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Wireville.com

Issue: January 2005
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces

Bisbee's Buzz

Is Change a "constant" at the same rate, or are we seeing acceleration in the rate of change? One change that seems to have a huge impact on our world is the growing momentum of the information age.

We have seen the birth of NETWORK. On September 2, 1969, the first node of ARPANET went online at UCLA. By December and after several crashes, ARPANET (now known as the INTERNET) had 4 nodes (UCLA, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah). Network e-mail was developed in 1971 and spam was created the next day. By 1977 there were 111 computers connected to the Internet. In 2001, connections had grown to 109,574,429. By the beginning of 2004, the network had swelled to 233,101,481 connections and many of those represented multiple users behind smaller networks. The point is this worldwide network is rapidly becoming the source of much of the information that we require to operate our system of commerce.

The information flowing over the Internet is equal to the entire volume of the Library of Congress every 3 minutes. The Internet Traffic Report monitors the flow of data around the world. It then displays a value between zero and 100. Higher values indicate faster and more reliable connections. http://www.internettrafficreport.com/main.htm

Our need for speed is growing as rapidly as our appetite for information. I recall a meeting in Wilmington Delaware at the IT headquarters for E.I. Dupont in 1982. In that meeting, the director of technology for Dupont explained, "the fastest we will ever transmit over communications cable in the workplace is 64 Kbps". It appears that setting limits on what we will accomplish in communications is as pointless as arguing with your spouse.

We have all seen inspired innovation in technology that has brought us to the conclusion that "the improbable can be accomplished by tomorrow, however, the impossible may take slightly longer". Perhaps a look back will set the tone for what is ahead.

The Year is 1904

The year is 1904 ... one hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes! Here are some of the US statistics for 1904:

The average life expectancy in the US was 47 years.
Only 14% of the homes in the US had a bathtub.
Only 8% of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.00

There were only 8,000 cars in the US, and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour.

The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year.

A veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year.

A mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births in the US took place at home.

Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."

Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.

The five leading causes of death in the US were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Two of 10 US adults couldn't read or write. Only 6 % of all Americans had graduated high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."(Leave it to your friendly pharmacist)

Eighteen percent of households in the US had at least one full-time servant or domestic.

There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire US

# # #

As we plunge into 2005, our hearts are heavy with the news of the tragic natural disaster from the tsunami in Asia. Fortunately the technology and human spirit are rising to meet the needs of those unfortunate victims of this horrible natural disaster. Perhaps technology will step in and provide adequate warning systems in the future. As the stewards of the communications cabling industry, we have many responsibilities to build a safer and more productive future environment.

But that´s just my opinion,

Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" column
www.wireville.com
Jacksonville, FL
(904) 645-9077
frank@wireville.com

The Ultimate Cable Management System

With Toxicity Testing "just around the corner", planners and architects are considering new solutions and placement of the cabling infrastructure. Soon, testing for toxicity may be part of the requirement for the cables that we place in IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) pathways as well as the IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) standards. We can no longer trash the building by filling the return air plenums with toxic chemicals and waste materials that pose a safety and public health risk.

The Potential Dangers of Exposed Cabling in Environmental Air Plenums are acute. In the past far too little of the full safety story has been written about the potential dangers of exposed cabling in environmental air plenums.

The risks associated with cabling in ceiling plenums are frightening. Numerous experts are now calling for the testing process on plenum cables to include toxicity testing. If these cables are tested for toxicity most will fail to meet any reasonable safety limit. For more than twenty years, most plenum cable was manufactured using lead (Pb) and other dangerous heavy metals in the jackets. Today, those cables are decomposing and releasing their lethal cargo into the air systems. There are almost 8.5 million miles of abandoned communications cable in the USA. The price tag to clean up this mess is staggering. Estimates place the rough costs to remove the cabling which is now a safety and environmental hazard at $4 to $22 per square foot.

In thirty years, we have turned much of our ceiling return air plenum spaces into a virtual "Love Canal" of toxic Teflon and other cable coatings. FIRE and SMOKE are not the only threats associated with fire conditions. Many of the chemical materials used in cabling, like Teflon, generate highly toxic and lethal gases under heat decomposition. This entire scenario has some attorney's licking their chops at the prospect of future liability awards in the billions.

Closer to home, the building and commercial real estate industry is pushing for answers to the unraveling myth of plenum cable safety. Organizations like BOMA and NAIOP are challenging architects and designers to find solutions that work and are safe.

Safe materials must be required in the air stream. In the event of a fire, toxic gases, fire or smoke should not incapacitate the occupants. Shockingly, most buildings do not have sensors for toxic gases in spite of claims that safety is paramount.

Major issues regarding cable fire safety have been documented in research conducted in the USA and in Europe. Safety experts read the evidence with alarm, but designers and users appear to be blind to the dangers because the current cables are "Code Approved".

For new construction, designers should carefully consider the use of in-floor cabling systems such as underfloor duct for on-grade use or a cellular floor system for elevated building levels. These systems provide the ultimate safety against cable fire and smoke problems by encapsulating cables in steel cells below a concrete fill. Underside fireproofing assures against cable outgassing for two to three hours.

For retrofit projects that must incorporate plenum cabling, metal conduit or low smoke zero halogen cable are safer alternatives. CMP cable suppliers should be asked to supply "aged" cable fire tests to simulate the effects of heat aging, abrasion, and the degradation effects of plasticizer migration which can lead to cable jacket splitting. Sustainability is a crucial component of the safety scenario. Nobody wants to spend thousands and even millions on cabling that is "safe today and useless tomorrow". The current code (NEC 2005) does not require any follow up testing on cables that are being placed in the indoor air systems. IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) and IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) are two important terms that will be on the agenda for "Happy Buildings". Several cost studies have revealed that using in-floor systems result in overall lower costs for the installation and maintenance of cabling facilities, while offering the highest level of safety.

The Q-Floor/Taproute® System
HHRobertson Floor Systems, a CENTRIA company, manufactures the Q-Floor/Taproute® System - the premier cable management system for office buildings, libraries, schools and casinos.

Since its introduction in 1931 by the H.H. Robertson Company, the system has been constantly improved to provide customer benefits unmatched by any other method of horizontal cable distribution.

http://www.hhrobertson.com

NAED RELEASES FINDINGS OF 2004 EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION REPORT
Data shows increasing importance placed on performance, impact of rising healthcare costs

(ST. LOUIS, MO)…The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces the results of its benchmarking survey, the 2004 Employee Compensation Report. The bi-annual report provides salary and benefits information in two separate formats: NAED distributor-specific data and cross-industry data from more than 30 distribution trade associations. While the report suggests that compensation and benefits changed only modestly between 2001 and 2003, some of the changes are of major significance.

According to the study, top management compensation began to be pegged much more directly to firm performance. Bonus as a percent of total compensation rose for the key management positions as well as for branch managers. This pay-for-performance mentality reflects a trend throughout distribution.

The skyrocketing costs of healthcare have also impacted distribution. The typical monthly insurance premium for a family increased more than 60 percent in four years, from $450 in the 1999 survey, to $588 in 2001 and to $736 in 2003. For firms providing PPO coverage, as the majority of NAED members do, the percentage of the premium paid by the employer fell sharply, from 95 percent in 2001 to 80 percent in 2003.

