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Wireville.com

Issue: December 2008
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


BISBEE’S BUZZ

How bad is bad?

Growth in the IT – Information Technology world is unstoppable. The information systems have evolved into an ever-growing powerful and essential part of our infrastructure for the public and private sectors. IT is an imperative for “survival” in every aspect of our modern world. The IBS – Integrated Building Systems are a competitive reality in commercial real estate as well as most other sectors of our economy. The cabling is the base highway over which our information flows. This critical component is mandatory for the efficiency of virtually every system we use in the public and private sectors. Will a recession stop the construction and maintenance of the cabling world? No!

Having said that, the economy is in far worse shape than the press has reported and may take much longer to recover (2-3 years). I believe that the US and much of the global economy is like a flimsy leaky ship sinking in a sea of red ink. It seems like a ship of fools has been guiding the world economy. We are in a depression and it is more severe than the Great Depression, but I dare not put the really scary news in the news for fear of being the one in the theater to yell “FIRE!” when there is only one exit. If there are few lifeboats, at least I am involved in one of them (the cabling industry).

As the world enters what many see as the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression, several factors begin to interfere with your daily life. Economic turmoil can result in rapid increases in fuel prices as well as staple products and services, large layoffs and cutbacks (including bankruptcies) at top U.S. companies, and major stock market losses and market volatility. Foreclosure and Unemployment rates are increasing nationally at an alarming rate and the credit crunch is affecting millions.

Manufacturing falls to a 26-YEAR LOW

A measure of U.S. manufacturing activity fell to a 26-year low in November as new orders dropped for the twelfth consecutive month. The Institute for Supply Management's monthly index of manufacturing activity fell to 36.2 from October's 38.9. The reading is worse than Wall Street economists' expectations of 38.4, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. A figure below 50 indicates the sector is contracting.

The November reading is the lowest since May 1982, the ISM said, when the economy was in the midst of a painful recession.

The survey's new orders index fell to 27.9 from 32.2, the report said, its lowest level since June 1980. The production index fell to 31.5 from 34.6, its third straight month of decline.

Manufacturing employers continue to cut jobs, the survey found. The employment index fell to 34.2 from 34.6, its fourth straight drop.

Manufacturers have been hit hard by the housing slump and financial crisis, which have led to cutbacks in business and consumer spending.

projections for global IT spending in 2009

Some experts forecast that the market will grow 2.6 percent next year instead of the 5.9 percent predicted prior to the financial crisis. In the United States, IT spending will eke out 0.9% growth. The slowest IT markets will probably be the United States, Japan and Western Europe, which all will experience around 1 percent growth. The healthiest economies will be in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Global IT spending will reach $3.8 trillion in 2008, up from $3.15 trillion in 2007.

Expect a gradual recovery throughout 2011, and by 2012 we should be back into a more normal kind of environment. If the recession turns out to be deeper or last longer than four quarters as most economics expect, it could turn into a contraction in IT spending. In that case, the IT market would still be weak in 2011 but we'd see a gradual recovery in 2012, and we'd be back to normal by 2013.

Remember 2001

Even the grimmest predictions for global IT spending during the next two years aren't as severe as the declines the tech industry experienced between 2001 and 2003.

Global economic problems are impacting IT budgets, however the IT industry will not see the dramatic reductions that were seen during the dot.com bust. . . . At that time, budgets were slashed from mid-double-digit growth to low-single-digit growth.

The reason IT won't suffer as badly in 2009 as it did during the 2001 recession is that operations now view IT as a way to transform their businesses and adopt operating models that are leaner. . . . IT is embedded in running all aspects of the business.

In 2001 many companies had unused data center capacity, excess network bandwidth and software applications that weren't integrated in a way that could drive productivity. This time around, none of that is true. Today, there isn't a glut of bandwidth. There is high utilization of software applications, which are purchased in a more modular way and integrated much faster into business operations. Unlike in 2001, companies aren't waking up to find that they should be cutting back on IT spending. They're only cutting back on new initiatives because of economic conditions.

Wireless is here to stay

They may lose their jobs and even their homes, but consumers seem unwilling to disconnect their cell phones. Consumers buy services like broadband and mobile phones, and even if they lose their jobs they need these services more than ever.

The demand for network-based services—what it dubs "The Anywhere Economy"—will overcome the short-term obstacles posed by the global financial crisis and will be back on track for significant growth by 2013.

Telecom services are not quite on the level of food, shelter and clothing, but increasingly it satisfies a deep personal need. When bad things happen to us, we want to talk about it. And in today's world, that's increasingly done electronically.

CARRIERS STILL STRONG

The biggest U.S. carriers—including AT&T and Verizon are in much better shape going into this recession than they were during the dot.com bust. So while consumer spending will fall in 2009 and 2010, it is expected to have less of an impact on the telecom sector than it did after 2001.

The financial crisis will not significantly impact network build-outs by carriers because most of the financing for 3G, Fios, WiMAX and other next-generation networks is already in place.

THE IT MARCHES ON

Many companies will freeze new IT initiatives for the next three to six months as they absorb the Wall Street crash. But one segment that’s likely to continue is IT outsourcing because it provides near-term cost reductions.

While IT outsourcing will benefit from an economic slowdown in 2008 as companies turn to IT outsourcing vendors to help cut costs, trends toward use of lower-cost offshore resources and smaller-scale outsourcing deals will keep growth modest. Experts predict IT outsourcing will grow around 5 percent in 2010 and 2011.

On the horizon is cloud computing, which also holds the promise of reducing corporate IT overhead but requires more up-front spending than outsourcing.

Most IT industry experts are predicting that sales of computer hardware, software and services will be growing at a healthy clip again within 18 months.

Expect a slight gradual recovery throughout 2010 - 2011, and by 2012 we should be back into a more normal kind of environment. If the “recession” turns out to be deeper or last longer than four quarters as most economics expect, it could turn into a contraction in IT spending. In that case, the IT market would still be weak in 2011 but we'd see a gradual recovery in 2012, and we'd be back to normal by 2013.

Even the grimmest predictions for global IT spending during the next three years aren't as severe as the declines the tech industry experienced between 2001 and 2003.

NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM

"Global economic problems are impacting IT budgets, however the IT industry will not see the dramatic reductions that were seen during the dot.com bust. . . . The reason IT won't suffer as badly in 2009 - 2011 as it did during the 2001 recession is that operations now view IT as a way to transform their businesses and adopt operating models that are leaner.  IT is embedded in running all aspects of the business.  AND, IT ALL RUNS ON CABLING.

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

Industry News

HATS OFF TO WESCO for Fraud Alerts

With the advent of new technology, we get new crime. The newest trend is online fraudulent purchase orders. Across the board, numerous distributors are uncovering the problem. At this time we could only find one organization that is being proactive in flagging a growing fraudulent trend in business. WESCO is providing vendors an opportunity to confirm orders up front to avoid potential problems in the event the vendor believes the PO is fraudulent.

http://www.wesco.com/governance/fraud.asp

**Security Caution**

Vendors Encouraged to Verify Any Suspected Fraudulent WESCO Purchase Orders

Beware of Online Fraud:

WESCO Distribution, Inc. (“WESCO”) has become aware from both outside parties and various internal business units that a number of vendors have received fraudulent purchase orders from persons falsely representing themselves as authorized WESCO representatives in an effort to obtain product or obtain vendor bank account information for fraudulent purposes. Vendors have reported receiving suspicious purchase orders bearing names of actual WESCO officers and employees, including WESCO’s Chief Executive Officer.

Report Suspicious Activities or Information:

Please immediately report any suspicious requests to WESCO’s Asset Protection group at: (412) 454-4824, ethics@wesco.com, or WESCO Distribution, Inc., 225 West Station Square Drive, Suite 700, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

Please follow safe business and computing practices to help protect your information.

What you can do to Verify a WESCO Purchase Order:

First time vendors receiving purchase orders purporting to originate from WESCO are encouraged to contact WESCO’s Asset Protection group in order to verify the authenticity of such purchase order.

If you suspect that you have received a fraudulent purchase order, please contact WESCO’s Asset Protection group for verification.

To expedite WESCO’s Asset Protection group’s review, please have available the suspect purchase order(s) and any other details giving rise to your suspicions.

The information on this page is provided by WESCO for information purposes only. WESCO is proud of its business and services and is working diligently to provide the best service to our customers and vendors including sharing market and security information as soon as learned. WESCO is concerned about fraudulent practices being perpetrated in its name and suggests you follow the guidance outlined in this Security Alert. Vendors are ultimately responsible for protecting themselves and their business from all forms of fraud; however, WESCO will use commercially reasonable efforts to work with any vendor suspecting fraud.

Editor’s Note: We commend WESCO for taking the leadership initiative in this area of marketplace protection. We hope other distributors will follow in their tracks.

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Anixter to book expense over NetVersant bankruptcy

Anixter to record expense of $20M to $22M to increase reserve due to NetVersant bankruptcy

Anixter International Inc. said Friday 11-21-2008 it plans to record an expense of about $20 million to $22 million to boost its reserve for doubtful accounts due to the bankruptcy of a customer, NetVersant Solutions Inc.

The communications products distributor said it expects to record the expense in the fourth quarter, and that it was evaluating "lien or other rights which it may have in connection with sales to NetVersant."

NetVersant, a network infrastructure provider, sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. The filing showed Anixter and its subsidiaries as unsecured creditors in the amount of $28.6 million, according to Anixter.

"We are obviously disappointed with the bankruptcy of a customer with whom we have a long-term working relationship," Bob Eck, Anixter's president and chief executive, said in a statement. www.anixter.com

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Belden Unveils DataTuff(R) Category 6 UTP Round Design Cables - and All-New Industrial Ethernet User Guide

Belden (NYSE: BDC - News), a world leader in the development of signal transmission products for the industrial, building management, enterprise, broadcast, and security markets, has introduced a new Category 6 DataTuff® Twisted Pair cable, once again expanding its comprehensive family of Industrial Ethernet cables. The new cable -- Product No 7940A -- is EtherNet/IP compliant and is a round construction, which makes it well-suited for sealed Industrial Ethernet connectivity applications.

Belden developed the new Cat 6 Industrial Ethernet cable in response to the trend towards "future proofing" of mission-critical network and automation system backbones being installed in discrete industrial manufacturing, processing plants and large industrial infrastructures, such as water treatment and utility plants, airports, transportation terminals and shipyards. For these applications, building or upgrading to meet the Category 6 performance standard (TIA/EIA 568-B2-1) provides assurance that the network will be well-equipped not only to support today's increasingly sophisticated data communications, but also new and emerging technologies.

Belden's robustly constructed 7940A Cat 6 Unshielded Twisted Pair (4-Pair UTP) 23 AWG cable features a solid bare copper conductor and a heavy-duty oil- and sunlight-resistant jacket. In addition, the cable features Belden's exclusive Bonded-Pair technology, a patented design that bonds the individual insulated conductors of each pair along the full length of the cable. The Bonded-Pair cables maintain a consistent distance between conductors, with no twisting or performance-robbing gaps, resulting in superior electrical performance both before and after installation. Belden calls this unique capability Installable Performance®.

The Industrial Ethernet cable line includes DataTuff® copper-based Category 5e and Category 6 cables and TrayOptic® Indoor/Outdoor Fiber Optic cables. The ruggedly constructed family contains cables that are oil-, chemical- and moisture-resistant, built to withstand extreme temperature variations, and resistant to electrical noise (EMI/RFI). Belden Industrial Ethernet cables deliver top performance, consistent reliability and long service life, even in the most demanding industrial environments and mission-critical applications. www.belden.com

Belden's New Industrial Ethernet User Guide Now Available!

Belden is also pleased to announce its new Industrial Ethernet User Guide, a 16-page brochure offering specific information about the dramatic performance differences between commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Ethernet components typically used in office environments, and Belden's ruggedly built industrial-grade components.

Belden products for Industrial Ethernet applications include Belden Industrial Ethernet Cables, Hirschmann Switches, and Lumberg Automation Connectivity Components. The User Guide also provides a wealth of product information, a practical at-a-glance Cable Selection Guide, and a detailed description of nine critical tests that prove the superiority of Belden industrial-grade cables over COTS cables. The new Belden Industrial Ethernet User Guide is now available for download at the Belden Website: http://www.belden.com/industrial.

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Brian Spellman Joins RHINO in Midwest while Tom Grippo Serves Northeast Sales Territory

RHINO Professional Labeling Tools, a brand of DYMO and part of Newell Rubbermaid’s Technology business unit, announced today the addition of two new members to its sales team.

Brian Spellman has accepted the role of Area Sales Manager – Midwest. He will be responsible for the Datacom, Electrical, Pro A/V, and Security segments for the Midwest Area. Brian joins RHINO from the Tools and Hardware Group of Newell Rubbermaid where he was a Key Account Manager. Prior to that, Brian served as a Regional Manager for the Irwin Field Product Specialist team where his region recorded the top sales growth in the country in 2007. Brian earned his Bachelor’s degree from University of Missouri.

Tom Grippo has accepted the role of Area Sales Manager – Northeast. He will be responsible for the Datacom, Electrical, Pro A/V, and Security segments for the Northeast Area. Tom also joins RHINO form the Tools and Hardware Group of Newell Rubbermaid where he was a Territory Manager for the New York City territory for the I/C Field Sales Team. Tom was a top performer, finishing in the Top 10 in overall sales growth in both 2007 and 2006. Tom earned his Bachelor’s degree from S.U.N.Y. Buffalo. www.dymo.com

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CommScope shutting down Norcross, Ga., facility, relocating work to Mexico; 55 jobs affected

CommScope Inc., a manufacturer of communication network solutions, said Tuesday it will relocate its base station antenna production from Norcross, Ga., to an existing facility in Reynosa, Mexico.

The Norcross facility will close by the middle of January and affect about 55 employees.

CommScope is also continuing with multiple previously announced plans to consolidate operations.

The company also expects to close three facilities in the Stratford, England, area by the end of 2009.

CommScope said some jobs will be added to other facilities in India, Czech Republic and China to accommodate work that is shifted from the England sites.

CommScope is also continuing with plans to relocate production of base station antennas to Suzhou, China from Slatina, Brno, Czech Republic, by the end of 2008.

A Brisbane, Australia, facility is also being closed as previously announced. That closure will affect about 700 jobs. Most of those positions will be added to other existing company locations.

The range of facility closures and relocation of operations is part of a plan to reduce costs and utilize facilities more efficiently, the CommScope President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Garrett said in a statement.

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D-Tools and DYMO Industrial to Provide Integrated Wire Label Solution

Users of D-Tools SI5 Software can import wire label reports into Rhino Label Printers, significantly reducing time and money – Joint Solution to debut at D-Tools University in November

D-Tools Inc., the worldwide leader in system integration software, today announced a strategic partnership with DYMO Industrial, a leading provider of industrial labeling solutions through its RHINO® Professional Labeling Tools. This partnership will make it easier and more cost-effective for integrators to print accurate wire labels as part of their system integration project documentation.

“We’re pleased to team up with D-Tools to provide an integrated wire labeling solution for integrators in the field,” said Keith Smith, national account manager – Security & Pro AV for RHINO, DYMO Industrial. “D-Tools System Integrator software is used by thousands of AV, networking and security integrators, and we look forward to providing these professionals with the best handheld labeling solution to help them better document their system components.”

As part of this new business relationship, D-Tools System Integrator™ software users will be able to export detailed wire label information from their SI projects into RHINO labeling products for use in labeling wires, panels, plates and modules in the field, using RHINO nylon, polyester and vinyl labels, and nonadhesive tags, applied with the newly released RHINO 6000 and 6500 label printers. These two new printers allow installers to create and print labels in the field and/or to connect to a PC via RHINO Connect Software [RCS]. RCS allows the embedding of company logos to brand any label and to import pre-defined templates from major manufacturers of structured cabling connectivity products.

Most importantly, the software allows D-Tools customers to easily import label data from an external D-Tools project file.

“We are pleased to work with DYMO Industrial to provide a more automated field labeling solution,” said Adam Stone, president and CEO of D-Tools. “Accurate wire labeling is a critical part of the system integration process, and our integrated solution will make it easier for integrators to streamline this process and ensure wire labels are a part of every project.”

D-Tools and DYMO Industrial will be demonstrating this new functionality at DTools University, November 12-14, 2008 at the Doubletree Hotel Atlanta-Buckhead. For more information please visit www.d-tools.com or www.rhinolabeling.com for information on Rhino labeling solutions.

About DYMO Industrial and the RHINO Brand

RHINO® is a brand of DYMO, a Newell Rubbermaid technology company. Newell Rubbermaid’s innovative global technology solutions enable businesses, educational institutions, and consumers to more efficiently share, manage and organize information. Our global technology brands are organized around four platforms: The Specialty Printing and Labeling Platform includes DYMO® label/CD/DVD printers and file scanning software (www.dymo.com) and RHINO Industrial Labeling Systems (www.rhinolabeling.com). The Analog to Digital Platform includes CardScan® business card scanners and contact management software featuring AtYourService™ (www.cardscan.com), and DYMO File™, software that transforms paper documents into organized archives of electronic files (www.dymofile.com). The Internet Postage Platform includes endicia™ online shipping, mailing and customized postage solutions (www.endicia.com) and (www.pictureitpostage.com). The Classroom Technology Platform includes mimio™ interactive whiteboards and digital ink recorders (www.mimio.com).

These technology brands join a rich heritage of brands at Newell Rubbermaid, including Calphalon®, EXPO®, Goody®, Graco®, Irwin®, Lenox®, Paper Mate®, Parker®, Rolodex®, Rubbermaid®, Sharpie® and Waterman®.

About D-Tools, Inc.

D-Tools, founded in 1998 and based in Concord, California, is a worldwide leader in accessible, highly accurate system design and documentation software. The company’s flagship product, System Integrator™ (SI), is a total design solution that utilizes Autodesk® AutoCAD and Microsoft® Visio for comprehensive system design, documentation and project management. D-Tools SI allows residential and commercial integrators to streamline their business processes to increase overall revenues while reducing the time and costs associated with the installation and integration of low-voltage systems. 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.

For more information, contact D-Tools at (866) 386-6571, e-mail at info@dtools.com or visit D-Tools online at www.d-tools.com.

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SHAWN HICKEY JOINS DAIKIN AMERICA

In keeping with the increasing importance of Daikin’s Unidyne™ products, a family of fluorochemicals designed to impart superior water, oil, and soil repellency to a wide range of textile, non-woven, carpet, and paper materials, Shawn W. Hickey joined Daikin’s Unidyne™ sales team as a Technical Sales Representative responsible for the day to day sales activities of Unidyne products in the paper market.

Daikin America, Inc., headquartered in Orangeburg, NY is the second largest fluoropolymer supplier in the US.  Daikin America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daikin Industries of Osaka, Japan. Daikin is Japan’s leading manufacturer of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, and Japan’s largest producer of fluorochemical products.

For further information, please call 1-800-365-9570 or visit their web-site at www.daikin-america.com.

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Over 100 RCDDs updated on TIA/EIA Standards and New Trends in Infrastructure Labeling

RHINO Professional Labeling Tools, a brand of DYMO and part of Newell Rubbermaid’s Technology business unit, recently reported that its RCDD lunch-and-learn session, held during the BICSI Fall 2008 Conference, completed another successful event in RHINO’s ongoing consumer education program.

The training session, which was attended by over 100 BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designers (RCDDs), was held on Tuesday, September 30 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Resort. Topics ranged from changes to the TIA/EIA-606-A Standard to trends in infrastructure labeling efficiencies. At the meeting, RHINO also announced and demonstrated new pre-formatted templates that allow installers to quickly create labels for Leviton and SMP network equipment using their RHINO 6000 and RHINO 6500 label printers.

“We are seeing installers jump on the idea of pre-formatted templates,” said Al Feaster, National Account Manager for RHINO. “Anything that saves them time during the labeling phase of their installations is of major interest and it really had their attention at this meeting.” He continued, “The new RHINO 6000 and 6500 label printers are already loaded with time-saving features like PC-connectivity, memory to store custom information and fast label formatting. Now, with the addition of pre-formatted templates for major manufacturer’s like Leviton, SMP and others, RHINO is really leading the way to faster and easier 606-A compliance.”

RCDDs, installers and others can now go online to www.rhinolabeling.com/leviton to download the Leviton pre-formatted templates. Templates for SMP and other manufacturers’ equipment will also be available online.

REMEMBER – Labeling equals Productivity. One of the least expensive and most effective ways to increase the value of the infrastructure is LABELING. The application of a label saves time and money for other activities like repairs, moves, additions, and changes. The speed of the implementation of technology is directly tied to increased PRODUCTIVITY. Use the rule: “IF IT DOES NOT HAVE A LABEL, IT SHOULD!”

About RHINO
RHINO is a brand of DYMO, a Newell Rubbermaid technology company.
Newell Rubbermaid’s innovative global technology solutions enable businesses, educational institutions, and consumers to more efficiently share, manage and organize information.  Our global technology brands are organized around four platforms:  The Specialty Printing and Labeling Platform includes DYMO® label/CD/DVD printers and file scanning software (www.dymo.com) and RHINO Industrial Labeling Systems (www.rhinolabeling.com).  The Analog to Digital Platform includes CardScan® business card scanners and contact management software featuring AtYourService™ (www.cardscan.com), and DYMO File™, software that transforms paper documents into organized archives of electronic files (www.dymofile.com).  The Internet Postage Platform includes endicia™ online shipping, mailing and customized postage solutions (www.endicia.com) and (www.pictureitpostage.com).  The Classroom Technology Platform includes mimio™ interactive whiteboards and digital ink recorders (www.mimio.com).  These technology brands join a rich heritage of brands at Newell Rubbermaid including Calphalon®, EXPO®, Goody®, Graco®, Irwin®, Lenox®, Paper Mate®, Parker®, Rolodex®, Rubbermaid®, Sharpie® and Waterman®.

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ELECTEC Building Wiring Systems announce EZ-Cabling selected for GreenSpec Directory

ELECTEC Ltd., a Canadian innovator of Manufactured Wiring Systems is pleased to announce that EZ-Cabling® has been selected for the GreenSpec™ directory of environmentally preferred products at www.buildinggreen.com.

Today’s leading Network Cabling Professionals demand safe, reliable and high performing products that distinguish themselves from the pack and provide added value for their customers. A revolution in horizontal cabling, EZ-Cabling eliminates abandoned cabling and is made from non-halogenated, eco-friendly materials.

EZ-Cabling delivers a non-corrosive, non-toxic manufactured cabling system (MCS) suitable for Data Centers, Offices, Schools, Factories, Retail Stores and more. Built with environmentally responsible materials such as low-smoke, non-halogenated cable and RoHS-compliant lead-free materials, Electec deliver the safest and most reliable MCS available today to building owners and end-users.

EZ-Cabling enables a cost-effective reuse and relocation of cable reducing landfill and jobsite waste. Modular “plug-and-play” field connections are intuitive and easy to use.

The system also employs an engineered flexible steel armour designed to increase the lifespan of your cable by providing mechanical protection against excessive crush, bend and pulling in addition to added fire safety and EMI protection.

For more information regarding The Next Generation in Wiring Systems® click www.electeconline.com.

About Electec Ltd.

Electec is a leader in the design, development and manufacturing of building wiring and cabling systems. Located in Ottawa ON, we offer safe, reliable and economical alternatives covering a wide variety of commercial, institutional and industrial wiring.

You can reach Electec at 613-836-0300 or click on www.electeconline.com

About BuildingGreen, Inc.

We are an independent company committed to providing accurate, unbiased, and timely information designed to help building-industry professionals and policy makers improve the environmental performance, and reduce the adverse impacts, of buildings.

In addition to our core information resources: BuildingGreen Suite, Environmental Building News, and GreenSpec, BuildingGreen is involved in many more ongoing activities and discrete projects.

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Fiber Rack Mount Enclosures

PANDUIT® Opticom® FRME-U series Fiber Rack Mount Enclosures provide a flexible system for managing fiber terminations, connections, and patching in all types of telecommunications room and work area applications. The enclosures combine simple installation and high patch field density with integral cable management features to ensure end-to-end signal integrity for increased network reliability. FRME-U enclosures are available in 1 RU and 2 RU versions and are compatible with all PANDUIT® Opticom® Fiber Adapter Panel (FAP) based field termination or field splicing installations for greater system versatility.

www.panduit.com

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Troubleshooting Guide Shows Network Engineers Best Practices for Troubleshooting Application Problems

"One of the best overall tutorials on network troubleshooting…ever…," says Webtorials editor

Fluke Networks, provider of innovative Network SuperVision Solutions™ for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, announces the availability of a new publication, the “Application Troubleshooting Guide.”  This new guide helps network engineers understand how applications flow across the network and how they fail, and provides a five-step process for troubleshooting application problems when they occur.

"This paper is one of the best overall tutorials on network troubleshooting I’ve ever encountered," said Steven Taylor of Webtorials.  "It starts with a concise yet amazingly complete section that covers all of the basic elements of today’s networks.  After all, you need to understand how the network operates in order to know how to fix it if something goes wrong."

This new 94-page guide helps users solve the frustrating problem of identifying whether the cause of performance degradation is coming from the client, the servers, the network, or the behavior of the application itself.   The “Application Troubleshooting Guide” covers the basics with sections on the TCP Protocol, the life of a packet and DNS lookup, providing network engineers with the fundamentals needed to understand and triage problems.

A major section of this new publication is "Five Key Steps to Successful Application Troubleshooting."  Network engineers who read the Application Troubleshooting Guide will learn how to:
1) Determine the domain of the problem and exonerate the network. 
2) Conduct an Application flow analysis. 
3) Fix the problem. 
4) Validate the fix. 
5) Document the fix.

Network engineers that follow the process described in this publication will solve problems more quickly and often learn that the network is not the actual cause.

"The information in this guide will be a great resource for anyone who deals with real-world application issues," said Dr. Phil Hippensteel, Professor of Information Systems at Penn State University and a major contributor to the Application Troubleshooting Guide.  "I plan to use it in my classroom, and give the students a glimpse of what network engineers face every day."

Download the "Application Troubleshooting Guide" free of charge
The "Application Troubleshooting Guide" is available at no charge from Fluke Networks' web site.  It is part of Fluke Networks "Application Troubleshooting Resource Center for Network Engineers."  More details can be found by clicking on "Guide to Troubleshooting Application Problems."

About Fluke Networks
Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the installation and certification, testing, monitoring and analysis of copper, fiber and wireless networks used by enterprises and telecommunications carriers. The company's comprehensive line of Network SuperVision™ Solutions provide network installers, owners, and maintainers with superior vision, combining speed, accuracy and ease of use to optimize network performance. Headquartered in Everett, Washington, the company distributes its products in more than 50 countries. More information can be found by visiting Fluke Networks’ Web site at www.flukenetworks.com or by calling (800) 283-5853.

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Fluke adds new VoIP phone capabilities to MetroScope

Fluke Networks announced the addition of VoIP phone functionalities to the MetroScope carrier Ethernet analyzer.

With the added internal VoIP calling capability, the analyzer now allows service providers the ability to get real-time results from  calls made over a carrier Ethernet line, making VoIP troubleshooting faster and more efficient.

The internal VoIP phone provides more thorough testing and troubleshooting by allowing service providers to make actual calls over the carrier Ethernet line to other VoIP phones, the call managers or other MetroScope analyzers, the company said.

By measuring the quality of the call, on MOS or R-Factor scales (or both), technicians get increased visibility into the carrier Ethernet line’s performance with the ability to see quantifiable diagnostics on the portable MetroScope analyzer. www.flukenetworks.com

“VoIP technologies are becoming an integral part of today’s work environment,” said Mark Mullins, carrier Ethernet marketing manager at Fluke Networks. “We understand how critical a crisp and clear call is to users.”

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IAQA 12TH ANNUAL MEETING & INDOOR AIR EXPO

February 24-26, 2009 ■ Omni Fort Worth & Fort Worth Convention Center ■ Fort Worth, TX

For the past eleven years, the Indoor Air Quality Association has delivered annual meetings and expositions that set unprecedented levels for technical content, business networking and product exhibits.  For 2009, IAQA is taking its convention to a whole new level of excitement, information and opportunity!

The IAQA 12th Annual Meeting will be co-located with the 41st Annual Meeting of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).  The two organizations will come together several times each day at the combined ACCA-IAQA Indoor Air Expo - the world's largest exposition of IAQ and HVAC products ever assembled under one roof!

Those who register for the IAQA 12th Annual Meeting & Indoor Air Expo may select from over 50 IAQA technical sessions to attend.  Sessions offer the latest information, innovative approaches, and best science for indoor environmental professionals.  Speakers include a distinguished group of doctors, professors, scientists, IAQ practitioners, health and safety experts, and remediation and restoration pros.

Come to Fort Worth in February to join thousands of professionals and contractors taking part in sessions featuring the industry's best education and most qualified speakers. Meet IAQA and ACCA colleagues each day for breakfast, lunch and cocktail receptions at the Indoor Air Expo.  Come to experience the very best Annual Meeting ever produced by IAQA, and the largest Indoor Air Expo in history!

For details, please click here: IAQA 12th Annual Meeting & Indoor Air Expo.

To be removed from this online mailing service, click the link below:
http://www.iaqa.org/unsubscribe.asp

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ISC East Takes A Bite Out of the Big Apple

Increase in Attendance; New Revenue and Connectivity Opportunities Emerge

Over 326 exhibiting companies participated in over 65,000 square feet of show floor space to gain access to the highest concentration of Northeast security professionals at the 2008 ISC East in New York. Pending a third-party attendance audit, preliminary attendance numbers indicate an increase in attendance of approximately 3% over the 2007 event.

According to the ISC East preliminary attendance figures, the highest concentration of attendees to the event represented the core security dealer/installer and end-user audiences while the commercial system integrator population increased by over 5 percent from the 2007 percentage.

"We are quite pleased to report the increase in attendance numbers considering the economic challenges of today," said Ed Nichols, Group Vice President, ISC Expo portfolio. "Our numbers indicate that there is an increasing need for new technologies that more fully integrate the enterprise and that all parties responsible for those connections continue to communicate on those issues. ISC East created the perfect forum for these and other ideas."

"This was our first time exhibiting at ISC East – we usually only go to ISC West – and we were pleasantly surprised," Francisco Alcala from Farpointe Data, Inc. said. "There was a great amount of quality attendees – there was a steady flow of potential customers and high-level decision makers in our booth throughout the entire show. Because we're based in Mountain View California, we cannot always visit current and potential customers in the Northeast, but our presence at ISC East gave us the opportunity to meet with multiple current and perspective clients in just a couple days."

"I was very surprised with the amount of quality attendees who were here, considering the current state of the economy," Rick Cullwell, Sales Manager for 3M Macurco, said. "We got more leads at this year's show than last year's ISC East.

"ISC East has found a new identity," said Bob McVeigh, VP/General Manager, Security Solutions, Inc. Norwalk, CT and member of Connecticut Alarm and Systems Integrators Association (CASIA). "Everyone I spoke to had good things to say about the traffic and excitement on the floor. The training seminars drew crowds, as well. In the CASIA booth, we saw our colleagues from Connecticut stop by, as well as many friends from the industry. Overall, a job well done and it looks like ISC East has found its niche."

ISC East 2008 featured keynote speaker Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and former U.S. presidential candidate on the first day of the event. With a standing-room only crowd, Giuliani spoke about leadership in times of crisis; being prepared; planning for crisis and the need for good and clear communication. With Sept. 11th as a context for his presentation, Giuliani elaborated on the many lessons that were learned as a result of the tragedy.

ISC Education presented the IP Institute program, a full-day presentation of IP technologies and integration while the "Enterprise Security Management" program introduced IT security professionals to the ISC brand via roundtable discussions and best practice sharing.

A new program that ran alongside ISC East was the Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC) Forum. The TWIC forum presented the latest updates and news on the ID card program and enabled networking with ISC East manufacturers.

Other highlights included: the manufacturers' training programs that provided updated product and technology information in a theater-like setting to combined dealer and end-user audiences; the Systems Integrator Showcase and the Meet the Press session where 8 top editors from the security trade magazines shared tips and insight on how to effectively work with them.

ISC East enjoyed the continued support of from these regional associations: New York Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NYBFAA), Connecticut Alarm and Systems Integrators Association and the Pennsylvania Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.

About ISC East:

ISC East is sponsored by the Security Industry Association (SIA).  It is part of the entire ISC portfolio including the ISC West event in Las Vegas, April 1-3, 2009 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center and ISC Brazil, May 12-14, 2009 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Reed Exhibitions, producers of these events, is the world's largest organizer of business-to-business events.  Each year Reed plans and executes over 460 events worldwide. For information on attending or exhibiting at either ISC EXPO event, visit http://www.iscwest.com or http://www.isceast.com or www.isc365.com.

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Sorensen Appointed Director of National Accounts

Leviton is pleased to announce the promotion of Brian Sorensen to the position of Director of National Distribution Accounts for the company’s commercial data networking business. In his new post, Sorensen directs the strategic growth of Leviton’s complete line of voice and data devices, and builds relationships with key channel partner and end-user markets.

Sorensen joined Leviton in 2006 as Manager of National Accounts, where he achieved an impressive record of consistent sales growth. His previous experience includes positions with Tyco Electronics/DEK, where he was responsible for sales of the company’s premise and industrial products worldwide. Previously, as Regional Sales Manager for Prestolite/Krone, he developed strong relationships with large distributors and channel partners, and was a specialist for the company’s Lecroy Test Unit in the Eastern United States.

“In his two years with the company, Brian has demonstrated consistent and outstanding performance. I am confident he will direct Leviton’s Network Solutions’ growth and work to develop solutions that meet our customer needs,” said Brad Leland, Leviton’s Vice President of Sales for Network Solutions.

Sorensen assumes his new post with impressive credentials, formidable industry knowledge and an extensive managerial and marketing background. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and resides in Bloomington, IL with his wife and two children.

For more information, contact Leviton Manufacturing Co., 59-25 Little Neck Parkway, Little Neck, NY 11362-2591, or visit our Web site at www.leviton.com.

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Megladon® Manufacturing Group, Ltd Announces the Addition of TelRep Midwest to Their Sales Force

Megladon Manufacturing Group, Ltd., a leader in passive fiber optic products, announced today the appointment of TelRep Midwest to Megladon’s field sales force covering 14 Western states. TelRep Midwest is a recognized leader in the CATV and Telecommunications industries and has recently expanded their line card to include additional fiber optic products.

"Having a quality manufacturer like Megladon adds value to our line card and allows us to offer our customers a larger selection of differentiating products", said Pat Hanlon, President of TelRep Midwest.   "We look forward to a long and productive relationship with Megladon as we focus on growing our business together." 

