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HOTS 04/1999

Issue: April 1999

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


More than 400,000 feet of fiber-optic and copper data cable manufactured by Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel company, is being used to build local area networks (LANs) in seven school buildings in the Lebanon (PA) School District. The LANs are part of a new and extensive computer networking infrastructure being installed by the district and which also includes a significant metropolitan area network (MAN).

Sprint North Supply (New Century, KS), a provider of equipment and distribution services to the communications and security industries, has signed an agreement with Mitel Corporation to carry its family of remote access solutions, including products to address the high growth in teleworking. The products use remote access technology acquired by Mitel Corporation from Gandalf Technologies, Inc. in August 1997.

The remote access products facilitate high volume data and voice communications between the corporate office, local branches, teleworkers and remote agents in an extremely cost-effective manner. The Xpress™ family of products features Gandalf's industry-leading data compression and encryption, providing reliable, fast, and secure networking solutions to or from virtually any location.

"More and more employees are working outside the traditional company office and they need to have access that enables them to do their job as efficiently as if they were there at corporate headquarters. These products do just that," says Rob Gulotta, Sprint North Supply product marketing manager. "These products are an excellent addition to the Sprint North Supply array of products."

Xpress solutions are built on an open, standards-based, scaleable and modular architecture that supports ISDN, frame relay, analog/digital modem connections, leased lines and 56K/64K switched digital services. This enables customers to use whatever transmission media that best suits their needs and budget for individual or small groups of remote users.

"Our Xpress solutions are the result of more than 25 years of designing networking and remote access solutions and we anticipate continuing our industry leadership," says Ken Dumont, Mitel Vice President of Marketing. "Sprint North Supply provides our distribution partners access to an exceptional line of remote access solutions. We look forward to continuing our long-term relationship with them."

For the second time in as many months Corning Incorporated's LEAF® optical fiber has been recognized for its technological innovation and commercial significance. On February 23, 1999 Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) was presented with a 1998 Fiberoptic Product News Annual Technology Award at the publication's ninth annual "Technology Awards" breakfast being held in conjunction with the Optical Fiber Communications Conference (OFC) in San Diego, California.

LEAF optical fiber is an advanced non-zero dispersion-shifted (NZ-DSF) optical fiber with a larger effective area than standard NZ-DSF fibers. With its large effective area, LEAF fiber reduces the overall light intensity, thereby allowing more power to be pumped into networks and greater distances to be achieved, while providing a long-term cost savings advantage.

LEAF fiber was nominated for the annual award by the editorial staff of Fiberoptic Products News who, during their selection process, took into account the product's design, technological innovation and overall usefulness. LEAF fiber was then selected as the technology award winner for the cable category by the publications' readership base.

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

The Fiberoptic Product News award is the second industry recognition that LEAF fiber has received since it was first introduced in February 1998. In January 1999, LEAF fiber was awarded the Laser Focus World 1999 Commercial Technology Achievement Award at the Photonics West Conference. LEAF fiber was one of only eight products selected to receive this prestigious honor.

American Access Technologies, Inc. (Altamonte Springs, FL) recently announced that Graybar Electric Company, Inc., a U.S. distributor of communications wiring systems and components, has signed an agreement to serve as national distributor for the entire line of American Access "Zone Cable" products.

Graybar has already begun stocking its warehouses with the American Access products. "Graybar's network of communications wiring contractors is the largest in the industry," said American Access President & CEO Richard A. Murray. "In addition to working with and training those Graybar-affiliated contractors to be VARs for our Zone Cabling systems, this new agreement calls for Graybar to handle the logistics of distribution on a nationwide level and participate in joint advertising and marketing with us.

"This kind of contractor coverage, combined with Graybar's advertising support and the strength of its local, regional and national distribution system, represents an immense upgrade in our product marketing and distribution capability," Murray noted. "American Access Technologies has developed a set of products that the industry is very enthusiastic about," said Graybar National Market Manager Robert Bezjak. "We are pleased that Graybar is now able to provide these unique products to all of our customers when they demand them," he explained.