NAED's Employee Compensation Survey, which covers more than 2,000 distribution firms operating more than 8,000 branches, provides a detailed review of these issues and more in two separate reports:

  • Vol. 1 - Contains compensation data specific to NAED members in printed format. This report provides benchmarks for electrical industry peers in executive and employee compensation, sales commission plans, outside sales policies, and benefit programs.
  • Vol. II - Compiles thousands of distributors' compensation information from more than 30 trade associations in a CD-ROM format. Broken out by sales volume and geographic area, this report supplies the latest data on executive salaries, including bonuses and perks, as well as various benefit programs, like health, retirement, end-of-year bonuses, and paid vacations.

The 2004 NAED Employee Compensation Report is available for $95 for survey participants and $295 for non-participants. For more information or to purchase a report, contact NAED Customer Service at (888) 791-2512 or cmacbain@naed.org.

NAED is the trade association for the electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and advocacy, NAED helps electrical distributors prosper and improve the channel. NAED's membership includes distributors of all sizes, representing approximately 4,150 locations throughout the United States.

NAED EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION SURVEY RESULTSFACT SHEET

2004 NAED Employee Compensation Report (based on 2003 data)
Compensation and Benefit Trends for NAED Members

Compensation at the Top Management Level
Between 1999 and 2001 (the previous two compensation reports), executive compensation declined appreciably as a direct result of economic conditions. In 2003 there was a modest catch-up that did nothing more than return executive compensation to 1999 levels.

Top management compensation began to be pegged much more directly to firm performance. Bonus as a percent of total compensation rose for the key management positions and branch managers. This pay-for-performance mentality reflects what is happening throughout distribution.

Compensation for Operating Employees
The salary pattern for operating employees was opposite of top management. In 2001 while executive compensation fell, operating employees continued to enjoy moderate increases as profit woes hit first at the top of the organization. In 2003, the pattern reversed itself. The much discussed pattern of a jobless recovery throughout 2003 kept operating employee wages flat for almost every position monitored. The same held true for sales positions where compensation is very directly tied to sales generation.

Employee turnover rates also reflected the uncertainty of the job market. The turnover rate, which includes employees who leave for any reason, fell from 19 percent in 2001 to 13 percent in 2003. The turnover rate was lowest among smaller firms throughout distribution.

Impact of Scale of Operation
By their very nature, larger firms have a significant advantage in attracting highly qualified employees in many management positions. The same dollar commitment represents a much smaller percentage of total sales for a $100 million firm than it does for a $20 million one.

The difference in compensation is especially pronounced in some of the key skill positions where distributors are looking for both cost savings and operational efficiency. For operations managers, MIS managers and executive positions, the largest firms within NAED membership are paying more than twice as much as the total compensation provided by the smallest firms.

The Insurance Dilemma
The fact that health care costs are out of control does not come as a surprise. However, the extent to which they are out of control is disconcerting. To cite only one example, the typical monthly insurance premium for a family was $450 in the 1999 survey, $588 in 2001 and $736 in 2003. Clearly, no firm can afford to absorb a 63 percent increase in only four years.

Distributors have responded in predictable ways. For firms providing PPO coverage, as the majority of NAED members do, the percentage of the premium paid by the employer fell sharply, from 95 percent to 80 percent. At the same time, both the deductible and co-pay figures increased. Such measures can do nothing more than moderate an increasingly difficult situation. http://www.naed.org

ACUTA Spring Seminar and 34th Annual Conference & Exhibition 2005

ACUTA's Call for Exhibitors and Sponsors for the Spring Seminar (April 3-6, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and 34th Annual Conference & Exhibition (July 17-21, Kissimmee, Florida) should be arriving on your desk soon. These brochures are packed with forms, statistics, logistics and all those other '-istics' you need to apply for participation at the events. If you have already signed up for either event, just add the brochure to your show files, or recycle it. If you are unsure of your participation status, please call me at 859-278-3338 x240 or aburton@acuta.org.

All of the information for both events is also available online:

http://www.acuta.org/ex-spon/philadelphia/prospectus.pdf - Spring Seminar

http://www.acuta.org/ex-spon/kissimmee/prospectus.pdf - Annual Conference

And be sure to take a look at the new Event Sponsorship brochure which includes specifics on the individual sponsorships we offer as well as the unique benefits only sponsors receive.

A Bright Idea Lives on at Christmas

Bethesda, MD - Electric Christmas lights gained popularity after World War II, due in part to the extension of electrification throughout rural America in the 1940s. However, like so much else in the history of electricity, the glowing holiday displays we now enjoy began with Thomas Edison.

First, a disclaimer: A persistent legend credits Ralph Morris as the inventor of electric Christmas lights. The story goes that Morris, in a panic at seeing his son push a candle over on a Christmas tree, singed his own hair and nearly set the tree on fire rushing to the rescue. Legend has it that Morris then came up with the idea of pulling the lights from an old telephone switchboard and wiring them on a tree, thereby "inventing" the electric Christmas tree lights. This incident is true, but it happened in 1908 -- more than a quarter century after a close associate of Edison's actually did the inventing.

What really happened: It all began in 1882, just three years after the incandescent bulb was invented. Edward Johnson, Edison's friend and partner in the Edison Illumination Company in New York City, hand-wired 80 red, white and blue bulbs and wound them around a rotating evergreen tree in his home. The New York press was invited to view the spectacle, but sensing a publicity stunt, they refused. A lone reporter from the Detroit Post and Tribune did witness the event and filed this report:

"Last evening I walked over beyond Fifth Avenue and called at the residence of Edward H. Johnson, vice-president of Edison´s electric company. There, at the rear of the beautiful parlors, was a large Christmas tree presenting a most picturesque and uncanny aspect. It was brilliantly lighted with many colored globes about as large as an English walnut and was turning some six times a minute on a little pine box. There were eighty lights in all encased in these dainty glass eggs, and about equally divided between white, red and blue. As the tree turned, the colors alternated, all the lamps going out and being relit at every revolution. The result was a continuous twinkling of dancing colors, red, white, blue, white, red, blue -- all evening. I need not tell you that the scintillating evergreen was a pretty sight -- one can hardly imagine anything prettier. The ceiling was crossed obliquely with two wires on which hung 28 more of the tiny lights; and all the lights and the fantastic tree itself with its starry fruit were kept going by the slight electric current brought from the main office on a filmy wire. The tree was kept revolving by a little hidden crank below the floor which was turned by electricity. It was a superb exhibition."

Despite the report in the Detroit paper, few Americans heard of electric Christmas lights until 1895, when President Grover Cleveland commissioned a White House tree lighted with Edison bulbs. The large evergreen featured more than a hundred multicolored lights.

Not long afterwards members of high society began hosting Christmas Tree parties. These were grand events since a typical lighted tree of the early 1900s cost upwards of $300 (more than $2000 in today's dollars), including the generator and wireman´s services.

Smaller and less expensive battery-operated lighting strings decorated the trees of those adventurous enough to do the wiring. An article in Popular Electricity Magazine described the wiring process and provided instructions on ordering the necessary wire, sockets and light bulbs. General Electric even offered miniature light bulbs for rent in some cities as an alternative to an outright purchase of the expensive lamps. However, such trees were still out of range for the average American family of the era.

