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Wireville.com

Issue: April 2007
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


Bisbee’s Buzz

The process of establishing a valuable communications cabling infrastructure is as arcane as black magic.

  • Plan - Performance requirements & Site “life” (Get executive input)
  • Spec materials that meet the plan
  • BUY DEPENDABLE – from a contractor (usually through a major distributor)
  • Install using best methods (think stress relief)
  • Label (everything) and test cable facilities – mark the floor plans too!
  • DOCUMENT the install – naming/numbering plan & test records – don’t forget cut sheets and material lists.

Don’t tell anybody. It’s our little secret.

The number of organizations that miss many of these steps is shocking. For some buyers the rule seems to be BUY AND FORGET IT… then do it all over again, and again, and again, and again. The communications infrastructure is a major working asset. Buyers need to recognize this point in order to maximize their investment.

But that’s just my opinion,

Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" Monthly Column
www.wireville.com
4949 Sunbeam Rd, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077 office
(904) 645-9058 fax
frank@wireville.com


Education, Networking And Motivation Will bound At 2007 BICSI Spring Conference

The Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, Texas will be the setting for the 2007 BICSI Spring Conference, April 15-18. This unique conference will help BICSI members, and nonmembers alike, gain invaluable ITS knowledge to make better decisions, earn greater margin on projects and win more business.

“The Spring Conference promises to provide you with education and motivation to lead your organization to a new level of success,” said BICSI President John Bakowski, RCDD®/NTS/OSP/WD Specialist. “Whether your career is in data centers, security or design, you will be able to choose from different concurrent sessions based on your ITS interest.”

Other conference highlights include:

  • Dr. Barry Asmus, Senior Economist, National Center for Policy Analysis—Keynote Speaker, Monday, Apr. 16

Dr. Asmus speaks, writes and consults on policy, business and economic issues facing America. He has testified before the House Ways and Means Committee. He was a featured speaker at the Social Security Conference for Western European leaders and has traveled frequently to Romania to discuss privatization and market based solutions on behalf of NCPA. Dr. Asmus is a passionate advocate of free market systems and limited government solutions. He has addressed Fortune 500 companies all across America and is the author of nine books, his most current being “Bulls Don’t Blush, Bears Don’t Die.”

·          Concurrent Sessions, Tuesday, Apr. 17

Attendees will choose from four education tracks and 23 sessions to customize their learning.  Tuesday features presentations on designing and reducing energy costs in a data center, low voltage applications, cabling in clinical and laboratory environments, telecommunications cabinets, changeable connections, video signal transmissions, CAT 6 cabling, video security and surveillance, power strips technology, passive optical networks (PON), screened and shielded cabling systems, and increasing marketplace demands on installation contractors.

Originally drafted in the 1st round in 1984, Jim's childhood dream of becoming a Major League Baseball player was derailed by serious arm injuries. At the age of 35 and some 11 years after retiring from minor league baseball, Jim went to an open tryout where he threw 12 consecutive pitches at 98 mph—almost 10 mph harder than he had some 15 years earlier—to the amazement of scouts in attendance. After just three months in the minor leagues, Jim signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and returned to Texas as a major league player and struck out Texas Rangers all-star Royce Clayton with a 98 mile per hour fastball in his first big league game. Jim retired again from baseball in the winter of 2001 and co-authored his autobiography, The Oldest Rookie, published that same year. As a speaker, Jim inspires and motivates audiences to never give up on their dreams.

###

BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies. BICSI serves more than 24,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life-safety and automation systems.  Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, BICSI membership spans nearly 100 countries.  www.bicsi.org


Real Estate’s Hidden Time Bombs: Power, Connectivity

Carlini’s Comments, MidwestBusiness.com’s oldest column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common mans view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of pseudo experts.

Many real estate developments are technologically obsolete and diminished in value.  Do their appraisals even reflect this?

When it comes to real estate acquisitions, many smart investors have turned to taking their money from the stock market and have invested it into real estate investment trusts (REITs).  Returns from some of these groups have provided 20 percent to 50 percent returns to their investors.

While these are great returns, are there any hidden time bombs lurking behind the marble facades and talking elevators?  What many of these acquisition groups fail to look at are the technology issues associated with the buildings within their acquisitions.

The due diligence and appraisal process are on the traditional side of real estate:

Attending last week’s building automation conference in Baltimore was not as much of an eye-opener as it was a reaffirmation of technology infrastructure concepts learned throughout the last 20 years while working on the basic concepts of intelligent buildings and mission-critical projects.

With real estate being touted to investors as the fourth asset class after equities, bonds and cash, there needs to be some real due diligence performed on the power and connectivity issues when it comes to evaluating real estate properties.  If we put up a different yardstick that measures the capabilities of power and connectivity, would we still have the same results for building appraisals?

Antiquated Power Grid

There were some interesting points about power that should be mentioned.  Almost all buildings are fed from a single power grid that in turn creates a single point-of-failure issue. In terms of business continuity issues, the power grid is more of an issue than terrorism as being a real cause of business disruption.

Presenter Shalom Frank of Pareto Energy said the power grid in the U.S. is antiquated and 94 percent of the power failures can be attributed to the distribution.  In one case in California, he said that a raccoon and a possum were the cause of power being cut to oil refineries that in turn disrupted refinery production.  Because of that, gasoline prices jumped 7 cents a gallon.

The new approach for buildings and business campuses should incorporate a design that uses two or three power sources instead of one grid.  While this might be more money in the beginning, it would create a much more valuable property.  It would also differentiate it compared to the properties that have used the traditional approach.

Pareto cited several issues that necessitate the need to innovate the power grid:

1.    No improvement delivered efficiency in 40 years

2.    Little use of digital technology

3.    Grid has no early warning system for disruption and cannot “self-heal”

4.    Unacceptable environment and global climate impact

5.    American high-tech companies have lost faith in grid power for digital-age commerce

He went on to cite a 2006 study by the SteelEye Technology Business Continuity Index that said almost half of the American IT companies identify power outages as likely to have a maximum impact on their businesses.  By comparison, only 1 percent cited terrorism as a concern for IT downtime.

A common local outage or power disruption is 50 times more critical to plan for than that lone EMP bomb some are trying to avoid.

Power and connectivity have become more of an upfront issue for master planning instead of an afterthought once the tenant has moved in.  Any new construction should have serious upfront consideration and implementation for power requirements and connectivity. These attributes should be addressed as part of the pre-built infrastructure.

As for commercial and industrial real estate that is already built, the need to review and assess these attributes is essential especially in the appraisal processes.  If they are overlooked, they can become huge detriments for the property owner and manager.  New rules of thumb have to be created and adopted by all real estate professionals including property managers, leasing agents and site selection teams.

What is the value of having feeds from two different power grids as a building amenity versus the liability of having a single power grid creating a single point of failure within a property? How do you adjust the leasing when amenities like this are lacking?  How do you adjust the total value of the property?

Building Cabling Problems Are Like an Iceberg

Just like an iceberg, building cabling problems are 95 percent underneath the surface.

Though you may see something wrong, “it’s only the tip of the iceberg.”  Just like with the power utility, the horse-and-buggy approach to network connectivity was one connection to the phone company’s central office.  Most developments still use this out-of-date rule of thumb that should be discarded.

In mission-critical applications like the Chicago 911 center or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, connectivity to more than one central office is a given. With all organizations so dependent on connectivity today, the new rule of thumb should be connectivity to at least two central offices as well as multiple long-distance carriers.

It’s not overkill today as much as it is being compliant with mission-critical objectives and business continuity for compliance.  Again, have appraisals for buildings and campuses even reviewed this as a value attribute that determines the worth of the property?

My presentation’s focus at the conference was that economic development equals broadband connectivity and broadband connectivity equals jobs. With that being said, the design requirements of connectivity and power must be pushed into the upfront planning process instead of being reviewed later when tenants are moving in.

Connectivity for standalone buildings, intelligent industrial parks and business campuses is skyrocketing to gigabit speeds. Organizations are looking for more and more speed as their business must compete globally and 10 Gbps speeds are now starting to be upgraded to 40 Gbps as a connectivity standard.

Real Estate Owners Beware

If your property has DSL or T-1 as the basic speed for connectivity, you probably are still driving a stagecoach.  If you aren’t now, that’s about all you’ll be able to afford to drive as tenants move to buildings offering higher speeds.  Maybe you will decide to change out the building to a public storage facility, as the market will pass you by.

There were studies made 20 years ago that buildings that didn’t keep up would become technologically obsolete.  Some real estate people have not heeded that warning and are now scrambling for intelligent amenities they do not have.

Carlinism: “Location, location, location” has given way to “location, location, and connectivity.”


Check out Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.


James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini


RHINO 101 Makes Labeling Fast, Easy and Affordable

When two worlds collide, great things happen. RHINO, a brand of Sanford, L.P., a Newell Rubbermaid Company (NYSE: NWL) and a world leader in industrial identification, is proud to bring together tough and durable RHINO labels and the ever-popular Sharpie® permanent marker to create the new RHINO 101 reusable label dispenser.

Since the introduction of the award winning RHINO 5000 label printer in 2004, the RHINO brand has been building superior electronic label printers for datacomm installers, electrical contractors, facility managers and other professionals all over the world. While electronic label printing is a fast-growing segment of the market, traditional “pen and tape” labeling remains the method of choice for some, as well as a viable means of temporary labeling in the “rough-in” phase of installations. For this reason, RHINO developed the RHINO 101 reusable label dispenser – a product that combines the durability of RHINO industrial labels with the proven power of the Sharpie Retractable® permanent marker into one convenient tool.

Doug Waldal, Global Business Director for RHINO explains, “Pen and tape labeling has been around for decades and still, for many, is the most cost-effective and efficient means for labeling their projects.  We recognize this and for this reason decided to develop an innovative product that we feel represents the best “pen-and-tape” labeling solution on the market today.  The Sharpie brand is very well known and for many is the identification tool of choice. Now, with the RHINO 101, installers and contractors can use what we believe is the best of both worlds: the best labeling materials – RHINO labels – and the best marker – Sharpie.”

The RHINO 101 is a reusable and refillable hand-held labeling tool that provides tape, pen, writing surface and cutter into one. But it’s no ordinary pen and tape. The tape is an easy to load drop-in cartridge that consists of easy-to-peel split-back RHINO labels with industrial-strength adhesives that stick. The pen included with the tool is a black Sharpie Retractable® permanent marker – a world-renowned brand in the market. Together, they provide a truly powerful and dependable solution for fast, easy labels. The writing surface integrated into the RHINO 101 makes it easy to write labels anywhere and the built-in cutter, belt clip and lanyard hook provide further on-the-go convenience. Additionally, the RHINO 101 includes a thumb advance for easy tape dispensing (without smearing) and a viewing window to align the label prior to cutting (for self-laminating labels).

“Prior to designing the RHINO 101 and even during the design and testing phases, we interviewed many installers to learn what features were most important to them,” said Rafael Martinez, Product Manager for RHINO. “They were very specific about the labeling functionality they wanted, what was currently missing in the marketplace, and what their “ideal” pen-and-tape labeler would include. We are proud to say that the RHINO 101 was truly user-inspired.”

The RHINO 101 is available in two packages: one for wire and cable marking (contains self-laminating die cut vinyl labels) and one for general purpose marking (contains continuous flexible nylon labels). Each lists for $19.99. Label cartridge refills are available in both self-laminating and nylon styles and retail for $9.99. All are available at major distributors in the security, datacomm, professional audio/video, electrical, MRO and construction markets in May.

About RHINO
RHINO is a brand within DYMO, a business unit within Sanford L.P., a Newell Rubbermaid company. DYMO designs and manufactures RHINO professional label printers and tools for commercial, residential and industrial use. RHINO labeling tools are designed with easy-to-use features that greatly reduce labeling time. Learn more at www.rhinolabeling.com  http://www.rhinolabeling.com 


NAED 2007 Annual Meeting to Feature Strategic Insights on Economy, Politics, and Future of Construction Market

May 5 – 9, Washington, D.C.

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) invites the leadership of all electrical distributors, manufacturers and manufacturer representatives to attend the 99th NAED Annual Meeting, May 5 – 9 in Washington, D.C. The conference will offer a program focused on top-level strategy, networking and leadership training.

“Focus on the Future” is the theme of this year’s meeting. Sessions will include: economic forecasts for 2007-08, future predictions for the construction market, political analysis, a contractor panel and an “Ask the Experts” panel of distributors and manufactuers with tips on how to beat the margin squeeze.

P.J. O’Rourke will be the keynote speaker for the Opening General Session on May 7. Called “the funniest writer in America” by both Time magazine and the Wall Street Journal, O’Rourke has been cited in The Penguin Dictionary of Humorous Quotations more than any living writer. He is the best-selling author of 11 books, including Holidays in Hell, Give War a Chance, Eat the Rich, and The CEO of the Sofa. O'Rourke also served as managing editor for National Lampoon magazine.

Since 1982, he has traveled as a foreign correspondent to more than 50 countries, and was the foreign editor for Rolling Stone for 15 years. In 1996, he served as the conservative commentator in the point-counterpoint segment of 60 Minutes. Currently, O’Rourke is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, and The Weekly Standard, and he is a frequent panelist on National Public Radio’s radio game show, “Wait, Wait...Don’t Tell Me!”

In his keynote presentation, “Pirates & Neckties: Government vs. Free Market, Which is Worse?” O’Rourke will lampoon our current political environment and share his observations. But despite his reputation as a conservative, O’Rourke bashes all political persuasions. O’Rourke’s performance is sponsored by Legrand.

The Opening General Session at NAED’s Annual Meeting will also include:

Industry Thought Leader Panel: Adapting Strategies to Meet Future Challenges
Chairman John Duda will lead a forward-looking discussion with top industry experts on developing new markets, re-thinking their business models and changing habits to succeed in the future.

Lincoln Live!, Gene Griessman, Author, Leadership Expert, Actor
Learn leadership principles from Griessman’s extensive research on one of America’s favorite presidents, Abraham Lincoln. Griessman, appearing as Lincoln, will share some of the president’s lessons in leadership. After the session, attendees will have the opportunity to have their photo taken with Lincoln and printed on a personalized TED Magazine cover that they can take home.: http://www.naed.org


Harger’s Tamper Resistant Ground Bars

Harger Lightning & Grounding proudly introduces a new feature for their line of ground bars, which are now available with tamper resistant hardware. The ground bars are manufactured from electrolytic tough pitch 110 alloy copper and include low profile tamper resistant stainless steel hardware to reduce incidents of theft. Harger’s ground bars are UL Listed.

Harger Lightning & Grounding is a leading manufacturer of lightning protection and grounding equipment, as well as exothermic welding materials for the communications and electrical industries. Harger also provides design and engineering services and specializes in offering total systems solutions for their customers. Let Harger apply its systemic approach to total system protection to provide you the most cost effective solution to protect your personnel and equipment against the effects of electrical transients. www.harger.com


EPA Names BOMA International ENERGY STAR® 2007 Partner Of The Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named BOMA International as an ENERGY STAR 2007 Partner of the Year for its outstanding contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy management in commercial buildings through the BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP). BOMA International, the first real estate association to receive a Partner of the Year award, will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on March 21, 2007.

BOMA International, an ENERGY STAR Partner since 2005, is being honored in the Energy Efficiency Program Delivery category for helping building owners and managers reduce energy use by promoting energy management practices through BEEP, an innovative operational excellence program that teaches commercial real estate professionals how to reduce energy consumption and costs with proven no-and low-cost strategies for optimizing equipment, people and practices. To date, more than 5,000 commercial real estate professionals have participated in the BEEP seminars.

“As an ENERGY STAR partner we want to spread the word about making buildings more energy efficient,” remarked BOMA International Chairman and Chief Elected Officer Kurt R. Padavano, RPA, CPM, FMA, SMA, and Chief Operating Officer of Advance Realty Group of Bedminster, N.J. “The BEEP seminars are transforming the industry as building owners and managers now have the tools and techniques to put quantifiable reductions in energy consumption. Tracking and benchmarking a building’s energy use and improving energy efficiency have tremendous benefits for building owners, tenants and the environment.”

The ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year - Energy Efficiency Program Delivery Award is given to a variety of organizations to recognize their efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution, resulting in significant cost savings.  Award winners are selected from thousands of organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program.

Last year alone, Americans with the help of ENERGY STAR saved $14 billion on their energy bills and avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 25 million vehicles.

“We applaud BOMA for their leadership in promoting energy management to its members,” said Bill Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. “Because buildings contribute about 20 percent of our national greenhouse gas emissions, effective energy management helps the bottom line and protects our environment.”

Three BOMA Member Companies are also being honored:

USAA Real Estate Company - 2007 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award. This is the fifth year that USAA Real Estate Company has been honored.

Transwestern  - 2007 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award. This is the fourth year that Transwestern has been honored.