“This is a strategic relationship for Megladon”, stated John M Culbert, President of Megladon. “The Western states were an area that we did not have proper coverage. TelRep Midwest will utilize existing relationships to market Megladon’s foundation HLC®fiber optic products as well as the new product releases designed for Central Office and CATV. Our combined strengths will impact the marketplace”.

TelRep Midwest is a Manufacturer's Representative selling communication equipment to the Telecom, CATV, and Utility market place. Telrep has three regions which cover 24 states, and currently represents over 15 Telecommunication Manufacturers in the United States.   With offices in Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle, TelRep has the coverage and expertise within the market place to increase both revenue and market share.

Megladon Manufacturing Group Ltd., a subsidiary of TyRex Group Ltd.®, is recognized as a leader in the fiber optic marketplace. Founded in 1997, Megladon made it their mission to provide customers with fiber optic products that far exceed industry standards. As technology innovators, Megladon created the HLC (Hardened Lens Contact) termination, which has changed the market and taken it to the next level. For additional information on Megladon and their patented processes please visit the company’s website at www.megladonmfg.com.

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Megladon and many other hot products added to CableOrganizer.com Online Catalog

Megladon HLC Scratchguard Bend Insensitive Fiber Optic Patch cords http://cableorganizer.com/megladon/bend-insensitive-fiber.html  AND Nearly Six Dozen Cable, Wire and Equipment Management Solutions Added to CableOrganizer.com's Online Catalog

Industry Leading eTailer Offers the Most Comprehensive Inventory of Cable, Wire and Equipment Management Solutions for Use in Computing, Office, Networking, Automotive, Industrial, Home Theater, and Government, Among Other B2B and B2C Applications

Award-winning eTailer CableOrganizer.com, among the world's leading providers of cable, wire and equipment management-related products for use in business and at home, today announced that it has added fully 63 new products to its industry leading online catalog located at http://CableOrganizer.com. The company boasts nearly 20,000 inventory SKUs, entrenching itself as the leading source of products in its category.

The company also today announced that, through December 31, 2008, CableOrganizer.com is offering a free Bee3 Label Printer with the purchase of any K-Sun LABEL Shop model. Details of this promotion are available online at http://cableorganizer.com/rewards/ksun-printer.htm.

In a concurrent promotion, those who purchase any Klein Tools(R) product at CableOrganizer.com will receive a FREE Xenon Pocket Flashlight (while supplies last). The company's comprehensive assortment of Klein Tools solutions may be accessed at http://cableorganizer.com/klein-tools/.

The newly introduced products at CableOrganizer.com this past month include:

Manufactured by Black Box(R):

Black Box Multimode Test Sets

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/multi-mode-test-sets.html

Black Box Singlemode & Multimode Test Kit

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/single-multi-mode-test-kit.html

Black Box Laptop Cabinet

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/laptop-security-cabinet.html

Black Box Fiber Optic Adapter Panels

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/fiber-optic-adapter-panels.html

Black Box Elite Series Wallmount Cabinets

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/elite-series-wallmount-cabinet.html

Black Box High Density Fiber Panel Adapter Panels

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/high-density-panels.htm

Black Box Cable Managers

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/cable-managers.html

Black Box Select Wallmount Cabinets

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/select-wallmount-cabinet.html

Black Box DVI Switches with Audio and Serial Control

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/dvi-switches-audio.html

Black Box Open Frame Wire Managers

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/wire-managers.html

Black Box Rackmountable Cable Raceways

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/rackmount-cable-raceways.htm

Black Box CPU Security Cabinet

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/cpu-security-cabinet.html

Black Box DataSafe NEMA Outdoor Cabinet

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/datasafe-nema-outdoor-cabinet.html

Black Box Rackmount Fiber Optic Cabinets

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/rackmount-fiber-cabinets.html

Black Box Fiber Optic Wall Mount Cabinet

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/fiber-wall-cabinets.html

Black Box ServSelect III

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/servselect-3.html

Black Box(R) ServSwitch EC for PS/2 & USB Servers and Consoles

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/serv-switch-ec.html

Black Box Low Profile Side Wall-Mount Cabinets

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/low-profile-wall-mount-cabinet.html

Black Box PC Shelter

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/pc-shelter.html

Black Box GigaTrue Cat6 Keystone Jacks

 http://cableorganizer.com/black-box/gigatrue-cat6-jacks.htm

Manufactured by PANDUIT(R):

Panduit NetKey(TM) Modular Faceplate Patch Panels

 http://cableorganizer.com/panduit/netkey-modular-faceplate-patch-panels.html

Panduit Pan-Ty(R) 6.6 Clamp Cable Ties

 http://cableorganizer.com/panduit/pan-ty-locking-clamp-ties.html

Panduit Pan-Ty(R) Heat Stabilized Nylon 6.6 Clamp Cable Ties

 http://cableorganizer.com/panduit/pan-ty-heat-stabilized-ties.html

Manufactured by Jameson(R):

Jameson Set-Up Brackets

 http://cableorganizer.com/jameson/set-up-brackets.html

Jameson Corner Blocks

 http://cableorganizer.com/jameson/corner-blocks.html

Manufactured by IGUS(R):

IGUS E2 Medium Series 26 Snap Chain

 http://cableorganizer.com/igus/e2-medium-snapchain.html

IGUS E2 Medium 26 Series Wire Harness

 http://cableorganizer.com/igus/e2-medium-26-series-carrier.html

Manufactured by Vanco(R):

Vanco HDMI Extender Over 2x Cat 5e Cable

 http://cableorganizer.com/vanco/hdmi-extender-over-2x-cat5e-cables.html

Vanco HDMI Cable Extenders

 http://cableorganizer.com/vanco/hdmi-cable-extenders.html

Vanco HDMIT Wall Plate with Component Video Connections

 http://cableorganizer.com/vanco/bulk-cable-wallplates.html

Vanco HDMI(TM) Wall Plate with Component Video Cable

 http://cableorganizer.com/vanco/hdmi-rgb-wallplate.html

Vanco HDMI Audio/Video Cables

 http://cableorganizer.com/vanco/hdmi-audio-video-cables.html

Vanco HDMI Matrix Selector Switches

 http://cableorganizer.com/vanco/hdmi-matrix-switches.html

Manufactured by Brady(R):

Brady Personal Basic Lockout Kit

 http://cableorganizer.com/brady/brady-personal-basic-lockout.html

Brady Combination Lockout Duffel with Padlock and Tags

 http://cableorganizer.com/brady/brady-lockout-duffel.html

Brady Combined Lockout & Lockbox Station with Components

 http://cableorganizer.com/brady/brady-lockout-lockbox-station.html

Manufactured by Firex(R):

Firex Ionization Smoke Alarms

 http://cableorganizer.com/firex-smoke-detectors/ionization-smoke-alarms.html

Firex Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

 http://cableorganizer.com/firex-smoke-detectors/photoelectric-smoke-alarms.html

Firex Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarm

 http://cableorganizer.com/firex-smoke-detectors/hearing-impaired-smoke-alarm.html

Manufactured by Signamax(R):

Signamax 10/100BaseT/TX to 100BaseFX DIN Rail Mount Industrial Hardened

Media Converter

 http://cableorganizer.com/signamax/100baset-100basefx-industrial-hardened-media-converter.html

Signamax 10/100T to 100FX Industrial DIN-Rail Mount Hardened Converter

 http://cableorganizer.com/signamax/fx-single-media-converter.html

Signamax 1000BaseT to 1000BaseSX Industrial Hardened Media Converter

 http://cableorganizer.com/signamax/industrial-hardened-media-converter.html

Signamax 24V DC Harsh Environment & Industrial Hardened DIN-rail Mount

Power Supply

 http://cableorganizer.com/signamax/dc-din-rail-mount-power-supply.html

Signamax Hardened Ethernet Switch

 http://cableorganizer.com/signamax/hardened-ethernet-switch.htm

Miscellaneous Manufacturers:

Leviton Decora Recessed Duplex Receptacles

 http://cableorganizer.com/leviton/decora-recessed-duplex-receptacles.html

FlatWire Flat Data Cables

 http://cableorganizer.com/flatwire/data-cable.html

FlatWire Flat Video Cables

 http://cableorganizer.com/flatwire/video-cable.html

Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm 120V

 http://cableorganizer.com/kidde-alarms/carbon-monoxide-alarms.html

Battery Operated PTX Wire Wrapping & Unwrapping Kits

 http://cableorganizer.com/jonard-industries/ptx-wire-wrap-unwrap-kit.html

Jonard OK Industries Manual Wire Wrappers

 http://cableorganizer.com/jonard-industries/manual-wire-wrapping-tools.html

Megladon HLC Scratchguard Bend Insensitive Fiber Optic Patch cords

 http://cableorganizer.com/megladon/bend-insensitive-fiber.html

1.3a Certified / ATC Certified HDMI Cables

 http://cableorganizer.com/quest/hdmi-1-3a-cable.html

RapidRun(TM) Cable Modular System

 http://cableorganizer.com/rapidrun-cable-system/

OK Industries Manual Wire Unwrapper

 http://cableorganizer.com/jonard-industries/manual-wire-unwrapper.html

Megladon Single Mode Low Maintenance Fiber Optic Patch Cords

 http://cableorganizer.com/megladon/singlemode-fiber-patch-cord.html

Megladon Multi Mode Low Maintenance Fiber Optic Patch Cords

 http://cableorganizer.com/megladon/multimode-fiber-patch-cord.html

Schonstedt GA-72CD Durable Underground Magnetic Locator

 http://cableorganizer.com/schonstedt/ga-72cd-underground-magnetic-locator.html

HDMI Female to HDMI Female Coupler

 http://cableorganizer.com/quest/hdmi-female-coupler.htm

HDMI Matrix Switches

 http://cableorganizer.com/quest/hdmi-matrix-switch.html

HDMI Female Jack to DVI D Dual Link Male Adapter

 http://cableorganizer.com/quest/hdmi-female-jack-dvi-male-adapter.html

Rockhard Tools Cable Ties

 http://cableorganizer.com/rockhard-cable-ties/

Thomas & Betts Catamount(R) Twist Tail Cable Ties

 http://cableorganizer.com/thomas-betts/catamount-twist-tail-cable-ties.html

Pelican 9430 Remote Area Lighting System

 http://cableorganizer.com/pelican/9430-remote-lighting.html

About CableOrganizer.com

Founded in February 2002 and headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, CableOrganizer.com is a premier cable and wire management-related product vendor. The company provides companies, organizations and individuals around the globe with 24/7/365 access to an extensive array of high-quality products and information resources through its convenient online storefront. In addition to http://CableOrganizer.com, the company also owns and operates http://CableOrganizer.fr, which is operated out of Rennes, France. CableOrganizer.com also publishes "On the Wire," a free monthly electronic newsletter with a considerable multi-national opt-in circulation base. Among other honors, CableOrganizer.com was named among Inc. Magazine's Inc. 500, Internet Retailer magazine's 2007 "Top 500" and earned a Stevie(R) Award as the "Best Overall Company of the Year - Non-Services Businesses - Up To 100 Employees."

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Megladon Fiber Optic Scratchguard™ Patch Cables used to Support One of the Worlds Fastest Networks at SC08

Megladon’s signature HLC® SCRATCHGUARD fiber optic patch cables were utilized in the network supporting the annual International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC).  Megladon provided both HLC fiber optic patch cords and HLC fiber optic floor spools to the conference, supporting both the production level and experimental networks that were employed throughout the booths of the SC08 exhibitors. 

The SC Conference is the premier international conference for high performance computing (HPC), networking, storage and analysis.  The conference features the latest scientific and technical innovations from around the world. By bringing together scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, programmers, system administrators and managers, SC08 is the forum for demonstrating how these developments are driving new ideas, new discoveries and new industries. 

Megladon’s HLC fiber optic terminations are known for their mating surface durability and coupling efficiency. This provides network installation personnel with an ease of use during network deployment and provides maintenance personnel a reliable network utilizing the highest optical performance patch cords in the industry.

“We are very excited to demonstrate our fiber optic technology at SC08 in Austin”, said Daniel Hogberg, Megladon Product Group Manager. “It is an extreme application that demands high performance fiber optic patch cords to support all the exhibits at the show”.

Megladon Manufacturing Group Ltd., a subsidiary of TyRex Group Ltd.®, is recognized as a leader in the fiber optic marketplace. Founded in 1997, Megladon made it their mission to provide customers with fiber optic products that far exceed industry standards. As technology innovators, Megladon created the HLC (Hardened Lens Contact) termination, which has changed the market and taken it to the next level. For additional information on Megladon and their patented processes please visit the company’s website at www.megladonmfg.com or respond by email to scratchguard@megladonmfg.com.

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Scratchguard® Fiber Optic terminations ranked No. 1 in the industry

Megladon’s Product Release Of Angle Polished HLC ScratchGuard Fiber Optic Patch Cords means a took a monumental step for CATV quality.

Megladon Announces New Product Release Of Angle Polished HLC ScratchGuard Fiber Optic Patch Cords

Austin, TX - Megladon Manufacturing Group took a monumental step recently for the CATV market by adapting the HLC process to angle polished connectors. Angle polished connectors have been used for years in high speed video transport applications due to inherent low reflection characteristics. The fragile nature of fiber mating surfaces, however, has continued to plague an industry that is more competitive than ever.

With the growing video on demand and streaming video content on the web, a need arises for high quality fiber optic products capable of withstanding this trend. Industry leaders and providers are having to transition into a more competent network infrastructure to conform to the now industry standard of high performance fiber optic networks.

The SCRATCHGUARD Fiber Optic Patch Cords (by Megladon Manufacturing Group) is a critical step forward in quality. The fiber optic connector is a crucial component and the "gateway to the fiber optic cabling network". Damage to the connector due to repeated use has been the biggest problem for network managers, until now.

The patented SCRATCHGUARD(TM) Fiber Optic Patch Cords have virtually eliminated the problem. "We have studied the Megladon Manufacturing products and spoken with several major network operations that are using these breakthrough products. The product exceeds anything else they have ever used." said Frank Bisbee, Editor of the Heard On The Street column (www.wireville.com), "Jim Hayes, President of the Fiber Optic Association www.thefoa.org confirmed the need for education in the fiber optic communications industry as new solutions are coming to the marketplace like a tsunami." Bisbee added.

Megladon's SM APC HLC SCRATCHGUARD fiber optic patch cords are ideally equipped for network installers that are utilizing high speed video networks. The HLC technology provides mating surface durability and low loss; paired with an Angle Polish Connector we now have a product that significantly reduces reflection, cutting down on interruptions in any given network.

"Up until now CATV and high speed video applications have not been able to take advantage of our HLC patented processes due to standardization on angle polish connectors. Now they can not only experience the HLC SCRATCHGUARD durability, but we added a reduction in insertion loss and reflection over traditional angle polish products," said John Culbert, President of Megladon. http://www.megladonmfg.com/

http://www.fiberopticsonline.com/article.mvc/Megladon-Announces-New-Product-Release-Of-0001?VNETCOOKIE=NO

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MOHAWK ANNOUNCES THE ADDITION OF WARREN ASSOCIATES TO THEIR SALES FORCE

Mohawk, a leading manufacturer of fiber optic and copper cable products, is pleased to announce the appointment of Warren Associates to Mohawk’s field sales force covering Northern CA, Northern NV, and Hawaii. Warren Associates is a recognized leader in the low voltage/security industry, and has recently announced the creation of their new COMM/DATA division, which Mohawk is proud to be a part of.

Warren Associates, a second generation business, was started in 1959 by Don Warren, and the company was incorporated in 1977. Headquartered in Livermore, CA, they employ 18 associates throughout Livermore, as well as Greenwood Village, CO and Sandy, UT. Mohawk is proud to be represented by a company with such leadership and excellence in customer service.  

For additional information, Warren Associates can be contacted as follows:

Warren Associates
290 Rickenbacker Circle, Ste. 400
Livermore, CA 94551
Office 925-449-9000
Fax 925-449-8648
www.warrenrep.com

About Mohawk
Mohawk, a division of Belden, is headquartered in Leominster, Massachusetts, and has been providing fiber and copper cable innovations for over 50 years. Their headquartered location dedicates 210,000 square feet to today’s most advanced facilities for the design, development and production of copper, fiber optic, and hybrid wire and cable. Mohawk, an ISO 9001 certified company, develops products to meet and support TIA/EIA, ISO/IEC, ICEA and NEMA standards. As part of the global Belden operations, Mohawk is supported with worldwide management, financial resources, and distribution capabilities.

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Molex Releases PowerCat™ 6A Shielded Solution

In the current bandwidth hungry climate and ever-emerging technologies, never before has the need for superior performing network solutions been more critical. Molex’s latest addition to the PowerCat™ range is its 6A Shielded solution, designed to meet and exceed such demanding applications by fully supporting 10 Gigabit Ethernet / 10GBASE-T /IEEE 802.3an with the advantage of being fully backwards compatible for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-T, and 1000BASE-T. In addition, the system offers superior alien crosstalk mitigation and excellent insertion loss that surpasses all unshielded systems.

The PowerCat 6A end-to-end solution consists of Category 6A shielded patch panels, both straight and angled, cable, patch cords and the new die-cast Datagate™ shielded 6A jack. The robust 24 port and 48 port 6A shielded patch panels are supplied with rear cable management trays for cable strain relief and neat dressing, and the angled panel provides enhanced port access, also minimising patch cord bend radius whilst eliminating the need for horizontal cable rack managers, freeing up that all important rack space.

Molex’s PowerCat 6A Shielded Solution, in particular the robust die cast zinc alloy body housing of the Datagate jack protects against Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and features the unique Datagate spring loaded shutter that not only protects from dust and contaminants, but the ingenious design ejects improperly seated patch cords. This makes the PowerCat 6A shielded solution ideal for healthcare, government, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and other environments where EMI may be present and data security is paramount. The Datagate shielded jack has been specifically designed for high-speed data transmissions, with typical applications including data centres, storage area networks, server farms, riser backbones, and beyond.

The PowerCat 6A solution is the ideal enterprise structured cabling choice for business enterprises looking to secure network performance for the future. www.molexpn.com

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MRV DEBUTS HIGH PORT DENSITY 8 GBPS FIBRE CHANNEL SOLUTION FOR TEST LAB AUTOMATION

MRV COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (Nasdaq: MRVC), a leading provider of products and services for out-of-band networking, physical layer switching, WDM and optical transport, metro Ethernet, fiber optic components, 10GE and other service aware networking products, today announced a new Media Cross Connect® (MCC) physical layer chassis and interface blade for high-density 8 Gbps Fibre Channel test lab automation applications.

The high-speed chassis features an 8.5 Gbps backplane for 8 Gbps Fibre Channel applications as well as other emerging, high-speed protocols. The new interface blade will use SFP+ technology to provide high-density 8Gb Fibre Channel support. The chassis also supports all existing MCC interface blades ranging from T1/E1 copper to 10 Gbps fiber protocols.  MRV is also planning an 8-Gbps SFP+ interface blade for use in its existing MCC chassis to allow its embedded base of users to test high-speed storage networks.

The MCC family is the missing link in complete test lab automation, offering the ability to implement “wire-once” technology in the test lab environment to manage all tests and test configurations dynamically through software.  This automation saves operational as well as capital expenses by allowing equipment to be shared throughout the lab and eliminating the need to manually reconfigure physical connections.

The support for 8Gbps Fibre Channel makes the MCC product family the most complete solution for the storage equipment manufacturing industry.  Earlier this year, MRV announced the SAS/SATA SFP for its interface blades, adding to its existing support of 2/4Gb Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel Over Ethernet (FCoE).

“It is always a challenge for storage equipment manufacturers and systems providers to expand and evolve their products to keep pace with technology,” said Noam Lotan, president and CEO of MRV Communications.  “At MRV we not only want to provide support for the latest technology, we strive to protect the investment of our customer’s installed base.  With the current financial atmosphere, we cannot expect customers to throw away the old and replace it with new.”

The MCC product roadmap allows budget dollars to be spent on implementing lab automation in new areas of the organization, saving additional capital and operational expenses, as opposed to being used to replace existing systems.

“With the advent of blade servers and other compact computing form factors, boosting the performance and density of the MCC is an important move by MRV because it makes it easier for manufacturers to scale their test systems to match real network conditions,” said Nariman Teymourian, chairman and CEO of Gale Technologies.

Gale Technologies, formed by the merger of EdenTree Technologies and QuikCycle, is a leading lab and test management software provider and a reseller of MRV’s MCC products to dynamically automate and manage all steps in the network testing lifecycle.

Availability
The new systems will be shipped before the end of the year, followed by the debut of the 8 Gbps SFP+ module for existing systems in early 2009.

About the MCC
The Media Cross Connect (MCC) product line from MRV is a physical layer switch that replaces the manual patch panel providing the missing link to true test automation. Using the MCC users can program connections from any port to any other port within the system. Modularly designed, the MCC is available in 72, 144 and 288 port versions. The MCC allows engineers to change test configurations with a single software command eliminating the laborious process of patching and re-patching cables dramatically simplifying the test set up and reconfiguration process. The MCC allows test equipment to be shared among test beds reducing capital expenses in the lab. Test lab automation reduces the time it takes to complete each test, allows 24/7 testing, saves engineering hours and costs and shortens the time-to-market of new products. To learn more about MRV’s solutions for labs visit www.mrv.com/tap.

About MRV Communications, Inc.
MRV Communications, Inc. (“MRV”) is a leading provider of network equipment and services, and optical components. MRV’s networking business provides equipment used by commercial customers, governments and telecommunications service providers, and includes switches, routers, physical layer products and out-of-band management products as well as specialized networking products for aerospace, defense and other applications including voice and cellular communication. MRV’s optical components business provides optical communications components for metropolitan, access and Fiber-to-the-Premises applications, through its wholly owned subsidiary SourcePhotonics, Inc. MRV markets and sells its products worldwide through a variety of channels, including a dedicated direct sales force, manufacturers' representatives, value-added-resellers, distributors and systems integrators. MRV also has operations in Europe that provide network system design, integration and distribution services that include products manufactured by third-party vendors, as well as internally developed and manufactured products. Publicly traded since 1992, MRV is listed on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol MRVC. For more information about MRV and its products, please call (800) 338-5316 or visit our websites at www.mrv.com and www.sourcephotonics.com.

About Gale Technologies, Inc.
Gale Technologies, representing the merger of EdenTree Technologies and QuikCycle, has been providing lab management and automation solutions to network equipment manufacturers, service providers, and enterprises since 2000. Gale's Lab Manager, AutoLab and AutoTest software, the Lab Operating System™ and leading software platform for managing, configuring and scheduling lab resources, is used by industry-leading companies including Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems, Ericsson, British Telecom, Telus, Verizon and AT&T, helping them to reduce testing time and costs, increase leverage of equipment investments, and improved time to market delivery. Gale brings an unprecedented level of speed, efficiency, repeatability, and productivity to network labs, by eliminating manual reconfigurations, enabling remote access, device provisioning, test case management, and storing test configurations and results.  For more information, please visit our website at www.galetechnologies.com or contact us at 1.866.450.3336.

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Ortronics/Legrand Introduces New Secure Keyed LC Fiber Optic Solutions Ideal for High Security Government and Military Installations

Ortronics/Legrand, a global leader in high performance copper, fiber and wireless structured cabling solutions, introduces a new line of secure keyed LC multimode fiber optic connectivity products.  Ortronics Secure Keyed LC Fiber Solutions help maintain the integrity and security of critical information networks by preventing inadvertent or unauthorized access to optical fiber network ports.

Ortronics Secure Keyed LC Fiber Solutions provide a simple and convenient way to physically prevent unauthorized connections by blocking access to specific optical ports, whether they are at a workstation outlet or in a telecommunications room or data center. This is particularly important for government, military and other facilities where multiple networks having different security level access requirements may be co-located.

The new secure solutions are built around a core set of secure keyed duplex LC adapters and connectors, as well as a set of MPO 12-fiber adapters and connectors.  The LC duplex and MPO adapters, along with their matching secure keyed connectors, have a unique built-in keying feature designed to prevent tampering and inadvertent access to restricted networks.  The keying feature cannot be reproduced inside a standard LC adapter or connector. These secure keyed components are especially useful for sites that have multiple co-located networks that need separate security access in areas such as office workstations, telecommunications wiring closets, and internet service access facilities.

The secure keyed LC fiber optic product line includes secure keyed LC workstation modules, patch cords, pigtails, LC duplex adapter panels, and pre-terminated fiber cassettes (duplex LC to secure keyed and standard MPO).  Adapters and connectors work with either 50/125μm laser-optimized (LOMF) multimode and legacy 62.5/125 multimode fibers. All of these products are designed and manufactured to Ortronics/Legrand's demanding level of high quality and performance. For a complete end-to-end secure solution, Ortronics keyed LC connectivity products are designed for optimal performance with Berk-Tek Pre-terminated Multi-fiber Assemblies and MTP Backbone Cables, as well as the Wiremold® Data-Fense™ Secure Raceway System.

The LC duplex products are available with twelve different color-coded keying options.  MPO backbone cable connectors and adapters at the rear of the cassettes are available with four different color-coded keying options, providing complete network security.  Workstation modules and adapter panels are available in configurations that are secure keyed on both front and back (user and technician sides) or keyed on the front (user side) only with a standard LC connection on the back (technician side). This allows discreet levels of security to be integrated into multiple communication networks located at the same facility for specific authorized users and network maintenance personnel.

All secure keyed components exceed the industry standards for small form factor (SFF) connectors. 

For more information about Ortronics new secure keyed LC solutions, please contact your Ortronics sales representative, or visit the Ortronics web site at www.ortronics.com.

###

For more information contact:

Ortronics/Legrand, 125 Eugene O'Neill Drive, New London, CT 06320

Sales: 860-445-3900 or 800-934-5432, Fax: 888-282-0043 or 860-405-2992

E-mail: connect@ortronics.com, Internet: www.ortronics.com

Editorial Contact and Photos:

Laura Fradette, Marketing Communications Manager

Ortronics/Legrand, 125 Eugene O'Neill Drive, New London, CT 06320

Direct Tel: 860-405-2861, Fax: 860-405-2972

E-mail: laura.fradette@ortronics.com

Background for Editors:

Ortronics/Legrand, headquartered in New London, Connecticut USA, is a global leader in high performance structured cabling solutions, offering a complete range of Category 5e, 6 and 10 Gig copper, fiber optic, wireless and residential/MDU connectivity solutions. In addition, Ortronics offers Cablofil® wire mesh cable tray and Wiremold® pathways. Other programs and services include: engineering and technical support, systems planning, training programs and a 25-year warranty program. www.ortronics.com

Ortronics/Legrand is a subsidiary of Legrand, the global specialist in products and systems for electrical installations and information networks where people live and work. Its comprehensive offering of solutions for use in commercial, industrial and residential markets makes it a benchmark for suppliers worldwide. Innovation for a steady flow of new products with high added value is a prime vector for growth. Backed by sound business and financial structures, Legrand is actively expanding its presence in fast-growing geographical zones and market segments that include lighting controls, energy savings and home automation, through a sustained stream of targeted, self-financed acquisitions and other initiatives. In 2007 Legrand employed 35,000 people around the globe and reported sales of €4.1billion, including 25% in emerging markets. The company is listed on Euronext Paris and is a component stock of indexes including the SBF120, FTSE4Good and MSCI World (ISIN code FR0010307819). www.legrandelectric.com

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Epygi Technologies Ltd and Para Systems/ Minuteman Power Technologies Enter Marketing Partnership

Para Systems and Epygi Technologies have announced a joint marketing agreement that makes Para Systems the most recent member to the Epygi Partner Program and Epygi Technologies is an official reseller of the Minuteman power technology products from Para Systems.

In announcing the agreement with Para Systems on reselling its Minuteman power technologies products, Epygi Technologies’ president, Mario Cuello, said:

“We at Epygi Technologies are very excited about our partnership with Polycom,” said the company‘s president Mario Cuello. “Epygi is a global provider of reliable and feature rich IP PBXs, gateways and conferencing servers. The Minuteman power technology UPS products nake an excellent addition to our support products.

In announcing the agreement with Epygi Technologies, Rod Pullen, president of Para Systems stated:

“We are very excited about being able to add Epygi Technologies as a reseller of our Minuteman product line.  This will help us better support some of our vertical markets including telephone systems resellers. We look forward to working with our reseller partners. ”

Minuteman Power Technology products are sold through major national and regional distributors. Products include:

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems

Power Distribution Units (PDUs)

Power Management Systems

Keyboard-Video-Mouse (KVM) systems

Surge Suppressors

Power monitoring and management software

Background on Para Systems

Para Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of power technologies for over 25 years including the Minuteman uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) for mission-critical equipment protection such as computers, telecommunications systems, security systems and Internet devices.  Minuteman UPS products range from 400VA standby units to true sine wave, line interactive, and on-line models rated up to 10kVA.  

Para Systems provides SentryPlus™ remote power and network management controller software for all popular operating systems including Microsoft® Windows®, Novell, Unix, and Linux. Para Systems also sells power distribution units (PDU), power management software, keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) systems and surge suppressors.

Background on Epygi Technologies Ltd

Epygi Technologies Ltd, a private US company, was founded in 2000 and headquarters in Texas. It designs and manufactures its market-leading products using its own IP PBX call manager software based on standard SIP technology. Through its network of respected dealers, Epygi provides converged telecom solutions to organizations wherever they are.

Para Systems/Minuteman Power Technologies contact Information:

1455 LeMay Drive, Carrollton, TX 75007 - U.S.A.

Phone 800.238.7272, +1 972.446.7363
Fax +1 972.446.9011
Contact Bob Martin, Marketing, 972.446.7363 ext. 240
bmartin@minutemanups.com

Minuteman® UPS is a registered trademark of Para Systems, Inc. Other trademarks are registered by their respective companies.

Epygi Technologies  Ltd contact information

6900 North Dallas Parkway Suite 850, Plano, TX  75024  U.S.A.

Contact:Warren Sonnen, director of marketing, at 972.692.1166

warren.sonnen@epygi.com

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TEKNOR APEX PROMOTES NICK SANDLAND TO SENIOR INDUSTRIAL MARKET MANAGER IN THE AMERICAS FOR THERMOPLASTIC ELASTOMERS

The Thermoplastic Elastomer Division of Teknor Apex Company has named Nick Sandland to be senior market manager for industrial products, it was announced today by Andy Claytor, sales director for the division.

Sandland will be responsible for TPE business throughout the Americas in such sectors as appliances, electrical and electronics, gaskets and seals, wheels and casters, and wire and cable. He will also be in charge of working with the division's distributor in the U.S. and Canada, Channel Prime Alliance.

For three years, Sandland has served Teknor Apex as its European market manager for TPEs, based in his native England. He is relocating to the U.S.

"Nick is truly expert in the field of elastomers and draws on extensive experience in engineering, processing, technical support, and sales," said Claytor. "He serves as a valuable resource for designers and processors looking for new manufacturing solutions and new opportunities for product innovation."

Before joining Teknor Apex, Nick Sandland spent eighteen years in the polymer industry, including ten as a technical service chemist for Zeon Europe's range of elastomers. He served in other technical positions with Metzeler Automotive Profiles, Dunlop Precision Rubber, and Federal Mogul Sealing Systems.

After completing a six-year course at Burton Technical College in the UK, Sandland went on to Loughborough University, from which he graduated with a degree in polymer technology and materials engineering.

###

The THERMOPLASTIC ELASTOMER DIVISION of Teknor Apex Company is a leading manufacturer of TPE compounds, including multiple generic types based on polyolefin, vulcanizate, and styrenic technologies. Headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, U.S.A., the Division is an international supplier to the appliance, automotive, construction, medical-device, wire and cable, and other industries.  Other plastics businesses of TEKNOR APEX include the Vinyl Div., Chemical Div., Specialty Compounding Div., Teknor Color Company, Chem Polymer, Singapore Polymer Corp., and Teknor Apex Suzhou. Visit the web site: www.teknorapex.com.

READER INQUIRY INFORMATION:  Americas: Teknor Apex, 505 Central Avenue, Pawtucket, RI  02861 U.S.A.  Tel:1-401-725-8000. Tel. from U.S. only: 1-866-GET-TPEs (1-866-438-8737).  Fax: 1-401-728-5680. E-mail: tpe@teknorapex.com. Europe: Teknor Apex UK, Ltd., Tat Bank Road, Oldbury, West Midlands, England B69 4NH. Tel: 44-121-665-2100. Email: eutpe@teknorapex.comAsia: Singapore Polymer Corporation, 41 Shipyard Road, Singapore 628134.  Tel: 65-6265-2544.  Fax: 65-6265-1821.  Email: apactpe@teknorapex.com.    

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THAM SPEARHEADS LEVITON’S EXPANSION INTO SOUTHEAST ASIA

Leviton is pleased to announce the appointment of Leong Yar Tham to lead the company’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific region. In his new post as Business Development Manager for Leviton’s ASEAN Region, Tham will focus on developing the market for the company’s line of residential, commercial and industrial products throughout Southeast Asia.

Tham brings to his new post a formidable background in sales, business development and product training. Prior to joining Leviton, he worked for Clipsal Datacomms Asia Pte. Ltd, a subsidiary of Schneider Electric. He also held senior management and business development positions with SMP, Legrand Ortronics, the Siemon Company in Asia and other leading companies in their fields.

“I am pleased to have someone of Tham’s caliber spearheading our expansion into the Southeast Asian Market. His experience and record of consistent achievement bode well for our success in this emerging geographic region,” said Bruno Filio, Vice President of International Business Development.

Tham was trained in electronics engineering at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and holds a post graduate diploma in marketing management from Singapore Institute of Management and a Master of Science degree in Marketing Management from the National University of Ireland. He lives with his family in Singapore. www.leviton.com

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Trapeze Networks Routs Cisco in WLAN Resiliency Test

The Tolly Group, a leading global provider of third-party validation services for IT vendors, has published a report showing that Trapeze Networks (NYSE: BDC - News) offers its customers wireless networks that recover from failures 800 times faster than Cisco.

Specifically, The Tolly Group report says that Trapeze Networks, "delivers sub-second fail-over using Trapeze's clusters wireless controller approach, while a comparable Cisco solution results in network downtime of 9 to 12 seconds." The report goes on to say Trapeze Networks "exhibits less that 0.1 seconds recovery without interrupting applications, while the Cisco solution drops both FTP and VoIP sessions during recovery." Trapeze Networks is making the report available free-of-charge and may be downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/trapeze-tolly

"In the real world the question isn't 'if' a network component fails but 'when' and Trapeze Networks has an answer that will satisfy the most demanding situation," said Ahmet Tuncay, Trapeze Networks' chief technology officer. "The Tolly Report tells the tale. Trapeze Networks instantaneously recovers from a network failure, faster than the blink of an eye, and fast enough so critical applications never have the chance to fail."

