings per share indications are between $0.08 to $0.10 per share in the fourth quarter, due primarily to expenses related to the sale of the Broadband group product line."

Mr. Anixter further added, "We are poised for continued long-term internal growth and feel very comfortable about achieving our goals for 1999. The end of 1998 was robust and exceptionally strong which we see continuing in all our markets for 1999. In addition, we will continue to actively pursue acquisition opportunities."

Anicom also announced that in the fourth quarter of 1998 it completed the sale of its Broadband group (CATV) to Communications Dynamics, Inc. of Annville, PA. Terms were not disclosed. Scott C. Anixter, commenting on the transaction, said, "It is our intention to focus on our core products. This group represented less than five percent of our sales. It was a non-strategic business unit that had lower gross and operating margins. It required too much time and attention, and without substantial growth would have continued to underperform. We will concentrate on selling higher margin products throughout our North American network and direct our energy toward realizing more efficiencies our of our integrated operations that will result in greater bottom line profits."

Wavetek Telecommunications Test has launched the first-ever multipurpose mini-optical time domain reflectometer that is optimized for field use. Known as the MTS 5100, the handheld OTDR accepts up to two optical modules, either or both of which can be changed in the field. This reconfiguration flexibility enables network installers and maintainers to employ the optimum tool for the network under test - at all times. The modular design also enables users to upgrade the unit simply by adding new modules; installers can start with a single-mode OTDR and then move to quad wavelength multi-mode and single-mode capability when needed. This approach provides a future-proof test path for evolving transport technologies such as amplified systems, dense WDM, HFC and ATM.

Wavetek offers a comprehensive portfolio of plug-in OTDR and optical test set modules for the new MTS 5100, covering many different types of network. Available test functions include two families of OTDR modules, a visual fault locator, a laser source, and a power meter. For point-to-point networks such as CATV and telephony, there is a choice of single wavelength 1310nm or 1550nm OTDR modules, or a dual wavelength 1310/1550nm unit. These offer a maximum 31dB dynamic range and a minimum event dead zone of 4 meters. For more complicated networks with optical splitters and very long spans, the 5026DR family of OTDR modules offer a 1 meter dead zone - the shortest of any OTDR on the market. The OTDR modules can also be equipped with a 635nm visual fault locator option, which can be used to trace faults in patch cords inside the OTDR dead zone.

When it comes to efficient cabling systems, the same language is spoken around the world. Globally, all datacom system integrators, installers and end users face the same networking challenges for LAN and WAN voice and data. This includes designing a system that will fit today's applications while future proofing for emerging technologies and networking protocols.

There is an organization that addresses cabling issues to meet the demands of all LAN topologies and protocols. Draka Global Datacom has more than 40 companies spanning the world with manufacturing facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Like the legendary British Empire, "the sun never sets on Draka."

The members of the Draka Global Datacom group share a common goal - to develop, engineer, manufacture and support a versatile and reliable cable product line for data, voice and video, both fiber and copper, backbone and horizontal, while providing superior end-to-end support.

From producing raw fiber to the manufacturing of fiber optic and copper cables, Draka utilizes its resources to ensure high-quality cable products. The products built at their worldwide facilities meet or exceed the industry standards (such as Category 5 and the proposed Category 5e, 6, &7) and must adhere to their own stringent quality assurance procedures. With offices across the continents, there is always an office open somewhere in the world to provide technical and engineering assistance.

Through connectivity partnerships and distributor relations, Draka Global Datacom extends their focus outside of the cable realm to encompass a total end-to-end channel solution. The HARMONY™ program is a LAN open architecture program that combines Draka's copper cable twisted pair technology and optical fiber capabilities. We recommend checking out their HARMONY™ program on the WEB.

The cabling world is changing in many respects. We are gaining new faces every year and many of those new professionals are women. We must make changes to accommodate the new mix in a traditionally male-dominated business. National WorkPlace Standards, Inc. (New York, NY), is a newly founded corporation that provides its clients with the highest degree of protection from the potential of discrimination lawsuits. Their corporate mission is to assist private and public businesses and institutions in America to effectively deal with negative behavior in the work place; in particular sexual harassment, and assist them by teaching management at all levels how to effectively deal with these often volatile issues when they arise.

