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HOTS 11/1999

Issue: November 1999

By: Frank Bisbee


 

Featured Story

 


To steal a quote from the movie Runaway Bride, "The difference between literature and journalism is speed . . ." It seems like no sooner do I get one column finished when the next one's due. The Heard On The Street column depends upon the materials contributed by the readers and their companies.

Please send your ideas and press releases to:

Frank Bisbee

Heard On The Street

4160 Southside Blvd., #3

Jacksonville, FL 32216

(904) 645-6018

Or E-mail me at frank@wireville.com. Thank you for your support.



Prestolite Wire Corporation (Southfield, MI) and Krone, Inc. (Englewood, CO) have jointly announced TrueNet™, a cabling system specifically designed to prevent bandwidth loss in local area networks (LANs). Company research at corporate user facilities show that many companies may have undiagnosed problems in their Ethernet cabling systems. These problems can slow down networks without the users ever knowing it. The resulting loss of speed could mean 100BASE-T runs 96% slower than specified - effectively eliminating all the performance gains promised after costly upgrades from 10BASE-T.

The TrueNet structured cabling system was developed to solve these undiagnosed problems, which occur even in cabling that fully meets the existing standards. TrueNet is the only structured cabling system specifically engineered to protect Ethernet signals - and companies' investments in network bandwidth.

The TrueNet research and development approach focused on defining the electrical parameters critical for good Ethernet signal transmission in a live network. Designers at Prestolite Wire and Krone used this information to fine-tune cables and components into one tightly controlled system to achieve maximum performance. Active network testing confirms that TrueNet cables can achieve better signal protection than typical standards-based systems.

Prestolite Wire and Krone are releasing TrueNet cabling systems as the first step in their recently formed worldwide marketing alliance.



Anicom, Inc. (Rosemont, IL), a leading distributor of multimedia technology products, is taking charge of approximately $12 million in its fiscal third quarter in connection with a company-wide restructuring. As a result of the charge, the company expects to report an after-tax loss of approximately $12 million in the third quarter.

As part of the restructuring, the company will accelerate the opening of eight "Platinum Service" distribution centers, which will enhance its operating efficiency. The opening of these centers will allow Anicom to consolidate its 75 North American locations into 61 facilities, downsize 12 other locations and reduce its workforce of approximately 1,200 by approximately 10%.

The charge will be comprised of restructuring costs, which include severance, costs associated with reductions in several categories of lower-margin product offerings and writedowns of leases and leaseholds.

Scott C. Anixter, Chairman of the Board said, "Implementing the restructuring at this time will make Anicom a more nimble, profitable and efficient company. Anicom's growth during its first five years has given us the critical mass and financial strength necessary to be a North American leader in our industry. Now, we must bring these benefits to our bottom line."

In the fourth quarter of 1999, the company estimates that it will also incur up to $4.5 million of pre-tax one-time period costs associated with completing the implementation of this restructuring. As a result, the company expects to break even in the fourth quarter. Next year, the company anticipates generating approximately $580 million in sales and earnings per share of approximately $.34 and $.38. www.anicommm.com



Textron Inc. (Providence, RI) has announced their acquisition of Progressive Electronics, Inc. and Progressive Manufacturing, Inc. With 1998 sales of approximately $23 million, closely-held Progressive is a manufacturer of equipment for telecommunications technicians in the fields of wire and cable identification and testing. Progressive will become part of Greenlee Textron, a supplier of products sold under the Greenlee and Datacom brands for wire and cable installation, maintenance and testing for residential, commercial and industrial markets. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"With strong historical double-digit growth and profitability, Progressive further enhances Textron's position in the data-signal-voice industry, where we anticipate continued strong global growth," said Textron Chairman and CEO Lewis B. Campbell.

"This acquisition adds a widely recognized and respected brand that complements both the Greenlee and Datacom product lines and opens our businesses up to a wider array of distribution channels," added Greenlee Textron President Barclay Olson.