"In today's dynamic office environments, it is very difficult to maintain the structure of the communications cabling system within a modular furniture platform. Our customers have been looking for a way to make the constant changes in their open-office environments fast, easy and cost-effective," said Karl Griffith, Graybar National Market Manager for Resellers.

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 systems by as much as 70%.

Steelcase, Inc. and Lucent Technologies recently announced an alliance to jointly market Lucent's SYSTIMAX® Structured Connectivity Solutions with Steelcase's office furniture, systems and interior architectural products.

"Today, one of the biggest challenges is getting technology to the workplace in ways that provide maximum flexibility now and for the future while maintaining network cabling integrity and reliability," said Carl Smith, Director, Technology Marketing, Steelcase, Inc. "The teaming of Steelcase and Lucent will help ensure customers of correct installations, product compatibility and system performance with a certified, reliable cable system."

"Steelcase is known for providing innovative solutions for a totally integrated workplace environment," said Don Coover, Director, Systems Engineering at Lucent. "Their products play a major role in how cabling networks will be managed to meet the specific needs of individual users in the workplace."

"With this integrated solution, customers can more readily evaluate the many important options in networking and cabling instead of worrying if their network cabling infrastructure and furniture systems work together," Coover added.

The Steelcase and Lucent alliance will provide standards-based cabling solutions that have been lab-tested and certified by Bell Labs engineers. These solutions meet recognized industry standards, including those of the Telecommunications Industry Association and Electronic Industries Alliance (TIA/EIA), and will allow simplified planning and optimal functionality over time for the customer.

"We're seeing the average company reconfigure half of its space each year, so a cabling solution that's flexible and more affordable in the long run makes a lot of sense." Smith said. "Our alliance with Lucent benefits customers with existing Steelcase installations as well as those planning to buy Steelcase furniture systems."

Where appropriate Steelcase and Lucent and their respective distribution partners will team directly with customers to create the most effective cabling solutions. According to Coover, the standards-based network cabling solution will provide customers with the ability to easily configure new and existing offices with voice/data/video telecommunications services.

"The reality is that the information systems and facilities issues need to be coordinated so that network integrity is not compromised, but rather designed with the future in mind," Coover said. "Workstation moves and new technology are inevitable, so it's more cost-effective and efficient to plan for them."

A small company plans next week to introduce a PC server that uses innovative hardware technology to provide high performance and reliability. The Stratas™ server from Quad Research uses dual, single-board computers running an embedded Windows NT kernel and on-board Fibre Channel storage. It's designed for serving Web pages, but can run any Windows NT application, including database and enterprise resource planning applications and corporate E-mail, according to Quad Research.

The system uses proprietary technology to speed access to Web pages. In a conventional PC, the first time a page is accessed requires CPU processing, but after that, the page is loaded directly from the hard drive. The need to access the hard drive slows performance. But the Stratas™ server bypasses the CPU for faster data transfers via the 250MB - per - second throughput speed of its Fibre Channel disk drives.

Quad Research claims that the embedded NT OS is more stable than conventional Windows NT, and the system automatically re-boots after a power failure without operator intervention. As a security feature, the hard disk drives include a switch that disables writes to the hard disks, preventing hackers from making alterations to files.

The single-board PC architecture includes one 450-MHz Pentium II processor with 512 MB to 1 GB of RAM. Two single-board PCs can be connected through a backplane compact PCI bus. The single-board computers are hot-swap upgradeable. The server also has hot-swappable CPUs, disk drives, power supplies and fans.

The Stratas™ has eight Fibre Channel slots for 145 GB of storage, which will be upgradeable to 290 GB by summer. The system uses Seagate Cheetah 10,000-RPM disk drives. The system is available now, priced starting at $30,000. A midrange system with a 36-GB hard drive and two single-board computers with 512 MB of memory each is priced at $40,000.

A system running the Compaq Alpha chip set was made available in March. Quad Research also planned to announce a stand-alone Fibre Channel storage product. In the spring, the company plans to introduce its Millennian™ server with built-in router and modem.

