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Issue: January 2007
By: Frank Bisbee

Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


In 2006, we said goodbye to a well-respected and wonderful friend.  Joe Flynt ( or ) will be fondly remembered. 

BICSI got a new Captain to steer the ship.  We wish David Cranmer success as he puts BICSI on the right course.  We also welcome back Dick Dunfee to the BICSI team.

Congratulations to Bruce Nardone, who recently joined the Leviton team. Their new program sounds exciting.  Visit their booth at BICSI and get the full story. (

The Connectivity Firm has added Preformed Line Products to their already impressive line card of valuable products.  (,  Also, look for some new products at the SMP Data booth at BICSI.  ( with a renewed focus on improved cabling products, pick up the new catalog from Hitachi. (  

What’s ahead in 2007?

In order to appreciate what is coming in the world of cabling infrastructure, we must look back at the year behind us.  We recently interviewed Michael Shannahan, VP Communication Planning Corporation ( and Brian Chancey President, Area Communications ( about their significant developments during 2006.  Both of these regional communications installation firms agreed on two areas. 

First, they both felt the squeeze on costs.  Gas and copper were at the top of the list.  These problem areas are not likely to go away.  So how do we find revenue opportunities to offset the profit squeeze?

Mike Shannahan told us that Communication Planning Corporation had opened new revenue streams as a result of several powerful articles in the Electrical Contractor Magazine.  “The security arena is filled with new opportunities for the cabling contractor.  Video surveillance is HOT.”  Shannahan added, “Our fiber optic training from Light Brigade ( gave us the capability of tackling these new revenue generators.”  Brian Chancey also said they had captured new ideas from trade publications like Electrical Contractor Magazine (, Cabling Business Magazine (, and Cabling Installation and Maintenance Magazine (  We also placed a premium on training.  “That’s why we support BICSI.” 

Many leading trade associations have powerful training programs.  Check out:

·         BICSI

·         NECA

·         AFCOM

·         ACUTA

·         CABA

·         BOMA

·         NAIOP

·         FOA

·         NAHB

·         ABC

And many other specialized associations.  For my money, light brigade is the premier training source for fiber optics in the communications world.  There are many new challenges and revenue opportunities ahead, and fiber optics looks like the “top dog” 

If you are going to BICSI, be prepared to work.  Digging out the latest and greatest is the challenge. 

“limited combustible cable is still being pushed!  Why?  This product isn’t just stupid, it’s wrong.”  Commented Art Padgett (CATZ – Communications A to Z) Padgett suggested that the readers might wish to do a Google search for “Toxic Teflon” and follow the link to:


Teflon offgases toxic particulates at 446°F. At 680°F Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, ... - 45k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

After a review of the toxic gas output from this key component to LCC cable, we agree. 

Cat 6 cables continue to gather market acceptance and 10Gig configurations are gaining acceptance.  These high performance-cabling systems demand the best testing systems to ensure performance and integrity.  Fluke Networks leads the pack by a large margin with their advanced DTX 1800 tester.  Be sure to visit their booth at BICSI.  You will find many more powerful cool tools for your business.

Also at BICSI, check out the booths of:

·         Beast cabling systems

·         Unique Fire Stop Products

·         Rhino (DYMO)

·         ERICO

·         Minuteman

·         Rexel

·         Graybar

·         Anixter

·         CSC

We look forward to sharing “ALL THE NEWS YOU CAN USE” in 2007 with you. 

But that’s just my opinion,

Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" Monthly Column
4949 Sunbeam Rd, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077 office
(904) 645-9058 fax
(904) 237-0365 cell

10 Gig Screened Cable Demand Is High

Cabling manufacturer Hitachi HCM says that it has noticed a "strong" upward trend in the adoption of 10 Gig screened (F/UTP) copper cabling systems, particularly in markets where UTP has traditionally been the most popular option.

Hitachi Cable Manchester sees it as a market-driven response to the limitations of UTP cabling in 10Gb/s applications.

The inclusion of strict alien crosstalk parameters in the 10Gb/s standards posed major issues for UTP systems. Although most major cabling manufacturers were able to meet the 10GBASE-T performance requirements and limit alien crosstalk in a UTP configuration, the resulting designs relied on increased cable diameters and restrictive installation practices.

These UTP limitations significantly raised the profile of Screened 10Gb/s products, which by virtue of their design, defeat alien crosstalk without major design or installation changes. 

"20-Year-Old Concept of Measuring a Building’s IQ Comes Full Circle,"

Seminar to be given at the BICSI Winter Conference Orlando, FL  January 2007 by James Carlini.

What "intelligent amenities" should a building have? What building is right for a tenant comparing connectivity, reliability, automation and other elements? Marketing a building or campus becomes totally different once you ask, "How smart a building do you need?" instead of "How much space do you want to lease?"

Learn from James Carlini, who pioneered the whole concept in 1985 and how his test was used to compare downtown buildings and perform infrastructure assessments in places like Century City. With his insights, he became the Mayor’s Consultant in planning the Chicago 911 Center, which is rated #1 in the country by the Homeland Security Agency. What impact does measuring building intelligence have today?

There are more real estate organizations becoming aware of this concept as competition heats up to attract the right tenant base.  Economic development is becoming critical with many municipalities as well.  They need to attract and maintain new businesses.

The old real estate adage of “Location, Location, Location” has to be updated to “Location, Location ,Connectivity” as more municipalities find out that Economic Development equals Broadband Connectivity.  And, Broadband Connectivity equals good jobs.

General Cable Announces Brian J. Robinson As Chief Financial Officer

General Cable Corporation (NYSE:BGC - News) announced that Brian J. Robinson has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of the Company effective January 1, 2007. Robinson will report to Gregory B. Kenny, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable. He replaces Christopher F. Virgulak, who previously announced his decision to leave the Company at the end of 2006. Virgulak will continue in an advisory role for up to six weeks to ensure an orderly transition of the Company's financial leadership.

"As a leader with an extraordinary reputation for integrity, teamwork and high professional standards, Brian is well deserving of this recognition," said Gregory B. Kenny, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable. "Brian has led our Corporate Financial Accounting and Reporting Team and has been instrumental in driving improved controls and best practices in our global finance organization. He has also played an instrumental role in our Company's major financing transactions, which have significantly strengthened the Company's balance sheet, lowered our borrowing costs and improved our operating flexibility."

Robinson became the Controller for General Cable in 2000 and assumed the additional responsibility of Senior Vice President and Treasurer in March 2006. He began his career at Deloitte & Touche LLP in 1991, and in 1997 moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to London, England, where he served as Audit Manager focused on accounting services for global companies. In 1999, Robinson joined General Cable as Assistant Controller.

Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Dayton and received his CPA certification in 1993.

Kenny continued, "For over 20 years, Chris Virgulak has been a key contributor to the overall strength of the Company and a great business partner to me. He leaves General Cable having built a highly capable global finance organization and, for that, I thank him on behalf of all our associates and our shareholders, and I wish him all the best in the future."

"I have had many opportunities to contribute and grow professionally at General Cable and I leave knowing that the Company has a deeper finance organization, a stronger balance sheet, and is well positioned for the future," said Christopher F. Virgulak. "I am certain Brian is the right person to lead General Cable's financial team, and partner with Greg and other members of the Company's Leadership Team to continue on their quest to profitably grow the Company on a global basis."

With $3.5 billion of annualized revenues and 7,700 employees, General Cable is a global leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products for the energy, industrial, and communications markets. Visit our website at

Hitachi America Appoints Industry Veterans To The Embedded Business Group Marketing Team

Hitachi America, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT - News) announced that Steven King has been named vice president of marketing and sales and deputy general manager, and Collin Bruce as director of marketing for the Hitachi America, Ltd., Embedded Business Group.

Mr. King will be responsible for all marketing and sales efforts for the Embedded Business Group in North America, including sales, business development, analyst and public relations, and promotion of Entier products. The Embedded Business Group announced Entier, its application-optimized RDBMS for embedded devices, in September 2006. Mr. King was formerly the executive account manager with this division. Prior to joining Hitachi, King spent three years developing sales infrastructure and methodology with early-stage and established companies such as Green Hills and Huthwaite. Prior to that assignment, King spent eight years with Wind River Systems. He holds degrees in computer science and business from the University of Oregon.

"Steven brings to this position a true passion for embedded devices as well as a wealth of experience in both the design and engineering of these systems," said Hiroshi Nakamura, vice president and general manager of the Hitachi America Embedded Business Group. "His knowledge of the market and ability to envision new devices will help not only Hitachi but our partners and customers as well."

Mr. Bruce, in his new role as director of marketing, will be responsible for all marketing programs for Entier. He joins Hitachi from Solid Information Technology where he was director of strategic alliances and business development. With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, he has also held executive marketing positions at companies such as Chordiant, Amdahl, SCO, and Memorex. He holds a degree in math and applied physics from Brunel University in London.

"Collin brings a great deal of experience to the table," said Mr. King. "With his broad industry experience and most recent embedded experience, we expect to rapidly ramp up our partnerships and design wins."

Steady Growth Expected For North American Home Automation Markets

Increasing awareness and robust new construction activity have helped propel the growth of the home automation market.

A recent study from Frost & Sullivan found that it earned revenues of US$1.2 billion in 2005 and the research firm estimates this number will reach US$2.4 billion by 2012.

"The ever increasing awareness among homeowners about the benefits offered by the home automation market has driven the growth of this market," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst David Lee.

"This increase in awareness is mainly due to the entertainment aspect. The manufacturers, to some extent, have been able to educate the homeowners and make an offering as a package along with the entertainment."

The lack of proper training for installers affects the sales of home automation systems. Proper installation is essential for a system to function effectively. Hence, training for installers about the products becomes imperative.

"A properly installed system can further improve the potential of the home automation market," explains Lee.

"Word of mouth publicity about the benefits of the system can certainly help in driving the sales. This can effectively occur only when the system performs efficiently which is dependent on its installation.

"Therefore, this challenge needs to be addressed immediately in order to further increase the market potential of home automation systems."

Industry associations and conglomerations must arrange for necessary resources to train the system integrators, contractors and installers, he added.

Although manufacturers do train individual dealers, training under one roof would definitely benefit the home automation system sales, Lee said.

Earthquake Exposes Worldwide Telecommunications Vulnerabilities

Wednesday's earthquake and aftershocks jolted Asia for hours but the telecommunication disruptions may reverberate for weeks. When transpacific fiber optic cables were damaged, Internet and phone call volume plummeted by half and Web browsing slowed to a crawl.

According to the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC), the disaster highlights the vulnerability of international telecommunications in a global economy that has grown dependent on real-time communications.

It also raises the stakes for US$500 million in planned investments in new transpacific undersea cables.

"Natural disasters can expose weaknesses in global communications," said Ken Zita, who served as a telecommunications advisor to the U.S. Government following the Asian tsunami. Zita, conference chairman of PTC'07: Beyond Telecom, will host telecommunications executives from over 60 countries at PTC'07 next month where emergency communications and disaster management will be highlighted.

"Despite the latest network management technologies, traffic concentration remain susceptible to strong natural hazards."

David Lassner, President and Chairman of the Board of Governors for PTC and CIO at the University of Hawaii, added that global telecommunications cannot be underestimated.

"Everything from billions of dollars in international trade to personal communication with family is silently carried by our industry … When we go dead, the world goes dead."

Speed is Good: Consumers Shouldn’t Accept Second-Rate Network Solutions

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

CHICAGO – Wake up and smell the fiber. Craving speed and creating the best is very American and we are not behaving like Americans, writes James Carlini.

The American people should be outraged at getting a second-rate solution for something as critical as its network infrastructure. It goes against what average consumers demand in almost every other product and service arena.

Speed is the common measurement that cuts across many products and services as the general metric for assessing whether or not a product is good, bad or world-class.

Speed is Good

Altering Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” line from the movie “Wall Street,” “speed is good”. People want speed in everyday processes and should be demanding efficiency rather than bureaucracy in the regulation of the network.

Who wants a slower car? Who wants to spend more time on a commuter train going to and from work? Who wants to wait in a grocery checkout lane or in this season’s favorite: the post office? Who wants to wait 10 to 15 seconds for downloading a file if they can get it instantaneously?

What about things you can’t have today?

What about downloading a first-run movie in 10 seconds to watch on its opening day? Is that too slow? Make that less than a second. What do most people do when going to a far-away vacation destination? Take a train, a plane with two intermediate stops or a non-stop plane?

People take the fastest route. They want to get to their destination as fast as possible. Most people wouldn’t want to spend time waiting or traveling at a slower rate. The same should hold true for their network infrastructure.

Go on any trading floor and tell the traders their line will be 250 milliseconds slower than the person next to them for the session and see if you walk away alive. Go to those same traders and say you’re installing a faster network connection for them and they will be 250 milliseconds faster than anyone else on the floor.

Technology should take the “wait” out of everything. That’s what people want in everyday life. While there are many reasons we could list, all you have to do is look around you and see what people are doing.

Going Against Universal Truths

A long time ago, I came up with four universal network truths for viable organizations. This was long before DSL, the “triple play” and Wi-Fi. Some things are always true and are accepted as the basic framework for any type of viable network:

  1. 1.       Networks never get slower. When was the last time you heard someone say they are downgrading connectivity?
  2. 2.       Networks never get smaller. You are always adding to networks by adding users through acquisitions, new applications, etc.
  3. 3.       Networks never stay the same. Organizations are always adding on or changing network configurations due to acquisitions, mergers, downsizing and other organizational fluctuations.
  4. 4.       Networks never work all the time. All networks can fail. You may have 99.999 percent uptime – even 99.9995 percent or maybe even 99.9999 percent – but no one has 100 percent. No one.

While these universal laws of networks are still relevant, we still have many people who are clueless about them. Once you understand them, you realize you’re going to have to spend some money to have the best network infrastructure and you’re not going to tolerate anything that’s inferior.

Second best is not acceptable. It shouldn’t be sold in the U.S. as “the next generation of network solutions”. Americans want the best. Trying to sell us something else doesn’t work. Eventually, those companies are found out and paid back by consumers voting with their pocket books.

Need an example? Just check the stock prices of Ford, GM and Toyota. What do you drive?

If there was real competition within the network infrastructure area, we would be using the Toyota fiber network or some other quality network with data, video and voice screaming down on gigabit speeds.

Why Are We Accepting Second Best?

Today, we should be looking at rolling out fiber to the premise (FTTP) or a wireless equivalent that can provide gigabit capability. Anything in the planning stages at this point should be looking at gigabit if not multi-gigabit speeds.

California has had a broadband initiative of “1 gigabit or bust by 2010”. There, everyone is supposed to have 1 gigabit access by 2010. This is a very good objective. Hopefully, that state will attain that goal in the time frame they have designated.

Just like “best practices” are a moving target, goals for bandwidth speeds are also a moving target that have to be carefully understood. What target speed should be the national goal? Is California’s 1 gigabit the speed goal? This decision is critical because it would put some pressure on the traditional phone company (AT&T) to get its act together.

Current solutions by AT&T – Project Lightspeed or U-verse – fall dismally short of putting America back on top. The top speed offered is 6 Mbps and the future speeds are touted at 25 Mbps to 30 Mbps. There are intelligent industrial campuses that are looking at implementing 40 Gbps speeds today. Project Lightspeed looks more like “Project Speedlite”.

