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Wireville.com

Issue: February 2006
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces

Bisbee's Buzz

The BICSI conference was a major success. The attendees were presented with a veritable feast of technology solutions to improve the IT technology infrastructure. The pages of the January 2006 issue of Electrical Contractor Magazine were filled with a bounty of good info. The Construction Outlook -2006 by John Fulmer, is excellent and provides targeting information for your marketing programs. (www.ecmag.com) Also, check out the Security + Life Safety Systems (supplemental special report form Electrical Contractor Magazine). We will continue to put more focus on security and life safety systems throughout 2006.

2001 and 2002 were terrible years for our industry, and tightened budgets reflected reduced participation in trade organizations, like BICSI (www.bicsi.org). John Bakowski, the new president of BICSI, is energized and focused on making BICSI a better trade organization with more value for its members. Diligent efforts are being made to upgrade the conference programs and attract and hold new members. There have been numerous changes in the BICSI staff as Donna Dunn, the new executive director, sets up her team. We hope these changes will improve the association.

2006 looks like it is going to be a very good year. The feedback we got from the attendees at the BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, Florida was "thumbs up" from installers, contractors, distributors, and manufacturers. Business is rebounding. Many industry sectors are loosening up the purse strings. Government, education, and medical sectors are the most notable among the opportunity areas. In the medical sector, communications and record documentation technology has lagged slightly behind most other "businesses".

Copper-based communications cabling is healthy, but not growing as fast as the overall cabling demand. Fiber Optic cabling is extending its reach closer to the desktop. Zone Cabling designs offer a significant reduction in costs while delivering a higher level of performance to the workstation. Fiber to the Hub in the work zone means a shorter distance challenge for high performance copper-based UTP cable. When you combine the advanced technology of cable and connectors (like Hitachi cable and Superior Modular Products connectors) you get a system that delivers today's transmission requirements with significant "headroom" for future increased demands. (www.hcm.hitachi.com , www.smpdata.com)

There were other great jewels in the BICSI exhibit hall. We had the opportunity to see the latest advanced model of the Beast Cabling System (www.thebeast.us) in action. This system is faster and more reliable than any previous cable installation system. With the Cat 5e and Cat 6 cable systems, the craft intensive requirement is more important than ever before. The Beast Cabling System provides an installation that removes much of the installation errors that show up on the tester at documentation phase. Nobody wants to see that screen that proclaims, "FAIL".

Remember, the job isn't done until the paperwork is complete. This also holds true for the absolute requirement for proper labeling on the cable and connector hardware. We saw several new labeling options available from DYMO (www.dymo.com). The DYMO labeling system is very friendly for the facility manager who demands accountability and a record of their assets. "A good plan" - properly installed is negated by poor labeling and insufficient test data records… Fluke Networks and DYMO to the rescue.

Fluke Networks (www.flukenetworks.com) has expanded their capabilities to include network performance. The Fluke Networks DTX 1800 now has modules for testing Cat 5e and Cat 6 UTP cable, single mode and multimode Fiber Optic cable, plus the new Network Performance module. Fluke Networks hosted a luncheon to present the new module and it was a huge hit. The crowd filled the hall and many BICSI members had to be turned away from the presentation by Hugo Draye. Good news. Fluke Networks will have a recap of this presentation and package available in about 30 days. One attendee told us "We cannot effectively install and maintain the distribution networks without the technology of testing and documentation available from Fluke Networks".

The BICSI Codes Committee had an excellent program that was delivered by Ray Keden (ERICO), Bob Jensen (Fluke Networks), and Donna Ballast (BICSI) to a record-breaking attendance. Phil Janeway, Codes Committee Chairman, closed the meeting with a challenge to the committee to develop a strategy for BICSI Codes development for the next year. Jim Dollard, IBEW, offered to assist the BICSI Codes Committee with input from the "Understanding the NEC" program developed by IBEW. This meeting was a strong signal that BICSI is ready to take its appropriate role in the market place. No more standing on the sidelines while a few profit driven special interest groups attempt to manipulate the process of developing better codes for improved public safety.

Remember: Safety Is Too Important To Ignore. The cover of the new BICSI magazine (a major leap ahead in professionalism) reminded us of the critical importance of fire stopping. We visited with the team of Unique Firestops at their booth and saw numerous new and improved products. Unique Firestop Products (www.uniquefirestop.com) also has online training available for installers. Their entire package is definitely "leadership in safety".

Another offering on the safety mode was exhibited by ERICO (www.erico.com). We all know ERICO as the manufacturer of the dependable Caddy System of support hardware, like J hooks, etc. ERICO has grounding and bonding hardware to improve the safety and reliability of our installations. ERICO has had grounding and bonding hardware for nearly 100 years. ERICO is the largest manufacturer of ground rods in the world; ERICO is also the original manufacturer of CADWELD exothermic welding products, a process to bond ground wires to ground rods, as one example. Professor Caldwell developed this process for ERICO many decades ago. It is the superior process, because it bonds the hardware on a molecular level, not with compression.

My gosh, the hurricane season is coming again. We are reminded of the horrific problems associated with disaster recovery and emergency preparedness. It is shocking that we often forget the important role our UPS plays every day as well as in an emergency. The Minuteman UPS (www.minutemanups.com) booth offered many examples of affordable insurance for our power requirements. Check out their website for a " size your UPS" tool. (www.sizemyups.com)

The smart home and smart building (office) is here NOW. With the growing bandwidth available in the big pipe (Fiber Optic cable to the home and workplace) we are seeing a growing number of applications becoming available everywhere. Security, energy control, internet access, WAN, and a myriad of new exciting services are finding their way into every corner of our lives.

The improbable we do right away. The impossible takes slightly longer. The past three decades have brought more change to our lives through technology than all prior recorded history. If you think that this trend is going to slow down you may be left in the dust with an armload of "buggy whips".

But that's just my opinion.


Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" column
www.wireville.com
Note our NEW Address
Communication Planning Corporation
4949 Sunbeam Road, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077
frank@wireville.com

Cabling Business Magazine Celebrates 15 Years!
By Steve Paulov

Well, we are 15 years old and still the best source for both cabling and hardware information the U.S. We are proud of what we print and delighted you have enjoyed our material for all these years.

When we started this magazine, our first issue was in September/October 1991 (we published every two months back then). We asked a few companies if they would like to advertise in a magazine devoted strictly to the cabling industry …sometimes we got a bunch of laughs and a few even said we were out of our minds. I may be "still out of my mind" but the magazine did get off the ground!

We were confident that there had to be a place in this Information Age for a magazine dedicated to infrastructure of telecommunications and datacom. The solution came in the form of Cabling Business Magazine. There were visionary manufacturers, distributors and contractors who recognized what was coming and took a chance by spending some of their hard earned money in advertising in our first issues.

Some of the manufacturing companies who advertised with us in the first issue of the magazine were: THE SIEMON COMPANY, LEVITON, HOMACO, HARRIS, MOD TAP and the distributor ANIXTER.

Flashback to 1991
One of our very first contributing authors was Douglas Blaine Kenney, who worked with BANK DATA BANK Consulting in New York. Back then, a wiring solution for voice and data was called a Universal Wiring System and consisted of the following design:

Universal Wiring System

  1. All workstations should be RS-232 data compatible
  2. All workstations must be capable of supporting IBM Token Ring at 4Mbps.
  3. Telephones received either two or four pair for voice.
  4. There was no minimum or maximum distance of cable runs from the equipment room to each workstation.
  5. 66-type connecting blocks were used for both voice and data. In some cases an AT&T type110 connector was installed.
  6. Also in some cases a RG-59U 75ohm coaxial cable was used.
  7. The cable used was about the only piece of information providing the consultant with some type of specifications. This information was developed from the original Anixter Category/Level program (introduced in 1989).

There were a host of "techno terms", such as Level, Group, Tier and Category, flying around the industry. Later the TIA/EIA adopted the Category system (from Anixter) for their official standard on communications cabling. Anixter stepped out in front again with a much more developed "LEVELs" program, while the world waited for TIA/EIA to catch up with the state of the art technology in datacom cabling. CBM kept the readers up to date with the full scoop on the latest and greatest.

The Twisted Pair Level Program was as follows:
Level 1 Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS)
Level 2 ISDN Data POTS and Low Speed Data
Level 3 High Speed Data for IBM or ISDN 1.44Mbps
Level 4 10BaseT, 16Mbps
Level 5 IBM Cabling - Token Ring 16 Mbps

It took the TIA/EIA from 1985 until 1991 before publishing a standards document titled TIA/EIA 568 Commercial Building Telecommunications Wiring Standard. This (ANSI) standard also had five categories of cable from 1 to 5. Back then, Category 4 was the same as Anixter's Level 4 and the cable had a frequency of a 16Mbps data signal. Today, we are at Category 6, with speeds of 250Mbps or greater.

We can't forget that before CBM, back in 1984, IBM had it's own plan. The IBM Cabling System introduced Token Ring, which was able to transmit data at 4Mps. This system used a thick, black 2 pair shielded cable with large 4 pole connectors called Type 1.

The Spark for Twisted Pair
In 1985 several manufacturers developed Ethernet equipment, which could use twisted pair cable and in the 1990s, the IEEE released the 802.31 Ethernet standard for 10BaseT (the "T" refers to twisted pair cable). During this period of change and technical advancement, we saw the good old reliable 66 block get competition from connecting hardware such as: 110, BIX and ADC/KRONE. The ADC/KRONE is the only one of the connector systems that developed a 4 and 5 pair stand-alone frame block for high-speed data. Of course, not to be outdone, the 66 block was redesigned for Category 5 cabling. BIX has developed a high-speed 25 pair connector block for passing data.

Firestopping
We saw new companies introducing firestopping materials from plugging a hole in a riser system to installing a pipe in a wall between rooms. Firestopping is a critically important area that is often neglected.

Licensing
Jeff Deckman, a contributing author, wrote an article about Licensing that was being introduced in Rhode Island, which passed a law making it illegal for anyone other than a licensed electrician to install telecommunications wiring system. This law was eventually overturned, but today, many states require some type of license to install low voltage communications systems ranging from voice, data and signaling. Also, permits to install low voltage systems are a growing requirement for installers in several local authority jurisdictions. This trend may continue to spread.

Testing
We offered articles about shorts, opens, and using a butt set. Then in about 1994, the big tester companies' start showing meters that could test a link to include cable, jacks and connecting hardware. Today's testers are called Cable Analyzers and can test, troubleshoot and document a TIA/EIA Category 6 link. These types of testers could be modified with software and an attachment to test fiber optics. The state-of-the-art testers can download critical cable test records and performance data for effective cable (asset) management.

Residential Cabling
Chuck Siebuhr, a former technical editor with CBM, wrote many articles and brought us one article that was important announcing a residential standard now referred to as the TIA/EIA 570, Residential and Light Commercial Telecommunications Cabling standard.

Cable Materials
Frank Bisbee started discussing the materials that cables are made of and what importance these materials can make on the performance of cable, including some materials that may be potential hazards. He continues to contribute articles about fire and safety in the cable materials for CBM.