"This system is innovative and an indicator of where high-end systems are likely to go over the next few years," said analyst Ray Valdes at the Gartner Group. "The question is, is it leading edge? This is a system for those who want to aggressively scale it at the high end but have in-house technical resources to investigate it fully before deploying it." In particular, Valdes said, Embedded Windows NT technology is unproven. Most large Web sites use some flavor of Unix instead.

David Pensak, a Senior Research Fellow at material and energy giant E.I. du Pont de Nemours Inc., is cautious about buying cutting-edge technology. "The question is will Quad Research become the leading vendors of Beta in a VHS world?" Pensak said. "Additionally, the buyer faces a risk that a small company will fail to support its products. Still, if the price-performance and stability is good, the risks could be worth it," Pensak said.

In 1996 AT&T spun off Lucent Technologies in what was then the largest public offering ever. Lucent has since become one of the world's premier providers of telecommunications systems, software and products. The Network Products Group makes up one of Lucent's 11 global business units and produces telecommunications cables and other products in North America, China, Germany, Denmark, Japan, Venezuela, India and Ireland. Many of Lucent's fiber optic cables utilize ZETABON* coated steel armor to provide protection from rodent damage, mechanical abuse and moisture damage.

Recently, Dow was recognized as a "Distinguished Supplier" for 1998 by Ms. Pat Pruitt, Purchasing Manager and Ms. Gail Hall, Buyer from Lucent Technologies' Atlanta Works Global Purchasing Organization. The "Distinguished Supplier" award is given to suppliers who far exceed Lucent's expectations in the areas of cost reduction initiatives, innovativeness, quality system compliance, product quality and customer service excellence for four consecutive quarters.

"We are thrilled to be recognized by Lucent," says Engineered Laminates Account Manager, Perry Cooper. "This marks the third year in which Dow was recognized by Lucent's Atlanta Works as a 'Distinguished Supplier', and is a direct result of the enthusiasm and hard work that is typical of the engineered Laminates Production, R&D and Customer Service Teams." Dow is one of only two suppliers to have received the "Distinguished Supplier" award for three consecutive years.

Alcatel (Paris, France) and Motorola, Inc. have announced a global agreement, effective immediately, to work together to develop, market and deliver total, integrated CDMA digital network infrastructure to customers worldwide. The companies also have agreed to jointly develop a third generation Mobile Switching Center (MSC)-based UMTS mobile communications network offering.

This agreement considerably reinforces and enlarges the scope of the cooperation initiated two years ago. It allows both companies to leverage their complementary resources, including research and development expertise. It will help to ensure customers have rapid access to the latest technologies with closely integrated systems and benefit from faster product availability to both CDMA solutions and new future MSC-based UMTS applications.

Alcatel and Motorola will work together to develop new functionality and features for Motorola's current EMX-based CDMA switching platform. To accomplish this, Alcatel and Motorola plan to establish a team of engineers who will work solely on EMX enhancement projects at a dedicated Center of Excellence in Plano, Texas. Prior to its recent merger with Alcatel, the former DSC Communications Corporation designed and built the EMX switch. EMX software was developed jointly by Motorola and DSC.

Additionally, under preferential terms, Motorola will also offer customers Alcatel's S12 switching platform for MSC-based CDMA networks and Alcatel will add Motorola's state-of-the-art CDMA radio base stations and base stations controllers to its portfolio. All integrated CDMA network solutions offered by Alcatel and Motorola will be compliant with all the major open network architectures for CDMA including CDG IOS and IS 634 for cellular and PCS systems.

The aim of this agreement is to allow each company to leverage their respective expertise to respond more quickly and effectively to customer requests for commercial UMTS solutions based on adopted standards.

Specifically, Alcatel will develop an MCS-based UMTS radio network controller (RNC) that interfaces with its core network, while Motorola will develop a radio base station (node B) which interfaces with the Alcatel RNC. These products will be made available to enhance the UMTS portfolios of both companies.

"Alcatel's and Motorola's primary goal is to achieve total customer satisfaction by presenting a single voice to CDMA customers. We believe adding Alcatel's switching expertise to our portfolio of offering demonstrates our commitment to delivering best-of-breed, integrated networks solutions", said Bo Hedfors, Senior Vice President and President, Motorola Network Solutions Sector. "The ability to build off of each other's success is the ideal incentive for both Motorola and Alcatel".