With other countries looking at gigabit speeds and universal coverage, our traditional phone companies have tried to put the bureaucratic brakes on innovation and global competition to milk another couple years of profits on copper-based infrastructure that should all be replaced today.

What was cutting edge in American network infrastructure is now cutting corners to squeeze another couple years of profits instead of making the investment to leapfrog everyone. You haven’t sold me.

Carlinism: Don’t sell me a painted-up stagecoach and tell me it’s NASCAR.

James Carlini will present how he pioneered measuring building intelligence at the annual BICSI winter conference in Orlando on Jan. 22, 2007. Also, check out his blog at

James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at or 773-370-1888.

Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Dataline and Telco Surge Protection: the Why’s And How’s In Commercial Environments

Are you in a commercial or campus environment? By that we mean a multi-building or even single building facility. A typical campus installation could be like the following example - two facilities consisting of buildings approximately 50 feet from each other and connected by two 100-pair along with many UTP cables.  As is common, these cables carry both voice and data. The telco switch along with the computer network closet is located in one building while dozens of telephones and PC’s are installed in the other.  You may also be facing the demands of installing and servicing some of the latest technologies in the networking world such as CAT 6 and wireless Power over Ethernet (PoE) environments.

What can happen in this type of environment?  Time and time again, the same story is heard "During a thunderstorm the remote building might lose communications with the main build­ing.  We would trace the problem to some hardware failures and the vendor would repair the damage by replacing expensive hardware.  We have suffered downtime and costs over and over again.”  Does this sound familiar? Stories like this come from everywhere such as the network man­ager in Atlanta whose file server blows up every time lightning strikes nearby; or, the IT manager in Kansas that reported multiple computer port failures during storms; or, the computer and telecom­munications manager at a state university in Oklahoma who lost mother boards and communication ports during a major lightning strike. These reports are similar to those of the school district in South Carolina that had its phone and public address system incapacitated during a lightning storm.  One last story comes from a chain of MacDonald’s in Florida who had their POS registers taken out repeatedly and actually had to give away food to hungry customers.

If this sounds to you like these people are not having much fun during storms, you’re right. The commercial environment, particularly a multi-building site, is the single most vulnerable type of facility during a light­ning storm. But lightning is not the only evil force lurking out there.   There are also utility power faults where power is shorted to ground.  Also, there are the more mundane culprits such as nor­mal utility switching operations, or even the effects of large electrical loads inside the buildings themselves.

Lightning is an easy culprit to under­stand. Lightning can happen anywhere in the US.  The Southeast and the Midwest are more known for their frequent storms but the fact is that no portion of the United States is immune from lightning’s deadly effects. Lightning is known to rise in current from zero to 20,000 to 200,000 amperes in 50 to 200 nanoseconds. This is a tremendous amount of energy in a very short period of time. The expanding magnetic field from a cloud-to-cloud dis­charge can easily induce voltages in data lines in excess of the capacity of line driver chips and other logic circuits.

Campus Setting

Let’s talk for a moment about a multi-building campus environment.  The campus setting makes the effects of lightning worse. There are three different ways a remote building might get electrical power, and remember all of the computer and phone equipment, as well as the data cable or telephone line, in these facilities is tied to utility power.  First, it is possible for one building to receive power from the other. Another possibility is that both buildings receive power from the electrical utility and both have their own service entrance. The third possibility, like the second, is that both have their own service entrances but utility power comes from two different utility sources. In other words, one building is fed from one utility substation and the other from a different substation.

The point to be made about this has to do with ground. Grounding, is a very misunderstood concept, but for our purposes let’s think of ground the way a PC, router, or PBX has to deal with ground. All communication has a signal or logic level that can be measured with respect to ground or between wire pairs. The PC or other equipment doing the communicating only understands the signal with respect to this ground. If ground starts to move with respect to data, then that reference may be lost. If the shift is large enough, then the device, which is connected to both power ground and data will be damaged or destroyed. The term for this is "electrical overstress."  In a campus environment, the ground reference of various buildings is constantly moving with respect to other buildings. When lightning strikes, this shift will usually damage or destroy equipment.

When Lightning Strikes The Campus Or Commercial Building Environment

Let's assume for a moment that we have two buildings that are separated by 75 feet and that one building is struck by lightning.  In just a few hundred nanoseconds tens of thou­sands of amps will be flowing in the grounding system of the remote build­ing. For an instant, this current flow will raise the ground reference of the remote building several thousand or even hun­dreds of thousands of volts with respect to the first building. At that instant, a computer or phone switch looking down that cable will see the cable move those thousands of volts with respect to its power ground. Of course this huge ground potential difference will cause surge currents to flow in anything con­nected between the buildings. So if the electrical overstress of the ground rise does not kill the ports, there is always the surge current that can burn up chips, motherboards and anything else along the path.  

As we described earlier, there are several ways that commercial buildings and campus environments can get power.  Most com­monly, power directly from the same utility substation some distance away and is fed to the buildings through their own separate service entrances. During lightning events, this additional power ground length creates even more substantial ground differences between buildings. The third case, where power is fed from different utility sources, is the worst case of all. Now we have more distance between grounds and the build­ings will almost never be at exactly the same ground potential.  In any of these cases, ground shifts between buildings will constantly cause the data line level to appear to move with respect to ground. This can cause high error rates and retries in its mildest form and outright damage in its worst form.

Lightning is not the only phenomena to cause these problems. Anything that shifts one building with respect to anoth­er can cause similar if not more severe problems. If buildings are fed from two utility sources, then utility switching can cause enough of a ground shift to blow up ports. But even a large motor, like an air conditioning system, can cause a shift that can be damaging or disruptive. Of course, any construction or earth moving that might cut through utility lines caus­ing a short could cause a similar effect.  Even downed power lines from high winds can have a damaging effect.  The simple fact is that the communica­tion port is extremely vulnerable to the effects of the outside world, especially in a campus setting.

At this point it may seem reasonable to look for some type of protective device that would equalize this shift from the data to the power ground. There are any number of devices called dataline protectors on the market for this purpose. Most of them are designed to do two things. First, they divert surge energy to ground. Second, they are installed where the cable enters the building. Let's look at these two design considerations and see if they solve the problem.

Many of the data line protectors were developed by manufacturers who began as power line protector suppliers. Most of us understand how a power line surge protec­tor works. When the voltage on one line goes high, the surge suppressor diverts the surge energy from the line to ground. Most of the data line protectors on the market work at the building entrance by diverting surge energy to ground.

It may have already occurred to you that if a protection device is pumping current into the ground system as far away as the building entrance that we will create much the same scenario that ~-as just described as happening between two buildings. One part of the grounding sys­tem will be shifted or raised with respect to the other. In fact, service entrance pro­tectors do just that. When hundreds of amps of diverted current flow through the ground conductor, a communications port at the other end of the line will see the line suddenly raised with respect to its ground reference. If this difference is large enough, the chip will be destroyed.

The Cylix Solution

The Cylix Corporation has the answer to this dilemma. The protector is mounted directly on the device to be protected. Now if the data line moves with respect to the chas­sis of the protected device, the protector will fire and equalize any differential, thereby protecting the port. Cylix dataline surge protectors clamp all lines to ground when any of the lines go high. In other words, all of the lines are balanced with respect to one another. This action ensures that no large voltage will ever be presented across the port, unlike those that work like power line protectors.  An additional feature of the Cylix protectors are that they also block any voltage rises from coming from earth  ground.  (It should be noted that in the case of a campus setting, a dataline protector must be on both ends of the data or telephone cable. Inside each building, all devices connected to the cable should be similarly protected.) 

The Cylix Corporation is the leading developer and manufacturer of dataline surge suppression devices.  Cylix devices are found worldwide protecting almost any device that sends data over copper.  Founded in 1987, the company’s corporate headquarters are located in Westlake Village, CA.  Cylix has 7 standard product lines that protect both data and telecom protection applications.  Additionally, Cylix designs, develops, and markets custom solutions to meet specific requirements of customers.  

Asef Baddar Joins The Leviton Voice & Data Team

Principal Application Engineer / Applications Engineer Supervisor

Leviton Voice & Data, a division of Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc., is pleased to announce that Asef Baddar will lead its Applications Engineering Department as Principal Application Engineer / Applications Engineer Supervisor.

Already a strong part of the division, Leviton’s Applications Engineering Department is committed to customer support excellence. Asef will lead the AE team as it focuses on the continued improvement of customer facing deliverables such as phone support, customer complaint resolution, web content, training, technical publications, and general technical customer support services.

Asef brings thirteen years of structured cabling experience from General Cabling Company where he was a senior Applications Engineer. He is well respected in the industry for his knowledge and for being a problem solver. Leviton is proud to add Asef to its long list of industry experts.

Electrical Distributor Employee Compensation Grows Sharply with Economy, NAED Survey Reports

A period of strong, sustained sales growth has led to sharp increases in electrical distributor employee compensation between 2003 and 2005, according to the 2006 Employee Compensation Report from the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED).

Conducted bi-annually in conjunction with 40 other distribution trade organizations, the survey provides detailed information on compensation and benefits among both NAED-member companies and among distributors in a broad range of industries. Survey results are based on data gathered in early 2006.

During the two years from 2003 to 2005, CEO compensation at electrical distributors increased by 15 percent after being flat between 2001 and 2003, the report said. Bonuses account for an average of 35 percent of CEO compensation. Other top management received increases averaging 12 percent.

The largest beneficiary of the booming economy was the outside sales force, whose compensation is tied to sales. Their compensation grew by an average of 25 percent. Operating employees’ compensation rose by 7 to 10 percent.

The report also offers good news in the area of health-insurance costs, where the rate of cost increases slowed considerably. Costs of the typical insurance plan rose by 10 percent from 2003 to 2005, compared to a 25-percent hike between 2001 and 2003. The slower rate reflects a general leveling in health-insurance costs along with shifting of some costs to the employee.

NAED’s Employee Compensation Survey offers comprehensive results in two volumes:

  • Vol. 1—Contains compensation data specific to NAED members, including benchmarks in executive and employee compensation, sales commission plans, outside sales policies, benefit programs and more. This is presented in printed form.
  • Vol. II—Compiles data on thousands of distributors from 40 trade associations, reported by sales volume and geographic area, presented in a CD-ROM format. This report supplies the latest data on salaries and bonuses, as well as health, retirement, vacation and other benefits.

The 2006 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

Fact Sheet:
2006 NAED Employee Compensation Report Highlights

Electrical Distributor Trends – 2003 to 2005

Executive & Employee Compensation

  • CEO compensation has increased by 15% from 2003 to 2005. Bonuses account for 35% of total CEO compensation. Increases average 12% for other top management.
  • Outside salespersons’ compensation rose by an average of 25%, largely reflecting commissions on higher sales.
  • Compensation for operating employees grew by 7- 10%.
  • The vast majority (93%) of distributors fund some type of retirement program, with the 401(k) being by far the most popular.
  • The employee turnover rate was 17% in 2005, up from 13% in 2003.

Controlling Health Insurance Costs

  • For the first time in recent memory, health-insurance costs are not spiraling out of control. Between 2003 and 2005, costs for the typical plan increased by about 10%. This compares very favorably to the 25% increase from 2001 to 2003. The slower rate reflects a general slowdown in the rate of health-care cost escalation along with shifting of some costs to the employee.
  • The employer-paid percentage of premium, on average, dropped from about 80% in 2003, to 75% in 2005.
  • Typically, co-pays across a wide range of services increased by $5.

Impact of Scale of Operations

  • Larger firms have a significant advantage in attracting highly qualified employees in many management positions since the same dollar commitment simply represents a much smaller percentage of total sales for the larger firm.
  • The difference in compensation is especially pronounced in some of the key skill positions where distributors are looking for both cost savings and operational efficiencies, and in some instances the very largest firms (over $100 million) are paying two times the total compensation as smaller firms (under $20 million).
  • These differences in compensation levels for key positions may make it more difficult for smaller firms to compete for the talent necessary to maintain efficiencies in a rapidly changing environment.

The above results are based on an NAED compensation survey conducted in April 2006 and reflects compensation in place through December 31, 2005.

Contact Sonia Coleman at to access print resolution graphics.

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


About NAED

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

NAED Online Press Room: showtype=naed

Web site:

Graybar Continues Trend of Double-Digit Growth Through Third Quarter of 2006

Organic growth is fueled by increases in electrical and telecom markets and

enhanced ERP capabilities that provide greater business visibility

Graybar, one of the nation's leading distributors of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, reported $3.78 billion in sales through the first three quarters of 2006, an increase of 18.9 percent over the same period last year. The company also posted a 70.1 percent increase in operating income over the first three quarters of 2005.

"Our strategy is one of organic growth focused on our core business," said Robert A. Reynolds Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Graybar. "Although favorable economic conditions are contributing to our growth, it is our ability to anticipate and respond to customer’s' needs that ultimately drives our business. Our ERP system provides real-time access to valuable business data, which helps us increase our productivity and improve our ability to react to market conditions. Graybar's leading-edge information technology and logistics capabilities are continuing to raise the bar on performance and value for our customers."

According to Reynolds, it is the company's ability to leverage its infrastructure combined with the dedication of its employee-owners that is producing solid bottom-line results.  Graybar's net income of $46.7 million for the first three quarters is more than triple last year's performance for the same period.

This year, the company opened several new locations and expanded its security product line, adding value for current customers and providing solutions for new customers, such as security dealers and installers. Graybar also secured five contract renewals with the Department of Defense valued at more than $220 million.

Graybar looks forward to continued business growth by meeting customer’s' needs with its extensive product and service solutions, national capabilities and advanced technology.


About Graybar

Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical, telecommunications and networking products, and specializes in related supply chain management and logistics services.  Through its network of more than 250 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, serving as the vital link to hundreds of thousands of customers.  For more information, visit

BOMA International And U.S. Green Building Council Sign Memorandum Of Intent

Commercial Real Estate Industry to Benefit from BOMA and USGBC Collaborations to Promote Environmentally Responsible Building Practices

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) to work cooperatively to promote energy efficiency and environmentally responsible building operations and maintenance practices to the BOMA community of building owners, operators and property managers who collectively represent 9 billion square feet of commercial real estate. The announcement was made at the recent Greenbuild Conference and Expo held Nov. 15-17 in Denver.

Among the initiatives outlined in the MOI are joint promotional activities including collaboration at BOMA's North American Commercial Real Estate Congress® and The Office Building Show in New York City in July 2007 and USGBC's Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Los Angeles in October 2007, as well as joint educational offerings including Web-based seminars on energy efficiency and green building practices. BOMA will be working with USGBC as a Top-Tier partner, one of a very exclusive group of organizations including the Urban Land Institute and the American Institute of Architects that recognizes the tremendous need for moving real estate to a more sustainable approach. As a Top-Tier Partner, BOMA will be working directly with USGBC on program development for Greenbuild 2007 and beyond.

"This collaboration with USGBC reflects the commercial real estate industry's continued and growing commitment to promoting energy efficient and environmentally responsible buildings," said BOMA International Chairman and Chief Elected Officer Kurt R. Padavano, RPA, CPM, FMA, SMA, and chief operating officer of Advance Realty Group of Bedminster, NJ. "Working together to promote sustainable practices not only provides a healthier and more productive workplace environment, but also creates a tremendous potential for energy savings and reduced emissions."

"Collaboration and sharing best practices are the keys to success," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "BOMA is one of the most respected and influential organizations in the building industry, and we are proud to be partnering with them to help further green building practices in the commercial real estate sector."