With two facilities in Mesa, AZ, progressive's product line includes tone generators, inductive amplifiers, wire and cable fault locators, and a comprehensive line of accessories. These products are sold to the telecommunications, electrical and electronic industries. www.textron.com



Tyco strikes again! They have recently announced the signing of a definitive agreement pursuant to which Tyco will acquire Siemens Electromechanical Components (Siemens EC) from Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) for approximately $1.1 billion in cash.

Siemens EC, with sales of approximately $900 million, is a world market leader for relays and one of the world's leading providers of components to the communications, automotive, consumer and general industry sectors, offering a broad spectrum of products ranging from individual components to intelligent subsystems.

"Tyco won't make an acquisition unless it is accretive and has an excellent strategic fit with our existing businesses, so to say that Siemens Electromechanical Component business is an excellent fit with Tyco Electronics and will have a significant immediate positive impact to earnings probable doesn't do justice to the quality of this opportunity," said L. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco's Chairman and CEO.

"From a product standpoint, Siemens EC's relays are highly complementary with Tyco Electronics' connectors and interconnect products and allow us to leverage our customer relationships. From a market standpoint, the combination of Siemens EC's strengths in the telecommunications industry and Tyco's Electronics' in the automotive industry provides powerful opportunities to enhance our combined market position," he added.

"As with our recent merger with AMP and acquisition of Raychem, we expect this transaction will be highly successful for Tyco Electronics. With both AMP and Raychem, we have achieved top line growth well beyond our expectations and continue to see these favorable trends. In addition, we have exceeded our initial assumptions with respect to the timing and scale of cost reductions from both businesses. These results will provide positive benefit to shareholders during our current quarter and next fiscal year," he concluded. www.tycoint.com



Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel company, has upgraded its GIGAlite(tm) multimode fiber, used in its fiber-optic cables.

William D. Charuk, Berk-Tek's Fiber Optic Group Business Manager, said the "new enhanced GIGAlite(tm) fiber offers more flexibility to the user, since it will allow Gigabit Ethernet to transmit distances of at least 600 meters. It also eliminates the cost associated with purchasing a mode conditioning patchcord."

He also stated that the fiber has been specifically designed and manufactured to take advantage of VCSEL technology. GIGAlite fiber offers and improved index profile which means that in the fiber glass manufacturing process the glass imperfections were minimized. This will be an important factor in the future because tomorrow's demanding data communications applications will use laser transmitters instead of LEDs. This will require improved index glass profiles such as GIGAlite fiber technology.

Charuk also said Berk-Tek will continue to specify the Overfilled launch (OFL) bandwidth for GIGAlite fiber at 500 MHz-km in both the 850 and 1300nm windows. "There appears to be some confusion surrounding Gigabit Ethernet and multimode fiber bandwidth using laser transmission. As the market migrates to this new technology, we will also continue to provide an enhanced OFL bandwidth guarantee to support legacy applications at extended distances for our customers."

In addition, Berk-Tek has upgraded their standard fiber offering. Berk-Tek is now offering a standard fiber for which the OFL bandwidth has been increased by more than 25% from 160 Mhz-km/500MHz-km. It requires no mode conditioning patch cords at 1300 nms.



Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, MI) is buying Union Carbide Corporation (Danbury, CT) for $9.3 billion in stock and $2.3 billion in assumed debt, creating the world's second-largest chemical company behind DuPont. The merged company, which will operate under the Dow Chemical name, will have $24 billion in annual revenues. "This was the right time and combination, and the deal positions us for going forward in the future," said Union Carbide's CEO William Joyce. Mr. Joyce also said that despite rumors, Union Carbide was not talking to other suitors, "We have really been working with Dow and only Dow."

William S. Stavropoulos, President and CEO of Dow Chemical, said that despite some bumpy times for Union Carbide recently, over the long term the merger makes sense. Stavropoulos added that Dow Chemical expects to have a cost savings of $500 million over the next two years and that his company plans to make similar deals that are also accretive to earnings over the next few years.

About 2,000 jobs will be cut as a result of the Dow Chemical / Union Carbide merger, leaving about 49,000 employees.

Union Carbide shareholders will own about 25% of Dow Chemical after the deal is complete, and Union Carbide CEO Joyce will become Vice Chairman of the Dow Chemical board of directors.