"This agreement allows us to significantly strengthen our offerings to customers in the cellular infrastructure market. It will also reinforce our position in the field of mobile switching," said Jo Cornu, Chief Operating Officer for Alcatel. "By collaborating with Motorola on UMTS, we have the opportunity to deliver the first systems complying to UMTS standards in the market place while ensuring an efficient and cost-effective use of R&D resources. We will bring our solutions to customers quicker and offer them the integrated world-class products they need to successfully compete."

Cable Systems International (Phoenix, AZ) has introduced a new member of the VeloCSIty family of cable products, VeloCSIty 2000™. As a former business unit of AT&T, the employees at CSI have specialized in the manufacturing of telecommunications and data cables and connectorized products since 1968, and they are continually diversifying product offerings to make their customers' jobs easier.

CSI offers both plenum and non-plenum cables with UL Listed Types CMP and CMR designed to exceed the current proposed TIA/EIA-568A electrical performance specifications for Category 6. The VeloCSIty 2000™ plenum cable is made using high quality materials in an innovative design which is exceptionally safe and reliable. It is insulated using 100% Hyflon® MFA fluoropolymer and jacketed with VATAR™ fluoropolymer, both from Ausimont USA, Inc. The plenum cable's extremely low fuel load in both the jacket and conductor insulation passes the safety standards of the UL-910 Steiner Tunnel Burn test with significant and consistent margin for flamespread and smoke generation. Plus, CSI's VATAR™ jacket provides significant high temperature and high humidity resistance while remaining flexible even in low temperature installations.

In addition, the jacket has impressive abrasion resistance and offers UV and chemical protection. Most unique to VeloCSIty 2000™, however, is the absence of pair isolators or bonded pairs found in many other Category 6 cables. This feature reduces installation costs as no extra tools and labor are required and the cable is easy to strip. Installation time is also kept at a minimum due to VeloCSIty 2000's™ vibrant conductor colors. VeloCSIty 2000™ is priced competitively with other Category 6 cables on the market.

Cable Systems International, an ISO 9001 certified company, offers a full range of telecommunications products including broadband cable, exchange cable, connectorized products, datacom wire and cable, and service and distribution wire.

Over a three month time period in mid-1998, X-Mark/CDT implemented a powder coat line designed around its style of enclosures. The first of its kind, this line is reported to be 95% efficient compared to the 30% efficiency for conventional coatings and free of VOC emissions.

X-Mark/CDT's Powder Coating facility uses an extremely durable and decorative powder as well as state-of-the-art application and curing facilities. The powder paint process provides a durable and attractive finish that stands up to prolonged exposure to the elements. It is also economical and reduced their use of hazardous materials.

The entire process is environmentally friendly, and is in complete conformance to both state and federal "Clean Air Act" guidelines. Powder coating is available in a wide range of precisely matched colors, including textures, metallics and glosses.

Early 1999 trade shows have been very active for Graybar. "Comnet in Washington D.C. proved to be a great opportunity to see many current customers, as well as extend our reach to new opportunities," according to National Market Manager Rob Bezjak. "We are using a systems approach to our booth, so the customers that visit have immediate access to the physical layer components as well as the electronics they need." Graybar displayed physical layer leaders Lucent, Berk-Tek, and Ortronics, with Chatsworth and American Access Technologies for pathways and enclosures, 3Com and ADC Kentrox for LAN and WAN access, and Microtest as the tester line. In addition, Graybar Financial Services handled many inquiries on financing, which has become a very popular option says Bezjak.

Graybar also enjoyed success at the CTI Expo in Los Angeles in March. This appears to be one of the hottest voice shows in the country, with attendance and interest increasing each year. "Application convergence is increasing, so vendors that have expertise in both the voice and data communications markets are poised to capitalize on this trend," according to Bezjak. "Graybar plans on similar solutions-style marketing programs at shows like SuperCOMM and Networld Interop later this year," he added.