The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 90 local associations and affiliated organizations. BOMA's 16,500-plus members own or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties in North America and throughout the world. The mission of BOMA International is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information. Founded in 1907, BOMA International celebrates 100 years of commercial real estate in 2007. Learn more at

The U.S. Green Building Council is the nation's leading coalition of corporations, builders, universities, government agencies and nonprofit organizations working together to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Since its founding in 1993, the Council has grown to over 7,200 member companies and organizations; an 80-person professional staff; a broad portfolio of LEED® programs and services; an extensive educational offering; the industry's popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo; and a network of more than 60 local chapters, affiliates and organizing groups. For more information visit:

VoiceCon Spring Delivers On The Issues That Matter Most

The VoiceCon Spring 2007 Conference -- -- will be our biggest and best ever. Registration is open and you can save up to $500 by taking advantage of our "Early Bird" and "Team" discounts.

Register today at


In addition to presenting leading executives from the industry like Louis J.

D'Ambrosio, President and Chief Executive Officer, Avaya; Mike Zafirovski, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nortel; and Charles Giancarlo, Senior VP and Chief Development Officer, Cisco, and President, Cisco-Linksys LLC, VoiceCon is proud to present IT executives who'll share the lessons learned from leading their companies in migrating to IP Telephony, Converged Networks and Unified Communication. People like Johan Krebbers, Group IT Architect, Royal Dutch Shell, and Alok Kapoor, Managing Director, Merrill Lynch Global Private Client Technology.

VoiceCon Spring 2007 also will present a special Conference-Within-a-Conference on Next-Gen Contact Centers. This two-day program, running March 5-6, will focus on the technical, market and organizational realities that accompany the migration of your Contact Center to IP-based systems and services.

The full conference program is available for viewing at and there are plenty of other reasons why you need to be at VoiceCon Spring 2007. For example:

* An Exhibition with ALL the Major Players: VoiceCon Spring is the ONLY industry event where you'll find all the major system vendors and service providers gathered in one location. You can find the complete list of sponsors and exhibitors at

* Your time is respected: The VoiceCon Spring program is designed to meet one fundamental goal: To present high-level, forward-thinking, relevant and reliable information that will help you make the best possible decision for your network, your company and your career.

* VoiceCon cuts through the hype: VoiceCon doesn't advocate one solution over another. Instead, VoiceCon presents the facts--how products have tested in the labs, how they've worked in real-life deployments, and the realistic prospects for technology evolution.

* VoiceCon Tutorials: You'll receive objective, reliable information that you can use to plan your network evolution. Topics include the VoiceCon IP-PBX RFP session, IP Telephony Security, Integrating Microsoft's Live Communications Server and IBM's Unified Communications & Collaboration into IP Telephony, SIP, Security, the Basics of IP Telephony and updates on the major product announcements.

* Assess the impact on your organization: VoiceCon's in-depth sessions will include analysis of how the new technology changes business and organizational relationships. Learn how enterprise IT organizations are bringing voice, data and applications staff together to plan, deploy and manage converged, IP Telephony networks and unified communications.

In short, VoiceCon Spring has one overriding objective: Answering your questions about building the IP Telephony platform that will power your enterprise in the future. It will help you decide why, when and how to invest in this new technology, and how to get the most from your investment.




Register today to take advantage of the $300 early payment discount off the full event registration fee. If you register as part of at team of two or more you can save an additional $200 for a total savings of $500 per person!

To ensure that you receive your discount please use Priority Code MLNEVF01 when you call 1-800-470-5417 or register online at

I look forward to seeing you in Orlando at VoiceCon Spring 2007.

Fred S. Knight
General Manager, VoiceCon
Publisher, Business Communications Review

General Cable Appoints New CFO

General Cable Corp. has announced that Brian Robinson has been promoted to the position of chief financial officer effective Jan. 1, 2007.

Robinson, who replaces Christopher Virgulak, will report directly to president and CEO Greg Kenny.

He became the controller for General Cable in 2000 and assumed the additional responsibility of senior vice president and treasurer this past March.

ZigBee To Find Traction In Commercial Building Automation In 2008, Says ABI Research

Sensor networking technology ZigBee should start finding significant adoption in commercial building applications in 2008, according to a new study published by ABI Research.

ABI says there are three major markets for sensor networking: the home, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities, and ZigBee aims to cover them all. In the home, there are alternatives to ZigBee, and in industry there are some questions about its suitability.

But according to senior analyst Sam Lucero, commercial building automation is a market where ZigBee is competitively positioned against other wireless sensor technologies.

"Commercial buildings represent a huge addressable market of field equipment currently using wired field buses to connect sensors and actuators with lighting, heating, ventilation, access control, and safety systems," he says.

"ZigBee's features and functionality are very well suited to commercial building applications."

Of the five top vendors of building automation systems, which together control about 70% of the market, four -- Johnson Controls, Siemens, TAC, and Trane -- have introduced wireless products based on ZigBee in the past year, and the fifth -- Honeywell -- is moving toward doing so.

Over the next five years, up to 20% of commercial building automation system field equipment may "go wireless," seeking the lower costs, better control, and greater flexibility that such systems deliver, ABI said.

Wireless Data Network Market Booming: In-Stat

Organizations are starting to focus on more sophisticated and valuable applications of wireless data networks, In-Stat reports.

In addition, the number of users in 2006 having at least one wireless data application in the field has increased significantly, the high-tech market research firm says.

Most organizations start with basic applications such as wireless e-mail and virtual private networks (VPNs), but the larger and more experienced organizations have plans for more sophisticated solutions.

"The widespread adoption of wireless data technology, which has been forecast as expanding quickly 'two years from now' since the late 1970s, is finally here," says Bill Hughes, In-Stat analyst.

"The nature of the productivity benefits vary by vertical market, but the value is universal."

Market for wireless multimedia networking to exceed 50 million units by 2010: Park Associates

Industry adoption of next-generation specifications will provide a substantial boost to the market for wireless multimedia networking, prompting growth in excess of 50 million wireless network devices by 2010, according to The Wireless Multimedia LAN: Requirements and Outlook.

The new report from Parks Associates predicts that annual sales and shipments of wireless multimedia-capable devices, including home networking gears, personal computers, and fixed and mobile consumer electronics, will grow from 2.5 million units in 2006 to nearly 52 million units by year-end 2010, due in large part to standardization in the market.

"Multiple factors are driving the move by both manufacturers and service providers in embracing wireless connectivity," said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates.

"Service providers are looking for greater ownership in developing home networking solutions, operators need to reduce CAPEX costs in deploying home networking equipment, new content services are on the rise, and consumers are invariably in favor of eliminating cables. These are all positive signs that the 802.11n and WiMedia solutions -- among the many home networking options -- will continue to drive growth in new home networking applications."

In-building wireless systems deployments to grow by 20% annually

Customers' dependence on wireless communications and their adoption of high-bandwidth 3G cellular services are the primary drivers of the global growth of in-building wireless systems that extend and create wireless coverage indoors.

According to a new study from ABI Research, deployments of these systems are expected to result in revenues in excess of US$3.6 billion and a growth rate of 20% annually by 2011.

"People spend a significant amount of time indoors and not surprisingly they also expect indoor access from their outdoor wireless service," said ABI research analyst Dan Shey.

"As a result, commercial buildings will be a major focus of the in-building wireless systems industry, affecting carriers, businesses, building owners, equipment manufacturers and solutions providers."

Further information on the study is available at .

Small World, Big Opportunities

With an ever-increasing number of businesses involved in cross-border trade and the trend toward international harmonization of technology accelerating, the distances between countries and cultures becomes shorter every day. As the world grows smaller, the National Electrical Contractors Association’s global outreach expands in direct proportion, with help from some powerful partners.

For just about a year now, the independent research organization that NECA established in 1989 has been operating under a revised name. “ELECTRI International—The Foundation for Electrical Construction” better fits its mission to offer electrical contractors the opportunity to learn about and grow with the new world economy.

Last month, a major conference held in Melbourne, Australia, focused on just what this new economic order means for our industry. It was the annual conference of the Federation of Asian & Pacific Electrical Contractors Associations (FAPECA), and the theme was “Business Opportunities Across International Borders.” Discussions centered on topics such as meeting technical standards in other nations, labor mobility, dealing with regulatory barriers, dealing with language and cultural barriers, and, of course, the benefits of international networking among electrical contractors.

NECA is affiliated with FAPECA—as well as the International Association of Electrical Contractors (AIE), which represents National Electrical Contractor Associations throughout Europe—through our membership in the International Forum of Electrical Contractors. NECA, FAPECA and AIE jointly established the forum in 1996. However, our involvement with international exchange goes back further.

For one thing, NECA has been sponsoring International Study Missions for years. These organized annual trips bring U.S. contractors into direct contact with the management and work force of electrical contracting firms in other countries to encourage the interchange of ideas, technologies and best practices. The most recent trip was to Russia and Finland this summer.

After welcoming firms from around the globe as individual members for years, NECA began establishing International Chapters about two decades ago. Now, there are 12 of these groups, each of which is a national or provincial trade association for electrical contractors within its own country. These International Chapters extend NECA’s reach throughout Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and now Honduras and El Salvador.

In fact, one of the purposes of this column is to welcome our newest international affiliates. And, while I can’t help showing off how proud I am of all of NECA’s international ventures, I must say I am particularly pleased with what my association is doing to support Spanish-speaking contractors and electrical workers—and the U.S. contractors that work with them.

It’s becoming clear that businesses today must be multilingual and culturally sensitive. NECA is meeting the need by translating our key publications and reference materials for our members and affiliates south of the border. These include an insightful foundation study on “New Business Opportunities for Mexico and U.S. Electrical Contractors.”

In addition, we have provided management education to more than 1,500 of our Latin counterparts thus far. Thanks to seed money from ELECTRI International and the continuing support from NECA’s three chapters in Mexico, our industry has established the Electrical Technology Institute to offer courses for Mexican electricians and managers and for U.S. contractors who are considering Mexico as a potential new market.

And that, in the final analysis, is what NECA’s involvement in international affairs is all about. It’s not just an intellectual pursuit. Rather, it reflects the pursuit of new opportunities for our industry in a brave, new world.

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

S+LSS Panel Discussion Uses Key Issues To Open The Door To IBS

By: Milner Irvin - President, NECA

Major security product manufacturers explored the electrical contractor’s growing role in integrated building systems (IBS) during Security+Life Safety Systems magazine’s first panel discussion at the 2006 International Security Conference & Exposition (ISC East) Oct. 23 in New York. Leaders from Bosch Security Systems Inc., Honeywell Power Products (HPP) and Extreme CCTV Inc. discussed the “paradigm shift” as more electrical contractors enter IBS, driven by the increasing demand for a clean, uninterruptible power supply with communication—especially with increasingly complex systems.

“When you talk about IBS, you can’t talk about the parts and pieces—that’s the whole concept—it’s a holistic approach to building,” said Leon Chlimper, vice president, systems, Bosch Security Systems Inc.

With 46 percent of electrical contractors now specifying, designing and installing security and life safety systems, the debut session raised key issues among the attending security integrators on how they can effectively work together and what was the need for education.

“We’re seeing the electrical contractor more and more becoming that one-stop solution,” said David Pieklowski, regional business development manager, Extreme CCTV Inc. “The electrical contractor is now becoming a spec writer. So how do you become a good spec writer? The difference is knowledge.”

Security+Life Safety Systems Publisher John Maisel said a recent research study conducted by the magazine shows that about 80 percent of all electrical contractors surveyed are involved in design/build, making up about 43 percent of their gross revenue.

“The introduction of the IBS contractor is really being driven by the increasing demand for total integration of traditional electrical power with low-voltage communication systems,” said Maisel, who is also publisher of Electrical Contractor magazine.

Honeywell Power Products General Manager Gene Pecora said that two “megatrends” in power are tying systems together and using video.

“There is small-C convergence when you see fire systems, access control systems and software tied together but still fully functional, and big-C convergence tying in building controls, energy and fire controls on the same system,” said Pecora, whose background is in the fire industry. “Seventy percent of my R&D is in power over Ethernet,” he added. “I’ve seen a lot of this integration in the fire category. It’s highly controlled by code, which brings some standardization and functionality.”

“More owners are suggesting they’d prefer not to have five or six subcontractors when they can narrow down the number,” said Maisel. “What has happened with electrical contractors and IBS is that the demand for single-source responsibility has really caused a growing number of electrical contractors to expand their sphere of activity to include integration, maintenance and installation.”

Security+Life Safety Systems was the only attending trade publication to offer an educational session at ISC East.   EC

ITCO Fiber Optics Again Named to "Top 100" Military Training Technology List

KITCO Fiber Optics has been named again to the Military Training Technology "Top 100" List for 2006.  The Top 100 is compiled by Kerrigan Media International and Military Training Technology magazine, and provides a listing of companies that have made a significant impact in the military training industry during the past year.

Military Training Technology approached more than 600 candidates to provide information for the awards and also invited any interested companies to apply. Based on submissions and additional information, the publication's editorial board and a panel of independent experts involved in the simulation and training community then selected 100 winners. Companies were selected based on various criteria, which, in part, included total military sales, end-user feedback, innovations and need for the solution.

KITCO Fiber Optics is a leading provider of fiber optic connectorization products, training and consulting services to the military and commercial communications industry.  We specialize in the design and fabrication of fiber optic tools, tool kits and custom cable assemblies; producing private label kits for a number of major connector manufacturers and selling our own broad line of commercial and military products.  We develop curriculum and provide commercial and military training worldwide, and serve as the U.S.

Navy's sole shipboard fiber optic trainer.  Our highly skilled field services team can respond to your fiber optic requirements anytime, anywhere - rapidly providing the best solutions for overcoming system problems or delays.

Integrating Lighting, Security, And Fire And Life Safety Systems

By Darlene Bremer

Integrated Building Systems (IBS)—which merge together all of a building’s systems, including lighting, security and fire and life safety—represent tremendous opportunities for electrical contractors. It is a market that will eventually out-grow the traditional electrical market. Success will depend on the electrical contractor being able to provide value to the customer and demonstrate that the final integrated product will fulfill its needs.

There are various ways that a building’s systems can be integrated, but they all rely on communications protocols, such as BACnet, LonWorks, Modbus and, for lighting, Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI).

BACnet is a U.S. national standard, a European prestandard and an ISO global standard; it was developed under the sponsorship of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). It is a data communication protocol for building automation and controls networks, and its governing set of rules cover everything from what kind of cable to use to how to perform a particular request or command in a standard way.

LonWorks, developed by Echelon Corp., San Jose, Calif., is a flexible and expandable standards-based control networking platform upon which manufacturers can build products and applications. Once called LonTalk, the LonWorks platform is an international standard, alternatively known as ANSI/EIA709.1, SEMI E56.5, IEEE 1493-L and EN14908, among others. As an open technology, LonWorks allows devices from one manufacturer to communicate directly with products from another manufacturer.

Designed by Modicon for use with its programmable logic controllers (PLC), Modbus is a communications protocol that has almost become a de facto standard in industry, since it represents the most commonly available means of connecting almost any industrial electronic device. Modbus is used in master-slave applications to monitor and program devices, to communicate between intelligent devices and sensors and to monitor field devices. It is also used in applications where wireless communication is required.