Jones Lang LaSalle2007 Energy Star Partner of the Year for Energy Management.

www.boma.org/TrainingAndEducation/BEEP/


CommScope to Acquire Signal Vision, Inc.

CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV - News), a world leader in infrastructure solutions for communication networks, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Signal Vision, Inc., a leading supplier of broadband radio frequency subscriber products. Signal Vision's product lines include digital passives, indoor amplifiers and addressable taps. Signal Vision had revenues of less than $30 million in 2006.

"The addition of the Signal Vision line provides CommScope with a more integrated suite of products for the last mile in broadband networks," said Jim Hughes, Executive Vice President, Broadband Sales & Marketing. "We believe there is significant potential to expand the reach of Signal Vision's products through CommScope's worldwide channels."

The transaction, which is subject to due diligence and customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second quarter.

About CommScope
CommScope is a world leader in infrastructure solutions for communication networks. Through its SYSTIMAX® Solutions(TM) and Uniprise® Solutions brands, CommScope is the global leader in structured cabling systems for business enterprise applications. It is also the world's largest manufacturer of coaxial cable for Hybrid Fiber Coaxial applications. Backed by strong research and development, CommScope combines technical expertise and proprietary technology with global manufacturing capability to provide customers with high-performance wired or wireless cabling solutions. www.commscope.com


Fiber Optic Connectors Training DVD Released

The Light Brigade announces its newest menu-based DVD, entitled Fiber Optic Connectors. This new DVD is the eighth release in the company’s popular Staff Development series of instructional DVDs.

Anyone who works with fiber optics needs to be aware of the many types of connectors that are available, their history, and their evolution.  The Fiber Optic Connectors DVD focuses on the many disciplines that are associated with their termination, testing, inspection, and cleaning. Also covered are:

  • The discrete parts of connectors, including plugs, receptacles/adaptors, ferrules/termini, and alignment sleeves.

  • Optical and mechanical tolerances and their impact on optical performance.

  • Bonding, scribing, polishing, cleaning and visual inspection — an in-depth look at how to achieve the best possible performance from your connectors.

  • Specialty connectors such as multi-fiber connectors, military and aerospace connectors, attenuators, terminators, and loopback devices.

  • The importance of yield, the actual loaded cost of a termination including the costs of components, consumables, and associated labor.

The material is divided into menu-selectable chapters for easy access. Quizzes are included for content review and/or testing.

Company Information
Over 30,000 attendees have participated in The Light Brigade’s instructor-led fiber optic training courses worldwide. In addition, The Light Brigade has a wide variety of fiber optic training DVDs, videotapes, CD-ROMs, and computer-based training available. For more information or to order, call (800) 451-7128, email sales@lightbrigade.com, or visit www.lightbrigade.com.


TIA Member Companies Reach Breakthrough In Public Safety Interoperability

As members of the House of Representatives today discussed efforts to improve public safety communication interoperability, Telecommunications Industry Association President Grant Seiffert said TIA member companies have already made significant breakthroughs that will help public safety officers communicate with each other and with other departments.

The research is based on Inter-RF Subsystem Interface (ISSI) technology. The successful test stands to strengthen TIA's Project 25 public safety standards and can offer first responders of different departments and jurisdictions unprecedented interoperability.

"Standards act as the glue that holds different technologies together. And nobody needs compatible technology more than first responders, who rely on their communications equipment to protect property and save lives," said Grant Seiffert, TIA president. "The public safety community is demanding interoperability, and this breakthrough in ISSI standard development begins to provide a real, cost-effective solution to the problems caused by incompatibility."

Public safety interoperability was a prominent topic during today's House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which distributes grants to help promote public safety interoperability.

Several months of planning led a group of TIA member companies to announce in January that they had successfully connected two radio systems made by different manufacturers, operating on different networks. Using General Dynamics test facilities, EADS Secure Networks was able to interconnect its Project 25 radio system network with a Project 25 radio system developed by M/A-COM, which paves the way for true interoperability among public safety providers.

The successful interoperability test was based on a TIA-standardized technology called Inter-RF Subsystem Interface, or ISSI, which creates a software-based solution to interoperability that avoids expensive or proprietary gateways. ISSI is part of TIA's Project 25 suite of standards for public safety communications, which create uniformity in public safety communications equipment.

About TIA
The Telecommunications Industry Association is the leading trade association in Washington, D.C., for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. TIA serves ICT suppliers to global markets through its leadership in standards development, domestic and international policy advocacy, and facilitating member business opportunities such as the co-owned NXTcomm. TIA represents the communications sector of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). www.tiaonline.org.


KITCO Fiber Optics Names New Inside Sales Professional

KITCO Fiber Optics has named Ann Moriarty to the position of Inside Sales Professional.  Ms. Moriarty has extensive technical sales experience, previously serving as Global Services Manager with MCI Telecommunications Business Services Division; as Regional Sales Director with Newbridge Networks Corp.; as an Account Manager with Videotele.com and as Sales Support for Mobile Networks with Draka NK Cables.  She is a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN and will receive her MBA from Old Dominion University in May.

KITCO Fiber Optics is a leading provider of fiber optic connectorization products, training and consulting services to the military and commercial communications industry. It specializes in the design and fabrication of fiber optic tools, tool kits and custom cable assemblies.  KITCO is also recognized for the development of customized fiber optic curriculum and training and provides commercial and military training worldwide, serving as the U.S. Navy’s sole shipboard fiber optic trainer.  Its highly skilled field services team can respond to your fiber optic requirements anytime, anywhere - rapidly providing the best solutions for overcoming system problems or delays. www.kitcofo.com


ADC Announces Strategic Partnership with E-Band Communications to Develop New Millimeter Wave Transmission Solution

ADC (NASDAQ: ADCT; www.adc.com), and E-Band Communications Corp., developer of multi-gigabit capacity wireless communication systems based on 71-86GHz millimeter wave radio technology, announced that they have entered into a multi-year, global wireless technology agreement.  Under terms of the agreement, ADC will market E-Band’s next generation Millimeter Wave (MMW) Transmission product as the FlexWave™ MMW, a member of ADC’s new FlexWave family of All-IP Radio Access Network (RAN) solutions. ADC also will develop additional wireless solutions based on E-Band’s core technology.

Founded in 2003, E-Band Communications is a privately held corporation that develops ultra-high capacity wireless communications systems for the 70/80 GHz e-band spectrum utilizing leading-edge RF Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) technology and providing best-in-class link performance. ADC holds a minority interest in the company.

The FlexWave MMW, which will be featured at CTIA Wireless 2007 (Booth #4079) in Orlando, Fla., March 27-29, is a point-to-point millimeter wave transmission system that operates in licensed 71GHz to 86GHz spectrum and provides fiber-speed, wireless Line of Sight (LOS) communications links within a 1–6 km range. With this system, wireless service providers can solve last-mile, access bottleneck problems by connecting enterprises to fiber networks, and enabling the backhaul of mobile (3G/4G) and fixed wireless (WiFi, WiMax) networks.

ADC’s All-IP RAN solution, announced earlier this week, offers a flexible, scalable platform that delivers coverage and capacity where needed over a single transport network to customers anytime, anywhere to deliver the feature-rich wireless applications they demand. The FlexWave All-IP RAN provides an integrated solution for converged indoor and outdoor coverage, ensuring wireless operators that their customers are always connected. FlexWave MMW is a natural and integral part of the FlexWave platform providing a cost-effective backhaul alternative that enables quick time-to-market coverage and capacity solutions where most needed.

“Millimeter wavelength technologies offer an exciting opportunity for low-cost, high-speed licensed wireless links and we’re pleased to partner with E-Band Communications to provide this solution as part of our new FlexWave product portfolio,” said Hilton Nicholson, president of the Active Infrastructure Business Unit for ADC. “Wireless operators are under great pressure to reduce their operating expenses. The increase in wireless data applications creates the need for economical, high-speed backhaul solutions. FlexWave MMW provides a reliable, cost-effective alternative to wired backhaul solutions.”

According to Infonetics Research, Inc., an international market research group, the worldwide mobile IP backhaul equipment market is expected to grow 37 percent annually to $1.1 billion in 2009.

“This agreement further strengthens our relationship with ADC and expands its wireless portfolio with leading-edge products like FlexWave MMW,” said Sam Smookler, CEO and

co-founder of E-Band Communications. “This new technology enables ADC’s customers and other wireless operators to address the increasing shortage of metro access capacity by taking advantage of the recently available licensed 71-86 GHz spectrum.”

FlexWave MMW provides fiber-equivalent performance, 99.999 reliability and security, without the high installation costs and delays associated with inter-building fiber installations. This product can be engineered to operate in close proximity to other systems so that many operations can co-exist in the same vicinity without causing interference to one another.

About E-Band
E-Band Communications Corporation, a privately held company, was founded in late 2003 to develop ultra-high capacity wireless communications systems for the 70/80 GHz e-band spectrum utilizing leading-edge RF MMIC technology and providing best-in-class link performance. Its products address the requirements of carriers, enterprises, cable, government, and Internet service providers building cost-efficient, wireless multi-gigabit IP networks. E-Band technology provides solutions for interconnection and backhaul of 4G, WiMAX, mobile networks, distributed antennas systems (DAS) and remote radio heads (RRH), Gigabit Ethernet access network connections, last mile access, fiber backup, and network extension applications. Learn more about E-Band at www.ebandcom.com

About ADC
ADC provides the connections for wireline, wireless, cable, broadcast, and enterprise networks around the world. ADC's innovative network infrastructure equipment and professional services enable high-speed Internet, data, video, and voice services to residential, business and mobile subscribers. ADC (NASDAQ: ADCT) has sales into more than 130 countries. Learn more about ADC at www.adc.com


NEMA Expands NEMA Premium® Brand Energy-Efficiency Program

NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, will soon release a new energy-efficiency standard for the 50Hz motor. The 50Hz standard thus joins the 60Hz motor as part of the NEMA Premium® motor program. The NEMA Premium® Motors 50Hz Standard will allow the manufacturers that participate in the NEMA Premium® Motors Program to manufacture and market NEMA Premium® motors in both 60Hz and 50Hz configurations worldwide. It will also allow manufacturers of 50Hz integral motors to license the NEMA Premium® brand, which will solidify the standing of NEMA Premium® as an important energy-efficiency brand.

NEMA Premium® Motors are recognized as the leading energy-efficient integral motors in North America. Other standards organizations have widely adopted or mirrored the NEMA MG 1 standard that incorporates 60Hz motors. The 50Hz tables added to MG 1 are also expected to be widely accepted.

The NEMA Premium® Efficient Electric Motor program was launched in 2001. At the outset of the program, it was estimated that in its first 10 years, the program would save enough electricity to serve as the functional equivalent to equal keeping 16 million cars off the road. The program has exceeded expectations through marketing efforts by the NEMA Motor and Generator Section, and cooperative efforts with Motor Decisions Matter (MDM), a program run by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and others.

Many electric utilities recognize NEMA Premium® and offer rebates for specifying and installing NEMA Premium® motors. The members of the Motor and Generator Section represent more than 80 percent of U.S. production and sales of electric motors.

NEMA Premium® efficient motors exceed the minimum energy-efficiency standards required by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The minimum standards imposed on certain 1-200 horsepower general-purpose integral motors are based on NEMA standards.

When the program was announced in 2001, Dale Basso, the MG 1 Section chairman said, “NEMA motor members have the energy-technology solutions to address utility and industrial user needs. We have elected to broaden the NEMA Premium® program to include motors outside the range now regulated by the federal government in order to better serve the customer in a comprehensive manner.” Rob Boteler, chairman of the MG 1 industry promotion committee, also noted, “It is in the best interests of motor users to specify NEMA Premium®, thus maximizing efficiency, reducing electrical consumption costs, and improving motor system reliability and performance.”

When asked for comment on the introduction of the 50Hz standard, Boteler said, “NEMA Premium® 50Hz was developed to provide motor users on 50Hz grids with the same opportunity to reduce energy consumption and subsequent production costs as motor users in 60Hz areas of the world. We are optimistic that overall greenhouse gases will be further reduced by the use of 50Hz NEMA Premium® motors shipped as stand-alone units or as a component of a motor-driven system for use on a 50Hz power supply.”

Boteler will present a paper highlighting the NEMA Premium program at the Energy Efficiency in Motor Driven Systems (EEMODS) ’07 conference in Beijing, China, June 10-13. The EEMODS conference comes at a time when the world in general—and the Chinese in particular—continues to search for energy-efficient products. The NEMA office in Beijing will extend invitations to attend the conference to Chinese officials who show vital interest in energy-efficient motor design and systems. NEMA members are also encouraged to attend. Register for the conference at www.eemods.org.

 The new 50 Hz motor standard is expected to be published early this spring.

For additional information, contact William Hoyt at 703.841.3211 or wil_hoyt@nema.org.

NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. These products are used in utility, medical imaging, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing, São Paulo, and Mexico City. www.nema.org


Coleman Cable, Inc. To Acquire Copperfield, LLC

Coleman Cable, Inc. (Nasdaq: CCIX) ("Coleman Cable") and Copperfield, LLC ("Copperfield") announced  that Coleman Cable has agreed to acquire all of the equity interests in Copperfield for $213 million in cash. Management believes that the Coleman Cable-Copperfield combination will result in one of the premier U.S. based manufacturers of electrical and electronic wire and cable products.

Copperfield, currently majority owned by Spell Capital Partners, is one of the largest private fabricators and insulators of copper electrical wire and cable in the United States. Copperfield sells its wire and cable products to industrial distributors and OEMs which operate in a diversified set of end markets including electrical, recreational vehicle, transportation, appliance and welding cable sectors. Copperfield estimates that its revenues and EBITDA for the twelve months ended December 31, 2006 will be approximately $520 million and $35.3 million, respectively. The strategic acquisition of Copperfield broadens the scope of Coleman Cable's product offering, further strengthens its strategic relationships with industrial distributors and increases Coleman's end-market diversity.

Coleman Cable anticipates meaningful expense synergies from the realignment of the combined company's manufacturing footprint and the expected purchasing opportunities resulting from the combination. Excluding expense synergies, Coleman Cable expects the acquisition of Copperfield to be accretive to earnings per share for 2007. Coleman Cable intends to use debt financing to consummate the acquisition. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and approval by necessary regulatory authorities, is expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2007.

"Copperfield is an excellent strategic fit and a logical step in the continued growth and development of our business," said Gary Yetman, CEO of Coleman Cable. "This transaction represents a unique opportunity to acquire a preeminent industry player and seasoned management team that will significantly enhance Coleman Cable's position as a leading provider of wire and cable products in numerous niche industrial end markets."

Richard Carr, Copperfield's CEO, stated: "The entire Copperfield family welcomes the opportunity to join forces with Coleman Cable. Our new platform will enhance the value proposition of both organizations and provide our diverse customer base with an even greater variety of products and services. Mike Frigo, Copperfield's COO, and I look forward to continuing our roles with the new company and being part of this exciting transaction."

Coleman Cable plans to have a conference call with its investors to discuss the Copperfield acquisition in early April, shortly after the closing.

About Coleman
Coleman Cable, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and innovator of electrical and electronic wire and cable products for the security, sound, telecommunications, and electrical, commercial, industrial, and automotive industries. With extensive design and production capabilities and a long- standing dedication to customer service, Coleman is the preferred choice of cable and wire users throughout the world.

For more information, visit: www.colemancable.com


VoiceCon buzzing : Communication News Magazine

By Ken Anderberg

“So what impressions have you gleaned from the show so far?” It’s a somewhat innocuous opening line from a vendor, at whose exhibit you have just arrived, after racing over from another vendor’s booth. Which was preceded by 20 minutes of product discussion, which was preceded by dashing over from another booth, which was preceded by 20 minutes of product discussion, which was–well, you get the point.

When you can’t catch your breath, much less your thoughts, because of a hectic schedule of one meeting after another, often about different technologies, trying to paint a big picture of the show is sometimes difficult.

That was certainly the case at VoiceCon Spring, held last month in Orlando. The show was buzzing and the meetings were back to back. At the end of two days, I had several impressions of what was “hot”–convergence, unified communications, managed services, mobility and telecom expense management.

VoiceCon Spring is a growing event, with the number of exhibitors up this year by 18 percent over 2006, and attendance reportedly 29 percent higher than last year. Sandwiched between two other voice shows that cater more to the carrier crowd (Internet Telephony and VON), this event has become a must-attend for many companies in the enterprise voice communication space.

One of my first impressions of the event was that talking about voice over IP is old news. Also evident was how many traditional product vendors are branching out into managed services, or those who may have offered such services in the past but are now putting them out front and center.

Avaya, Ericsson and Inter-Tel all were touting managed voice services as an option to buying and managing their gear. Former bandwidth wholesaler Global Crossing resurfaced at VoiceCon as a managed services provider, and has teamed with Avaya to provide hardware.