BICSI (Tampa, FL), the international telecommunications association that has produced numerous industry publications, announced the arrival of its long awaited Customer-Owned Outside Plant (CO-OSP) Design Manual on February 26, 1999. The CO-OSP Design Manual is designed to be a quick reference for methods, procedures, and guidelines involved with multi-building network transport systems.

The manual provides detailed analysis of pathways and spaces, rights-of-way, air pressure systems, and more, and includes nearly 150 diagrams and drawings.

Draka Holding N.V. in Amsterdam, Netherlands (wire and cable for power, communication and data transmission) recorded a net profit in 1998 of NLG 121.8 million, an increase of 15% on 1997 (NLG 105.7 million). Net turnover fell by 5% to NLG 1.554 million.

Net earnings per share rose by 9.7% from NLG 6.40 to NLG 7.02 (EUR 3.19). The number of shares outstanding rose by 5% to 17,337,836 as a result of the optional share dividend for 1997 and the conversion of debentures. The dividend has been set at NLG 2.11 (EUR 0.96) per share (1997: NLG 1.92). This means that 30% of the net profit will be distributed to the shareholders. It will be proposed to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders that, as in previous years, shareholders be given the opportunity to elect for payment of the dividend in the form of shares charged to the tax-free share premium reserve or other reserves. The size of the stock dividend will be announced on May 17, 1999, the day before the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

The volume of sales rose by approximately 7%. The fact that this was not reflected in an increase in sales was due to the lower selling prices, caused by a sharp fall in the prices of raw materials, especially copper. New consolidations and deconsolidations had a limited impact on the turnover.

The cable market in Europe displayed some improvement. The demand for low-voltage cable stabilized, while prices came under pressure as a result of the existing overcapacity. The demand for specialty cable developed favorably. Market conditions in most segments in the United States were positive, but the demand for data cables eased to some extent in the second half of the year. The markets of relevance for Draka in the Far East were not seriously affected by the unfavorable economic situation.

The demand for optical fiber fell in the first half of the year. In combination with an expansion of the total production capacity in the industry this resulted in a heavy squeeze on prices. Demand and prices stabilized in the course of the third quarter, after which the market began to pick up again in the fourth quarter.

The operating result rose by 4% to NLG 173 million. In most countries the result approximated that of the preceding year. Exceptions in a positive sense were the United Kingdom and France, while in Germany the result, although remaining negative, improved strongly in comparison with 1997. In the Netherlands, the results of the cable activities were higher, while the results of the optical fiber activities were lower.

Thanks to a lower net debt position and lower interest rates, the negative balance of financial income and expenses improved by NLG 3.6 million to NLG 24.9 million. The results of non-consolidated participating interests improved to some extent as a result of a higher contribution from a joint venture in China and the contribution of another joint venture in Oman.

Mohawk has recently announced two new AdvanceLite™ fiber cable options; the AdvanceLite™ 2000, and the the AdvanceLite™ 1000. The AdvanceLite™ 2000 utilizes the new Corning InfiniCor CL™ 2000 multimode fiber with a sufficient modal bandwidth to guarantee Gigabit Ethernet distance of 2000 meters. The AdvanceLite™ 1000 utilizes the new Corning InfiniCor CL™ 1000 multimode fiber with a sufficient modal bandwidth to guarantee Gigabit Ethernet distance of 1000 meters.

The new AdvanceLite™ fiber compliments the introduction of Mohawk's SystemMATE™ cabling system offering end-user's multimode fiber options for Gigabit Ethernet solutions specified to 2000 meters.

Mohawk/CDT offers a comprehensive portfolio of high performance fiber and copper cabling options for Gigabit Ethernet and beyond. GigaLAN™ and AdvanceLite™ are the industry benchmark for high performance cabling solutions.

Once again AFL (Alcoa Fujikura Ltd.) has set the standard proving it is an industry leader. AFL (Spartanburg, SC) continually sets itself apart from the rest of the pack with the development of new products. The new AFL-Link™ products recently introduced include connector line that comes with some of the best in class products that AFL has introduced in the past. To name a few: the Field Master (SC/ST) and MT-RJ connectors, and UNI-Flex™ cable.

The Field Master™ Connectors are unique in many ways.