NEC Codes
Articles 760, 800 and 820 in the final design designated cable for proper installation as follows:
CMP - designated as a Plenum rating
CMR - designated as a Riser rating
CM - designated as a General Purpose rating
CX - designated as a Dwelling rating

Division 17
In 1999, a draft was proposed for addition of a new Division 17 to be added to the Construction Specifications Institute's existing 16 divisions. This division was targeted for the voice, data and cable plant and was finally approved several years later.

Pull Force and Bend Radius
We took cabling very serious, especially in pulling and installing the cable. The cable manufacturers developed specifications and also limitations were established as follows:

  • Copper cable - If more than 25 pounds of force is applied to Category 5 cabling during installation, it may no longer meet specifications.

  • Fiber cable - The bend radius and pull force limitation of fiber differs greatly based on the type and number of fibers used. If no minimum bend radius specified, a safe assumption indicates a minimum of 10 times the outside diameter and a pulling force of 50 lbs. and can exceed a few hundred pounds. In fiber optic cabling it is always recommended to check with the manufacturer.

Twist in Cable
The standard specification told us, "It is important that the natural twist of each pair be carried through as closed as possible to the point of termination."

Seize the Opportunities
After years of unprecedented good times, the "DOTcom" sizzle turned into the fizzle. After 9/11, we saw many reductions in the marketplace. By May of 2002, the economy was still depressed and many companies were going out of business. With the help of contractors, technicians and manufacturers, CBM wrote about opportunities and ways to capture new revenues. CBM got the message out to the contractors on how to avoid leaving opportunities on the table in their projects. Some new technologies we've brought to the forefront include:

TIA/EIA - 862 Building Automation Systems Lee Badman, one of our favorite contributing editors, wrote this article about TIA/EIA 862, Building Automation Systems (BAS) Cabling Standard for Commercial Buildings, which supports many building automation and other systems such as CCTV, Security, Lighting and other systems inside the building.

Power over Ethernet (PoE)
We've all heard about this new technology ratified by the IEEE 802.3af, which provides for the delivery of 15.4W power over existing cabling including Category5, 5e and 6.

Broadband Video Over Category 6 Cabling
One of the most demanding applications on the market today for broadband video, commonly known as CATV or cable television can be provided over Category 6 cabling.

Case Studies
Carol Everett Oliver, RCDD, another favorite contributing editor was one of many who presented cases studies of projects ranging from Cabling Manufacturing Facilities to Cabling the Hospital or providing Structured Cabling System in the School or a Campus Design. We presented a solution in almost each issue.

Abandoned Cable
Abandoned cabling has become an important issue, especially with the building owners. The owners are charging the removal of cables to the tenants whether moving in or moving out. The opportunities in reusing the existing cable may bring substantial cost savings in some cases.

Point of Sales (POS) Systems Currently there are many areas of the cabling industry sector that have a major gap between project and trained technicians to do the work. We have identified a shortage of trained people for the retail industry's cabling system and related information hardware. The installation and maintenance of retail systems, such as POS systems (including the cabling infrastructure), are just one of many types of systems that are a critical requirement in the world of retail. Other systems include wiring for registers, Ethernet wiring, Intercoms, Paging, CCTV, security and others.

10GBASE-T
We are speeding towards more bandwidth that can handle the most demanding applications. It seems like the need for speed is unstoppable. Many experts are predicting bandwidth and network speeds in excess of 100 Gb/s. "It ain't slowin' down." The next decade will open many cabling doors and challenges.

Cabling is King
While the computer has become a commodity, the cabling infrastructure has become uniquely powerful as the datacom highway for all information systems to converge. The costs have risen as the technology improves andcabling has become the king in the datacom hardware world.

The years have flown by quickly. In retrospect, CBM has provided more than 1,240 valuable articles in the last 15 years, plus monthly columns, new products news, Manufacturer's Corner, and the Awards of Excellence featured each month.

From all of us at Cabling Business Magazine, thank you for your loyal readership. We work hard to bring you the best and most accurate information, and we hope to bring you many more years of valuable information on the cabling business world.

Reprinted with permission from Cabling Business Magazine www.cablingbusiness.com

Leviton Introduces New Enterprise Wireless Access Point

Leviton Voice & Data, a division of Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc., is pleased to announce the new AP200 Enterprise Wireless Access Point.

Leviton's enterprise solution for wireless infrastructure includes the advanced Enterprise Wireless Access Point, along with compatible Power over Ethernet (PoE) Midspans, and Telecommunications and Wireless Access Point Enclosures.

The versatile AP200 Enterprise Wireless Access Point is Wi-Fi Certified™, IEEE 802.3af PoE compliant, conforms to 802.11a/b/g standards and offers a variety of security features including WPA-PSK, 802.1x, EAP, AES and TKIP. Command Line Interface (CLI), SNMP, and web-based management support easy set-up and maintenance. The AP200 can be deployed with Leviton's PoE Midspans for complete and reliable communications systems without the added cost of installing separate electrical circuits to each end device. The result is an effective wireless network that increases mobility, flexibility, and productivity. www.levitonvoicedata.com

General Cable Rolls Out Two New Options for 10 Gigabit Networks, GenSPEED® 7000 S/STP and GenSPEED® 6500 STP

General Cable today introduced two new copper cable options designed to deliver 10 Gigabit Ethernet performance over distances of up to 100 meters. GenSPEED 7000 S/STP is a Category 7 cable that contains four individually shielded copper pairs as well as an overall braid. This design provides excellent EMI (electromagnetic interference) and RFI (radio frequency interference) immunity as well as 65% crosstalk improvement over standard Category 6 cables.

The individually shielded copper pairs in General Cable's new GenSPEED 6500 STP Category 6 cable provide superior EMI and RFI immunity. This is especially important in environments with electromagnetic and RF sources such as Electrical power wiring and transformers. Both GenSPEED 7000 S/STP and GenSPEED 6500 STP exceed the alien crosstalk requirements in IEEE802.3an and are tested to 600 MHz for the capability of supporting 10 Gigabit Ethernet per the IEEE draft with distances of up to 100 meters.

"We're excited about expanding the 10 Gigabit portion of our GenSPEED product line with these two products," said Jay Lahman, General Cable's Business Unit Manager, Premise and Electronics Products. "As our customers' networking requirements increase and become more complex, we are positioned to offer a very broad range of product choices to meet the challenges of 10 Gigabit transmission. These two new products are a strong complement to our existing unshielded GenSPEED Enhanced Category 6 cables and to our extensive offering of NextGen™ Brand 10 Gigabit fiber optic cables."

General Cable manufactures a wide range of high performance GenSPEED copper cable products and NextGen Brand fiber optic cable products. www.GeneralCable.com

Snake Tray Featured New Products In Cable Management And Airflow Management At The BICSI Winter Conference

Snake Tray proudly unveiled a brand new trade show booth, which will display all of their products for cable management and power distribution. They also displayed several new products including the Snake Air series, which are air flow managers for computer raise floors and communication/server racks. Snake Loop is their new cable manager for service loops and Snake Hook is the mini cable manager for walls, under floor and overhead.

Snake Bus, our award winning power distribution system was on display as well as Snake Tray, the world's only hand bendable cable tray. www.snaketray.com

Corning Cable Systems Guarantees Performance of its UniCam Connectors

Corning Cable Systems, part of Corning Incorporated's (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, is offering a 100 percent yield guarantee on its UniCam® Connectors. If a customer purchases any single-mode or multimode UniCam Connector and it fails to meet the published specifications at the time of installation, Corning Cable Systems will provide a replacement.

UniCam Connectors are no-epoxy, no-polish connectors that install quickly and easily in the field with a single no-consumables tool kit for any connector style, with an installation time of less than two minutes per connector. More than 35 million UniCam Connectors have been sold in the past decade.

Corning Cable Systems completely guarantees the performance of the connectors and will supply a replacement for any connector that fails at the time of installation. The replacement guarantee applies when the UniCam Connector is purchased from Corning Cable Systems or one of its authorized distributors under its standard terms, is not modified or damaged and is installed in accordance with its directions.

In addition to the performance guarantee, Corning Cable Systems has an experienced support team that can be deployed across the country for free on-site UniCam Connector installation support, including training of installers new to the product. For more details on the 100 percent yield guarantee for UniCam Connectors and our nationwide support staff,

Corning Cable Systems is also announcing a price reduction for its single-mode

UniCam Connectors. The reduction is expected to make the price of the connectors comparable with that of pigtail fusion splicing and epoxy-and-polish connectors.

Each UniCam Connector goes through a thorough inspection in the factory, resulting in a field-installed connector with unsurpassed performance attributes including ceramic ferrule end-face geometries that meet GR-326. In testing at 10 Gb/s, 40 Gb/s and analog transmission, the performance of single-mode UniCam Connectors was equivalent to that of pigtail fusion splicing. www.corning.com/cablesystems

Wired and Wireless Problem-Solving Power From EtherScope Network Assistant Now Available in Seven Languages

Fluke Networks announced that its EtherScope Network Assistant, the portable problem-solving tool for both gigabit and wireless a/b/g LANs, allows the user to select from seven different languages, letting users set different language preferences. The user-selectable language interface is downloadable from Fluke Networks' website, and allows selection from English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.

EtherScope Network Assistant is a portable 10/100/1000 and 802.11a/b/g LAN analyzer that helps users quickly isolate urgent problems on wired and wireless networks. It features immediate discovery and fast diagnostics, helping the user quickly isolate urgent problems on wired/wireless networks. EtherScope identifies issues that may be keeping the network from performing at optimum level, and allows easy documentation for both the wired and wireless portions of the network.

Language preference selection affects the EtherScope user interface, all desktop applications on the unit, report headers, help screens, and "What's This" help. In addition, the Getting Started Guide is available in multiple languages.

When used to analyze 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN environments, EtherScope also now has six new versions of TTLS EAP support. In addition, EtherScope's wireless functionality now includes a user-configurable MAC address and user-defined alias support. www.flukenetworks.com

NEMA Names Gold As Senior Vice President Of Industry Programs

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) today announced that it has named Stephen Gold as senior vice president of Industry Programs at NEMA. Gold previously served as vice president and executive director for the Council of Manufacturing Associations of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

According to NEMA President Evan Gaddis, "Stephen is eminently qualified for this position. At the Council of Manufacturing Associations, he acquired special knowledge of the challenges now confronting the nation's manufacturers. He fully understands the policy-making apparatus in Washington and has shown an ability to get things done in this city. He's a great fit for NEMA."

Prior to working at NAM, Gold practiced law at Collier Shannon Scott, where he represented trade association and corporate clients on regulatory and legislative issues, including consumer protection, cyberspace law, tax policy, antitrust law, online and offline marketing practices, and energy and environmental law.

Gold's management credentials are impressive. He served as executive director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to environmental challenges, and as a communications and public affairs executive for the American Hotel and Motel Association, the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, and the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

Gold earned a doctorate in law, cum laude, from the George Mason University School of Law, a master of arts from George Washington University, and a bachelor of science, magna cum laude, from Arizona State University.

NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 430 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. Domestic shipments of electrical products within the NEMA scope exceed $100 billion. www.nema.org

Ekahau And Fluke Networks Jointly Develop Wi Fi Survey Tools

Ekahau Inc. announced that Fluke Networks is incorporating its Wi-Fi site survey technology to create planning and measurement tools for testing 802.11 coverage and performance.

The first jointly developed product, Fluke Networks' InterpretAir WLAN Survey software, assists networking engineers who design and optimize Wi-Fi networks for applications such as Voice over WLAN (VoWLAN) and other high-performance uses.

As corporate wireless networks continue to grow at a healthy rate, many companies are ready to adopt Wi-Fi for a campus-wide use, and therefore are more and more concerned about reliable 24/7 wireless connectivity within the Wi-Fi service area and cost- effective placement of access points, the two companies said in a statement.

InterpretAir uses Ekahau's Site Survey technology to analyze and visually plot Wi-Fi coverage and performance throughout the corporate campus.

It also draws a visual coverage map overlaid on top of building floor plans, so that network engineers can adjust Wi-Fi access points as needed to ensure optimal network performance. www.flukenetworks.com

Erico's Toggles for CADDY® SPEED LINK LD Make Lighting and Overhead Decking Installation Easier

A new universal toggle and Y-toggle for CADDY® SPEED LINK LD makes lighting and overhead decking installation even easier. For overhead decking applications, a universal toggle/wire rope assembly is now available in 2 m (6.6 ft), 5 m (16.4 ft) and 10 m (32.8 ft) lengths. The part is identical to standard CADDY SPEED LINK LD, except the hook is replaced with a toggle. An optional Y-toggle easily hangs lights. It consists of a 500 mm (20 in.) or 800 mm (31 in.) length of wire rope with a toggle on each end. The center of the wire rope is looped and crimped. It is ideal as a support or safety wire for lighting fixtures. It works with a variety of CADDY® Fasteners including beam clamps and purlin clips or can be looped directly around the beam.

CADDY® SPEED LINK LD is a universal support system that quickly suspends static loads, even at an angle. It is a cost-effective alternative to jack chain, threaded rod and wire in lighting and other installation projects. This versatile support system hangs lighting fixtures, speakers, alarm sensors, signage and pipes, among other things. A convenient plastic sleeve keeps the wire rope looped up until the contractor is ready to install. An optional extension tool allows CADDY SPEED LINK LD to be installed from the ground. The 1.5 mm (0.059 in.) wire rope with a crimped-on hook holds working loads of up to 20 kg (44 lb) with a 5:1 safety factor.

A small, aesthetically pleasing locking device completes the assembly. This low-profile stainless-steel device ensures stability and allows for additional vertical adjustment after wire insertion. A small screwdriver releases the lock for fast installation adjustments.

The wire rope/hook assembly is made from galvanized steel as standard, but is also available in stainless steel for applications where a higher level of corrosion resistance is required. The system installs without drilling or tools and allows objects to be hung at an angle - e.g., from sloped ceilings. www.erico.com

Katrina The Most Costly Hurricane In US History

According to The Federal Emergency Management Agency, insurance claims for Hurricane Katrina alone amounted to about $23 billion and reconstruction costs are estimated to be at least $200 billion, making Katrina the most costly hurricane in history.

With the 2006 hurricane season just six months away, experts are advising both the public and private sectors to be prepared. A leading tropical forecast team, led by scientist Philip Klotzbach and Professor William Gray, said that the 2006 seasons will be "very active," with a well above average number of storms. The first outlook projects 17 named tropical storms in the June though November season. In a normal year, the Atlantic basin produces about 10 storms. Klotzbach's and Gray's team also foresee that nine storms next year will become hurricanes, five of them major, with at least Category 3 intensity (winds 111 mph or more). Unfortunately for citizens of the Atlantic Coast, the team's forecast also predicts an 81 percent chance that at least one hurricane will strike the US.

It is important to begin planning now. As a commercial property professional, make sure that your emergency strategy evolves with the ever changing dynamics of your business environment. Do you have a plan? When was the last time that you took a look at it? Are all parties involved in the plan aware that it exists and of their respective roles? Have you practiced your plan? A successful emergency preparedness plan is a "living" document that needs constant review. Protect your commercial real estate investments by making sure that your emergency preparedness plan is ready for the upcoming 2006 hurricane season.

Let BOMA International help. Everything you need to develop, assess or re-evaluate your emergency preparedness plan is available in The Property Professional's Guide to Emergency Preparedness and Are Your Tenants Safe? Both publications cover planning for the multitude of situations that property professionals encounter both natural and man-made disasters. Order now and be prepared. www.boma.org

Are Current Economic Models Obsolete?

Before the luncheon, U.S. Bank had its own economic outlook. Led by U.S. Bank chief economist Kevin Hembre, this outlook took place over breakfast at the Union League Club of Chicago.

I asked a question at the U.S. Bank presentation that several people thought was very insightful. Hembre was comparing patterns of what was happening today and how it paralleled what happened in earlier markets. My question was: "How can any economist point out the parallels when the variables are so different from the 1960s and 1970s to the 1990s and today?"

Back in the 1960s, the automobile manufacturers and the electronics companies were all American. There was no such thing as a big piece of the market being held by the Japanese. GM and Ford were huge, and as one used to say: "What's good for GM is good for the country." Now that both GM and Ford are looking at junk bond status and short-funded pensions, does that adage still hold true? I hope not.

In the 1960s, there was no significant impact on industries from guest worker programs as they have on industries today. While the economist agreed, he said we have evolved.

Some other people agreed with my observation and went a step further after it was pointed out that we have shifted into a more service economy rather than a manufacturing economy. What about all the shifting within the service industry with outsourcing and off shoring? Having the service industry tied to foreign labor components doesn't reflect true economic conditions of the average worker or investor.

To me, these new variables make it inconceivable to make valid comparisons with what happened to the markets in the 1960s and 1970s to today. There are major variables that weren't even present when you talk about market predictions, rates or predicting trends in various industries.

A good current comparison of changed variables is the recession of the early 1990s from which we supposedly just emerged. The problem in trying to make a true comparison is that when companies needed to expand again in the very early 1990s they looked at the domestic IT labor pool and many people got rehired into good jobs.

Today, the supply and demand curve is very different as the IT labor pool is now looked at from a global perspective and filling jobs has become a global search instead of a national search. From some perspectives, there would never be any IT labor shortage as you could easily import whatever you needed and change wage scales overnight.

Database administrators are a good example of this. This was once a job that was considered highly skilled with a salary range of $70,000 to $100,000. This is now a position that could easily be filled by someone at $36,000 or less by performing a global search. Other positions in other industries are facing the same issue. What does that do to the economy and domestic consumer spending? We'll leave that for another time.

One of the key outlook items pointed out by Hembre was that he sees no major economic policy initiatives for 2006. In other words, he says it's going to be a flat year. Inflation should remain under control. He did give a good overview about which equities should be good investments.

When asked about U.S. Bank's stock portfolios, his forecast was to diversify into some international stocks aside from large caps of high quality. He pointed out that stock selection is very key to total return. He said that a return of 7 percent might be the average future returns for a while as compared to the 13.5 percent average return in the 1980 to 2004 era.

Why is Gold Rising?

Some questioned the rise in gold at the U.S. Bank presentation. Hembre said that gold and oil are sometimes interrelated, and because oil has risen, gold has followed. There was some concern about the future with Iran and other Middle Eastern issues. My own observation is that there's more demand for gold because China's doing so much trading with the U.S. Many people who have been to China know that its focus is on gold rather than stocks or paper. With more money going to China to pay off imports, I would think that part of the rise in gold could be attributed to those who change their dollars into gold.

Gold is what the average Chinese person trusts.

They don't have 401k plans and could care less about the Dow. They look at gold as their way to save. Their savings rate is significantly higher than ours, too. While the Chinese government may put its faith in U.S. Treasury notes, the average Chinese person looks more toward gold as a way to exchange surplus dollars into something that has value in their culture.

Zell's Real Estate Perspective:

At the luncheon, Sam Zell said we must protect the intellectual property rights of the U.S. He also said that REITs went from a $6 billion market to a $355 billion market in 13 years and there's a focus to make real estate a more liquid asset.

His biggest concern, though, is keeping track of the country's intellectual property. In his travels, he said the No. 1 complaint about the U.S. isn't its involvement with Iraq. Rather, the biggest complaint is: "Where is my visa into the U.S.?" Everyone wants to come to cash in on our open immigration.

My final observation is I don't believe that the economists fully understand the long-term impact of guest worker programs as they didn't seem to have answers to this question: "What long-term impact does the H-1B worker program or other guest worker programs have on the overall domestic economy?"

Carlinism: Our economy is impacted by new variables that have to be added into economic models if they are to have any true bearing on predicting the future.

Upcoming Half-Day Seminars:

Center for Commerce & Economic Development
McHenry County College
8900 U.S. Highway 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012
info@ccedtraining.edu
Where's Your Money Going? (What Color is Your Bentley?)
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006; $89
Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance & Issues
Thursday March 23, 2006; $109
These practical seminars provide you and you staff with valuable insights from someone who has worked on major projects in the public and private sector and has been an expert witness in civil and federal courts.
Learn from someone who has reviewed facilities and negotiated multimillion-dollar contracts for hardware and network services as well as for multimillion-dollar court cases on major projects. For reservations, please call 815-455-0718.

James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini's full biography.
Copyright 2006 Jim Carlini

Molex In Partnership with Canon Introduces Free Space Optics Wireless Systems

Molex, a leading structured cabling system manufacturer, announces the release of Canobeam Free Space Optics (FSO) Point-to-Point Wireless systems by Canon featuring real-time beam auto tracking functionality. This offering extends our wired premises and campus structured cabling systems to wireless building-to-building network bridges. Highly reliable and secure, FSO facilitates cost effective, high bandwidth links where cabling is economically prohibitive or where backup links and disaster recovery systems are required.

Canobeam systems are ideal for many market segments including security camera links, education, industrial, government and enterprise campuses. The robust Canobeam can be installed outside or in a window for point-to-point applications.

Canobeam Product Features

  • As with fiber optic cable, it is protocol independent and supports transmission speeds of 25 Mbps to 1.25 Gbps
  • Reliable Transmission Distances of 20 to 2000 meters - Longer clear weather distances are achievable but link availability is weather sensitive
  • Real-time Auto Tracking Function maintains beam alignment, compensating for temperature variations and vibration due to wind or other factors
  • Requires no radio frequency allocations, permits or licenses
  • Highly secure data links
  • Economical installation and operating costs
  • SNMP Management

All Molex Free Space Optics Systems are backed by an industry standard 1-year Product Replacement Warranty when installed by a Molex Certified Installer. When you specify a Molex Premise Network solution you benefit from global resources, industry standards exceeding performance and innovative solutions. www.molex.com/confidentiality.html

OCULUS Designs Unveils New HDMI Cables At CES 2006

Oculus Designs, a wholly owned subsidiary of VTG Holdings and a leading manufacturer and distributor of professional grade cables and home theater products, unveiled its new HDMI cables at CES 2006 (LVCC SO 2) Booth #25502. The new line is expected to ship mid-year 2006.