"If an allegation of sexual harassment is not properly handled, it can have a devastating impact upon any company, institution, or organization, and will detract from professionalism and profit," stated Wayne Hildreth, NWS' President and CEO, a retired officer in the US Navy Judge Advocate General's Corp. (Jacksonville, FL - 904/997-8778). He continued, "The resulting damage to an enterprise often far exceeds a monetary loss. Damage to a company's reputation in the public's eye, and damage to management's credibility with its own work force can actually have a more lasting negative effect."

There is no negative connotation or "black mark" merely because a company receives a sexual harassment complaint from an employee. The indelible "black mark" attaches itself through inaction or the mishandling of the complaint. Establishing and maintaining an effective policy, allowing your employees options in reporting, ensuring a fair and impartial investigation every time an allegation arises, and consistent application or an "even hand" in the resolution process, will ensure the greatest amount of protection from liability. Plus, it just makes sense!

Anixter Inc. (Skokie, IL), an international network integrator, recently announced their latest acquisition . . . industry executive Bill Collins. Mr. Collins has joined Anixter as Senior Vice President of Network Services and will take on a key role within Anixter's Network Integration business unit. He will have overall responsibility for the rapidly growing Network Services organization, reporting directly to Scott Wilson, President of Anixter's Network Integration business unit.

Mr. Collins has more than 28 years of experience in the information technology field, including experience in business reengineering, systems integration, high-level consulting, sophisticated systems development and professional services. Over the past 15 years, Collins has held several leadership roles in the information technology business. Prior to joining Anixter, he was Chief Operation Officer for Cap Gemini America, a leading multinational IT consulting company. In addition, Mr. Collins spent several years as a principal for Arthur Young's consulting practice, running large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) projects.

"Anixter has become a leading provider of full life cycle network integration solutions in North America and we're delighted to have someone with Bill's extensive background and industry knowledge leading the way, as we continue to broaden our offering and strengthen our leadership position," said Scott Wilson, President of Anixter's Network Integration business unit.

Nordx/CDT, a supplier of end-to-end premises cabling systems, has added to its existing fiber optic portfolio a new family of products that takes advantage of MTP™ multi-fiber termination technology. This new end-to-end fiber optic cabling system is called the FiberExpress System.

The FiberExpress System represents a complete line of products enabling the deployment of optical fiber cable networks from the (entrance facility) demarcation point right up to the horizontal distribution area using MTP™ termination technology.

The overall duration of a fiber optic project from the standpoint of the design, the procurement, the installation and the testing is 2 to 3 times shorter with FiberExpress System over conventional fiber installation. With MTP™ technology, anyone can snap-in 12 fibers in 10 seconds with assured results. With the epoxy or with mechanical splicing termination connectors, a skilled technician needs 5 to 10 minutes per termination (up to 2 hours for 12 fibers) not including testing.

At closing for publication, the TIA meeting in Sarasota, FL was over. We were told that no approval of a draft for Category 5E had been ratified. They have many concerns to consider and this process could easily slip into the next century (or two).

By now you have probably seen the new advertisements for STAPLES. The expanded capabilities of Staples (through Claricom) include cabling for voice and data in the office or home-based office. This pushes STAPLES into the lead as the superstore for your business needs. It had to happen!

The world is a dangerous place but the fire safety of some major buildings around the world is getting safer. We may be seeing the early stages of globalization of US Plenum cable technology. Several major high profile buildings and many others have specified and installed 4x0 FEP plenum cable in overhead open concealed spaces. The buildings all decided to take advantage of the lower fuel load and the fire safety of the 4x0 FEP design. Here are a few examples:

  • Jin Mao Building - Shanghai - At 88 stories, this is China's tallest building.

  • Petronas Twin Towers - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - At 452 meters high, the tallest buildings in the world.

  • Banguan Samudra Building - Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia - A six-story commercial building.

The issues surrounding fire safety in the workplace are a prime focus here in the United States and around the globe. FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene), often known by the DuPont trademark product Teflon®, has and continues to deliver reduced fire hazard and reduced fuel load. FEP has also been recognized for its contribution to outstanding electrical performance for high-speed data cable. The FEP cable products are extremely stable and operate over a wide range of temperatures and environmental conditions. More good news, the supply of FEP materials has increased substantially and no shortages of this important product are being experienced. Virtually all of the major cable manufacturers are using 4x0 FEP constructions for their plenum cable products and indicate no plans to change materials.

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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