  • No crimp connector means no stress on the fiber.

  • Reduced parts mean quicker and easier to install.

  • Ridged stem which sandwiches the aramid yam and the jacket between it and the boot, creating a stronger termination.

  • The Field master was designed by consulting installers and finding out what would make a better connector.

The new MT-RJ is another example of AFL's leadership in the Datacom Market. This Small Form Factor Connector represents the last hurdle in the race to fiber-to-the-desk. It reduces price per port by terminating two fibers, transmit and receive, using the same footprint as the copper RJ-11.

UNI-Flex™ is a cable that is more flexible and just as strong as the competition, but offers smaller diameters and shorter installation times, thus being easier to work with. Instead of accepting industry standard as good enough, AFL redesigned the standard and the new design soon became the industry leader.

AFL has once again set the industry standard by offering a lifetime warranty on all their Datacom products. AFL-Link has taken the final step in becoming a total system solution. This is the first time such an offer has been made in the Datacom industry, proving AFL-Link products are truly world-class.

They wanted a warranty that was simple, one without all the rules and stipulations. A warranty with the strength of Alcoa behind it and no small print. The AFL-Link Lifetime Warranty is simple as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Use the AFL-Link products in a total system solution.

  2. Have the system installed by an AFL Certified Contractor.

  3. Register the system with AFL.

Then sit back and relax knowing that the fiber optic cabling system you have chosen is backed by the best warranty in the industry. No small print to read, no worries.

On March 23, 1999, Alltel Supply held their Second Annual Technology Showcase for the Jacksonville, Florida Communications Products Center. This mini-tradeshow was well attended by contractors and end users. The steak dinner and refreshments topped off a valuable experience for all the participants. We learned that Chris Hodgens has been promoted to the CPC Manager for the Alltel location in Philadelphia, PA. Chris joined Alltel in Atlanta after graduating from Auburn University with a B.S. in Operations Management. He opened the Jacksonville location in August 1997. Tim Livingston was promoted to the CPC Manager for the Jacksonville office. Tim has been with Alltel since graduating from the University of Georgia with a BBA in Marketing. Tim started out with Alltel in Houston and transferred to Jacksonville in January 1998.

Recently, we had a chance to review a new software based LAN product, the "LANWizard". This product is offered by Frederick Engineering, Inc. (Columbia, MD). Since 1983, Frederick Engineering has grown to a leading provider of PC based data communications test and network products. The company focuses on the changing PC based perceptions of testing and test equipment, by providing multiple-capability products as very competitive prices. This focus is reflected in FE's latest products, the ParaScope 2000 and LANWizard.

Looking for an outside plant contractor? We discovered a real winner in J.M. Holt & Sons Construction, Inc. (Graham, NC) The firm originated in the mid-1940's and expanded into cable plowing operations in 1960. Today, this firm has many proud accomplishments for jobs completed on time and as agreed. J.M. Holt & Sons has laid literally hundreds of miles of copper and fiber optics cable. Their commitment to continuous training and the best and latest equipment is reflected in their excellent quality.

There is another entry in the ultra-high performance cable race. Helix/Hi-Temp Cable, Inc. (A Draka Company) has rolled out their next generation of high-performance cable which meets the current proposed Category 6 standards. SuperCAT 1000 Series is a real tiger!

It exceeds requirements of TIA/EIA-568-A Category 6 - Draft 3 and ISO/IEC 11801 and has 14dB better ACR @ 100 MHz compared to Category 5e requirements, resulting in cleaner signals, fewer errors and less down time. This series also has lower attenuation yielding a stronger signal and improved S/N ratio at the far end.

Cable Design Technologies Corporation (Pittsburgh, PA) has announced sales operating income before non-recurring charges for the six months ending January 31, 1999. For the first six months of fiscal 1999, net sales were $334.5 million versus $317.8 million last year, an increase of 5%, including sales attributable to recent acquisitions. Adjusted for the unfavorable effect on sales of foreign currency translation and the decline in the price of copper, management estimates that the growth in sales for the six months ended January 31, 1999 would have been approximately 8%.