General Electric first made electric tree lighting more affordable in 1903 when the company offered a pre-assembled lighting outfit for the first time. Still expensive at $12, many department stores in the larger, electrified cities would rent outfits for the season for $1.50. Called a "festoon," the outfit consisted of eight green pre-wired porcelain sockets, eight Edison miniature base colored glass lamps, and a handy screw-in plug for easy attachment to a nearby wall or ceiling light socket. However, GE was unable to patent their festoon, leaving the market open for anyone to manufacture the strings.

More About Electric Christmas Tree Lights

The person responsible for popularizing Christmas tree lighting is Albert Sadacca. In 1917, when the continuing practice of lighting trees with candles caused a tragic fire in New York City, 15-year-old Albert had an idea.

Sadacca´s family had a novelty business selling wicker cages with imitation birds that lit up. Albert suggested that his parents begin making electric lights for Christmas trees. It was a good idea, but only one hundred strings of electric Christmas tree lights sold in the first year. Business increased dramatically, however, when Albert proposed painting the bulbs red, green, and other colors instead of using plain glass.

Albert eventually started NOMA Electric Company with his brothers Henri and Leon. Their multi-million dollar business was the largest Christmas lighting company in the world prior to 1965.

Public distribution of electricity was not common in the early 20th century. People living outside of major cities who wanted one of these illuminated trees had to supply their own electric power, usually from household generators. Electric socket outfits had not been invented, and this meant that all of the tree lights had to be wired by hand. Wiremen were generally hired to complete the tedious task of wiring the lights necessary to illuminate a room-sized tree.

In the beginning of the century, American homes were wired for lighting circuits only, with only a single light bulb socket in each room. Any additional electrical devices had to be powered from the ceiling outlet; wall outlets did not exist. The earliest Christmas lighting outfits used screw-in current taps from the ceiling. As electricity became more popular, outlets for wall lighting were added which made adding electric lights the Christmas tree easier.

In fact, the familiar bladed wall plug used today developed from a device originally used to facilitate the interconnection of Christmas light strings. Some prototypes of this device were used as early as 1917. It was patented as the "Tachon" connector in 1924. The 1924 Tachon started out as a screw-in type of connector with a safety cover, but soon evolved into the two parallel blade type.

More Historical Facts

* Many of the earliest Christmas lights burned so hot that they were about as dangerous as the candles they were advertised to replace.

* Many of the earliest figural light bulbs representing fruit, flowers and holiday figures were blown in molds that were also used to make small glass ornaments. These figural lights were painted by toy makers.

* Most figural Christmas lights were made out of milk glass for a specific reason. The paint used on the lights did not adhere well to glass, and as the lights were turned on and off, the constant expansion and contraction of the glass helped the paint to flake off even faster. It was discovered that milk glass looks better than clear glass when the lights have flaking paint, so the industry quickly and almost exclusively switched over to the use of the white milk glass by the late 1920s.

* A common but incorrect belief in the early days of electric Christmas lighting was that Christmas light bulbs would burn longer in an upright position. Early decorators spent a lot of time making sure that the lamps were positioned upright on the tree.

* True outdoor Christmas lights were not introduced to the public until 1927 -- almost 45 years after the first electric tree lights were demonstrated. Some sets were sold as outside units before 1927, but they were small, dangerous and extremely impractical for the average family.

* In 1927, General Electric introduced outdoor lighting outfits that consisted of seven lamps wired in parallel so that the failure of a single lamp would not affect the rest. The earliest of these lights were round; by 1928, they had taken the familiar swirled or flame shape. General Electric and various Edison Electric distribution companies sponsored neighborhood "decorating with color-light" contests in an effort to induce sales of the new outfits.

* The bell-shaped lights offered by General Electric in 1932 were originally designed as pint-sized streetlights for a model train station manufactured by the Lionel Company. But when it was discovered that they also resembled Christmas bells when hung upside down, GE offered them in festive colors as Christmas lights. They remained popular until the advent of World War II. (A working string of these antique lights now commands $5000.)

* The miniature lights we use today are wired exactly the same way as our grandparents' lights were - in series. This means that if one goes out, they all should go out. What is different about today's lights is the fact that each little bulb has a shunt device in it, which prevents the string from going dark due to the failure of one or more lamps. The shunt device can only work if the lamp stays in its socket.

NECA wishes you a bright holiday season and a happy, healthy, prosperous and safe new year!

Building on a legacy of innovation, NECA develops the next generation of installation standards, sponsors groundbreaking research, and represents the concerns of the $95 billion electrical contracting industry. For more information, visit www.necanet.org

ACUTA Winter Seminar

The Exhibit Hall is sold-out, but it is not too late to have a presence at the ACUTA Winter Seminar through one or more of our remaining Sponsorships.

Where is it?
The ACUTA Winter Seminar will be in San Antonio, Texas, January 30-February 2 at the Hyatt Regency.

What sponsorships are available and what are the costs:
Coffee Break: $750 (available times: Tues AM, Tues PM, and Wed AM)
First Time Attendee Orientation: $850
Sunday Hospitality Suite: $1250
Breakfast: $1500 (days available Mon-Wed)
Lunch: $1900 (Mon & Tues) (co-sponsorship available for $950)
Sunday Night Reception: $4500 (co-sponsorship available for $2250)
Monday Night Event: $5000 (co-sponsorship available for $2500)

Each sponsorship has its own individual benefits and perks, but all sponsorships include written recognition in the agenda and attendee list, verbal acknowledgement at the event by an Association official, pre- and post-event attendee lists with email addresses, prominent signage at the event, and the ability to place company/product brochures in attendee portfolios.

Who are the attendees?
Our attendees are CIOs, directors, and managers dealing with the task of running their own data/telecom departments in college and universities nationwide. They represent over 7,500 voice/data access lines and control an annual budget exceeding $1.5 million.

Why you should be there:
Exposure, branding, and name recognition within the higher education telecom/data market. And take a look at the signed exhibitors and sponsors; if your competition will be there, shouldn't you? http://www.acuta.org/members/wse05.cfm

Want more information?
Call 859/278-3338 x240, or visit:
http://www.acuta.org/ex-spon/sponsorships.pdf - overview of benefits
http://www.acuta.org/ex-spon/sanantonio/applicationpage.pdf - application page

CNS Magazine news

CNS Magazine, Canada's premier magazine for cabling, networking and telecom professionals, kicks off 2005 with an in-depth look at storage area networks. Writer Perry Greenbaum reports that an upsurge of data, falling prices and disaster-recovery planning has brought SANs into the mainstream.

The increased adoption rate could also soon reap benefits for structured cable manufacturers. Look for it in the January/February issue, which will mail following the BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando. www.cnsmagazine.com

CommScope Announces Mark Manning's Promotion

CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV - News) announced the promotion of Mark A. Manning to the position of Senior Vice President, North American Broadband Sales & Marketing, effective January 1, 2005. He replaces Jim Hughes, who has been named Executive Vice President, Global Broadband Sales & Marketing following the retirement of Gene Swithenbank, which was previously announced. Manning, formerly Vice President of Sales, Eastern Region, has worked for CommScope for nearly 24 years, serving in several district, regional and national management positions across the U.S.