Resilience: The Key Issue for Wireless

During the past year, there's been much speculation about when -- and how -- wireless networks will become a viable alternative to wired networks. Resilience was identified as a gating factor as far back as 2003 in the Communications of the ACM, the world's most prestigious computer science publication (http://tinyurl.com/trapeze-CACM). And recently the manager of network services at Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Duke University Medical Center, (Duke University, a Cisco customer), was quoted in Network World saying, "I believe that once the WLAN is as reliable as wired access, you will begin to see enterprises move away from wired infrastructures, based on cost savings alone..." (http://tinyurl.com/trapeze-NW) The good news for Duke University and Cisco customers around the world is that their wait for reliable wireless access is now over.

NonStop Wireless for the Always On Enterprise

NonStop Wireless, introduced in the spring of this year, is an innovation delivered in Trapeze Mobility System Software (MSS). MSS is the distributed wireless operating system that runs on Trapeze's wireless LAN equipment and delivers the benefits of Trapeze's Smart Mobile architecture. MSS runs on all Trapeze equipment, from access points to controllers and is backwards compatible across the company's entire product line.

Industry Analysts Praise Trapeze Networks' Nonstop Wireless

According to Stan Schatt of ABI Research:

Trapeze edges out its competitors with respect to resilience and high availability. The company's "Non-Stop Wireless" is more than a slogan. Its use of virtual cluster controller functionality is highly innovative. Each controller contributes capacity resources to a community of controllers; and that means no impact on sessions should a controller go down. It also means that content is balanced automatically if a controller ceases operation.

And according to Michael Brandenberg of Current Analysis:

Customers of other WLAN vendors should consider Trapeze when looking to upgrade the existing WLAN. ... Trapeze pulls out all the stops for its NonStop Wireless strategy. (http://tinyurl.com/trapeze-CA)

Customers Cast the Deciding Vote

Even more compelling than the kudos from leading analysts are the wins Trapeze Networks is achieving due to NonStop Wireless. For example, Draeger Medical, an international leader in medical equipment, recently certified Trapeze Networks equipment to wirelessly connect its patient monitoring equipment used in hospital intensive care units. Top-tier schools around the world including University of Minnesota, University of Utah and Aberdeen University rely on Trapeze Networks as do massive hospitals such as Belfast Royal and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare.

Trapeze Networks: Putting the Networking in Wireless Networking

"Security, performance, compatibility, ... these are just table stakes for wireless networking and are inherently tied to standards and the progress made by merchant silicon companies that supply every WLAN vendor," said Tuncay. "Trapeze Networks has made wireless networking as easy to design and manage as wired networking and -- with the advent of NonStop Wireless -- we've made wireless networking just as reliable."

About The Tolly Group

The Tolly Group is a leading global provider of third-party validation services for vendors of IT products, components and services. The company is based in Boca Raton, Florida, and can be reached by phone at (561) 391-5610, or via the Internet at http://www.tolly.com or sales@tolly.com.

About Trapeze Networks

Trapeze Networks, a Belden brand, is a leading provider of enterprise wireless LAN equipment and management software. Trapeze was the first company to introduce NonStop Wireless -- delivering unmatched reliability to the enterprise wireless LAN and its solutions are optimized for companies requiring mobility and high bandwidth such as healthcare, education, and hospitality. Trapeze delivers Smart Mobile(TM) providing scalable wireless LANs for applications such as Voice over Wi-Fi, location services, and indoor/outdoor connectivity.

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Fiber Characterization: PMD, CD, and ORL

Polarization mode dispersion (PMD) and chromatic dispersion (CD) are complex phenomena that can impose severe limitations on fiber-optic system performance. As network speeds increase, optical dispersion compensation becomes more critical in order to maintain high signal quality and low bit error rates. This three-day course not only provides the classroom instruction necessary to understand the theory and principles of fiber characterization, it also includes hands-on instruction on fiber-optic splicing, connector inspection and cleaning, span testing, and documentation.

For more information on the Light Brigade’s courses or to register, call (800) 451-7128 or visit lightbrigade.com.

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The Light Brigade’s January 2009 Training Schedule

Fiber Optics 1-2-3

This course focuses on how to design, install, test and maintain fiber optic communication systems for voice, video and data applications. The course consists of two days of classroom content and two optional days of hands-on practices. Course material and techniques taught are based on ITU, TIA/EIA, IEEE, Telcordia and ANSI standards. Class participants will learn to understand and effectively use any manufacturer's equipment or product designed to conform to these widely accepted standards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 6-9

Tampa Bay, FL

 

January 20-23

Austin, TX

 

Washington, DC

 

 

Cincinnati, OH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 12-15

Montgomery, AL

 

January 26-29

Richmond, VA

 

Minneapolis, MN

 

 

Charleston, SC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Hands-on Modules

These intensive one-day fiber optic training courses were developed as the next level of training for those who require more advanced skills and experience with major fiber optic disciplines and equipment. Each of the five modules focuses on a specific discipline and incorporates concentrated hands-on exercises.

Module 1: Fiber Optic Cable Preparation, Patch Panels & Splice Closures

Module 2: Fiber Optic Connectorization

Module 3: Optical Loss Testing, Troubleshooting & Documentation

Module 4: OTDR Theory, Operation & Emergency Restoration

Module 5: Fiber Optic Splicing (Fusion & Mechanical)

January 5-9

Anchorage, AK

January 12-16

Seattle, WA

January 26-30

Honolulu, HI

FTTx for Installers and Planners

This course focuses on how to design, install, test and maintain fiber optic communication systems for voice, video and data applications. The course consists of two days of classroom content and two optional days of hands-on practices. Course material and techniques taught are based on ITU, TIA/EIA, IEEE, Telcordia and ANSI standards. Class participants will learn to understand and effectively use any manufacturer's equipment or product designed to conform to these widely accepted standards.

 

 

January 22-25

Atlanta, GA

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 9-12

Seattle, WA

 

 

 

 

Association News

ACUTA

Wireless Networking is Biggest Campus Trend, and It’s Not Slowing Down, Latest ACUTA Survey Finds

The explosion of wireless networking on college and university campuses is not only the biggest communications trend in the last three to five years, but it is a trend that is continuing, as nearly three out of four schools say they plan to expand their networks over the next two years.

That is one of the key findings in the latest member survey by ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, which surveyed members in connection with its Fall Seminar in Boston.

The survey asked members to identify the most significant change in their cabling and wiring infrastructure over the last several years. Sixty percent said that change was deployment of wireless networks, compared with 13 percent pointing to installation of fiber-optic cable and another 13 percent citing rewiring projects for technology upgrades.

Two out of three survey respondents said it was the demand for “connectivity anywhere” that drove their key networking change, while 40 percent said the evolution of communication styles was a major factor, both of which underlie the move to wireless. Meeting growing capacity needs, and migration to Voice over IP and Unified Communications, were other drivers cited, at 33 percent and 23 percent respectively.

The single greatest benefit of their change, the responding ACUTA members said, was network access anywhere and anytime, at 42 percent of respondents; user convenience, 23 percent: network efficiencies, 17 percent; and greater bandwidth, at 10 percent. On the downside, 56 percent of respondents said the cost of their change was their greatest challenge, while another 21 percent said locating and installing the many wireless access points needed for coverage was their biggest hurdle.

Asked about the next significant step in their campus networking, 71 percent said expansion of their wireless network – or installation of one if they haven’t done so already – is in their plans. Another 19 percent pointed to additional rewiring projects as information communications technology evolves. As far as the timeframe for their next big steps, 73 percent of respondents expect to take those steps within one year.

Finally, asked to identify how their ongoing changes affect themselves and their departments, the information communications technology professionals said the highest-impact issues are ever-tightening budgets, a greater need for long-range planning, the need to learn new technology skills, the fact that growing campuses mean more responsibility for their departments, and the challenge of finding employees with the right mix of skills.

“The fact that wireless networking is the biggest change for our members and their schools isn’t surprising in itself,” said Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. “But this survey shows the impact that wireless networks, as well as other forms of technology evolution, are having on information communications technology departments. While wireless networks do make communications and computing far more convenient on campuses, they do have their challenges in terms of cost and management. The same is true for other advancing technologies as well.”

ACUTA is the only international association dedicated to serving the needs of higher education information communications technology professionals, with nearly 2,000 individual members at some 780 colleges and universities.

About ACUTA

ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications

Technology Professionals in Higher Education, is an international non-profit educational association serving colleges and universities. Its core purpose is to support higher education information communications technology professionals in contributing to the achievement of the strategic mission of their institutions. ACUTA represents nearly 2000 individuals at some 780 institutions of higher education, with members ranging from small schools and community colleges to the 50 largest U.S. institutions. ACUTA’s Corporate Affiliate members represent all categories of communications technology vendors serving the college/university market. For more information, visit www.acuta.org  

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ACUTA Winter Seminar Focuses on Unified Communications, Disaster Preparation

Two important technology trends in higher education – the deployment of unified IP communications applications and the increasing need to prepare for emergencies and disasters – will be addressed in the Winter Seminar of ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education.

The seminar is January 11-14 in Palm Springs, California, at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa. Its two concurrent tracks – “Unified IP Communications Applications across the Enterprise” and “Preparing Communications Technologies for Emergencies and Disasters” – will feature presentations by representatives of large and small colleges and universities from all over the country.

Representing schools such as Notre Dame, Columbia, Indiana University, Texas A&M, Wellesley College, DePaul, UCLA, Lamar University, and Central College, presenters will share their insight, experiences, and successes with their peers.

Educational sessions concentrating on unified communications will address topics such as the UniCom project at Indiana University, how Central College is phasing in an all- IP-based system over five years, and UCLA’s deployment of Voice over IP and computer-telephony integration. In the disaster preparation arena, sessions will highlight topics such as Columbia University’s emergency notification system and the lessons learned in implementation, Lamar University’s experience in dealing with five major hurricanes, and solutions that allow sending of multiple alerts with a single interface.

ACUTA is the only national association dedicated to serving the needs of higher education information communications technology professionals, representing some 2,000 individuals at 780 institutions.

“In many ways, the two technology subjects at our Winter Seminar go hand-in-hand, so it’s an excellent topical pairing,” said Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. “Emergency notification is often enhanced through a unified communication infrastructure, adding still another benefit to that type of migration. Both of these educational tracks are timely and important.”

Beyond the educational sessions, Semer added, the seminar offers attendees extensive networking opportunities and a chance to learn from their fellow information communications technology professionals, benefiting themselves and their colleges and universities.

For more information or to register for the Winter Seminar, visit the ACUTA website at www.acuta.org or call 859-278-3338.

About ACUTA
ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, is an international non-profit educational association serving colleges and universities. Its core purpose is to support higher education information communications technology professionals in contributing to the achievement of the strategic mission of their institutions. ACUTA represents nearly 2000 individuals at some 780 institutions of higher education, with members ranging from small schools and community colleges to the 50 largest U.S. institutions. ACUTA’s Corporate Affiliate members represent all categories of communications technology vendors serving the college/university market. For more information, visit www.acuta.org or call 859-278-3338.

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What’s on your wish list?

Christmas may come early for network administrators at many colleges. Below is a wish list that only a communications technology manager could love. But, boy, what cool stuff there is on this shopping list!

Emergency and 911

Few topics are as hot in campus communications centers as emergency notification. Vendors have noticed, too, and are offering a host of new products.

BlazeCast from Benbria is a new cross-media mass notification offering (www.benbria.com) released this summer. It allows universities not only to send messages to their student body, faculty, and staff through mobile phones, desk phones, SMS, and e-mail, all at the same time, but also to broadcast the same message through loudspeakers spread across the campus.

“The integration of notification with IP paging is something only we offer,” says Alicia Liu, vice president of marketing.

On campuses where buildings are spread out, coordinating and instructing people is especially difficult. On a campus outfitted with VoIP-enabled loudspeakers, administrators can page across the campus, to a specific building (or even speaker), or to designated areas—for example, all residences. Paging is as simple as looking at a campus map, clicking the target areas, and speaking into a phone. This can be done from any connected computer and any available phone, Liu says.

In an emergency, an administrator can use BlazeCast to send a message to the security team. Immediately after the team receives the message, the system automatically brings all recipients into a conference.

A computer-network-based alarm system will allow users to trigger an emergency alarm through their computers. The alarm would be sent, silently, to all other users logged into the same network. LANalarm from Pentad Systems (www.pentadsys.com) could be part of any school’s emergency notification system.

When an alarm is triggered, a panel flashes on users’ screens. At that point, only an IT administrator can shut the alarm off. This ensures that it will not be shut off without someone noticing it.

Nuance has a speech-enabled emergency/event notification system (EEN) module that lets a college automatically and rapidly contact designated people (up to thousands) in the event of an emergency or significant event. A broadcast can be initiated and a message sent from any telephone, using speech commands.

This system features advanced voice biometrics technology that confirms the caller’s identity to allow creation of the broadcast message. Speech is used instead of DTMF. Authorized personnel can send a broadcast message using only their voice. However, once the administration or security caller records the message, EEN broadcasts the information via multiple modes of communication—
office phone, mobile phone, pager, e-mail, SMS alert—until every recipient has been notified. The system gives full accountability with a documented notification audit log.

This system is faster than most others, says Hakan Kilic, Nuance product manager. “Simultaneous notification of key personnel is completed in minutes versus hours with manual call trees.” In addition, it is easy: A single call from anywhere activates a notification scenario. Systems run about $50,000 and, at the top end, can handle 100,000 users.

Security is provided both by PIN and voice biometrics recognition, Kilic says. In addition to follow-me hunt groups, the system allows active confirmation of message receipt.

Talk-A-Phone has a WEBS tower that integrates an ADA-compliant emergency phone and wide-area emergency broadcast capability into a single highly-visible tower. The unit features concealed high-powered speakers that provide 360-
degree coverage. Their local announcement capability lets personnel unlock the local command station and make onsite announcements. WEBS works with analog, too, or IP-based systems.

“We’re pushing people to IP if they have the backbone for IP phones already. It’s less expensive to install and provides a more powerful solution,” says Samuel Shanes, chairman of Talk-A-Phone.

Each tower has an attention-grabbing blue light strobe mounted on top. The light is continuously lit, and its strobe is activated by an emergency button when a call is placed or by a command to a remote guard calling in to the emergency phone.

Pole-mount or fixed CCTV options are available. Units are made of 12-gauge stainless steel with an impact-resistant polycarbonate window. The light strobe is 1.5-million candlepower, and emits 70 flashes per minute.

So, you’ve notified 2,300 students and 1,100 staff…and every one (plus parents and spouses) has a question. How do you handle the inbound phone crush?

T-Metrics (www.tmetrics.com) has an emergency ACD service that distributes inbound calls to a predefined list of people (security, administration, and others) who can handle the crush. “You don’t have to reprogram your switch. It uses normal phones and lines,” says Terry Dunigan, director of the firm. Calls set to a defined DID or extension number automatically trigger the ACD. Prior to their being turned “live,” the system notifies them about the incident and requires their permission before they are called.

The system will evenly distribute the calls to all available agents, Dunigan explains. There are six configurations that will determine the number of calls that can be processed and the total number of agents available in each of the configurations.

Movius Interactive Corporation also has a solution for rapid notification. Rapid Alert is a carrier-grade messaging application for delivering alerts and personal notification content to subscribers. Developed in partnership with Velleros, it delivers mass notifications of news and alerts such as AMBER and severe weather to customers based on user-defined delivery options including SMS, synthesized voice, and e-mail.

Oscar Rodriguez, CEO of Movius, says traditional alert notification solutions may not offer comprehensive delivery options that focus on consumers’ growing reliance on mobile phones. Instead they rely on call-tree systems that take time to deliver messages and track results; e-mail distribution solutions that cannot reach impacted residents if they are not online; and voicemail distributions that only reach users who have been included in the system. This approach provides personalized content and automatic alerts to a user-defined distribution list for rapid communication of time-sensitive information and warnings. The system can support National Weather Service and Pacific Tsunami Warning feeds for voice and text-based notifications for tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and AMBER alerts.

 It also supports community notification, which allows educational institutions to push alerts and provides response and feedback mechanisms. It has a call-attempt notification service that can trigger real-time automatic notification to friends and relatives when a user attempts to call 911.

Security Products

Perimeter eSecurity (www.perimeterusa.com) brought out its Remote Backup and Recovery (RBR) product, which provides a reliable, on-demand storage engine to securely back up and recover data. RBR is a fully digital service that allows organizations to maintain a regular backup schedule. It is an automated data backup solution that assures colleges that data will always be available and stored securely, and meet compliance requirements in the event of a major disaster or even a more common simple system failure.

Once set up, it requires no client time or effort and is not prone to human error or typical IT problems that in-house solutions can experience. Backups can be scheduled, in full, in part, or incrementally, at any time, while simultaneously allowing customers access to other systems.

“People and data are an organization’s two most critical assets. However, without the data both the people and the organization come to a standstill,” says Doug Howard, chief strategy officer for Perimeter eSecurity. “Many organizations do not adequately protect against data loss and system failure risks caused by technical, human, and natural disasters. Conventional backup methods such as physical tapes and drives are inefficient, prone to error, and incur extensive administrative costs. A disk crash or inadequate backup procedure can cause material business disruption and financial loss. If the prospect of a ‘big disaster’ doesn’t concern an enterprise, just imagine the man-hours lost on PC failures around an organization.”

RBR encrypts all files locally before they leave the campus, ensuring the privacy of the data. Each encrypted file is replicated and delivered to two off-site Level 3 data storage centers. All restored files remain encrypted and cannot be viewed until decrypted by the client using access key credentials.

T3 Telecom Software, Inc. (www.myt3.com), has a system that allows its voicemail application to run through a clustering configuration of synchronized nodes that minimizes voice messaging downtime resulting from hardware failure, network outage, or system maintenance. Each node maintains a complete T3main voicemail application, database, and file system that resides on a single machine, rather than leveraging shared storage, which can be affected during a node or network outage. Proprietary software synchronizes the multiple databases asynchronously whenever a change
occurs in one node.

“We’ve seen the need for disaster preparedness become more evident and have responded to market needs with a highly effective fault tolerance and redundancy solution,” says Yaniv Livneh, CEO of T3. “Direct Cluster Networking (DCN) eliminates dependencies on high-cost equipment and middleware software, is highly scalable, and operates in conjunction with most phone switches, both TDM and VoIP.”

The system is available in two configurations: Active/Passive for organizations that require a highly available system at a specific site and All Active for organizations that have multiple sites and require redundancy across the enterprise.

Livneh says there is no single point of failure. “There are no individual components within the T3main that can result in a voicemail application failure. Should a voicemail server within the cluster fail, or if the network becomes unavailable, another node will take over,” he explains.

Meanwhile, Uniloc USA, Inc., made available this summer its NetAnchor CIS, a device-based identity and access management (IAM) appliance for securing critical infrastructure. It is aimed at securing remote data sites. As these remote networks increasingly interconnect with IT networks, security solutions are required to prevent cyber-security threats from entering through these once isolated environments. NetAnchor CIS uses physical device recognition in addition to password-based authorization to ensure secure access to these critical infrastructure control systems.

According to a report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology entitled Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security, “Threats to control systems can come from numerous sources, including adversarial sources such as hostile governments, terrorist groups, industrial spies, disgruntled employees, malicious intruders, and natural sources such as system complexities, human errors and accidents, equipment failures and natural disasters. To protect against adversarial threats (as well as known natural threats), it is necessary to create a defense-in-depth strategy for Industrial Control Systems.”

The same holds true for colleges with agricultural plots, remote sensing data for geology and meteorology, and other remote data-gathering equipment.

With NetAnchor CIS, an authorized user must be on an authorized device to access control system networks. It provides notification and the location of unauthorized connection attempts to the NetAnchor CIS virtual private network (VPN) as well as attempted physical connection.

PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) security cameras, 802.11n access points, WiMAX transmitters, thin clients, and video phones comprise Microsemi’s new line of PowerDsine high-power gigabit midspans and splitters (see Figure 2). These upgrade existing network infrastructures for Power over Ethernet (PoE) applications.

“PowerDsine high-power midspans and splitters provide immediate, simple, and safe PoE solutions, prior to ratification of the next-generation standard,” says Steve Litchfield, executive vice president at Microsemi.

They can inject up to 32 watts of power over existing Category 5 Ethernet cable, allowing end devices to receive safe power on the same line they receive data. By using a high-voltage output, they offer 802.3at prestandard solution that more than doubles the power allowed in the existing 802.3af standard.

The line includes 6-, 12-, and 24-port HiPoE midspans in the PD-7000G Series, the PD-7001G single-port HiPoE midspan, and the PD-AS-701 Splitter Series that provides a choice of 12-, 18-, and 24-volt output.

Now that the technical ducks are lined up, campus IT managers need to plan and monitor the entire alert management process. MIR3’sTelAlert 6e lets college IT managers not only plan and monitor the alert management process but also designate emergency campus contacts, arrange vacations, designate device-calling plans for each person, and keep track of all events as they occur.

Wonder if it works? Currently, 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies utilize MIR3’s TelAlert “blue-chip” notification platform. MIR3 now offers it to the education industry.

Key features and benefits include business-process-to-person communication; an intuitive, no-training-required user interface; comprehensive support for all mobile devices, services, and protocols; and certified integrations with university systems management applications, according to Ken Dixon, executive vice president at MIR3.

Colleges can configure and manage all handsets via a simple-to-user web interface with the MetaSwitch (www.metaswitch.com) SIP Provisioning Server. It provides a simple and consistent management interface across phones from a variety of vendors. This provides remote delegation and management to PBX administrators, allowing schools to configure and set features consistent with PBX settings. Since it works across multiple phone vendors, it also allows a college to select from a broad array of phone options—not just the models associated with the PBX manufacturer. The company’s network diagnostics tool lets IT manage and deliver QoS for VoIP. This tool maintains a range of information regarding every call passing through the switch, including what caused a call set-up to fail, why a call was dropped, and more.

Going Mobile

The DiVitas Mobile UC solution (www.divitas.com) consists of the DiVitas Server, installed on the college LAN, and the DiVitas Client, installed on selected dual-mode handsets and smart phones.

The server product provides an IT-managed mobility service that integrates with the university’s PBX. Once installed, a smart phone handset behaves as a desk phone, providing a cost-effective option for adding mobile extensions without a system forklift.

Mobility Server Manager (MSM) is a service that monitors network connections with DiVitas Clients and proactively identifies the optimal network connections for each call. Roaming decisions, between WiFi and mobile networks, are made automatically by MSM to sustain highest call reliability and voice quality. No end user action is needed to identify WiFi boundaries because MSM heuristically learns and manages this information.

The Client gets installed on the user’s mobile handset. It works either with the Nokia or the Windows Mobile platform. It gives users access to various Mobile UC features. The Client has an icon-driven interface to let users navigate quickly to needed functions.

The system works with a college’s existing TDM or IPBX system. Once integrated, the Client behaves exactly like a desk phone, providing the same capabilities. PBX integration provides IT equal control over desk and mobile phones by extending the existing PBX corporate rules and policies to calls made with the Client.

Standard PBX features such as call transfer, call waiting, call hold, extension dialing, and call conferencing are supported regardless of the wireless network connection. Users can access all PBX features regardless of their physical location. Call logging is similar to that with most mobile systems.

On the road and need virtual presence? Aastra ViPrTM (get it?) offers virtual presence functionality for video interaction. Based on the H.264 standard, ViPr provides high-quality video telephony that is fully interoperable with standard phone systems and legacy video conferencing. (See Figure 3.)

ViPr’s intuitive user interface is simple. Even first-time users can establish multiple-party video conferences within a few minutes with minimal training. A Virtual Share package of optional collaboration tools allows conferees to share documents and applications, including electronic whiteboarding via Microsoft NetMeeting. Other optional components enable conferees to view live-broadcast TV, prerecorded video, or CCTV feeds during a ViPr call.

The system is plenty secure with management via HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer), the usual administrator passwords, and SIP digest authentication and user authentication, with access to contacts and settings protected via Transport Layer Security (TLS). Also included are Windows/server message block (SMB) server or Kerberos 5 server.

Aruba Networks lets IT provide the university network to users anywhere at any time by connecting an EV-DO or 3G USB network card to a standard Aruba access point (AP). Completely plug-and-play, the Aruba AP establishes a secure connection over the cellular network back to a central controller in the campus data center using IPSec. It then operates as if it were on campus, broadcasting campus SSIDs, authenticating through the standard campus authentication system, and giving an identical user experience. (www.arubanetworks.com)

There are no VPN client software or user behavior changes required, according to Robert Fenstermacher of the company’s Global Higher Education Marketing department.

The system is ideal for first-responder and campus disaster recovery; sustainability initiatives that contain business continuity requirements; satellite campuses or ad hoc conferences that require connectivity; traveling researchers, faculty, administrators, or students; home access for administrators who need complete access to school resources; or for WiFi in campus shuttles or similar uses.

Network Based

The latest from ProCurve Networking by Hewlett-Packard is the QinQ technology. It is specifically aimed at campus applications (whether school or enterprise) and lets colleges that are heavily into Ethernet expand economically.

QinQ extends the virtual LAN (VLAN) tagging technology first embodied in the IEEE 802.1Q standard. VLAN tagging allows multiple logical networks to share a physical Ethernet LAN by defining a new type of Ethernet frame that has a tag field used for identification. Traffic in the same logical network or VLAN has the same VLAN number in this tag field.

QinQ creates a hierarchical structure that improves Ethernet’s scalability and manageability, allowing Ethernet networks to be extended to connect many LANs in a large campus or metro area. Colleges can deploy Ethernet instead of MPLS, ATM, or frame relay and thus benefit from its established trends of decreasing cost and increasing speed.

ProCurve has implemented QinQ in the Switch 8200zl, 6200yl, 5400zl, and 3500yl series, according to Taufique Ahmed, solutions manager for convergence and infrastructure. In the 5400zl and 3500yl series, this feature is included in the premium license along with other aggregation layer features such as OSPF, PIM, and VRRP. In the 8200zl and 6200yl series, this feature is included as part of the base feature set since these switches are positioned primarily as aggregation layer and core switches.

UnifiedPosTrack from PosTrack (www.PosTrack.net) uses SIP trunking technology provided by Level 3 to deliver carrier service that appears as PRI or POTS to your existing PBX.

PosTrack Mobile FMC phones include a VoWiFi client, notes Chad Schumacher, director of marketing. It allows calls over WiFi to hand over to cellular without dropping, and vice versa. “This is fixed-mobile convergence in its truest form,” he says. “Level 3 hosts our data center, provides our SIP trunks, and provides ELS PSTN dialtone.”

The campus assigns the DID number to the SIP portion of the device—thus regaining the control, connectivity, and revenue they lost when students migrated to mobile. PosTrack Trunking connects existing equipment to mobile or desktop lines on the same switch. Features such as four-digit dialing work seamlessly across the entire system. The SIP trunks that power PosTrack Trunking use the Internet to connect to their assigned device; incoming PRIs are eliminated, leveraging the school’s existing data network.

With SIP trunks, bandwidth not being used by voice traffic is rerouted to support campus data network traffic.

The system’s Desktop and Unified products expand the features available. Desktop is the second logical step in a VoIP migration. The SIP trunks travel over the campus’s data network directly to a feature-rich desktop handset. The switching happens at the PosTrack server, similar to Centrex, but the college’s IT staff has access to some control features that Centrex systems do not offer.

PosTrack Unified forms the voicemail backbone for the other PosTrack services, but is also available as a stand-alone. This system allows your campus to assign DID numbers to virtual mailboxes in order to keep large groups connected without hardware costs.

Nokia Siemens Networks (www.nokiasiemensnetworks.com) has a new system for the rapid integration of operations support systems (OSS) for networks, other OSS systems, and business process and business support systems (BSS) domains. Nokia Siemens Networks, Sun Microsystems, Tail-f Systems, and Xelas Software demonstrated their interoperability at a show in France in late May. The technology is now available for schools here.

Their mediation framework enables faster integration and will be introduced by Nokia Siemens Networks to its Open EMS Suite (OES) software development platform. The mediation demonstration is the first proof point for the next-
generation OSS architecture, showing the power of mediation across the different Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) layers of business, service, network, and element management.

Mediation is software with functionality that allows different OSS systems to connect with other systems. Typically, mediations are built as one-off projects with limited reuse. This boosts integration costs as every user has to reinvent the wheel. For developers, a mediation framework provides tools and mediation components as building blocks for simple integrations. Mediations can be obtained from the OES-compatible mediation library, which promotes mediation reuse and reduces the integration risks.

“We are demonstrating a new way of approaching mediations in the OSS domain. This approach is based on openness and collaboration,” says Kari Loukola, head of the Nokia Siemens OSS middleware business line. Sun’s role in the demonstration was to show how the mediation framework supports service providers’ business processes.

If you run telecom at a smaller school but want big bandwidth, or if you have your own large, legacy network, it might be worthwhile to talk to RAD Data Communications (www.radusa.com) about its solution for delivering maximum Ethernet bandwidth over low-speed T1 PDH (plesiochronous digital hierarchy) lines. PDH networks are nearly, but not perfectly, synchronized, as opposed to synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) equipment that is synchronized. This solution pairs the firm’s Egate-100 gigabit Ethernet aggregation gateway with its RICi-16 Network Termination Unit (NTU).

“PDH is a veteran technology that was designed before the advent of Ethernet, back when data rates were slow in comparison to today’s needs,” explains Ami Barayev, product line manager at RAD. “But given that PDH reaches virtually everywhere, it can, with bonded T1 circuit technology, be turned into an excellent Ethernet transport mechanism anywhere over the service path, both for incumbents that wish to use the deployed infrastructure for new Ethernet services and alternative operators whose fiber networks are not extensive enough to reach all potential customers (off-net).”

“The solution is also ideal for backhaul of WiMAX traffic as well as IP DSLAM extension,” Barayev adds.

These are just some of the technology advances to file away for reference. Catch your school’s CFO in a good mood and some of them may just show up in your 2009 budget.

Curt Harler is a contributing editor and regular contributor to the ACUTA Journal. Reach him at curt@curtharler.com.

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What’s New?

Imagine that you are listening to Handel’s Fireworks Music, or that you are celebrating a special holiday or other occasion that is augmented by a spectacular fireworks display. The music and the fireworks imagery are the audible and visual reflections of where I think we are in information communications technology today.

What’s new in communications technology will be revealed in the articles you’ll read in this issue of the ACUTA Journal. You may note that the arcs formed by the fireworks are representative of the new products and services that begin with such fanfare, yet, their success is contingent upon the rate of projection, support, and the gravity that helps the data stream realize that perfect arc.

As I reflect upon the most recent ACUTA event, the Annual Conference in July, I’ll highlight some aspects of current communications technology and provide examples of where our members are positioned on the road to convergence:

  VoIP is a great excuse to improve your data network.

John Madey from the University of Florida shared his project management approach for providing a comprehensive E911 solution for a VoIP deployment. Joe Huang from Everett Community College, Josh Frank from Virginia Military Institute, Tim Williams from West Virginia University, and Richard Altheide from Missouri University of Science and Technology revealed where they are with VoIP today, steps they undertook to get where they are, and the challenges as well as the rewards. Ric Simmons from Louisiana State University showed us how he provides voice and data services to remote locations using VoIP technology.

We all learned from the ACUTA IP Summit in Baltimore last year that VoIP is now the industry standard for the new PBX manufacturers. The technology is maturing. Figure out the best way to integrate VoIP into your strategic planning.

  Unified messaging is a killer application for VoIP.

Mike Lucas and Jennifer Van Horn from Indiana University presented their unified communications solution that is based on a collaborative effort to deliver voice, video, and data communications on a single unified desktop platform. Jeanine Lee and Carma Shurley from DePaul University shared the lessons they learned from the replacement of their traditional voicemail system with a unified messaging solution.

From my own experience, with unified messaging I now get a WAV file on my Blackberry whenever someone leaves a voicemail message on the VoIP phone in my office. What a time-saver it is! I can respond to anyone at any time without having to overcome barriers. I wonder what else it can do for me.

  Emergency notification management, or what to do with the system you now have in place.

Emergency teams have been formed; policies have been written; students, faculty, and staff have opted in; templates have been created; and response support teams wait in the wings. Now what?

Sharlene Mielke from Northwestern University presented a case study in emergency planning—from emergency response notification to disaster planning and business continuity management. Annemarie Mountz from Penn State University helped orchestrate an integrated communications strategy that involved text messaging and other communications tools and required “breaking through” organizational silos.

  Next-generation learning environments, including Web 2.0, provide more powerful collaborative opportunities.

Jim Gantt from Murray State University, representing ITERA, combined campus pioneering and current student issues to explore what it takes in 2008 to make a campus “cool” for students, faculty, staff, and administration.

We all share the challenge of making our campuses “cool,” engaging, and rewarding, and appreciated Jim’s examples aimed at attracting students, improving teaching/learning, improving overall electronic impact on campus operations, and attracting faculty.

  Next-generation wireless provides significantly greater speed and range.

Bill Farris from the University of Kansas challenged us with the question, “Cellular VoIP—Is It for You?” Chris Norton from Texas A&M University discussed how fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) can integrate a PBX with mobile phones, forecasting the long-term possibilities for FMC for educational institutions. Perhaps there will be fewer “dead spots” on our campuses in the very near future.

  Green engineering—enter the intelligent building.

How big is our footprint, and what are we doing about it? I now work in an intelligent landmark building, in Manhattan, thanks to the joint forces of Facilities and IT at Columbia. From building automation systems and communications systems to video surveillance and access control, all are converged over a common infrastructure.

That’s where I think we’re all going today with information communications technology on our individual roads to convergence. For a long time VoIP appeared to be ephemeral; today it has become reality. To paraphrase the message delivered by Randy Pausch, professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, in his last lecture, “Always follow the power of your dreams.”

It’s all about the road to convergence… come to an ACUTA event to find out.

BICSI

BICSI MARKS MILESTONE OF TRAILBLAZING PROGRAM IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS

2009 rings in a celebration 25 years in the making

Arguably the most defining year of the decade, 1984 brought with it quite a few firsts that sparked imagination, affecting the world as the catalysts for life as we experience it today. Profound events were shaping the landscape of the telecommunications industry as a small professional association was growing.

While telephone giant AT&T was being dismantled following a government antitrust suit, Tampa, Fla.-based BICSI, serving less than 480 members, was developing a credentialing designation that would evolve into an internationally recognized registration program for the telecommunications cabling industry.

Beginning with the 2009 BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, Florida, January 18-22, BICSI will begin a year of celebration highlighting the major impact the Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD®) program has had on the information transport systems (ITS) industry.

Some of the very first RCDDs, who are still active BICSI members, will join in the events to reflect on the past and share their experiences. In addition, newly credentialed RCDDs will offer their insight on the industry as it continues to evolve and advance in this technological age.