On the other hand, DALI is a dedicated protocol purely for lighting control. However, it is effective for setting scenes and for getting feedback concerning faulty light sources. According to DALI-AG, this makes the technology useful to tie into building automation systems where remote supervising and service reports are required.

According to Chris Hollinger and Heath Klein, systems integration product managers for Siemens Building Technologies, Buffalo Grove, Ill., the choice of a communications protocol when designing an integrated building depends on the systems being considered.

“Each building system must be examined separately to determine what integration solution works best,” Hollinger said.

However, at the most basic level, building systems are integrated through sensors and controls that allow individuals to program specific lighting and environmental scenarios for their spaces, according to Barry Haaser, senior business director, LonWorks Infrastructure, for Echelon Corp.

“The goal is to provide a building and its users with connectivity between all systems and devices,” he said.

There are two fundamental methods of building integration; native takes parts from different suppliers and integrates them to make a single homogenous system, while system-level means building separate, discrete and fully functioning systems, such as lighting, security, etc., and then tying them together at the system level.

“Trying to integrate a building using the native method is difficult because the components come from different manufacturers, and even though they are supposed to communicate, they rarely do so well,” said Ian Rowbottom, principle application engineer for Lutron Electronics Inc., Coopersburg, Pa. However, using the system-level approach to building integration means that the fully functional system from each manufacturer can then use the correct communication protocol to tie the systems together.

True integration, agreed Jack McGowan, president of Energy Control Inc., Albuquerque, N.M., means finding commonalities between building systems and using the appropriate communication protocols to program them to provide cooperative sequences of operations that offer increased value to the building owner.

“Integration is a continuum from mere communication to interoperability and interchangeability that provides the building owner with a value proposition,” he said.

However, it is estimated that less than half of completed IBS systems use the full potential of integration.

“A building’s integrated system is more likely to be separate systems that share the same network or platform, but aren’t actually programmed to interact with each other fully,” said Bob Riel, vice president of Dynalectric Co., San Diego, Calif.

Then again, as the IBS market grows and matures, more and more smart devices are being developed that are Internet protocol (IP) enabled and not proprietary, which allow building owners to integrate similar systems into the building management network for the purpose of having centralized oversight and operation of the building’s different systems.

“Smart devices include lighting sensors, occupancy sensors, and HVAC equipment that communicate with each other over the building’s Ethernet and provide sophisticated programming that automates the interoperability of different systems,” said Ross Holly, project manager at Rosendin Electric Inc., San Jose, Calif.

Similarities and differences

While there are differences between all of the widely used communication protocols, they are the same: their primary purpose is to facilitate communication between devices, according to Klein. Another common thread between BACnet, LonWorks and Modbus is that they all conform to the European Open System Interconnection standards and provide a migration path for data to be communicated to higher level devices. Furthermore BACnet and LonWorks are similar in that they are open architectures originally designed for the native integration method.

“Both of these protocols, however, are being used today for intersystem communication as part of the natural evolution of IBS,” Rowbottom said. Even DALI is the same as the other protocols in that it allows the building’s lighting control system to communicate with individual fixtures, although it is not really used, Rowbottom added, for building-wide integration purposes.

The differences among the protocols, however, is what electrical contractors need to be most concerned about when providing customers with an integrated building solution. According to Hollinger, BACnet is a system-level protocol designed specifically for building automation, while LonWorks is more useful for device-to-device communication.

“Modbus has its roots in industrial processing control, while DALI is specific for use in lighting applications,” he said. In addition, according to Rowbottom, BACnet and LonWorks are more complicated to program than Modbus and DALI and require formal training and software from ASHRAE or the manufacturer, respectively.

It is important to realize that each of these protocols is also different in the way it communicates, in its functions and features, how it is installed and configured, and in the way it is managed.

“But they were all developed to provide building owners with a way to expand, extend and enhance their building automation systems without being confined to any one particular manufacturer,” McGowan said.

Specialized expertise

A large percentage of building automation systems being installed today use system-level solutions, such as BACnet or LonWorks, rather than proprietary protocols.

“I think most solutions providers can provide these system protocols but not necessarily support them,” Klein said.

This fact requires that those electrical contractors who want to take advantage of the opportunities this market provides need to understand the protocols as well as the actual media cabling involved. For example, LonWorks requires specific wiring be used to enable devices to talk to each other, while BACnet has five network types that it supports.

“To succeed, contractors need to understand more than the electrical system of the building but also its automation, HVAC, information technology and security systems,” McGowan said. They need to know how these other systems operate and interact so that they can provide an integration plan for the owner that fits its needs. In the future, McGowan said, contractors need to be aware of technological migrations toward the use of Ethernet communication and XML language protocols as buildings become smarter and operate as individual microcosms.

“To survive and prosper in the future building construction industry and to provide owners with the intelligent building systems that they will demand, contractors need to become full building integrators rather than providers of electrical systems.”

It is also advised that contractors have people on staff with knowledge about the various other building systems involved in a complete IBS because the operation of HVAC, life safety or security systems are not a normal part of the electrician’s established skill set, Riel said.

“It is not difficult for the electricians to learn how these other systems operate and are controlled, but experts in other systems can train field personnel on exactly how to install and connect them properly,” Riel said.

Of course this means contractors need to make an investment in examining the market and in providing training.

“As integration becomes more vital, it also provides a great opportunity for contractors to add value to their offerings and to differentiate themselves from the completion,” Haaser said.

Contractors can start the learning process on the Internet by visiting nonmanufacturer sites that provide information about the various communication protocols.

“Contractors can also talk to system vendors, attend their training, and develop relationships with them,” Hollinger said. According to Holly, manufacturers are the key to success in this market.

“Manufacturers are working with architects to get their products specified into jobs. Working with them allows contractors to learn and adapt to technological advancements,” he said.

When entering the field of integrated buildings, Riel suggested starting with smaller jobs to begin exposing field personnel to the installation and programming requirements of IBS.

“You can then start sending those electricians and low-voltage technicians that demonstrate an aptitude for either the programming or start-up and commissioning aspects of integration to specialized training,” he said.  EC

BREMER, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 or by e-mail at

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

How Accurate Is That Measurement? - And Why Should You Care?

By Jim Hayes

When making a measurement on a newly installed fiber optic cable, do you ever wonder when you make a measurement, just how accurate that measurement is? Just what does accurate mean, anyway?

A measurement is accurate if the value we measure is close to the real or actual value. The other important issue for measurements is their “precision,” or how repeatedly we can take measurements of the same quantity. In order to have accuracy, you must first have precision. Precision comes from standardizing the measurement process to reduce the variation among tests.

Now that you know the difference between precision and accuracy, we can analyze just how accurate the fiber optic measurements you make are. Since most measurements are of cable plant loss, let’s consider them.

Measuring insertion loss with a light source and power meter or optical loss test set requires you also use reference test cables on each instrument and mating adapters to connect up to the cables under test. There are several factors associated with these test tools that affect the precision and accuracy of the measurement, some of which are controllable by the user. The user has little control over the wavelength of the source or the linearity of the power meter, but the instruments’ battery charge status and condition of the reference cables and mating adapters, which are critical to reduce measurement errors, are under the control of the user.

Reference cables should be of high quality, determined by testing then against each other for insertion loss. The mating adapters should have metal or ceramic alignment bushings and be rated for use with single-mode fiber, even if multimode is being tested. Some standards, like TIA-568-B, require the addition of a mode conditioner to the launch cable attached to the source, usually done by wrapping the reference cable around a mandrel of a certain size for each fiber type. And needless to say, everything must be kept spotlessly clean.

Careful control of all these conditions should allow making measurements with a precision of about +/-0.1 dB. You can test this yourself. Set up your instruments, set your references and test a single cable, preferably a short one with no connectors, according to OFSTP-14. Record the loss to 0.01 dB resolution if possible. Then disconnect the cable you are testing and retest ten or more times. Calculate the average of the readings and see how much each individual reading differs from the average. It should be within 0.1 dB if you control your process well.

Once we know how to make a repeatable measurement—a precise measurement—we want to know how accurate it is. In order to know how accurate a measurement is, we must know what the “real” value is for comparison. And here, I’m afraid, we are encounter a problem.

The issue is not just the source and power meter. We can send them to calibration labs that will check conformance to their specifications and actual performance—the source wavelength, meter linearity and power calibration to NIST standards—but when we measure the loss of a cable with these instruments, the measurement depends on the test conditions controlled by our reference cables and mating adapters.

Testing a single fiber optic connector requires mating it to a reference connector, as we define connector loss as the loss of a mated pair of connectors— sensible since a single connector has no loss, per se, if it is designed to connect two fibers. The loss we measure with different reference connectors may vary considerably. Prove it to yourself. Test the same cable we tested above with several different sets of reference cables. I’ll bet the individual measurements vary by as much as +/–0.25 dB. On a typical cable plant with several connections, it can be +/–0.5 dB. Any connector you mate to a higher loss connector will most likely have higher loss, so it is to your advantage to make sure that your reference cables are all in good condition with low loss connectors.

Why is this such a big deal? When you contract to install a fiber optic cable plant, you agree to meet certain specifications for component losses and the total cable plant loss. Getting your payment will probably depend on meeting those specifications. The more accurate your measurements are, the less likely you are to reject good cables or accept bad ones. Either case can be expensive because you may fix a cable that was really acceptable or be called back later to fix one that tested acceptable earlier. Learning how to use and maintain your test equipment properly can be financially rewarding.            EC

HAYES is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

Belden Plant In Pointe-Claire To Close Next April

Belden has announced it will shut down activities at its Pointe-Claire, Que. facility, a decision which it says is necessary because of production over capacity worldwide. The closing, which takes effect next April, will affect some 200 employees.

The company will continue research and development, product development and marketing activities in Pointe-Claire as well as a centre of excellence that focuses on enterprise communication technology.

Going forward, the company will have approximately 100 employees in the area.

"It is with regret that we announce today the reduction of some of our activities," said Guylaine Branchaud, Belden's human resources manager in Pointe-Claire.

"We are fully aware of the impact of this decision on our employees and their families. In this difficult time, an employee assistance service is available at all times."

Breaking Into The Security Business

Home security can open doors for residential work

By Jeff Gavin

For electrical contractors, the world of wiring basic light and power is evolving. The phrase “electric architect” aptly describes what consumers’ demand of contractors today. It might involve designing an electrical closet, wiring touchpads or installing complete home automation. Consumers are using home security systems as that first step to lead or drive home electronic integration. It is a prime opportunity for contractors willing to tackle this growing residential amenity.

Security systems evolve

A simple home security system typically features a keypad or wall console homeowners use to set their alarms. Sensors are placed above entry doors and sometimes windows. If an alarmed home is breached, a security company and the police are immediately notified through a customer’s phone line. Security system sophistication grows based on what a customer needs and wants to spend.

Toledo, Ohio-based Transtar Electric Inc., a full-service electrical contracting business, has offered home security systems for the last 29 of its 30 years in business. Often subcontracting with builders, its success in home security led to Transtar Security and Technologies. Dan Bollin serves as president for Transtar.

“What’s being done today in home security is incredible,” said Bollin. “You can install cameras and monitor them away from home through the Internet. You can integrate your lights so a microprocessor remembers your lighting habits over two weeks time and replicates them when you leave for vacation. Your lights can flash if there’s a break-in.”

The systems that Transtar installs provide up to 32 different zones in a home that can be monitored through motion detection. His systems typically incorporate smoke detectors and carbon monoxide sensors as well.

“In the security field, it seems there are no limits to a developer’s imagination,” Bollin said. “We can install a panic button for a customer so they can instantly summon police in case of an emergency. We can provide the elderly with a pendant that with the simple press of a button delivers a medical alert for family and medical personnel.”

Transtar Security and Technologies has become its own security company. It offers monitoring of its intrusion and perimeter security protection.

“We have a private monitoring station that can alert us to malfunctions or other necessary service calls,” said Bollin. “The staff is specially trained.”

Emergency calls go through what Bollin calls a central station that responds and alerts police or the fire department personnel. Security systems are increasingly tied into a complete home automation structure.

Security systems help drive home automation

A 2006 ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR research report, “Electrical Contactors’ Roles in the Residential Market,” conducted by Renaissance Research and Consulting, highlighted this changing industry. Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed respondents indicated they perform whole house automation, which can include fire/life safety and security, home theater and audio installation and other controls. Transtar does all of those. Contractors often handle this work without subcontracting and use their existing staff rather than creating a separate division or department; Transtar is an exception.

While Transtar does it all, other electrical contractors subcontract with electronic systems professionals or “integrators” as Ken Smith calls them. Smith is the president of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA). He is also the president and owner of Custom Electronics Inc., a home integration specialist firm headquartered in Falmouth, Maine. His firm works with electrical contractors, builders and architects.

“There are so many ways we can work with an electrical contractor,” Smith said. “Security systems and integrating them into our home automation work is becoming increasingly popular.”

Like Bollin, Smith sees some amazing creativity and endless potential in home security.

“I’ve seen systems where doors can be locked remotely,” Smith said. “You can even alarm your system or disarm it from your cell phone. Cameras and closed-circuit television [CCTV] capture just about anything outside the home and can save images on a hard drive to be easily downloaded for police. It seems, the more someone uses their imagination, the better and more practical security integration becomes.”

Such integrated work largely skews toward upper income clients. It’s a growing segment with increasing opportunity. The Electrical Contractor research report reveals that in 2005 one-quarter of electrical contractors worked on a home valued at $1.5 million or more and many often worked on custom or luxury housing.

“I estimate almost 90 percent of my business is new construction, though new products are coming out to support retrofitting. Integrators need to work in concert with the other trades so everything works together. The more an electrician knows, the more helpful they can be when they subcontract with someone like me,” Smith said.

Training your employees

“We’re a union contractor,” Bollin said. “Our employees go through the formal JATC [Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee] training including voice, data and video apprentice work. We also take advantage of appropriate courses offered through NECA’s Management Education Institute [MEI] including such topics as structured wiring.”

CEDIA provides custom electronic design and installation training and certification aimed at the residential market. The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) offers its National Training School (NTS) that provides online schooling for installation certification and accreditation. Workshops and other continuing education are often available through local chapters of NBFAA. The association also recently developed its “Fire/Life Safety and Electronic Security Apprenticeship” standards recently approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Now that NBFAA has taken the next step by establishing a federally approved apprenticeship program, our goal will be to work through our National Training School (NTS) and our state chapters to create the administrative and delivery systems to make apprenticeship accessible to technicians in every state,” said NBFAA president George P. Gunning. “The fundamental components, including curriculum, work experience processes, and defining the responsibilities of the employer, apprentice and program sponsor are already in place.”

Gunning added that the apprentice program provides a mechanism to introduce and train technicians on the latest products, technologies and applications.

Paying attention to licensing

Contractors need to be aware that some cities and/or states require security system licensing. Such licensing may take the form of training and/or testing requirements for all electronic life safety, security and systems professionals. NBFAA offers a state-by-state licensing guide through its Web site. Membership may be required.

Meanwhile, leading security associations are working to address a lack of uniform standards and regulations. The Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) is composed of representatives of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), NBFAA, the Security Industry Association (SIA) and major alarm companies and manufacturers. It provides coordination in a variety of areas between the alarm industry and the Federal Communications Commission, other regulatory agencies and members of Congress.

In the end, it’s the intrepid electrical contractor who can make home security a winning residential opportunity. It may take some training and possible partnering with other contractors, but it’s a growing market ripe for development.