"Throughout his career, Mark has handled numerous U.S. sales management positions coast-to-coast and he has worked closely with many of our major customers," said Hughes. "He is well-respected by coworkers and industry colleagues alike. I'm confident hat he will be an outstanding leader for our North American Broadband Sales operation." www.commscope.com

COOPER INDUSTRIES PLEDGES $250,000 TO NAED EDUCATION & RESEARCH FOUNDATION

(ST. LOUIS, MO.)…The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces a $250,000 commitment by Cooper Industries to the NAED Education & Research Foundation.

"For well over 100 years, Cooper has partnered with electrical distributors to jointly serve our end-user customers," said Kirk S. Hachigian, president and chief operating officer, Cooper Industries. "With an ever-changing, more complex global economy, it is imperative that we continue to work together to leverage technology to jointly improve our supply chain efficiencies and introduce new products and services which expand our overall market opportunities. We believe both of these activities are vital to our industry's long-term prosperity."

The origins of Cooper Industries extend back more than 170 years to a small iron foundry in Mount Vernon, Ohio, started by brothers Charles and Elias Cooper in 1833. Today, Cooper Industries is a global leader in the development and production of electrical products, tools and hardware. Cooper manufactures thousands of products through its seven electrical product divisions, which generate over 80 percent of annual revenues; and two tool divisions, which produce power tool and hand tool lines. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Cooper has annual revenues of approximately $4.1 billion, employs over 27,000 people and operates more than 100 manufacturing facilities around the world.

"We appreciate Cooper Industries' investment in the Foundation. This contribution continues Cooper's tradition of supporting the industry. The company has contributed to the Foundation's Annual Campaign for 29 years. As endowed funds accumulate over the next five years, the goal is to transition the Foundation to a self-sustainable funding model. We appreciate Kirk Hachigian's commitment to this goal, and his personal involvement with the Foundation's Blue Ribbon Panel," said Bill Elliott, chairman of the Channel Advantage Partnership Council and president of Elliott Electric Supply in Nacogdoches, Texas.

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

For more information about contributing to the NAED Education & Research Foundation endowment, contact Bill Elliott, Channel Advantage Partnership Council chairman, at (936) 569-1184 or billelliott@elliottelectric.com.

NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED's membership represents approximately 4,100 locations internationally. http://www.naed.org

EPA Files New Claim Alleging DuPont Withheld PFOA Information

Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 / millett.john@epa.gov
Today, EPA filed a new claim against DuPont seeking penalties for withholding the results of human blood sampling information that demonstrates levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in individuals living near a DuPont Facility in West Virginia. The administrative complaint seeks penalties of up to $32,500 per day from as early as Aug. 28, 2004 through Oct. 12, 2004, for failing to report this substantial risk information under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA received this information, which should have been reported immediately by DuPont, several weeks after DuPont allegedly received the results. EPA has also filed a Motion to Consolidate this new Complaint with a previous Complaint filed against DuPont on July 8, 2004, so that the Agency may pursue both actions against DuPont in one proceeding before Administrative Law Judge Barbara A. Gunning.

At issue in this enforcement action is information that DuPont obtained and failed to report regarding blood serum analysis performed in July 2004 of 12 members of the general population living near DuPont's Washington Works Facility. Each of the 12 individuals tested was exposed to PFOA through drinking water provided by the Lubeck Public Service District where, according to DuPont, the level of PFOA in the drinking water has averaged approximately 0.5 parts per billion (ppb) over the last several years. All 12 of the individuals tested claim to have stopped using the contaminated public drinking water as their primary source of drinking water approximately three years ago. While the average background level of PFOA in individuals residing in the United States is estimated to be approximately 5 ppb, the documented levels of PFOA in these 12 individuals from West Virginia range from 15.7 ppb to 128 ppb, with a mean of 67 ppb.

The agency regards this information as useful in its ongoing priority review of PFOA. EPA has been closely studying PFOA for the past three years and will issue a draft risk assessment in early 2005. To learn more about the agency's study of PFOA, visit http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/

PFOA is associated with Ammonium Perfluorooctanoate (APFO), a synthetic processing aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers, including some products at DuPont's Washington Works Facility in Washington, W.Va. The previous complaint against DuPont involved information about the movement of PFOA from a pregnant woman to her baby, and the contamination of public drinking water supplies in the vicinity of DuPont's Washington Works Facility. EPA's announcement of the first complaint was posted on July 8, 2004 in the News Releases section of http://www.epa.gov/newsroom/ and is provided below:

To view the new complaint, visit:
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/complaints/civil/mm/dupont2-pfoa-complaint.pdf

Mohawk Offers New guide
Multimode Fiber Grade Selector Guide for Tomorrow's High-Bandwidth, Longer Distance Backbones

Mohawk, a manufacturer of fiber optic and copper cable products, announces their Multimode Fiber Grade Selector Guide to aid network designers in preparing for high-bandwidth backbones, including 40 Gb/s for the future. This grading system, in both long (1300nm) and short (850 nm) wavelengths, defines and categorizes the fibers into six categories, based on bandwidth and application support and distances.

Grades 1, 2 & 3 are 62.5/125µ fibers. Grade 4 is the "standard" 50/125µ (TIA/EIA-568-B.3). Grade 5 is the laser optimized 50/125µ (TIA/EIA-568-B.3-1) and Grade 6 is the enhanced laser optimized 50/125µ fiber. "We've proven that increased data rates yield a more efficient overall cost of data," notes Mike Connaughton, RCDD, Fiber Optic Sales Manager, Mohawk. "Our cost analysis shows that by installing Grade 6 multimode fiber and associated electronics for 10 GbE, the ROI is far better realized than installing singlemode fiber in a campus backbone," he adds.

Both Grade 5 and 6 allow maximum bandwidth at the short wavelength, but Grade 6 provides significantly higher bandwidth, which results in additional operating margins that can be used for added cabling distances or added connections for plug and play installations. Through "engineered links" Mohawk's Grade 6, enhanced laser-optimized 50-micron fiber has been proven to perform 10 Gb/s out to 500 meters (over the standard 300 m).f

Mike Connaughton, RCDD, will be giving a seminar on fiber standards and Engineered Links at the BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, FL, week of January 23, and will be available in their Booth #201 to discuss in further detail.

Mohawk is a division of Belden CDT. http://www.mohawk-cdt.com

RoHS Directive

European Directive 2002/95/EC, also known as the Restriction of (certain) Hazardous Substances or the RoHS Directive, was published in the Official Journal of the European Union in February of 2003. It was at this point that the RoHS Directive became law within Europe, which currently includes 25 Member States. The RoHS Directive essentially states that electrical and electronic products put on the market within the EU shall not contain lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) after July 1, 2006.

RoHS, lead-free legislation, or to use its accurate but somewhat lengthy title "Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment", will be enforced throughout the European Community from 1st July 2006.

Its aim is simple - to remove a total of six substances from electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), thereby contributing to the protection of human health and the environment.

Although RoHS is a European Union (EU) Directive, manufacturers of EEE outside Europe must also abide by this legislation if the equipment they produce is ultimately imported into a EU member state.