The RCDD program is a designation for individuals who demonstrate expertise in the design, integration and implementation of ITS—voice, data, video, audio and other low-voltage control—and their related infrastructure components. An RCDD must meet stringent continuing education requirements and continually increase his or her knowledge through frequent interaction with others in the ITS community.

Today, more than 7,000 credentialed individuals around the globe are uniquely positioned to create the detailed design of new systems and/or the integration of a design into an existing system. The credential is achieved by passing a comprehensive exam based on BICSI’s world-renowned Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual (TDMM).

For more information about the RCDD program and the 2009 BICSI Winter Conference, visit www.bicsi.org.

Did you know?

In 1984:

·  Philips and Sony introduced the CD-ROM.

·  Apple introduced the Macintosh personal computer.

·  Hewlett-Packard entered the printer business and unveiled the first Laserjet printer.

·  Michael Dell founded a technology company that would become one of the largest sellers of personal computers and servers.

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BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry. ITS covers the spectrum of voice, data and video technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, fiber- and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.

BICSI provides information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies in the ITS industry. We serve more than 25,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and automation systems. Through courses, conferences, publications and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ITS professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, USA, BICSI membership spans nearly 140 countries. For more information, visit www.bicsi.org.

CABA

CABA's Connected Home User Interface Project

The evolution of the digital home lifestyle has been, in part, created by consumer demands that are driving tremendous industry change and opportunity. The connected home offers various promises to simplify interaction and engagement of consumers with family, entertainment, career and home system solutions

Two of the open questions that have yet to be answered is (1): How do product developers and managed solution/service providers best aggregate data into potentially, one single user interface that is both intuitive and adds value to the holistic connected home? And (2): How does the user interface solution support the delivery of the digital lifestyle promise?

CABA's Connected Home Research Council (CH-RC) is sponsoring a consumer research study that will define the specific attributes or baseline criteria of a 'connected home user interface' for consumers when managing the connected home.

Current Steering Committee members seek answers to some of the following questions:

  • What type of information and/or control do consumers really want (passive versus interactive data}?
  • What type of access, convergence of services and data set to home service content is desired?
  • How can the whole home solution enhance the digital lifestyle?

There will be a face to face meeting on Thursday November 20, 2008 in Dallas, TX hosted by our project lead Direct Energy to discuss and finalize current scope and methodologies.

To request a copy of the project description contact Alex Detre, CABA's Research Director at 613.686.1814 ext 228, detre@caba.org or Brian Daze, CABA's Business Development Manager at 613.686.1814 ext 226, daze@caba.org.

FOA

FOA Creates Comprehensive Online Reference Web Site For Fiber Optics

The FOA has created a new online reference site for fiber optics that is the most comprehensive collection of information on fiber optics available anywhere. This unique reference site was created as a complement to traditional textbooks like the FOA’s Fiber Optic Technicians Manual since it can be kept up to date more easily, can be accessed from anywhere and is much less expensive than printed books.

The new FOA site was created as a reference site for schools and students studying for FOA certifications and as a readily available reference for FOA- certified technicians needing a refresher course or to find information they need while on the job.

The site is comprised of basic reference materials in conventional web pages, topical tutorials in slide-show format and reference documents formatted for easy printing. For example, from the site you can read about fiber optic termination, watch a slide show tutorial on termination and see a “virtual hands-on” step-by-step lesson on how to actually perform the termination. Typical hands-on processes like cable preparation, termination, splicing and testing are covered in great detail.

The FOA fiber optic reference site is organized to make it easy to find information through a linked table of contents. Recognizing the growing use of portable web- enabled devices like the iPhone and other smart phones, the site is formatted simply so most  pages can be viewed easily on a small-screen device as well as a larger computer screen. Access by portable web devices means the site can be accessed from the job site by techs needing some information or advice.

The FOA website is available to FOA-approved schools and their students and current FOA CFOTs. For those interested in the site but not CFOTs, FOA associate membership will be available which includes unlimited access to the site.

A preview of the website is located at http://www.thefoa.org/preview/

The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. is an nonprofit educational organization chartered to promote fiber optics through education, certification and standards. Over 200 FOA-Approved schools around the world have certified over 25,000 fiber optic technicians since 1995. The FOA offers free online introductory fiber optic tutorials for everyone and training for instructors at FOA-Approved schools. http://www.thefoa.org

NAED

NAED Names Fil Cerminara as Incoming Eastern Region Vice President-Elect

ST. LOUIS… The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) has named Fil Cerminara, president of F&M Electric Supply Co. Inc., as the incoming vice president-elect of the Eastern Region. Cerminara was elected by the Eastern Region Council, which represents NAED member companies in the northeastern U.S.

“It’s an honor to be selected as the incoming Vice President-Elect,” said Cerminara. “Through my involvement with NAED I have gained a better understanding of industry issues and a more complete picture of the channel as a whole. I hope to give something back in appreciation for all that I’ve gained. I believe we have an excellent opportunity to encourage our membership to take advantage of NAED’s programs and resources. Getting involved is the key, and the value our members will receive in return is enormous.”

His involvement with NAED includes serving on the Adventure Planning Committee in 1996, and serving on the Eastern Region Council from 2004 to present day.

Cerminara, a husband and father of two, has achieved acclaim both inside and outside of the industry for his accomplishments. In 1998, he was named IMARK “Rookie of the Year” and he is a two-time winner of the IMARK “Member of the Year” Award. In 2007 he was awarded Connecticut & Western Massachusetts NEMRA Chapter “Man of the Year.” In addition, he has been honored with the 1997 Danbury Jaycees Volunteer Award and the 2007 Immaculate High School Distinguished Service Award for his volunteer efforts. Cerminara is a graduate of Henry Abbott Technical High School.

Based in Danbury, Conn. with 32 employees, F&M Electric Supply Co. Inc. is a full service electrical distributor serving contractors, builders, commercial and industrial institutions, as well as municipal, state and federal government facilities. F&M Electric Supply also offers a lighting showroom.
 
As an NAED regional vice president-elect, Cerminara will help lead the region’s conferences, council meetings, and other events. He will also participate in NAED’s Membership and Strategic Focus Committees. In addition, when Cerminara becomes vice president in May 2010, he will serve on the NAED Board of Directors.  

Richard Williams, president & COO of Dominion Electric Supply Co., Inc., Arlington, Va., currently directs the Eastern Region. Beginning in May, Doug Borchers, vice president sales and engineering, Dickman Supply Inc., Sidney, Ohio, will take up the regional leadership for 2009-2010.

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 operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.

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Conference Registration is Open for 2009 NAED Western Region Conference, Palm Desert, California, January 21-24

“Catcher of the Century” Johnny Bench to Give Keynote Presentation

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces that registration is open
for the 2009 Western Region Conference. The conference will take place January 21-24, at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, Calif. The theme for this conference is “Expanding Our Horizons.”

This year’s conference features keynote presenter Johnny Bench, a former Major League Baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds, who is considered by many to be the “Catcher of the Century.” Bench’s honors include his election into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, being named the National League Rookie of the Year (1968), being a 14-time All-Star, and winner of 10 Gold Gloves. Bench was a key member of the Reds' 1975 and 1976 World Series championship teams known as "The Big Red Machine." Bench will deliver a captivating how-to presentation on success, drawing parallels between the worlds of sports, entertainment, business, and civic involvement. His keynote The Vowels of Success discusses what is necessary to be successful in anything you may desire or want to achieve.

NAED’s education sessions will include:

  • New Market Opportunities in Energy Efficiency by Jerry Yudelson – Principle, Yudelson Associates
  • Non-traditional Markets for Renewable Energy Sources by Fred Paris – Independent Contractor
  • How to Limit Your Value-Added Service Liability Exposure by Bernd Heinze – President and CEO, Sequent Insurance Group
  • The Evolving Sales Force by Steve Deist – Sales Effectiveness Specialist, Indian River Consulting Group
  • Panel: Reaping the Rewards of NAED’s Supply Chain Scorecard moderated by Bethany Sullivan – President, Profitability Analytics Unlimited
  • Protecting Profits and Eliminating Mistakes Using IDEA by Bob Gaylord –President, IDEA

To ensure that NAED members are getting the value they should out of their membership, there will be a special session entitled Maximize Your NAED Benefits with Proven Implementation Strategies by Joe Hajek, instructional designer, NAED. The conference also will include a Women in Industry networking luncheon on How to Connect with Others, Regardless of Age, Wage, or Life Stage and numerous opportunities to build your professional network. www.naed.org

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NAED Board Promotes Tom Naber to President and Chief Executive Officer

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces the promotion of Tom Naber to president and chief executive officer of the association.

Naber joined NAED in 1997 as publisher of TED Magazine. Under his leadership, TED Magazine was completely redesigned, the tedmag.com Web site was created, and readership was significantly increased. In 2001, Naber was appointed president of the association; in this expanded role, he assumed the additional responsibility of spearheading strategic planning efforts for NAED and leading the organization’s day-to-day operations.

During Naber’s time as president, the association has offered its members several new products and services such as expanded training opportunities, including the online NAED Learning Center with more than 400 courses, webinars, and teleseminars; created joint industry task forces; implemented new special interest conferences, such as Women in Industry Conference and the HR & Training Conference; and developed a new certification program for distributors, manufacturers and others in the channel: the Certified Electrical Professional (CEP).

Naber possesses a strong background in both association management and the electrical industry, bringing over 20 years experience as an association executive. Prior to coming to NAED, he served as editor of Electrical Contractor magazine, the publication of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

On behalf of the board of directors, I am pleased to announce the promotion of Tom Naber to president and chief executive officer of NAED, a move that reflects his proven leadership and outstanding performance in managing the association,” said Dick Waterman, senior advisor of International Electric Supply Corporation (IESC) in Dallas, Texas and NAED chairman of the board. “We look forward to the many new contributions that he will make to the association and the industry in the years ahead.”

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

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 4,400 locations internationally.

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NAED Learning Center Now Features The Leadership Journey

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) has expanded its online offerings to include The Leadership Journey, developed by Business Training Experts™. The library of 24 courses supports 10 core leadership competencies that managers, executives, and supervisors need to achieve extraordinary results including: accountability and responsibility, coaching/mentoring, communication, conflict resolution, dealing with change, empowerment, trust and integrity, improving attitudes, motivating others, and teamwork.

Available online through the NAED Learning Center, The Leadership Journey engages students while teaching them practical skills that they can immediately apply. Short, concise courses allow busy associates to learn quickly and effectively while spending very little time off the job.

The Leadership Journey delivers:

Practical skills. Key concepts can be immediately applied to the workplace.

Complete curriculum. The library includes everything necessary to establish a leadership training program.

Concise courses. Staff spends very little time off the job.

Clear sessions. Employees of all levels benefit.

Continuous learning. Frequent, regular message reinforcement improves retention.

Individualized results. Each participant creates an action plan to apply new skills.

Self-paced training. Participants can decide when to train.

An in-house solution. Costs are kept low while productivity goes up.

“The Leadership Journey is the perfect complement to our existing training programs. This program is geared toward enhancing the management skills of executives in leadership roles and developing the skills of future leaders,” said Michelle McNamara, NAED vice president and executive director of the NAED Education & Research Foundation.

Phillip Van Hooser, MBA, CSP, CPAE, is the featured expert in The Leadership Journey. Hooser has trained leaders, managers, and supervisors from more than 700 organizations. Formerly a bank director and a manager for a Fortune 500 company, he has also authored several books on leadership issues.

The Leadership Journey courses include: The Foundation of Leadership, Practical Steps for Managing Confrontation, Five Steps to Effective Decision Making, and The Secrets of High Achievers. Click here for a complete course list. To learn more about the program, contact NAED Customer Service at (888) 791-2512 or customerservice@naed.org.

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 operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.

NEMA

NEMA Publishes White Paper on UL1069 Edition 7 Standard for Hospital Signaling and Nurse Call Equipment

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Signaling Protection and Communication Section, Healthcare Communications Group, has published a White Paper on UL 1069 Edition 7 Standard for Hospital Signaling and Nurse Call Equipment.

Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) published Edition 7 of UL 1069 to cover the use of wireless devices for call initiation or annunciation in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. The White Paper explains, in layman’s terms, the ramifications of wireless nurse-call devices, along with related definitions.

UL1069 Edition 7 White Paper may be downloaded at no charge by visiting NEMA’s website at http://www.nema.org/UL1069_white_paper.

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

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Lighting Systems Index Falls Sharply During the Third Quarter; Further Weakness Expected

NEMA’s Lighting Systems Index contracted 4.3 percent in the third quarter of 2008 compared to the second quarter. Although the index’s performance has been uneven over the past several quarters, the overall trend has been negative as the index fell 7.5 percent on a year-ago basis and has declined nearly 12 percent on a cumulative basis since the beginning of 2006. Domestic shipments dropped for all five lighting equipment segments, with large lamps posting the largest year-over-year decline.

Lighting equipment demand continues to take a significant hit from the residential market. Despite signs that a bottom might be forming in the level of existing and new home sales, construction activity continues to face headwinds on the supply and demand side. On the supply side, builders are loath to begin new homes as many local markets are bloated with inventories caused by record foreclosure rates. On the demand side, a weaker economy is prompting a pullback in household growth and creating a disincentive for consumers to make major purchases such as a new home. Moreover, lenders have reined in standards for loans, which will also reduce the ability of consumers to buy a new home. Even consumer purchases of energy-efficient lighting equipment such as CFLs has taken a hit as of late, as buyers have balked at their higher first-cost pricing.

The nonresidential market has acted as an offset to the blow to demand caused by the sharp drop off in demand from the residential sector. Unfortunately, that source of support is beginning to wane as inflation-adjusted outlays on commercial and industrial construction projects declined during the third quarter of 2008, marking the first such drop since 2005. Five consecutive quarters of shrinking corporate profits, slow-to-thaw credit markets and tougher lending terms have eroded the prospects for construction activity going forward, and thus will lead to diminished demand for lighting equipment.

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

SCTE

SCTE FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP MOVES

The SCTE Foundation announces today the recent election of officers for the SCTE Foundation Board of Directors.

The board re-elected three of its four officers:

• Keith R. Hayes of Charter Communications as president

• Greg Allshouse of Comcast Cable Communications as treasurer

• Mike Phebus of Jones/NCTI™ as secretary

The board also elected Marv Nelson, interim president/CEO of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), as the new vice president of the Foundation, replacing John Clark, who is the former SCTE president/CEO.

Nelson, a 29-year industry veteran, has performed as SCTE’s interim president/CEO since early July. He has served for 12 years as vice president, professional development, leading the formation and implementation of the Society’s Professional Development (SCTE Pd) opportunities. He joined the SCTE staff in 1991 after working 12 years for Metrovision Inc. as a bench and chief technician.

Meanwhile, the SCTE Foundation Board has appointed Jim Hughes of CommScope as the new chair of the Foundation’s Fundraising Committee, replacing Clark. The board oversees three other committees and appoints their chairs as well. They are:

• Bob Gold of Bob Gold & Associates, Policy Committee

• Allshouse, Finance Committee

• Phebus, Awards Committee

Hughes is the executive vice president, broadband sales and marketing with CommScope, his employer since 1995. Prior to joining CommScope, he was employed by Belden Wire & Cable, where he was Belden’s national sales manager, broadband products between 1990 and 1995.

The other members of the SCTE Foundation Board of Directors—in addition to Allshouse, Gold, Hayes, Hughes, Nelson, and Phebus—are Chris Bowick of Cox Communications, Tom Gorman of Charter Communications, Mike LaJoie of Time Warner Cable, and Ken Wright of ARRIS.

The SCTE Foundation was established by the SCTE Board of Directors in 2005 and began issuing grants in 2006. The Foundation has helped numerous SCTE members by distributing grants totaling more than $85,000. Through its grants program, the Foundation provides expanded educational opportunities for SCTE members to assist them in advancing their careers.

In addition to the grant and scholarship application, complete information about the SCTE Foundation is available at http://foundation.scte.org, including the Foundation’s 2008 Giving Campaign, “Fueling Cable’s Future,” which is going on now through Dec. 31.

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The SCTE Foundation was established by the SCTE Board of Directors in 2005. The Foundation’s three-part mission is to assist in innovation and education within the industry, to further research and information, and to maintain a history and awareness of the cable and telecommunications industry, all for the benefit of future generations. The SCTE Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Visit the SCTE Foundation website at http://foundation.scte.org.

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is a non-profit professional association that provides technical leadership for the telecommunications industry and serves its members through professional development, standards, certification and information. SCTE currently has more than 14,000 members from the U.S. and 70 countries worldwide and offers a variety of programs and services for the industry's educational benefit. SCTE has 68 chapters and meeting groups and more than 3,000 employees of the cable telecommunications industry hold SCTE technical certifications. SCTE is an ANSI-accredited standards development organization. Visit SCTE online at www.scte.org.

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SCTE FOUNDATION PROVIDES MAJOR GRANT TO ROBERT JERMAN

The SCTE Foundation is pleased to announce that it recently awarded a major grant to Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) member Robert Jerman of Cox Communications.

Jerman, of Yukon, Okla., is a dispatch manager. He will apply the major grant toward completing his bachelor of science in organizational behavior from Southern Nazarene University. Jerman has been an SCTE member since May 2007.

The SCTE Foundation was established by the SCTE Board of Directors in 2005 and began issuing grants in 2006. The Foundation has helped numerous SCTE members by distributing grants totaling more than $90,000. One of the SCTE Foundation’s purposes is to provide expanded educational opportunities for SCTE members to assist them in accomplishing their professional development goals and dreams.

The SCTE Foundation Board of Directors recently approved Jerman’s application for a major grant following preliminary approvals by the Foundation’s Major Grants Subcommittee and the Foundation’s Awards Committee.

The grant and scholarship application and complete information about the SCTE Foundation are available at http://foundation.scte.org, including the Foundation’s 2008 Giving Campaign, “Fueling Cable’s Future,” which is going on now through Dec. 31.

The SCTE Foundation was established by the SCTE Board of Directors in 2005. The Foundation’s three-part mission is to assist in innovation and education within the industry, to further research and information, and to maintain a history and awareness of the cable and telecommunications industry, all for the benefit of future generations. The SCTE Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Visit the SCTE Foundation website at http://foundation.scte.org.

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is a non-profit professional association that provides technical leadership for the telecommunications industry and serves its members through professional development, standards, certification and information. SCTE currently has more than 14,000 members from the U.S. and 70 countries worldwide and offers a variety of programs and services for the industry's educational benefit. SCTE has 68 chapters and meeting groups and more than 3,000 employees of the cable telecommunications industry hold SCTE technical certifications. SCTE is an ANSI-accredited standards development organization. Visit SCTE online at www.scte.org.

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EXHIBIT SPACE SOLD OUT FOR FIRST SCTE CANADIAN SUMMIT

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is pleased to announce that exhibit space for the inaugural SCTE Canadian Summit is now sold out, making the attractive two-day event all the more appealing as SCTE and a host of Canadian engineering professionals set out to explore technical issues specific to Canada.

The Summit is set for Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 3–4, 2009, in Toronto and is designed to facilitate the exchange of technical information for today and tomorrow among Canadian engineering professionals.

The Summit’s exhibit hall will provide hands-on technology in the form of table-top displays from numerous companies operating within the cable telecommunications industry with interests in Canada. Exhibitors will interact with attendees in an up-close, personal atmosphere.

Exhibits will be open from 2 to 5 p.m. on the Summit’s first day and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second day. SCTE is accepting contracts, with payment in full, from companies who wish to be added to the waiting list for table-top space.

Attendees of the Summit will be taking full advantage of a unique opportunity to broaden their knowledge through the engineering exhibits, technical breakout sessions, general sessions, and networking engagements.

The inaugural Summit will focus on the impact of integrating new technologies into existing cable infrastructures. The event will provide attendees with an understanding of opportunities and pitfalls—all geared toward helping these professionals to maximize their operational efficiencies and serve their customers more effectively.

Attendee registration, a list of exhibiting companies, an outline of the technical sessions, and still more Summit details are available at www.scte.org.

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SCTE ESTABLISHES NEW AWARD FOR CANADIAN ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) today is pleased to announce its development and launch of a new award that annually will recognize a young cable telecommunications engineering professional in Canada who is already making his or her mark on the industry.

The Young Canadian Engineering Professional of the Year Award will debut as part of the inaugural SCTE Canadian Summit, which is set for Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 3–4, 2009, in Toronto. The award—with Aurora Networks as the sponsor and Cartt.ca as the publishing partner—will be presented during the Summit’s Awards Luncheon on Feb. 3.

Individuals will be nominated for the award based upon their outstanding contributions, achievements, and leadership in advancing the cable telecommunications industry. Nominees must be a Canadian resident, an SCTE member, and under the age of 35 as of Dec. 31, 2008.

The deadline for nominations for the first Young Canadian Engineering Professional of the Year—the 2009 award—is Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008. Individuals interested in submitting a nomination may do so by visiting www.scte.org, selecting Member Services, and then selecting Awards and Recognition.

The new annual SCTE Canadian Summit itself is designed to promote the exchange of technical information for today and tomorrow among Canadian engineering professionals. Details and registration are available at www.scte.org. The direct link for the Summit is http://www.scte.org/content/index.cfm?pID=1647. Information about exhibitor, sponsorship, and advertising opportunities is available online as well. www.scte.org

TIA

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Files 2009 National Trade Estimate on Foreign Trade Barriers With USTR

Report Highlights Obstacles for U.S. Exports of Telecommunications Equipment

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, officially filed today its 2009 National Trade Estimate (NTE) on Foreign Trade Barriers Report with the United States Trade Representative. The NTE is an annual series that details significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports. Countries and regions covered in this year’s TIA submission include China, India, Republic of Korea, Mexico, the European Union, and Brazil.

“Promoting a truly global communications market, TIA encourages full, fair, and open competition,” said TIA Vice President for Government Affairs Danielle Coffey.  “While the world continues to make progress in liberalizing trade generally over the long term, obstacles still remain for U.S. exports of telecommunications equipment.”

Trade barriers highlighted in this year’s NTE filing include import duties; discrimination in government procurement; protectionist policies associated with indigenous innovation initiatives; foreign equipment certification processes; standards development; and spectrum management issues.

To access TIA’s 2009 NTE submission, please visit our USTR filings page at tiaonline.org.

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About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org.

TIA’s Board of Directors includes senior-level executives from ACS, ADC, ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent, ANDA Networks, ArrayComm, AttivaCorp, Avaya, Bechtel Communications, Inc., Cam Communications, Cisco Systems, Corning Incorporated, Ericsson, Inc., Graybar, Henkels & McCoy, ILS Technology, Intel Corporation, LGE, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, OneChip Photonics Inc., Panasonic Computer Solutions Co., Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corporation, Tellabs, Tyco Electronics, Ulticom, Inc., and Verari Systems. Advisors to the Board include FAL Associates, Orca Systems and Telcordia Technologies.

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Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Issues Network Model for Evaluating Multimedia Transmission Over IP

New Standard Defines IP Network Model, Specifying Scenarios for Evaluating and Comparing Equipment Connected Over a Converged Network

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, has announced a new standard: TIA-921-A Network Model for Evaluating Multimedia Transmission Performance Over Internet Protocol.

TIA-921-A defines an IP network model and specifies scenarios intended for evaluating and comparing communications equipment connected over a converged network.

TIA-921-A uses the same statistical approach as previous network model standards. It differs from the previous physical-layer (layer 1) standards by focusing on the impact of impairments on Internet Protocol (IP) layer 3 performance. IP streams from any type of network device can be evaluated using this model.

The IP network model consists of many impairment combinations that are scenario based and time varying. The test scenarios combine LAN, access, and core network elements in a realistic way to create Layer 3 IP network impairments that cause packets to experience varying delay, reordering, or loss. These scenarios are based on actual network data provided by anonymous IP service providers and IP network equipment manufacturers.

Examples of the types of equipment that can be evaluated using this model include IP-connected endpoints and PSTN-connected devices through IP gateways. The model includes parameters that can be used to configure and setup suitable emulator equipment.

TIA-921-A was formulated under the cognizance of the TIA Engineering Committee TR-30 Multi-Media Access, Protocols and Interfaces Subcommittee TR-30.3, Data Communications Equipment Evaluation and Network Interfaces.

To obtain copies of the document, contact IHS International at +1.800.854.7179 (United States and Canada); +1.303.397.7796 (international) or visit global.ihs.com.

For technical information, please contact Ronda Coulter at rcoulter@tiaonline.org. For media inquiries, please contact Mike Snyder: msnyder@tiaonline.org.

TR-30 member companies include: ADTRAN, Airvana, Inc., Analog Devices, Inc., Anue Systems, Berk-Tek, Broadcom Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., Conexant Systems, Inc., CSI Telecommunications, Defense Information Systems Agency, FAL Associates, Flykees, Gemalto INC, Intel Corporation, Intellon, LSI Corporation, Maz-Sky Canadian International Group, Inc., Mindspeed Technologies, Motorola, Inc., Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel Networks, PacketStorm Communications, Inc., Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, Sony Wireless Tech Division, Spirent Communications, Telchemy, Incorporated, Telcordia Technologies, Texas Instruments, Inc.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org.

TIA’s Board of Directors includes senior-level executives from ACS, ADC, ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent, ANDA Networks, ArrayComm, AttivaCorp, Avaya, Bechtel Communications, Inc., Cam Communications, Cisco Systems, Corning Incorporated, Ericsson, Inc., Graybar, Henkels & McCoy, ILS Technology, Intel Corporation, LGE, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, OneChip Photonics Inc., Panasonic Computer Solutions Co., Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corporation, Tellabs, Tyco Electronics, Ulticom, Inc., and Verari Systems. Advisors to the Board include FAL Associates, Orca Systems and Telcordia Technologies.

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Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Urges FCC to Reform Intercarrier Compensation and Universal Service Fund

TIA and VON Coalition Advocate for Federal Jurisdiction of IP-Enabled Services, Uniform Termination Rates for All Traffic on the PSTN, and a Broadband Fund for Underserved Areas

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, submitted two filings today asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take up comprehensive reform of intercarrier compensation (ICC) and the Universal Service Fund (USF).

TIA joined with the Voice On the Net (VON) Coalition and several other high-tech associations in comments urging the FCC to adopt reforms that encourage innovative communications services and applications, and to continue to foster more rapid deployment of broadband networks to unleash the benefits of evolving technologies. 

Consistent with past TIA positions, the comments advocate for: federal jurisdiction of IP-enabled services; the use of uniform termination rates for all traffic on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN); and the requirement of broadband build-out by recipients of the Universal Service Fund.

TIA and the VON Coalition said that, if successful, the FCC’s intercarrier compensation reforms will eliminate artificial economic inefficiencies, empower consumers to structure their communications as they see fit, and enable the deployment of new services in response to consumer demand.

In a separate letter to the Commission, TIA today reiterated its position from comments filed earlier this year that the FCC create a Broadband Fund for the subsidization of the build-out of high-capacity broadband. TIA reemphasized the importance of including broadband in the USF, adding that any Broadband Fund should be technology and competitively neutral.

“TIA recognizes that many rural or otherwise hard-to-serve areas remain unserved or underserved,” said Danielle Coffey, TIA Vice President for Government Affairs.   “Deployment of high-speed services to these areas should be supported because broadband deployment expands opportunities for all Americans, making businesses more competitive and also enabling e-health, e-learning, and e-government.”

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About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org.

TIA’s Board of Directors includes senior-level executives from ACS, ADC, ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent, ANDA Networks, ArrayComm, AttivaCorp, Avaya, Bechtel Communications, Inc., Cam Communications, Cisco Systems, Corning Incorporated, Ericsson, Inc., GENBAND, Inc., Graybar, Henkels & McCoy, ILS Technology, Intel Corporation, LGE, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, OneChip Photonics Inc., Panasonic Computer Solutions Co., Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corporation, Tellabs, Tyco Electronics, Ulticom, Inc., and Verari Systems. Advisors to the Board include FAL Associates, Orca Systems and Telcordia Technologies.

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Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Files 2009 National Trade Estimate on Foreign Trade Barriers With USTR

Report Highlights Obstacles for U.S. Exports of Telecommunications Equipment

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, officially filed today its 2009 National Trade Estimate (NTE) on Foreign Trade Barriers Report with the United States Trade Representative. The NTE is an annual series that details significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports. Countries and regions covered in this year’s TIA submission include China, India, Republic of Korea, Mexico, the European Union, and Brazil.

“Promoting a truly global communications market, TIA encourages full, fair, and open competition,” said TIA Vice President for Government Affairs Danielle Coffey.  “While the world continues to make progress in liberalizing trade generally over the long term, obstacles still remain for U.S. exports of telecommunications equipment.”

Trade barriers highlighted in this year’s NTE filing include import duties; discrimination in government procurement; protectionist policies associated with indigenous innovation initiatives; foreign equipment certification processes; standards development; and spectrum management issues.

To access TIA’s 2009 NTE submission, please visit our USTR filings page at tiaonline.org.

Sign up for TIA RSS news feeds on legislative and regulatory action.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org.

TIA’s Board of Directors includes senior-level executives from ACS, ADC, ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent, ANDA Networks, ArrayComm, AttivaCorp, Avaya, Bechtel Communications, Inc., Cam Communications, Cisco Systems, Corning Incorporated, Ericsson, Inc., Graybar, Henkels & McCoy, ILS Technology, Intel Corporation, LGE, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, OneChip Photonics Inc., Panasonic Computer Solutions Co., Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corporation, Tellabs, Tyco Electronics, Ulticom, Inc., and Verari Systems. Advisors to the Board include FAL Associates, Orca Systems and Telcordia Technologies.

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Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Urges Congress to Consider Broadband Deployment for Economic Stimulus

Broadband Incentives Would Further Important National Goals and Provide Substantial Benefits to All Americans, Says TIA President Grant Seiffert

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, today urged bipartisan, bicameral congressional leaders to include broadband deployment incentives in any future economic stimulus bill.

“Including broadband incentives in a stimulus package would further a number of important goals and priorities of the Congress and provide substantial benefits to all Americans,” noted TIA President Grant Seiffert in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“Broadband networks directly impact the productivity of our industries and our economy,” said Seiffert, “and pivotally affect public safety, education, health care, and countless other functions in Americans’ daily lives. Like any other infrastructure project, the deployment and use of broadband will significantly increase and maintain job growth well beyond the initial investment in the infrastructure itself. Now is the time to invest in the long-term economic future of our country.”

Seiffert cited a Connected Nation report, “The Economic Impact of Stimulating Broadband Nationally,” which found that “just a 7 percentage point increase in broadband adoption could result in $134 billion per year in total direct economic impact” to the United States. That includes $662 million saved per year in healthcare costs.

To read TIA’s letter to congressional leaders, please visit our Capitol Hill filings page at tiaonline.org.

Sign up for TIA RSS news feeds on legislative and regulatory action.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org.

TIA’s Board of Directors includes senior-level executives from ACS, ADC, ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent, ANDA Networks, ArrayComm, AttivaCorp, Avaya, Bechtel Communications, Inc., Cam Communications, Cisco Systems, Corning Incorporated, Ericsson, Inc., Graybar, Henkels & McCoy, ILS Technology, Intel Corporation, LGE, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, OneChip Photonics Inc., Panasonic Computer Solutions Co., Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corporation, Tellabs, Tyco Electronics, Ulticom, Inc., and Verari Systems. Advisors to the Board include FAL Associates, Orca Systems and Telcordia Technologies.

USGBC

USGBC Reaffirms Commitment to Developing Green Building Code

Partnership to move forward; USGBC Nominates Mark MacCracken, Brendan Owens to Standard Development Committee

The U.S. Green Building Council reaffirmed its commitment to the development of Standard 189.1 P, which will be America's first National Standard developed to be used as a green building code when completed. Created specifically for adoption by states, localities, and other building code jurisdictions that are ready to require a minimum level of green building performance for all commercial buildings, Standard 189.1 P is being developed as an ANSI standard under ASHRAE's leadership, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council and IESNA.

"As green building goes mainstream, government leaders are asking for tools that set minimum standards for green building said Jason Hartke, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, USGBC. "And Standard 189 will be an important part of that toolkit."

Leading cities including Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles require most commercial buildings to reach LEED Silver; and earlier this year, the State of California authored and adopted a statewide green building code.

Doubts about the future of Standard 189.1 P were raised in late October by ASHRAE's decision to reconstitute the volunteer committee responsible for the development of the green building code. While rebuilding the committee will mean delays, USGBC remains confident in the quality of the final result.

Brendan Owens, VP of LEED Technical Development, USGBC, and a member of the Standard 189.1 P elaborated, "USGBC is deeply committed to our work with ASHRAE and to the integrity of the standard's content. Creating a national green building code is imperative to our mission of market transformation, and we will be 100% engaged to make sure it delivers on that promise."

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About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC's founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,500 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry's popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 79 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups.  For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

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Green Homebuilding Takes Center Stage at Greenbuild

First-ever Green Homebuilder’s Day Highlights Growing Green Home Market

a sign of the growing interest in and accessibility of healthy, affordable, efficient homes, this year’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo will feature the first-ever Green Homebuilder’s Day.

Green Homebuilder’s Day, the U.S. Green Building Council’s first-ever residentially focused program, will be Thursday, Nov. 20, during Greenbuild 2008 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. It will include a panel session from 2:30-4 p.m., moderated by Kevin O’Connor, the Emmy-nominated host of PBS’ This Old House television series. The panel speakers will be Tedd Benson, founder of Bensonwood (www.bensonwood.com), a woodworking company specializing in timberframe structures and prefabrication; and Steve Kieran, founder of KieranTimberlake Associates LLP (http://kierantimberlake.com/home/index.html), an award-winning architecture firm noted for its research and innovative design. The panel will address the changing housing market and will discuss what will need to change over the next 50 years to ensure homes are sustainable and healthy for those who live in them.

Green Homebuilder’s Day will also feature an educational session track targeted specifically at the residential market. Sessions will discuss such topics as green affordable housing, ways to address the aging housing stock, the costs of going green, and high-performance renovations. A complete list of Green Homebuilder’s Day sessions and more information are available at www.greenbuildexpo.org/Program/green_homebuilders.html.

Green Homebuilder’s Day will be capped off with a closing reception, at which seven outstanding projects and builders will receive awards.  Also, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with a LEED for Homes Provider from their area.  They’ll be able to talk to the Providers about how close they are to building to the LEED benchmark, and what their next steps should be for getting more involved in green homebuilding.

Anyone interested in attending Green Homebuilder’s Day can register for the one-day event for $200 and have access to the 12 sessions, plus the Kevin O’Connor session, a breakfast, a closing reception and full access to the exhibit hall. A Greenbuild attendee with a full-conference registration can sign up for any of the 12 sessions, including the Kevin O’Connor session, but not including the breakfast or the reception. Visit www.greenbuildexpo.org/Register/.