Under the deal, Union Carbide shareholders will receive 0.537 shares of Dow Chemical for each of their Union Carbide shares - or $66.96.

The merger depends on the approval of Union Carbide shareholders and regulatory authorities. The companies expect the deal to be completed by the first quarter of 2000. www.dow.com



Nordx/CDT Inc. (Montreal, Canada), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cable Design Technologies (CDT) Corporation has announced the availability of the new and revolutionary IBDN 4800LX Cable.

The IBDN 4800LX Cable represents the "next generation" of UTP LAN cables. This cable exceeds all of the performance criteria with respect to the Category 6 proposals. Included within these performance criteria are two key transmission parameters that limit the maximum data-rate capability of copper cable networks. The most important transmission parameter is the signal level, which is primarily determined by the attenuation of the cable. The second is the noise level, which is primarily determined by internally generated crosstalk noise between cable pairs. This new cabling technology focuses on improving both of these parameters, hence providing a cabling system with an available bandwidth far beyond traditional cabling systems.

The IBDN 4800LX Cable incorporates a unique central cross-web design to separate and hold the twisted pairs of the cable firmly into position at a uniform distance from one another. This design provides improved Near End Crosstalk (NEXT) and Far End Crosstalk (FEXT) performance in comparison to conventional cables where the twisted pairs can nest into each other and change position during manufacturing or installation. The end result of this design is a very stable transmission performance that is less susceptible to manufacturing and installation variables.

"By implementing a forward-looking attitude, NORDX/CDT has pioneered new territory in cable technology," explained Eric d'Allmen, Product Manager at NORDX/CDT. "By taking advantage of this next generation cable technology, users can benefit from the additional headroom that it provides for today's most demanding and mission critical applications, as well as the multi-gigabit applications of the next millennium.

The IBDN 4800LX Cable is designed to provide low signal attenuation. This feature enables increased signal power over a higher range of frequencies. Where most cables may suffer a drop in performance at higher frequencies, the 4800LX cable provides twice the signal power at 200 MHz compared to the current Category 6a proposal.

The higher signal power of the IBDN 4800 LX Cable also results in a higher "signal-to-noise" ratio (SNR). With this higher ratio, the IBDN 4800LX Cable is able to provide fewer transmission errors and higher data rate capability.

The IBDN 4800LX Cable supports all popular networking protocols including 10Base-T, Token Ring, 100Base-T4, 100Base-TX and 155 Mb/s ATM. It surpasses the requirements for Gigabit Ethernet 1000Base-T and is ideal for emerging high-speed protocols.

The IBDN 4800LX Cable combined with the IBDN PS6 MDVOFlex Jack and PS6LX Modular Cords, will create the first end-to-end 300 MHz system in the industry, the IBDN System 4800LX. (PS6 components will be made available in the fall of 1999.) www.nordx.com



Cabledrop.com, a subsidiary of DataStar Computer Systems, Inc. (Carrollton, TX) announced the launching of the world's first network infrastructure services company to provide nationwide E-Commerce based voice and data cabling services. www.cabledrop.com



Staples Inc. (Framingham, MA) has announced it has renamed its telecommunications subsidiaries, The Claricom Companies, to "Staples Communications". Staples acquired the privately held telecommunications products and services provider in March 1999.

"Staples' brand recognition and reputation will enable us to expand our telecommunications customer base," said Neil Lichtman, President of Staple Communications. "Offering high-quality telecommunications products and services is another way Staples is helping customers run their businesses more efficiently and effectively."

Staples Communications offers a full spectrum of network services, such as local and long distance, internet access, paging, data and other related network services, as well as a full portfolio of business communications solutions including voice, data, and videoconferencing hardware and software from some of the world's leading manufacturers.

Staples Inc. is a $7 billion retailer of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and businesses, from home-based businesses to Fortune 50 companies, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. Staples invented the office superstore concept and today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has more than 44,000 associates serving the business customer through more than 980 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. www.staples.com



Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) has announced that its new carrier will deploy nearly eight million kilometers of advanced non-zero dispersion-shifted optical fiber (NZ-DSF) in the largest European broadband network ever announced. A minimum of 80% of the project's total NZ-DSF fiber requirements will be made up of Corning® LEAF® optical fiber. Corning Cables, Corning Incorporated's European cabling division, will cable approximately 50% of the total LEAF fiber being supplied to the project.