With Toxicity Testing "just around the corner", planners and architects are considering new solutions and placement of the cabling infrastructure. Soon, testing for toxicity may be part of the requirement for the cables that we place in IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) pathways as well as the IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) standards. We can no longer trash the building by filling the return air plenums with toxic chemicals and waste materials that pose a safety and public health risk.

http://www.pb-free.info/laymans_terms.htm

Higher Prices, Lower Costs To Lift CommScope

Standard & Poor's Equity Research reiterated a "strong buy" rating on CommScope (nyse: CTV - news - people) and raised the target price to $24 from $20. The research firm raised its 2005 earnings-per-share estimate to 85 cents from 83 cents, and initiated a 2006 forecast of $1.15. "With over 60% of the coaxial cable market, double its nearest competitor, we view CommScope's economies of scale as a significant competitive advantage," S&P Equity Research said. In the enterprise area, CommScope is likely to see strong sales opportunities from its 10-Gigabit Ethernet copper solution. S&P Equity Research said CommScope's 2005 results should benefit from recent price increases and cost reduction initiatives. www.commscope.com

Fiber Optic Installer Certification and Voice Data Video Network Cabling Systems Inspection

Our next FIBER OPTIC Installers Certification course in Mississauga will be January 31st to February 4th, 2005. Cost of this course is $989.00 + 69.00 GST = $1,058.00 CAD (about 890.00 US). Students receive the FOA certification as well as 35 BICSI CEC's. http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/courses.html

Our next VDV Network Cabling Systems Inspection course in Mississauga will be March 21, 22 and 23rd, 2005. Cost for this course is 690.00 + 48.00 = 738.00 CAD (about 600.00 USD). Students receive the MTC certificate as well as 21 BICSI CEC's. http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/courses.html

Did you know?
* There are over 1200 installers certified through our Fiber Optic Installers program in Canada and almost 14,000 worldwide http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/installersx.html This is THE Accepted Fiber Optic Certification in North America.
* Over 170 students have received our VDV Network Cabling Systems Inspection Certification. Our industry partners support this program and recognize our certificate. BICSI awards our fiber Optic graduates 35 CEC's towards some of their programs and 21 CEC's for completing our VDV program.
* Over 94% of FOA Certified Canadian installers are graduates of our program
* Our program is over 60% hands-on
* Our passing rate for the FOA examination is 98%
* We also conduct advanced specialist courses in Connectorizing, Fusion splicing, Testing and Outside Plant.
* We conduct our courses across Canada and the US
* We have over 170 satisfied companies in our data base. http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/clients.html
* The hotel (Fairfield- Marriott) we use in Mississauga offers a great deal for you and your family. Combine your training with a Family Vacation at a reasonable cost. http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/family.html

Detailed course outlines and registration forms are on our website at www.fiberoptictraining.com.

William Graham,
Certified fiber Optic Specialist/Testing/Splicing/Connectors
Certified Communications Cabling Specialist - Province of Nova Scotia
Certified Fiber Optic Instructor

Reply To mrfiber@canada.com
http://www.fiberoptictraining.com
Mississauga Training Consultants
6117 Clover Ridge Crescent
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, L5N 7B2
Tel: 905.785.8012 Fax: 905.824.7504

*Fiber Optic Certification Training
*VDV Network Cabling Installation Inspection Training

Superior Modular Products Announces New 15th Anniversary Product Catalog

Swannanoa, NC - To celebrate 15 years of innovation, invention, and design excellence, Superior Modular Products, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-speed cross-connect products for communication networks, will be presenting a special 15th Anniversary Product Catalog this January. This Anniversary catalog launches SMP with a new brand image, a new slogan, and a new year.

The new catalog offers 60 full color pages that detail all of the SMP product lines including A5E™, Axcess 6™, Fiber Opticx™, Home Axcess™ and Rack Technologies.

New features include information on MDIS and HAX Installer certification, details on SMP's 15 year product warranty and 25 year system warranty, a comprehensive part listing and easy to find color coded sections. From patch panels to fiber cabinets to face plates, the 15th Anniversary product catalog offers SMP customers a complete look at product specifications and applications.

Accompanying the new catalog, SMP also launches their 2005 slogan, "Connect With Superior Innovation." Jason Sherrill, Product Manager for SMP had this to say regarding the new slogan: "This new tagline is threefold in it's meaning, representing not only our customers reliance on our products to meet and exceed project requirements but also the active association they have with our support services, our commitment to quality and our consistent development of superior solutions. Furthermore, SMP's role has been and continues to be as an innovator in the data/communications industry, holding several key patents that are instrumental to all current category technologies from jacks to patch panels."

Superior Modular Products, headquartered in Swannanoa, North Carolina, is internationally recognized for its role in establishing the world's data/communications standards, through its innovative-patented technologies. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Preformed Line Products (PLPC) of Cleveland, Ohio. To order your copy of Superior Modular Products' 15th Anniversary catalog, please call customer service at (800) 880-7674 or visit the Literature link on our website at www.smpdata.com.

Economic Census of Electrical Contractors 2005

Rexelusa.com just posted a terrific factual news item -- which I think is the first anywhere --on the 2002 Economic Census of Electrical Contractors.

Every so often, it's good to stop, look around, and see where you are. It's not so easy in the world of 2005 - with its wireless this and broadband that. Information moves fast; with a cell phone at your side, you're never, ever alone. So let's step back and use the U.S. Commerce Department's recent (12/29/04) release of 2002 Economic Census data for electrical contractors as an occasion for, if not reflection, at least . . . comparison!

2002 Economic Census of Electrical Contractors By Joe Salimando

http://www.rexelusa.com/EDP/EDP.html

The Light Brigade announces its new 2005 training schedule

The new schedule lists the locations for all of The Light Brigade's one-, two-, and four-day courses, including both classroom and hands-on options.

The Fiber Optics 1-2-3 course, attended by 28,000 participants nationwide since 1987, focuses on how to design, install, test and maintain fiber optic communication systems for voice, video and data applications.

The hands-on fiber technician modular courses are one-day advanced training classes that focus on a specific fiber optic discipline.

The advanced "on the road" course focuses on the specifics of singlemode fiber from a hands-on perspective and offers Fiber Optic Technician-Outside Plant (FOT-OSP) certification.

The 2005 schedule for Fiber Optics 1-2-3 can be viewed here. If you would like to receive a full-color PDF of our 16-page catalog, or for more details on upcoming classes, dates, and locations, please feel free to email me and request a copy.

Company Information

The Light Brigade is the largest independent fiber optic training organization in the world. Since 1987, thousands have taken our instructor led fiber optic training throughout the United States and custom courses at customer sites worldwide. In addition, a variety of fiber optic training DVDs, videotapes and CD-ROMs are available. We also work with companies to provide training materials for their staff development needs. More detailed information can be found at www.lightbrigade.com or by calling (206) 575-0404.

THE LIGHT BRIGADE
837 Industry Drive
Tukwila, Washington 98188
(206) 575-0404
(206) 575-0405 Fax
www.lightbrigade.com

Superior Modular Products Celebrates 15th Year Anniversary

Swannanoa, NC - Superior Modular Products, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-speed cross-connect products for communication networks, is celebrating 15 years of business in 2005. To commemorate this occasion, SMP's General Manager is quoted as saying "After 15 years, SMP is prepared more than ever to meet the rising demands of the telecommunication industry. Our commitments, to excellence, American made products, and our strong Intellectual property base, has us poised to meet more customer needs and develop better innovative solutions for the next 15 years and beyond."