The U.S. Green Building Council, which has hosted Greenbuild yearly since November 2002, recently expanded its LEED® Green Building Rating System™ to include a LEED for Homes certification program. Some 10,250 homes participated in the LEED for Homes pilot program, and since the rating system officially launched in January 2008, nearly 3,500 more have registered and more than 1,000 have been certified.

Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, and the quality of the air indoors is often two to five times worse, and occasionally more than 100 times worse, than outdoor air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s ENERGY STAR program estimates that the average American household spends around $1,500 every year on energy bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings’ energy use accounts for 39% of the United States’ carbon emissions.

“The role buildings play in our lives cannot be understated. The impact they have on human health, climate change, our water supply and the health of habitats and the environment represents a tremendous opportunity to make positive changes by starting in the places where we live,” said Nate Kredich, Vice President of Residential Market Development, USGBC.

BuildingGreen, an independent publishing company in Vermont committed to bringing its members accurate, unbiased and timely green design information, contributed greatly to the development of the educational sessions.

“It's hard to imagine packing more power and purpose into Greenbuild, but the first-ever Green Homebuilder’s Day does just that for the residential building community,” said Peter Yost, Director of Residential Services and GreenBuildingAdvisor.com, BuildingGreen.

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About USGBC
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,500 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 79 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups.  For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

About Greenbuild
The U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo convenes the industry’s largest gathering of representatives from all sectors of the green building movement.  Three days of extensive educational programming, workshops, a vast exhibition floor and ample networking events provide unrivaled opportunities to learn about the latest technological innovations, explore new products, and exchange ideas with other professionals. Greenbuild 2008 will be held on Nov. 19-21, 2008, in Boston.  Last year’s conference drew over 23,000 attendees and featured more than 850 exhibit booths.  Visit www.greenbuildexpo.org for more information.  To view last year’s Greenbuild show, go to www.greenbuild365.org.  

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LEED 2009 Member Balloting Underway

Two Weeks Left for Members to Cast Their Ballot

Member balloting for LEED 2009 is underway, marking the U.S. Green Building Council’s final step in this latest evolution of the LEED green building certification system.   Member approval is the final stage of the process used to develop, test, evaluate, revise and publish all LEED rating systems. Member ballot opened on October 14 and will close November 14, 2008, at 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time.
    
LEED 2009 represents an important major evolution of the existing LEED rating systems for commercial buildings, and includes a series of major technical advancements focused on improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and addressing other environmental and human health outcomes.

LEED 2009 will also incorporate highly anticipated regional credits, extra points that have been identified as priorities within a project’s given environmental zone.  LEED has also undergone a scientifically grounded re-weighting of credits, changing allocation of points to reflect climate change and energy efficiency as urgent priorities.  This will be one of the most significant changes to the rating system, and will increase the importance of green building as a means of contributing immediate and measurable solutions to social, economic and environmental problems facing the world today.

LEED 2009 incorporates eight years worth of market and user feedback, in the form of precedent-setting Credit Interpretation Rulings, which will ensure clarity for project teams. Coupled with a credit alignment structure designed to create a more elegant and harmonized rating system, LEED 2009 will reset the bar for the certification of high-performance green buildings.

Process innovation in how new technical advancements are incorporated into LEED will also be introduced alongside LEED 2009, including a “pilot process” for individual credits that will allow major new technical developments to be flexibly trialed, evaluated, and incorporated into LEED.  

“Over the last eight years, LEED has been a successful tool in the market, transforming the built environment towards sustainable building practices.  Just as integral to our mission is the process of continuous improvement within LEED so it can continue to reset the bar, as new information, technologies and processes become available,” said Brendan Owens, Vice President LEED Technical Development.  “With the approval of our members, the launch of 2009 will give the market a tool that is more flexible and adaptive, while retaining the technical rigor and practicality LEED has always been known for.”

The first public comment period for LEED 2009 opened in May 2008, followed by a second in late August. USGBC had received nearly 7,000 comments from members and stakeholders at the conclusion of the second public comment period on September 2.  The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) reviewed the comments and incorporated changes, passing along the rating system to the LEED Steering Committee (LSC).  LSC approved LEED 2009 and set it on its course to member ballot. The member ballot will be open for 30 days, from October 14 through November 14, 2008, at 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time.  Detailed information about specific proposed technical changes to the rating system can be found in the number of background documents that accompany the public comment forms on USGBC’s Web site, www.usgbc.org.

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About USGBC
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 16,700 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 79 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups.  For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

About LEED®
The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification system is a feature-oriented certification program that awards buildings points for satisfying specified green building criteria.  The six major environmental categories of review include:  Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation and Design.  Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category.  LEED can be applied to all building types including new construction, commercial interiors, core & shell developments, existing buildings, homes, neighborhood developments, schools and retail facilities.  LEED for Healthcare is currently under development and is expected to be released in early 2008.  

Incentives for LEED are available at the state and local level and LEED has also been adopted nationwide by federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies.  For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/LEED.

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LEED 2009 PASSES MEMBER BALLOT


New Rating System Resets the Bar for Green Building Performance


LEED 2009, the long-awaited update to the internationally recognized LEED green building certification program, has passed member ballot, and will be introduced in 2009 as the next major evolution of the existing LEED rating systems for commercial buildings.   It includes a series of major technical advancements focused on improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and addressing other environmental and human health outcomes.

LEED 2009 will also incorporate highly anticipated regional credits, extra points that have been identified as priorities within a project’s given environmental zone.  LEED has also undergone a scientifically grounded re-weighting of credits, changing allocation of points among LEED credits to reflect climate change and energy efficiency as urgent priorities.  This will be one of the most significant changes to the rating system, and will increase the importance of green building as a means of contributing immediate and measurable solutions toward energy independence, climate change mitigation, and other global priorities.

LEED 2009 incorporates eight years worth of market and user feedback in the form of precedent-setting Credit Interpretation Rulings, which will ensure clarity for project teams. Coupled with a credit alignment structure designed to create a more elegant and harmonized rating system, LEED 2009 will reset the bar for the certification of high-performance green buildings.

Process innovation in how new technical advancements are incorporated into LEED will also be introduced alongside LEED 2009, including a “pilot process” for individual credits that will allow major new technical developments to be flexibly trialed, evaluated, and incorporated into LEED. 

“The conclusion of the balloting process marks the culmination of tireless work done by representatives from all corners of the building industry,” said Brendan Owens, Vice President, LEED Technical Development, U.S. Green Building Council’s.  “We have the deepest gratitude for our volunteer leaders, and for their bold steps towards resetting the bar for green building leadership and challenges the industry to move faster and reach further.”

The first public comment period for LEED 2009 opened in May 2008, followed by a second in late August. USGBC had received nearly 7,000 comments from members and stakeholders at the conclusion of the second public comment period on September 2.  The final step is the consensus development process for LEED 2009 was to be balloted for a pass/fail vote among USGBC’s 18,000 member organizations. LEED 2009 successfully passed member ballot on November 14. Detailed information about specific proposed technical changes to the rating system can be found in the background documents that accompany the public comment forms on USGBC’s Web site.

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About USGBC
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 16,700 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 79 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups.  For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

About LEED®
The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification system is a feature-oriented certification program that awards buildings points for satisfying specified green building criteria.  The six major environmental categories of review include:  Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation and Design.  Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category.  LEED can be applied to all building types including new construction, commercial interiors, core & shell developments, existing buildings, homes, neighborhood developments, schools and retail facilities.  LEED for Healthcare is currently under development and is expected to be released in early 2008.

Incentives for LEED are available at the state and local level and LEED has also been adopted nationwide by federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/LEED.

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Now Open for Public Comment: LEED for Neighborhood Development

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the opening of the first public comment period for its LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system. The program is the first national certification system for green neighborhood design and development.

LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration between the USGBC, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and integrates the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building.  USGBC began pilot testing LEED for Neighborhood Development in early 2007, and accepted nearly 240 pilot projects into the program, representing 39 states and 6 countries. The rating system will evaluate projects on criteria related to smart location and linkage to the community at large; neighborhood pattern and design; and green construction and technology.

“The development of LEED for Neighborhood Development speaks to the breadth of what ‘green building’ means,” said Sophie Lambert, Director of LEED for Neighborhood Development, U.S. Green Building Council.  “What was once a rating system solely designed for commercial construction, LEED is now evolving beyond single buildings to address development at the neighborhood scale.”

Public comment for LEED for Neighborhood Development opened on November 17 and will run until January 5, 2009.  To view the LEED for Neighborhood Development draft and submit comments online, please visit: http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/LEEDDrafts/RatingSystemVersions.aspx?CMSPageID=1458

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About USGBC
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,500 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 79 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups.  For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

About LEED®
The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification system is a feature-oriented certification program that awards buildings points for satisfying specified green building criteria.  The six major environmental categories of review include:  Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation and Design.  Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category.  LEED can be applied to all building types including new construction, commercial interiors, core & shell developments, existing buildings, homes, neighborhood developments, schools and retail facilities.  LEED for Healthcare is currently under development and is expected to be released in early 2008. 

Incentives for LEED are available at the state and local level and LEED has also been adopted nationwide by federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies.  For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/LEED.   

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THE GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION INSTITUTE NAMES NEW LEADER

Longtime USGBC Exec Peter Templeton Appointed as President

The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) announced today that Peter Templeton will assume the new role of President of GBCI. In his leadership role at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Templeton was vital to the early development of the LEED green building certification system, the launch of the LEED Accredited Professional (LEEP AP) program, the expansion of USGBC’s educational programming, and the successful spin-off of GBCI earlier this year.

“Peter’s long history of exceptional leadership within the green building movement makes him the ideal President of GBCI,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC. “Peter has been integrally involved in both USGBC's biggest milestones and its day-to-day achievements, and he will bring the same commitment to the integrity of the work to his new role.”

Templeton added, “I am honored to join the founding team of GBCI. Our mission is to administer the certification and credentialing programs related to green building practice in a way that is scalable to meet the ever increasing capacity and demand, while also maintaining the highest levels of quality and integrity.”

Most recently, Templeton has served as Senior Vice President of Education & Research for the U.S. Green Building Council, where he led the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, LEED training and professional certification programs, and green building research initiatives. He joined USGBC as its second employee in 2000 immediately following the launch of the LEED® Green Building Rating System™ and served as Director of LEED & International Programs until July 2005. Over the course of his eight-year tenure with the organization, USGBC trained more than 110,000 professionals in green building practices and welcomed nearly 100,000 attendees to Greenbuild.

Prior to joining USGBC, Peter worked as a project manager and environmental planner directing sustainable development, environmental education and land-use management programs in the United States and abroad. . He has a Masters Degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia School of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University.

About GBCI
GBCI was created to administer certification and credentialing programs related to green building practice and to ensure that the LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) program continues to be developed in accordance with best practices for credentialing programs. To underscore this commitment, GBCI will undergo the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation process for personnel certification agencies complying with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard 17024. Beginning in 2009, GBCI will begin administering the LEED certification process for buildings. For more information, please visit www.GBCI.org.

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USGBC and Senator Hillary Clinton Offer Energy Saving Solutions for School Districts

Mindful of rising energy costs and the cold winter ahead, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), in partnership with U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., invite school district officials, facilities managers, school administrators, teachers and others interested in providing America’s students with high-performing schools to view a series of online webinars that offer innovative solutions for reducing energy costs in K-12 schools. The webinars showcase affordable and immediate solutions to reducing the skyrocketing costs of operating America’s schools.

“As New Yorkers head into winter, sky-high energy costs and the fallout from our country’s current economic crisis will stretch our school budgets thin, and it is important to take steps now to improve the energy efficiency of our schools so that we can conserve our natural and financial resources,” said Senator Clinton. “I am proud to be working with the U.S. Green Building Council and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to offer our New York schools this educational series that outlines simple steps to help make our schools greener and more efficient.  In conserving energy, we’re not only helping the environment, we’re saving extra dollars that can go toward additional resources to enrich our children’s education.”

Just like so many families throughout the country, school districts too are struggling to find ways to make ends meet. Many are looking at unprecedented and dramatic cuts to offset these rising energy costs, including cutting the school week to four days and terminating school bus routes.

The Energy Efficiency Strategies for Schools webinars are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and will be broadcast on:

•    Thursday, November 6, 2008 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm EST: “Top 10 No-Cost Ways to Lower Your School's Utility Bills”
•    Wednesday, December 3, 2008 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm EST: “Top 10 Low-Cost Ways to Lower Your School’s Utility Bills”
•    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm EST: “Top 10 Investments to Lower Your School's Utility Bills”

To learn more and to register, visit www.usgbc.org/webinars. View Sen. Clinton’s personal message to school districts at www.buildgreenschools.org/resources/vid_senator_clinton.html.

“We are grateful to Senator Clinton for her leadership on this important and very real challenge, said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO, President and Founding Chair, USGBC.  “While we can’t control the price of energy, we can take incremental, proactive steps to improve the energy efficiency of our school buildings, saving money on utility bills so we don’t have to cut important educational programs and services just to keep the lights on.”

To learn more about green schools, visit www.buildgreenschools.org

www.usgbc.org

Article Contributions

CARLINI

The Declining Vortex of American Wealth: Many Robbed Electronically

Published on 11/26/2008 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives

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.

CHICAGO – Millions of people have been robbed electronically without even knowing it.

Unless you’re directly in line for a bailout, you have lost money from several key long-term investments that you were led to believe were ironclad or at least the best you could do with your income. That’s why many people are confused and disillusioned in their future and about what the economy holds for them.

Your House is Your Largest Investment

Remember when you were told this when making a decision to buy a house? For years everyone looked at buying a house as their single most important investment. It was the goal for young couples as well as a key component in fulfilling the American dream.

The goal was to pay it off, and then when you retired, you would sell it and use the proceeds to buy something else and possibly have a couple hundred thousand dollars left to use in retirement. Some would buy and then move up to a higher-priced house as part of the long-term strategy for growing that long-term nest egg.

It’s interesting to hear many business commentators shy away from this concept lately. I have heard:

·  A house is just a place to live.

·  Don’t look at your house as an investment.

·  Maybe you should cut back on your house ownership.

·  Houses should not be looked at as an investment.

This is in direct conflict to years if not decades of sound investment strategies. Investors were chastised after the NASDAQ crash in 2000 by the investment pundits. They were told they put too much emphasis on technology stocks and should have diversified their money into blue chips and mutual funds.

After the implosion of stocks like Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and others, blue chips were questioned. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act emerged to combat all the fault and lack of confidence in the stock market.

At that time, the pundits came out again and said you have to diversify more. They said the fourth asset class after stocks, bonds and cash is real estate. Part of your portfolio should be real estate. Many (who still had some money left) went out and speculated on real estate. The speculators went out and bought houses and condos and tried to flip them for cash.

Buying an extra condo and then flipping it was a strategy for many speculators. At one point, it was a relatively easy move to increase wealth. Like any other investment, the problem was it became a hot potato and anyone stuck with it at the end of the game would be penalized. That has happened and many have been stuck with a hot-potato condo that no one else wants and no one believes it’s worth what they’re asking.

Look at the amount of condos in downtown Chicago. You can go to Craig’s List and find that some speculators are just trying to see if they can rent them out for a night or weekend just to try to make some money to help pay the mortgage or assessment. Their asking price for a night in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo is cheaper than many of the single rooms in hotels.

Even sales offers from Trump Tower are appearing. Someone was e-mailing an offer to sell a unit for “30 percent to 40 percent off market value at a price of $2,999,770 plus parking”. Plus parking? Even if it’s 30 percent to 40 percent “off market,” for that price it should include a couple parking spaces. What planet are they talking about when they say “market”? Will it sell?

Don’t be surprised to see an automaker pick that condo up for its executives to stay at when they are in Chicago. How will they afford it? That’s your bailout money at work. Look at some of the new, smaller condo buildings going into foreclosure as well because not enough units have sold. Larger complexes have switched to being apartments just in an effort to get some cash flow.

Masses Robbed Without Guns

It’s funny how so many people are rushing out to buy guns right now to protect them from the anticipated onslaught of rises in robberies and crime in the declining economy. In actuality, they have already been robbed electronically by falling stock prices in their retirement plans and sinking home values.

I wrote about the ghost equity in your house several months ago. That’s the equity you think is there but has actually disappeared. If you thought your house was worth $500,000, maybe it’s only worth $360,000. Actually, it’s only worth $360,000 if you can find a buyer who has good enough credit and cash for 20 percent down.

Though some people have not accepted this fact, we have case after case where people have gotten a lot less than what they thought they would be getting. One good example that has a common theme is where someone wants to refinance only and finds their house is not appraising out to where it was two years ago. Here is a perfect and real example of this:

·  A family wanted to move into a larger house and had one built in a far northwest suburb of Chicago. They put down $12,000 to get the builder started. By the time the house was built, they figured they would get their house sold and the down payment would come from it.

As the first house never sold in time, they went out and picked up a $400,000 jumbo mortgage for the place while figuring they could handle the cheap interest. Now they want to refinance and they go to the bank for a fixed-rate mortgage.

They find out that the $400,000 house is now appraising at $300,000, and in order to get a mortgage, they must put down 20 percent. They need $60,000 for the 20 percent down for the $300,000 house but also need to pay off the $100,000 that the house dropped in value.

The bottom line is they have to come up with $160,000 to get into a lower monthly payment. There’s that ghost equity again. Where did that $100,000 go?

This type of scenario is playing out all over the place and those caught up in it realize their ghost equity is gone. One of my friends told me about this financial strategy in retaining what assets he has left: “It’s too late to invest in gold. I’m now investing in lead.”

Carlinism: In the equilibrium of society, crime rises when an economy falls. Only gun stores are doing well in this economy.

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.

To be remoned from this mailing list, please contact the sender.

Copyright 2008 Jim Carlini

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AT&T Usage Limits: Where’s the Monthly Discount, Speedometer?

Published on 11/5/2008 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives

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.

The sending of bulk e-mails and other messages has been restricted by hidden account limits. This has been going on for several months. In an announcement about service in Nevada, AT&T said:

AT&T will be providing written notice to customers involved in the trial explaining that their broadband service will be subject to a certain monthly usage tier for the total amount of data they may send and receive as well as a per-gigabyte charge in the event they exceed the usage tier.

They can’t get away from “metering” as a way to collect more money. The interesting thing is that they’re planning to provide a meter to show the customer’s usage. AT&T also said:

We further explained that AT&T will provide customers with an online usage metering tool that displays a running total of the amount of data the customer has transmitted during a given month.

AT&T also will send written notices to customers when they reach 80 percent of their monthly usage tier to remind them of the usage tier and the additional charges that apply for exceeding it.

In addition, the first time a customer exceeds the applicable monthly usage tier, AT&T will send a written notice reminding the customer again about the usage tier. We will not impose any additional charges at that time.

Only after the second time the customer exceeds the applicable monthly usage tier will the customer be subject to additional per-gigabyte charges.

This is the equivalent of a gas gauge on your car. If you put the accelerator down by sending out huge files, you will use up the usage you have left pretty quickly. It will show on your “usage gauge”.

So Where is the Speedometer?

More than two years ago, I suggested the implementation of a network speedometer to indicate what type of speed a subscriber is getting from his or her service.

Some scoffed at the idea for various reasons while others said it should be standard. If they have the technology to add in a “usage gauge,” they have the ability to add a speedometer. Of course, that would put a measure on their performance rather than yours.

If they are going to limit the amount of megabytes you can send, how about discounting the monthly rate to reflect a new limit that was not part of the original agreement when you signed up for service? While they say they’re going to take care of that in Nevada, what about what has been quietly going on everywhere else?

There is more to this, too. I have noticed in the last two months on a Yahoo! e-mail account that there are now hourly sending limits when sending out a weekly newsletter to about 1,000 people. You can send to about 99 names an hour. There’s also a daily limit on how many users you can send to within 24 hours. It’s a couple hundred.

This limit was not imposed before. In talking with technicians after filing a trouble report with AT&T, they confirmed that they are tightening down the amount of e-mails you can send within a day.

So Where is the Lower Monthly Fee?

If AT&T is going to restrict usage (which equates to taking away service), where is the corresponding discount in monthly rates? It sounds like something all the utility commissions should be considering. The consumer has been getting “shorted” in this last year with many products.

I’m sure you have seen the packaging of various products go from 100 plates to 80 plates to 70 plates all with the same price. What about the two-pound bag of coffee going from $9.99 to $12.99? Those are all hefty percentage increases with few noticing. I suppose AT&T feels it’s no different than all the other consumer product companies.

Carlinism: If meters are going to be used to measure customer usage, we should also measure the performance of the carriers as well with a network speedometer.

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.

To be removed from this mailing list - please contact the sender.

Copyright 2008 Jim Carlini

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Is China’s Infrastructure Investment Better Than $700 Billion U.S. Bailout?

Published on 11/12/2008 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives

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.

CHICAGO – China is going to spend $586 billion on infrastructure improvements. Is that a better long-term investment than the $700 billion U.S. bailout?

It was just announced that China is going to put $586 billion into its infrastructure. Most of the major press reported this in the last several days with various stories discussing the broad investment that China is going to make by 2010, according to its government.

The statement said the spending would focus on 10 areas. They included picking up the pace of spending on low-cost housing (an urgent need in many parts of the country) as well as increased spending on rural infrastructure.

Money will also be poured into new railways, roads and airports. Spending on health and education will be increased as well as on environmental protection and technology.

It’s More Than $700 Billion For the U.S.

Before it got passed, the $700 billion U.S. bailout package expanded into another $150 billion in giveaways. That’s not mentioned in many newscasts.

The U.S. bailout package actually exceeds $850 billion. This doesn’t even take into consideration some other previous bailouts like the one to AIG. Perhaps it’s more like a $1 trillion bailout. I’d like to know how many new airports and high-speed railways are coming out of it not to mention multi-gigabit broadband connectivity networks.

When you’re spending several hundred billion dollars in the U.S., it’s easy to waste a couple billion here and a couple of billion there. I don’t see that with the Chinese. If they put close to $600 billion in play to enhance their infrastructure and housing, chances are they are going to put much of it to good use.

Does This Mean More Jobs in the U.S.?

Don’t hold your breath about China’s infrastructure investment creating more jobs in the U.S. If the Chinese are going to be building infrastructure, this may mean some jobs in the U.S. A couple companies may benefit from large developments in China if heavy construction equipment is bought or if professional services are used. Just don’t expect a surge of new job openings.

If they use the money right, they might create more jobs in the U.S. than our own bailout package, which is already turning into a fiasco. It would have been nice to see this “build the infrastructure” type of package approved in the U.S. instead of a bailout package that’s turning out to be a way to get bonuses for undeserving banking and finance executives.

Instead of driving the money into real stimulus and real relief for those caught up in the credit crunch, bailout money has also been used to buy up competitors. This flies in the face of how the bailout program was sold to the public. It was also recently reported that AIG had another retreat in Arizona after it was criticized for holding a $440,000 retreat that included golf outings and banquets (not to mention a $86,000 hunting trip in England).

“Tally ho” with taxpayer money must be the company motto.

There is some current talk about including the U.S. auto industry in with the bailout recipients. Are you going to run out to buy a new Tahoe or Expedition with your stimulus check? Is this a good move for us? What if we put our money into improving the platform for commerce (the infrastructure) instead?

What Do You Get For $510 Billion Into Infrastructure?

Let’s assume most of China’s investment goes into the different layers of infrastructure. With $76 billion going into housing and other amenities, that leaves $510 billion for infrastructure investments.

What does $510 billion buy for a layer of infrastructure? The table below shows if all of it is put in one layer ($510 billion) and then if it’s split up into two layers ($255 billion a piece) or spread across three layers (with a total of $510 billion).

This looks like a great investment. With all the higher-quality infrastructure levels, the Chinese economy creates a much more solid platform for its global commerce. The payback will create jobs as well as increased global trade.

Adding several international airports as well as high-speed regional rail and broadband connectivity can only strengthen China’s (or anybody’s) economy in the global marketplace. High-speed rail is something that was voted on in the last California election as “Referendum 1A”. The estimated costs in California were $40 billion for an 800-mile track networked between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Their estimate is $50 million a mile. This may include stations and other infrastructure. High-speed rail (a train that goes 220 miles per hour) is not cheap to build per mile. It should only be considered in an area that’s going to really utilize it. All the while, it will create a lot of jobs both in the construction phase and permanently.

A $700 billion bailout package would have been enough to do many of these large infrastructure initiatives in the U.S. In listening to reports of non-deserving executive bonuses, hunting trips, junkets to resorts and acquisitions coming out of the bailout money in the U.S., it sounds like the Chinese have a better handle on national initiatives and how to prioritize building lasting infrastructure.

Carlinism: Certain things in Washington have to be fixed before we can really fix the rest of the country.

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.

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Rising Vacancy Rates in Chicago: Kryptonite of Commercial Leasing

Published on 10/29/2008 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL Perspectives  

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.

 CHICAGO – When vacancy rates go up in metropolitan areas, the first response is often to lower rates. That, though, is the wrong approach.

If all you are doing in real estate is selling space, then lowering the price is a tactical action that you can do to just hope for the best. If you are selling something more than just space, playing the commodity game is wrong and will minimize your return.

Vacancy rates for downtown office space are going up in places like Manhattan, according to Crain’s New York Business:

In the next year, commercial vacancies for the New York metropolitan area will surge to 17.6 percent (up from today’s 12 percent rate), according to a revised forecast issued Monday by Property & Portfolio Research. That’s considerably higher than the 13 percent peak that the firm projected just three months ago.

It’s just a matter of time before downtown commercial markets like Chicago and others follow. The metropolitan Chicago area is already feeling the rise in vacancy rates:

The direct vacancy rate, which doesn’t count space available for sublease, edged up to 19.1 percent in the third quarter [of 2008 as] compared with 18.6 percent in the second quarter [of 2008], according to commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

Today’s rate is more than 2 percentage points higher than a year ago when it stood at 17 percent. When sublease space is included, the vacancy rate in the suburbs [of Chicago] is 22.5 percent [as] compared with 20.6 percent in the third quarter [of 2007].

That being said, real estate property management companies can do one of two things:

lower rates and go into a commodity-based bidding war of “who has the cheapest space” or

start looking at focusing on other strategies aside from the outdated (yet traditional) strategy that hurts those who have quality buildings.

Are You Selling a Commodity?

The vast majority of major real estate and property management firms are stuck in an earlier era of real estate marketing. As one person pointed out to me in a real estate discussion, people in real estate have this to say about change: “Change is good. You go first.”

They are focused on the wrong elements of marketing real estate. Traditional amenities like parking, HVAC (air conditioning) and security are a given. Traditional amenities, though, don’t make a unique location.

Giving away free rent is part of this strategy as well. As noted in another Crain’s New York Business article, the owners are giving away a year’s free rent to try to beat the others in the market to a potential tenant. That works until the guy down the street offers 18 months free on a five-year lease.

There is no end to this “commodity” strategy. It hurts those that have a better building than the competition down the street. The traditional brokers often follow this strategy like lemmings. Few understand that this is an outdated strategy (except those who understand intelligent amenities).

This was the same “strategy” used by brokers in Silicon Valley back in 1985 and 1986 and it was obsolete then. The market had a 40 percent to 45 percent vacancy rate in commercial buildings. Everyone was falling over each other and trying to give more discounts and free months on a five-year lease.

When the market does that, it creates a downward vortex of pricing that commoditizes everything else in the buildings (no matter what else was installed).

What Makes a Better Location Today?

As I keep mentioning at conferences and seminars, the three most important words in real estate today are “location, location, connectivity”. This is not where real estate is headed. It’s where it’s at today. Sophisticated corporate tenants have connectivity on their amenity check lists. Here are five things to look for in buildings:

Green capabilities (lower energy costs and lower operating costs equal a lower rent)

Broadband connectivity (gigabit or more connections to the central office)

Dual connections to network carriers (not one carrier) provide redundancy

A redundant power source provides reliability (power from two different power grids)

On-premise backup generators (a business continuity amenity)

It should be common knowledge that older and inefficient buildings are going to become less desirable as other buildings provide lower operating costs and lower rents. Older buildings are more technologically obsolete and that will also affect their marketability. The same goes for industrial and business parks.

Most office building and industrial park owners don’t understand how much money it will take to retrofit a building. With the markets the way they are, they will be choosing the lesser of two evils. They will spend millions of dollars to retrofit or take a chance by seeing what they can get for the building or park from another investor.

Real issues that should also be looked at are those focusing on power and connectivity. Dual power feeds to separate substations (or better yet separate power providers) provide a higher level of redundancy that more corporate site-selection committees want. They are already looking for broadband connectivity as a given for corporate sites and many people leasing space don’t even know this.

In looking at one commercial market, there were 60 class “A” buildings available in one county. Leasing space there would be a “commodity” strategy. Who has the cheapest space? If the potential tenant is looking for broadband connectivity as a given amenity in that same market, though, the selection of buildings dropped to five buildings.

That’s more than a 90 percent reduction in competition. Some real estate firms don’t yet understand that some of their vacant buildings will remain vacant for a long time because what they have to offer is below the market’s new expectations.

Carlinism: In sales, if you don’t create the yardstick to measure others, others will measure you by theirs.

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.

To be removed from this mailing list, please contact the sender.

Copyright 2008 Jim Carlini

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The $700 Billion U.S. Bailout: It’s a Lifeboat; It’s Not the Queen Mary II

 Published on 11/19/2008 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives

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.

CHICAGO – Malcolm Forbes once said: “Any fool can handle the helm in calm seas.”

In today’s continuing perfect storm of financial implosion, foreclosures and tightening credit, many of the CEOs who bragged about how they were going to drive up profits, make companies more efficient and create wealth for stockholders have missed the boat. They should be walking the plank and not looking for a bailout to secure bonuses.

Talk is cheap from the captains of finance and industry. When the first 80-foot wave of financial implosion hit, many didn’t see it coming.

Their economic navigators gave them bad advice. They were told they only hit a minor squall of the subprime mortgage market. They didn’t realize they actually hit the tip of a multi-wave financial tsunami of staggering defaults on car loans, student loans, credit and residential and commercial real estate implosions.

The next huge wave of diminishing profits hit all these organizations no thanks to the out-of-touch economic navigators who kept cheering their captains to continue full speed ahead instead of slowing down to figure out a new course.

While they’re now trying to jump on the $700 billion lifeboat that the government has thrown out into the perfect storm, the problem is that there are only so many seats on it and now everyone is trying to secure a position.

Our Economy is Unsinkable

So many engineers of the economy thought whatever they did or financially designed would hold up even in the strongest adversity. They were wrong. Instead of acknowledging that their ships are stuck in the water and sinking fast, they want to have a complete luxury liner to walk into. This is not how the economy can and should be run.

On the high seas when your luxury ship goes down, you are very fortunate if you have a lifeboat in which you can survive. It may not have a formal buffet, a rock band or a 50-inch flat-screen TV, but it’s meant to keep you afloat.

You don’t walk off from a sinking luxury liner expecting that the Queen Mary II is going pull up and bail you out with a platinum stateroom. It doesn’t work that way on the high seas and it shouldn’t work that way on the high seas of finance and capitalism. That means no bonuses, no $400,000 banquets and no multimillion-dollar salaries.

Transforming Organizational Titanics Into Starships

There are many manufacturing companies stuck in the Industrial Age. These may not be able to be transformed into post-Information Age organization. Years (if not decades) of inaction in trying to set a new course and jettisoning obsolete strategies have made the auto industry a potentially huge casualty in this perfect storm.

“Giving them a $25 billion bailout will only prolong the inevitable,” Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said. I agree. There needs to be some radical transformation if GM, Ford and Chrysler are to survive.

Even if Ford or GM receive bailout money, doesn’t anyone realize that consumers aren’t then going to just run out and buy a new Tahoe or an Expedition? Many consumers are still laid off or they have taken a lesser-paying job because their good-paying jobs were outsourced or their former company brought in cheap labor to replace them.

While the abuse of the H-1B visa program is a whole other issue, it has also damaged the hull of the economy by putting holes on it like Swiss cheese.

Cities Want Billions, Too

Now in addition to the automakers, Detroit is looking for $10 billion for itself. Atlanta, Philadelphia and Phoenix are looking for some bailout as well. Many states (including Wisconsin) have multibillion-dollar deficits. Everyone is trying to find a seat on an already crowded lifeboat.

Just like on the high seas, put too many people in one lifeboat and it will sink under the burden of weight. Another means must be used to bail out all these other ships of state. It’s called handing them lots of buckets, telling them it’s “all hands on deck” and everyone has to help bail the wastewater off their ship.

Cut spending. Too much bloat won’t keep you afloat. Sink or swim. Cut taxes. Get businesses to want to locate in the state. We should be hearing that echo in Illinois as well instead of “bail, bail, bail”.

Carlinism: Cut out the bloat and you might stay afloat.

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.

To be removed from this list, please contact the sender.

Copyright 2008 Jim Carlini

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Cabling Installation & Maintenance

Super speeds on the horizon:What will skew do?

The IEEE is working to weigh all factors affecting delay skew in 40- and 100-Gbits/sec transmission before a standard is finalized.

TONY IRUJO is manager of customer technical support, and DAVID MAZZARESE is manager of technical marketing at OFS (www.ofsoptics.com).

The IEEE 802.3ba Task Force is well underway in developing the next higher speed transmission rates for Ethernet network communications. On the heels of 10 Gigabit Ethernet, it is remarkable to think that within two years we’ll be seeing network gear and cabling infrastructure capable of supporting 40 and 100 Gbits/sec (40G and 100 G).

What are the drivers behind the need for more bandwidth and higher speeds? This article will address that question, as well provide an overview of the approach the IEEE 802.3ba Task Force is taking to develop the standards.  With a focus primarily on enterprise or premises applications, such as data centers that utilize mostly multimode fiber, we will also discuss the technical issue of “delay skew” and whether it will impact high-speed cable.

Super-speed factors

Higher network speeds are required because of the explosion in bandwidth demand and consequent need for high-capacity, high-performance computing. But specifically, here are the major factors that are driving this demand:

·• Bandwidth-intensive applications, such as video over the Internet (e.g., YouTube);

·• Rapid advancement in R&D and supercomputer activities;

·• Migration of LANs from 100 Mbits/sec to 1 Gbit/sec throughput to the desktop;

·• Greater bandwidth demand in the data center, where all information is aggregated and stored.

Specific application areas requiring either 40G or 100G are different, which is why the IEEE 802.3ba Task Force is developing standards for both speeds simultaneously. 40G will soon be needed in the server market, including server traffic aggregation and storage applications (SANs and NAS), which are seeing significant growth today in 10G connectivity. In fact, some high profile Internet companies and large financial firms are already struggling with the difficulties associated with aggregating multiple 10G links.