"The Oculus HDMI cables offer the consumer a better overall value while maintaining the cutting edge performance that has been established as a standard in many of the more expensive HDMI cables currently offered on the market today," says Drew Balsman, Home Theater Design Coordinator for VTG. "The cables are available in 1M, 2M and 4M at very attractive price points."

Oculus is continually striving to improve the quality, and overall value of its products. Oculus has designed a new line of products specifically for the audio/video consumer, utilizing the newest technology and advancements. Through this new product development we will be providing consumers with the highest quality of cable products, while offering a superior value.

"HDMI will continue to develop into the industry standard in the transfer of digital audio/video," continues Balsman. "HDMI has enormous bandwidth potential and can incorporate new technology advancements long into the foreseeable future. More and more audio/video manufactures are incorporating HDMI into their products, a trend that will become only more prevalent in the future."

The Oculus Designs digital audio cables will be available through installers, integrators and local retailers. www.dpagan.com

EWG Research Spurs Historic Pact

Incredible news. Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a historic challenge to the U.S. chemical industry to begin a dramatic reduction in pollution from toxic nonstick chemicals (like Teflon).

EWG researched these ultra-persistent chemicals for five years, and our science investigations, petitions, and media pressure hit their target. At our prompting, the EPA launched its own investigation that helped bring about yesterday's major public health victory.

We may have won this battle, but we are still fighting the war.
You see, our backwards "innocent until proven guilty" toxics law forces Americans to push for safer standards one chemical at a time, often decades after those chemicals reach the market. With 1,000 new chemicals introduced each year, we need to overhaul this antiquated system to protect future generations.
Yesterday's announcement put precaution before profit; for this, we commend both the EPA and DuPont. And we are more energized than ever to get fundamental reforms passed, as outlined in the Kids Safe Chemicals Act proposed in Congress.
We couldn't have done it without your moral and financial support. Thank you for inspiring us to continue the fight in 2006.
Until next time,
Ken Cook
President
www.ewg.org

BICSI Unveils Details Of Security Design Reference Manual At Winter Conference

BICSI North Central Region Director Jerry Bowman said the time is ripe for a manual that focuses solely on electronic safety and security design issues.

The organization released the first edition of the Electronic Safety and Security Design Reference Manual (ESSDRM), a document that contains the relevant background information necessary to plan, design and implement safety and security design projects.

"The need for this manual was driven by the reality of the marketplace," said Bowman. "The fastest growing segment of low voltage systems that is integrating into the enterprise network is security.

"This is probably the most requested value-add that you can bring to a basic structured cabling design."

Topics covered include legal aspects of security design, ESS design, access control systems, CCTV and surveillance, and fire detection and alarm. www.bicsi.org

Third-Generation Electrical Contractor Begins Term as NECA President Milner Irvin of Miami will focus on Skilled Worker Shortage, Labor Relations

Among the business addressed by the NECA Board of Governors at their annual meeting in September was voicing their support for E. Milner Irvin as the association's next president.

At the time, Irvin was serving as District 3 Vice President on the NECA Executive Committee; he assumed the office of President on January 1, 2006. Irvin will serve as President for three years. He is the association's 30th president in its 105-year history.

E. Milner Irvin, III is a third-generation electrical contractor, continuing a proud family tradition of bringing power to the southeastern U.S. His grandfather Eugene M. Irvin, Sr., founded his first company in 1910 in Atlanta, where the company played a key role in converting the city's streetlights from gas to electric. Irvin, Sr. moved his family to Miami in 1922 and began Riverside Electric Company.

After attending the University of Miami, Irvin began the local electrician apprenticeship program. He worked as a journeyman and foreman and became the estimator for Riverside Electric in 1975. Today he serves as the company's president and CEO.

Issues in the Industry

His family's long history in the industry means Irvin is very aware of current trends shaping the industry. "The most important issue we are facing is the lack of skilled workers," he said. "We have electricians retiring at a much greater rate than we are bringing new talent into the profession. I know it's hard to look down the road, especially when there isn't completely full employment, but we have to think about the future. And we're simply not taking in enough new apprentices at the local JATCs (Joint Apprentice Training Centers) to replace those workers currently leaving or planning to leave."

Irvin is committed to further developing positive relations with the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) in order to jointly address the impending shortage. "It's a local issue, and we need the IBEW to support our efforts to bring more people into the industry. It has to be a good working relationship," he said.

Irvin sees recent steps taken by the IBEW in terms of worker portability and the new construction wireman classification as a positive approach by the union giving contractors the ability to run their businesses in the best way possible. "So many things we're asking for aren't cost items," he said. "It's about empowering the contractor to use his own judgment when it comes to what manpower he needs to get the customer's job done. Because, without satisfying that customer, there's nothing for contractors or workers."

An Active NECA Member

As NECA president, Irvin hopes to increase the percentage of active members in the association. "Too often we find members on a local level who have no idea about all the work going on nationally," he said. "It causes two problems. Number one, they don't know what's going on, so they don't participate. They aren't getting the full value of their membership. And number two, their lack of awareness leads to unwarranted criticism. By getting the word out to these less active members about what we're doing and getting them involved, we're building a stronger association."

Irvin has served in the South Florida Chapter, NECA in many capacities, including as chapter treasurer, president and governor. Nationally, Irvin has served on the Council on Industrial Relations, the Labor Relations Task Force, and is a member of the Academy of Electrical Contracting. From 2002-2005 he served as District 3 Vice President on the NECA Executive Committee.

At Home

Irvin and wife Caroline have enjoyed a 44-year marriage and have two children, Susan and Jim, and six grandchildren. Jim is COO of Riverside Electric, making him the fourth-generation family member to work for the company.

During his free time, Irvin is an avid pilot and has had his pilot's license since 1960. He has owned several aircraft. Irvin also enjoys racing boats and cars and has done so for many years. He has competed in both pro and amateur series with his own Reynard Formula Atlantic racecar.

The National Electrical Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for bringing lighting, power, and communications to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA's national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. For more information, visit www.necanet.org

MRV Communications And Edentree Technologies Expand Partnership For Automated Test Lab Solutions

MRV COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (Nasdaq: MRVC), a leading provider of products and services for out-of-band networking, WDM and optical transport, metro Ethernet, fiber optic components, 10GE and other service aware networking technologies, announced it will resell EdenTree Lab Manager™ software from EdenTree Technologies in an integrated solution with its Media Cross Connect ("MCC"). The joint solution is aimed at automating test labs for network equipment manufacturers ("NEMs"), service providers and enterprises.

The reseller agreement is an extension of a yearlong collaboration between the companies that has included the technical integration of EdenTree Lab Manager software with the MCC hardware as well as joint selling of this solution to customers including test labs at U.S. Army in Ft. Huachuca, Cisco Systems, Inc. and SBC Communications, Inc.

The combined solution means increased productivity and reduced cabling errors as customers can design and schedule automated network tests of new equipment designs or new network deployments.

The MRV MCC offers the industry's highest density and supports all fiber-optic interfaces up to 10 Gbps to enable interoperability and functionality testing of large and complex local area, wide area, and storage networks. The MCC is based on the open and flexible Linux operating system, which works with the MCC's network management card to ensure secure access.

"The Media Cross Connect provides a reliable, cost-effective cross-connect platform for a wide range of network testing labs. With the addition of EdenTree's Lab Manager software to the solution, we extend the MCC's automation capabilities to provide a practical solution for complex physical-layer switching infrastructures," commented Noam Lotan, President and CEO of MRV Communications.

EdenTree's Lab Manager automates physical reconfigurations of equipment in networks and labs, allowing users to design and apply configurations remotely, recall, share, and schedule those configurations, and search for and track the usage of lab resources, all from an easy to use graphical user interface or scripts. EdenTree Lab Manager manages and hides the complexity of multi-switch infrastructures, creating virtual switch matrices and allowing the user to focus on end devices.

"The productivity and ease-of-use benefits that our software provides to lab personnel are enhanced by a tight integration with the cross connect. With MRV's extensive interface support and high density, we feel this partnership is especially beneficial to those test labs that support large and complex network configurations," said Jay Oyakawa, President and CEO of EdenTree. www.mrv.com and www.luminentoic.com

General Cable Launches DS-3 and DS-4 75 Ohm Cross Connect Cable for Central Office Applications

General Cable today announced the availability of two new 75 Ohm coaxial cable products used primarily in Central Office applications. The General Cable Series 734 and 735A product families are designed for use in DS3 transmission facilities as cross connect wire between digital network components. Both products are available in a wide range of conductor counts, as well as with a 22AWG tracer wire, ensuring that customers can select exactly the right product to meet their needs.

Both Series 734 and 735A products include a silver-plated copper conductor, an aluminum foil and tinned copper braid. They are jacketed in flame retardant PVC and are available in UL type CMR (riser) or CMP (plenum) versions.

"The addition of Series 734 and 735A coaxial cable products strengthens General Cable's product portfolio for Central Office applications," said Cedric Lindsay, General Cable's Product Manager, Central Office and Fiber Products. "The 734 and 735A cables provide a nice complement to our existing breadth of twisted pair Central Office products. We are now positioned to provide most of the cross connect cables our customers may require."

General Cable manufactures a wide range of high performance Central Office cable products, GenSPEED® copper cable products and NextGen™ Brand fiber optic cable products. www.GeneralCable.com

New Leviton 6-Port Power over Ethernet Midspan

Leviton Voice & Data, a division of Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc. is pleased to introduce the new 6-Port PoE Midspan, the latest addition to their PoE product line.

Leviton's PoE Midspans can be deployed with the new Wi-Fi Certified™, 802.11a/b/g compliant, AP200 Enterprise Wireless Access Point for complete and reliable communications systems that increase mobility, flexibility, and productivity. Leviton's enterprise solution for wireless infrastructure includes the advanced AP200 Enterprise Wireless Access Point, compatible PoE Midspans, and Telecommunications and Wireless Access Point Enclosures.

The IEEE 802.3af compliant PoE Midspan automatically detects PoE-ready devices and supplies 48 volts of DC power over existing Ethernet cabling, eliminating the need for an external power source at end devices. Deploying the PoE Midspan in conjunction with a central uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides a cost-effective way to distribute back-up power to ensure operation of mission critical devices during electrical power failure. Leviton's PoE Midspans, available in 6- or 24-port versions, support 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networks and mount on standard 19" racks. Features include: universal range power input (100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz), auto-sensing for PoE compatible devices, independent overload and short-circuit protection per channel, and port status indicators. www.levitonvoicedata.com

Anixter Reports Record Fourth Quarter Operating Income

Anixter International Inc. reported fourth quarter sales for the three months ending Dec. 30, 2005 of US$1.03 billion and record income of US$54.7 million.

Robert Grubbs, president and CEO of the Glenview, Ill. distributor said results were driven by rising copper prices along with continued growth throughout many areas of the business.

For the 12-month period ending Dec. 30, 2005, net sales of US$3.85 billion produced an operating income of US$189.4 million and net income of US$90 million.