Several companies, including Ericsson, NEC and Nokia, emphasized the convergence of wireless products into the IP PBX environment. And the number of telecom expense-management companies seems to be proliferating, at least in the enterprise space, with firms such as Avotus, RSI and AnchorPoint present. Avotus offers an interesting twist, with customers able to “auction” off their WAN services requirements online.

So, if you happen to bump into me at a future trade show, and my eyes are glazed over, hair ruffled and shoulders drooping from an ever-bulging briefcase, understand that I might not be able to provide a cognitive impression of the event right then and there. Eventually, however, once the buzzing in my head subsides and I’ve been able to relive the back-to-back-to-back meetings and demonstrations, some recognition of what actually took place will seep into my brain. Then I can answer your questions.

Reprinted with full Permission of Communications News


Finding Your Residential Niche

The home is a serious contender for electrical and automated functions, and there are many different services the customer can use. It’s up to you, the electrical contractor, to find your residential niche.

Electricity is everywhere. It’s automating the home in ways never before possible. It controls just about every technology, and more new technologies are on the way. Gaming and entertainment audio is a perfect example. Did you know that the popular Nintendo Wii gaming system can display weather and check e-mail? How about being able to plug in Apple’s iPod to the home stereo to make it a streaming audio device?

Keeping all these developments in mind, electrical contractors must maintain an open mind to plug into new markets. What about taking your services to another part of the electrical spectrum with something like electric radiant heating? It’s a great way to add another service and may be a cost-effective and easy-to-learn adjunct to the business. In fact, electric radiant heating has now entered mainstream popularity and is experiencing a significant boom in North America, according to Lyle Moroz, P. Eng., M.B.A., vice president of the Electric Heating Division at Danfoss Inc., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

“North Americans are traveling more frequently to Europe where floor heating is very common, and many are recognizing the value of radiant heating,” Moroz said. “With more and more people investing and benefiting from electric radiant heating in their homes and businesses, a word-of-mouth momentum has helped fuel the boom. Remember when automatic garage-door openers were considered optional?”

For the customer, operating costs are lower than they think and this type of heating actually consumes no more electricity than several light bulbs. There also are advantages for the installer. Prices have come down, and low-profile heating cables make it cost effective to add radiant heating to even small renovations, such as bathrooms.

“Smart builders and electrical contractors are recommending these products more often. They understand the clear opportunity to ‘up sell’ their clients with something that will provide them a high return on investment,” Moroz said.

Add value to contracting

Video in the home has also become increasingly sought after, as customers look for ways to increase their security and communicate within the home. A number of manufacturers have introduced video entry products in the last year, and it definitely is a product category that is catching on, according to Lynn Morrison, marketing manager, BTicino USA, Santa Clara, Calif.

“It’s a great way to add value to the installation,” she said.

Video door entry systems consist of three main components: exterior stations, interior stations and the system backbone. Visitors use the exterior station to call the insider. The interior station shows who is at the door and allows the inhabitant to determine whether or not to respond. The system backbone connects the exterior and interior components and powers the system.

“For the single-family home, the installation is very straightforward and easy to accomplish over Category 5 or other structured cabling or twisted pair. Rather than run the audio over the telephone communications and the video over the free television channel, which was popular in the condominium and duplex markets, these units have become stand-alone dedicated viewing stations that are smaller, smarter and more aesthetic.

“They can be used for room-to-room communications, and some units have answering and recording capabilities. For example, a messenger, visitor or delivery person can leave a video message for the occupant for later retrieval if they are away,” Morrison said.

Another niche market installers and integrators may consider expanding into is new construction. It may not be the boom time of the past for the market, but it can still offer a good stream of revenue, help the contractor market his business and even fuel referrals.

“It’s a market unto itself,” said David Sharp, Southwest regional sales manager for Digital Monitoring Products (DMP), headquartered in Springfield, Mo. “Installers would do well to do business with development companies and realtors. They can help support the marketing side of the installer’s business, promoting their services through sales offices, which may even have equipment and systems displays. In essence, those sales reps become a sales rep for your company.”

According to Sharp, residential customers are looking for the latest technologies, such as access to systems through the telephone; Web-based virtual viewing (video); integrated solutions, such as an alarm triggering a camera and monitor; portable panic buttons and medical alerts; and wireless for remote control capabilities.

There is also the new residential “after market” where the contractor goes to the neighborhood and meets the new homeowners. It’s an opportunity to tell them about installing systems in the development.

“This gives them instant credibility with the new homeowner who may not have yet made the decision about what systems they want in their home. It’s all about credentialing,” Sharp said.

Another residential niche, Sharp said, is the custom home. Custom and luxury home builders nearly always have a plan room where clients review other previously built residences, and these records may include a listing of the participating contractors, services and equipment.

Upper end pays off

Robert Piccirilli taught himself about automation—by setting up a dollhouse and automating myriad functions—and now runs a successful automation business. His marketing focus is safety and time savings. He stays small, studies hard to stay ahead of the learning curve and focuses on a tightly wound spool of automated specialties.

Piccirilli said he tests and programs his customer’s systems from his home, acting as a beta site of sorts before he deploys equipment in the field. That approach has served him well. While he handles only one or two homes per year, he said he can and does make a good living off of these projects, which can span months and even longer.

“When you choose a niche such as this, you have to know how to market it,” Piccirilli said. “I try to focus on things that save people time, and they love it. For example, every time they open a door, you can make something happen, like the lights turning on or the shades rolling up. There’s so much you can do in the home; it’s all about electricity and controlling it.”

Coming to middle America

Lighting is another lucrative area a contractor can add to its scorecard. Again, convenience sells—there’s nothing worse than trying to figure out which lights to turn on when there are banks and banks of switches.

Customers want lighting systems that are simple to understand and easy to operate. While there is a large market for sophisticated lighting control systems, the majority of people want their systems to be as affordable and simple as possible, according to Phil Scheetz, residential marketing manager, Lutron Electronics Co. Inc., Coopersburg, Pa. Lutron, he said, introduced the AuroRa system as a solution for that middle market.

“An easy way for installers to expand their business is to increase their lighting control offerings,” Scheetz said. “Installers should familiarize themselves with the wide variety of dimmers and lighting control systems available today. Dozens of new products are introduced each year from single-light dimmers to radio-frequency-based lighting control systems, to automated shades and draperies. Wireless technology is king in the home automation market right now, and the lighting control category is no exception. Installers need to keep on top of the latest offerings, not only to satisfy homeowner requests, but to help grow their business by presenting these new products to their clients.”

All signs point to continued growth for systems and services in the residential home. It’s up to you to find the right niche.       EC

Reprinted with full  Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine March 2007 Issue www.ecmag.com


D-Tools System Integrator Training Will Be Available To Over 350 C-Tech Network Certified Training Facilities

D-Tools, Inc., the worldwide leader in system integration software, today announced the signing of a Program Recognizer agreement with C-Tech Associates, Inc. C-Tech is a New Jersey-based developer and manufacturer of training aids and curriculum for communications networking. The agreement will provide D-Tools, Inc. dealers/distributors/designers nationwide access to local labor pools.

D-Tools, Inc. has reviewed C-Tech’s Communications Networking Programs for content, and applicability to the marketplace and recognizes C-Tech’s certifications known as Network Cabling Specialist, Voice Communications Professional and Smart Home Professional; and will be promoting C-Tech training through it’s network of national and global installers and designers.

“Our goal as a company is to help system integrators and installers become more productive and efficient, and training and certifications are key elements for a successful business,” said Adam Stone, president of D-Tools, Inc. “C-Tech has an established and well respected program that has created a large network of trained professionals. Making our software a part of their curriculum is a natural fit which will further our goals to be the platform of choice for streamlining the system integration process.”

C-Tech took an innovative approach in the development of its training programs. “Early on we recognized a need for trained technicians and installers at an entry-level wage,” stated David Brady, Director of Marketing. “It is very important to deliver the technology at a level that addresses the majority of the population and still provides the much-needed skills.” Companies have been able to cut as much as 3 months off a new employee’s preparation cycle by hiring C-Tech certified technicians.

Since entering the educational/training market in 1995, C-Tech has established a network of over 350 Certified Training Facilities throughout the country, including Vocational and Comprehensive High Schools, Community Colleges, Labor Unions, community and faith-based organizations, Job Corps Centers and correctional institutions.

These training sites are equipped with the resources, knowledge and skills to provide entry-level job training to any individual regardless of age or background. More than 40,000 individuals possess the Telecommunications skills and knowledge-base to work as technicians, sales associates, customer service representatives or a number of other positions.

About C-Tech Associates, Inc.
C-Tech is the premier developer and manufacturer of proven educational programs and training aids. Our primary goal is to prepare students for jobs or additional education by employing a unique entry-level, hands-on, gender-neutral approach to training. Our graduates are certified as Network Cabling Specialists or Voice Communication Professionals. We have established a network of independent Certified Training Facilities (CTFs) as well as standards for the certification of instructors and students. With a 98% completion rate and a 90% certification rate, C-Tech has trained and certified over 40,000 individuals throughout the country and overseas. Employers recognize our training programs as up-to-date, educationally sound, and practically grounded. These programs are aligned to National and state educational standards.
Website: http://www.c-techtraining.com

About D-Tools
D-Tools is a worldwide leader in accessible, highly accurate system design software. The company, founded in 1998 and based in Concord, California, offers a wide range of products and services created to simplify the complicated design, engineering, documentation and estimating processes that accompany residential and commercial installation projects of any size. Over 2,000 leading companies use D-Tools software to reduce time and costs and streamline the system integration process.

D-Tools is the recipient of the Consumer Electronics Association’s Mark of Excellence Award (2004, 2005, 2006), National Systems Contractors Association and Sound and Video Contractor’s Innovations in Technology for Business Productivity Award (2004, 2005) and CE Pro’s High Impact Award for Design Software. http://www.d-tools.com


Statewide Video Franchises vs. Universal Service

Grasping The Total

Carlini’s Comments, MidwestBusiness.com’s oldest column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common man’s view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of “pseudo” experts.

While there are a lot of pros and cons on statewide franchise agreements for AT&T’s Project Lightspeed, what about universal service?

The controversy over HB 1500 in the State of Illinois is well-founded.

Sometimes, though, people don’t grasp the total picture. As the famous line in the film “Cool Hand Luke” states: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” There are many people who are becoming overnight pseudo experts on this issue.

It really needs to be viewed in a less emotional light and more from a pragmatic, long-term economic development perspective. While there are definitely pros and cons for moving to a statewide agreement, that agreement must be well laid out if the state wants buy-in from the municipalities.

What also should be put into the equation but isn’t is the state’s own lack of a broadband initiative. This is crippling the future of the state’s viability. Though there are some well-intentioned attempts to assemble a statewide broadband initiative in HB 1258, this bill’s approach is not amenable to local municipalities.

Some of these same municipality issues pertain to HB 1258.

The major flaw with this bill is that it can grab up any asset the state has partially funded. For example, say a municipality initiates a light-pole replacement program and gets 5 percent of it funded from the state. The state can then acquire the use of those poles for antenna mounts for a broadband network because those poles were partially funded by the state.

If the state is making money on that network, is the municipality going to share in that revenue? How is it going to be divided? Has any of this been thought out? The short answer is no. That approach is flawed and is not going to fly with the local municipalities.

The non-acceptance by municipalities on the HB 1500 video franchise bill will be repeated on HB 1258 for some of the same reasoning. You have to have participation on the decisions and directions set for use of infrastructure and rights of way. If revenues are involved, who gets what?

Need For Individual Power Over Decisions

One faction is stating that the statewide franchise agreement would pull the rug out from local municipalities. There have been articles written about some of the issues that make this agreement controversial. Here is one that focuses on Mayor Daley’s opposition:

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, which is an Illinois coalition of local leaders that includes [Mayor] Daley, has come out in opposition to a new bill introduced to the Illinois General Assembly that would allow cable and telecommunications companies to bypass the local video franchising process.

Fortunately for consumers, the bill does have some teeth; unfortunately, those teeth have been filed down to dull nubs.

Take the contentious issue of build-out requirements as an example. The proposed law does in fact require certain build-out provisions. Any company with more than 1 million lines that takes out a state franchise must offer service to 40 percent of people in its service area within six years.

While this is better than nothing, it pales in comparison to most municipal requirements, which generally require an even higher level of service to ensure that all residents of the town get some value out of the commonly owned rights of way.

If the mayors are worried about HB 1500, they should also be worried about HB 1258. If AT&T’s offering is not cable, then is it not subject to the Cable Franchise Act. I have always said that its service was never legally defined as cable.

Even so, let’s stop using that as an argument. AT&T’s own attorney at an Illinois hearing on March 8, 2007 said the following:

Because we are operating our telecommunications network and the service we are providing is a two-way interactive protocol, it is not a cable service.

The technology in our industry is moving so fast that when I was here two years ago testifying before you on different topics – less exciting topics – IP TV didn’t even exist.

This is next-generation, cutting-edge technology to upgrade [our] telecommunications infrastructure. Because it is ahead of regulation, there is a technical argument as to whether or not this particular service is a cable service.

We are not providing cable service. We are upgrading our telecommunications network.

According to AT&T’s attorney, the company is just upgrading its telecom infrastructure. If it is part of the telecom infrastructure as he states, aren’t they subject to the requirements of the Universal Service Fund and required to build out 100 percent especially if they are accepting funds out of the Universal Service Fund?

Are they differentiating the use of funds for “regular phone service” and Project Lightspeed? Is there even a difference any more? AT&T says they are just upgrading what is already there. Isn’t what’s already there carrying universal service? Is anyone really checking the books?

Carlinism: Universal service might need to be redefined.


James Carlini will present how he pioneered measuring building intelligence
at the second-annual Building Automation Conference in Baltimore on March 21.
Also, check out his blog at CarlinisComments.com.


James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini


The Newest Edition (22nd) Of Newton's Telecom Dictionary By Harry Newton Is A Must Have Resource

We recently reviewed the newest updated and expanded edition of Newton's Telecom Dictionary by Harry Newton. This 22nd edition is offered by Flatiron Books. With more than 745,000 copies sold, we rate this essential resource publication with five stars (which is also the rating it has on Amazon.) If you are involved in IT, communications, cabling, or facilities management, you don't want to leave home without it. www.flatironbooks.com


Bend Radius Under Load

Installation practices impact performance of UTP cable.

By Gregory A. Bramham

It has long been suspected that common installation practices are a contributing factor to network cabling performance. Now a collaborative effort among cable manufacturers, testing equipment manufacturers, installation process engineers, and industry consultants has initiated a study to determine just what the contributing installation factors may be.

The structured cabling industry is experiencing several new technologies, including the highly publicized introduction of proposed augmented category 6 (category 6A) UTP cables, operating at frequencies up to 500 MHz to support 10 gigabit Ethernet over a 100 m channel. At these higher frequencies, category 6A cables require improvements in several performance parameters to meet specifications for 10 gigabit Ethernet applications. This stretches the limits of cable design, which may make them more sensitive to the affects of mishandling during installation.

This study was conducted to examine how bend radius under load impacts the performance of category 6A cables and to establish a practical minimum bend radius under load that accommodates the full range of today’s communication cables.

Test Methodology

Minimum bend radius for four-pair unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) communications cables is the minimum radius around which the cable can bend without altering the geometry of the cable to the extent that its electrical performance is adversely affected. At the higher operating frequencies of category 6A cables, variations in the geometry of the cable can have an even greater effect. While bend radius is a concern for cables at rest, it is even more of a concern for cables during installation because tensile force places more stress on the cable.

In this study, five different manufacturer’s category 6A cables were subjected to various bend radii during installation using current and accepted methods. While cabling standards for category 6A cable are not yet finalized, this cable type was chosen because it represents the latest technology from cable manufacturers, and it currently has the largest diameter among four-pair UTP cables (up to 0.354 inches).

It was essential that this study establish a minimum bend radius under load that accommodates all categories of four-pair UTP cable. Minimum bend radius has a direct correlation to the diameter of a cable – the larger the cable, the larger the minimum bend radius. In other words, if a minimum bend radius under load does not impact the performance of the larger category 6A cable, it will not impact smaller diameter cables such as category 5e and category 6 UTP.

Test Setup

In this study, cable performance tests were performed on all four pairs of each manufacturer’s cable without the use of connectors or patch cords, which would introduce additional variables. Testing was conducted using leading test equipment with appropriate lab adapters and advanced software that enabled testing only the cable and isolating the impact of bend radius under load by eliminating any variability introduced by operator error or termination. To obtain accurate results, all performance testing was conducted by technicians with specific knowledge and expertise in the use of the test equipment.