GAVIN is the owner of Gavo Communications, a marketing services firm serving the construction and the landscaping industries. He writes trend, design and other business articles for Gavo clientele.

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

Feel The Heat Of Convergence

By Claire Swedberg

Convergence among security, lighting, energy management and other disciplines is growing in a host of financial and retail institutions. As more security integrators appear on the scene to solve retailer and banking problems—both from the physical security and information technology (IT) side—contractors have the choice to step back or jump in.

That means going beyond low-voltage installations to the maintenance and service contracts that follow. Many contractors already offer services such as alarm monitoring and troubleshooting after the installation is complete, but service, maintenance and other routine follow-ups will continue to play a critical role in the business function, especially as convergence comes on strong.

“If I were an electrical contractor, I would look at the disposable items,” said Severin Sorensen, chairman of the Physical Security Council for the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), Alexandria, Va. Those items include providing data collection, remote ‘reads’, even knowing and being able to alert a retailer or bank when the lights are turned on.

Security companies, systems integrators and technology vendors are scrambling to provide retailers and banks with more services, designed to meet our mobile, global consumer and economy. As this trend continues, providing installation alone might not keep a contractor in the low-voltage business.

Access control is a market segment that continues to rise. And, the federal government is expected to release a uniform access control standard for businesses that would require a large percentage of those businesses to replace their access control readers and other hardware. This is an opportunity for some of them to integrate their access control with other security technologies, such as closed-circuit television surveillance or other network-based systems.

“Maintenance agreements and alarm services will be the life blood of a business,” Sorensen predicted. At the same time, integrators are coming onto the scene with their own computer design experience along with understanding of the networks, installation and the handling of logical security from the IP side. Low-voltage contractors stand poised to either lose business or gain it, as retailers and banks look for contractors that can provide one solution.

“A wise contractor will increase his education and awareness of convergence technology,” Sorensen said. “The creative contractors are the ones who are going to stay in the game.”

Some security vendors are extending their own services as well. Diebold Global Security is one example.

“Diebold customers in both the retail and financial markets are deploying open-market products to leverage installation and service providers for best of breed in both technology and service,” said Vince Lupe, director of Product Management and Planning for Diebold Global Security, North Canton, Ohio. “Diebold has a national footprint with more than 4,000 service professionals, which enables us to respond to and satisfy nearly any customer requirement.”

Retail surveillance

Like banks, the retail world is using security technology prominently to capture images both in front of the store and inside.

“What’s really hot in retail is digital camera usage and the ability to monitor lots of sites from one location,” said Daniel Butler, vice president of merchandising and retail operations for the National Retail Federation Foundation (NRF), Washington, D.C.

According to the National Retail Security Survey, the majority of shrinkage comes from the store’s employees and other employees across the supply chain. Stores are looking for security all the way from the manufacturing site, and the manufacturers are cooperating in that effort. Increasingly, trucks are being monitored and tracked, Butler said, using GPS tracking and radio frequency identification technology with readers and antennas installed at distribution centers, warehouses and storerooms.

Biometrics still interest retailers, but the technology has not evolved to the economies of scale necessary to make it affordable or realistic for most stores, Butler said.

It’s not just the threat of shrinkage that is fueling the retail and banking security industry.

“So many businesses have security systems today because of the threat of terrorism,” said Bill Lozon, vice president of Sales and Marketing, UltraVision Security Systems Inc., Salem, N.H. That and the fear of domestic crimes have led businesses especially in retail and banking to go one step further into fortifying the perimeters.

“We’re seeing more and more defensive perimeters and first alert alarms,” Lozon said.

Shipments of wireless products, including sensors and alarm panels will double in volume in the next five years. Wireless PIR sensors are expected to dominate the wireless intrusion industry by 2009, according to SAIC, a San Diego-based systems, solutions and technical services company, with 80 percent of products being the wireless PIRs designed to speed installation for security and alarm dealers. Wireless glass break sensors are also expected to be popular.

Astute contractors are already working with retailers and financial institutions to install and maintain security systems, many of which have converged with various types of technology. As technology evolves, maintenance and service opportunities will continue on the upswing.

Digital nation

Digital signs display content and messages on a screen and can be changed electronically. Retailers typically change thousands of prices in a day, for example, and it can be done in a matter of minutes usually via an Internet connection.

Digital signs also can be scrolling message boards, LCD or plasma display panels, electronic billboards or projection screens. Digital signage screens can offer a wide range of text or images or even full-motion video with or without sound. Retailers often use these signs as if they were television channels displaying entertainment, advertising or product information.

Expect to see all these changes slowly applied to your next retail or financial project.

SWEDBERG is a freelance writer based in western Washington. She can be reached at

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

Unified Communications

By Jennifer Leah Stong-Michas

Using a single interface for voice, e-mail, faxes and more

The initial hype surrounding unified messaging (UM) when it was introduced around 1994 has kept up. Not only has the technology evolved, but so has the name. UM has evolved into unified communications (UC) and, as the name implies, this latest generation offering helps unify different aspects of communication: voice, video, fax, e-mail, IM, conferencing, mobility, etc.

 “There is an increase in demand in response to the recent market flurry around unified communications,” said Diane Shariff, director of Communications Applications, Avaya.

People use so many types of communication in their daily lives—multiple phone numbers, mobile devices, PDAs, e-mail—and unified communication helps meld together various forms. In addition, as Shariff said, “The technology has improved and standards have evolved, plus the fact that users are simply overwhelmed has increased overall acceptance. A simple feature such as ‘one number’ where I can set my cell phone to ring at the same time as my office phone helps in responsiveness to customers.”

Through unified communications, users essentially have one inbox for all of their communication needs. A single interface—Microsoft Outlook is popular—accesses and manages e-mail, faxes and voice mail. The interface allows users to read, print and forward faxes and voice mail. Recent trends include “click to talk” or “click to conference” from an instant message.

Speech access is an intriguing advance in unified communications. One dials into the unified mailbox and, following voice prompts, asks the interactive personal assistant questions in an almost Disney-like session. You can tell the system to read e-mail for you and even respond in various ways. Though futuristic sounding, the technology is there, readily available and accessible.

Contractors take note

From the contractor’s stance, getting customers primed and ready for unified communications offerings is like any other communication application. There is a heavy reliance on the infrastructure, which is an absolute necessity in order for things to work properly.

Since most voice traffic rides on an Internet protocol (IP) network, one of the primary considerations when contemplating taking on unified communications—or any other application—is making sure that the network can handle the traffic.

This is important because, as Shariff said, “Customers are just not forgiving when it comes to delays in a voice network. It is somewhat OK when data chugs along, but people will hang up if there is a voice delay.”

“It is also important to make sure that the network’s configuration can meet the changes associated with adding on unified communications,” Shariff said. That falls into a sweet spot known by most contractors as network analysis. Having customers interested in adopting a UC solution could potentially lead to more work since, from a systems standpoint, additional servers are generally required for support. More servers mean more cabling must be run.

Today’s ever-changing world also makes new technologies useful in ways that many may not even realize.

“Speech access is also becoming instrumental in areas such as airports. Speech access and unified communications allows for users to access their e-mail from anywhere,” Shariff adds. In addition, as road rules change for cell phone usage, people may find that having something as handy as speech access tied into the main network can be a time saver, and, potentially, a traffic violation saver.

Though not all customers will choose unified communications, contractors may be surprised at the number of current clients that have interest in this area. This is especially important for contractors who have established firm relationships with companies that offer UC solutions, as this small niche offering may prove to be more popular as time goes by. Hey, even the most tech-savvy road warrior and constantly connected individual needs a little help. EC

STONG-MICHAS, a freelance writer, lives in central Pennsylvania. She can be reached via e-mail at

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

Little Red School Houses Get Wired And Turn Green

By Dr. Thomas E. Glavinich

Educational facilities focus on technological advancements and efficiency

School construction and renovation is on the rise across the United States.  It’s a process needed to accommodate a growing student population and provide the up-to-date educational facilities to prepare students for life and work in the 21st century. Even though educational facilities have specific requirements, the public and private entities that own, operate and maintain them face many of the same challenges as their counterparts that deal with other types of commercial and institutional facilities. These challenges include providing a safe, healthy and state-of-the-art learning environment for students while dealing with shrinking budgets, rising energy and material costs, and a shortage of teachers. As a result, the current trend toward integrated building systems is beginning to find its way into educational facility construction and renovation, which is improving the efficiency and effectiveness of both building operation and the educational process.

The building systems in an educational facility are generally similar to those that make up any commercial or industrial building. From an operational standpoint, these systems can be categorized as environmental, life safety and security, and production systems. The environmental systems include the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems that establish the physical environment in which building occupants live, work and play. Life safety and security systems include those that are in place to protect building occupants from physical harm. The environmental and life safety and security systems in educational facilities are very similar to those found in other commercial and institutional facilities.

Production systems, on the other hand, support the human activity that is carried out within the building and are unique for educational facilities. For an educational facility, production systems include all the technology necessary for modern education. Just like an office building or a factory, educational facilities can benefit greatly from the integration and interoperability of all these diverse systems.

Building a learning environment

The physical environment within a school must promote learning by providing a comfortable and healthy environment for students and teachers. Bad lighting and poor indoor air quality (IAQ), thermal control and acoustics all adversely impact students’ abilities to learn. The school’s environmental systems that include artificial and daylighting; heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC); and acoustics all have a significant impact on students and their learning productivity. In addition, the lighting and HVAC systems are responsible for almost all of the energy used by an educational facility.

Lighting quality is very important in schools and it is not just about light quantity. Most of what students do is visual, and poor lighting quality can affect their ability to learn effectively. Lighting and lighting control systems that are installed in schools today need to support modern instructional media such as whiteboards, video projectors, computer displays and other visual technologies. Wherever possible, daylighting should be integrated into the school. It has a positive affect on student moods and attitudes and reduces energy use when coupled with an effective control system.

Similarly, thermal comfort in the form of an effective HVAC system is important to ensure occupants’ well-being and indoor air quality. In order to optimize the learning environment, the HVAC system must be capable of not only controlling the temperature and humidity of classrooms but also air quality. This means that HVAC systems must have sensors that not only monitor temperature but also carbon dioxide to bring additional fresh air into the space when needed.

As in other commercial and institutional buildings, the environmental systems in educational facilities have been designed, installed and operated as independent, stand-alone systems. System integration can optimize the overall operation of the building and provide a healthier and more productive environment for students as well as increase the efficiency of building operations.

Division 25 of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) MasterFormat is entitled “Integrated Automation” and covers building system integration. Environmental system integration can be accomplished with either a traditional proprietary building automation system (BAS) or by the electrical contracting firm using an open-architecture control system such as LonWorks.

School security

Security in educational facilities from preschools to universities is a major concern. Safety is a basic need and schools must provide a secure environment where students feel safe. Technology plays a large role in making schools secure.

Access control in some schools is nearly equal to that found at airport gates and includes personal identification, metal detectors and the X-ray of book bags as the student enters the facility. In addition, access to restricted areas that are open only to teachers, staff and administrators is often controlled with card readers and keypads. Student movement and activity is monitored in buildings using security closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems. Students get access to restricted areas such as laboratories and dormitories using card keys and keypads. Emergency call stations are located throughout buildings and around school property in case of an emergency.

Student photo identification cards with magnetic strips and bar codes are used to quickly identify students for access to buildings as well as to school functions and sporting events. These ID cards are also being used to check out library books, purchase lunch on campus like a credit card or gain access to an examination. In the future, student ID cards with built-in passive radio frequency identification (RFID) chips or biometrics will be used to speed-up identification and improve reliability.

Educational technology

Today’s schools are high-tech facilities that incorporate the latest in communications and information technology. Information technology not only enhances education, but it also prepares students for the world that they will live and work in tomorrow. Modern schools use a variety of technologies to enhance the students’ learning experience. Liquid crystal display projectors coupled with computers, document cameras and DVD players are rapidly replacing overhead projectors and VCRs in classrooms. Smart boards replace blackboards and white boards and not only record everything written on them but also can serve as a touchscreen for interactive computer use.

Wired and wireless local area networks (LAN) are common in schools today. Wi-Fi allows students to bring their own laptops and tie into the school’s network. Wireless networks in schools also provide greater flexibility as to where and how desktop computers are used in the classroom. These networks were originally installed to allow students and teachers access to software and other network resources residing on the school or school district’s server as well as the Internet. However, schools are finding additional uses for their internal networks such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), telephony and streaming video. Some schools have found that VoIP is an economical way of putting a telephone in each teacher’s room with their own voice mail and extension that facilitates interaction with parents. In addition, CCTV systems are being used for internal school communications, and cable/satellite television systems are being used to introduce students to world news and events.

The little red school house turns green

The green building movement is an important trend that is driving system integration in educational facilities. Public and private educational facility owners are requiring that new schools be environmentally sustainable and energy efficient. Many educational facilities are being certified using the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. Meeting the LEED requirements forces building environmental systems to be integrated in order to provide a healthy, comfortable and resource-efficient environment for students.

Green educational facilities serve an educational purpose for both students and the general public as well as to conserve resources throughout the building’s life. Sustainable and energy-efficient school buildings introduce the next generation to environmental issues and their importance, which is a valuable lesson. In addition, a green educational facility shows the public that sustainable construction is more than a demonstration of social responsibility but good business because increased operating efficiency and reduced maintenance over the life of a building pays off.

The growing school construction market coupled with the increasing use of information technology in the classroom and the trend toward integrated systems to improve facility efficiency provide good reasons for the full-service electrical contracting firm to “go back to school.” If your firm has design/build capability, you should be aware that an increasing number of both private and public school projects are using design/build as their delivery system. Even with competitive bid school construction projects, there are owners experimenting with awarding work based on best value rather than selecting solely on low price. In addition to new construction work, there are still many older educational facilities that need their power, communications and control systems upgraded, which can provide a lot of opportunity for service work or small project work for the electrical contracting firm. EC

This article is the result of a research project that is sponsored by ELECTRI International and investigating future markets for electrical contracting firms.

Glavinich is an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at The University of Kansas. He can be reached at 785.864.3435 or

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

The World According to Wireless

Wow your customers with Wi-Fi expertise

By Deborah L. O’Mara

If you don’t know about the continued surge of wireless access technology or Wi-Fi, you might want to come out from under that rock. It’s everywhere: airports, libraries, coffee shops, orthodontists’ offices. Even whole cities, such as Philadelphia and San Francisco, have debuted citywide wireless access. Your portable Internet and mobile connectivity solution is ready when you are.

Wi-Fi, or detailed wireless fidelity network, is any type of 802.11 or dual-band access network. The Wi-Fi Alliance, Austin, Texas, awards a “Wi-Fi Certified” mark after products are tested and declared interoperable with one another.

In free Wi-Fi locations—hot spots—you can fire up the laptop or portable computing device, PDA or Blackberry to send and receive messages throughout a normal day.

What’s most interesting is Wi-Fi is not even close to its saturation level. Two markets in particular are growing, said Karen Hanley, senior marketing director, Wi-Fi Alliance.

New content and mobile computing continue to drive the market. In the business environment, wireless networking has to be safe and secure. Concerns for large-scale enterprise users continues to center on the security of the network, but those fears have been allayed through standards and manufacturer-designed products that incorporate encryption and other means of authentication and control.