Corning LEAF fiber, an advanced NZ-DSF, allows higher levels of power to be transmitted through the fiber over a greater number of channels, while minimizing the occurrence of nonlinear effects. www.corningfiber.com



When the end of the world arrives how will the media report it?

  • USA Today: WE'RE DEAD

  • The Wall Street Journal: DOW JONES PLUMMETS AS WORLD ENDS

  • National Enquirer: O.J. and NICOLE, TOGETHER AGAIN

  • Playboy: GIRLS OF THE APOCALYPSE

  • Microsoft Systems Journal: APPLE LOSES MARKET SHARE

  • Victoria's Secret Catalog: OUR FINAL SALE

  • Sports Illustrated: GAME OVER!

  • Wired: THE LAST NEW THING!

  • Rolling Stone: THE GRATEFUL DEAD REUNION TOUR

  • Reader's Digest: 'BYE!

  • Discover Magazine: HOW WILL THE EXTINCTION OF ALL LIFE AS WE KNOW IT AFFECT THE WAY WE VIEW THE COSMOS?

  • TV Guide: DEATH AND DAMNATION: NIELSON RATINGS SOAR!

  • Lady's Home Journal: LOSE 10 LBS. BY JUDGEMENT DAY WITH OUR NEW "ARMAGEDDON" DIET!

  • America Online: SYSTEM TEMPORARILY DOWN. TRY CALLING BACK IN 15 MINUTES.

  • Inc. magazine: TEN WAYS YOU CAN PROFIT FROM THE APOCALYPSE!



Tyco International Ltd. (Hamilton, Bermuda), a diversified manufacturing and service company, has terminated exploratory discussions with William Plc. about a range of options for the combination of their respective fire and security businesses.


"Our acquisition discipline requires that we demonstrate clear benefits to Tyco shareholders in any potential transaction. Every acquisition must provide superior financial return, be immediately accretive to our earnings, have excellent long-term growth prospects, produce strong cash flow, and fit within our four existing business segments," said L. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco's Chairman and CEO. "While there were substantial potential synergies with Williams in our complementary fire and security businesses, we were unable to structure a transaction that would have achieved these benefits for Tyco shareholders," he added. www.tycoint.com



Advanced Linear Devices, Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) has announced a family of monolithic CMOS analog processor chips that implement precision, low power, low noise integrating dual slope A/D converters having a resolution of 16, 17 & 18 bits, plus sign bit and overrange bit. These devices are ideally suited for a variety of high accuracy line powered and portable digital multi-meter applications requiring 4½ to 5½ digit plus sign measurement resolution.

Designated the ALD500 Series, these front-end analog processors feature low linearity errors typically 0.001% full scale, 10mW total power dissipation, 2 pA input current at OV, ± 3.5V input signal range, and a 1µs fast zero-crossing comparator. Conversion speed can be regulated by an external microprocessor under software control or by utilizing fixed logic digital inputs.

Typical applications for the ALD500 A/D Converter include sensor and scientific measurement add-on modules and boards for PC based systems. Also, PCMCIA lap top computer add-on precision multimeters, battery operated DVMs with on-board microcontroller and other custom ASIC based systems which demand higher analog measurement accuracy than available from generic 3½ digit devices.

ALD500 prices start from $2.44 US in 10k pcs volume for standard ALD500 devices to $3.15 for the "AU" 18-bit grade. Industrial temperature grade devices are also available. Standard packaging includes 16-pin plastic DIP and small outline SOIC. Evaluation quantities are available from stock.



Laying the groundwork for the creation of a new category of consumer electronics products, the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dedicate 36 MHz of radio frequency bandwidth to provide free, high-quality multi-channel digital radio, information and high capacity data services for a new broadcast service to mobile receivers. CEMA outlined the proposal in a filing submitted to the FCC last week regarding its proposals to adopt rules to permit new wireless and broadcast services using UHF-TV channels 60-62 and 65-67. These channels are scheduled to become available in 2006 as part of the transition to digital television.