The cables used for each variable in this study were 40 m (130 ft) in length, which represents an average horizontal cable run in premise installations. To provide a baseline for analyzing final results, a 40 m sample under no tensile load was tested from each reel prior to installation. To subject the cables to different bend radii using current and accepted installation methods, 40 m lengths of each manufacturer’s category 6A cable were pulled into the pathway over various sized rods and rollers. Following installation using each rod and roller size (see variables in Table 1), the four pairs were tested for insertion loss, crosstalk, return loss, propagation delay and delay skew parameters for frequencies up to 500 MHz as defined by the IEEE 802.3an 10-GBASE-T standard and proposed TIA draft addendum 10 of the ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2 standard.


Steps

Variable

(Diameter)

Description

Rationale

1

Baseline Test

 40 m unrolled on the floor, loosely and as straight as possible with no applied tension.

Used with in-house testing specs as a baseline for analyzing final results

2

Cable Tray Edge

Cable tray edge is approximately the same diameter as the category 6A cable itself.

Technicians have been known to use cable tray edge as a guide for pulling the cable into the pathway.

3

1-Inch Rod

Provides a bend radius less than twice the diameter of category 6A cable.

Technicians have used whatever is the most convenient tool to guide cables, including a broomstick or one-inch rod.

4

2-Inch Rod

Provides a bend radius smaller than 4 times the diameter of category 6A cable.

A 2-inch rod is commonly used because its radius is four times the diameter of category 5e and category 6 cables (as specified in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568B.2).

5

3-Inch Rod

Provides a bend radius 4 times the diameter of category 6A cables.

If the “four times diameter” rule is truly sufficient, the 3-inch rod should show no degradation of failure of testing parameters.

6

4.25-Inch Rod

Provides a bend radius 6 times the diameter of category 6A cable.

The 568B-2.10 draft standard had a placeholder of 8X the cable diameter, and the test needed to cover all radii.

7

5.75-Inch Rod

Provides a bend radius 8 times the diameter of category 6A cable.

The 568B-2.10 draft standard had a placeholder of 8X the cable diameter, and the test needed to cover all radii.

8

2-Inch Roller

Provides a bend radius smaller than 4 times the diameter of category 6A cable.

Tests using rollers (dynamic) versus rods (static) were performed to determine if reduced friction plays a role in how the bend radius affects performance.

9

3-Inch Roller

Provides a bend radius 4 times the diameter of category 6A cable.

Tests using rollers (dynamic) versus rods (static) were performed to determine if reduced friction plays a role in how the bend radius affects performance.

Table 1: Test Variables Using 40 m Cable Lengths from Five Cabling Manufacturers

It was important to recreate a typical installation setup used by technicians in the field on a daily basis (see Figure 1). Conducted at a room temperature of 70° F (20° C), setup included a cable spool supported by a spool support rack with a tension-controlling device. To maintain constant control of tension on each cable, cables were pulled into the cable tray manually, one at a time, using a straight path with no obstacles. During installation, pulling was monitored with the tension meter to prevent exceeding a pulling tension of 25 lbf, which is the standard specified limit. While tensile pressure often exceeds the 25 lbf limit in the field, this study kept all factors within industry specifications. Throughout the installation, a series of digital cameras were utilized for visual validation and photographic verification.

Insert BeastBendRadius_Figure1TestSetup.jpg

Figure 1: Test Setup

Test Results

While testing was performed for all critical performance parameters, the results showed that bend radius under tensile load only significantly affected the return loss parameter. While insertion loss, crosstalk, propagation delay, and delay skew performance parameters can be marginally influenced by bend radius, these parameters are primarily impacted by the construction of the cable and the effects of introducing connectors and patch cords, which were eliminated from this study. In fact, the test results showed that several of the category 6A cables exhibited very high performance for these parameters, which demonstrates that manufacturers have managed to design and develop high-quality category 6A cables.

On the other hand, return loss was significantly affected in this study. Calculated in decibels, return loss is the ratio of the power of the outgoing signal to the power of the signal reflected back. The larger the value when expressed in positive dB, the less the signal is reflected. In a full duplex system, any signal reflected back interferes with the signal moving in the opposite direction.

Figure 2 represents the maximum return loss parameters for category 6A cable operating up to 500 MHz as currently specified in the proposed TIA draft addendum 10 of the ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2 standard. To meet the draft standard, a category 6A cable must not exceed the return loss specification over the entire frequency range.

Insert BeastBendRadius_Figure2ReturnLossLimit.jpg

Figure 2: Current Return Loss Limit for Category 6A cable

Figures 3 and 4 show the return loss results for the worst-case scenario. The graphs show the limits per the draft standard and test results of pair 4-5 from a single manufacturer for each event. The polynomial lines are used to show the trend of the data line results. Starting at frequencies below 100 MHz, the 3-inch, 4-inch and 5-inch diameter rods demonstrated a significant increase in return loss performance than the cable tray edge, 1-inch rod and 2-inch rod. At frequencies above 300 MHz, the differences were much more dramatic with the 3-inch, 4-inch and 5-inch rods providing 15 to 25 dB better return loss. In fact the use of the cable tray edge caused the most degradation of return loss, resulting in performance failures between 400 and 500 MHz.

Insert BeastBendRadius_Figure3ReturnLossRods.jpg

Figure 3:  Return Loss Results Using Static Rods

*Note: The polynomial curve provides a trendline for analyzing this fluctuating large data set.

To determine if reduced friction plays a role, testing was also conducted using 2-inch diameter and 3-inch diameter rollers. As shown in Figure 4, the 2-inch roller exhibited significantly better return loss performance than a 2-inch static rod, and similar performance results to the 3-inch static rod. This demonstrates that the reduced friction provided by the roller did in fact play a role in how the size of the bend radius under load affected the cable performance.

Insert BeastBendRadius_Figure4ReturnLossRollers.jpg

Figure 4:  Return Loss Results Using Static Rods and 2-inch Roller

*Note: The polynomial curve provides a trendline for analyzing this fluctuating large data set.

While all cables demonstrated a relationship between bend radius under tensile load and performance, cabling standards are always based upon the worst-case scenario—this is the only method for determining a recommended bend radius that will support all cables. It is important to mention that the intent of this study was not to evaluate the actual performance of the channel or the impact of bend radius while cables are at rest. The intent was to exclusively determine the impact of bend radius during installation. Therefore, the results are evaluated based on the effect of the rod or roller used to install the cable, regardless of meeting the limits set by the draft standard.

Conclusion

Once network cable is purchased, it will be subjected to various stresses on the job site. For example, cables can be kinked or handled in ways that might damage the cable, resulting in degraded cable performance. Many installation practices in use today are outdated, do not address mishandling issues, and are not adequate for today’s advanced cables. The results of this study showed that excessive bend radius under load significantly affected the return loss parameter for category 6A cables, clearly demonstrating that installation practices do in fact impact UTP performance. With the introduction of category 6A cable, it is more important then ever that training thoroughly address installation practices.

Based upon the results of this study, the use of a minimum bend radius under load of 1.5 inches using a static 3-inch diameter rod or 1.0 inch using a 2-inch diameter roller will contribute to the protection of the data transmission integrity through the cable. Because this study is based on the latest technology, the largest diameter cable, and the worst-case scenario, this minimum bend radius under load is a practical recommendation that will accommodate the full range of today’s UTP communications cables and help maximize the cabling system performance.

www.beastcablingsystems.com

Reprinted with permission from BICSI (Newsletter) www.bicsi.org

http://www.bicsi.org/Content/files/PDF/March-April%2007.pdf#nameddest=UTP-Bramham


McCormick Wins Award As A Top NECA Show Product

With the recent announcement that it was honored with a “ShowStopper” award as one of the top products at the 2006 NECA Show, McCormick Systems chalked up yet another such award in the company’s 28-year history.

Drawing attention this time was the ABS line of estimating software from McCormick. This complete line includes a “mirror image” of the company’s electrical estimating software – all in the form of products that will be helpful to contractors working on automated building systems projects.

“If there’s a reason we win these awards, it’s that we listen to our customers,” said Todd McCormick, the company’s president. “We find out what contractors want, what problems they want us to help with. Then we deliver it to them in an easy-to-learn package that will enhance their estimating productivity, accuracy, and flexibility.”

Electrical Contractor magazine has for many years presented the “best of” awards for products introduced at The NECA Show.

About McCormick Systems

Privately owned McCormick Systems, of Chandler, AZ, is the nation’s leader in software used for electrical and ABS estimating and project management. The company’s products enable contractors to produce consistent, profitable estimates for electrical and voice-data-video work, and more. www.mccormicksys.com 


Multifaceted Problem Demands Multipronged Solutions

NECA has been developing and participating in work force recruiting, training and retention efforts for more than 60 years to meet demands for skilled electrical workers. In addition, ours was one of the first organizations to recognize and respond to the fact that our industry is also threatened by shortages in the managerial ranks. Now, a growing chorus is singing the same tune.

For nearly two decades, the Construction Financial Management Association has conducted an annual survey asking contractors what they foresee as their greatest challenge. “Shortage of trained field labor,” which is among the most frequently cited responses since 2002, rose to the top of the list in 2006. “Shortage of trained project managers,” a response that did not show up in survey findings prior to 2005, is now second.

This column has focused on many of NECA’s efforts to build a force of capable project managers, estimators, superintendents and other managerial staff. These activities go considerably beyond the operation of our highly successful Management Education Institute, which currently offers 62 different courses to address the needs of electrical contracting managers beginning with their early roles as supervisors and continuing through their tenure as decision-making executives. I recently discussed the establishment of more NECA Student Chapters at colleges and universities to encourage young people to consider careers in electrical construction, but our association’s work goes way beyond that, too.

There is also a shortage of faculty with the background and resources to prepare students in undergraduate construction programs for management roles. That is why, for several years now, our association and its independent research affiliate have been reaching out to the academic community, including the American Council for Construction Education and actually leading curriculum development.

Now, we’re trying something new. In conjunction with the Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation, ELECTRI International is co-sponsoring a Mechanical-Electrical Construction Faculty Boot Camp this spring. It’s a “train-the-trainer” deal. The idea is to provide a short, intensive course to make construction management professors more proficient in delivering practical instruction matched to real-world needs. This is an exciting development, and I’m looking forward to providing an update soon.

However, I don’t want to draw attention away from the shortage of productive labor, especially now that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has provided an indication of how serious that shortage may become. Projections show that, by 2014, the nation’s need for electrical workers will rise to more than 734,000—a figure 78,000 beyond the number currently employed.

At about the same time BLS was crunching the numbers, some counterbalancing news came out. Reporting on findings by careerbuilder.com, one of the world’s largest job-search and employee recruitment sites, CNN placed the electrician on the list of the top ten blue collar jobs based on current salary medians and expected growth by 2014.

Accordingly, NECA and the IBEW are spreading the good news that young people who pursue careers in our industry can look forward to a wide-open employment market, good pay, ample opportunities for advancement and freedom from fears that their jobs will be exported overseas. We’re telling them—and their parents, teachers and counselors—about it through a variety of means, including an informative Web site (www.electrifyingcareers.com) where they can browse through descriptions of nearly 60 different types of jobs available as well as watch video testimonials from students already pursuing careers in our opportunity-laden industry.

Right now, nearly 40,000 apprentices enrolled in 290 NECA-IBEW electrical training programs around the country are earning while they learn. We aim to increase these numbers by committing in excess of $100 million annually to develop the electrical work force of the future. Stay tuned.

Milner Irvin
President, NECA

Reprinted with full  Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine  March 2007 Issue  www.ecmag.com


UNICCO Joins BOMA International As Cornerstone Partner

UNICCO® Service Company, a leader in delivering best-in-class integrated facilities services to customers in a wide variety of markets including corporate, industrial and government, is the latest organization to participate in the successful partnership program of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International. As a Cornerstone Partner, UNICCO is supporting BOMA International’s crucial industry programs at the highest level.

BOMA International’s partnership program, developed in 2004, allows companies to invest in their own success and viability, as well as that of the industry. With three levels of participation—Cornerstone Partner ($50,000), Leadership Circle ($25,000) and Supporting Partner ($10,000)—the program demonstrates the commitment of leading organizations to support BOMA International with the needed resources to advance its advocacy, education and research initiatives that benefit the entire commercial real estate industry.

“UNICCO is one of the most respected facility services companies in the business and we are delighted to welcome them as a BOMA International Cornerstone Partner,” said BOMA International Chairman and Chief Elected Officer Kurt R. Padavano, RPA, CPM, FMA, SMA, and Chief Operating Officer of Advance Realty Group of Bedminster, N.J. “Among their innovative services is the UNICCO GreenClean® program that uses green products and best practices. Their mission and commitment to environmentally-friendly programs is in line with BOMA’s own energy and environment initiatives, providing a natural springboard for delivering important products and services to BOMA members.”

“BOMA is at the forefront of property management and significantly influences the industry,” remarked George Lohnes, Vice President of Marketing, UNICCO Service Company. “That’s why UNICCO has been active in the organization for decades. It is also why we look forward to participating as a Cornerstone Partner to bring our ideas to the table and interacting with key property management and development decision-makers.”

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of 91 local associations and affiliated organizations. BOMA’s 16,500-plus members own or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties in North America and throughout the world.  The mission of BOMA International is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information.  Founded in 1907, BOMA International celebrates 100 years of commercial real estate in 2007. Learn more at www.boma.org.

UNICCO Service Company, based in Newton, Mass., is one of North America’s largest integrated facilities services companies with more than 16,000 employees and US$700 million in annualized revenues. UNICCO offers maintenance, operations, cleaning, lighting, and administrative/office services for corporate and multi-tenant office, education, retail, industrial, government and public venue facilities. UNICCO’s advanced facilities technologies include the myUNICCO.com portal, UNI-Q® palmtop inspection system, eProcurement, and a 24x7 national call center. Information on the UNICCO GreenClean program is available at: http://www.greenclean.com. For further information, call +1 617-527-5222 or visit http://www.unicco.com.


Belden Closes Acquisition Of China’s LTK Wiring

Belden (NYSE: BDC - News), a leading provider of signal transmission solutions for data networking and electronics, has completed the acquisition of LTK Wiring Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong company, for a cash purchase price of approximately $195 million. LTK Wiring is one of the largest manufacturers of electronic cable for the China market, with 2006 revenues of approximately $220 million. LTK has three manufacturing plants in China -- in Huizhou, Shanghai and Dalian -- and employs about 2,000 associates.

"The addition of LTK Wiring to Belden gives us a strong presence in China among OEM customers, including consumer electronics manufacturers, and our new LTK associates bring capabilities in design, sourcing, logistics, manufacturing, sales and customer service that will accelerate Belden's penetration of the fast-growing China market and improve our position throughout Asia," said John Stroup, President and Chief Executive Officer of Belden. "Our priorities now are to foster continuing growth and success of the LTK brand in its served markets and to begin localizing production of Belden products in China. We will then explore commercial synergies, both to expand the reach of LTK's products worldwide and to better penetrate Belden's traditional vertical markets in China such as industrial automation, broadcast, data networking and building automation."

The integration team for LTK, which reports to Mr. Stroup, is co-chaired by Naresh Kumra, Belden's President, Asia Pacific Operations, and Simon T.Y. Cua, Managing Director, LTK. "Integration planning for LTK began months ago, with teams addressing manufacturing, financial reporting, information technology and human resources," said Mr. Stroup. "We will manage the integration of acquisitions with the same disciplined approach as the rest of our strategy deployment process," he concluded.

About Belden
Belden is a leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of signal transmission products for data networking and a wide range of specialty electronics markets including entertainment, industrial, security and aerospace applications. To obtain additional information contact Investor Relations at 314-854-8054, or visit our website at http://www.belden.com.

About LTK Wiring
For additional information about LTK Wiring, please see http://www.ltkcable.com . LTK Wiring Co. Ltd. was sold by LTK Industries Limited, a Hong Kong company owned by GP Industries Ltd. of Singapore and private investors.

As the trade name "LTK" is a constituent part of the assets acquired, LTK Industries, the former parent, will change its name to LINKZ Industries Limited. For more information, see http://www.linkzindustries.com .


New TIA Staffers Bring Hill, FCC And Wireless Industry Experience To Policy Team

The Telecommunication Industry Association bolstered its public policy staff by adding two professionals whose shared communication policy experience includes both chambers of Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the wireless industry.

In Patrick Donovan, who will serve as director of government affairs, TIA gains a knowledgeable lawyer who honed his skills at Sprint-Nextel, but not before getting started in both the U.S. Senate and the FCC. He also once interned at TIA.

Benjamin Branch will bring experience from the other congressional chamber to his role as manager of government affairs. Branch was a communications policy adviser to U.S. Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Md., who served on the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, a key panel with oversight of many communications policy issues.