Total sales included US$126.4 million from Infast Group plc, a U.K.-based distributor, which Anixter purchased last July, and revenues of US$36.7 million from the June acquisition of Distribution Dynamics Inc.

"We are pleased with the strong finish to fiscal 2005 and the results for the year overall," said Grubbs. www.anixter.com

Mike Holt Delivers A big Value For Readers

Over 1000 Mike Holt Newsletters Available Anytime Online

Did you know that Mike Holt's archive has every single newsletter that was sent out? That's right, all of Mike Holt's great newsletters are stored on their website and they have search and sort features that make it really easy to find what you're looking for.

Here's how it works:

You can find all of our newsletters listed under "All Newsletters". Or if there's a certain topic you're interested you can view newsletters by topics like AFCI, Electrical Calculations, Electrical Engineering, etc.

http://www.mikeholt.com/newslettersCategories.php

Proposed Illinois Broadband Act Falls Short of What's Really Needed

Is the newly proposed Illinois broadband a feeble attempt to catch up with other states that have true broadband initiatives? When you read through the act, it becomes apparent that the intent is to create a broadband initiative without spending what's really needed, writes adjunct Northwestern professor James Carlini.

Last week, I was sent an announcement of pending Illinois broadband legislation (20 ILCS 3921/10), which was announced on Jan. 25. Here's its synopsis:

    Creates the Universal Access to Broadband Services Act. Requires the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to create and maintain a map of broadband infrastructure in the state. Sets forth that all publicly held broadband infrastructure shall be available for lease on a non-discriminatory basis to any public, private or non-profit entity.

    Requires CMS in cooperation with the Broadband Deployment Council to establish terms, conditions, procedures and pricing for lease of the publicly held broadband infrastructure taking into consideration sliding fee schedules based on the income and financial resources available to end users and the existence of other community benefits.

When you read the actual law, the synopsis conveniently leaves out an important catch phrase:

    The Department of Central Management Services shall create a map of all "publicly held broadband infrastructure" in the state.

    This is defined as all properties, facilities, towers, equipment, hardware, software and other intellectual property necessary to provide broadband services that are owned by, leased by, controlled by, paid for in whole or in part by or accessible to the Illinois Century Network, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, public universities or colleges, community colleges or any other state agency.

"Paid for in whole or in part" means that if you accept state funding for a project within a municipality, you could be in for a nightmare where you just locked your infrastructure into a new tier of management and control. The full law can be found here.

Would This Law Be Good For Illinois?

When you read through this proposed act, it becomes apparent that the intent is to create a broadband initiative without spending what's really needed. The key phrase in it is "…necessary to provide broadband services that are owned by, leased by, controlled by, paid for in whole or in part by or accessible to the Illinois Century Network, the Illinois Department of Transportation…"

Another way to look at it is that "paid for in whole or in part by" means that any money received from the state on any project (no matter what the percentage) creates a binding commitment of that resource or that piece of infrastructure (whatever it may be) to the state broadband infrastructure. This might not be acceptable to local municipalities.

For example, say you get 5 percent on a project for putting in street lights. The state can now utilize all those street lights to put up small wireless antennae for distribution. Who gets the revenues from the tenants on those antennae? Is there revenue sharing? Who sets the leasing rates? What if the municipality doesn't agree?

According to the structure of this act, this applies to every municipality whether they are home rule or not: "Any home rule municipality, non-home rule municipality, township or county may apply for and receive funds to undertake broadband projects including the use of publicly held broadband infrastructure."

This is a quick way to commandeer a lot of resources that weren't totally paid for by the state but can now be referred to as part of the state's "broadband infrastructure". There are some problems with that in terms of having safeguards for usage, applications and management.

This is almost the same approach the state is looking at for road and bridge building where there are several billion dollars of work to do and the amount suggested to do it is substantially less. Some have said we're in for a tax increase because it's not apparent who's going to pick up the shortfall. This issue is another question mark that needs to be thoroughly discussed in a future column.

While having a map of the network infrastructure is good, having easy access to it isn't. One of the biggest issues on network infrastructure is that you don't want the entire map of communication resources available to anyone who is able to Google "Illinois total network infrastructure" from their home PC.

In today's terrorist environment, you can't let a map of the state's communications network be available online or in any easily accessible mode. Though nothing is mentioned to make it available, I can see someone demanding that it be available to anyone who wants to review it.

Sound crazy or bizarre? From many reasons ranging from security issues to competitive analysis, having a map of all facilities and what carrier owns what piece of network just isn't a good idea. One of the most "proprietary" pieces of information that the traditional phone companies had was their network routing information.

Major customers didn't even get routing information on their facilities. This was very closely guarded and was from a network security standpoint a good practice. Will all carriers share this information? I would think there would be a lot of arguments.

Another concern I see with having what amounts to a patchwork of networks interconnected by proclamation and partial funding is that it's unclear who sets and maintains a real network standard of reliability and redundancy. How is it enforced?

This isn't a trivial thing, but to those who have never built anything bigger than a 32-device LAN or put in a couple wireless routers, it's not a big issue. Right? Wrong. Does CMS have enough people to do the job or would this be farmed out to someone like AT&T? With whom would you have a better comfort level?

One of benefits of having a monopoly is that it's easy to set and maintain a uniform set of standards to ensure reliability and redundancy across the network. Though the concept of putting in many small regional or area networks sounds appealing, the reality is that you have to interconnect to everything else and be backward compatible.

With the mix of systems and manufacturers of equipment, how do you maintain a constant reliability level that's acceptable to those with mission-critical applications? From a troubleshooting standpoint, who has the cadre of technicians and engineers that can work on all this?

That's a valid argument the incumbent carriers have when they go on the defense. If you have never worked in network design and engineering for a carrier, you don't have the sensitivity to this issue and you don't have the depth of expertise to mount a compelling argument.

Divesting the Bell system was thought to be a good idea at the time. Since 1984, we have seen the Bell companies get back together almost in a "revestiture" of their divestiture. Do you think they learned something from being split apart and something about the value of being back together?

What's Wrong With Universal Service Access?

Will it really be universal? What if a carrier comes in and says it needs all the spare capacity? After they secure it, others are still at the mercy of what they charge. Who should have priority in securing spare capacity?

Another way around "real" universal access is that the carrier can apply to use the "open to the public" infrastructure to get to a specific area and have its own "closed" access within that area at its own entry price.

There isn't enough specific language in the proposed act to safeguard against abuses. There also isn't a guarantee for reliability to strike a comfort level to those who understand network reliability and redundancy. The bottom line? Though this act is a nice gesture, it needs a lot more clarification of responsibilities and the clear setting of reliability standards in order to pass.

Carlinism: Network infrastructures are like icebergs. You only see 5 percent of the issues and responsibilities on the surface.

Upcoming Half-Day Seminars
Center for Commerce & Economic Development
McHenry County College
8900 U.S. Highway 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012
info@ccedtraining.edu
Where's Your Money Going? (What Color is Your Bentley?)
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006; $89
Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance & Issues
Thursday March 23, 2006; $109
These practical seminars provide you and you staff with valuable insights from someone who has worked on major projects in the public and private sector and has been an expert witness in civil and federal courts.

Learn from someone who has reviewed facilities and negotiated multimillion-dollar contracts for hardware and network services as well as for multimillion-dollar court cases on major projects. For reservations, please call 815-455-0718.

James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini's full biography.
Copyright 2006 Jim Carlini

BOMI Institute Renews Cornerstone Partnership with BOMA International

The Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI), a nonprofit institute dedicated to educating professionals who operate, manage and maintain properties and facilities, recently renewed its Cornerstone Partnership with a pledge of $50,000 to support the activities of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International.

Cornerstone Partners represent the highest level of investment an organization can make in supporting BOMA's vital programs in advocacy, education, research and membership. BOMA International's partnership program, developed in 2004, allows companies to invest in their own success and viability, as well as that of the industry. With three levels of participation (Cornerstone Partner ($50,000), Leadership Circle ($25,000), and Supporting Partner ($10,000)), the program has benefited industry organizations that offer a wide range of services to commercial real estate professionals.

"Our Cornerstone Partners gain access to our association's leaders, offering the ability to debate industry issues and strategize for our organizations' collective futures in an entirely new way," said BOMA International Chairman and Chief Elected Officer David W. Hewett, RPA, CPM, CCIM, FMA, CFM, principal for Trammell Crow Company, Auburn Hills, Michigan. "It only makes sense that one of the industry's leaders in education aligns with us to that degree, particularly since BOMA International and the BOMI Institute have teamed together on a variety of projects for as long as we've each been in existence. Partners like BOMI provide all of us with the kind of synergy that our members deserve in today's fast paced and competitive environment, and seeing this level of commitment from BOMI demonstrates that they recognize that fact as clearly as we do. We're happy to welcome them back for another year as a Cornerstone Partner."

"BOMI Institute and BOMA International share many of the same goals, with education always emerging as one of our most important," added BOMI Institute Chairman Dennis Adams. "Our Cornerstone Partnership with BOMA marks our commitment to designing education that meets member and association needs for today and tomorrow. The Cornerstone Partnership serves our shared audience-the commercial property and facilities professionals."

Also in 2006, BOMA International and the BOMI Institute are collaborating to deliver a series of live seminars, Webcasts and online courses for real estate professionals. The two organizations share a full-time instructional designer as part of the new initiative.

Four six-hour live seminars, taught in a traditional classroom format, are being developed with input from both organizations, and four live Webcast seminars will be jointly developed by the two organizations. Online courses, or eSeminars, available 24/7, will round out the new educational offerings from the BOMA/BOMI collaboration. Three of the eSeminars will be three-hour programs, addressing topics such as property condition assessments, building security and tenant retention, with the first course scheduled to debut in April. The remaining eSeminars will be 60-minute modules to be developed from the top-rated and attended sessions at BOMA's 2005 and 2006 Commercial Real Estate Congresses.

BOMI's mission is to provide learning opportunities that enhance individual performance and add value to organizations in the building and facilities industry. BOMI's educational offerings include training for property managers, facilities managers, building engineers, and building technicians. The Institute offers individual courses, customized group programs, and four professional designation programs: Real Property Administrator (RPA); Facilities Management Administrator (FMA); Systems Maintenance Administrator (SMA); and Systems Maintenance Technician (SMT). More than 20,000 professionals hold one or more BOMI designations, and nearly 10,000 students register for individual courses each year. For more information, visit www.bomi.org.

Singapore Polymer Corp. Increases Capabilities Since Joining TEKNOR APEX

Corporation (SPC) describes the dramatically expanded range of products and services the company supplies to Asian plastics processors now that it is part of Teknor Apex Company.

"SPC was already one of the largest compounders in Asia when Teknor Apex acquired it in 2001," noted Robert Goh, general manager for marketing. "By integrating Teknor Apex technologies with those of SPC, we now provide one of the most diversified selections of compounds and master batches in our region, including products that have no counterparts from other Asian suppliers."

--THOUSANDS OF COMPOUNDS AND MASTERBATCHES available on a custom basis, including vinyl's, styrenics, polyolefin's, TPEs, and engineering thermoplastics.