"This is an exciting and historic opportunity for the Commission, for mass media entities, for receiver and transmitter equipment manufacturers and mostly for the American public," proclaimed Gary Shapiro, CEMA President. "CEMA believes that the frequency bands under consideration in this proceeding are ideal to create a new terrestrial Mobile Multimedia Broadcast Service (MMBS) which will bring features currently popular in home entertainment and information products to the mobile environment."

Among the services that could be made possible by MMBS are 5.1 channel digital audio (Left, center, right, left rear, right rear and sub-woofer) with CD, or better, quality.

"With multi-channel audio, MMBS would give mobile listeners an exciting immersion into the entertainment experience already a part of high-definition television and DVD," noted Ralph Justus, CEMA director of Technology and Standards.

MMBS also would bring to the mobile user access to digital information including navigation, weather and emergency data, such as evacuation warnings, in real time. And with data rates of up to 384 Kbps per channel and more that 70 channels, Internet Protocol (IP) services, other data services and Intelligent Transportation Systems also may be offered.

"Mobile access to this much digital information and data services would spawn an entirely new category of mobile products," explained Justus. "The entire local paper could be delivered electronically to mobile receivers throughout a given city. In-dash navigation systems could use real-time map and traffic data to calculate the fastest route dynamically. Everything from sports scores to flight schedules and congressional hearings to comic strips could be delivered to small wireless devices. The possible applications are limitless."

The two pieces of radio spectrum under consideration are 746 to 764 and 776 to 794 MHz - or television channels 60 through 62 and 65 through 67 in the UHF band. These frequencies have been made available by the FCC as part of the transition to digital television and will be auctioned off for commercial purposes after January 1, 2001. Outside of the basic public interest requirements, the FCC has currently sold to the highest commercial bidder.

In its submission, however, CEMA urged the FCC to designate the spectrum only for MMBS and adopt the specific technical system to use. Only then, CEMA argued, can the FCC realize the full benefits of MMBS for the public and maximize potential spectrum auction revenues.

"CEMA strongly supports the Commission's efforts to adopt rules that will permit the creation of new services on these frequencies," explained Michael Petricone, CEMA director of Technology Policy and Legal Affairs. "It is clearly in the public interest to allocate the necessary bandwidth to new services for which there is demonstrable demand."

"We believe the FCC has an opportunity and an obligation to establish rules ensuring that this radio spectrum will be used in a way that best serves the public," added Shapiro. "MMBS serves this interest by integrating free over-the-air broadcasting of high-quality multi-channel audio with high-capacity data services intended for mobile use."

CEMA has scheduled a "Discovery Group" meeting for September 15th in Washington, D.C. to gauge further interest in MMBS and devise technical and service requirements needed to meet listener and user needs. More information on the meeting will be posted shortly on www.CEMAcity.org. CEMA's filing with the FCC can also be viewed at this site.

CEMA is a sector of the Electronics Industries Alliance (EIA), the 75-year-old Arlington, VA-based trade organization representing all facets of electronics manufacturing. CEMA represents more than 500 U.S. manufacturers of audio, video, accessories, mobile electronics, communications, information technology and multimedia products that are sold through consumer channels.

CEMA also sponsors and manages the International CES - Your Source for Workstyle and Lifestyle Technology (SM). All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, product promotion, engineering standards development, market research and governmental and legal affairs support. As the first major technology event of the new millennium, the 200 International CES is the launch pad for 21st century technology.



The Association of Cabling Professionals (ACP) is developing into a Wired Community! Be sure to check this website TODAY for details on a free new interactive area within the site. Word has it that it is modeled on a highly successful site elsewhere on the Web. We also hear that the Grand Opening of this new part of Wireville will be attended by a cross-section of the most influential people in the cabling industry. This might well be the most important networking opportunity the cabling industry has seen in years! BE THERE!



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 www.cablingbusiness.com or call (214) 328-1717. This is a small sacrifice for such a big value.



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. www.cablingbusiness.com The have a world-class training facility with regular classes on installation, structured wiring with Category 5 certification, LANs, fiber optics and design.

 

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