Commenting on the quarter, Paul M. Olson, President and CEO, stated, "Our results show that we have done well given the industry-wide slowdown during the second fiscal quarter in network structured wiring and the continued pricing pressure on network cable products. We also observed reduced communication cable sales in the second quarter, particularly in the U.S. marketplace, which is due in part to year-end budgetary constraints at the Regional Bell Operating Companies as well as mergers of major communication companies which affected the order cycle. We believe factors affecting the network structured wiring market include: one, postponement of the final industry standards for higher performance Category 5e and Category 6 expanded network products, which we expect to be resolved during CDT's fourth fiscal quarter, and two, the diversion of technology budget funds away from networking to address Y2K compliance matters."

"We remain confident about the long-term potential of both our Network Communication and Specialty Electronics product groups. Higher performance cables are required to drive higher performance technology. We believe the migration to faster network speeds must continue as the data transmission requirements of new system applications increase requiring greater bandwidth expansion. CDT is in a position to support this growth in network speeds with its 1.2 gigabit and 2.4 gigabit structured wiring systems and has recently announced its development of a 4.8 gigabit system expected to be available in the summer of 1999. With capital spending of $64.8 million over the past 18 months, we believe we have made the necessary investments to remain a leader in this higher performance cable market. Included in the spending was the addition of Category 6 and 7 cable manufacturing capabilities at our six worldwide facilities that produce network cable. Also, we expect communication cable demand will grow as Internet use accelerates and that specialty electronic cables will be in greater demand as applications require higher performance cables. We continue to evaluate opportunities for accretive acquisitions worldwide. In summary, we are enthusiastic about our industry, our market position and our long-term prospects for growth and expansion."

Anicom, Inc. (Rosemont, IL), a North American distribution specialist of multimedia technology, has announced record financial results for the fourth quarter and the year ended December 31, 1998.

Their net sales increased 93% to $470 million in 1998, from $244 million in 1997. Net sales of $131 million for the quarter ended December 31, 1998, represented an 85% increase over net sales of $71 million for the comparable quarter in 1997. These record sales reflect Anicom's strong progress in the continuing implementation of their integrated growth strategy.

As of March 1, 1999, Draka Holding N.V. (Amsterdam, Netherlands) has taken over the cable activities of Delta PLC in the United Kingdom. The transaction in the form of a net asset deal has a consideration of NLG 70 million. With an annual turnover of approximately NLG 430 million, the addition of Delta will clearly strengthen Draka's position in this market.

Delta manufactures standard low-voltage cables for the construction industry and other industrial applications, as well as special cables, such as fire-resistant cables, instrumentation cables, control and data cables. Production takes place in Leeds, Derby and Llanelli. Sales are predominantly realized in the United Kingdom. The company employs 956 people.

The activities in the field of special cable are profitable, while losses are suffered on standard low-voltage cable. The activities which were taken over will be integrated with those of the existing Draka companies in the United Kingdom, with the effect that the new activities will be making a positive contribution to the profit per share in the second half on 1999.

The acquisition fits in with Draka's strategy which is aimed at a further expansion of activities in the field of standard low-voltage cable, in which Draka had not been active previously. The acquisition was funded through cash flow and use of existing credit facilities. On balance, the acquisition did not involve goodwill.

We just received the program for the sixth annual conference sponsored by Cabling Business Institute, The Association of Cabling Professionals and Cabling Business Magazine. Cabling The Workplace '99 is a technical training conference and exhibition which will be held at the Hyatt Regency DFW, Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, Texas from May 23-26, 1999. This conference will introduce new certification programs for Cabling Infrastructure Contractor (CIC), Cabling Facilities Integrator (CFI), Cabling Installer/Technician (CIT), Network Cabling and Applications Integrator (NCAI), and Infrastructure Consultant (IC).

CTW's course selections consist of two different formats: Core Sessions and Workshops. Core Sessions are one- and two-day classes covering a broad range of topics relating to specific segments of the cabling industry. After completing a Core Session, you will be provided with a record of completion noting the number of classroom hours fulfilled. Course numbers beginning with the letter "C" in the CTW brochure indicates a Core Session.