--TECHNOLOGICAL LEADERSHIP. The SPC site in Singapore includes a new 75,000 metric ton compounding plant and a comprehensive technical center for R&D, customer support, and testing for standards compliance. In addition, SPC draws on the scientific and engineering capabilities of Teknor Apex, one of the world's leading custom compounders.

--GLOBAL ACCESS. In serving customers from Oceania to the Middle East, SPC offers the broadest range of component-recognized compounds already approved for use in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

--STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP. SPC is centrally headquartered in Singapore, has three sales offices in China, and maintains storage, transport, and communications resources that make possible full supply chain management. Its breadth of product offerings makes single-sourcing or "one-stop shopping" a real option for customers.

--MARKET EXPERTISE. SPC and sister divisions of Teknor Apex draw on years of experience serving appliance, automotive, building and construction, consumer product, electrical and electronics, medical device, and wire and cable industries. www.teknorapex.com

Horizon Music Inc. Introduces Silver Flex Cables At CES 2006

Horizon Music Inc., of the VTG Holdings corporate family of companies and a leading manufacturer of audio and video interfacing and cable equipment, introduced the Silver Flex Instrument and Microphone Cables at CES 2006. Silver Flex sets a new benchmark for quality cables for use in live and studio applications.

"The Silver Flex line was engineered to maximize electronic performance while providing a road worthy cable for demanding live performances," says Darius Seabaugh, VTG's executive vice-president of sales and marketing. "In today's audio world, high definition digital systems are found in every type of live situation from the gigging musician recording his work in a club to high end studio environments. Silver Flex cables are the perfect conduits for reliably delivering creative expression to stage and studio systems alike."

The Silver Flex line comes in two flavors: Sliver Flex Instrument Cables and Silver Flex Microphone Cables. The Silver Flex Instrument Cable offers a single 22-guage silver plated conductor consisting of 19 strands of 34/awg silver plated wire. The shield consists of silver plated annealed copper braid yielding 95% shielding from RF and other outside interference. The jacketing comes in matte black PVC or black nylon cloth (lead and cadmium free). The capacitance is rated at 28 pf/ft @ 1,000 Hertz and the resistance is 14.8 ohms nominal impedance @ 20C/1000 feet. The outer dimension of the cable is .242".

Silver Flex Microphone Cables offer two 24-guage silver plated conductors and a sliver plated, stranded Serve shield offering 95% shielding from RF and other outside interference. The jacketing comes in matte black PVC or black nylon cloth (lead and cadmium free). The capacitance is rated at 21 pf/ft @ 1,000 Hertz and the resistance is 23 ohms nominal impedance @ 20C/1000 feet. The outer dimension of the cable is .240". www.horizonmusic.com

The ACUTA Spring Seminar is being held in Providence, Rhode Island April 2-5

The ACUTA Spring Seminar is being held in Providence, Rhode Island April 2-5 and we are looking for companies who are interested in showcasing their products and services to higher education telecom/data professionals. Exhibiting at the Spring Seminar provides companies with exposure to the decision makers at colleges and universities and the chance to network with these individuals, as well as with professionals from other telecommunication and data companies.

Booth spaces are available in sizes ranging from 8'x10' to 8'x30', starting at $1450 for members, $1600 nonmembers. With each booth space, you receive:

*Listing on the ACUTA Web meeting page with a FREE hot link
*Pre- and post-event attendee lists, with email addresses *Session pass to attend educational presentations *Free exhibit hall passes for local customers *Company contact information placed on attendee list

Various events are planned in the hall to facilitate foot traffic, including the opening reception on Sunday, and coffee breaks and door prize drawings Monday and Tuesday.

ACUTA also offers a wide variety of affordable and highly visible sponsorship opportunities to help get Communication Planning Corp.'s name in the mind of potential customers. Sponsorships give companies that competing edge at tradeshows by setting them apart from the rest!

Visit the URL below for details such as attendee demographics, session & exhibit hall schedules, benefits of exhibiting and sponsoring, current floor plan, and the application to sign-up. www.acuta.org/ex-spon/providence/prospectus.pdf

NextSpeed™ Ascent 10GbE Solution

Hubbell Premise Wiring announces the release of NextSpeed™ Ascent 10GbE UTP cabling infrastructure solution, designed specifically for true standards-compliant 10-gigabit Ethernet applications. It is a full channel offering that consists of modular jacks, patch cords, traditional 110-style patch panels, and horizontal cable, providing a firm foundation for critical data intensive applications demanding performance for the full 100 meters up to 625MHz. It has been extensively tested to support bandwidth intensive applications, IP-based appliances, existing PoE applications, and exceeds the proposed PoE+ power levels standards. www.hubbell-premise.com

FOA Creates Free Online Database of Fiber Optic Installers and Consultants

The Fiber Optic Association (FOA), the professional society of fiber optics, has created an online database of FOA-certified technicians who are available for installation and consulting on fiber optic jobs, as well as employment.

According to FOA President Jim Hayes, "Many potential users of fiber optics are reluctant to make the move to fiber unless they can find a certified installer. Over the last ten years, more than 130 FOA-approved schools have certified over 16,000 fiber optic technicians, many of whom are actively involved in installations worldwide. By creating an online database where FOA CFOTs (Certified Fiber Optic Technicians) can list their services, the FOA simplifies the task of the end user in finding a reliable installer or consultant on their project, promoting the movement to install more fiber optic networks.

End users will be able to search the FOA database for a fiber optic installer, contractor or consultant by specialty (telecom, CATV, LAN, security, etc.) for work anywhere in the world. All current FOA CFOTs have been notified about the new FOA database and invited to list their services on the database.

In keeping with the FOA's "non-profit professional society" status, both listings and searches are free. This free service should facilitate new users deciding to go with fiber. www.thefoa.org

The Commercial Real Estate Congress and The Office Building Show

Thousands of Innovative Solutions, Hundreds of Hours of Education, One Phenomenal Experience!

The Number One Education and Networking Event for Commercial Real Estate Professionals!

The Industry's largest exhibition featuring new and improved products and solutions

  • Education for an ever-changing industry
  • Expert speakers sharing important insights for success
  • Networking with fellow industry insiders and much more!

This spectacular event will be held June 24 - 27, 2006 at the Dallas Convention Center. This website is under construction and will be updated frequently in the coming weeks and months. Please visit often for the most up-to-date information. http://www.bomaconvention.org

General Cable Introduces GenSPEED® 6000 Category 6 Cable Designed for Outside Plant Applications

Its new GenSPEED 6000 Category 6 Outdoor Cable, a product with superior electrical performance and mechanical performance characteristics, which make it suitable for outside plant applications. This cable can be directly buried in the ground, installed in ducts, or aerially lashed to a support messenger. It's the ideal solution when high speed connections need to be made from one building to another, such as for portable classrooms and adjacent office buildings or for applications requiring cable to be run in conduit under concrete slabs.

GenSPEED 6000 Outdoor Cable is fully flooded and has a tough UV- and abrasion-resistant Polyethylene jacket. It is designed to withstand temperature extremes from -70°C to +75°C and supports data transmission rates up to 1000Mb/s.

"GenSPEED 6000 Outside Plant cable compliments our existing GenSPEED 6000 cable product line," said Jay Lahman, General Cable's Business Unit Manager, Premise and Electronics Products. "With such a broad product line, we are able to ensure that we provide customers with the right cable for all of their applications, even when they extend outside the traditional premise environment.

General Cable manufactures a wide range of high performance GenSPEED™ copper cable products and NextGen™ Brand fiber optic cable products. www.GeneralCable.com

BOMA Applauds President's Call To Make Tax Cuts Permanent

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International joins President Bush as he urged Congress last night during his State of the Union address to renew the tax cut legislation enacted during his first term in office. The President requested Congress make permanent the reduced rate on capital gains and the time frame for which cost recovery for leasehold improvements on office property are depreciated. The lowered capital gains tax rate is set to expire after 2008 and the leasehold depreciation recovery provision already expired at the end of 2005; both are top BOMA International legislative priorities.

"By further extending the President's tax cuts, Congress will continue to provide business owners the incentive necessary to continue to help contribute to a healthy economy." said BOMA International Chairman, David W. Hewett, RPA, CPM, CCIM, FMA, CFM, principal for Trammell Crow Company, Auburn Hills, Michigan. "BOMA International supports the President's common sense, tax relief efforts that foster an economic environment that will create more American jobs in the commercial real estate industry."

BOMA will continue to urge Congress, as it returns this week for the second half of the 109th session, to extend, if not make permanent, these two extremely critical tax provisions. Early this month the House and Senate are expected to name conferees tasked with hammering out the differences in the two tax reconciliation bills passed last year. Both bills contain language extending the leasehold improvement depreciation for another year, but the Senate bill does not include a provision to further extend the cut on capital gains. BOMA will urge conferees to eliminate taxes on capital gains and permanently reduce the timeframe for which leasehold improvements may be depreciated from 39 to 15 years. If renewed, the leasehold depreciation would most likely take effect retroactively to the beginning of the year.

Founded in 1907, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 90 local associations and affiliated organizations. BOMA's 19,000-plus members own or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties in North America and abroad. The mission of BOMA International is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information. www.boma.org

Electrical Safety Should Never Take a Holiday

In the day-to-day operations of electrical maintenance, routine tasks are performed to minimize or eliminate unscheduled shutdowns. The following incident is based on an actual event that resulted in tragic consequences for the workers involved. I have modified some of the details of this incident to respect the confidentiality of the parties involved. What makes this story so significant is that, according to Department of Labor statistics, this type of injury happens at least five times each day and never takes off weekends or holidays.

By Ken Mastrullo NFPA - "Ken's Safety Section," NEC Digest, spring 2004

Mike Holt Comments: I suggest you view this video clip before continuing on to read the rest of the story.

SLS Loudspeaker Showcased The Q-Line Silver Home Theater Sound System At CES 2006

SLS Loudspeakers, the makers of high-end speaker systems for critical listening environments, live venues and home theater applications, showcased the new Q-Line Silver home theater sound system at CES 2006. Q-Line Silver delivers pure, high definition digital sound with absolute clarity and detail, bringing the excellent sonic experience enjoyed by top professionals in the studio into the home environment.

"Q-Line Silver was developed in cooperation with legendary producer/performer Quincy Jones, whose golden ears have garnered 27 Grammy Awards and have brought the world countless hits from a Who's Who list of major artists," says Jeff Lowry, marketing director for SLS Loudspeakers. "Mr. Jones worked with our top engineers to produce a system worthy of the SLS name creating the ultimate home theater surround sound experience at a very attractive price point. We believe the Q-Line is the new benchmark system for the industry."

The Q-Line Silver System features five full range SAT24R surround speakers utilizing SLS' unique planar ribbon driver technology and the QS-SUB 100 powered subwoofer cabinet. The SAT24R is a two-way system in a closed, magnetically shielded cabinet. The low frequency section offers two 4" polycomposite cone-type woofers, while the high frequency section is based on a 1.25" planar ribbon tweeter delivering an accurate frequency response of 80Hz to 40 kHz. The cabinet has a power rating of 100W for program material and is housed in a 4.5"x15"x4.7" (0.115m x 0.38m x 0.12m) enclosure weighing 6.3lbs. (2.85kg).