“Patrick and Ben aren’t just bringing knowledge and experience to TIA, they are bringing know-how,” said Grant Seiffert, TIA president. “With them aboard, TIA’s voice in Washington grows even more informed and I’m sure TIA’s message will catch the ears of many policymakers. We welcome Ben and in the case of Patrick, we are glad to have him back.”

In his position as a counsel for Sprint-Nextel, Donovan assisted the company in developing its current spectrum position, while also providing legal and regulatory advice in anticipation of Sprint-Nextel’s upcoming 4G deployment. He focused on many issues before the FCC, including E-911 compliance and the universal service fund. His experience also includes internships with the Senate Communications Subcommittee, a key congressional panel, and the FCC’s Media Bureau.

Donovan earned his law degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., following a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Tennessee. He is a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association and the Florida Bar.

As a legislative assistant for Rep. Wynn, Branch advised the congressman on many key issues, including communications policy, education and campaign finance reform. His experience with Rep. Wynn also includes a stint as his campaign manager. Before working in Congress, Branch interned for former U.S. Senator Charles Robb, D-Va., the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Virginia General Assembly.

Branch earned a bachelor’s in political science from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

About TIA
The Telecommunications Industry Association is the leading trade association in Washington, D.C., for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. TIA serves ICT suppliers to global markets through its leadership in standards development, domestic and international policy advocacy, and facilitating member business opportunities such as the co-owned NXTcomm. TIA represents the communications sector of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). For more information, go to www.tiaonline.org.


Preparing For Future Cabling Needs

By Jim Hayes

In the early 1960s, when I was in high school, my family finally got our own phone line, not a shared “party” line. Soon afterward, my brother and I decided we’d like to have our own telephone, rather than share the one in the family room. Our parents said it was too expensive to rent another phone from AT&T, and the phone company supposedly could tell you had illegal phones by checking the phone lines. It did not take long to figure out that since the phone worked on a current loop, the only way they could detect a second phone was by the change in impedance caused by a second ringer. Soon we had several phones in the house, but only one, the one AT&T owned, had a ringer! So not long after, our house had three phones, one TV that received three broadcast stations and a couple of radios.

My kids grew up in a house where there were three computers networked over Category 5 cabling run through holes in the walls. They were first sharing a phone line and later a cable modem for Internet access, and we had two phone lines and more than 100 TV channels. Now, the kids are off on their own. They demand high-speed connections to the Internet at home, and my wife, Karen, and I can access their wireless network when we visit.

Karen and I live in a house we remodeled with structured cabling for an Ethernet network with 16 drops covering our home office and every room in the house. We have five computers, one wireless access point, broadband Internet access through a cable modem, one landline for phone and one voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) line, digital CATV with three TVs (one HDTV), and a number of radios. Since we live in a mountainous area in California with poor radio reception, we often use Internet audio streaming to listen to radio, sometimes listening to the same stations we liked when we lived in Boston. Our next project will be “fiber to the barn!”

Having lived through all these generations of technology and actually being involved in developing some of it, it has always seemed obvious to us that new homes should be designed around current and future needs for these high-tech devices. Homebuilders, however, have been hard to convince of the need or, more precisely, the payback of installing cabling in new homes.

However, homebuilders are now seriously considering installing cabling in new homes to support networking PCs, home theater, automation and security systems. It has taken a long time getting to this point, because most of the arguments in favor offered by vendors of home cabling have been technology based (i.e., “hype”). Since the direction technology moves is hard to predict, cautious developers have been reluctant to promote home networking lest it become obsolete quickly.

But developments such as Verizon’s FIOS fiber-to-the-home service have been changing their minds. The biggest influence is in areas where Verizon is offering very high-speed Internet connections, HDTV and even phone over its fiber connections. Homeowners need better cabling inside the home to take advantage of these services. In other areas, the majority of new homes now have access to some broadband service (cable modem or DSL), and many have multiple personal computers in the home, sharing the service.

Once broadband access to the Internet is available, new services become practical, such as downloads of music and video. These services have become highly popular with the younger set (and an old techie like me who has more than 3,500 songs and a half-dozen books on his iPod and who catches the highlights of Formula 1 races on YouTube). If the home includes multiple users downloading these large audio and video files, not only do users in the home need a connection, the bandwidth available inside the home also needs to be high enough to accommodate these downloads. Soon, most of the video and audio downloads will be saved on a media server that can distribute content to any location in the home.

Most adults have had networks sharing resources such as files, high-speed Internet access and printers at work for years, so they are familiar with their capabilities and usage. Kids have similar access at school and expect to have it at home. In fact, often the party most unfamiliar with computer networking is the homebuilder.

Where we live in Southern California, the average home sells for half-a-million bucks, developments have thousands of homes and developers are good at marketing. They look for trends that help them sell more homes in a competitive market and make more profit. At a meeting for homebuilders on technology trends, one executive at a major developer told me they have begun aggressively marketing home cabling. When they sell a home, they offer upgrades. A granite kitchen counter costs around $5,000, but the developer only makes about $500 profit—that’s 10 percent. Many potential buyers ask about cabling for their computers, home theater or security systems. Adding structured cabling can add $7,500 to $15,000 to the selling price of the house, but the cost to install it is only about $2,500. Which do you think this homebuilder prefers: 10 percent profit on $5,000 or 67 percent profit on $7,500?

Another movement in Southern California is for home cabling to be required by building codes. The first city to require this was Loma Linda, home to a number of medial facilities that wanted to have high-speed connections. Loma Linda officials found the phone and CATV companies unresponsive, so they expanded their own city network to offer fiber connections to businesses and homes. They rewrote their building codes to require every new home to offer a fiber-to-the-home connection and to include structured cabling within the home. It has proven very popular with both homebuilders and buyers. Many other cities in California are watching Loma Linda, planning to revise their own building codes also.

Why would one install what seems like expensive cabling when so many alternatives exist? For network connections, you can choose between unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cabling, optical fiber, wireless, phone lines, power lines and even connections over CATV or satellite coax cable.

Some manufacturers are turning to optical fiber to overcome the bandwidth limitations of wireless and copper cable as well as to prevent interference. If the home has a central communications and entertainment system, delivering multimedia programming around the house can be a problem due to distance. The new HDMI cable for both video and audio is limited to about 15 feet due to the bandwidth needed for HDTV. Vendors offer optical fiber HDMI interfaces for connecting remote large screen displays for HDTV and computer monitors.

Wireless options keep expanding. Besides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, we now have WiMax, Zigbee and Z-max. Each is aligned to a specific application area; there is a lot of crossover in applications, and I must admit to being confused by some of the choices. In fact, the biggest problem with making a commitment to wireless is the continual churning of standards—what you buy today is guaranteed to be obsolete in a few months. The biggest drawback to wireless is the uncertainty of having enough bandwidth. Two PCs streaming HDTV will need about 45 MB/s, barely possible with current or proposed wireless technology.

A new coax system, called MoCA, uses the high-frequency capability of CATV or satellite coax cable by transmitting network signals at around 100 Mb/s on the frequencies above all television signals. This makes sure the network communications do not interfere with TV. MoCA is supported by big communications companies such as Motorola and Cisco, CATV operator Comcast and satellite TV provider Ecostar, plus sales outlet Radio Shack.

The MoCA alliance claims to have more than 1 million connections in use, but they have not had a high profile at home technology shows. Neither has networking over phone lines or power cables. All these options typify technology development: if it can be done, it will be done, but what do you do with it?

The goal of many of these systems is to provide electronic hardware, which you can use for networking without any modification to the house, an obvious goal for existing structures. However, all have disadvantages as well, mostly dependent on the house itself. Wireless has problems with distance and interference from such common household devices as garage door openers. Power line networking has problems with some types of electrical devices causing interference. The coax networking system has problems with large coax systems that have amplifiers for signal level boost.

Looking at it from the electronics side, virtually all systems support structured cabling with UTP. Beside connecting computers to each other and the Internet, common Cat 5e or Cat 6 UTP cable can be used for security systems such as video surveillance cameras or entry systems and home automation systems. Vendors even offer CATV over UTP products. This seems to be the one cabling type that every service supports.

The most logical solution for new homes is to include UTP structured cabling for voice, data and security as well as coax cable for video. FCC rules now require that the builder use at least Cat 3 UTP for phones, so an upgrade to Cat 5, even installing two cables to each outlet, is a no-brainer. To make installation simpler, most cable vendors offer bundled cables, usually with two coax and two UTP cables and with options to include optical fiber. We used this cable in wiring our own home during a remodel. The installer found it as fast and easy to install this four-cable bundle as a single one, greatly reducing installation costs.

Many new homes will be wired with UTP cable capable of supporting networking. However, the options on cabling homes are so numerous that some homebuilders are simply putting in conduit to allow pulling cables in at a later date. This allows the homeowner and equipment suppliers to decide what connection methods work best for them at the time the equipment is installed, not a bad decision when technology is changing so rapidly.

The cabling content of today’s new home construction is increasing to accommodate homeowners’ needs and desires for high-tech gadgetry. The potential income of installing home cabling at the same time as electrical wiring is making many contractors take another look at residential cabling as part of their business model, especially in large home developments. Perhaps it’s time to familiarize yourself with your local market, suppliers’ offerings and the potential for new business. EC

Reprinted with full  Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine March 2007 Issue  www.ecmag.com


Polywater® FTTx Cable Pulling/Pushing Lubricant

Polywater® FTTx Fiber Lubricant makes the installation of fiber drops easy.  The lubricant is concentrated; only a thin film is required for immediate tension reduction that lasts even as the lubricant dries.  Polywater® FTTx Lubricant is easy to apply.  It can be sprayed into conduit or wiped onto cable, making the installation of multiple drops quick and convenient. One wipe can coat over 200 feet of cable.

Use Polywater® FTTx lubricant for better installations without having to handle bulky pails on shorter runs or hand-hole applications. Quick and easy to use without mess or excess lubricant. Works well for placing fiber in HDD-installed conduit.

Ø                   Perfect for Fiber Optic Drops (FTTx)

Ø                   Easy Application with Spray or Wipe

Ø                   Lubricates with Very Thin Film, Performs After Drying

Ø                   Non-Staining, Quick Clean-Up

Ø                   Compatible with Common Cable Jackets – Including Polyethylene

Ø                   Recommended for category 6 and 5E cables

www.polywater.com/polyFTTX.asp


Anixter's Data Center Infrastructure Resource Guide Available

Anixter Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News), the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), is announcing the release of their Data Center Infrastructure Resource Guide.

Anixter continues to be the market leader in providing guidance to customers regarding their data center infrastructure needs. The new Data Center Infrastructure Resource Guide is one of several technical Anixter resources that provides a 60+ page descriptive overview of the current standards and solutions used in today's data centers. This guide offers strategies and best practices for designing, managing and deploying a data center, as well as an overview of the ANSI/TIA/EIA-942 data center standard. It also touches on the concept of green buildings as it relates to data centers, and walks readers through how to successfully deploy a data center solution at their company.

The Data Center Infrastructure Resource Guide provides helpful solutions and guidelines when considering reliability, availability and efficiency in a data center. An overview of the ANSI/TIA/EIA-942 standard includes a comprehensive explanation of guidelines created to help designers plan the facility, the network and the cabling system. The standard emphasizes the benefits of gathering requirements from all concerned parties - facilities, real estate, IT and corporate business units. Up to now, there has been no single available resource guide to pull all of this information together in to one, reliable desktop resource.

"The Data Center Infrastructure Resource Guide is a great tool for anyone who wants to reconstruct or deploy a modern, standards-based data center infrastructure. It condenses in one guide all of the leading-edge current thinking regarding best practices in data center design and deployment. The guide is a great complement to our very popular Data Center College which is available for all of our interested customers." - Randy Mortensen, VP Marketing.

Anixter's Data Center Infrastructure Resource Guide is a valuable tool to help customers better understand and navigate through the changes occurring in the data center market today. http://www.anixter.com/datacenterguide


Leviton Expands Structured Cabling Offering With Residential Video Monitoring System

Leviton’s new Indoor/Outdoor Color Camera Monitoring System provides high-quality color video output that can be viewed on any TV in the home as well as remotely over the Internet. The new Camera System runs through a Leviton Structured Media™ Center (SMC), offering homeowners a convenient, cost-effective solution for monitoring activity and enhancing security in and around their homes.

The system operates over Cat 5e UTP cables, which interconnect with a compact Camera Hub in the Leviton SMC.  The Camera Hub provides power to up to four cameras and outputs composite video from the cameras to Leviton’s IP/Quad Module and/or Video Modulators. The IP/Quad Module lets homeowners view output from up to four cameras simultaneously on any in-home TV using a video modulator, or remotely over the Internet using a PC browser.

The Indoor Camera comes with both clear and tinted lens covers for mounting in a Decora wall plate.  The Outdoor Camera and included wall plate assembly are available in white and can be painted to match any exterior trim. They mount easily to a single gang, exterior box.  Indoor and Outdoor Camera assemblies and the Camera Hub incorporate precision video baluns to ensure clear video output over the UTP cable. The Outdoor Camera also includes a separate power supply for applications where cable runs exceed 328 feet (100 meters). This feature facilitates local powering of cameras at entrance gates and other structures that are a long distance from the SMC.

Leviton’s new Indoor/Outdoor Color Monitoring Camera System provides an ideal solution for parents seeking to monitor a baby in the crib, toddlers in the playroom, children in the backyard, and see who is ringing the doorbell after dark.  The password secure IP/Quad Module lets homeowners monitor their homes while they are at work or away on vacation. www.leviton.com


CMP's Channel Group Partners With eXalt Solutions To Offer On Demand Multi-Vendor Solutions Sales Platform

CMP's Channel Group and eXalt Solutions, Inc. announced that they are partnering to offer the IT Channel a multi-vendor Solutions Sales Platform.  The web-based solution from eXalt streamlines the flow of information between suppliers, distributors and Solution Providers.

The challenge:  When producing sales quotes and developing accurate sales packages finding critical product information with a vast number of rapidly changing products in seconds is impossible.  Sales personnel tend to sell what they know, forfeiting millions in add-on sales, and a manual sales process is a bottleneck for sales growth as new products and channel partners are added.

The solution:  eXalt empowers suppliers to become the "easiest to sell in the Channel" enabling Solution Providers the ability to sell more product, eliminate errors, and increase add-on sales and profits.  Suppliers are able to build Channel loyalty and capture mind share, while VARs receive a competitive advantage over competitors using traditional sales methods.
eXalt's Solutions Sales Platform graphically guides users through the sales process allowing customers, partners and all distribution channels with limited training and knowledge to configure a solution and place an order.

With a quarter of a century of experience driving sales through the Channel, the CMP Channel Group is expanding its portfolio of integrated solutions to now offer an eXalt powered portals to help suppliers, distributors and Solution Providers accelerate their sales from access to execution.  The CMP Channel Group will now offer a one-stop source for the Solution Provider.

"Existing information and websites do not address a sales process requiring a solutions sale.  We know this is a tremendous challenge facing the Channel. As the 'trusted advisor' to the Channel we continue to listen to the needs of the marketplace and offer diverse products and solutions to drive sales from access to execution," said Robert Faletra, CMP Channel Group President.  "The eXalt partnership is an ideal solution for the Channel."

"Our software service has a dramatic effect on the bottom line of any company selling technical products," said Leslie Swanson, CEO and founder, eXalt Solutions, Inc.  "We provide suppliers with an unparalleled competitive edge -- removing time and complexity from the sales process by integrating collaborative sales chains.  By replacing today's manual process they can also scale sales easily as they add new products and new partners.  Suppliers and their partners have the potential to yield millions in add-on revenue and years of productivity annually.  We are thrilled to partner with CMP, as they are the best organization to bring this offering to the channel community."

eXalt's On-Demand Service is easily delivered over the Internet through an outsourced offering, removing cost, delays and risks with traditional enterprise software.  eXalt markets 12 unbundled modules as fixed price annual subscriptions, allowing payback in just one quarter. www.exaltsolutions.com


Mayville Products Corporation Acquires EMI Security Products

Mayville Products Corporation formally announces the acquisition of the EMI Security Products business from APW Ltd.  On March 9, 2007, Mayville Products Corporation concluded the transaction and began manufacturing the EMI Security Products and fully supporting the EMI brand name.

EMI Security Products is a well-recognized brand name and has provided camera housings to the security marketplace since 1985. EMI Security Products include CCTV security camera enclosures, mounts, DVR and VCR lock-boxes, and monitor mounts for CRT and LCD monitors. EMI Security Products are well known in the industry for their reliable performance, ease of installation, and attractive appearance. 

Mayville Products Corporation President, Dan Eder, says the acquisition is a natural addition to their current business: "With a national distribution network and a great reputation for durable and stylish camera housings, the EMI Security Products business is a strong compliment to Mayville Product Corporation's current range of 19" racks, cabinets, and command consoles sold under the APWMayvilleT and StantronR brands.  To help with the transition, the customer service team, sales team and toll-free number all stay the same.  This is a great fit for Mayville Products Corporation." 