The most current proposed standard in Wi-Fi LAN networking is 802.11n, and products certified under its requirements will soon emerge from the drawing tables. The Wi-Fi Alliance plans to begin certifying next-generation products starting in 2007, before the 802.11n standard is fully complete. This decision, according to Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, “is important for the group to keep the industry moving toward a new Wi-Fi standard that promises increased speeds and new applications, such as video distribution.”

It’s all about faster data transfer speeds, both in the distribution and the backhaul, or getting the signal or information back to the network.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has certified products for all the preceding 802.11 standards, including 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g. In March 2007, when the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers general membership accepts the new draft proposal for 802.11n, the Wi-Fi Alliance will update its certification process to comply with the standard. The group hopes to make certain the standard products will also interoperate with previously certified products. A final standard most likely won’t be completed until 2008. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 committee establishes standards for wireless Ethernet networks that define the over-the-air interface between wireless clients and a base station or access point that is physically connected to the wired network.

Beside general public connectivity, Wi-Fi extends traditional pipe, wire and cable, and fiber optic applications and encourages convergence of facility operations and interoperability.

It’s quite common for a large enterprise to integrate a wireless and hardwired network. Based on a wired backbone, Wi-Fi networks may work off the Ethernet and wireless to connect a wide range of computers, portable electronics, controls and other devices. Wi-Fi extends the network to remote areas where digging and trenching is not possible or is cost-prohibitive. Corporate users and campuses can use wireless access points to extend the Wi-Fi network into areas that are difficult to reach and they can also use it to provide easy Internet access for off-site employees and visitors. Instead of an Ethernet connection and cable, they can simply log onto the corporate network using Wi-Fi. Physical security in access control and video surveillance is where Wi-Fi will provide opportunities for electrical contractors now and in the future.

For example, BlueWave Security, San Diego and INTELLIKEY, West Melbourne, Fla., recently announced the ability of its system bundle to convert centrally managed access control locks, using the customer’s existing Wi-Fi or Ethernet network. The Wi-Fi controller uses the IEEE 802.11 standard for wireless communications and supports both the WEP and WPA wireless security standards.

A traditional biometrics solution provider is also offering a Wi-Fi based product. Silex Technology’s NetGuard Wi-Fi LAN access control with fingerprint reader is biometrics-based access control for enterprise networks, according to Gary Bradt, vice president, biometric division, Silex Technology America Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah. “For security of Wi-Fi networks, the user must first use the fingerprint biometric device to verify identification and gain access. Before a user can connect to the Wi-Fi LAN, their fingerprint must be authenticated.” 

Endless possibilities

The combination of wired and wireless and Wi-Fi access provides countless additional opportunities for enterprise-wide networking, convergence, safety and security.

BridgeWave Communications, Santa Clara, Calif., uses radio links to interconnect buildings as an alternative to running fiber-optic cabling between the sites when construction costs or delays make the deployment of fiber unsuitable, said Gregg Levin, senior vice president of product operations.

“Our products are also used to create high-speed wireless backbones to connect outdoor Wi-Fi or WiMax hubs back into core data networks. A third application, that is quickly growing in popularity, is to backhaul video traffic from IP security cameras back to security monitoring centers.”

BridgeWave products are designed to provide full-rate gigabit Ethernet data rates, with the reliability and security of fiber optic cabling.

“While these links can be viewed as a replacement for fiber, it is often better to look at them as a complementary extension for fiber. These products enable contractors who install fiber networks to economically reach locations that are beyond a local building, without sacrificing performance.”

Levin said the emphasis on wireless has turned to higher capacity applications.

“Most Ethernet backbones have increased to gigabit speeds now, and new Wi-Fi and WiMax access points require backhaul connections of 100 Mbps or more,” Levin said. “As a result, users who previously used 10–50 Mbps wireless links as an alternative to installing copper cabling are now moving to gigabit wireless links as an alternative to installing fiber. Beyond the higher data rates, the very low latency of these links makes them ideal for real-time applications, such as the remote control of high-resolution pan-tilt-zoom IP security cameras.”

The Rockford, Ill., Housing Authority (RHA) improved public safety with wireless security monitoring of a crime-prone area. The RHA chose a solution from Montel Technologies, a provider of wired and wireless networking solutions for voice, video, data and security applications. The new monitoring system is based on IP video cameras and wireless mesh network from Firetide Inc., Los Gatos, Calif. The RHA Firetide mesh network wirelessly connects outdoor video surveillance cameras to a central location for live monitoring and recording of video feeds. A digital video recorder in the central location captures video from all of the cameras and enables staff to view any camera from any location over the Internet.

Mesh nodes automatically connect to each other to form multiple wireless links to each

node. These redundant paths increase the network’s coverage and reliability even around tall buildings or large vehicles. The Firetide mesh is designed to support multiple concurrent applications.

“Cities and enterprises alike are now looking for wireless networks that can support video surveillance, voice over IP, Wi-Fi access and first responder communications,” said Mike Downes, vice president of marketing communications, Firetide.

“Wi-Fi is extremely popular and provides an access point. But you need wires in the background, and there still needs to be connectivity to the computer. That’s the wireless paradox. A mesh network can replace the network cabling where it’s not feasible to install it, like a portable wireless network for electronic ticketing and point-of-sale terminals.”

Encryption, mesh networks, nodes and backhauling are important terminology you will continue to hear as Wi-Fi extends into more safety and security applications. U.S. Wireless Online, an Internet broadband network provider, recently selected Trango Broadband Wireless, San Diego, to power the backhaul for Pittsburgh’s downtown Wi-Fi network. The Pittsburgh network is designed to provide free outdoor wireless access in its central business district. In addition, the Wi-Fi network will provide nearby municipalities with secure service for critical public safety communications.

Wi-Fi access provides a realm of new possibilities of connectivity. Being able to deploy a network that can handle the rapidly escalating data rates is also critical as wireless moves into mainstream. Electrical contractors can get a piece of this growing market as it moves the convergence of physical and information technologies even closer.   EC

O’MARA is the president of DLO Communications in Park Ridge, Ill., specializing in low-voltage. She can be reached at 847.384.1916 or

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

Change Of Plans

By Mark C. Ode

Code considerations for the improvising contractor

The price of copper has been increasing at an incredible rate over the past few years. The reasons for the increase is not an issue that will be discussed here, but the resulting price escalation affects the electrical industry since many of the electrical conductors used in construction are copper. Many contractors have inserted price-escalation clauses in their contracts to help defray the differences in the cost of copper between the time the contractor bids the job, the bid is accepted and the purchase of the copper conductors. In some cases, aluminum conductors are being substituted for copper conductors resulting in redesign of the service and feeder conductors after the bid is accepted. In other cases, the contractor or engineer is using different ampacity tables permitting higher ampacity of the same size conductor (See related story, pg. 118).

To analyze the conversion from copper to aluminum or to use a conductor at a greater than normal ampacity, various sections of the National Electrical Code (NEC) must be studied to ensure proper compliance. Article 310 is an extremely important article for conductor ampacity and contains the building blocks necessary to determine the ampacity of conductors to be used for general construction wiring. Article 310 covers general requirements for conductors, their type designations, insulations, markings, mechanical strengths, ampacity ratings and the uses of conductors. It does not apply to conductors that form an integral part of equipment, such as motors, motor controllers and similar equipment. For example, the internal wiring of a dishwasher would not be covered, but the branch circuit wiring would be.

Generally, Section 310.15(A)(1) in Article 310 permits conductor ampacity to be determined by ampacity tables provided in Section 310.15(B) or under engineering supervision, as provided in Section 310.15(C) using the Neher/McGrath formula. The formula uses a series of calculations, taking into account all heat sources and any thermal resistances between the heat sources and free air to calculate heat transfer. Section 310.15(B) covers ampacities for conductors rated 0 to 2,000 volts, as specified in Table 310.16 through Table 310.19, Allowable Ampacity, and Tables 310.20 and 310.21, Ampacity, as modified by (B)(1) through (B)(6) for various correction factors.

Moreover, Tables 310.16 and 310.17 seem to be causing some confusion based on their usage within the industry. Table 310.16 covers allowable ampacities of insulated conductors of not more than three current-carrying conductors in a raceway, cable or directly buried in earth based on an ambient temperature of 30°C (86°F). Table 310.17 covers allowable ampacities of single-insulated conductors in free air based on an ambient air temperature of 30°C (86°F).

The decision to use Table 310.16 or Table 310.17 is usually based on the method of installation. If you install the conductors in a raceway, base the ampacity of the conductors on Table 310.16. If you install single conductor cables in a single layer with one cable space between cables in an uncovered cable tray, use Table 310.17. Between these tables, the difference in permitted ampacity for the same size conductors is very apparent. For example, using the 75°C column in Table 310.16 for 500 Kcmil XHHW copper, the allowable ampacity would be 380 amperes in a raceway. When using the same cable in a cable tray, the allowable ampacity would be 620 amperes, or 240 amperes higher than the conductor installed in a raceway.

The problem occurs where the higher ampacity for a cable is used based on Table 310.17, and the conductor is then terminated to electrical equipment. Equipment terminations are usually based on the ampacity of Table 310.16, as 110.14(C)(1) states, and unless the equipment is listed and marked otherwise, conductor ampacities for equipment termination provisions should be based on Table 310.16. This creates a dilemma since the 500 Kcmil termination lug within the equipment is based on a Table 310.16 ampacity of 380 amps, but the cable is being used at an ampacity of 620 amps as permitted by 392.11(B)(3).

However, Section 310.15(A)(2) exception states “where two different ampacities apply to adjacent portions of a circuit, the higher ampacity shall be permitted to be used beyond the point of transition, a distance equal to 10 feet or 10 percent of the circuit length figured at the higher ampacity, whichever is less.” However, this exception only applies to conductors and not to the termination. The answer to the problem this raises seems to be the connection of a splicing device, in our example where one 500-Kcmil conductor at 620 amps could be converted to two 350 Kcmil conductors at 310 amps each for a total of 620 amps.

A thorough understanding is necessary since misuse of any aspects of the
NEC can be extremely costly and potentially dangerous. It is essential to understand the concepts whenever contemplating
a change. EC

ODE is a staff engineering associate at Underwriters Laboratories Inc., in Research Triangle Park, N.C. He can be reached at 919.549.1726 or via e-mail at

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

Getting Started In Security

By Wayne D. Moore

Bill yourself as code-compliant and follow the rules

Electronic security systems forecasts show continued industry growth. In fact, some studies indicate this $16 billion market will grow at an annual rate approaching 7 percent. Sales and installation of security and fire alarm systems, especially in residential, offer a relatively easy way for an electrical contractor to get into the market.

The wise contractor can also monitor alarm systems using an Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed monitoring company, referred to in the industry as a central station. Members of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), Vienna, Va., offer UL listed and other credentialed monitoring services (

Installing security systems allows you to place your company label on the control panel and decals on the windows, which help to expand your image and develop name recognition in the security and fire alarm business. In turn, this will help generate more sales from the neighbors of your initial customer.

With any venture into a new market comes new responsibilities. You will need to determine what security and fire alarm equipment offers the most reliable service. You will need to determine whether the manufacturer of that equipment offers acceptable training and technical service to support the products.

To set yourself apart from other people in the security market, you can promote “code-compliant” fire alarm and security systems. The National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 72-2007, National Fire Alarm Code, will serve as your principal guideline for the fire alarm portion.

Most contractors in the security business do not even know NFPA has begun to establish itself as a code and standards developer for the security industry. NFPA recently published NFPA 731-2006, the Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems. While no building code currently requires the use of this standard, the fact that a nationally recognized standard now exists will motivate the professional contractor to follow it as a “standard of care.”

The standard “covers the application, location, installation, performance, testing and maintenance of electronic premises security systems and their components.” Its stated purpose “is to define the means of signal initiation, transmission, notification, and annunciation; the levels of performance; and the reliability of electronic premises security systems.”

NFPA 731-2006 also can assist the contractor in understanding the features associated with security systems as well as the procedures necessary to modify or upgrade existing security systems to meet a customer’s application needs. Those familiar with electrical installations can easily obtain the skills required to install security and life safety systems.

According to the standard, “electronic premises security systems can include one or more of the following system types: intrusion detection; access control; video surveillance; asset protection; environmental detection; holdup and duress; and integrated systems.”

The standard also recommends “the installers of electronic premises security systems should become familiar with the equipment they intend to install.”

Understanding security equipment and its application provides the first means of  success. The second comes from understanding the market and its issues. False alarms continue to plague the security market. These annoying unnecessary signals have prompted the law-enforcement community to institute a “no response” policy and fines in many locales.

NFPA 731-2006 addresses this by instructing the professional contractor to know the limits of the devices and appliances for a particular design. In addition, “the installer should have an understanding of the causes of false alarms and methods that can be taken to decrease the possibility of their occurrence.” Studies point to user error as a primary cause of false alarms, so in-depth training of those deploying the system on a regular basis is critical.

Develop an understanding of local and state licensing laws. Although hairdressers and barbers must be licensed in every state, alarm contractors might not carry this requirement. Many states that have licensed security and fire alarm contractors will recognize the electrician’s license without the contractor applying for a separate license or taking additional tests. However, you may need to obtain a background check.

Homeowners will rely on your expertise to provide them with a security and fire alarm system installation that will keep them safe and secure. This reliance opens up certain additional liability issues your insurance program must address.

Join a local alarm association and find out what “standard of practices” the other contractors follow. This will help ensure you have the right contracts and understand the obligations you will encounter.

Security systems can offer a significantly profitable addition to your electrical contracting business. Understand your responsibilities before you jump in. EC

Moore, a licensed fire protection engineer, frequent speaker and an expert in the life safety field, is a co-editor of the current National Fire Alarm Code Handbook. Moore is a principal with Hughes Associates Inc. and is located at the Warwick, R.I., office.

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

Technology Know-How

By Russell Munyan

Integration removes boundaries

A recent visit with my daughter to her doctor got me wondering. When he walked in carrying a notebook computer to access her recent test results, I wondered about how secure the network was. Other organizations, such as financial institutions and retail businesses, may certainly be at risk from outsiders. Could a hacker really sit outside of a bank branch or retailer (or my doctor’s office) and access or manipulate financial, credit card or client information?

There’s a lot to know about wireless network security and it needs to be taken seriously. Granted, network safeguards against wireless security threats primarily use software and encryption and special hardware in devices that are typically installed and managed by network management or information technology (IT) personnel. But as convergence continues in all forms of connectivity, and technologies overlap and support each other, electrical and cabling contractors need a working knowledge of wireless security and its issues to effectively and responsibly serve their clients.

Say you install a wireless access point for a small- to mid-sized retailer who accepts credit and debit cards for payment. You should raise the question of network security, especially if the staff appears to be self-managing their network without much sophistication or input from an IT professional. In this way, you are elevating your company to the role of educator, providing another service.

Data encryption is a widely deployed method of security for wireless access points. There are basically three levels of encryption: unsecured, minimally secured and secured.


Let’s say that your client buys an access point off the shelf, installs it himself and then tinkers with his notebook computer to get it to communicate with others. Before long, he could successfully and, (probably) unknowingly, open wide an unsecured port into his network. At that point, a hacker utilizing tools readily downloaded from the Web for free (Google: “wireless hacking”) can sit with a notebook computer outside of your client’s walls (parked in his lot, sitting in the mall, in the space next door, etc.) and access his network. The access point service set identifier (SSID), which is a 32-character unique identifier that acts as a password when a mobile device tries to connect to it, will remain at its manufacturer’s default SSID. The hacker’s software will only need to try a relatively short list of manufacturer’s default SSIDs to get into his network.