The QS-SUB 100 powered subwoofer offers an 8" optimized long-throw design low frequency speaker with composite paper cone and rubber surround. The integrated power amplifier is of an AB-Class design with 100W RMS of power performance delivering a system a frequency response of 28 Hz - 100 Hz. The ported cabinet is 9.6"x1.8"x19.5" (0.24 m x0.46 m x 0.5m) and weights 33lbs (15kg). Featured controls include Power ON/OFF, Volume (front panel), Phase (0-180 degrees), Auto/ON.

The surround amplifier section delivers 125W to each SAT24R speaker arrayed in the classic Left/Center/Right - Left surround/Right surround configuration and has both Dolby Digital and DTS decoders. The signal to noise ratio is a very favorable 92dB below signal and the frequency response is a smooth 20Hz to 50 kHz. Analog inputs include CD, Tape and Video. Digital inputs via coaxial 75 ohm cable address 32, 44.1, 48 and 96 kHz sampling frequencies. Bass and treble controls are set for 100Hz and 10 kHz respectively and system output feeds the main speakers with a separate out for the subwoofer. The available FM tuner section covers a bandwidth range of 87.5 to 108 MHz delivering a frequency response of 30 Hz~15 kHz. The AM tuner section covers a bandwidth of 520 to 1710 kHz. The entire preamp/amplifier case is 17-3/8 x 5-1/2 x 13 inches (440 x 141 x 330 mm) and weights 21.2 lbs (9.75 kg).

SLS Loudspeakers, a division of SLS International, designs, manufactures and markets proprietary ultra high-fidelity ribbon-driver loudspeakers and sound systems for professional, commercial and residential applications. The publicly traded company (AMEX: SLS) was founded in the 1970s and its products are used in hundreds of installations worldwide. www.dpagan.com

Long-Term Studies Demonstrate the Effectiveness of ERITECH® SYSTEM 3000

ERICO® has conducted two unprecedented, long-term field-validation studies of the Collection Volume Method of lightning protection with the ERITECH® SYSTEM 3000 lightning-protection system. The Collection Volume Method (CVM) defines the lightning "capture volume" of potential strike points on a structure.

The first study, conducted from 1988 through 1996 in Hong Kong, demonstrated that it is possible to dimension the interception efficiency or performance of a lightning protection system using real field data. This method circumvents the problems associated with laboratory testing, where scale-size issues are difficult to resolve and faithful replication of the electric field wavefronts observed in nature can also be troublesome.

The number of strikes to the protection system of the structures in this study were obtained from "lightning event counters" (LEC) placed around the lightning current down conductor cable. All of the LEC's were tested and calibrated using an 8/20 US current impulse. Overall, estimates of the strike "yield" demonstrate that the interception rate predicted by the CVM is in excellent agreement with the observed capture frequency. This means that the lightning-interception rate is at least as high as the claimed protection levels, which lie in the 85 - 98% range.

The second study, conducted from 1990 through 2000 in Malaysia, quantified interception efficiency. The study consisted of a statistically valid sample of buildings mainly in the Klang Valley region of Kuala Lumpur. The 47 sites had between 1 and 5 buildings per site with a mean structure height of 58m (190 ft). The mean actual protection level was 78%, meaning that up to 22% of low-intensity flashes less than 10 kA could be allowed to bypass the lightning protection system (LPS). Mitigating factors such as budget constraints and subsequent changes to the structures (e.g. the addition of antennas and extensions) impacted the initial design and prevented the protection level from being higher. At the end of the study, the actual interception efficiency was 86%, ten percent better than predicted.

The patented ERITECH SYSTEM 3000 is a technically advanced lightning protection system that offers reliable lightning capture. The system incorporates the ERITECH DYNASPHERE MKIV air terminal that provides a preferred dissipation point for lightning discharges. The air terminal places ERICO at the forefront of advanced lightning protection technology worldwide. It represents a number of improvements over existing technology including a mechanically stronger design, reduced visual impact and more versatile applicability across facilities. The unit is part of a complete lightning protection system that offers users a total solution for lightning capture, conduction and grounding. The system also includes ERITECH ERICORE down-conductors, lightning event conductors, a purpose-designed low impedance grounding system and air terminal placement software. www.erico.com

BRADY Introduces Gate Valve Lockout Pouch To Lockout More Valves With Fewer Devices

Brady Corporation (NYSE:BRC) has developed a new kit, the Gate Valve Lockout Pouch, containing two versatile lockouts designed to secure virtually any type and size of gate valve.

The Gate Valve Lockout Pouch comes with the Adjustable Gate Valve Lockout and the All Purpose Cable Lockout in a durable nylon carrying case, allowing for easier portability and storage than other lockout kits. The useful kit enhances safety and job efficiency because there is a decreased chance that workers will grab the wrong sized lockout. The two multipurpose lockouts lower equipment costs by replacing the need for many different lockouts.

The Adjustable Gate Valve Lockout replaces the three most commonly used sizes of gate valve "donuts," easily adjusting to fit valve sizes from 1 inch to 6.5 inches. Made of durable polypropylene, the Adjustable Gate Valve Lockout resists temperatures from -50ºF to 360ºF. It comes with danger labels in English, Spanish, and French.

The All Purpose Cable Lockout secures larger gate valves or two valves with one device. It is made of rugged ISOPLAST(tm)* material for superior chemical and temperature resistance. It comes with an 8-foot vinyl-sheathed steel cable and a built-in cable loop that keeps the cable neatly coiled when stored or carried. Four lock holes in the handle facilitate group lockout, accommodating most padlock shackles and hasps. The All Purpose Cable Lockout's ergonomic design makes it a cinch to tighten the cable, providing for more security and better protection than chains.

The Gate Valve Lockout Pouch is available with optional Brady padlocks and tags; choose from two Brady safety padlocks and tags or two Brady steel padlocks and tags.

For more information about the Gate Valve Lockout Pouch, call 1-888-272- 3946 or visit the Brady Corporation website: www.bradyid.com/lockout.

Brady Corporation (NYSE: BRC) is an international manufacturer and marketer of complete solutions that identify and protect premises, products, and people. Its products help customers increase safety, security, productivity, and performance, and include high-performance labels and signs, safety devices, printing systems and software, and precision die-cut materials.

Founded in 1914, the company has more than 300,000 customers in electronics, telecommunications, manufacturing, electrical, construction, education, and a variety of other industries. Brady is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and employs about 5,000 people in operations in the United States, Europe, Asia/Pacific, Latin America, and Canada. Brady's fiscal 2005 sales were approximately $816 million. More information is available on the Internet at www.bradycorp.com.

Testing the Experts

Question:

"Customers are asking for VoIP telephones as part of the cabling package. Is there anything special I need to know about cabling for VoIP?"

Answer:

As with so many topics in our business, there is both a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is "No; if you install and certify to standards, your VoIP installation should perform just fine." The long answer is "it depends how the installation was designed, and that may not be in your hands."

One of the advantages of VoIP is that it can travel on the same network that handles data traffic. So in general, if you have installed all the structured cabling with normal care, and certified each link to at least Cat 5e standards, the cabling should be able to transmit VoIP successfully.

Now comes the tricky part. VoIP's big advantage, using the same network that handles data, is also the big reason that VoIP call quality may not meet expectations. Phone calls happen in real-time. A person listening to a call expects a steady stream of understandable sound coming from the phone. But since VoIP sends digitized voice packets over the data network, there may be conflicts on which packets reach their destination first.

The time interval it takes for a packet to arrive at the receiving phone is called latency. Excessive latency is noticeable to the listener. Even more noticeable is jitter. Jitter is packets arriving with different amounts of latency, and can make the call sound like it is speeding up, slowing down or not fitting together correctly. Finally, dropped packets can lead to gaps in the dialog and poor listening quality.

The solution to these problems is not really in the hands of the cable installer. The network must be designed and configured to prioritize VoIP traffic. This is the responsibility of the network designer and more importantly, the network manager. But there are some things the installer can do that go beyond certification of the cabling. If the installer has access to the network when it is activated, tests can be performed to verify Power over Ethernet (PoE) levels that are used to power the VoIP phones. Often times this can be done with a tool that also checks network connectivity and communication ability. At the same time, the installer can also conduct physical layer tests that include wiring, patch cables and switch port configuration.

In addition, the installer can check for communication between the VoIP phone and the nearest switch. Call setup, configuration and tear down signaling should all be visible using the latest network connectivity testers that include VoIP monitoring capability.

If your customers plan on using VoIP phones, most installers should be able to supply the cabling needed. Use your normal installation practices, certify, and if you can, test for power and connectivity between the phone and the switch. That part of the installation is in your control.

Answer provided by Robert Finlay, Fluke Networks Product Manager

Reprinted with permission of Cabling Business Magazine www.cablingbusiness.com

BOMA's Advocacy Team Welcomes New Director

Jason Todd has joined BOMA International's advocacy team as director of legislative and regulatory affairs. In this role, Jason will serve as one of BOMA's Capitol Hill lobbyists, covering tax and telecommunications issues.

For the past four and a half years, Jason has served as director of government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association. His past employment also includes a variety of advocacy and communications positions with Management Options Inc, the National Milk Producers Federation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Science Applications International Corp. www.boma.org

InterpretAir WLAN Survey Software Reduces the Time and Cost of Deploying and Verifying Wireless Networks

Fluke Networks announced InterpretAir(tm) WLAN Survey software, a new laptop-based wireless LAN survey tool that helps network engineers and system integrators plan network deployments, verify actual performance and optimize access point placement.

InterpretAir displays visual results rather than listing complicated RF signal data, clearly identifying problems and specifying the actions needed to fix them. Part of Fluke Networks' comprehensive line of Network SuperVision Solutionstm, InterpretAir wills, for example, shows a map indicating where an additional access point may be needed.

In addition to serving as a planning tool, InterpretAir provides visual representation of actual RF health metrics, making it easier to tune the networks for optimal performance and discover potential problems before they affect mobile applications. The product supports a variety of optional WLAN network interface cards, enabling it to be used across 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies and in mixed-mode environments where 802.11a and 802.11b/g networks co-exist.

"InterpretAir is one more example of how Fluke Networks is responding to customer needs in the wireless arena," says Mike Hadley, Fluke Networks Wireless Product Marketing Manager. "We already offer tools for analyzing and troubleshooting both wired and wireless LANs post deployment. Now, with InterpretAir, we are addressing a different part of the wireless lifecycle, enabling network professionals to perform pre-deployment and expansion planning, and verify WLAN performance after installation."

Proactively address performance problems

Using InterpretAir's advanced simulation capabilities, network professionals can determine the optimal number and location of access points before buying or installing infrastructure or devices. This saves money, reduces deployment time, minimizes re-work and ensures that the system will perform as expected.