Magnum and Mini Magnum Camera Housings

The Magnum and Mini Magnum CCTV camera housings are two flagship products for EMI Security Products.  Designed for harsh outdoor environments, the Magnum line of camera housings offer superior protection in very cold, very hot, very wet and very windy environments.

Made of a durable ABS polymer, the housings are corrosion resistant; include heaters, blowers, cable pass mounts, stainless steel screws, and a patented feature to easily adjust the position of the camera in the housing.  Most importantly, the Magnum housings are a uniquely attractive design.

The EMI acquisition became official March 9, 2007, but Eder observed that since Mayville Products Corporation has already been managing sales and customer service for the line, the transition will be seamless to customers. 

With its ownership of EMI Security Products, Mayville Products Corporation now offers three distinct product lines to its customers in the data communications, broadcast and security industries. APWMayvilleT brand cabinets, racks, consoles, ladder-racking and accessories meet the needs of data centers, data communications professionals, contractors, and consultants.  StantronR brand racks, cabinets, enclosures, consoles, and accessories are well-known for their installer-friendly features in the broadcast and professional audio/video markets. EMI Security Products now provides security camera enclosures, mounts, and related lock-boxes.  The new products complement the existing racks, cabinets, and accessories designed to house and protect rack-mountable security products, servers, and DVRs for the security marketplace.

About Mayville Products Corporation
Based in Mayville, Wisconsin, Mayville Products Corporation is an industry leader in the design, manufacture, and assembly of a wide range of standard and configurable cabinets, enclosures, frames, racks, and mounting products. 

Mayville Product Corporation's enclosure solutions product lines and contract manufacturing business are supported by over 200 dedicated and skilled employees utilizing accurate and efficient production equipment in a 430,000 square foot manufacturing facility.

For more information, please visit www.EMISecurity.com.


Testing The 10GBASE-T Waters: CNS Magazine

By Brad Masterson

While there has been a lot of buzz around the eventual adoption of 10 Gigabit/sec Ethernet over twisted-pair copper cabling (10GBASE-T), it is only recently that it has been considered a viable technology for the real world.

It is still early in the game to see any real take-up of this new technology in Canada. Now that the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) has approved a standard, it is time to start thinking ahead to what this new generation cabling will mean for the front line technicians.

Among other changes, 10GBASE-T will definitely present some new testing challenges. This includes a new phenomenon called Alien Crosstalk, which will require an added layer of testing expertise.

There is no question that over time, 10 Gigabit could become as commonplace as 1 Gigabit is today for data centre applications. In an effort to keep pace with growing demand for capacity, operations have already far exceeded the limits of 1 Gigabit backbones and are resorting to running multiple 1 Gigabit links and trunking them as a means to increase capacity.

This may serve current needs, but it is becoming increasingly complex and costly to manage this type of cabling infrastructure.

Given the escalating demand for bandwidth, a more widespread move to 10 Gigabit is inevitable.

Still a rare commodity

Before that happens, however, there are some issues that need to be addressed.

As it stands today, implementation of 10 Gb/s Ethernet over fiber is out of reach for most IT budgets. That means 10 Gigabit implementations are an extremely rare commodity in data centre operations today.

A large part of the expense lies in the interfaces for fiber. If we look back at the early evolution to 1 Gigabit, moving from fiber to copper will be instrumental in bringing the interface costs down, once we see widespread availability of copper interfaces.

The first step to the transition was the ratification of the 10GBASE-T standard. With this we can now expect to see some momentum building as enterprises start to examine if their infrastructures are ready for the increasingly bandwidth hungry applications of the future.

Many have come to realize that running multiple 1 Gigabit lines can only address this issue in the near-term. It will be 10GBASE-T that will prove easier and less costly in the long term, because it will dramatically reduce cabling requirements and the number of interfaces between servers and switches.

The transition to 10GBASE-T will not happen overnight. There are still some performance and testing challenges in running 10 Gigabit over Category 6 cabling to be resolved. A major challenge is distance limitations.

Cat 6 is only designed to work up to frequencies of 250 MHz. However, test frequency for 10 Gigabit has been extended to 500 MHz -- and cabling working at a higher frequency is more susceptible to picking up noise from adjacent cables over longer distances. Beyond 37 metres, the likelihood of this type of noise -- otherwise known as Alien Crosstalk -- grows.

While all the familiar parameters for testing traditional Cat 6 will apply (now up to 500 MHz), Alien Crosstalk will become a new test requirement also requiring testing to 500 MHz.

Testing for Alien Crosstalk is an issue that has been examined by the IEEE and is currently being addressed by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). The TIA will soon issue TSB155 (Telecommunications Systems Bulletin) outlining guidelines to field test Cat 6 for 10 Gigabit use.

Once these are ratified, the next step will be to establish design specifications and field-testing criteria for augmented Cat 6 (Cat 6A) that will ensure that a 10-Gigabit unshielded twisted pair cable will work out to 100 metres.

While it could take a year or more before Cat 6A standards are ratified, this allows technicians the time to understand the technology requirements and gain the upper hand on the appropriate testing procedures for this new medium.

Tackling Alien Crosstalk

Crosstalk measures signal coupling from one wire-pair to another within a twisted-pair cabling link. This kind of coupling can create an effect that is much like a noisy transmission line. In some cases, the noise induced by crosstalk will prevent a receiver from distinguishing the signal sent by the transmitter at the other end of the link.

In a twisted-pair cabling link, there are two effects that have an impact on signal quality. First, signals traveling from one end of the cable to the other degrade over distance. In other words, the longer the cable, the smaller the signal is at the receiving end.

At the same time, insertion loss (or attenuation) of the transmitted signal increases as the frequency of the signal increases. The combination of greater noise from adjacent cables with an attenuated signal could in fact make a 10 Gigabit network perform much slower and is a significant barrier to enabling full bandwidth availability for twisted pair cabling.

Near-End Crosstalk (NEXT) and Far-End Crosstalk (FEXT) measure the crosstalk signal that appears at the same end of the cabling link from which the test signal or disturbing signal is launched.

Testing for Alien Crosstalk follows a similar approach to that used for in-channel Near-End and Far-End Crosstalk, since it requires testing a signal generated at both the far and near end. Unlike NEXT and FEXT which are done on the same cable or wire pairs (in-channel), Alien Crosstalk is tested on adjacent cables.

Alien crosstalk is unique in that the crosstalk coupling occurs between wire-pairs in different, adjacent cabling links. It presents special challenges for testing twisted-pair cabling since there is a combined impact of many wire-pairs in the bundle upon the "victim" wire-pair being tested.

The standard specifies using a tester with 500MHz bandwidth (min) and accuracy to Level IIIe or better.

A contractor can guarantee the tester is accurate if it is calibrated and tested to the standard's accuracy requirements. Performance verification by independent testing laboratories such as UL Labs ensures the tester meets or exceeds these requirements.

Below are the basics of testing for Alien Crosstalk:

Setting it up: The setup for in-channel testing is the same as traditional Cat 6 testing, 100% of the cables require this test. However, the installer will need a special Alien Crosstalk kit and the use of a laptop at the test site.

Running the test: The in-channel tests are run (plot data enabled) and saved on the laptop, then all the computational work is done by the laptop connected to the analyzer while the ANEXT and AFEXT tests are run on the various disturber and victim links.

What to measure: In addition to the traditional in-channel tests to 500 MHz, all disturber cables will be tested against select disturbed (victim) links for ANEXT and AFEXT -- also to 500 MHz.

Troubleshooting: It will be noticed immediately if the link fails. This allows the installer to correct the problem before continuing on each link and wire pair.

Testing the Limits: In most cases, testing Alien Crosstalk between all possible wire-pair combinations is simply not economically feasible. Practical field test results however have proven that Alien Crosstalk between cables in different bundles is non-existent or negligible.

Therefore, test methods should be applied to cabling within bundles or adjacent connections in close proximity on the patch panel. To properly test any one disturbed or “victim” link, all of the links that belong to the same bundle of the victim link must be included in the test procedure as disturber links.

Before looking at a practical approach to sampling method, it is important to familiarize yourself with both the recommendations in the10GBASE-T standard (IEEE), the proposed TSB155, and proposed Augmented Cat 6 (Cat 6A) cabling standard (EIA/TIA568B.2-10).

A practical strategy for Alien Crosstalk is focusing on those installed links with the highest probability of failing -- i.e. the longest.

If, for example, the longest links in an installation pass, all shorter links will very likely pass with better margins. It is also important to include all the links in the same bundles as the selected link, as well as links terminated in adjacent positions in the patch panel. 

Despite the challenges of implementation and testing, 10 Gb/s Ethernet for twisted-pair cabling holds significant promise. While it will be a job that requires extensive working knowledge and training, it is the network technicians that will play a key role in ensuring that this new super fast networking technology works flawlessly.

Some may feel that the added complexity of testing for Alien Crosstalk can be avoided, but ultimately the best installations will be those that are properly and thoroughly tested. It is the only way to guarantee optimum performance and avoid problems over the long term.

Brad Masterson is product manager for Fluke Networks Canada and can be reached at brad.masterson@fluke.com

Reprinted with full Permission of Cabling Networking Systems – www.cnsmagazine.com


Fiber Optics Becoming Even Better?

According to the Technology Review, MIT Researchers have developed a way to remedy the fundamental problem facing the use of photonics in communications, which could facilitate cheaper, more intricate and better performing optical networks. Though photonic devices have been successfully miniaturized in the past few years, inefficiency still plagues these devices. Light delivered through cylindrical fiber optics gets broken up into varying orientations of light waves; outputs in devices at the microscale change if the light is either horizontally or vertically polarized, so devices were made to process only specific polarizations. For example, only horizontally polarized light can be used and vertically polarized light discarded, but this technique results in weak signals.

The MIT researchers approached this problem not by building different devices to process the different light polarizations, but by creating a device that can convert vertically polarized light into horizontally polarized light by gradually rotating it. With all the light having the same polarization, identical devices can process it all, which means clear, robust signals.

This current advance only applies to photonic applications involving light with multiple polarizations, mostly communications applications that use fiber optics. A surplus of bandwidth in past years reduced the attention given to improving these applications, while communications demands have been once again increasing the need for advancement.

“When you integrate things like this, the complexity and the performance of the kinds of filtering we can do are a little more advanced than the methods that are used today,” said Erich Ippen, MIT electrical engineering and physics professor. EC

© Information Inc.

Reprinted with full  Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine March 2007 Issue  www.ecmag.com


NEBB Receives 7th Ashrae Golden Circle Award

NEBB was honored with its 7th consecutive Golden Circle Award for its continued support of ASHRAE Research at the ASHRAE Winter Meeting held in Dallas, TX on January 29-31, 2007. As a recipient of the Golden Circle Award, NEBB is among the top investors of ASHRAE Research. 

“NEBB and ASHRAE share a common goal—making sure buildings are running at peak efficiency,” said NEBB President Jack Cappell, who accepted the award on NEBB’s behalf along with NEBB Executive Vice-President Mike Dolim. “We’re proud to support an organization that works to promote advances in HVAC systems.”

Each year, NEBB raises $10,000 for ASHRAE Research through hole sponsorships at its annual golf outing. Approximately, 70% of NEBB professionals belong to ASHRAE.

Established in 1971, the National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB) has become the premier international association for certifying firms that perform testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems,  building systems commissioning, sound and vibration measurement, fume hood and cleanroom performance testing. In addition to certifying firms, NEBB is the leading source of industry information including industry standards, publications, textbooks, study courses, and newsletters.  Today, NEBB is proud to have over 600 certified firms with over 900 qualified supervisors worldwide. www.nebb.org


Best Practices Not Found in Bureaucracies; Municipalities Must Incent Quality, Creativity

Carlini’s Comments, MidwestBusiness.com’s oldest column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common mans view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of pseudo experts.

Municipalities need to emphasize quality and incent creativity and innovation in the management of expenditures and the provisioning of services.

Many people are fed up with their local municipality and the way it delivers services. While some people continually gripe about what can and should be done, few take the ultimate step of running for office to change things.

I did that two years ago in my village and knew there was a lot to do. One thing you must do is set some goals and try to get the rest of the board to agree to some common objectives. While that sounds simple, it’s not.

Once you are elected, some people will tell you there are no problems. You know that isn’t true because you saw problems before you got elected. If they are saying that, they might just be trying to avoid change or have some vested interest in the way things have been done in the past.

Others will tell you everything is wrong and you have to fix everything. That also isn’t true. You have to assess the situation and find the short-term problems you can fix while looking into fixing long-term issues.

The board must set a strategic direction and start to correct the problems of the past. That is not an easy task because you must overcome many obstacles. There are several areas you must quickly assess and act on including people, policies, procedures and performance.

Emphasizing Creativity, Innovation

One of the issues I have seen is that many local governments and other public agencies are mired in the mud of horse-and-buggy politics. They cannot move forward and are stuck in that “we have done it this way for the last 25 years” syndrome.

They are also saddled with out-of-date ordinances as well as out-of-date policies that have to be updated in order for the local government to work properly in today’s environment. Does this sound like your municipality?

This issue of institutional inertia has to be tackled by everyone and not just the elected officials.

Village workers have to rise to the task of getting into a mode of challenging the status quo and looking for better and more cost-effective solutions. Those who don’t rise to the challenge need to find other opportunities. Let them saddle someone else’s community.

In municipalities where the inertia is really set in concrete, getting people to do something new is very difficult. In some cases, you have to get rid of people.

Unfortunately, that is part of the job. If you decide to run, be aware that you will definitely have to make some personnel decisions. Do not be afraid to let people go. This is also important in the private sector as well where some senior and middle managers have failed to do their jobs.

Municipalities and other government entities have to start looking more into pay-for-performance rather than paying just for showing up.

In today’s job market of economic uncertainties, some people are looking at jobs that fizzle after three to six months. These are people who would take a municipal job in a second because of the benefits and relative security compared to corporations today.

In the latest annual budget review process we had, we challenged the department heads to be creative and actually cut 5 percent off the budget without impacting the quality of services.

Too many municipalities, school districts and other agencies think money still grows on trees and there is a never-ending supply when it comes to budgets. We had some revenues issues to deal with and we gave the direction of cutting the budget.

Innovation came out and the staff found ways to be creative. They looked for competitive bids on things they would buy and they looked at refurbishing equipment instead of going out and buying something new.

One example was putting in a new transmission in a truck as well as some other modifications. The price was $15,000 compared to going out and buying a new truck at about $110,000. Another example was going out to buy chemicals for water treatment. Just by shopping around, they saved 25 percent.

If we did not push for a cut, chances are we would be overpaying for the same items.

In another part of the budget, there is something called a “longevity bonus”. After working for the village for a year, employees get a year-end bonus of $100. I thought taking that and putting it into an incentive pool would be a good way to reward innovation rather than just paying for people for showing up.

Just like households that have had to make some major changes in managing expenditures when revenues shrink, government agencies should be no different. Are any of the government agencies in your area looking at being conservative or are they asking for more money every year?

How much of that money is wasted?

Are you getting a dollar’s worth of service for every dollar spent? What if there are not enough dollars coming in? Is that agency cutting back as it should or is it just spending “like a bunch of drunken sailors” (as the governor once said)?

Upcoming Election in Your Town

Many local governmental officials are up for reelection in your town. What are you going to do this time? You have to go and vote not only for the municipal officials but for park district boards, school boards and many more people who have influence over your tax bill.

Vote for people who understand innovation and creativity rather than those who reinforce the status quo. Every municipality and government agency should make it an objective to cut their budgets by 5 percent to 10 percent. It can be done if you motivate everyone.

Carlinism: Best practices are not found in bureaucracies.


James Carlini will present how he pioneered measuring building intelligence
at the second-annual Building Automation Conference in Baltimore on March 21.
Also, check out his blog at CarlinisComments.com.


James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini


Check Out What’s New For Cabling Business Magazine’s May 2007 Issue!

Check out what’s new for Cabling Business Magazine’s May 2007 issue! Packed full of hot new products, timely industry columns and of course, the latest technology news you’ve come to expect every month!

Features:

  • Building Cost-Effective Infrastructures for the Triple Play

By Bob Sutherlin

  • Best Practices for Fiber Optic Installation Start With Inspection & Cleaning

By Doug Vandenberg

  • Patch Cords: Connecting, Testing and Repairing

By Steve Paulov

  • Updating the Call Center for Today’s Needs

By Jen Aragones

  • Municipal Outdoor Wireless: What's the Right Strategy for Cable MSOs

By Lisa Zylstra

Industry Expert Columns:

  • The Leadership Link By New Commons
  • Reel Time By Berk-Tek, A Nexans Company
  • Testing the Experts By Fluke Networks

Hot Products:

Wi-Fi, patch cords, broadband, wireless, fiber optics, testers, video microscopes, visual fault locators, coax/UTP combo strippers, surface mount boxes, loose tube plenum rated fiber optic cables, threaded connectors, crimpers, cutters, scissors, continuity testers, and much, much more!