Minimally secured

An unencrypted SSID can still be “sniffed,” so even if your client changes his SSID, it may still be unsecured. He needs to go to at least the next level of security, which utilizes wired equivalent privacy (WEP), a security protocol for wireless local area networks that encrypts data as it transmits it from one end point to another. This level of encryption is already available on many existing off-the-shelf AP’s and wireless devices. However, WEP uses a static, or unchanging, encryption code on each device; therefore, once a hacker cracks that code for one of your client’s devices, then the encryption no longer provides a barrier.


The latest encryption utilizes Wi-Fi Protected Access and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA and WPA2). These provide stronger data protection and network access control than WEP by automatically using random encryption code keys during wireless connections. WPA and WPA2 provide users with a high level of assurance that only authorized users can access their wireless networks. WPA2, which provides government-grade security, is available WPA2-Personal and WPA2-Enterprise. However, these are only available on the most recent AP’s and wireless devices, and may require manufacturers’ upgrades on older devices, which are often downloadable for free.

There are many sources for more information, including four free no-frills video tutorials by Todd Logan at Sources for white papers on security encryption and how it fits into a larger network security strategy include and

Consider this: wireless network security offers another potential income opportunity for electrical and cabling contractors. If nothing else, contractors can partner with networking and IT firms to whom they can refer clients. Potentially, everyone wins in those situations: end users get secured networks, IT firms get new customers and electrical and cabling contractors get referral fees.  EC

MUNYAN is a freelance writer in the Kansas City area, specializing in business writing and telecommunications. He can be reached at

Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine

Cabling America – Team 2000 Presents

CCTV – Video Surveillance

A complete CCTV installation manual on CD-ROM from coaxial cable to unshielded twisted pair!

Protecting company assets has become the number one reason to install surveillance cameras. With the new, less expensive and easier to handle digital cameras are extensions of management, that extra pair of eyes.  Watching employees, monitoring production processes, tracking project movements or surveying customer traffic, using a structured cabling system turns this process into a digital technology architecture.

Start from the ground floor: 

We start our manual from the basics of analog over coaxial cable and work up to the network and digital cameras and the network. 

We will show you where the work is and specific requirements.

This is an installation CD that is unique in this industry.

Take a look at what’s covered!

  • Types of CCTV systems
  • What’s in a Design
  • Basic CCTV Components  
  • Cameras
  • Lens
  • Monitors
  • Camera Switcher Devices
  • Coax Cable
  • Connectors
  • Tools for Cable Connectorization
  • Coax Cable Repair - Weatherproofing
  • Drilling and Anchoring
  • Knowledge of Building Construction
  • Mounting Hardware “step by step”
  • Ceiling Cameral Installation – Dome
  • Roof Camera Installation
  • Pan and Tilt and the zoom procedures
  • The Balun
  • Video over Unshielded Twisted Pair
  • 25 pair UTP cabling – Running cameras in the cable
  • Patch Panel and Patch Cords
  • UTP Termination for CCTV cameras
  • Power Sources and power up the cameras
  • Recording Video

Digital and analog - compression

  • IP – Surveillance – Video Network
  • TCP/IP – LAN Adapter Cards
  • Ethernet Networking
  • Installation of the server to the network
  • Hub and Switcher
  • Software
  • Surge Protection
  • Testing

And much, much more! All this is available for the low price of just $159.00.

§      Easy to read – Easy to understand - Expanded views of hardware

§      Layouts fully detailed with pictures and diagrams – hundreds of drawings

§      No one-liners – all content is fully described

§      Hook up wiring diagrams – for the first time ever!

§      BICSI Continuing Education Credits!

For more information about ordering this exciting training and installation opportunity for only $159.00– please call Cabling America – Team 2000 at 214-328-1717, or log on to our Web site at

Don’t Miss Out!

Scolink Selected To Serve On U.S. National Committee’s IEC Council

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) today announced that Alvin B. Scolnik, vice president of Technical Services, has been elected to serve a one-year term on the USNC IEC Council, which guides U.S. policy and participation in the International Electrotechnical Commission, the predominant international standards development organization for electrical products based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The U.S. National Committee is the focal point for U.S. parties interested in the development, promulgation, and use of globally relevant standards for the electrical industry. As a committee of the American Standards Institute, its mission is to help ensure that the U.S. industry participates effectively in the development of IEC standards to facilitate international trade. The USNC IEC Council coordinates the U.S. involvement in the IEC and other electrotechnical bodies associated with the IEC. The main focus of the council is to manage policy and strategic issues and to improve the overall effectiveness of the USNC’s involvement in the IEC. It also coordinates USNC activities with appropriate standards boards to promote consistency between those international and national activities that fall within the scope of the IEC.

“We are pleased that Al Scolnik has been chosen to serve on a committee so important to the return on the considerable U.S. investment in international standards for electrical products,“ says NEMA President Evan Gaddis. “He will serve with distinction as the USNC works to promote U.S. positions on important international standards issues.”

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

With AT&T, BellSouth Merger Approved, Bell ‘Revestiture’ Continues

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

The divestiture in 1984 was not such a good idea.

We are almost back to square one as another regional Bell operating company merges back into AT&T. The executives and lobbyists from AT&T and BellSouth must be on a mission from god because they are putting the band back together. It seems no one can stop them.

They waited until the last week of the year to pull off the largest telecom merger in U.S. history. I always thought the old Bell system was better as one big company. They are another step closer to proving I was right by continuing what I coined as the “revestiture of AT&T” in a column in May 2005. I stated:

For all the noise generated by small Wi-Fi prophesies and shrill catalysts for change in the telecom and network industries, you still hear the clear booming sounds of Ma Bell’s old Victrola playing louder than anyone and setting the rhythms for regulation and rewrites.

We have come about full circle with the telecom industry. Unfortunately, that means we are back where we started.

The Victrola played at the FCC again when it merged BellSouth with AT&T. They now cover 22 states with about 300,000 employees and about 70 million subscribers.

Analysis Paralysis on Net Neutrality

There is so much blog analysis on the recent approval of the AT&T and BellSouth merger that the true issue has been overshadowed. As some blogs have ascertained, this is not a Democratic or Republican victory or defeat.

The fighters and crusaders for Net neutrality better take a second look at what they really won. To me, it doesn’t look like they really got much. Some of the analysts got it right by saying AT&T didn’t give up much to get the merger approved. Parts of Jeff Pulver’s blog statement summed it up succinctly:

I … do fear that – in the long run – AT&T might have given up nothing to the FCC, nothing to the Internet application providers [and] nothing to the users of the Internet and broadband networks.

[AT&T’s] offer on Net neutrality sounds good and might be a model to countries like Japan that are considering Net neutrality rules. AT&T agreed “not to provide … any service that privileges, degrades or prioritizes any packet transmitted over AT&T/BellSouth’s wireline broadband Internet access service based on its source, ownership or destination”.

A seemingly innocuous later sentence effectively makes that almost meaningless: “This commitment also does not apply to AT&T/BellSouth’s Internet protocol television (IPTV) service.” AT&T has always intended to give paying customers priority by routing them over the IPTV part of [its] network with Alcatel routers and Microsoft software designed for [quality of service].

This is another perspective:

Here’s why this concession is not sufficient to protect the public interest if this monopoly-enhancing merger is allowed:

1.       1.       AT&T’s IPTV is exempted from the neutrality provision. It is the TV “pipes” that AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre thinks are his. The trouble is there are no separate pipes on an IP network. AT&T has left itself full flexibility to favor its own Internet video offers over all challengers or to charge others a premium for equal treatment.

2.       2.       Very carefully, the access network is defined as the part of the AT&T-supplied network between the customer premises and the nearest Internet peering point. AT&T owns huge stretches of Internet backbone – the part of the Internet between peering points – [and] there is absolutely no promise of neutrality here.

3.       3.       Even this very weak concession sunsets in two years rather than the [3.5] years AT&T has offered for [its] other concessions.

It would be a step backward if AT&T succeeds in having this definition of Net neutrality become a standard.

Once they become a huge monopoly again, Net neutrality will fade into insignificance like the Versailles Treaty did after World War I.

Not a Democrat, Republican Issue

If you are looking at the merger as a Republican victory or at the mention of adhering to weak Net neutrality verbiage as a Democratic victory, you just don’t get it. Having the best network infrastructure transcends any political party and is more of national strategic importance. Some of the self-proclaimed telecom and network analysts have missed this.

We have become too polarized and simplistic on siding with a party and its views versus understanding there are some things that are more important and shouldn’t be tagged with a party affiliation.

Concessions should be given to AT&T if they are going to build and maintain the best infrastructure in the world. That is fair. That was in effect with what they had in the pre-divestiture, monopoly days. Still, those were simpler times because we were not talking about a convergence of voice, data and video on one broadband line coming into your house.

Comcast was not around with an alternative approach. Many third-world countries were not at a point of understanding that the network infrastructure of their country was a key component for global economic development.

Today, we are far behind the network infrastructure deployments in some other countries. If AT&T isn’t going to make ours the best network, they should not be given anything in concessions and they should shutter if the competition in the market overruns them. One post on said:

Either build a robust network through and through or go out of business, get out of the way and let someone who is willing to build the network build already!

Isn’t that capitalism? Does this merger get us any closer to building a superior infrastructure? Does it merely create a “circling of the wagons” for old incumbent telephone companies to hold their last stand on profitability from an obsolete infrastructure?

DSL: ‘Damn Slow Lines’

Build the best or get out of the way. Is this telling the incumbents too strong a message? Some people have asked me where I stand on this issue. It is very simple. I am for building the best network infrastructure as a platform that America can compete with globally for economic development.

If there is any rhetoric or lobbying that focuses on “we’ll do what we can with copper” or “this is the best we can do” and it’s a second-rate effort, there should be no protective legislation or restrictive covenants that protect the incumbents.

As for “naked DSL” or selling DSL without having to tie in phone service, I fail to see the great significance there. Slow DSL is slow DSL whether or not you tie it with another service. Nothing was mentioned about getting really fast DSL or any data service to consumers.

Some people’s mouths are watering because we are going to get 6 Mbps with Project Lightspeed when other countries are looking at delivering 100 Mbps in the same timeframe. We are behind. DSL stands for damn slow lines when you compare it with fiber.

So Who Really Won?

AT&T won. Even though some people for Net neutrality are very passionate about their position as they fight AT&T, they don’t understand who they are going up against, the prior regulations and guarantees set in the Telecom Act of 1996 and what resources the incumbents really have.

Some have made clamoring for Net neutrality like it was some type of modern-day crusade. Some of these people thought they won a victory by seeing some concessions. Others – who were more astute – learned that they simply brought a knife to a gun fight.

No concessions of consequence were won and the bigger issue of ensuring that a No. 1 network will be built was never even put on the table.

Carlinism: Never underestimate an opponent. Let them underestimate you.

James Carlini will present how he pioneered measuring building intelligence at the annual BICSI winter conference in Orlando on Jan. 22, 2007. Also, check out his blog at

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

Copyright 2007

ACUTA’S Winter Seminars Focus On Convergence Issues, Communications Network Best Practices

The infrastructure issues in a converged voice and data network, along with the best practices for a variety of communications technologies, will be the focus of the 2007 Winter Seminars of ACUTA, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education.

The seminars are January 21-24, 2007, in Austin, Texas, at the Hilton Austin. They will feature presentations by representatives from a broad range of colleges and universities. Speakers from Cornell, Notre Dame, the University of Texas, Oklahoma State University, the University of Toronto, North Carolina State University, and many others will share their insight, experiences, and successes with their peers. The seminars will also feature a products and services exhibition area.

Educational sessions will address topics such as best practices in business continuity, emergency response, mobility, and procurement. On the convergence and infrastructure side, sessions will cover power and cooling needs, wireless communications management, cross-training of telecom and IT staff, and more.

ACUTA is the only national association dedicated to serving the needs of higher education communications technology professionals, representing nearly 2,000 individuals at more than 800 institutions.

“This first ACUTA event of 2007 provides a great opportunity for members and others to learn more about what their peers are doing right, both in their migrations to converged networks and in a variety of other infrastructure and management issues, “ said Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. “Our educational sessions, of course, are only part of the value of our seminars. Communications professionals can network with their peers and learn from each other, providing tremendous benefits to them and to their institutions.”

For more information or to register, visit the ACUTA website at www. or call the organization’s office at 859-278-3338.


ACUTA, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, is an international non-profit educational association serving colleges and universities. Its core purpose is to support higher education communications technology professionals in contributing to the achievement of the strategic mission of their institutions. ACUTA represents nearly 2000 individuals at more than 800 institutions of higher education, with members ranging from small schools and community colleges to the 50 largest U.S. institutions. ACUTA’s Corporate Affiliate members represent all categories of communications technology vendors serving the college/university market. For more information, visit  

Webcast: Shielded Twisted-Pair Cabling

January 17, 2007 – 1:00 p.m. EST

Before the first 10GBase-T switch has even hit the market, vendors and users at the network’s physical layer are talking about the possibility of using shielded rather than unshielded twisted-pair cabling as the medium upon which to run the protocol. While UTP has long been the king of horizontal cabling in North America, today many are taking a harder look at the price, performance, and practicality issues that have brought shielded cabling back into the mix as a real option. This webcast examines shielded cabling as its own medium, and also puts it into perspective alongside UTP and fiber-optic cabling.

Presentation 1: The Current State of Category 6A UTP

This presentation will cover the “good, bad, and ugly” of Cat 6A UTP. It will discuss what Cat 6A can do, including 10GBase-T support and the associated alien-crosstalk performance. It will also delve into the shortcomings of Cat 6A UTP—issues such as cable size and its impact on pathways and spaces fill; ease/difficulty of pulling Cat 6A UTP; and current networking-industry pressure for a smaller cable to meet 6A requirements. Overall, this presentation is intended to be an honest, straight-up assessment of Cat 6A UTP and why it gives rise to the possible re-emergence of shielded cabling in North America.

Presentation 2: Shielded Cabling Past & Present

A history lesson paired with current events, this presentation will explain the different constructions of shielded cable (PiMF, FTP, etc.) and explain their historical use in parts of Europe. It also discusses the ISO Class F/Category 7 standard and the fully shielded cable specified within it. The presentation then turns its attention to TIA Cat 6A and IEEE 10GBase-T support, answering the question: What type/size/shape of shielded cable could meet the performance requirements of 10GBase-T? And how would such a shielded cable be an answer to the “bad/ugly” issues with Cat 6A UTP that are discussed in Presentation 1?

Presentation 3: Terminating and Grounding/Bonding Shielded Cable

The biggest apprehension among potential users of shielded cabling systems is the necessity to properly ground these systems. Often asked by potential users is, “If the system is not properly grounded, will the shield really act as an antenna, attracting the outside interference it is supposed to prevent?” This presentation answers that question and more by explaining in detail the procedures necessary to properly ground a shielded system, as well as how (if at all) the termination procedures for shielded cable to shielded connectors varies from that of unshielded systems.

Presentation 4: Media Price Comparisons

With the technical considerations covered, this presentation addresses the bottom-line topic of price. It describes the cost-per-port of 10-GbE-capable unshielded twisted pair, shielded twisted pair, and multimode fiber—taking into consideration factors including cable, connectors, labor, networking equipment, and “space” costs such as the necessity to add pathways for larger cables.