The need for 100G capability is expected in the not-too-distant-future for network aggregation, core networking applications (switching and routing), high-performance computing environments, and service provider and Internet exchange peering points.

To balance cost with performance, the 802.3ba Task Force will leverage existing technology, media, and network management practices that have already been proven. In fact, they may relax component performance specifications in some cases to help reduce overall cost. An example is the VCSEL light sources for shorter reach applications using multimode fiber. Proposals within 802.3ba aim to relax the spectral width of these sources from 0.45 nm (current 10-GbE requirement) to 0.65 nm. This limits the distance of such a link due to chromatic dispersion effects, even though the same performance grade of fiber (e.g., OM3 laser-optimized 50 µm) will continue to be specified.

Media and their reach

As in previous Ethernet standards, 40G and 100G will define several different Physical Layer (PHY) implementations for transmitting information over various distances, and media types that will include multimode and singlemode fiber-optic cabling, as well as some form of copper cabling. Additionally, various transceiver types will be defined, distinguished by which media they are intended for and how far they transmit.

The table below lists the currently proposed Physical Medium Dependent (PMD) devices that are being considered for adoption by the IEEE 802.3ba Task Force, along with their media type and minimum expected reach:

For the PMDs involving singlemode fiber, the Task Force is leaning towards using some form of Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) technology, where multiple wavelengths are transmitted over a single fiber. For example, 40 Gbits/sec can be achieved by multiplexing (combining) four wavelengths that are each carrying 10 Gbits/sec. Similarly, 100 Gbits/sec can be obtained by combining four wavelengths operating at 25 Gbits/sec each.

There have been some proposals to use serial transmission for 40G (single wavelength over a single fiber), but this would require further development work and the consensus appears to be that this would be a more costly option.

As shown in the table, for both 40G and 100G, the minimum reach objective for short-reach applications on multimode fiber is 100 meters; this will require use of OM3 fiber. Studies have shown that 100 meters should be long enough for the majority of links in data centers; however, there are instances where longer reach is necessary. To address these, an ad hoc committee was formed within 802.3ba to study and propose the best way to support greater distances on multimode fiber. Upwards of 200 or more meters is being considered, likely requiring use of an OM3+ (or OM4) extended-reach grade of laser-optimized fiber in combination with narrow spectral width VCSELs. The final decision will be a compromise between cost and performance, and will be greatly dependent on how the physical layer is specified.

As an aside, both the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) are actively working to standardize an OM4 multimode fiber having significantly higher bandwidth than the minimum 2000 MHz•km effective modal bandwidth of OM3 fiber. Such high bandwidth fibers are already available today from some fiber manufacturers. 

The TIA and IEC will likely settle on a minimum 4700 MHz•km effective modal bandwidth for OM4 fiber, which currently supports a reach of 550 meters at 10 Gbits/sec over Ethernet. OM4 is expected to provide 150-meter capability for 16GFC (Fiber Channel), and something greater than 100 meters for 40G and 100G Ethernet.

To achieve 40 and 100 Gbits/sec transmission on OM3 multimode fiber, and continue taking advantage of current low-cost VCSEL technology, the IEEE task force is expected to agree on a PMD solution based on a parallel optics technology that has already been proven in the marketplace (like that used for InfiniBand, for instance). This will entail simultaneous transmission of one 10 Gbits/sec signal on each of four or 10 fibers (for 40G and 100G, respectively). Each 10 Gbits/sec signal will be combined in an arrayed transceiver containing four of 10 VCSELs and detectors. 

Aggregating these parallel signals may sound complex; however, from a user perspective, it is the same approach as has been used for copper-based systems for years. The array of VCSELs and the array of detectors will be built onto a single chip that will be connected to the optical fibers with one MPO connector. The MPO connector connects 12 optical fibers as a unit, simplifying the interconnection of both 40G and 100G parallel solutions proposed for multimode fiber. The result is that, for a given link, all detectors will be connected to all the transmitters with a single optical cable.

Using parallel optics with multimode fiber is less complex and, hence, less expensive than doing Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM--multiple wavelengths) over one singlemode fiber. Furthermore, the technology for VCSEL arrays is already mature, while higher-speed WDM over singlemode is still being developed.

Weighing delay skew

The move from serial to parallel transmission will put new requirements on optical cables. For parallel transmission, a parameter called “delay skew” comes into play and is being discussed within the IEEE 802.3ba task group. Delay skew can be defined as the difference in the time it takes the signals traveling down one “lane” (or fiber) compared to that in the other lanes. The transceiver needs to wait until all signals from each fiber are collected before combining them together and sending them on their way.

Delay skew can be affected by several factors, including:

·• Differences in the physical lengths of each fiber within the cable;

·• Differences in speed that the light signal travels down one fiber compared to other fibers in that cable;

·• Any timing differences between the optical transmitters. 

The fiber/cable-based properties (lengths and signal speed) are well understood. One conservative estimate of worst-case skew due to fiber strand length differences is 25 ps/m. On the fiber side, signal speed or propagation time is related to variations in a fiber’s Group Refractive Index and Numerical Aperture (NA). Maximum skew due to extreme variations in these properties (within industry-standard fiber specs) is 16 ps/m. With additional smaller contributions from DMD, group delay, and possible stress affects, the total maximum amount of skew encountered is 45 ps/m.

Good control of fiber length differences in a cable requires a good cable manufacturing process.  Ribbon cables have the potential to offer the best skew performance because the fibers are closely packaged side-by-side and have virtually the same length. But tight buffer and loose tube cable designs, which are much easier to handle and route through the building, should not be counted out by any means; most leading cable manufacturers can produce tight buffer and loose tube cables, with little difference in length from fiber to fiber, on par with the performance of ribbon cable.

Similarly, good control of fiber properties is necessary to minimize differences in signal propagation time that lead to delay skew. This control is made possible by a high-quality fiber manufacturing process, such as used by premier fiber suppliers in the industry that produce high-performance OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers.

Skew under control

Any delay skew from the factors discussed here will be compensated for in the transceiver circuitry. Techniques are already well established for copper twisted-pair cabling, and in other parallel optics applications, such as InfiniBand. The IEEE 802.3ba Task Force will ensure that all factors that affect delay skew are taken into account and that skew compensation will be accomplished in a cost-effective way.

Delay skew will be an important parameter in these high-speed parallel transmission systems, but with adequate skew compensation built into the electronics, and with high-quality fiber and cabling, these multimode systems are expected to be able to support 40G and 100G transmission very well over 100+ meter distances, at substantial savings over more complex singlemode systems using WDM technology.

Good control of fiber properties is necessary to minimize differences in signal propagation time that lead to delay skew…made possible by a high-quality fiber manufacturing process.

Ribbon cables have the potential to offer the best skew performance because the fibers are closely packaged side-by-side and have virtually the same length.

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Instillation & Maintenance www.cablinginstall.com 

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Integrated security brings order to the court

Billed as the most secure court facility in North America, the Calgary Courts Centre required careful integration of two court systems from five different buildings.

DAVID A. AUS is a marketing communications writer for Pelco (www.pelco.com)

Judges and jurors. Prosecutors and prisoners. Clerks and complainants. Barristers and bailiffs. Day in and day out, thousands of people move through the striking Calgary Courts Centre in Alberta, Canada. This technologically advanced building sets a new standard for operational and energy efficiency, keyed in part by installation of an Endura IP video security system from Pelco (www.pelco.com).

With one million square feet of space, the gleaming glass skyscraper is the largest judicial facility in North America, and the second largest in the world. Long a dream of the Government of Alberta, successful completion of the Courts Centre represents an unprecedented level of planning, coordination, and cooperation amongst a large number of stakeholders, including: the Government of Alberta, prime consultant Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning, design consultants NORR and Carlos Ott, structural consultant Stantec, mechanical consultant Hemisphere Engineering, developer GWL Realty Advisors, design-build contractor CANA Construction, electrical contractor Custom Electric, systems integrator Convergint Technologies, and security consultant Weaymouth & Associates Inc., and facilities manager SNC-Lavalin ProFac.

With the project kicking off in the busy Calgary development boom, a rapid schedule was set for design and construction. Building began in the summer of 2003. Fast-track construction required tight coordination between all the different

contractors and building trades. New upper floors were being poured and built, even before lower floors were complete. The aggressive schedule took the project from groundbreaking to occupancy in under four years.

System design

Planning began in earnest in 2001, figuring out how to bring two courts systems--the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Provincial Court--from five different buildings in Calgary all under one roof. Key to the planning for security is Ken Fulton, manager of security services, SNC-Lavalin ProFac. As a long-time former Government of Alberta security professional, Fulton has been in on the planning since the beginning. “Calgary Courts Centre is the most up-to-date and secure court facility in North America,” he says. With long experience in all aspects of security, Fulton knew the court’s high-security mission called for round-the-clock reliability from proven, reliable vendors who would be trusted partners along the way.

And with the requirement that the system last for 30 years, the Courts Centre needed a solution that would provide flexibility and adaptability for the future. Weaymouth & Associates drew on previous experience in prison security in specifying the security requirements for the Courts Centre. Along the way, a key group of security stakeholders and users met weekly to refine system requirements.

The Alberta Solicitor General’s team and Weaymouth & Associates were sold on a Pelco solution, knowing the company’s reputation for quality and service. Convergint Technologies was selected as the security system integrator, based on its strong track record and its ability to provide immediate, local support for the aggressive construction cycle.

Security in action

Security begins at the perimeter, where Pelco Spectra dome positioning systems monitor the exterior, while bollards and wedges provide additional physical protection all around. To ensure the high level of security, everyone and everything entering the Courts Centre is monitored. All visitors enter via an airport-style portal with metal detectors and scanners to sniff out drugs and explosives. All incoming mail is x-rayed and scanned and opened in a secure environment.

Throughout the building, 900 duress alarms enable judges and clerks to signal security operators of potential incidents. Each courtroom floor has a security desk, with an Endura decoder and monitors linked to duress alarms on the floor. Pelco PTZ and fixed cameras located in each of the 73 courtrooms begin recording in case of a duress incident.

In all, more than 800 Pelco fixed and PTZ cameras capture the video that is recorded and managed on the Endura system. There are two control rooms, each with five control stations. Given the high-security mission, the court required a redundant network, with failover between the two control centers.

“Convergint is using HP ProCurve 5400 Series switches on the Endura network,” explains Carel Seyffert, Convergint Technologies project manager, “because they can handle the 10 GB trunk connections required for the redundant network. HP, Convergint and Pelco worked together to validate these switches for the application at the court.” To manage storage demands for the 800 cameras, Endura’s proprietary EnduraStor technology allows the court to record everything in full-motion, full-resolution video, and then prune the video after a user-defined interval.

The lower level control room has primary responsibility for overseeing the basement detention center, where prisoners come in and are held while awaiting their hearings for the day. This center is operated by Alberta Solicitor General officers, who ensure the safe and secure movement of prisoners to and from courtrooms. The detention center is a busy area, handling the movement of 50 prisoners on a typical day, though on particularly busy days as many as 150 prisoners move through the detention facility while awaiting their hearings or transport back to their correctional institutions.

For extra security, the elevators that deliver inmates to and from detention areas lack control buttons. Instead, the integration of elevators, cameras and intercoms allows guards to communicate while transporting prisoners, with access and movement all managed through the central control station.

An integrated solution

In this kind of environment, there is little margin for error. That means the physical security system must be intuitive and easy to use. The Court’s physical security systems are all integrated through a single touch screen: Endura IP Video Security, Lenel OnGuard Access Control, Intercom, and Alarm Intrusion/Duress Monitoring. New officers can master the system in just a few hours--a boon for security and operational efficiency.

“The Calgary Courts Centre was a watershed opportunity for us to design, install and manage a multi-million dollar project,” notes Roy Best of Convergint Technologies. “With perseverance and outstanding teamwork, we were able to deliver successfully for the court.” Ken Fulton agrees, adding, “The teamwork in bringing this system online was phenomenal. Endura is definitely living
up to our expectations. It works great, and that’s why we picked it.”

The integration of elevators, cameras and intercoms allows guards to communicate while transporting prisoners, with access and movement all managed through the central control station.

In this kind of environment, there is little margin for error. That means the physical security system must be intuitive and easy to use.

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance www.cablinginstall.com 

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Twisted-pair connectors continue technological Evolution

Improvements have advanced the ubiquitous interface from Category 3 to today’s Category 6A, and innovation designs go even further.

BETSY ZIOBRON is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Cabling Installation & Maintenance. She can be reached at: bziobron@comcast.net

The twisted-pair connector interface, often referred to as an RJ-45, is an 8-position, 8-contact (8P8C) modular plug and jack that was originally patented in 1975 by Western Electric Company, the manufacturing arm of AT&T. Since that time, many technological improvements have overcome crosstalk as data rates have evolved from 16 MHz for Category 3 to 500 MHz for the latest Category 6A standard.

Many in the industry believe 500 MHz to be the last “hurrah” for the unshielded version of the 8P8C connector while shielded versions are undergoing innovative development to support Category 7 and 7A performance up to 600 MHz and 1000 MHz respectively. But others are more optimistic and not quite ready to close the book on UTP.

Split compensation
When the 8P8C connector was introduced, the pin-pair assignment maintained Pair 1 on the two middle Pins 4 and 5, and Pair 3 was split around Pair 1 onto Pins 3 and 6. The reason for the split pair was to maximize the mechanical compatibility of the connector with existing one-pair analog telephones. Required by FCC specifications, this wiring scheme made sense at the time but has since been the source of challenge. With one pair split around another, the coupling from Pins 4 and 5 onto 3 and 6 introduces the most crosstalk within the interface.

“When the main application was just voice, and the frequencies of interest were in the single digit kilohertz, the connector was electrically invisible, and the split pair was a non-issue,” says Luc Adriaenssens, vice president of research and development for CommScope (www.commscope.com). “As we progressed to higher data rates, it became more apparent that the split pair caused electrical problems, and that challenge has stuck with us over the years. The advantages of backwards compatibility are so compelling, however, that a lot of creative people in the industry have worked to solve the problem.”

Electrical requirements for the 8P8C connector were introduced with the Category 3 standard, when manufacturers had to start paying attention to tolerances. “If you take apart a Category 3 connector, it’s a very primitive lead-frame design with eight contacts coming from the IDC towers on the back to the front of the jack where they make contact with the plug,” explains Asef Baddar, manager of applications engineering for Leviton (www.leviton.com). “At that time, there weren’t many requirements, but when we moved to Category 5, the basic lead-frame design just wasn’t going to cut it, and it was time to look at other options.”

Crosstalk in the plug-jack interface became a concern, with performance characteristics for Category 5 specified for frequencies up to 100 MHz. To reduce the crosstalk, manufacturers began using compensation techniques, such as twists within the jack.

CommScope’s Adriaenssens recalls deploying a crossover technology where the conductors located close together were crossed to add opposite polarity of the offending crosstalk that occurs in the plug: “Initially, we didn’t have to cross over all four pairs. Over time, the engineers in the industry got very clever in determining where to put in twists and, eventually, little extensions were added to situate conductors closer together without physically having to cross them over. There were various techniques deployed among manufacturers, but all focused on compensating for crosstalk, with the split pair being the worst.”

When Category 6 was introduced with performance frequencies up to 250 MHz, more sophisticated techniques were required to compensate for crosstalk. Working within the same footprint, manufacturers added a small printed circuit board between the IDC contacts and the pins in the front of the jack.

“The circuit board included capacitors that further compensated for the crosstalk, and it was a significant innovation that allowed us to make a better performing jack,” says Baddar. “Adding the circuit board to the jack added cost--it was a completely new process that required modifying the manufacturing process as we knew it.”

Today, most Category 6 and some Category 5e jacks include a circuit board, as it was the most cost-effective and sophisticated method of adding crosstalk compensation. “A circuit board allows manufacturers to make minor modifications and fine-tune the performance by easily changing the layout of the traces,” says Adriaenssens.

A significant achievement
Over the past few years, the need to increase data rates has further increased the operating frequencies, and now Category 6A specifies performance up to 500 MHz to support 10GBase-T. To mitigate alien crosstalk that occurs between two adjacent unshielded connectors, manufacturers have deployed a variety of techniques that include partial shielding, physical space, and repositioning of the IDC towers. Enhancements to the printed circuit board within the jack were also required. Others turned to the fully shielded version of the twisted-pair connector interface.

According to Tom Williams, RCDD, director of datacomm with BTR Netcom (www.btr-netcom.com), how and where the actual contacts are positioned onto the circuit board became very critical with Category 6A unshielded jacks. “The quality of the manufacturing for Category 6A has stepped up to a whole new level of precision,” he says. “That is why most UTP vendors have not been able to develop a component-rated jack, which is different than a channel-rated jack.”

On the other hand, some vendors of fully shielded solutions, like BTR Netcom, required no additional engineering within the jack to meet the requirements of a Category 6A system, with additional headroom to boot. This has led many to believe that Category 6A is truly the last “hurrah” for UTP.

“There are those that still believe UTP is better, but I don’t believe they’re going to have a choice once we move beyond 10 Gig,” says Williams. “


I’m confident that copper will ultimately support 40 Gig, and possibly 100 Gig at shorter lengths, but it will have to be shielded.”

Others remain optimistic about UTP’s future. “The argument that shielding will be required for anything above 500 MHz is the same argument that has taken place over the past two decades as we moved from 60-meg Token Ring to 10 Gigabit Ethernet,” says CommScope’s Adriaenssens. “We’ve proved that wrong time and time again. With all the momentum and clever people behind UTP, I wouldn’t bet against it.”

John Siemon, vice president of engineering for Siemon (www.siemon.com), says, “Without a doubt, the most significant accomplishment of the twisted-pair connector interface over the past five years is its ability to support networks operating at 10Gbits/sec. As an engineer, it’s difficult to accept a hard stop for any technology, but I do not foresee a high return on development of UTP beyond 500 MHz when there are other cost-effective, lower-risk options available.

Siemon adds, “Shielded twisted-pair is the logical choice because it provides significantly higher channel capacity than UTP over the same frequency range, with the potential to go even higher. But given unlimited time, funding, and resources, almost anything is possible.”

Siemon points out that the complexity required to support the full range of twisted-pair implementations for 10GBase-T has resulted in significantly higher latency and power consumption than 1000Base-T. “These factors point to the need for further optimization of electronics and cabling to support this application,” he says.

In fact, many UTP vendors are still devoting plenty of R&D to further optimizing the unshielded twisted-pair interface. “Our focus is on continuing to improve the Category 6A unshielded interface and the cabling,” says Adriaenssens. “We’re not just looking at megahertz and performance, but also making sure the reliability of the connector is not compromised as you put different applications onto the circuit, such as power over Ethernet.”

A step further
While no one knows for sure whether Category 6A is the stopping point for the unshielded twisted-pair connector interface, it’s become apparent that the shielded version is prevailing beyond 500 MHz. Already, shielded twisted-pair connectors on the market meet the IEC 60603-7-7 standard for Category 7 performance up to 600 MHz and the soon-to-be-ratified Category 7A standard for increased frequency up to 1000 MHz. In fact, some of these connectors were developed before Category 6A.

“To support frequencies above 500 MHz, ISO/IEC has specified interfaces for Category 7A and class FA that separate the pairs into four separate quadrants,” notes Siemon. “These designs readily connect to cables that have individually screened pairs to elevate crosstalk performance of cabling links and channels by more than 20 dB--a 10X improvement.”

He adds, “With these designs, return loss is key to extending the bandwidth of twisted-pair cabling beyond 1000 MHz. Balance and noise immunity are also important considerations, and these challenges are solved by adopting connector designs that emulate the performance of the cable to which they connect. “

One example of a shielded twisted-pair connector supporting the proposed Category 7A standard is Siemon’s TERA connector that terminates fully shielded Category 7A cables. “The TERA connector was the first internationally standardized balanced cabling interface to support requirements up to 1200 MHz,” says Siemon. “The footprint for the TERA interface was designed to fit within the same IEC standard panel opening as that specified for IEC 60603-7-compliant outlets. They are side-stackable and mount directly into all of the same faceplates and panels used for our RJ-based outlet designs.”

Nexans’ GG45 connector, for use with the fully shielded LANmark-7A cabling system, also meets the proposed Category 7A standard. While this connector is another example of one that separates the pairs into four quadrants to overcome the problem of the split pair, it is also backwards compatible with conventional 8P8C modular connectivity.

“The GG45 actually contains 12 contacts; it looks just like the existing interface, but we’ve added 4 more contacts to the jack as an alternative to the split pairs,” says Dave Hess, technical manager for Nexans (www.nexans.com). “An existing Category 6 or 6A plug uses the original split pairs, and the eight contacts across the top. A Category 7 or 7A plug no longer uses the split pairs but instead uses the eight contacts located in the four corners. The higher speed plug has a protrusion that activates a switch within the jack to make the change.”

According to Hess, the key advantage of the GG45 interface is the ability to have a low-cost 10G channel with plenty of headroom combined with the ability to migrate to high-speed 40 Gig using Category 7A patch cords. “A network can be wired up with the GG45 and LANmark-7A cabling system and use Category 6A plugs for the first few years,” he says. “When equipment comes out with the Category 7A interface, the system can be easily upgraded by using Category 7A patch cords that activate the switch in the jack.”

Like the GG45 and TERA connectors, Bel Stewart’s ARJ45 also has the pair contacts located in four quadrants to provide enhanced crosstalk performance. The ARJ45 is compatible with Nexans; GG45 interface; however, it does not include the original Pins 3 to 6 for backwards compatibility with Category 6A plugs.

“The key difference between the ARJ45 and the GG45 is the lack of the switching mechanism in the jack,” says Derek Imschweiler, product manager for Bel Stewart (www.belstewart.com). “We didn’t add a switch because it makes the connector more complicated and costly, and most of our business is in the active equipment market and not the wall outlet application where backwards compatibility is more advantageous.”

Outlook is good

Shielded solutions are growing in popularity, and Category 7A systems are already being installed in specialty applications in the U.S.--more predominantly overseas where fully shielded cabling systems have been deployed for decades. While a fully shielded Category 7A solution currently carries a higher material and installation cost, Nexans’ Hess points out that it has the potential to provide significant cost savings: “A shielded solution like Category 7A can enable reduced power and crosstalk cancellation at the switch level to potentially lower the cost of the equipment; however, we don’t see the savings yet because there are no applications calling for this type of performance.”

Siemon agrees: “It is true that cabling solutions that offer superior higher noise immunity can enable equipment to operate with less dependence on digital signal processing, and that fewer transistors translate to lower power. Higher performance cabling, therefore, has the potential to reduce power and issues associated with heat management in data centers.” Consequently, says Siemon, operating costs could be lower with Category 7 or 7A, or a higher performance Category 6A screened solution than for minimally compliant Category 6A UTP. “The potential cost savings is not fully understood,” he says, “but is an opportunity that the IT industry would do well to exploit.”

Innovation and investment
Siemon concludes,  “For the ubiquitous twisted-pair connector, the primary challenge is crosstalk--especially in association with the nested pairs on Pins 3 to 6; however, the rate of innovation and investment in research has not slowed. Development aimed to further elevate performance of this interface while improving the speed and consistency of field terminations will continue to produce new designs and generate excitement about the point to which the original “RJ” plug and outlet have evolved. “

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling INstallation & Maintenance  www.cablinginstall.com 

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Optical fiber testing to the last nanometer

An interferometer can provide the most accurate, detailed testing of connectors, and is also an effective in-the-field troubleshooting tool.

CHARLES LOHRMANN, RCDD/OSP, TPM, RITST, is chief financial officer at TSI Compass International Limited (www.tsicompass.com), a telecommunications consulting, network design, project oversight and third-party testing company headquartered in Fort Worth, TX.

When viewing an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR) trace, you encounter high attenuation at a connected pair--a fault. Should you encounter a “ghost”, is this also a fault? The question is, what is a ghost, and what affect does it have on the passive fiber link?

The cause of the ghost is a large reflective event at a point in the passive fiber link where there is a change in media (index of refraction). This occurs at the connector or the end of the fiber--the change from glass to air. The energy reflected back to the OTDR is of such intensity that the light pulse is reflected off of the connector at the OTDR and is again returned a second time. As the OTDR converts the travel time of the light pulse into distance, the reflective event is painted on the screen a second time.

The first figure (at right) shows the reflective event on an un-terminated fiber, while the second shows the same event with a properly terminated connector. These figures show the extreme. But what if the connector looks “good” in a fiber scope? Does the ghost represent a fault? Provided the OTDR has been set up properly (the pulse width and pulse duration are appropriate for the fiber length), a ghost indeed represents a fault at the connector.

For most of us, when we look into the fiber scope and the end face of the connector looks perfect, we determine that the connector is “good”. True, however, what we’re seeing is the two-dimensional view of a three-dimensional object. Fiber connectors, such as the ST, SC, and LC, are domed, while connectors such as the APC, MPO, and MPT have a different configuration.

Determining the connector’s role

Before we can determine the cause of the fault, it is appropriate to determine what part the connector plays in the passive optical fiber link. By definition, the purpose of the connector is a temporary connection between two optical-fiber links to couple the light with a minimum of insertion loss (attenuation) and reflectance.

The primary connectors in use today in the enterprise LAN are what are termed Physical Contact (PC) type. The fiber connector is polished so that the fiber is at the center and the highest point, and is first to meet. There is no air gap, fibers compress until the ferrules contact, and the ferrules take the majority of the compressive force.

One key optical parameter for connectors is fiber attenuation. It is measured in dBm per mated pair (the light passing through one connector is meaningless, as it is going nowhere). Attenuation is the sum of losses caused by:

Overlap of the fiber cores;

Alignment of the fiber axis

Fiber Numerical Aperture;

Mating space between connector barrels;

Reflection at fiber ends;

Angular misalignment;

Axial alignment.

Overlap is the sum of several different effects--the axial and angular alignment of the two fibers, connector and coupling, variations in core diameter, concentricity of the core within the cladding, and the eccentricity of the core.

For axial alignment, a good rule of thumb is an offset of 10% equals 0.6 dB loss. For a 50-µm fiber, that equates to 5 µm; however, for singlemode that distance is only .8 to .9 µm. When the fibers are out of angular alignment (in the field, the most common cause is a defective coupler), the light entering the second fiber is at a steeper angle; thus, some of the light is refracted into the cladding.

Fiber Numerical Aperture (NA) is defined as the acceptance angle of the light that enters and is propagated in the fiber. This has also been termed the cone of acceptance as shown in the figure below. The light exits the fiber in exactly the same cone as it entered.

Reflections, more properly termed Fresnel reflections, occur when light exiting the fiber encounters a material with a different index of refraction, and are the result of the change from glass to air. Fresnel reflection loss is also affected by distance--the greater the distance between the fiber ends, the greater the loss. Internal connector reflections can cause spurious modulation and noise in laser light (feedback lasers), which may result in system failure.

Reflections of a ghost

Reflection noise is an important concern in analog video as it may saturate the transmission device causing system failure. As the distance increases, so does the corresponding the loss. These reflections, with enough magnitude, are what we see on the OTDR trace as a ghost.

As we have seen in the forgoing discussion, that “little, insignificant” connector has a great deal of significance in the passing of the signal through the passive optical fiber link. The question now becomes, how do you test an optical-fiber connector to the parameters just discussed?

Up until a few years ago, we could not. It was done in the laboratory, using a test set called an interferometer. The tester was highly complex, susceptible to movement (it sat on a large concrete base for stability), and was not considered for field use. Several years ago, however, two companies--FIBO (www.promet.net) and Norland Products (www.norlandprod.com)--developed a field transportable unit. With the development of the field transportable interferometer, (it has been in use in the laboratory for many years), you now have the ability to test terminated connectors in the field.

So what is an interferometer, and how does it work?

The interferometer uses the principal of light wave interference, which occurs when two or more waves of the same frequency or wavelength combine to form a single wave whose amplitude is the sum of the amplitudes of the combined waves. Constructive and destructive interference are the most striking examples of light wave interference. Constructive interference occurs when the light waves are completely in phase with each other (the peak of one wave coincides with the peak of the other wave). Destructive interference occurs when the light waves are completely out of phase with each other (the peak of one wave coincides with the trough of the other wave).

Interferometers can produce images and data to sub-micron accuracy using the principle of wave interference. They use a single coherent light source, and to produce two separate light waves for interference to occur, a partially reflective beam splitter is used. As the light hits the beam splitter, one wave front is transmitted through the beam splitter, through an objective lens, and to the object being examined. The other light wave reflects off of the beam splitter onto a stationary reference mirror.

After each light wave has been reflected off of the surfaces (the surface of the object being examined and the reference mirror), the waves combine to produce constructive and destructive interference waves--also known as light and dark fringes, respectively. Each dark fringe identifies a specific height on the surface of the object being examined. Typically, two adjacent dark fringes have a height difference of half a wavelength of the light being used, and so can show a surface contour of the connector end face that’s similar to the concept of contour maps used to show different elevations of a land surface.

Tool testing and measurement

The interferometer tests several components of the connector. The three major measurements are the radius of curvature, offset of polish (also called Apex offset), and the fiber height.

This radius of curvature portion of the test determines the overall diameter of the best-fit sphere and its relationship to the actual end of the connector under test.  Therefore, the spacing and diameter of circular fringe pattern are directly related to the radius of curvature.

The offset of polish determines the actual centerline of the fiber and its relationship to the actual centerline of the best-fit curve. With the ideal connector, both centerlines would be the same.

The fiber height portion of the evaluation determines the amount of fiber that is above or below the end of the connector end face.

Based on these three parameters, a test report may be generated as shown in the figure below. In this case, the connector is within limits for all of the tested parameters; however, the basic question remains--why field-test the connectors?  To answer this question you’ll need to examine the condition that may occur when you join two connectors, and the relationship between the two.

The objective is minimum loss as well as minimum reflectance. Optical-fiber connectorization is based on the principal of Physical Contact (PC). When two “ideal” connectors are joined, the interface should be as shown in the figure “An ‘ideal’ connector interface.”

When using the PC concept, the only concern is the center of the connector. The fibers are polished so that they are at the center and the highest point and are first to meet. There is no air gap. The fibers compress until the ferrules contact and absorb the majority of the compressive force.

Using interferometry helps guarantee optical performance by providing consistent quality control of the polishing process. This assures long-term stability when connectors are exposed over time to changes in temperature, pressure, and the affects of vibration.

So, what is a “bad” connector? It can be one of three types: Undercut, which is the result of overpolishing; offset; and protrusion, which is the result of under polishing.

Undercut results in an air gap between the connectors and a corresponding increase in both attenuation and reflectance. In this instance, the glass within the connector may “piston” over time. This is probably the failure most often seen. (This condition is generally caused when a high magnification scope is used and the tech tries to get the last little scratch off of the end face of the connector).

The second condition, offset, may be caused by not holding the polishing puck tight and square to the lapping film during the polishing process. With the use of today’s pre-radiused connectors, and proper polishing technique, offset should not be a major problem.

In the last type of failure, protrusion, the fiber is protruding from the end of the connector.

When the end face of one connector meets with the second, something has to give. As shown in the figure “Protrusion example,” the result is what is termed push back. The fiber on the protruding connector pushes the fiber on the second connector back into the ferrule of the second connector. This is the best case.  Have you ever wondered why a connector that was good yesterday was found to be shattered today?Yes, under pressure, glass will break and usually at the most inopportune time.

Factory-polished, or not?

At this point, I can see many of you thinking, “all of this is great, but we only use ‘factory-polished’ connectors.” But what constitutes a factory-polished connector? What is the manufacturing process? Some are machine-polished; however, as more and more of these products are manufactured off shore, a great many are hand-polished in the factory. Factory quality control is dependent on a manufacturer’s quality control program. Even so, quality control depends for the most part on statistical testing. If a representative number within a batch pass, it is assumed that the remainder will also pass.

Remember, that is why the U.S. passed the “Lemon Law”.  

When and which connectors should you test with an interferometer? The answer is about the same as the answer to “ when should you use an OTDR?” (See “The right tools for accurate fiber-optic testing,” CI&M August 2008, pg. 13.) The primary test for any optical fiber passive link remains the Optical Loss Test using the Optical Loss Test Set (OLTS). A part of this test set includes the reference cables, which should be of the highest quality.

This is one of the reasons why the TIA has recommended the use of singlemode-grade connectors for multimode reference cables. It has been my experience over the years that once the reference cables (which came with the test set) are worn out, the replacement is not a new reference cable from the test set manufacturer, but any patch cord available. OLTS testing should also include the testing of the launch and receive cables for the OTDR.

You do not need to test every connector that you install. Follow the guideline normally applied to OTDR testing requirements--they are about the same. First priority would be any circuit where low loss and reflectance are a priority--both data and video. Next are the backbone circuits that are designed for transmission at high data rates--10 GB and above. This applies not only to the permanent part of the circuit but also to the patch cords.  Short circuits, such as fiber-to-the-desk-top, once they have passed the optical loss test, should not require any further testing.

The interferometer is also an excellent troubleshooting aid. If you encounter a circuit that shows a higher than expected loss or ghosts, in most cases, the fault is in the connector. When the connector looks good in the fiber scope, which connector is defective?  While the OLTS will not give the answer, the interferometer will--and unlike the OTDR, it only takes one person (or a lot of walking) to run the test correctly

When both the connectors pass, the only remaining item is the coupling test. The interferometer is the only method that I know of that will pinpoint this defect. Also note that even though it is now a field unit, interferometers are still subject to vibration and must be set up on a stable platform.

Another use for the unit is fiber connectorization training. I began using the interferometer in our OSP fiber course about two years ago and have found that, with even the “old fiber hands,” there is a tendency to over-polish. Over-polishing results in undercut and distortion of the connector end face, thus generating higher loss and high reflectance. If the technician can do connectors that pass the interferometer in the training, the same result should show up in the field.

Lastly, for those of you who use crimp style connectors or pigtails, the interferometer is an excellent quality control tool. When you receive a new batch of connectors or pigtails, perform you own quality control test. If the first sample shows bad connectors, test the remainder of the batch. It is much more cost-effective to catch a problem in the shop than after the connector has been installed in the field.

Tools of assurance

Back to the original question, does a ghost on an OTDR trace represent a fault? Provided the OTDR is properly set up for the test, the ghost shows the location of the fault, and the interferometer provides the ability to determine which connector is defective.  Using common trouble shooting tools--a visual fault locator (VFL), OLTS, OTDR, and the interferometer--will ensure your customer has the highest quality optical fiber network possible.