As always readers can log on to the magazine Web site at www.cablingbusiness.com and download the latest issue online! Be sure not to miss out!


Hitachi Data Systems Continues Global Channel Momentum, Recognition for Partner Success

Signaling Hitachi's continued momentum with its global channel partners, Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT - News), today announced that the company's partner program has achieved a 5-star rating for the second consecutive year, according to CMP Technology's VARBusiness magazine. Additionally, Karen Sigman, vice president of Global Channels, and Tom Valiante, vice president of Americas Channels, were named on VARBusiness' list of the Top 60 Channel Executives. Mr. Valiante was also named among CRN magazine's list of Top 50 Channel Chiefs.

Of the 230 vendor-program entries reviewed for the past year, only 65 companies received the coveted 5-star rating in VARBusiness's 13th annual Partner Programs Guide survey. The guide appears in the March 19, 2007, issue of VARBusiness.

"To achieve the 5-star rating for two consecutive years is certainly a great achievement for Hitachi Data Systems," says VARBusiness Editor Lawrence M. Walsh. "We applaud them for their ongoing best practices and the leadership they have continued to demonstrate within the IT distribution channel."

"Building and maintaining a multi-faceted network of partners whose top priorities are quality and service is essential to our success," said Sigman. "Earning top marks for a second time illustrates the ongoing momentum of Hitachi Data Systems and the dedication of our team to our partners, and it provides validation for what we feel are great things to come in the year ahead."

The VARBusiness "Top 60 Channel Executives" list is based on a survey of channel executives with respect to years of service, size of their channel programs and their partner priorities for the coming year. In addition to being published in the March 19 issue of VARBusiness magazine, the feature package and executive listing is posted to the Web at www.channelweb.com.

CRN magazine recognizes the most influential channel executives who consistently create, promote and execute effective channel partner programs and strategies. The CRN Channel Chiefs are an elite group of individuals that consistently ensure that the voice of the channel is heard within their companies. The CRN Channel Chief list is in its fifth consecutive year. Top Channel Chiefs were chosen based on criteria including policy and program innovations made during the past year, the amount of revenue their company generates through partners, their willingness to speak out publicly on behalf of the channel, and the number of years they have dedicated to channel activities over the years.

"These recognitions underscore the unmatched dedication and performance of our channel leaders," said Scott Genereux, executive vice president and general manager, Worldwide Marketing, Sales and Support. "We have worked exceptionally hard alongside our worldwide channel partners over the past year to deliver smart, profitable sales and support initiatives that best meet our customers' business and technology goals, and we are pleased to accept these honors."

About Hitachi Data Systems
Hitachi Data Systems leverages global R&D resources to develop storage solutions built on industry-leading technology with the performance, availability and scalability to maximize customers' ROI and minimize their risk. By focusing on the customer's perspective as we apply the best hardware, software, and services from Hitachi and our partners, we uniquely satisfy our customers' business needs. With approximately 3,200 employees, Hitachi Data Systems conducts business through direct and indirect channels in the public, government and private sectors in over 170 countries and regions. Its customers include more than 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies. For more information, please visit our Web site at http://www.hds.com.

About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd., (NYSE: HIT - News; TSE: 6501 - News), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 356,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2005 (ended March 31, 2006) consolidated sales totaled 9,464 billion yen ($80.9 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials and financial services. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at http://www.hitachi.com.


Roman Dabrowski, RCDD Joins Netversity As Business Development & Sales Management

Colin Padely, President of Netversity, is pleased to announce that Roman Dabrowski, RCDD has joined Netversity, in the capacity of Business Development and Sales Management.

Roman has been employed in the telecommunications industry for over 28 years. He has also held a volunteer position with the global telecommunications association, BICSI, as Canadian Region Director for BICSI the past four years.

Netversity ia a leading supplier of hardware and peripheral devices to support structured cabling and ITS (Information Transport Systems) installations. Netversity can supply, pre-configure, install and test custom cabinets and racking, KVM  components, UPS Systems, fiber optic assemblies and industry leading managed (IP enabled) cabinet power distribution units

(CPDU)

Netversity fills a void in the IT infrastructure marketplace for expertly designed, pre-configured, ready-to-go turnkey cabinets and racks, fully assembled to the clients' networks needs.


NAED Promotes Edward Orlet To Senior Regional Manager

Edward Orlet has been promoted to senior regional manager by the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED). Orlet provides support to member distributors in NAED’s Eastern Region and is a nationwide instructor for NAED training programs.

With this promotion, he will seek to expand NAED’s reach through such training programs as “Counter Pro,” “Maximize Your Profit Power” and “Warehouse Pro” which can be customized and taught onsite at the distributor’s location. Orlet also produces NAED’s successful “Profit Talk” teleseminar series and is participating in development of a contractor education program, “The Profitable Project.”

“Ed does a great job for NAED,” said Tom Naber, president of NAED. “He has helped NAED offer a growing range of education products to help distributors find solutions to their business needs and become more successful. We look forward to the many new contributions that he will make to the association and the industry.”

Orlet’s Eastern Region responsibilities include helping members take full advantage of the benefits of membership, working with the NAED Eastern Region Council, and representing NAED with new and prospective members.

Orlet joined NAED in 2001 after holding positions in several distribution businesses. He holds a corporate training certification from Langevin Learning Systems and an association management designation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois.

He can be reached via e-mail at eorlet@naed.org or by contacting NAED at 1-888-791-2512.

Contact Sonia Coleman at scoleman@naed.org to access print resolution graphics.

To sign up for NAED's weekly newsletter, go to www.naed.org and click on "News Room" and then "Subscribe Newsletters." Or click on this link.

About NAED
NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED’s membership represents approximately 4,200 locations internationally. http://www.naed.org


Materials Theft Continues

According to the Medill News Service, Chicago has witnessed a rash of 90-pound manhole thefts, as the nationwide trend of scrap metal theft continues. The problem is scrap dealers may not be able to tell the difference between items stolen from construction sites and those that are unused on a site and brought in by the workers or contractor.

“A distinction needs to be made between manhole ­covers with the city of Chicago seal on it and when someone brings ­copper piping or copper wire,” said Steve Hirsch, director of state and local programs, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

Chicago police say although thefts are common at construction sites, rising scrap metal prices have coincided with increasing thefts of piping, air ducts and old refrigerators, among other items. Removing piping from construction sites or abandoned buildings is not only dangerous, but it also places a greater burden on a developer that is trying to build affordable housing. Hirsch said while some facilities give the scrap industry a bad name by knowingly buying stolen materials, it is not easy to identify material as stolen.

“If someone is doing a home remodeling job or a minor demolition, they might take out some of these materials and bring them to a reputable facility,” Hirsch said. “There’s no way for the scrap recycler to know if that’s stolen or not.”          EC

© Information Inc.

Reprinted with full  Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine March 2007 Issue

www.ecmag.com


CommScope To Introduce Series Of Connectors And Tools For Wireless Applications

CommScope, Inc., (NYSE: CTV - News), a world leader in infrastructure solutions for communication networks, announces the introduction of the next generation of technologically advanced connectors and tools designed to improve transmission line performance. CommScope's new EZfit-Series(TM) connectors and tools are engineered to fit both smooth-wall and corrugated transmission line cables. They are designed to fit 1/2", 7/8", 1-1/4", and 1-5/8" size 50-ohm cables.

"CommScope continues to be an innovative leader in connector design by taking smooth-wall connector performance to the next level while assuring backward compatibility with both aluminum and copper transmission line systems," said Ted Hally, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Carrier Solutions. "Additionally, we believe we are the first to introduce a complete line of universal connectors. This technology brings a new and unique dimension to the industry by introducing a connector series that is designed for all 50-ohm coaxial cable applications."

Compared to our B-Series connectors, the new EZfit Series connectors and tools are lighter in weight, more corrosion resistant and more compact in design for easier handling during installation. The EZfit Series requires less torque to properly tighten the connector to the cable. Based on engineering specifications, CommScope expects its new connectors and tools to offer several key advantages including lower connector insertion loss and improved return loss for higher-performance cable systems.

Installers can reduce inventory and cut down on spare parts as a result of the cross compatibility and design flexibility the EZfit Series offers. As with all CommScope connectors, there is a tight seal to prevent water ingress and consequently reduce downtime and maintenance over the site's entire life cycle. For more information about these and other CommScope products and solutions, visit CTIA Booth 4172.

CommScope is a world leader in infrastructure solutions for communication networks. Through its SYSTIMAX® Solutions(TM) and Uniprise® Solutions brands, CommScope is the global leader in structured cabling systems for business enterprise applications. It is also the world's largest manufacturer of coaxial cable for Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) applications. Backed by strong research and development, CommScope combines technical expertise and proprietary technology with global manufacturing capability to provide customers with high-performance wired or wireless cabling solutions.

This press release includes forward-looking statements that are based on information currently available to management, management's beliefs, as well as on a number of assumptions concerning future events. Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, which could cause the actual results to differ materially from those currently expected. For a more detailed description of the factors that could cause such a difference, please see CommScope's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In providing forward-looking statements, the company does not intend, and is not undertaking any obligation or duty, to update these statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.http://www.commscope.com


West Texas National Bank Lowers Costs And Improves Customer Service With Interactive Intelligence IP Telephony Software

West Texas National Bank has reported reduced costs and improved customer service as a result of deploying enterprise IP telephony software by Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ).

The bank replaced nine different traditional TDM-based phone systems across distributed branch offices with the IP-based software, called Enterprise Interaction Center® (EIC). The deployment and move to voice over IP resulted in a 93 percent reduction in long distance phone charges, and the elimination of over 70 phone lines, which equaled savings of about 37 percent. The deployment also enabled the bank to reduce costs associated with repairs and support.

By helping to both centralize and automate its call center, the EIC deployment not only improved customer service, but reduced staffing requirements for processing calls by the equivalent of three full-time employees.

“Before EIC we were spending about $20,000 per month for long distance charges and $6,000 per month on our data network,” said West Texas National Bank executive VP and COO, Jerry Rogers. “In addition, we had three voice response systems and no automated call distribution capabilities, which not only hampered communications between branches, but made them very expensive. By reducing long distance charges, converging our voice and data networks, eliminating duplicate systems across sites, and centralizing our contact center, we’ve not only cut costs and improved customer service, our employees now feel part of a single bank regardless of their branch location.”

Currently, EIC supports the bank’s entire employee base composed of 157 people, including a centralized contact center that services calls for its nine branch offices located throughout West Texas.

EIC, which was sold, designed and implemented by Chicago-based systems integrator, Adapt Telephony Services (http:www.teamadapt.com), provides the bank with SIP-based VoIP switching, voice mail, fax services, unified messaging, auto attendant, interactive voice response, automatic call distribution, and reporting.

West Texas National Bank was first prompted to look for a new communications system in late 2004 as a result of multiple mergers, which left the bank with disparate phone systems and isolated branch offices.

To address these challenges, the bank began reviewing multiple systems from vendors such as Avaya, Cisco and others. It ultimately selected the Interactive Intelligence software based on its features and ease-of-maintenance.

“The selection process wasn’t easy since nearly all the vendors we reviewed called their solutions ‘complete’ and ‘unified,’” Rogers said. “As a former technology consultant, however, I knew we had to delve deeper to ensure we didn’t end up purchasing a ‘single’ solution that, in reality, was just a bunch of cobbled together systems requiring five different screens to set up users, and making upgrades to one system crash the other four. 

“We selected EIC because it had all the features we wanted, plus it really did have a unique single-platform ‘unified’ architecture, which meant fewer boxes to manage and fewer interfaces to learn. In fact, part of our due diligence involved checking references, and the Interactive Intelligence customers were not only happy with the software’s functionality, but they stressed its ease-of-maintenance”

The bank plans to extend EIC’s benefits further by creating additional applications, such as using the software to enable customers to call and record wire transfers 24x7, which employees can then process during normal business hours, according to Rogers.

About West Texas National Bank
West Texas National Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of First West Texas Bancshares, Inc. (FWTBS), a one-bank holding company located in Midland, Texas. West Texas National Bank is an intrastate bank first chartered in 2000. The bank offers a full range of personal and commercial banking and related financial products and services through its West Texas branch network staffed by 157 employees. These products include business and household accounts; consumer, commercial and industrial loans; mortgages; certificates of deposit; and more. The bank uses the most innovative technologies to provide convenient and efficient services, such as end-to-end image processing, Internet Banking, and bill presentment, while maintaining its commitment to friendly, personalized service. West Texas National Bank can be reached at +1 432.685.6500; on the Net: http://www.wtnb.com.

About Interactive Intelligence
Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) is a global provider of business communications software and services for contact center automation and enterprise IP telephony. The company was founded in 1994 and has more than 2,500 customers worldwide. Recent awards include the 2006 Network World 200, CRM Magazine’s 2006 Rising Star Excellence Award, Network Computing Magazine’s 2006 Well-Connected Award, and Software Magazine’s 2006 Top 500 Global Software and Services Companies. Interactive Intelligence employs approximately 500 people and is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company has five global corporate offices, with additional sales offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Interactive Intelligence can be reached at +1 317.872.3000 or info@inin.com; on the Net: http://www.inin.com.


Panduit Corporation Pledges $250,000 To NAED Foundation Endowment

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces a $250,000 commitment by Panduit Corp. to the NAED Education & Research Foundation.

“Panduit’s investment in the NAED Education & Research Foundation demonstrates our long-term commitment to electrical distribution,” said Bernie Westapher, vice president of marketing services for Panduit. “We believe firmly that the work of the Foundation is critical to the growth and development of our industry and offer wholehearted support for their efforts.”

Established in 1955, Panduit is a global manufacturer of high-quality products for wiring and communications applications with sales over $500 million, 3,500 employees and more than two million square feet of facilities. Expanding from their initial headquarters in the Chicago’s Tinley Park suburb, Panduit now has multiple U.S. locations as well as plants and sales subsidiaries throughout Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central/South America, Europe, Japan, and The Middle East.

“We are grateful for Panduit’s contribution to the Foundation’s endowment fund. The company has supported NAED in many ways over the years, including contributing to the Foundation’s annual campaign. We also appreciate Bernie Westapher’s work on NAED’s Special Pricing Authorizations (SPA) Task Force,” said Dick Waterman, chairman of the Channel Advantage Partnership and executive VP and CEO of Rexel, Inc.

The company’s donation will become part of an endowment fund for the NAED Education & Research Foundation. The principal amount of the endowment will remain untouched, while the interest will be used to commission future projects and studies. As a $250,000 contributor, Panduit Corp. will be recognized at the guarantor level and have a permanent position on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council, which will help select future educational programs and research projects.

For more information about contributing to the NAED Education & Research Foundation endowment, contact Michelle McNamara, NAED vice president and executive director of the NAED Foundation.www.naed.org


Interactive Intelligence Enhances Network-based Routing System For Contact Centers

Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ), a global developer of business communications software, has enhanced Interaction Director®, the company’s intelligent, network-based, pre- and post-call routing system for contact centers.

Designed to help distributed organizations create a “virtual” contact center by more effectively routing interactions across sites, these latest enhancements add the session initiation protocol – the new standard for voice over IP – which eliminates the need for carriers in a pre-call routing configuration, thus reducing costs associated with complex set-up, ongoing third-party service, and per-call charges. It also provides interoperability with SIP-compliant third-party products, such as PBXs, automatic call distributors and gateways, for maximum cost-effectiveness and investment protection.

“Given its reputation for being first-to-market with all things SIP, I’m not surprised that Interactive Intelligence has done it again, this time applying the VoIP open standard to its intelligent routing software, which we’ve used since 2003,” said Michael White, senior vice president of information technology infrastructure for InfoCision, the world's eighth largest outbound contact center. “Interaction Director® has helped us increase operational efficiencies by automating routing rules to process between 40,000 and 50,000 inbound calls daily, which are distributed across our 28 contact centers. In addition, because of Interaction Director’s® built-in fault-tolerance, we were able to re-allocate existing fail-over servers, which further increased operational efficiencies, while maximizing reliability.”

Interaction Director® works in conjunction with the Interactive Intelligence contact center automation software, Customer Interaction Center® (CIC), which is part of the company’s standards-based unified communications software suite. Interaction Director® results in more effective network-based interaction routing by monitoring queue, user, workgroup, skill, and other relevant data captured by CIC servers across sites, storing this information in its real-time cache, then automatically sending back instructions used to route the interactions to the most appropriate destination. Routing rules can be flexibly pre-configured using ANI, DNIS, as well as real-time statistics, such as average hold time, occupancy, etc.