For the past 15 years, Superior Modular Products, a wholly owned subsidiary of Preformed Line Products (PLPC) of Cleveland, Ohio, has been internationally recognized for its role in establishing the world's data/communications standards, through its innovative-patented technologies. Patents that included the invention of the low cross talk, electrical connector system (US Pat. 5,299,956) and a modular plug design suitable for category 6 applications are the backbone of SMP's success.

The next 15 years and beyond, Superior Modular Products' innovation will bring to market many new and improved products, as well as deliver the same quality product standards and customer service that has always been a trademark of SMP. It is this proactive approach to meeting customer needs that marks SMP as a staple to count on.

Superior's history of innovation and reliability, positions them to be a leading developer and manufacturer of high-speed cross-connect products for communication networks worldwide for years to come. To learn more about Superior Modular Product's 15th Anniversary celebration or about the quality products they produce, call Customer Service at (800) 880-7674 or visit www.smpdata.com.

NEW NETWORK DOCUMENTATION AND CABLE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
PROVIDES COMPLETE SOLUTION FOR FULL COMPLIANCE


MILWAUKEE, WI (January 5, 2004)- Brady Corporation (NYSE:BRC) of Milwaukee, introduces NetDoc(tm) Network Documentation and Cable Management Software, providing complete ANSI/TIA/EIA 606A documentation compliance.

NetDoc, a web-enabled solution, allows users to manage cabling, network, telephony and legacy connections. The software package makes it easy to document horizontal and backbone cables, hardware, assets, pathways, locations, users and more.

"Brady worked together with Network Managers and Telecom Consultants to design NetDoc Cable Management Software. The goal was to create a web-enabled, TIA606-A compliant cable management solution that was easy to use and would drastically improve the efficiency in identifying, locating and fixing problems within their physical network," states Jim Pettit, Datacom Business Development Manager at Brady. "By creating a Microsoft Excel import tool to speed up and simplify the transfer of data into NetDoc, as well as creating a seamless integration with Brady's LabelMark label design software, users are able to manage their physical network, create and print identifiers, document, and generate reports for their entire voice and data network with one software package."

NetDoc seamlessly integrates directly with Brady's LabelMark™ label design software. The combined use of these products will allow for the seamless transfer of identifier information directly into LabelMark. This complete documentation and labeling solution will increase productivity, reduce costs, and maximize internal resources.

NetDoc product features include login security, documentation wizards, user and date stamping on all notes, customizable fields, and attachment capabilities. Implementation of the software can be facilitated quickly and easily. Brady experts are also available to assist with training, support and consulting as needed.

To learn more about the NetDoc Network Documentation and Cable Management Software solution, visit www.bradyid.com/netdoc, or call 1- 800-895-8080 extension 6668.

Brady Corporation is an international manufacturer and marketer of complete identification solutions and specialty materials, with products including high-performance labels and signs, printing systems and software, label-application and data-collection systems, safety devices and precision die-cut materials for electronics, telecommunications, manufacturing, electrical, construction, laboratory and a variety of other markets. Founded in 1914, Brady is headquartered in Milwaukee and employs approximately 4,000 employees worldwide. Brady's fiscal 2004 sales were approximately $671 million. More corporate information is available on the Internet at www.bradycorp.com.

Dow to Sell Stake in Venture to DuPont

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE:DOW - News) on Monday said DuPont Co. (NYSE:DD - News) will buy its remaining equity stake in DuPont Dow Elastomers LLC (DDE), a 50/50 joint venture between the two companies, for $87 million.

The company said the sale is the result of Dow exercising its option to buy ethylene and chlorinated elastomer assets from the joint venture, including assets from the Engage, Nordel and Tyrin product lines. Elastomers are plastics that exhibit rubber-like qualities.

Dow said after the transaction, which it expects to close on June 30, DDE will become a wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont that will include the Neoprene, Hypalon, Kalrez and Vitron businesses.

3M Contributes $1.5 Million for Tsunami Relief Efforts

ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 4, 2005--3M today announced it will donate $1.5 million to help with the relief efforts in the Southern Asian countries devastated by the earthquake and tsunamis. The donation includes a $500,000 grant to match employee contributions to the American Red Cross, CARE and UNICEF. 3M will also donate $1 million in products needed by relief organizations. To date, product donations have included medical tapes, bandages, monitoring electrodes, surgical masks, respirators and packaging tape.

"3M and its employees are committed to helping those affected by this terrible tragedy," said Alex Cirillo, staff vice-president, 3M Community Affairs and Workforce Diversity. "We are monitoring the situation to explore what else we can do to alleviate suffering and to help rebuild the communities that have been devastated."

3M Community Giving is made up of cash and in-kind gifts made by 3M and the 3M Foundation and bolstered by employee and retiree volunteerism. 3M grants and product donations work together to improve communities around the world. In 2003, more than $50 million in cash, products and services was donated to charitable institutions.

About 3M -- A Global, Diversified Technology Company

Every day, 3M people find new ways to make amazing things happen. Wherever they are, whatever they do, the company's customers know they can rely on 3M to help make their lives better. 3M's brands include Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and Vikuiti. Serving customers in more than 200 countries around the world, the company's 67,000 people use their expertise, technologies and global strength to lead in major markets including consumer and office; display and graphics; electronics and telecommunications; safety, security and protection services; health care; industrial and transportation. For more information, including the latest product and technology news, visit www.3M.com.

Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and Vikuiti are trademarks of 3M.

Fluke Networks Introduces The First Portable, Single-Ended Solution
For Qualifying Existing Lines For Video Services

New NetDSL Bulk Qualification System lets telecom providers prepare their network for delivery of ADSL2+

EVERETT, Washington - Fluke Networks announces the availability of the NetDSL Bulk Qualification System, the only portable bulk pair test system designed to fully test, pre-qualify and document the copper distribution network (F2 plant) for ADSL2+ service.

"The condition and quality of the distribution plant is increasingly important for delivering triple play services across the emerging FTTx network," said Chris Odell, president of Fluke Networks. "Our field tests show that 25 to 40% of the distribution plant will not adequately support the higher bandwidth demands of ADSL2+ for video services. The new NetDSL recovers the value of the distribution plant. Major RBOCs and PTTs have purchased our new solution to help them prepare their network for deployment of new services."

"Telecom carriers see next generation services, particularly video, as a way to offset declining telephony revenues," said Verne Anton, OSS analyst at Gartner. "Qualifying the existing copper infrastructure in the F2 sections of the plant is a fast, economical way for these service providers to deploy next generation services."

NetDSL is a portable system that provides automatic real-time analysis of the condition of the pairs. Using a series of patented algorithms and testing techniques, it performs over 15 electrical and wideband tests on the copper pair to determine what level of service the pair can support, including estimated upstream and downstream bandwidth for ADSL, ADSL2, and ADSL2+ services. NetDSL quickly identifies problems that could impact service, allowing the carrier to efficiently schedule plant pre-conditioning prior to service turn-up or corrective action. NetDSL can be configured to test up to 1,000 pairs every three hours.