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling INstallation & Maintenance  www.cablinginstall.com 

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Communications News

College builds flexible data center

by Chris Loeffler, Eaton Corp., Cleveland

A college in New England, needing to plan for the future, anticipated growth in the coming years and wanted to have a data center that could expand to accommodate its increasing power needs. The sciences division of the college is comprised of five buildings that house the sciences, mathematics and engineering classrooms and labs. This area is supported by its own data center, separate from central IT. The college’s technical staff manages about 600 computers, 15 servers and a growing number of clusters for scientific computing.

The college’s data center houses servers that support a wide range of academic applications, from administration and chemical safety to teaching general Web technologies, and supports 12 computer classrooms and lab environments. Scientific research applications and data in bioinformatics, cosmology, computational chemistry and various disciplines reside within this structure.

As the college continues to grow, its power needs have increased, as well. Without room to build another data center, the college chose to renovate the existing space. With dimensions of only 11 feet by 33 feet, the racks of equipment were tightly configured into narrow aisles, making routine moves, adds or changes difficult. The IT staff wanted to allow for about 10 years worth of growth, which was a challenge due to the space limitations.

In addition to accommodating future growth, the IT staff sought to develop strategies around power management and power quality. A string of power outages, which lasted for several hours at a time, had caused critical equipment to fail after power generators did not start. This experience, coupled with equipment overheating in the data center, caused the IT manager to seriously consider new power-protection solutions.

The college’s IT staff had several requirements when searching for an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to outfit its data center, including a power protection solution that would accommodate the small space, address power and cooling concerns, and allow enough flexibility to support future expansion.

The IT manager chose a modular, three-phase UPS designed and optimized for high-density computing environments. The UPS does not require a dedicated cabinet; therefore, more space is available for IT equipment. The UPS also does not add to the heat load.

The college implemented three new UPS units (12 kW each) and three extended battery modules. The UPS units were configured as a single module with the option to easily expand capacity by removing the battery modules and adding additional 12 kW systems, as needed.

While renovating the space, the IT manager set up a temporary data center and essentially rebuilt the infrastructure to improve all components. The data center was configured to use a remote power panel to dedicate two branch circuits to each rack; one circuit feeds power distribution on the left side of the rack and one feeds power on the right. Each server is equipped with dual power supplies, connecting each power supply to a different branch circuit and ensuring another level of redundancy.

While the UPS can provide up to 20 minutes of uptime during a power disturbance, the generator is programmed to turn on after five minutes as an added layer of reliability. The UPS unit’s plug-and-power connections and hot-swappable batteries and electronics modules simplified the installation.

The UPS has given this college’s data center greater reliability and flexibility to meet its growing power demands. The modular design enabled the college to face the space restrictions of its data center and deploy the backup protection for its current needs, with the flexibility to expand in the future.

Reprinted with full permission of Communications News Magazine www.comnews.com

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Lone Star Schools Boot Rivalry

Texas A&M University and the University of Texas find network redundancy is better (and cheaper) with a partner.

In the school rivalry hall of fame, this one is legendary. There have been daring team mascot kidnappings, bonfires, pranks, and songs and cheers that call for the downfall of the other team–all for one football game, “The Lone Star Showdown” each year. When everyone else comes together peacefully for Thanksgiving, Texas A&M University (Texas A&M) and the University of Texas (UT) go head-to-head on the football field in one of the nation’s top, and longest-running, college rivalries–dating back to 1894.

Now, a new development threatens this long-running animosity. The two schools did the unexpected: They partnered.

“Other than the one weekend every year when the two schools play each other in football, people are astonished that the campuses have such collaboration,” says Wayne Wedemeyer, UT’s director of office telecommunications services.

Not far from the football fields on either campus, network engineers from both schools have each other’s backs. Through a unique fail-over plan, the schools ensure that if one university’s ISP goes down, the other will pick up the slack.

In Texas, these two universities are the giants of higher education. Texas A&M operates nine university campuses, seven agencies and a health science center. Its work force adds up to nearly 27,000 people serving 105,000 students.

UT has nine academic campuses and six health care institutions around the state. It employs 81,000 people and enrolled 194,000 students in the 2007 academic year.

In recent years, coastal and other south Texas campuses of both university systems have been impacted by storms. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison put much of downtown Houston underwater. Hurricane Rita hit the southeast Texas coast in 2005. These events, and the risk of outages from other causes, were of concern to both school systems.

“Each school had its own ISP. If a provider went down, that school lost connectivity. It’s happened a few times over the years,” says Willis Marti, director of networking and chief information security officer for Texas A&M. “The administration has stressed the importance of having the network up 24/7.”

As the networks and applications became more important to the university, a more resilient network infrastructure was required. In 2005, the universities were part of a regional optical network that increased their connectivity around the state. As the universities built separate connections, they each evaluated what building redundant paths would require.

High price for redundancy

Taking into consideration needed equipment enhancements (routers and switches), bandwidth and IT support requirements, they found that redundancy carried a high price. Instead of carrying the additional cost alone, Marti and Wedemeyer looked into leveraging the resources of both universities as the solution for enhancing continuity.

“If one provider goes down, we want to be able to go to another provider,” Marti said. “We realized we could build redundancy in. There was no need for both of us to have contracts with two providers each, so we decided to share bandwidth around the state and configure it for physical redundancy for either university.”

Each university increased its bandwidth with its service provider (Qwest and Level 3 Communications) to accommodate both university systems if needed.

“By having a regional optical network, we essentially figured out we could spend about the same amount of money and go from 100 megabytes to a gigabyte per second worth of bandwidth,” Marti explains. “It’s not that much more expensive to buy that extra guarantee of system availability.”

Bridging networks and teams from different groups is no small task, especially in a state as big as Texas.  The merging of the two unique and complex networks required careful planning to accommodate the different infrastructures in place at the universities. For example, Texas A&M uses Cisco 7600 routers, while UT uses Juniper routers.  In addition to the different infrastructures, the IT organizations had different skill sets and experience that had to be addressed. 

Instead of trying to fully integrate and choose a single vendor, Marti and Wedemeyer chose to merge at one point–at the tip of a pyramid–using a Juniper router at UT’s Austin campus. That one router connects the rest of the network.

The universities implemented a Layer 2 switch topology using Cisco 6500s to share a physical structure. Each campus owns two 6500s, which they keep at the exact same settings and the proper virtual LAN (VLAN) configurations. Instead of a ring environment, they chose to keep both sides in the correct configurations to prevent the spanning tree from shutting off. Each campus can jointly access the network and make changes.

Following a staged approach, they first set up the physical redundancy, then the Layer 2 redundancy and then merged the networks. “We flipped College Station on Monday, Tuesday set up the redundant path and then Wednesday the rest of the system, and didn’t have any problems,” Marti recalls.

In total, the process took no more than three days to complete.

“Once we got the physical connectivity in place, we turned a couple of switches on and there we were,” Marti says.

traffic goes where it wants

In what Marti calls “The National Network of Texas,” neither of the universities plays traffic cop. They simply let the traffic go where it wants. Some traffic goes through Texas A&M’s ISP and some goes out UT’s. With full redundancy, if one source fails completely, the other takes over.

While the actual cutover went smoothly, the next test was managing the new complexity of the network infrastructure. In the past, Texas A&M had used an Excel spreadsheet for VLAN control across its 340 buildings on 5,200 acres.

“As far as controlling versions, it was a very manual process,” Marti offers. “You just hope you get the same vendor.”

Since the merged network involved multiple vendors, the teams chose to keep the same version of code on switches on Layer 2 devices interconnecting the networks, and automate configuration control so a student could not just sit down at a console and change things.

To help automate the change process and manage network configurations, Texas A&M used NetMRI from Netcordia to identify versions and configurations across the network in order to find differences among them and keep them consistent. The automated process of managing configuration and change freed the staff from manual processes, and allowed Texas A&M to push changes out quickly, correctly and consistently across devices.

“There are all sorts of tools out there for tracking router changes and they’re all kind of ad hoc,” Marti says. “NetMRI tells us when something changed and we can trace it back through access control to who changed it, when and why, and change it back if we need to.”

Both universities realize dramatic time and cost efficiencies with the shared network and automated configuration management. Each pays about the same as they would just for their own traffic, but has the protection of physical and traffic redundancy.

Currently Texas A&M has eight engineers. Marti estimates that, without automated configuration and change management, his team would need an additional three engineers.

“One of the things about being a state institution is we’re not flush with people,” he says. “Automated configuration and change management with NetMRI lets us do more with the same amount of people. Otherwise, we would need three people going through hundreds of routers and thousands of switches.”

Likewise, UT has seen a substantial cost savings as a result of the shared network. “Instead of a staff of 12, we would have needed probably 20 to 25 people at campuses across Texas,” Wedemeyer says. “Adding network costs, that would have been a total of three to four times more in annual costs. It’s a very significant cost savings for us.”

communication is key

To date, individual campuses have had physical outages a couple of times, but they have not lost Internet connectivity. Both Marti and Wedemeyer attribute the overall success to the detailed planning, coordination and continuous communication between both universities.

What advice do Marti and Wedemeyer have for others looking to follow a similar model? They attribute success largely to planning ahead and understanding the exact current status of the network infrastructure. In the Texas A&M and UT partnership, understanding the situation before transitioning the networks was essential, especially with a multiple-vendor architecture and unique IT staffs.

With distinctly different practices and vendors, the IT departments at Texas A&M and UT found transparency and open lines of communications paramount to success when bringing together something so large and complex. Hidden agendas or lack of communication could have severely impacted the outcome. 

“Be fully transparent to the other entity about what you want to do,” Wedemeyer says. “Carry on conversations about design solutions. Be persistent. You have to keep working at it. In a state as big as Texas, there were many variables we didn’t plan for, and we relied on our partner to work through them.”

Wedemeyer and Marti also suggest:

Every organization should have consistent policies and procedures for network configuration and change management. In a partnership between organizations, the policies need to be even more defined to make sure all IT departments understand and follow a consistent strategy.

A successful implementation requires understanding how the changes impact other aspects of the network and overall performance.  Simply tracking changes is not enough.

Monitor and improve continuously. With such a widespread and complex network, changes are always occurring, both planned and unplanned. Visibility into changes helps ensure that end-users and organizations have adequate service levels from the IT organization. 

The merged network opens the doors to other opportunities for Texas A&M and UT.  This fall, when Super Computing ’08 comes to Austin, both schools will contribute to getting the bandwidth across Texas to the convention center.

The conference highlights the requirements for Texas A&M and UT to stay on top of the network configuration and change-management process as new requirements are added every day. The power of following the best practices is not letting the change take control of the network, but for the IT organizations to control configuration and change so they can take advantage of the partnerships and leverage the combined infrastructure for even more benefits.

Ongoing, the campuses are collaborating more in areas such as distance learning, remote data center services and disaster recovery–all bandwidth- and resource-intensive applications that require a high level of service quality throughout the entire state. Both universities expect that collaboration to continue to grow between legendary arch rivals.

Just do not tell the football teams or fans. Nobody wants to spoil a good rivalry.

Reprinted with full permission of Communications News Magazine www.comnews.com

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Fiber keeps scientists connected

South Pole environment provides stern test for research site’s cabling infrastructure.

(Project photos can be seen at www.comnews.com)

For harsh environments, nothing compares to the South Pole–a mean annual temperature of minus 56° F, constant winds creating snowdrifts high enough to bury a building, accumulating snow that never melts, and an almost two-mile deep glacier that slides 33 feet toward the sea each year.

Despite this environment, the South Pole is the site of the new $153 million Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, designed to support an array of scientific investigations. This 65,000-square-foot facility delivers a level of comfort and safety that would have been inconceivable to the explorers who reached the Pole nearly a century ago and for whom the new station is named.

 The station is home to 150 people during Antarctica’s three-month austral summer and 50 people (known as “winter-overs”) during the remaining nine months when travel is prohibited. Maintaining a connection to the outside world is critical for sending vital scientific data, enabling communication, and easing the daily life of those who live and work on “The Ice.” The advanced network cabling infrastructure that delivers fiber to the desk plays a primary role in that effort.

Under the Antarctic Treaty, no nation owns the continent, and it is reserved as a zone for the peaceful conduct of research. The United States Antarctic Program (USAP), funded and managed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), overseas U.S. scientific interest in the area.

The original 1956 South Pole station long vanished under 30 feet of ice and was replaced in 1975 with a 50-meter geodesic dome. The dome was covered with snow each winter, causing it to show signs of fatigue and no longer be adequate for the growing population of scientists and personnel.

The new station took many years of planning and design to meet the long-range requirements, withstand the harsh conditions and gain government approval and funding. The completed station is the main facility on a campus that also includes a new power plant, supply areas, storage, research observatories, telescopes, satellite communications facility, airplane skiway and a summer camp to house an additional 80 people.

A moving research station

To withstand the harsh Antarctic conditions, the station is elevated on 36 hydraulic jack columns that can be raised in 10-inch increments. Its airfoil shape forces the wind to travel faster beneath the facility and scour out built-up snow. The station was built with flexible connecting walkways to accommodate the sliding of the glacier, which also requires the marker for the true geographic South Pole to be moved annually.

Unlike the dome, the station is designed to provide lighting, heating, ventilation and fire protection in accordance with the latest U.S. building and safety codes. The structure is insulated five times the average U.S. residence, includes cold-tested windows, and was designed so that all components could be shipped via ski-equipped aircraft. The 12-year construction effort required 925 flights carrying a total of 24 million pounds of cargo.

The two-story facility is shaped with four “fingers” that are approximately 100 feet by 38 feet each and extend outward from two main linear sections that are each about 185 feet by 48 feet. Three of the fingers house the berthing quarters and the other includes a gym. The main sections include dining areas, a medical center, computer room, science laboratories, activity rooms and space for operations and administration.

Raytheon Polar Services (RPS), a business unit of Raytheon Co., is under contract to the NSF to provide science, operations and maintenance support to sustain the research programs at three U.S. locations in Antarctica and two research vessels in the area. The RPS engineering team of Denver played a critical role in designing and implementing the network cabling infrastructure for the new station.

“The early cabling design for the station was set up to deliver as high of bandwidth as possible to the workstation, which is typical for an advanced scientific lab environment,” says Bob Croke, telecommunications engineer. “The scientists are sending multiple gigabytes of data every day off the station. All of the core switches are connected by a redundant singlemode fiber backbone, which connects to a satellite earth station for transmitting data back to the U.S.”

One core switch is located in the new main station, along with access switches in each of the four telecommunications rooms located on the first floor. A second core switch is located in the new power plant, which is connected to the station by an underground pathway. Each telecom room serves its immediate area on both floors, including the nearest berthing wing.

a variety of cabling

The horizontal cabling throughout the station includes copper for data, a voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) phone system and some analog phones. The horizontal cabling also includes both multimode and singlemode fiber for various workstation outlets. A standard workstation outlet in each of the 154 berthing rooms includes two copper cables and two multimode fiber pairs, while standard science workstations include three copper cables, two multimode fiber pairs and one singlemode fiber pair.

The 551 multimode horizontal fiber connections and 155 singlemode horizontal fiber connections are terminated using AMP NETCONNECT MT-RJ fiber-optic connectors. The no-epoxy, no-polish, and no-crimp MT-RJ connectors are half the size of SC duplex and ST-style connectors, feature two fibers in one ferrule, and can be reterminated.

In the closet, horizontal fiber is terminated to MT-RJs loaded into AMP NETCONNECT 24-port fiber-optic rackmount patch enclosures. At workstations, the copper and fiber jacks are housed in AMP NETCONNECT Hideaway double-gang multimedia outlets that house up to four front-loading copper jacks and four MT-RJ bottom- or top-fed fiber jacks.

“At science workstations, the singlemode and multimode fiber ports are being used in some cases depending on scientists’ particular data requirements,” says Croke. “The multimode fiber ports in the berthing rooms are not currently in use, but are available for future high-bandwidth services.”

“Most of the horizontal cabling in the DSL use wall-mounted raceways,” says Croke. “Each raceway typically includes three copper cables, one four-strand multimode fiber cable, and one two-strand singlemode cable.”

The wall-mounted raceway in the DSL is the AMP NETCONNECT 1.5-inch surface-mount raceway latching duct that features a flexible hinge that can be opened and closed repeatedly without cracking. The raceway delivers fiber into an AMP NETCONNECT six-port universal office box where it is terminated to MT-RJ fiber jacks.

To replicate the outside storage conditions at the South Pole, the connectors were put through a cold temperature test that involved placing the connectors in a test chamber at -112° F (-80°C) for 137 hours. The connectors were found to be free from damage following cold exposure, and the insertion-loss measurements were all under 1dB.

Reprinted with full permission of Communications News Magazine www.comnews.com

Electrical Contractor Magazine

Planning for the Install

fiberoptics BY jim hayes

Network design for fiber optics, part 9

Once the design of a fiber optic project is complete and documented, one might think the bulk of the design work is done. But it’s just beginning. The next step is to plan for the actual installation. This is a critical phase of any project, as it involves coordinating activities of many people and companies. The best way to keep everything straight is probably to develop a checklist based on the design during the early stages of the project.

Perhaps the most important issue is to have a person who is the main point of contact for the project. The project manager needs to be involved from the beginning; understand the aims of the project, the technical aspects, and the physical layout; and be familiar with all the personnel and companies who will be involved. Likewise, all the parties need to know this person, how to contact him or her (even 24/7 during the actual install), and who is the backup if one is needed.

The backup person also should be involved to such a degree that he or she can answer most questions and may even be technically savvy on the project but may not have full decision-making authority. The backup on big jobs may be the person maintaining the documentation and schedules, keeping track of purchases and deliveries, permits, subcontractors, etc., while the project manager’s duties are more hands-on.

Developing a project checklist

The project checklist will have many  important items. Each item needs a full description, where and when it will be needed, and who is responsible for it. Components, such as cables and cable plant hardware, should indicate vendors; delivery times; and where, when and sometimes how it needs to be delivered. Special installation equipment also must be scheduled with notes of what must be purchased and what will be rented. If the job site is not secure and the install will take more than a day, security guards at the job site may need to be arranged.

A work plan should be developed that indicates what specialties are going to be needed, where and when. Outside plant installations (OSP) often have one crew pulling cable—especially specialty installs, such as direct burial, aerial or underwater—-another crew splicing and perhaps even another testing. OSP installers often do just part of the job, since they need skills and training on specialized equipment, such as fusion splicers or OTDRs, and installation practices, such as climbing poles or plowing-in cables. Inputs from the installation crews can help determine the approximate time needed for each stage of the installation and what might go wrong that can affect the schedule.

And things will go wrong. All personnel working on the project should be briefed on the safety rules and preferably given a written copy. Supervisors and workers should have contact numbers for the project manager, backup and all other personnel they may need to contact. Since some projects require working outside normal work hours, for example airports or busy government buildings where cabling is often done overnight, having a project manager available and, preferably, on-site while the work is being done is very important.

During the installation, a knowledgeable person should be on-site to monitor the progress of installation, inspect workmanship, review test data, create daily progress reports and immediately notify the proper management if something goes awry. If the project manager is not technically qualified, having someone available who is technical is important. That person should have the authority to stop work or require fixes if major problems are found.

Facilities and power/ground issues

This series of articles primarily focuses on the unique aspects of fiber optic cable plant design and installation, but this process cannot be done in a vacuum. Cable plants may require municipal permits, cooperation from other organizations to allow access through a property and construction disruptions. Any communications system requires not only the cable plant but facilities for termination at each end, placing communications equipment, providing power (usually uninterruptible data quality power) and a separate data ground. Inside the facility, connections must be made to the end users of the link.

The large number of options involved in almost every project make it impossible to summarize the issues in a few sentences, so let’s just say you must consider the final, complete design to gain cooperation and coordinate the final installation. One of the most valuable assets you can have when designing and installing a fiber optic project is an experienced contractor, which will be the subject of next month’s column.

HAYES is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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Form follows Function ; Certification tester R&D

by jeff griffin

Successful manufacturers of tools and equipment understand that, to be a leader, they must develop and provide products needed by the professionals in the fields they serve.

Most tools used by electricians evolve slowly, and new versions with important new features may look much the same as earlier versions. Other products change rapidly to keep pace with changes in the marketplace—a good example is testing equipment to certify datacom installations in commercial and industrial structures.

Not only do designers of certification testers have to develop capabilities and features that workers need now, they must anticipate changes in standards of the rapidly changing datacom industry. The most recent example of this challenge was development of testing for the new Category 6A cabling standard defining requirements to support 10 gigabit Ethernet over twisted-pair cabling—Amendment 10 of the TIA/EIA-568-B.2 standard (T568-B-10). For more information, see page 150.

ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR (EC) invited two leading providers of certification testers to discuss how their research and development programs keep pace with datacom testing requirements.

EC: When planning and designing datacom testing equipment, how does your company learn what the market needs and the capabilities and features of tools prospective buyers want?

Fluke Networks, David Veneski, marketing manager, certification products: Customers talk … we listen. We gather extensive “Voice of the Customer” research and listen closely to what they say and what they mean. Often, they can only state the problem. They don’t know what the answer looks like. Our job is to develop solutions that surprise and delight our customers. Fluke Networks is an active participant in industry trade associations and standards bodies. We both can share our knowledge and expertise where applicable and gain valuable insight from customers, channel partners and other suppliers.

Ideal Industries, Dan Payerle, datacom product manager: The customer plays a major role in all Ideal new product developments. Ideal datacom engineers are in close contact with network administrators and cabling contractors through regular on-site visits, trade shows, demonstrations, customer service calls and targeted focus groups to give us a better perspective of their requirements. Our engineers’ understanding of the installer side of the business greatly improves the “real-world” value of our testers.

EC: Do you conduct research within your own organization? Hire outside research consultants?

Fluke’s DV: Both

Ideal’s DP: We use a gamut of market research techniques to stay close to the customer, whether it is hiring outside survey firms or doing something as simple as scanning industry blogs for contractor feedback. One of our most important research sources is our active involvement in industry trade associations. This gives us insights into what direction technology is moving in.

EC: How do you gather marketing research information? Telephone interviews? Mail surveys? Focus groups? Direct contact with product users? Other methods?

Fluke’s DV: All of the above. E-mail/Web-based surveys are very fast and affordable. The results need to be verified, but they are good tools for gathering quantifiable data quickly. We spend a great deal of time and effort on personal visits to customers and channel partners.

Ideal’s DP: In addition to speaking with end-users, we talk to our distributors. A distributor has to be tech-savvy to sell testing equipment, which immediately qualifies them as an excellent source for new product input. A distributor acts as our eyes and ears when a customer comes in with a new requirement for us to meet.

EC: How do you qualify those participating in surveys as being appropriate for the product in question?

Fluke’s DV: We ask the participants about their jobs. It becomes pretty clear, in a fairly short time, whether they are working in a field in which we can help them.

Ideal’s DP: We speak with the network administrators and cabling contractors who use not only our certifiers but those made by our competitors.

EC: Do you have ongoing programs to gather information about product acceptance, to learn of complaints, to gather suggestions for improvements or new products?

Fluke’s DV: We staff a very active Technical Assistance Center. Customers can speak with our technical experts, who first and foremost solve the customer’s problem. Fluke Networks learns a great deal from these customer calls.

Ideal’s DP: In addition to regularly inserting customer response cards into our new products, Ideal maintains a toll-free 800 line for customer comments. We also host a Web site “contact us” portal for ongoing feedback. All feedback is tracked. If a response is necessary, a member of our product management staff will follow up.

EC: What is a specific example of new products or new product features that have resulted directly from input received through research or customer prospect contacts?

Fluke’s DV: [It’s] the rapidly emerging use of Ethernet to control industrial equipment, a task formerly handled by a number of vendor-specific formats. By listening to our customers, we realized that industrial Ethernet was an issue of growing importance and that some common problems associated with industrial Ethernet could be solved using slightly modified Fluke Networks test equipment. The customers benefit, and Fluke Networks is growing in this expanding market.

As Ethernet deployment moves into the industrial space, control engineers and plant managers are adapting industrial strength connectors, like the M12 form factor, for use in their network. Even though these connectors have typically been used for sensors in years past, M12s are now being used for Cat 5e equivalent communication. Our customers asked for a way to test the performance of cabling system with M12 connectors installed. With the DTX CableAnalyzer, new DTX M12 channel adapters and new M12 cables and M12-RJ45 cables, Fluke Networks can help. These adapters test and certify installed channel links to the IEEE802.3 specifications up to Fast Ethernet (100 Base-TX).

In addition, our customers are asking about ensuring their cabling is not part of any productivity downtime, and given the wide range of environmental issues that can affect a network in all the different manufacturing floors, we are providing the industrial IP67 rating on a new set of accessories kitted with our network, electrical and copper testers. Whether plant managers need to protect a switch from debris and motion in a heavy equipment vehicle or withstand a chemical wash down and high temperatures in a large-scale bakery, Fluke Networks offers them easy-to-understand platforms and the accessories needed to ensure that the cabling network is not the cause of any downtime.

Our customers have told us they work in all sorts of environments in all sorts of conditions: indoors, outdoors, on ladders, in lift-buckets, in wet as well as dry weather. They also told us they need tools that are always available and always work. Our Pro-Tool Kits are designed with ergonomically designed Dur-a-Grip pouches that store the tools on a belt, and more importantly, do not let the tools slip out. A Dur-a-Grip pouch will hold the tools in even if the pouch is upside down, yet the technician can pull a tool out for easy use at any time.

Ideal’s DP: The Ideal 10-Gigabit Alien Crosstalk Testing Kit for its LANTEK certifiers originated from the discussions with network designers and cabling installers about a new source of irritation which was causing headaches to the unshielded world in particular. They told us that the problem is that at frequencies around 300 MHz and over, the individual transmission channels begin to interfere with each other. This effect is known as “alien crosstalk” (AXT), i.e., crosstalking that occurs not in the cable links themselves between the wire pairs, but disturbs the wanted signals from outside.

With the increased deployment of 10 [gigabit Ethernet] networks (Cat 6a, 500 MHz) in enterprise and data storage environments, the contractors needed a way to test AXT to ensure that intercable crosstalk does not hamper data transmission. At a time when technicians are already working under excessive cost pressures, an extremely complex and time--consuming series of measurements would lead to an unacceptable additional burden for them in terms of time and money.

For this reason, the AXT kit was designed to work with an existing tester and requires only a simple software update. The dual-head adapter allows each LANTEK handset to transmit on a disturber cable and detect the alien crosstalk on a victim cable from both sides of the link simultaneously, reducing test times by as much as half compared to other solutions when performing a full PSANEXT (power sum alien near end crosstalk) and PSAACR-F (power sum alien attenuation-to-crosstalk ratio far-end) certification. The inclusion of 12 AXT terminators in the kit also maximizes productivity for single-person operation. An additional time-saving feature is the ability of the LANTEK to perform all of the AXT measurements and calculations in the field without the use of a personal computer and complex testing software. This allows any technician to run the test system following the cues of the intelligent graphical user interface and get instant pass/fail results in the field.

We added optional FIBERTEK and TRACETEK accessories to our LANTEK cable certifiers as the result of requests from customers who test both [unshielded-twisted pair] and fiber.

FIBERTEK enables loss, length, delay, bidirectional and dual wavelength testing over multimode and single-mode fiber. TRACETEK traces a fiber run, locating events such as bad splices, and reports the magnitude of the events.           

GRIFFIN, a construction and tools writer from Oklahoma City, can be reached at up-front@cox.net.

for more information

FLUKE NETWORKS

425.446.4519

www.flukenetworks.com

IDEAL INDUSTRIES

800.435.0705

www.idealindustries.com

wire&Cable BY russ munyan

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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The Best Defense ; A secure cable environment wards off hackers

Phishing, pharming, hacking and malware are all terms most electrical or low-voltage contractors know a little about. Contractors at least know the damage such computer threats can do to their clients.

According to the Columbia (Mo.) Business Times, the volume of spam increased 100 percent in 2007 over the previous year, and spam had become more dangerous, with URL-based viruses increasing 256 percent.

While there has been a lot written about ways information technology (IT) staff can keep corporate networks safe, there also are steps that electrical and telecommunications contractors can take. An EC can help build physical networks and environments that will protect their clients’ networks.

Inside or outside

“The threats can come from either inside employees or outside nonemployees,” said James Michael Stewart, an IT trainer and owner of the IT training company Impact Online.

Unlike outsiders’ threats, insiders are most often nonmalicious and even unintentional. Either form of threat can leave a network vulnerable, so safeguards should be implemented to prevent this. For instance, it is important that the actual physical infrastructure of the network be as inaccessible as possible.

“Limit direct access so that no one can just walk up, break into the network and connect,” Stewart said. “There should not be any exposed cables onto which ‘sniffers’ can be directly attached to eavesdrop on a cable.”

Less subtle than a sniffer, but arguably more destructive (at least in the short run), is a disgruntled employee or common vandal who gains access and proceeds to cut exposed cables.

All cables should be behind walls, above ceilings and out of sight. Of course, that is all consistent with industry--standard code. But nearly every experienced cabling contractor has seen installed cables that are exposed, and technicians will do their clients well by pointing out the security risks of such exposures. In addition, all doors to telecommunications rooms should be kept locked.

“One place where this vulnerability can be overlooked is in a building where multiple offices use central punch-down blocks, like on a ground floor or in a central closet on each floor,” Stewart said.

Similarly, he cautioned that outside access points can be exploited.

“Oftentimes, those access points are enclosed in boxes that are only secured with break-away plastic locks,” Stewart said. “A serious hacker can break into them by just tearing away that lock, installing a listening device, and then putting another plastic lock in its place. That is why those boxes need padlocks.”

Easier access

But much easier unauthorized access is available through a common wall jack.

“There should not be any active ports that do not have approved devices attached to them, for an open port can be hacked,” Stewart said.

Any unused ports should be disabled at the switch, so employees cannot attach rogue devices that provide unmanaged access to the network.

“That is especially true for ports in areas that have unsecured or public access, such as reception or receiving areas or areas that may be open to public tours, where outsiders can have physical access to the network,” Stewart said.

Another point of concern may be wireless access points (WAPs). If employees or hackers gain access to one, they can potentially plug an extra cable into it in order to connect a rogue device. Or the intruder might—intentionally or unintentionally—press the WAP reset button, which would restore the device’s factory specifications and password, making it either nonfunctional with the current network or vulnerable to anyone with access to the default factory password. Stewart suggests that contractors consider offering bids to clients to install nonmetal cages around WAPs to make them harder to hack, especially in high security environments.

Additional hardware strategies include intelligent infrastructure or intelligent patching solutions, which enable IT staff members to see and arrest unauthorized network accesses when they happen. These solutions provide real-time notification whenever there is a change in the network usage, which will provide a much shorter time that an unauthorized intruder can survive on a network, be that a nonmalicious insider or a malevolent hacker.

A safe network requires an infrastructure that is -engineered and constructed  well. Electrical and telecommunications contractors who are well educated about security issues and infrastructure options can partner with their clients to help them be equipped to ward off what have become inevitable attacks.     

MUNYAN is a freelance writer in the Kansas City, Kan., area, specializing in business writing and telecommunications. He can be reached at www.russwrites.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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Using IBS to Go Green Contractors have options to improve building efficiency

BY edward brown

Many electrical contractors are finding additional revenue with the introduction of green technology. My definition of greening is taking whatever steps are necessary to reduce the energy consumed by a building or complex. Not only is that a desirable goal for the environment, but it is a way to significantly reduce operating expenses for owners and tenants, while, at the same time, generating revenue for the contractor.

The best way to achieve that goal is to use more efficient equipment to provide more output with less input. The push to use compact fluorescent lamps is a good example.

Another major avenue is to integrate a building’s energy-consuming systems. By doing that, whatever reduction in energy use achieved by using more efficient devices can be further improved—multiplied, in fact. Energy-efficient devices are essentially passive. They sit still and do the work regardless of its effectiveness. But building systems exist to do a job: lighting, cooling, heating and circulating breathable air, for example. The way each particular job is done is up to the control system.

Lighting

Is the lighting control a simple on/off switch or a switch and dimmer combination? In that case, the decision of whether the lights should be on or off, on but dimmed, or on at maximum brightness is up to people who activate the switch or dimmer. That might work just fine—or not. It depends on what is in the mind of the person in control. The trouble is that people are different, some will think about minimizing the use of energy, and some won’t be bothered.

Then there is the question of what kind of illumination is needed. Are light switch operators thinking about controlling the lights so as to provide just what is needed to do a specific job? Does the lighting contribute to a mood, or should it focus on a given task, such as reading, assembling components, performing surgery or lighting a theatrical performance? Should there be the same amount of light in a room on a sunny or a cloudy day? Should the lights be on when the room is empty? Could people tolerate a somewhat lower light level on a hot day in order to use more air conditioning? For that matter, just what is the optimum light level?

If lighting is controlled by a closed-loop addressable system and there is a building management system that might use BACNET or Ethernet—the different systems can be programmed to interact with each—we then have the tools to begin exploring answers to these questions. The possibilities suddenly become wide open:

1. With a daylight harvesting system, illumination sensors cause the level of lighting to be adjusted for a constant level of area illumination. Energy will not be wasted adding to naturally available illumination. It can be used to enhance the lighting in cloudy or nighttime conditions or even vary as the sun moves across the sky. The daylight system could be programmed to adjust motorized window coverings to minimize glare or to adjust shutters to follow the sun, aiming sunlight into the room throughout the day.

2. The control system could allow individual users to adjust the task lighting they need for their work.

3. Occupancy sensors could change the lighting pattern according to whether a room is occupied. There could even be a grid of sensors that would enable the lighting program to energize only some of the room’s lights.

Heating and cooling

These days, even simple home thermostats can be used to adjust set points for different times of day and days of the week. Systems in larger buildings can easily be programmed that way as well and also can incorporate other energy-saving control features.

Closed-loop control can allow the heating or cooling system to be optimized, only allowing enough energy needed for the task. Temperature feedback to the control system could come from sensors placed throughout an area with the information averaged or entered into a more complex algorithm. In this case, the heat output of the system would be much more efficiently controlled than if it were based on a single thermostat.

The motor speed of an air circulator can be controlled based on the level of carbon dioxide in a room, as measured by gas sensors. Therefore, the rate of air circulated into the room will only be as much as needed for the number of occupants.

Smart metering

Although smart metering is largely viewed for providing more nuanced usage information to electrical utilities, it can be used within a building to identify the electrical energy costs of different systems at different locations, which leads me to the most important contribution integrated control systems can make towards reducing energy usage …

Fine tuning the system

When building systems are integrated and controlled, settings and control algorithms can be adjusted over time, using data fed back from energy measurements and from observations and comments from the people who use the building. The parameters are not set in stone.