Test results are displayed over the actual floor plan where the network is deployed. Because the software provides visual representations of multiple measurement criteria in a single view, it simplifies analysis and accelerates decision making. Customizable thresholds can be set for variables such as signal strength, signal-to-noise ratio, and access point overlap.

Survey results will show the degree to which the WLAN achieves an IT department's own performance goals. Should InterpretAir detect a failure, the user can see which criteria were not met for that portion of the WLAN.

Price and Delivery

InterpretAir Wireless Site Survey tool is available for immediate delivery through Fluke Networks' sales channels worldwide with a suggested U.S. list price of $3395. www.flukenetworks.com

NextLAN 10GC System from Leviton & Superior Essex Passes ETL CAT 6A/10G Performance Test

Leviton and Superior Essex announced today that Intertek/ETL Semko ("ETL"), a national testing laboratory, has independently verified that the NextLAN UTP 10 Gigabit Ethernet Cabling System passes all TIA/EIA 568-B.2-10 Augmented Category 6, Draft 2 electrical performance requirements. Compliance to these draft standard requirements is critical to ensuring that the installed cabling system will be capable of supporting upcoming 10GBase-T (10 Gigabit Ethernet) electronics. The 100-meter, 4-connector channel test confirmed that the NextLAN 10GC System significantly exceeded 100% of the required parameters including Alien Crosstalk, Attenuation and Return Loss.

Developed through an extensive research and engineering alliance, the NextLAN 10GC System was introduced in mid-2005 and combines Leviton eXtreme® 10G UTP connectors, patch panels and patch cords with Superior Essex 10Gain™ UTP cable. The system eliminates the adverse effects of Alien Crosstalk using the patented Cone of Silence™ on Leviton connectors and patch panels, and the unique noise-suppressing twist design in Superior Essex's easy-to-install, circular cross-section cable design. NextLAN 10GC offers advanced performance guaranteed to exceed current TIA/EIA 568-B.2-10 Ethernet cabling requirements, including a 4dB margin guarantee for PSACR.

www.nextlansystems.com www.levitonvoicedata.com www.superioressex.com

Berk-Tek Appoints Jim Frey as Copper Products Manager

Copper and fiber optic cabling technology and solutions leader Berk-Tek, A Nexans Company, announces the appointment of Jim Frey to Copper Product Manager.

In this role, Frey will be responsible for managing all of Berk-Tek copper LAN cable products, including the LANmark10G Augmented Category 6 cables which are part of the industry-leading LANmark series of high performance UTP cables.

In addition, Frey will represent the North American copper LAN product business on the global LAN Operational Product Management (OPM) team within Nexans, the worldwide leader in Cables and Cabling Systems.

"Jim's experience as a product manager, as well as his unique perspective on our industry will be an asset to Berk-Tek" said Todd Harpel, RCDD, director of marketing at Berk-Tek.

Frey brings more then seven years of product management experience to this position. He was previously employed by FCI/Berg Electronics, where he managed cable assembly products for telecom equipment manufacturers. He will work out of the company headquarters and UTP manufacturing facility in New Holland, PA. He can be reached as follows: www.nexans.com

Leviton Introduces FastCAM™ Factory-Polished, Field-Installable Fiber Connectors

Leviton is pleased to introduce pre-terminated, factory-polished FastCAM Connectors. With no special tools, no epoxy and no time-consuming hand polishing required, these connectors take just minutes to install. The field-proven design provides precision mechanical termination and a reliable, low insertion loss connection.

FastCAM Connectors are available in ST and SC styles to fit 250µm and 900µm cables with standard single-mode and 50µm/62.5µm multimode fiber options. They can be installed virtually anywhere, including all types of premise and fiber-to-the-subscriber applications. FastCAM Connectors will be available in distribution April 2006.

FastCAM Connectors are a part of Leviton's extensive line of fiber optic products. www.levitonvoicedata.com

Corning Cable Systems Introduces Series of Intelligent Handheld Test Equipment

Corning Cable Systems, part of Corning Incorporated's (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, introduces a new series of "intelligent" handheld test equipment. The OTS-400 series of intelligent and versatile optical meters, sources and testers offers simultaneous testing and storage of dual-wavelength attenuation measurements.

Corning Cable Systems OTS-400 series of handheld test equipment can be used during installation, system qualification and maintenance. The combination of practical features, simple operation, field performance and rugged design makes the OTS-400 series perfect for virtually all fiber optic testing environments.

The OTS-400 series meters, sources and testers are offered individually or packaged in test kits including two instruments, accessories, test jumpers and a carrying case. The most popular combination of port adapters and test jumpers has been pre-selected for each type of kit, allowing for immediate out-of-the-box testing. A wide variety of additional source and meter port adapters is available, along with other optional accessories.

The OTS-400 series features an auto testing function that provides automatic wavelength switching that cuts typical testing time in half. The test equipment eliminates field paperwork, storing up to 1000 measurements that can be separated into individual cables, panels or jobs. It includes a wide variety of source wavelength configurations, including dual-, triple- and quad-wavelength sources. The test equipment also offers USB data transfer to Windows-based PC software for storage, viewing and printing of test results. www.corning.com/cablesystems

NEMA'S Electricoindustry Business Confidence Index Declines Again, But Still Points To Industry Expansion

NEMA's Electroindustry Business Confidence Index for current North American conditions continued to signal electroindustry expansion in January. At 55.2 points, the index topped the 50-point threshold-indicating a business environment favoring industry growth-for the 33rd month in a row. At the same time, the index has declined in each of the last four months, suggesting that conditions have moderated since reaching a near-term peak in late summer. The January EBCI for future North American conditions climbed slightly to 56.9 points, up from 56.3 a month ago.

For a complete summary of the January 2006 index, including charts and a list of participating companies, visit www.nema.org/econ/ebci/upload/01_2006_EBCI.pdf.

The Electroindustry Business Confidence Index gauges the business confidence of the electroindustry in Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America, and is based on the results of a monthly survey of senior managers at NEMA member companies. Those companies represent more than 80 percent of the electroindustry. www.nema.org

MRV 4800 Power Control Series Provide Remote Power Management For Carrier Networks

MRV COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (Nasdaq: MRVC), a leading provider of products and services for out-of-band networking, WDM and optical transport, metro Ethernet, fiber optic components, 10GE and other service aware networking products, announced the 4800 Power Control Series. These new -48 VDC additions to MRV's out-of-band networking product family offer carriers and utilities an intelligent power distribution and remote power control solution to maximize operational uptime.

"The new 4800 Power Control Series supports our ongoing commitment to develop innovative, cost-effective solutions for carriers, and utilities where the economic and business consequences of operational downtime require a management solution that is always accessible," said Mary Jane Gruninger, general manager of MRV's Out-of-Band networking division.

Easy-to-Manage, Secure Remote Network Operations

All 4800 Power Control Series models feature out-of-band connectivity that allows administrators to remotely power-on, power-off or reboot attached equipment. Accessed through MRV's LX Series Secure console servers, enhanced LX Series security capabilities include SSH V2SSHv2 Secure Shell secure remote terminal, SNMP V3, Radius, SecurID, TACACS+ and compliance with the FIPS 140 federal standard for products supporting encryption.

To support redundant power supply routers and switches, each 4800 Power Control Series model has dual 100-amp power inputs. Each 4800 Series model also features interchangeable fuses that allow administrators to replace fuse values to change the amperage rating of each outlet circuit. Secure local and remote configuration and control is managed through the LX Series Console Server, with an easy-to-use browser-based GUI, extensive command line interface, or MRV's SNMP-based Megavision management software. All 4800 Series models are NEBS compliant.

"These new products expand MRV's power management product line from the enterprise to the service provider market and allow us to propose turnkey out-of-band management system to our customers," said Sean MacNeill, president and COO of Dynavar, one of North America's leading system integrators and an MRV partner.

Configurations Offer Maximum Scalability

The 4800 Power Control Series is comprised of three versions of remote power management models:

  • The 4805-XLS Remote Power Manager is designed for CLECs, ILECs, ISPs and utilities to manage -48 VDC power control to equipment cabinets in remote sites, co-location facilities and network operations centers. The console features 16 10-amp outlet circuits protected with GMT fuses.

  • The 4805/35-XLS is ideal for power distribution and remote management for cabinets with both -48 VDC-powered servers and high-amperage routers. It features eight 10-amp outlet circuits protected with GMT fuses, and four 70-amp maximum outlet circuits protected with TPC fuses.

  • The 4870-XLS is aimed at applications requiring high amperage protection needs, providing four 70-amp outlet circuits protected with TPC fuses.

Complete Out-of-Band Networking Solution
MRV Out-of-Band Networking product family comprises a full suite of out-of-band management products enabling customers to proactively respond to all remote control, configuration, sensor, and data acquisition needs. The 4800 Series joins MRV Communications' 5150 Power Control Series, which offers remote AC power management for enterprise data centers. www.mrv.com

HellermannTyton Announces Upgrades For Spirit™ PORTABLE LABEL Printer

HellermannTyton, a leader in the development of industrial identification products, announces the next generation of features offered by the Spirit portable label printer. The Spirit printer-already one of the most advanced portable printing systems on the market-is now the first portable label printer to offer a combination of the following features:

  • Using the Spirit printer, data files can be and downloaded from and uploaded to personal computers and even transferred to other Spirit printers.

  • Label data that is already in a database (such as Excel, Access, and other Windows compatible databases) can be uploaded to the Spirit printer as a batch file and printed on demand in the field, eliminating redundant data entry, reducing data entry errors, and speeding label production.

  • The Spirit printer now keeps track of every different label that is printed by automatically keeping a database file of printed labels. This feature has many useful benefits for users wishing to keep accurate records of labels printed, such as telecom contractors and end-users tracking adds, moves, and changes.

The Spirit printer is currently the only portable label printer on the market to offer users "What You See Is What You Get" label design, which allows users to edit labels on a screen that shows exactly what the labels will look like when printed, and the Spirit also offers the fastest print speed of any portable label printer available.

The new features offered by the Spirit printer work in conjunction with Spirit firmware version 3.2 and SpiritLink software version 2.0. As a special offer, upgrades of both are available for free by visiting www.htamericas.com/spiritupgrade and requesting the new upgrades.

In addition to the Spirit portable printing system, HellermannTyton offers a wide range of identification solutions, including TagPrint Pro and TagPrint 606 label creation software, high-quality labels, thermal transfer printers, and wire markers. HellermannTyton also offers a full line of network cabling solutions, including connectivity and cable management products. www.hellermann.tyton.com

How Savvy Contractors Boost Their Estimating Productivity

How can smart electrical contractors improve their management productivity? Many will come to Tempe, AZ from March 8-11, for McCormick Systems' annual User's Conference. Last year's event, the 23rd annual, drew more than 120 attendees - more contractors, estimators, and project managers than the company has seen at the conference since the 9/11 attack on our country.

"Our customers will get a hands-on introduction to Version 8.2 of our software program, which has nearly 20 enhancements - most of them created in response to specific customer requests," says Todd McCormick, the company president. www.mccormicksys.com


REMEMBER TO RECYCLE, REDUCE AND REUSE

   
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