Using Interaction Director’s® new SIP-based pre-call routing, a gateway replaces expensive carrier-based routing by passing instructions directly to the gateway at a customer’s site. In addition, Interaction Director’s® built-in server switchover provides full redundancy across sites for maximum disaster protection.

Also included in this latest version of Interaction Director® are new supervisory enhancements, such as new interfaces for viewing workgroup summaries, agent detail, and other critical data, all designed to make analyzing and improving upon existing routing configurations faster and easier.

“We built Interaction Director® to offer contact centers reduced cost and complexity with a unified communications approach that simplifies multi-site routing, while providing truly intelligent load balancing to create efficient, virtual contact centers,” said Joseph A. Staples, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Interactive Intelligence. “Over the years we’ve extended these benefits with more comprehensive features, including ‘workflow’ routing, and now we’ve gone a step further by adding SIP support and improved supervisory views. Together, these advancements provide even greater operational efficiencies and improved customer satisfaction by helping companies better meet service level goals.”

Interaction Director® is ideal for multi-site, outsourced contact centers and teleservices firms, as well as enterprises with internal, distributed contact centers, including multinational companies.

Interaction Director® was first released in 1999. The latest enhancements to Interaction Director® are available immediately.

Interaction Director® can be purchased through the Interactive Intelligence global channel composed of approximately 250 value-added resellers, and through the company’s direct sales force.

About Interactive Intelligence
Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) is a global provider of business communications software and services for contact center automation and enterprise IP telephony. The company was founded in 1994 and has more than 2,500 customers worldwide. Recent awards include the 2006 Network World 200, CRM Magazine’s 2006 Rising Star Excellence Award, Network Computing Magazine’s 2006 Well-Connected Award, and Software Magazine’s 2006 Top 500 Global Software and Services Companies. Interactive Intelligence employs approximately 500 people and is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company has five global corporate offices, with additional sales offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Interactive Intelligence can be reached at +1 317.872.3000 or info@inin.com; on the Net: http://www.inin.com.


Minuteman® EnSpire™ Standby Uninterruptible Power Supply Sets A New Standard For Flexibility, Capacity And Value

Para Systems, Inc., a leader in power technology with its line of Minuteman® Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems, announces its Minuteman® EnSpire™ Standby UPS Series. This exciting new UPS line provides users features needed to protect valuable equipment with a low-cost product.

Two models are being introduced:

·             EnSpire EN400 rated at 400VA/300Watts

·             EnSpire EN600 rated at 600VA/300Watts

Back up time for both units is two minutes at full load and ten minutes at half load allowing time to systematically turn off connected equipment without losing critical data.

Each unit has six outlets; three provide battery support along with spike and surge protection and three provide spike and surge protection only. In addition, two of the outlets are specifically spaced to support transformer blocks.

The EnSpire units are uniquely designed with outlets on the top and are small enough to be placed on or under a desk or table and both models can be wall mounted.

For over 25 years, Para Systems, Inc. has provided quality power products with excellent personalized service and direct human response to all service and support calls.  EnSpire products pass extensive quality control testing before being shipped to customers.

Features of the EnSpire Standby UPS include:

·              USB Communications – EnSpire UPS USB connections are automatically recognized by Microsoft® Windows® software. No special USB drivers are required. The EnSpire Series automatically recognizes USB connections with its HID (Human Interface Device) compliant USB communications.

·              Minuteman SentryPlus™ Software – SentryPlus auto-shutdown and monitoring software is included with every unit. No special downloads or coupons are required.

·              Telephone/Fax/Modem Line Protection - The EnSpire UPS provides a low cost means of protecting telephone/fax/modem lines.

·              RoHS Compliant – Recognizing the need to promote environmental responsibility, EnSpire products are manufactured in accordance with RoHS guidelines. 

·              Larger Load Capacities – The 400VA and 600VA capacities of these units has been increased over previous models allowing them to support larger power requirements.

·              Minuteman Support - Para Systems includes full end-user support that includes toll-free technical service from our headquarters in Carrollton, Texas.

·              Warranty - The UPS is covered by three-year parts and labor warranty and a $50,000 Minuteman Platinum Protection Plan® for connected equipment (U.S.A. and Canada only). The battery is covered by a two-year warranty.

Lower costs and more features makes the Minuteman® EnSpire Series UPS the value leader in the UPS industry, with MSRPs between $59.00 and $75.00. The Minuteman® EnSpire Series UPS is in stock and ready for immediate delivery. www.minutemanups.com/media


Industry Veteran Has retired From Ideal Industries Datacomm Division

Industry veteran has retired from Ideal Industries Datacomm division. Ed's involvement with cabling certifiers and testers dates back to Wavetek which was eventually acquired by Ideal. He will continue to be involved in TIA and IEEE Standards activities through his partnership in EDP Consulting Services based in San Diego.

Ed Pivonka

EDP Consulting Services

PO Box 9322

Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

pivonka@san.rr.com

619-602-4204


Harger Lightning & Grounding Releases New Master Equipment Catalog

Harger Lightning & Grounding proudly introduces the release of its NEW Master Equipment Catalog. The catalog represents a compilation of products to provide total system protection for any facility or site. The Master Equipment Catalog includes the following products; grounding and bonding, Ultraweld exothermic welding products, lightning protection equipment, ground testing equipment, AC and RF surge suppression, and telecommunications products. The catalog also has a technical support section complete with specifications. In addition, the catalog has two indexes (Part Number and Key Word) for ease in locating products. The Harger Catalog is available in either a Perfect Bound (paper) or a CD-ROM format. The CD catalog includes links to AutoCAD® detail drawings showing typical lightning protection and grounding applications. For more information or to request your free copy of the catalog, contact our Sales Department at 800-842-7437 or email at www.hargersales@harger.com.

Harger Lightning & Grounding is a leading manufacturer of lightning protection and grounding equipment, as well as exothermic welding materials for the communications and electrical industries. Harger also provides design and engineering services and specializes in offering total systems solutions for their customers. Let Harger apply its systemic approach to total system protection to provide you with the most cost effective solution to protect your personnel and equipment against the effects of electrical transients.  www.harger.com


Shielded Twisted Pair vs. UTP

For over 15 years, unshielded twisted pair-cable (UTP) has been the cable of choice for voice and data infrastructures. Consisting of 4 color-coded twisted-pairs of insulated copper under an overall jacket, UTP cable is relatively inexpensive, easy to install, easy to test and easy to find. Today, most hardware stores carry some brand of Category 5e UTP cable. And although Category 5e cable is still the most popular UTP cable, Category 6 cable (shown below) continues to grow in popularity due to its increased performance capabilities, robust construction and the variety of applications for which it can be used. With that in mind, it appears the future of UTP cable is quite secure.

There does seem, however, to be a challenger to UTP’s reign as the preferred cable for network infrastructure. There is, in fact, a growing demand for shielded twisted-pair (ScTP) Category 6 cable in the telecommunications market. This increased demand has been brought about in part by the introduction of a new protocol, 10 Gigabit Ethernet. The protocol, developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, is known as IEEE 802.3an. To learn why demand is increasing, we must first discuss crosstalk and alien crosstalk.

Crosstalk (referred to as NEXT) is the unwanted coupling of a signal within a cable from one pair to another. It is and has been a major test parameter in all categories of communication cable. Alien crosstalk (ANEXT) is when signal from any pair in a cable jumps to any pair in am adjacent cable. This was not a concern with earlier protocols since they did not operate at high data rates and the cables were not tested to the high frequencies at which 10 Gigabit Ethernet operates.

Category 6 UTP cable, though tested to 250 MHz, proved to be effective for higher frequencies, but only for limited distances, between 37 and 55 meters. Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) 155, issued by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), stipulates these distances for Category 6 cable when used in a 10 Gigabit Ethernet application. To effectively accommodate the needs of this new protocol to the industry standard 100 meters for the channel, and 90 meters for the basic link, the Telecommunications Industry Association and the Electronics Industry Alliance (TIA/EIA) responded with a new cable standard known as 568B.2-10, Augmented Category 6. This standard requires the UTP cable be tested up to 500 MHz. The standard is also the first to incorporate testing for ANEXT performance. To achieve this and surpass the standard requirements, nearly all augmented Category 6 cables have to employ a method of keeping space between adjacent cables. To compensate for ANEXT in their Category 6A cable, HCM utilizes a unique jacket construction, as illustrated in the diagram below. This design allows for the cables to perform to the standard separately and while in a bundle.

The use of space between cables has proven to be an effective method for keeping signals from jumping from one cable to another. Unfortunately, a byproduct of this approach has been cables of larger overall diameter. If space in the building is limited and if the significant added cost of larger conduit is a factor, there is another solution may be better. This is where Category 6 ScTP cable becomes an option.

Category 6 ScTP cable (shown above) utilizes a foil shield around the core of the cable. Category 6 ScTP cable, like its UTP counterpart, is perfectly suited for all applications that will operate over Category 6 cables. One advantage of the foil barrier is that it prohibits signal from jumping from one cable to an adjacent cable. Since this is one of the major concerns when deploying 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Category 6 ScTP cable is a viable option. For this reason, some companies are also choosing to install it now in the event they upgrade their electronics to 10G in the future.

The foil shield also makes the cable immune to radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI). In some manufacturing environments, these features can prove very useful. Another added benefit of a shielded cable is the fact that its signals are not easily tapped. For this reason, markets such as the gaming industry, government and financial institutions have chosen to migrate toward Category 6 ScTP cable.

Though Category 6 ScTP cable has many advantages over UTP cable, it does have a few characteristics that might be considered disadvantages. First, it is more expensive than UTP cable. Also, shielded connectivity is more expensive than the type of connectivity used with UTP cable. Additionally, a fully shielded cable infrastructure must be properly bonded and grounded. Improper grounding would create additional performance problems that you are not likely to find with a UTP based infrastructure.

Finally, additional care must be taken when selecting the right Category 6 ScTP cable. If you are installing a Category 6 ScTP infrastructure to accommodate 10 Gigabit Ethernet, you should carefully evaluate the performance of the cable selected. Testing 10-gigabit throughput would be wise since not all Category 6 ScTP cables can accommodate it. It is important to remember that Category 6 ScTP cables must perform up to 500 MHz. www.hcm.hitachi.com


Superior Essex’s New Brake Box At BICSI Spring Conference Booth 106

Be sure to visit Superior Essex during the BICSI Spring Conference, April 15-18 in Dallas at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center. There you can see the new Superior Essex Brake Box, a reel-in-a-box package that features a dual-brake system. This new feature allows installers to have complete control over the back tension of the reel.

The new Brake Box is available for DataGain CAT6+ and Series 77 CAT6 cable at no additional cost.


Colorado-based Magic Home Entertainment, LLC Introduces MoodSeer

Home Entertainment, LLC (MHE) launched its plug and play home audio component, moodSeer at EHX Spring 2007 today.

The moodSeer system -- the latest in audio component technology -- is a complement to any home theater or entertainment center and designed to be a “GPS system for extensive music collections.”

This multi-room, multi-source home audio component is comprised of the moodCenter, the main unit where all the music is stored, moodSpot, individual room players and a hand-held touch screen remote controller.

Original music from any music source (such as CDs and MP3s) is digitally transferred and stored by the moodCenter in lossless and streaming formats to maximize music capacity without sacrificing track quality. 

The music is then delivered either wireless or wired and is designed to complement any home theater or entertainment center. The moodSeer can even plug and play the playlist of an MP3 player or an iPod.

The moodCenter unit connects to any current home theater, entertainment or audio system already in place and comes with a CD drive and high quality digital and analog audio outputs. 

The moodSpot is connected to component audio systems or powered speakers in any other room in the home.  Select the music using the touch screen and the music will begin playing in the desired room.

The touch screen controls the moodSeer system and with a touch of a finger, delivers a collection on command to a specific room. 

The moodCenter comes standard with storage capacity of 8000 tracks in lossless format and 40,000 tracks streaming format.  Additional storage capacity is optionally available. 

Base price for the moodSeer system starts at $6300 and includes the moodCenter, a moodSpot and one touch screen.  The system is shipped within two weeks direct from Magic Home Entertainment, LLC.

Each additional moodSpot cost $1500 and a touch screen is available for $700.  Package pricing is available to fit consumer specific needs.

MHE offers a website for consumer as well as a web portal (www.moodSeer.com) online technical knowledgebase, issue tracking, order/inventory status integration.

The moodSeer system is the premier product of Magic Home Entertainment, LLC, a Colorado-based company established in February 2005. 


White Papers From CSC Website

Friday, March 30, 2007

http://www.gocsc.com/whitepapers/index.asp?DEPARTMENT_ID=25

Structured Cabling

3M

Fireblocking Building Codes

Agilent Technologies

Assurance - A Past, Present and Future Perspective

American Power Conversion (APC)

The different types of UPS systems

Calculating Total Power Requirements for Data Centers

Belden/CDT

Preparing Infrastructure for 10 Gigabit Ethernet Applications

Berk-Tek

Manufacturing Multimode Fiber for High Performance Applications

Selecting the correct fiber optic cable for your campus environment

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Performance over UTP Cable

Measuring Bandwidth of High-Speed Multimode Fiber

50 µm or 62.5 µm? Choosing fiber for your premises network

How Water Affects Premise LAN Cable

Chatsworth Products, Inc. (CPI)

The Effects of Doors on Airflow & Equipment Cooling in IT Equip. Cabinets

Best Practices & Concepts for Computer Room Cooling

CommScope

50 micron vs. 62.5 micron Fiber - Which one works best for your application?

Enhanced Cabling: Why is it needed? What makes it better?

Environmentally Friendly Network Cable Product Designs (RoHS)

LC Versus MT-RJ Connectors

New Technology Developments and How They Impact Your Structured Wiring Choices

Total Solutions Verification - 3rd Party Electrical Performance Testing

Cooper B-Line

Non-Metallic Cable Trays – Weathering Considerations

Cable Tray Selection – Choosing the Proper Support Spacing

Understanding Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) Designations

Corning Cable Systems

The MTP® Connector

Anaerobic Curing Agents with Field-Installable Connectors

Fiber Optic Association (www.thefoa.org)

Choosing, installing and using fiber optic products for users.

Troubleshooting fiber optic cable plants and communcations systems

Fluke Networks

Testing Challenges for 10 Gb/s Ethernet over Twisted-Pair Cabling

The “Permanent Link” in Field Certification – Reasons, Advantages, Testing Challenges

Testing Power over Ethernet (PoE) Enabled Systems

How to Choose an OTDR to Test and Troubleshoot LAN Infrastructure

Testing Today’s High-Speed Multimode Fiber Infrastructure
Which light source should you use or specify?

Great Lakes Case & Cabinet

Seismic Rated Rack Enclosures– Don’t Be Fooled

HellermannTyton

Interoperability of Category 6 Cabling Systems

Klein Tools

Proper use and care of Hand Tools

Leviton

Telecommunications Standards Overview

Residential and Light Commercial Installation

Copper Cabling for Commercial Applications

Testing & Troubleshooting Copper Cabling

Fiber Optic Installations (The TIA-568-A Standard)

Testing & Troubleshooting Fiber Optic Wiring

Ortronics Legrand

Considerations in the Selection of Enterprise & Data Center Fiber Patching & Splicing Cabinet Systems

Conserving Valuable Floor Space in the Data Center

Panduit

A Comparison of Pre-polished Connectors vs. Fusion-Spliced Pigtails

Certifying Multimode Fiber Channel Links for 10Gb/s Ethernet

Differential Mode Delay (DMD) for Multimode Fiber Types

Enhanced Optical Performance for Small Form Factor LC Connectors

Power Over Ethernet

Why Halogen-Free?
Five Things to Know When Specifying Halogen-Free Wiring Duct

Siemon

Cabling Life Cycles and the Laws of Networking Communications

CCTV & Video Surveillence over UTP Cable

SAN over UTP Cable

Not All Modular Patch Cords Are Created Equal

Video over IP

Ethernet/IP: Industrial application layer protocol for industrial automation applications

Specified Technologies, Inc. (STI)

The Problems With Leakage Ratings

SYSTIMAX Solutions

Environmentally Friendly Network Cable Product Designs

Building Automation Systems

Choosing a Small Form Factor Connector
Advantages of the LC connector over the MT-RJ

The Importance of Architecture When Planning a Cabling Solution

Position Paper on 10G Base-T

Effect of Channel Margin on Throughput for SCS

Effect of Channel Margin 2 - GigaSPEED XL

Effect of Channel Margin 3 - GigaSPEED XL

TIA

Consortium White Paper Details Category 6 Standard

Tripp Lite

Practical Power Guidelines for VoIP and Internet Telephony Applications

Winsted

Planning and Design of a Control Room - The Ergonomic Approach


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