BROWN is an electrical engineer, technical writer and editor. He serves as managing editor for Security + Life Safety Systems magazine. For many years, he designed high-power electronics systems for industry, research laboratories and government. Reach him at ebeditor@gmail.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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Systems That Enable IBS

By Darlene bremmer

Three major communications protocols provide true building integration

True building integration means finding commonalities between building systems and using the appropriate communication protocols to program them. This provides cooperative sequences of operations that offer increased value to the building owner. Before open architecture communications protocols, building automation was controlled by proprietary control solutions. Solution providers manufactured the building control systems, developed the application software, and charted product development, deployment and product line diversity.

Many building owners are now taking advantage of open systems communication technologies, creating a total building control network that includes every building system and breaking free from the sole-source lock, inviting competitive bidding and making best-in-breed product selection, according to Strata Resource Inc., Albuquerque, N.M., a market research company that specializes in analysis of building automation technology, companies, trends and products. The three major protocols in use today, BACnet, LonWorks and Modbus, provide electrical contractors with opportunities to broaden service offerings, help building owners achieve their integration and energy goals and add value.

BACnet

The Building Automation and Control Network protocol (BACnet) began its development in 1987 under the auspices of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Atlanta. It was designed specifically to meet the communications needs of building automation and control systems for applications such as heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC); lighting; access control and fire detection systems; and the systems’ associated equipment.

“BACnet provides a framework and set of standardized objects and services to allow manufacturers to model the physical devices and their properties on a network,” said Rich Westrick, director of engineering for Synergy Lighting Controls, Conyers, Ga., an Acuity Brands company.

As an entirely open, standardized and nonproprietary protocol, BACnet permits complete interoperability between different manufacturers’ building automation control products and access to information, control and programming capabilities from a single-user interface, said Terry Hoffman, director of Building Automation System (BAS) marketing for Johnson Controls, Milwaukee.

“BACnet fosters integration between building systems and components from multiple vendors into a single, interoperable network,” he said.

For the building owner, the benefit of BACnet is the freedom to choose the vendors it wants, to change vendors in the future, and to have a truly integrated building system (IBS). For the manufacturer, the benefit is confidence that the equipment it provides for a project will be interoperable with the rest of the automated building system.

The electrical contractor benefits from the flexibility that BACnet affords in running fewer wires to each individual building system.

“With fewer wires to run, the contractor saves thousands of feet and dollars in cabling,” said Jon Williamson, product marketing manager for TAC, Carrollton, Texas.

LonWorks

The LonWorks protocol, EIA/CEA 709.1-B-2002, is a networking platform specifically created to address the unique performance, reliability, installation and maintenance needs of system control applications. The platform is built on the protocol created by Echelon Corp., San Jose, Calif., for networking devices over media such as twisted-pair cables, power lines and fiber optic cabling.

“LonWorks is more than just a communication protocol. It is an entire set of related technologies that allow any number of electronic devices or products to work together, communicate and act as a system,” said Steve Nguyen, Echelon’s director of corporate marketing.

Echelon introduced the LonWorks technology in 1990 and it was initially adopted primarily in building automation, HVAC and some light industrial applications. In the mid-1990s, LonWorks introduced interoperability that would allow different controls manufacturers’ products and systems to communicate over the nonproprietary, open-architecture platform. By 2006, approximately 60 million devices had been installed with LonWorks technology. Manufacturers in a variety of industries including building, home, transportation, utility and industrial automation have adopted the platform as the basis for their product and service offerings.

The Echelon “Neuron chip” was initially the only way to implement a communication node, and it is used in the large majority of LonWorks-based hardware. More recently, the LonWorks protocol has been made available for general--purpose processors, but the development has not yet been widely adopted. As an open architecture, LonWorks also provides building owners with freedom of vendor choice.

“LonWorks’ ability to manage different vendors’ products is the key to creating and delivering the value of interoperability,” Nguyen said.

LonWorks’ interoperability is governed by the LonMark International Group, which maintains the interoperability guidelines, creates standard applications and tests and certifies products.

Modbus

Modicon, now part of Schneider Electric, Palatine, Ill., published Modbus in 1979 for use with its programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in industrial applications to read data and to program control systems. According to Fred Cohn, director of network  strategy for Schneider’s automation business unit, Modbus has evolved into a publicly accessible data communications protocol used with many different media, such as serial, Ethernet and various wireless technologies in both industrial and commercial applications.

“Modbus is widely used today for connecting building management systems to intelligent HVAC, lighting and power distribution and monitoring systems,” he said.

Modbus has become universally accepted because of its openness, simplicity, low-cost development and the minimum amount of hardware required to support it. Several hundred Modbus-compliant devices are already available in the market and more are being developed each year. As a well-defined and published international standard, Modbus provides interoperability between different manufacturers’ devices when applied properly.

“Modbus allows facility managers to locally or remotely access data regarding building operations, equipment status and energy consumption. It is a simple protocol to develop from the device standpoint and simple to implement from a software standpoint,” Cohn said.

Modbus can also be cost-effective to implement because it is media-independent. The protocol is used in multiple master/slave applications to monitor and program devices, to communicate between intelligent devices and sensors and instruments, and to monitor field devices using personal computers and human-machine interfaces. Although originally developed for industrial applications, the protocol is now used in building, infrastructure, transportation and energy applications.

Similarities and differences

All three protocols are the similar in that their primary purpose is to facilitate communication between devices in a building. Another common thread is that they all conform to European Open System Interconnection standards and provide a migration path for data to be communicated to higher level devices.

According to Nguyen, the fundamental difference between the protocols is that BACnet was developed as a system-to-system interoperable protocol originally designed for HVAC systems to communicate with each other, while LonWorks was developed as an interoperable protocol at the product and device level.

“Both seek to implement an integrated building and to ease its management,” he said.

Another primary difference between BACnet and LonWorks is that the BACnet standard does not include hardware, while the LonWorks protocol is embedded in its neuron chip.

“However, all three protocols allow the user to avoid being locked into a single vendor and to create a truly automated and integrated building,” he said.

According to Hoffman, BACnet, LonWorks and Modbus all differ in their approach to how their target customer base might choose to implement integrated systems and devices.

“Modbus supports a more industrial methodology, BACnet focuses on the integration of multiple buildings that are, for the most part, stand-alone, and LonWorks is used to integrate many small, intelligent devices arranged into groups that represent functions, buildings or even geographic areas,” Hoffman said.

However, there’s nothing stopping a building owner from employing two or even three of the protocols to obtain the strengths and benefits of each.

For instance, Modbus differs from the other two protocols in its simplicity, according to Dave Robin, senior research engineer, Automated Logic Corp., Atlanta.

“One of Modbus’ primary strengths is that it is a master/slave protocol which means one device is set up to gather data, and the other devices provide the data,” he said.

However, while Modbus is simpler to implement, it is not as sophisticated a protocol and does not address scheduling, alarming and trending issues as BACnet and LonWorks do.

What these protocols mean to the electrical contractor is having a standard that allows them to be confident that the specified equipment on a project will interoperate.

“If, for example, the designer or integrator specifies BACnet equipment, the contractor can focus on installation and not worry about the coordination of interfaces or gateways to tie proprietary networks together,” Westrick said.

According to Robin, a single communication standard allows the contractor to think of the building as a single entity.

“A single protocol greatly simplifies network design, reduces installation and wiring costs and reduces installation time,” Robin said.

Nguyen said that since a protocol like LonWorks doesn’t require electrical contractors to have proprietary knowledge of various manufacturers’ equipment, it can perform work in an IBS that was performed by specialty contractors in the past.

“The contractor still has to learn the best methods for wiring an open architecture communications platform, but doesn’t need extensive knowledge of network topology to succeed,” he said.

Wireless is the next step in IBS communication, according to Williamson and will be used in some, but not all, applications.

“ASHRAE is already working to extend BACnet to support wireless Zigbee networks,” he said.

Another future area to explore is cost-effective, small device networking.

“The market is moving toward lower cost, smaller device communication. The area that offers the best opportunity is deploying low-cost wireless and powerline communications for cost-effectively integrating simpler devices,” Cohn said.

BREMER, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 or darbremer@comcast.net.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com 

*********************************

GETTING Organized

by russ munyan

Cable management keeps
IT spaces clean and efficient

In the world of telecommunications infrastructure, rack mount cable management is a bit like a pit crew’s tool chest in NASCAR racing. NASCAR is about speed, the driver and the cars—so tool chests get very little glory.

It doesn’t seem much different in telecommunications. In many ways, we focus mostly on the speed of our networks. “So, what’s under the hood of your network? Cat 5E? Cat 6? Cat 6A? 10 gig over Ethernet? Fiber to the desktop?”

But try to imagine the mess that a pit crew would have without tool chests. It would probably be similar to a telecommunications room’s “spaghetti mess” that results from either not having or not effectively using cable management hardware.

Like tool boxes, cable rack management may not be flashy, especially when compared to the functionality of the overall network. But there is no network of any size that has been properly constructed or is effectively maintained without it.

Three major cable management manufacturers recently weighed in to talk about the management in general, and each was also invited to share some of its most advanced solutions.

Bigger networks, but no more space

“New buildings are not getting any more space for their telecommunications rooms. But those same new buildings are all getting fuller, denser networks.” said Brian Donowho, product manager with Chatsworth Products Inc. (CPI), Chatsworth, Calif. And not only are there more cables in network infrastructures, many higher-grade cables are thicker than previous lesser-grade cables.

That translates into needing bigger, deeper cable management for bigger, thicker cable bundles.

 “There are basically three tiers of vertical management,” said John Apgar, Cooper B-Line, Highland, Ill., Comm/Data product manager.

“The first tier is what I call ‘price point’ management. That is the least expensive on the market and is typically made overseas,” he said. “It is usually made out of plastic finger duct, no bigger than 6 inches wide. The covers are generally unremarkable, and they can be hard to get on and off.

“However, it can be up to 50 percent cheaper than high-end products, but you often get what you pay for in both aesthetics and functionality; it typically doesn’t look very nice, and there can be bend radius issues with it. But even though it is the ‘down and dirty’ low end of the market products, there is still a strong demand for this level of management.”

Apgar said middle of the road products are 4–6 inches with pivoting gates.

“In many cases, they do not provide much space for the cables to pass through, and they are still not as well designed as the top of the line products,” he said.

“The best products available combine aesthetics and good cable support, and are available in varying widths with variable finger lengths which work well with high densities of cable and racks,” Apgar said. “These are the products that you will see in high-end data centers where the racks and cabinets are the centerpiece, surrounded by glass walls for everyone to see. In some cases, this management even has lockable doors to secure the management channel. These high-end products most easily manage fatter, heavier cable. They look good, they work well and they are also the most expensive ones on the market.”

Apgar said the higher end products sell better at his company.

“No one really believes anymore that IT is just a background part of anyone’s business,” he said. “Companies want their IT stuff to look good and work well. And IT managers want to buy the best products to simplify things when it comes to moves, adds and changes; the better products just work better.”

Three good things

Data centers serve as perhaps the best example of how a cable management strategy helps IT directors effectively manage their networks.

“Port costs go down in data centers as densities go up, resulting in significantly higher port densities than we’ve ever seen in the past,” Donowho said. “That makes it more important than ever to effectively support higher cable densities at the rack, and that is driving contractors to make better use of cable management space than ever before.”

Donowho advised customers to look for three things in cabl

e management.

“First, sufficient width and depth. Second, finger support and strength. Third, robust features like cable spools and anchoring devices inside of the manager to help the installer control, route and manage cables in the device,” he said.

“The marketplace has clearly shown that it prefers finger--style managers,” Donowho said, “and the fingers’ length, strength and rigidity a-re all important to make sure that they can support a sufficient number of cables in the management. It is the fingers in vertical management that help transition the cables off of the rack.”

The cable management system also must be able to effectively handle whatever cable a contractor brings to a rack, from the smallest fiber optics to the thickest Category 6A.

“Today’s cable managers must function effectively in a mixed media environment,” said Clark Kromenaker, business development manager for Panduit, Tinley Park, Ill.

“In horizontal cable managers, you want fingers that are flexible in the center for cable insert and stronger on the outside to support cables exiting the manager,” he said. “In the vertical management, cable support and bend radius are most important as the cables transition from the horizontal. And cable retainers that attach to the fingers can improve cable management and appearance.”

Panduit’s NetManager high capacity horizontal cable manager series is designed to manage thicker high-end cables.

“Our engineers re-searched and designed this product for 10 Gig cables,” he said. “It is a deeper manager with fingers for heavier and larger-diameter cables that require a larger bend-radius.”

Another Panduit solution is the PatchRunner vertical management system, which uses vertical and horizontal management with angled patch panels. PatchRunner enables 16 percent more rack space for network equipment in the same footprint as a conventional 7 foot rack, and reduces overall system width by 36 percent.

The cutting edge

The management should also be sufficiently variable and responsive to the unique demands of different installation requirements.

“Right now, the cutting edge of rack management is flexibility for a solution’s specific utility,” Apgar said. “Top line management is flexible enough to handle big bundles as well as able to be accessorized so that, for example, it can segregate power, [telecommunications] copper and fiber optics.”

Not surprisingly, the management system’s flexibility or variability has become an important component of high-end products from all three of these manufacturers.

For example, Cooper B-Line’s RCM+ series (which stands for rack cable management-plus) is a modular system designed for maximum adaptability.

“RCM+ solves most cable management problems that will meet clients’ management needs for the foreseeable future,” Apgar said. “Through its modular design, RCM+ can be configured to meet any structured cabling scenario, with its interchangeable  cable retention gates, doors, deeper fingers and optional accessories.”

Another example of flexibility is in CPI’s Evolution cable management series, which has a movable midsection in its double-sided vertical management.

“Unlike traditional vertical management, the movable midsection in the Evolution management is comprised of multiple panels, each of which can be moved forward or backward for a 50/50, 40/60 or 60/40 front/rear split of the interior channel,” Donowho said. “Not all installations require the same space front and back, so the movable midsections reallocate the available manager space to better suit the installation needs.”

Well-designed management also features effective cable placement once in the rack/management system.

“Anchoring cable bundles inside of the management channel is very important, but is widely overlooked,” Donowho said.

Evolution addresses that need with a cable lashing bar built into the cable channel.

“The fingers on a vertical manager only support the front two-thirds of the cable [in a full channel]. But if you were to look down through a manager from the top where the bundles are not effectively anchored, then you would see a lot of unused space at the back of that C-shaped channel. But the cable lashing bar allows for proper anchoring so that the entire channel can be used and the doors can be closed without compromising cable integrity,” he said.

Make well-informed decisions

Like any purchase, contractors ordering rack management should research options to make well-informed decisions. The individual needs of each installation will most certainly come into play. Similarly, cost will also be a factor, but the odds are good that it will not be the sole deciding factor in a dense, upscale installation.

Further, a contractor’s personal preference and familiarity with certain products will likely influence a decision, but all of that could be trumped by a project owner’s directive. Contractors should be well-versed in multiple solutions so that they do not fail to provide clients with the best option simply out of ignorance of the marketplace.

In the end, well-engineered, properly thought through and effectively used management will prevent clients’ networks and IT staff from being encumbered by unmanaged cables in the telecommunications room or data center. The result will help create an organized, efficient and hopefully effective workplace and network that should race along at amazingly high speeds, kind of like the pit crew and cars in a championship NASCAR race.

MUNYAN is a freelance writer in the Kansas City, Kan., area, specializing in business writing and telecommunications. He can be reached at www.russwrites.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com 

Network & Cabling Magazine

Future-proofing the network: from the CO to the outside plant, and everywhere in between

By Ryan Lindquist

Independent operating companies (IOCs) and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) are rapidly expanding FTTx (fiber-to-the-X) deployments across their markets. As they bring fiber to more customers and use it to deliver an ever-growing array of services, independent operating companies and CLECs have to make some network-investment decisions pretty quickly.

Obviously, a major factor in these decisions is their capital-expenditure budgets. However, service providers should try to maximize their return on investment by spending CapEx (capital expenditure) dollars to satisfy not only current requirements but long-term needs. They know their most cost-effective investments today are those that will future-proof their fiber networks.

Customers want more broadband services, including high-definition television (HDTV) and, for sharing large files and downloading videos, faster Internet-access speeds. To satisfy these demands, IOCs and CLECs are pushing fiber closer to their customers—at least to the neighborhood and, in many cases, all the way to customer premises. Consequently, they have a lot more fiber cables in their central offices (COs) than ever before.

How service providers connect, terminate, route, splice, store and handle their fiber cables directly affects the network’s performance and profitability. An effective cable management solution becomes absolutely critical as more customers and services come online and expect uninterrupted service. Below we will review the four principles of cable management, and then discuss the issues that leading IOCs and CLECs consider as they look for solutions to handle not only their early cable management needs, but those that will inevitably pop up in the future.

First, a review of cable management basics

There are four basic elements of cable management:

BEND RADIUS PROTECTION. Simply put, fibers bent beyond their specified minimum-bend diameters can break, causing service failures and increasing network operations costs. Telcordia recommends a minimum 38-mm bend radius for 3-mm patch cords.

CABLE-ROUTING PATHS. When well-defined, they give the technician no option but to route the cables properly and consistently. Leaving cable routing to the technician’s imagination leads to an inconsistently routed, difficult-to-manage network, as well as increased congestion in the termination panel and cableways.

ACCESSIBILITY. Well-defined routing paths also ensure easy access to installed fibers, which is critical for enabling technicians to install or remove a specific fiber without inducing a macro-bend on an adjacent one. Accessibility also can mean the difference between congested chaos and neatly routed, easily accessible patch cords.

PHYSICAL PROTECTION. Fibers routed between pieces of equipment without proper protection are susceptible to damage caused by technician accidents and equipment, which can significantly affect network reliability.

Now, where is that connector?

The optical fiber industry has evolved rapidly over the past few years, producing more technology choices, such as passive optical networks (PONs) and Active Ethernet, and an ever-broader range of cable types and connector styles. Nevertheless, one aspect of the industry remains constant: manual intervention with a patch cord.

As the number of network terminations steadily rises, some providers deploy high-density, bulkhead-style panels. Inevitably, they must position their adapters extremely close to one another. That proximity often translates into problems: technicians tracing patch cords to perform MACs (moves/adds/changes) are forced to play a guessing game and, in so doing, can accidentally disrupt service to neighbouring fibers and, ultimately, end users.

Yet some providers choose this type of fiber termination solution—often because they’ve seen it at a trade show. More often than not, however, what they evaluate are empty racks and panels, so they have no idea how that bulkhead panel will handle service turn-up over the next two years when, for example, the take-rate for their fiber services turns out to be 30% to 40%.

Another avenue customers may be forced to take is the use of connector removal tools. The reality of keeping a tool in proximity to a fiber lineup for years to come is difficult to expect and just one more thing service providers shouldn’t have to inventory.

By contrast, other providers realize their cable management challenges will only increase over time, so they look for solutions designed to maximize their daily work flexibility while minimizing both CapEx and OpEx (operating expenditure) requirements in the coming years; in a nutshell, solutions incorporating the four principles of cable management described above.

Show me the terminations

Conserving precious floor space in the central office (CO) is crucial to every service provider, and some believe the best way to accomplish this is to invest in high-density termination products with the smallest possible footprints. Others, however, believe that squeezing the greatest number of fiber terminations into the smallest possible space is, at best, a short-term solution.

They reason that many high-density termination products neglect at least two of the four cable management principles discussed earlier. Bulkhead-type products neither define appropriate routing paths nor physically protect installed fiber. Typically, these products offer only two options for getting from Point A to Point B:

• one path, which means one lower trough that will overflow in no time, or

• too many paths, which means patch cords inevitably evolve into untraceable, stranded ports.

Forward-thinking providers want a solution that maximizes their ability to respond to service requirements while minimizing operational material costs and conserving CO space. Specifically, they want a single patch cord length that is capable of reaching every connection point: for example, a 6-m patch cord for one frame or an 8-m patch cord for a two-frame solution. They also want multiple troughs and intuitive paths between Points A and B.

How much incremental growth, and at what cost?

Many service providers do not need 2000 terminations right from the start, but they want the ability to add terminations incrementally. So how do they determine the ideal minimum increment?

Service providers trying to future-proof their networks first look at some important OpEx issues. For example, the estimated OpEx required for each update to a 24-port module includes a truck roll ($175) plus routing, splicing and testing the fiber ($650), plus the cost of the stubbed panel ($450) for a total of $1275 per panel.

With 24-port increments, the provider will have large-count cable coming into the CO, say 144-count, which it will feed with six cable assemblies (144 divided by 24). That means more congestion is inevitable: not only at the panel as technicians dress cables up the rack but also at the splice enclosure where indoor cables meet outside plant (OSP) cables.

That same provider, closely watching CapEx and OpEx budgets along with CO space, then evaluates a 72-fiber cable assembly and realizes that investing slightly more upfront will eliminate update-related issues such as:

• network consistency (every technician can follow the routing
paths easily);

• excessive buildup in ladder racks because of low-count fiber cables;

• congestion in the splice enclosure; or

• vendor turnaround time when growth surges occur
in market share.

Not to worry... we’re using reduced bend radius cables

While it’s true that using reduced bend radius (RBR) fiber provides additional flexibility in the network, it’s by no means a silver bullet. The other three principles of cable management still matter; in fact, given the widespread—and erroneous—belief that RBR cable is a cure-all approach, these three principles are more important than ever before:

• Cable-routing paths: regardless of the type of fiber in use, providers must still ensure clear raceways in which they can dress their fibers, and still be able to make MACs in the network.

• Accessibility: a provider that assumes it can get by with a bulkhead-style cable management solution because it’s using RBR has forgotten that glass connectors still break and can take a customer out of service very fast.

• Physical protection: regardless of the type of fiber in use, walk-through aisles still exist, people still mop the CO floor, technicians still have tools hanging from their belts. There’s no shortage of opportunities for physical damage to installed fiber.

Just one more connection in the network

As service providers extend fiber to customer locations even further from the CO, loss budgets become critical. Concerned about lead times, some turn to vendors promoting a ‘one-panel-does-it-all’ approach. Upon receiving the provider’s order for a specific cable length, the vendor splices that raw length of cable to the panel and ships it. This makes for shorter lead times but, with each splice having a loss of anywhere from .01dB to .05dB, the provider must take loss into account.

Providers concerned about future-proofing their networks would do well to investigate a pre-terminated solution; one that provides a single continuous, pre-terminated stub. By minimizing the number of splices or connections, such solutions promise to minimize the potential loss and possible failure points.

The Swiss army knife version of fiber panels

Another limitation with the one-panel-does-it-all approach to cable management is that some vendors claim service providers can deploy such a panel in an OSP cabinet or CO fiber frame but, regardless of where a high-density bulkhead-style product is deployed, it presents the all-too-familiar worries about fiber expansion and patch cord congestion.

Providers trying to head off those worries often deploy a tie panel in an OSP cabinet. A termination count of, say, 288 is high—relative to the cabinet—but not excessive, as it is with a huge fiber-frame lineup.

Inside the CO, a high-density, bulkhead-style product affords up to 1728 terminations, connector access is severely limited, and growth in market share leads to growth in patch cord pileup. Industry standards call for trough pileups that do not exceed 2 in. Using a traditional frame, one with 1728 terminations and an upper and a lower trough, allows the provider to have no more than a three- to four-frame lineup. A more flexible solution allows for a 20-frame lineup. By doing the math (1728 x 20 versus 1728 x 3 or 4), forward-thinking providers can readily decide which strategy makes the best use of their precious CapEx and OpEx dollars.

Thinking forward into the future

As service providers expand their FTTx deployments and deliver more services over fiber, competitive realities dictate they stretch their CapEx/OpEx dollars as far as possible. When it comes to managing their fiber cable, some providers are attracted by a comparatively low upfront price for a bulkhead-style, one-panel-does-it-all product. Unfortunately, the inherent limitations with this kind of product translate into higher long-term costs and a less-than-reliable network.

Other providers, however, want solutions that not only incorporate the four principles of cable management but also take into account the ongoing issues raised by manual intervention with patch cords. By investing in solutions specifically designed to accommodate growth, provide operating flexibility and ensure network reliability, these service providers will maximize their investment returns and long-term success.

Ryan Lindquist is an associate market manager for national accounts at ADC Telecommunications, and has 10 years of experience engineering and deploying fiber optic networks.

Reprinted with full permission of Network  & Cabling Magazine – www.networkcablingmag.ca

*********************************

Keeping it clean

By William Graham, CFOS/S/T/C

When I first became involved with fiber optics 14 years ago, I would look at the end of a connector with a 100X microscope and clean it with what I was told was “residue-free” isopropyl alcohol. Back then, the system speeds were such that everything worked just fine.

As the years went by, data rates increased, and with each increase came new problems. We increased the power of our microscopes to 200X then 400X and began finding alcohol residue on the connector ferrule. And, as systems failed because of light reflecting back from this residue, new cleaning procedures were implemented.

It was agreed that all residue must be removed from the connector with a dry non-lint polyester tape cleaner. This procedure works fine, but fails to ensure the connector inside the bulkhead is clean; when we mate the patch cord connector to the bulkhead connector, we just end up transferring dirt from one to the other.

The solution, of course, is to ensure that both surfaces are clean before mating connectors, and we do this to:

• ensure the system has the benefit of all optical power;

• prevent contamination, as this will cause the light to reflect back, possibly damaging the transmitter;

• prevent connector damage, as dirt will become embedded in the glass surface and cause chips, scratches and cracks.

And while we lack adequate cleanliness standards for connectors in North America, some organizations have begun adopting European standards. One such standard adopted by some Canadian government departments and some cablecos requires that a picture be taken of the end of the connector ferrule, then each speck of dirt/scratch described according to size and location. Two to five zones on the connector ferrule are generally described.

For example, if you’re using a 62.5/125µm connector, divide the end of the connector ferrule into three zones. The core will be Zone A, with a diameter of 66µm (which would include the core diameter). Zone B might have a diameter of 128µm and Zone 3 would have a diameter of 250µm. The documentation for each connector could include a picture of the end face as well as a description of each piece of contamination, chip, scratch or crack with the length, width and area described and recorded.

Some simple rules will save you countless dollars in unproductive time.

• Never set a connector down unless
it is capped.

• Never uncap a connector unless you’re ready to plug it in.

• Never uncap more than one connector at a time.

• Always cap bulkhead fittings.

• Put removed dust caps in a small, sealed bag and tape it to the inner back of the cabinet, making them available when the cable is connected.

• Set caps on a clean surface (remember that dirt also travels through the air).

• Always inspect your connectors before connecting them. Also inspect the mating surface.

• Be sure all the residue from the alcohol or cleaner is removed after cleaning.

Technicians generally agree that over 80% of service calls are related to dirt, and they spend their time simply cleaning connectors. In many cases, equipment is connected without regard for cleanliness, and days are spent cleaning connectors to remove all contamination.

Many of the FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) systems being sold today have a low profit margin with long payback periods. Any company that does not have a pro-active policy toward clean connectors will have a difficult time surviving. Some systems have splitters that split one signal 32 times; in this case, there are 33 connectors that must be cleaned at this one spot or node.

A company’s policy must simply state:

• every connector must be visually inspected with a microscope before being connected;

• the surface to which it is being
connected must also be inspected
with a microscope; and,

• both surfaces must be clean before mating.

When such a policy is adopted and strictly followed, troubleshooting and network downtime will be minimized, and systems will realize their full capability. It will reduce network damage and extend the equipment’s longevity, as well as reduce truck rolls and increase customer satisfaction.

William Graham is an electrical contractor, certified fiber optic specialist and a director of the Fiber Optic Association (FOA). He operates Mississauga Training Consultants and is a member of Network & Cabling’s editorial advisory board. You can visit William online at www.fiberoptictraining.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Network  & Cabling Magazine – www.networkcablingmag.ca

TED MAGAZINE

Make the IP connection

Open architecture offers more opportunities to sell products.

by Allan Colombo

Electrical distributors who can accommodate their low-voltage customers when it comes to network components and IP-based systems are poised to succeed in this age of network connectivity. “Our company learned early on the value of partnering with a distributor that is truly committed to our company’s success,” said Dan McKimm, president of ProTech Security in North Canton, Ohio. “A distributor needs to provide technical advice, sales, and yes, even lead generation, even to small integrators.”

Network connectivity includes the use of one or more network switches where many network cables extend the reach of the head-end system. More often than not, these terminations are made using category-compliant data jacks, a patch panel, and patch cords. Operating power for these devices is provided by a special power over Ethernet (PoE) power supply that plugs into the network at the head-end. In some cases vendors using the open architecture method will design their equipment to work with the standard 48VDC used with common computer equipment.

The power afforded network technology in today’s world is the result of IP addressability. IPs enable a network to identify devices by “talking” to them.

An IP consists of a series of numbers, grouped together using dots between each group. This arrangement enables the head-end to selectively target where each piece of data goes along the entire network.

This is primarily done using a network switch equipped with four or more bi-directional ports into which each data cable plugs using a category-compliant patch cord.

The real advantage to IP network technology is realized on installation. Instead of installing a set of wires to each and every device, linking each one individually with the head-end, a single network cable can carry multiple message streams to the network switch, which routes them to their destinations.

A typical high-tech electronic access control system, for example, is composed of several network-oriented controllers to which door switches, card readers, and door strikes or electromagnetic locks terminate. IP technology allows the host computer to receive and send data to specific doors where people have swiped their identification card. The head-end is able to identify the person or persons involved, signaling the controller to release the lock.

All of this is made possible because of the unique IP address given to each device. This process may involve one or more doors at the same time.

Open Architecture Vs. Proprietary

There are essentially two ways that manufacturers make and sell IP-based systems. One uses components specifically designed and manufactured for use with a specific control system, such as a video camera controller or an access control system.

The other method—open architecture—relies on open standards that enable more than one manufacturer’s wares to work together. This ensures that dissimilarly made parts can be used interchangeably. This method centers on open architecture.

“We try to use open architecture as much as possible as there are so many powerful tools that can enhance the total protective nature of an IP-based intercom system,” said Sam Shane, chairman of Talk-A-Phone Company. “Through the use of open standards, we’re able to partner with other companies to integrate their systems with ours in as efficient a means as possible.”

The proprietary method forces low-voltage installers to use a single manufacturer for the majority of the components required on a job. Open architecture, on the other hand, allows the contractor to pick and choose based on price, functionality, popularity, or some other criteria.

“We decided early on to only deal with vendors who comply with an ‘open architecture’ philosophy. By doing so, we are ensuring a more comprehensive security solution,” McKimm said. “This enables us to accommodate clients who want to integrate or expand beyond their initial installation.”

Open architecture allows ProTech to provide a more scalable, expandable, and flexible platform where proprietary systems do not.

“The proprietary method may not serve the client as well when addressing convergence or an enterprise security solution. The beauty of ‘IP’ is to be more virtual in your approach to technology,” McKimm said. “Why allow yourself to be held hostage to a software or hardware vendor that only writes to their product?”

For the electrical distributor, open architecture means more business because it offers more opportunities to sell products.

Best of all, open standards make it possible for distributors to sell more equipment because these systems most often work with off-the-shelf solutions. Here is where it pays to develop partnerships with equipment manufacturers who can provide network infrastructure equipment as well as IP-based security components.

Colombo, an Ohio-based freelance writer, can be reached at allancolombo@gmail.com.

Reprinted with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine  www.tedmag.com  

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Take it back

Recycling communications cabling can mean cash for contractors—and a way for distributors to help build customer loyalty.

by Jim Hayes

In 2002, the “NEC” added a provision calling for the removal of abandoned cabling in buildings. The reasoning was that all that old IBM Type 1, Decnet, Wangnet, Arcnet, Cat 3, and recently obsoleted Cat 5 cabling was a major hazard in a fire. Cable jackets were already required to be flame retardant, but even if the jackets did not burn, they still contribute smoke and hazardous chemicals into the air during a fire.

What is an abandoned cable? The NEC defines it as one that is not in use or tagged for future use. Thus, all of the old cabling left inside buildings after a cabling upgrade was ripe for removal. Did it happen? Not much, it seems. The cost of removing premises cabling is much higher than installation, primarily because it requires much more care.

New cabling can generally be laid in place in cable trays or placed on j-hooks without worrying about other cables, but removing premises cables requires carefully tracing each one, cutting only the abandoned cables, then removing them without damaging the cables still in use. The high cost of removal for old cable has meant that often it is not done during cabling upgrades, but is often a requirement for landlords who find the NEC provisions written into leases or pointed out by inspectors.

With the current high costs of copper, one could wonder if that could drive mining this abandoned cable for a profit—after all, if cable is removed, it can certainly be recycled for a very reasonable payback. With this in mind, distributors might want to do a little homework to help their contractor customers simplify the process and maximize their income from their work.

The rules of return

In order to maximize the return on selling scrap cable to recyclers, there are some guidelines that should be followed:

• Separate cables by type. Because the best price can be obtained for electrical power cable—since the copper content is higher than for communications cable—it should be separated from other cables.

Recyclers grade cable by conductor size, basically larger or smaller than 12-gage wire. Communications cables should be separated by jacket type. Not only is the copper recyclable, but so is the plastic. Some recycled plastics can be reused, while others are processed for use as fillers or to make structures like park benches. However, the different types of jackets on riser and plenum cable, for example, require segregation for recycling.

• Do not try to remove jacketing on cables. As mentioned above, both copper and plastic can be reused. Some “scrap dealers” tell people that the cable is worth more without the jacket and they can remove it by burning it off. That’s an environmental disaster, as many harmful chemicals are released into the air and it may subject those who attempt to do so to an EPA fine. It’s also dangerous. One of the largest fires ever in New York City was caused by thieves stealing wire from abandoned buildings and trying to burn off the insulation. Legitimate recyclers use two methods to remove insulation—squeezing the cable until it cuts through the insulation or chopping it into fine particles and separating metallic and plastic pieces. The chopping process works on fiber-optic cable, too.

• Remove and separate non-cable scrap. Try to cut off connectors, cable ties, steel hangers, etc., to leave only the pure cable. Likewise, scour the job site for other recyclables, as any metallic or plastic scrap is probably recyclable.

Conduit is especially good to recycle, but even patchcords and extension cords are recyclable. Try to separate anything containing lead or other hazardous metals like mercury and anything considered toxic. Also, be aware that some electronic materials must be properly recycled according to EPA regulations.

• Deal with legitimate recyclers. Many scrap dealers are middlemen, reselling to recyclers. Using a recycler who owns the machinery to process cable locally not only ensures a better price, but also increases the chance that the materials will be properly handled. Local governments can help in the search for a reputable recycler—and if the load is big enough, many will pick it up. Finally, make certain the recycler has a certified scale.

Recycling is good business for contractors, and by helping them to better understand recycling, distributors will build both their bottom lines and customer loyalty.

Hayes, of VDV Works, has been active in the VDV cabling business for more than 25 years. Find him at JimHayes.com.

Reprinted with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine  www.tedmag.com


REMEMBER TO RECYCLE, REDUCE AND REUSE

   
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