NetDSL software provides an easy-to-use interface. Field workers can automatically test and analyze results without need for technician intervention. The unique DaVaR AutoQual algorithm automatically determines, in real-time, "Pass" and "Fail" conditions and estimated Upstream and Downstream bandwidth rate for ADSL services. Analyzed results can be automatically uploaded to the service provider's line records database or to marketing lists used to target distribution areas most likely to order high bandwidth services.

Price and Delivery
NetDSL is currently being used at key Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) in North America, and by large PTT in Asia and South America. It is available from Fluke Networks' and its sales channels worldwide. Contact your Fluke representative for information and configuration of an appropriate system to suit your business needs and ROI expectations.

About Fluke Networks
Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks and the installation and certification of the fiber and copper forming the foundation for those networks. The company's comprehensive line of Network SuperVision solutions™ provide network installers, owners, and maintainers with superior vision, combining speed, accuracy and ease of use to optimize network performance. Headquartered in Everett, Washington, the company has approximately 500 employees worldwide and distributes its products in more than 50 countries. More information can be found by visiting Fluke Networks' Web site at www.flukenetworks.

2005 Master Catalog/CD Available from Mohawk

Mohawk has released their 2005 full-line Master Catalog and CD-ROM. With over 65 pages separated by cabling product type, fiber or copper, are detailed descriptions, specifications, color photographs, cross-sectional drawings and part numbers, to become the complete specifying guide for cabling from backbone to the workstation outlet in any environment. www.mohawk-cable.com

Superior Modular Products Announces Fiber Products To Be Showcased at BICSI Orlando 2005

Swannanoa, NC - Superior Modular Products, a leading manufacturer of quality Fiber Optic and Copper connectivity hardware, announces today their list of FiberOpticx products to be showcased at the upcoming BICSI Winter tradeshow in Orlando, Florida. Headquartered in Swannanoa, North Carolina, SMP is internationally recognized for its role in establishing the world's data/communications standards, through its innovative-patented technologies. When asked what the BICSI arena can expect this year, Andy Piatek, Product Manager for the FiberOpticx™ product line said: "The products scheduled to be showcased at BICSI come from feedback from our customers, taking their suggestions and making those suggestions a reality. The FiberOpticx product line has always been about putting our customer first and I believe the improvements we've made to our existing products and in our development of new products will illustrate our commitment to the customer."

From SMP's FiberOpticx™ product line, 2 new 1U 19" Rack Mount Fiber Optic cabinets, the RTR12B and the RTH12B will be showcased. Both of these cabinets feature a sturdy 16-gauge steel construction, 24-port high-density patch & splice capabilities with left and right rear cable entry. For applications that require rear access, the RTH cabinet offers a hinged feature with the same patch & splice features as the RTR cabinet. Along with these two new cabinets, the FiberOpticx™ product line will be introducing a sliding rack mount cabinet, the RTS24B, which offers a front and rear-sliding tray. The FiberOpticx™ line will also be highlighting improvements to the RTC and WTC boxes. These improvements include items that provide for easier access, better construction techniques, and more security. Lastly, SMP will be introducing the FibreGuard™ product line which features accommodation for fusion splicing, the versatility of being used in several applications and availability in three sizes, just to name a few of the benefits.

All of these items will be available at the BICSI Winter Tradeshow in Orlando, Florida at the Superior Modular Products Booth, #728. They will also be showcased in the new catalog SMP has scheduled to release in January. For further information about any of these products mentioned or SMP's presence at the BICSI Winter Tradeshow, please contact Marketing Services at (800) 880-7674 or visit www.smpdata.com.

The LaSalle Bank Building Fire

CHICAGO - In the aftermath of the LaSalle Bank building fire, it may now be time for the city of Chicago to look to the European Union, which is now adopting a directive restricting hazardous substances for building cabling, writes adjunct Northwestern professor James Carlini.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a column about the LaSalle Bank building fire. I focused on its wiring as a big contributor to the spread of the fire. This was prior to the official report of the fire, which concluded the same thing.

Chicago discussed drafting a new sprinkler ordinance. If officials really want to make buildings safer in the future, maybe the city should be looking at cabling and what's put into a building.

In past columns for various magazines, I have compared problems with cabling as being an iceberg of telecommunications. A cabling problem is like an iceberg in that you can only see 5 percent of it on the surface. Most of the problems are submerged underneath walls and floors as well as above in plenum ceilings.

In some cases, bad cabling has caused multimillion-dollar lawsuits and other major problems to property managers throughout the U.S.

Look at What Fuels Fires

Though the sprinkler ordinance has good intentions, maybe Chicago and other municipalities should take a better look at what fuels a fire once it gets going in a high-rise building.

In my last column on the fire, I focused on how the cladding around of cables is a great contributor to accelerating a fire and providing it a highway throughout the building. There are several issues worth repeating:

  • There is about 1,500 pounds of potentially combustible material for every 100,000 feet of unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable in a riser system, according to a DuPont presentation I recently attended.
  • The more abandoned cable you have, the more fuel load you have in a building. You could have 1 million feet of abandoned cabling in a large office building. That's 15,000 additional pounds of flammable material more than what you should have.
  • In a DuPont chart comparing materials used to jacket cabling, polyethylene (PE) (a very common jacketing material) has about the same BTUs per pound as gasoline. To give you a clearer perspective from the chart, wood is rated at about 6 BTUs per pound, PE is rated at 18 BTUs per pound and gasoline is 19 BTUs per pound.

There is an aggressive approach in Europe about restricting the use of hazardous substances in cabling and other electronic equipment. In some respects, though, they might be moving too fast. There are both good and bad points about the legislation they are striving for that will not only impact them but also manufacturers in the U.S. as well.

Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)

"The RoHS directive has the potential to create a whole new phenomenon of widespread [and] simultaneous obsolescence at unprecedented levels," claims Paul Chinery, managing director of Dionics, a British firm involved in the cabling industry in Europe.

According to one of its press releases:

Every electronic component will at some point be retired [and] superseded by cheaper, faster and more frugal product for as long as Moore's law will allow. The root cause of such obsolescence can be varied - from company acquisitions and mergers through to simple economics. This we all know.

However, the impending restriction of hazardous substances directive has the potential to create a whole new phenomenon of widespread [and] simultaneous obsolescence at unprecedented levels.

Accepting current exemptions, it will be a legal requirement for all electronics manufacturers to comply within a specific timescale by July 1, 2006. With few companies addressing the problem today, the window of opportunity for conversion is slowly getting squeezed.

This could result in unprecedented demand for "lead-free" components literally overnight, [which would create] a supply-chain imbalance.

Deliberately ignoring the fine detail, RoHS bans the use of six substances in electrical and electronic equipment by 2006. Lead is by far the largest offender. [Lead is] typically found on the termination finishes of most lead-frame and array packages.

Those six substances that they are banning include lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). This does have an indirect impact on us in the U.S. and could hurt the electronics industry.

Impact on Trade, Exports

"Manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment outside Europe must also abide by this legislation if the equipment they produce is ultimately imported into a EU member state," said Frank Bisbee, a cabling industry colleague in Jacksonville, Fla. who has been watching this unfold.

According to Dionics spokesperson Chinery: "We can foresee the possibility of unprecedented levels of obsolescence as the various manufacturers review their obsolescence strategies in light of the new legislation. The RoHS directive will inevitably place fresh obsolescence challenges on the industry and it will be interesting to see how they are overcome."