A Workshop is a short, but informative, learning format that covers a specific topic. Many of their Workshops provide the opportunity to implement what you've learned in a hands-on environment. Course numbers beginning with the letter "W" in the CTW brochure indicate a Workshop.

Steve Paulov, Publisher & Editor of Cabling Business Magazine said, "We have mailed more than 400,000 conference programs to the marketplace and if we missed you, call us (214/328-1717 - FAX 214/319-6077 - Website" This show is designed to provide the telecommunications/data professional with everything they need to achieve their objectives. This is the richest show of the year in terms of educational content. The exhibition offers an excellent opportunity to go one-on-one with the manufacturers. There will be many new products and services to review. Even the vendors understand that you cannot sell solutions to someone who does not know that they have a problem. We give this conference FIVE STARS for content and value. The conference is co-located with the lodging facility and transportation to and from the conference is as simple as pushing the elevator button. There are five restaurants plus lounges on the site and many nearby. See you in Dallas!

Cablefloor® from FLEXSPACE, Inc. (Seattle, WA) may be the most advanced, practical, and cost-effective way to distribute and organize all electronic cabling systems in the modern day workplace.

Cablefloor's low-profile design increases floor height only 2 ½" (6.4cm). Then, when you want access to cabling or connectivity, you can easily remove any of the 2' x 2' (60cm) panels located in a continuous grid throughout the floor plan.

So electronic cabling structure can be re-configured, serviced, or upgraded in a fraction of the time required by conventional cable management methods.

In effect, Cablefloor® provides the key to flexible, adaptive work environments by housing and distributing all electric system cables and connectivity in a way that allows them to be accessed and moved easily and quickly - without disruption to the workplace.

Anybody who's worked on recent model automobiles knows the value of custom tools for special functions in tight places. In the communications world, we encounter many challenges which require specialized equipment that can do the job and do it in a "small" way.

The iNNodata (Derry, NH) EZ Mount Network Shelf with EZ Mount Swivel Bracket is one of those special custom tools for some challenges in the LAN/Telecom installation business. It replaces the traditional multi-unit installation by integrating hubs, patch panels and power strip with a single space-and-time saving set up. It's great for limited real estate space and eliminates the common swing bracket while providing a stable platform to simplify the "punch down" process. It also includes custom Velcro strips to make wire management fast and easy.

"You will be proud of the neat, organized appearance of the completed installation when you use the EZ Mount Network Shelf," said its creator, Bob Laukonis. "You will be pleased with the speed with which you finished you job." Relay racks and swing away wall units are oversized, and unsightly, for the smaller network (48 drops or less) requirements.

The EZ Mount Network Shelf is specifically designed for small LAN/Telecom installations where wiring closet space for shelf mounting is limited, as well as when the installation is in plain view. The amount of time saved using the EZ Mount Network Shelf is greatest when the space you have to maneuver in is smallest.

Cabling Business Magazine is ALMOST FREE. You have to fill out a subscription renewal every 6 months. If you haven't been doing this, start NOW. Subscription forms are in the magazine and on the website or call (214/328-1717). This is a small sacrifice for such a big value.

It's no secret that prices for plenum cable are soft, and the profits of cable producers are being squeezed. Some manufacturers have elected to cut corners by attempting to offer cable designs using mixed pair installations instead of 4x0 cables in which all four pairs are insulated with FEP. These mixed pair combinations are known as 3x1 or 2x2 designs because FEP has been replaced with lower cost substitutes on one or two pairs. As one of our Southern friends is fond of saying, "That dog don't hunt".

3x1 and 2x2 cable designs are not new. They bombed after being introduced two years ago during the FEP shortage. They were unceremoniously withdrawn from the market because of delay skew and other problems. Imagine driving your car on a high-speed highway with three regular tires and the other being the emergency "donut". That's 3x1 cable. This is one of those cases where, if you haven't learned from history, you are bound to repeat it, mistakes included.

Caveat emptor. Don't be fooled by the lure of a cheaper cable. Our advice is to shop for your best price, by specifying the cable type you want to buy. In our opinion, your best bet for reliability and peace of mind is 4x0 cable, 100% insulated with FEP.

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. The 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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