Is this RoHS directive going to impact the supply chain? It could easily force some electronics manufacturers to reassess how their products are made. It looks like many will literally be going back to the drawing board to reinvent products.

If this directive was initiated in our country, I wonder how much opposition would be amassed to try to kill the legislation.

Carlinism: Just as technology accelerates the quality of life, it can also accelerate the quality of a fire.

Carlini will be teaching a class on international applications of technology that includes Six Sigma and project team dynamics. It will be at Northwestern University Chicago campus in the spring on Tuesday nights. For more information, call 773-370-1888. www.carlinij.com

Superior Modular Products Announces Copper Product Line Up To Be Highlighted at BICSI Orlando 2005

Swannanoa, NC - As most people in the data/communications industry know, the BICSI Winter show in Orlando is the place to be. It is the place to meet old friends and network with new ones. Most of all, it is the place to showcase and launch new and improved products that will set the tone for product development for the whole year. Superior Modular Products, an ISO certified manufacturer of high-speed cross-connect products, plans to do just that by announcing today the list of new products from their Copper product line to be highlighted at the upcoming January BICSI tradeshow in Orlando, Florida. Jerry Howe, Product Manager for the Copper Product Line is quoted as saying " The BICSI arena has always been a great opportunity for SMP to highlight new and improved products for us. This year stands to be no different. This January (at BICSI) is going to be the beginning of a big launch year for us. We plan on introducing many improvements to our existing products and many new innovative additions to our product lines this year."

From SMP's A5E™ and Axcess 6™ product lines, a collection of improved and redesigned products are scheduled to be shown. The improved items set for launch this year include a Wall Mount Cat 5e and Cat 6 Patch Panel redesigned to incorporate new A/B module and an easily removable cover, as well as the DCC24B/GBASET21 Gigabit Telco panel, which now offers a steel plate cover over the back of the panel for increased security on installed patch panels. Two new products will also be released from the A5E™ and Axcess 6™ product lines, including a new Shielded Jack Pack, ZDIM8625BS, a 6-jack/Gigabit Telco module shielded to prevent EMI/RFI interference, and a new Hinged Bezel, BE08SXX designed to maintain clean secure connections for any UMJ style jack. This eight-position bezel features a hinged cover, which protects a RJ-11 or RJ-45 jack from dust and contaminants as well as provides easy consumer access. Lastly, SMP will be highlighting its shielded and unshielded cable assemblies available for several applications.

All of these items will be available at the BICSI Winter Tradeshow in Orlando, Florida at the Superior Modular Products Booth, #728. They will also be showcased in the new catalog SMP has scheduled to release in January. For further information about any of these products mentioned or SMP's presence at the BICSI Winter Tradeshow, please contact Marketing Services at (800) 880-7674 or visit www.smpdata.com.

Dow Pledges $5 Million to Aid Tsunami Relief Effort

MIDLAND, Mich., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW - News) announced today that it will contribute $5 million to the relief efforts underway for victims of the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Southeast Asia and the Indian sub-continent.

In making the announcement on http://www.dow.com, Andrew Liveris, Dow president and chief executive officer, said: "As we've all seen, the reports and images from the tsunami-stricken regions in Southeast Asia and the Indian sub-continent are at once incomprehensible and heart-breaking. At times like these, we all struggle to come up with meaningful ways to contribute and help those who have lost so much."

Dow is responding to the disaster with a pledge of $5 million in aid, which includes: A $1 million monetary contribution to the Red Cross International Response Fund, which is dedicated to providing immediate, vital help to the victims in need. Up to $1 million in matching individual contributions from Dow's more than 40,000 employees and 70,000 retirees around the world.

An additional $3 million in the form of vital products, technology and funds to assist in the longer-term reconstruction efforts. Dow will work with governments, agencies and other interested parties in the affected areas to determine how best to provide support.

"Through these efforts, we hope to be able to provide tangible and meaningful aid to the survivors, in both the immediate days ahead and into the future, as they begin to rebuild their homes, their communities and their lives," Liveris said. Noting that Dow has a long-standing presence in Asia, he added, "While no Dow operations were directly impacted by the tsunamis, it is important to support the region at this difficult time.

"The people of Dow are known for their community outreach. Nowhere is that outreach needed more than in these villages, towns and rural communities affected by this natural disaster," said Liveris. Dow is a leader in science and technology, providing innovative chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many essential consumer markets. With annual sales of $33 billion, Dow serves customers in more than 180 countries and a wide range of markets that are vital to human progress, including food, transportation, health and medicine, personal and home care, and building and construction, among others. Committed to the principles of sustainable development, Dow and its approximately 46,000 employees seek to balance economic, environmental and social responsibilities. For further information, visit http://www.dow.com.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Jan 12-14
Wireless Comm. Assoc. : San Jose CA
202-452-7823
www.wcai.com

Jan 16-19
PTC's wireless to wireless: Honolulu HI
808-941-3789 ext. 124
www.ptc05.org

Jan. 22-27
BICSI : Orlando Fl
800-242-7405
www.bicsi.org/Content/Index.aspx?File=win05sched.htm

Jan. 30-Feb. 2
ACUTA winter : San Antonio TX
Vm/ 859-278-3338
Fax/ 859-278-3268
www.acuta.org/events/seminars

Jan. 30-Feb.1
World Health Care Congress: DC
800-817-8601
www.worldcongress.com

Feb. 8-10
Electric West:
www.west.electricshow.com

Feb. 13-16
NTCA 2005: San Antonio TX
703-351-2000
www.ncta.org

Feb. 13-17
HIMSS: Dallas ,TX
http://conference.himss.org/ASP/index.asp

Feb. 21-25
Internet Technology (IT): Miami,FL
203-852-6800 ext.142
www.itexpo.com

March 6-11
OFC/NFOEC: Anaheim, CA
202-416-1486
www.ofcconference.org

March 7-10
SPIE: San Diego,CA

March 14-16
CTIA wireless: New Orlean, LA
www.ctia.org

March 15-17
BOMA National Facilities Mgmnt & tech. (NFM&T): Baltimore, Md
www.nfmt.com

April 5-7
FOSE: DC

April 6-7
SFBF: Ft.Lauderdale, FL

APRIL 13-17
BOMA Southern region conf. Memphis, TN

APRIL 17-22
Data Center World (DCW): Las Vegas, NV

April 21-22
Broadband wireless world: Las Vegas NV
949-443-3735
www.scievents.com/bwwo5

May 1-6
Interop: Las Vegas, NV
415-905-2300
www.interop.com

May 10-11
Expocom: Toronto
888-322-7333
www.reedexpo.ca/ee3

May 17-19
VOIP: Beijing China
852-2865-1118
www.china-voip.com

May 22-25
UTC Telecom: Long Beach CA
202-872-0030
www.utctelecom2005.utc.org

MAY 30-June 2
Broadband World Forum: Yokahama Japan

June 6-8
IEC: Chicago, IL

June 6-10
NFPA: Las Vegas, NV
www.NFPA.org

June 6-9
Supercomm: Chicago, IL
312-559-3327
www.supercomm2005.com

June 25-28
The North American Commercial Real Estate Congress & The Office Building Show
BOMA: Anaheim, CA
Vicki Cummins 888-777-6956
vcummins@pgi.com
www.bomaconvention.org


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