January 17 Webcast seminar on shielded cable. And here is a link that will bring anyone directly to the web page where they can sign up to attend.

Tension relievers: Ever-faithful Cable Pullers

A sampling of everything from complete pulling and labeling systems, to traditional fish poles for hard-to-reach installations, to mini-lubricants for your tool belt.

STEVE SMITH is executive editor for Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same” is a saying well-suited to cable-pulling and its equipment. But while some tools of the trade have remained as popular and effective now as they were when introduced years ago, advanced cabling technologies are placing renewed importance on the role and effectiveness of cable-pulling products ranging from complex systems that separate cables as they’re pulled, to reliable fish poles that can do big things in small places.

“With advanced network speeds, proper material handling is more critical than ever to ensure network performance, flexibility, and life span,” notes Greg Bramham, vice president of cable-pulling technology innovator Beast Cabling Systems. The company’s Beast III is billed as an all-in-one portable system that separates, organizes, meters, and labels cable off the reel or out of the box. The technology is designed to enable time-saving cable pulling, and is built to ensure uniform installation practices at any premises or outside plant jobsite.

Dealing with points of friction

“In traditional installation methods, makeshift entry points that support cables as they enter the pathway can become points of friction that can stress or even damage the cable,” adds Bramham. “Furthermore, while cables are being pulled, most of the tension is placed on the outside cables of the bundle, which can further stress those cables. Consider that the alien near-end-crosstalk (ANEXT) parameter that limits 10-Gigabit Ethernet performance over a 100-meter copper channel is increased by the tendency of cables to absorb signals from neighboring cables in close proximity.”

Bramham says the Beast III system, including a Wirewolf pathway guide and patch panel organizer as well as The Claw anti-twist and tensile pressure equalizer, helps maintain a natural separation in the pathway to help reduce ANEXT and provide more headroom in high-speed applications.

“The Beast is not just a set of components—it’s a CIS (cabling installation system) for pulling cable that results in better network performance and manageability while reducing labor, improving accuracy, and reducing waste,” Bramham says.

“Because CIS maintains natural separation of cables in the pathway, it’s easier to identify and remove specific cables, if needed,” Bramham adds. “This reduces the tendency to leave possibly hazardous abandoned cables sitting in the pathway.”

Gone fishing

While employing a more basic cable-pulling task, ensuring cable separation and reducing friction are also key benefits of Greenlee’s new FP12 12-foot fish pole--a traditional cable-pulling tool made especially for maneuvering in cramped spaces, especially over suspended ceilings.

“We developed the new FP12 to complement the current line of 18-foot and 24-foot poles,” says Greenlee product manager Jim Eisele, adding that the smaller pole’s size and light weight “make it an excellent tool for pushing and pulling wires in residential and light commercial buildings.”

Weighing in at less than 1.5 pounds, the fiberglass FP12 also features a proprietary hook that can help maneuver or adjust hanger wires used in suspended ceilings. It collapses to 26 x 1 ¼ inches, and offers added control with its friction locking system.

Greenlee’s FP18 and FP24 fish poles, meanwhile, feature an enhanced gripping section, while the FP24 has snap-lock buttons to maintain extended reach capabilities.

Some cable-pulling products’ efficiency simply stands the test of time. Cable Joe, introduced eight years ago and now manufactured by Polygon Wire Management, still serves as a popular stand-alone “third hand” for cable pulling.

The unit, which can be attached to a tray or joist, features a steel C-clamp support arm topped by a cable pass-through ring lined with six rollers, and can be suspended and swiveled into any position to support up to 20 cables at once.

“I’ll set up four to six Cable Joes along the run and pull the cables through the building on my own,” says Steve McIvor, Pro Cable Installations, of the device’s one-person operation. The six-roller system forms a 3-inch square opening for the up to 20 network cables to be safely pulled around corners and over beams, without the need of an installer hand-feeding the cables.

“We have supplied Cable Joe to installation companies around the world,” says co-inventor Ian MacDonald. “Installers will have four or five in their trucks ready to go for the next job.”

Easing tension, or not?

Meanwhile, cable-pulling lubricants, such as IDEAL’s ClearGuide, are now as portable as some of the technologies it supports. ClearGuide four-ounce six-packs are designed especially for installers working on small jobs or retrofits, and are small enough to fit into a tool belt, bag, or pocket.

A polymer-based formula, which the manufacturer claims is safe for all types of cable, gives ClearGuide is consistent cable-pull lubricity. It is designed to remain stable over a temperature range of 30º F to 180º F, and when it dries, the non-toxic, non-flammable lubricant won’t clog conduit.

Installers should be aware that all cable-pulling lubricants are currently in the eye of a storm concerning their impact on attenuation, return-loss, and insertion-loss on higher-performance UTP cabling, such as Category 6 and 6A. Signal loss can result from radio-frequency-induced heating of residual water found in the lubricant before it dries. (See “Ask Donna,” October 2006, page 10.)

Reprinted with full  Permission of CI&M Magazine Dec. 2006 issue

Outside-plant System Design Is An Ageless Art And Science

From its beginnings in the Bell System to its applications today, the outside plant has always required specialized skill and expertise.

Patrick McLaughlin is chief editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

The set of knowledge and skills required to accurately design a customer-owned outside-plant cabling system has roots that date back more than one-and-a-half centuries, to the first telegraph system. Lessons learned and best-practices implemented in the 150-year history of long-distance wired communication are being applied today perhaps more than ever, as building-to-building campus connections carry ever-increasing amounts of voice, data, and video.

Obviously, much has taken place over such a long period of time; the past couple decades in particular have witnessed dramatic change in communications systems. Yet the cumulative effects of outside plant’s storied past very much impact today’s design processes, and for that reason they are worth reviewing to place today’s happenings in an appropriate context. Specifically, the training and guidelines under which OSP designers have worked has a long and winding history that to this day has not stopped evolving.

“In 1967, AT&T felt the existing architects and builders program was not effective,” recalls Vic Phillips, RCDD/OSP Specialist, a BICSI ( master instructor and career OSP designer. “They partnered with Bell Canada and developed a new program within the Bell System. It was called the Building Industry Consulting Service [BICS]. Over the next 10 years it was implemented within the Bell Operating Companies with differing degrees of success. The program migrated into the GTE system, which adopted and implemented it within their corporate structure.

“The BICS organizations were charged with the responsibility of designing and implementing a CREDFAX—cable, riser, equipment, distribution, facilities—design. As an example, Southern Bell implemented the program during the mid-1970s, with full implementation in the late ’70s.”

It is no coincidence that the word BICS strongly resembles the name of the cabling industry’s educational association, BICSI. The group was originally founded as Building Industry Consulting Services International, as a resource and educational group for BICS organizations and the individuals within them—building industry consultants or BICs. Today the association goes by what was originally an acronym—BICSI.

“BICs were charged with the responsibility of working with architects, consulting engineers, and contractors to design and construct the pathways and spaces that would allow the regulated telcos to implement their cabling infrastructure and equipment in a cost-effective manner,” Phillips continues. “They were responsible for the entrance facilities all the way to the work-area location, including the equipment. This continued until 1984 when the modified final judgment issued by Judge Howard Green broke up the Bell System.”

Baby Bells and an infant industry

That famous judgment irreversibly changed the course of the entire telecommunications industry, and is viewed by many as the very birth of the structured cabling industry we know today. In addition to a number of competitive issues concerning the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), the ruling gave ownership of the telecommunications cabling systems within customer premises to those customers. Prior to that time, the service provider owned all equipment, including hardware and cabling.

AT&T was split into seven RBOCs, which then formed deregulated companies that provided competitive market products and services behind the point of demarcation (demarc), also commonly known as the network interface device (NID). These companies are still in business today, though many of them not bearing their original names. As Phillips explains, RBOCs were relegated to providing dial tone to the premises, and their non-regulated subsidiaries would provide the premises infrastructure and equipment.

From a user’s perspective, what really happened beginning in 1984, when homeowners and businesses took ownership of and responsibility for the systems that had previously been owned and operated by the monopoly utility?

“Taking possession of the embedded outside plant was essentially a Trojan Horse for the end users as I see it,” remarks John Adams, RCDD/OSP Specialist. Like Phillips, Adams is a master instructor for BICSI; he has four decades of experience in OSP design. Of end users in 1984, he says, “Yes, it gave them complete control of their destiny as to moves, adds, and changes and it was free. But it also carried the intriguing tag ‘as is’ attached to it.

“Inside the Trojan Horse lie the task of, how do we maintain this cable now that we own it? Some of it was under air pressure, which generated the questions, ‘Who knows how to do air-pressure maintenance?’ and ‘Is it necessary to maintain pressure?’

“All these uncertainties led to the creation of the BTL—below-the-line—telco groups that were certain to rescue their client. The BTL groups—BICS and GTE—targeted customers that didn’t want or didn’t know how to take care of nor design their own networks with respect to OSP. The same approach applied to ISP as well.”

Reflecting on the levels of responsibility in the earliest days of deregulation, Phillips recalls, “I was one of the BICs that went to the deregulated side of the business and was initially charged with supporting the deregulated efforts in four states. My counterpart in South Central Bell Advanced Systems was responsible for five states. Needless to say, this situation evolved into a different organization that was staffed to properly support the deregulated companies’ efforts.”

The impetus for standards

He also notes that what happened in the early years of deregulation gave rise to the modern set of structured cabling standards. In 1988, representatives of the computer industry approached the EIA (Electronics Industries Association at the time, now the Electronics Industries Alliance), requesting that some standards be written to structure systems within the premises market. The need for this request arose, he says, because of confusion in the market caused when AT&T, Northern Telecom, and other companies initiated proprietary designs for the premises based on their own brand-name systems. As these proprietary designs were being implemented, other companies began developing products to compete with the in-house brands of the telcos. Having multiple options resulted in confusion among the buying marketplace, and underscored the need for open-architecture standards.

Work on what would become the TIA/EIA-568 standard for telecommunications cabling in commercial buildings began in 1985. Yet it was 1999 when the TIA produced a finalized outside-plant cabling standard, the TIA/EIA-758 Customer-Owned Outside Plant Telecommunications Cabling Standard. Without ANSI standards to guide them for approximately 15 years before the publication of TIA-758, what did OSP designers use as the basis for their work?

“Immediately after divestiture, the deregulated companies began offering CO-OSP using their individual practices,” says Phillips. “They found that their regulated practices had to be altered to facilitate the implementation of digital PBXs, as digital stations would not work on OSP cable plant designed with bridge tap and multiple appearances of plant. Southern Bell Advanced Systems, the deregulated entity formed by Southern Bell, found they needed to incorporate new OSP designs into their practices and began using the BICSI Manual and the BSPs issued by AT&T to support customer-premises equipment. As the BICSI Manual changed over the years to become the Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual, it became the accepted design criteria for this organization.”

Adams adds that the free-enterprise aspect of deregulated telecommunications design could cause grief for end-user organizations, in much the same way that having multiple brand choices caused confusion. “The customer was faced with advice from the BICS groups, and advice from 100 other so-called cabling experts. Confused for years, the end users needed some unbiased direction on how OSP should be designed. Hence the development of the ANSI standard.”

Structured OSP learning

Around the same time the TIA’s CO-OSP standard was published, BICSI published the premier edition of its Customer-Owned Outside Plant Design Manual. The fourth edition of that manual will be released soon; Adams is subject matter expert-team leader (SME-TL) for the publication. He relates that the manual is based on a variety of reference documents that represent best-practice design approaches. Among those reference documents are BICSI’s TDMM, the TIA-758-A standard, AT&T’s OSP Manual, GTEPs, other ANSI standards, ISO/IEC documents, the National Electrical Safety Code, the National Electrical Code, OSHA documents, RUS (now RSUP documents), the Canadian Electrical Code, documents from the Insulated Cable Engineers Association, NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, and many others. In addition to those documents, the manual includes input generated from the practical experiences of the individuals who volunteered to put it together.

Along with BICSI’s CO-OSP Manual is the professional designation OSP Specialist, which individuals who already possess BICSI’s Registered Communications Distribution Designer designation can obtain by passing a test based on the CO-OSP manual. Typically intensive studying and classroom-style courses are required to obtain the OSP Specialist designation.

“The main goal of BICSI establishing the OSP courses in 2000 was to pass on knowledge from one generation to the next,” Adams notes. “It was a known fact that the OSP skilled workforce was beginning to retire and with that retirement went knowledge—knowledge that couldn’t be taught in a one-week course or even in a year. To answer that need, BICSI developed the OSP101 Site Survey and Media Selection; OSP102 Direct Buried and Underground; and OSP103 Aerial Cabling [courses]. Soon after came the need for a specialty designation. BICSI created the OSP200 Review class to prepare students to take the OSP Specialty exam.”

Has the effort to educate a next generation about OSP design worked? “I’d say yes for the most part,” says Adams. “However, OSP is inherently dangerous, confusing, and sometimes seen as ‘grunt work’ by designers. Therefore, many designers will steer clear of OSP and refer it to nationally established installation and design companies that were used by the telcos to install some, if not most, of their OSP. Costs to buy OSP equipment is extremely high, as is insurance, due to liability, which is also a factor contributing to avoidance by many designer/installers. BICSI courses in CO-OSP have enlightened many and scared off many others,” he concludes.

Reprinted with full  Permission of CI&M Magazine Dec. Issue

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The more you use it, the more ways you’ll find to get right to the report or article on exactly the topic you’re looking for. So try FacilityZone, bookmark it and use it often. I’m convinced the more you use it, the more you’ll like it. Remember, turn to, the quick and convenient tool that’s updated continually and ready for you 24/7!

CABA To Hold Intelligent Building Designs Seminar With Building Intelligence Group At AHR Dallas

Intelligent Buildings provide improved comfort and productivity while reducing energy and operating expenses. This seminar is focused on the design and implementation of these projects. As an owner, contractor, supplier or design professional, you will find this to be a valuable day spent learning details on the key elements that make up an Intelligent Building. Nationally recognized industry leaders will present, show case studies, and conduct workshops that will help you develop the skills needed to make your next project intelligent.

The seminar will be held on January 31, 2007 from 8:30 - 3:00 PM in Room D-167. There is an admission fee for this event. Go to for more information and to register. Brought to you by CABA in cooperation with Building Intelligence Group.

About CABA
CABA is the only industry association to offer industry intelligence to stakeholders in all areas of home & building automation. CABA's resources cover areas such as HVAC, lighting, security, A/V, communications technologies, energy management and controls. A number of resources are available through the association including iHomes & Buildings magazine, CABA's Summits and Conferences, CABA's monthly eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit for further information.

CABA Unveils Intelligent Building Ranking Tool

CABA is pleased to unveil its intelligent building ranking tool: the Building Intelligence Quotient (BIQ).

The BIQ ranking tool has three functions. It serves as: i) a means to evaluate and measure the "value" of intelligent building performance; ii) a design guide for integration of building intelligence in new building projects; and iii) a building automation retrofit action plan tool.

"The Building Intelligence Quotient is designed to paint a clear picture of your building intelligence performance against best practices for design, installation and operation," states Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "It gives practical advice for improvements, offers resources for making the upgrades, and provides additional information on relevant strategies and technologies."

The tool allows property owners and managers to rate a building's intelligence and provides design guidance to ensure that all relevant issues are considered when making a choice of subsystems and their level of integration. Owners and developers with multiple properties can also use the BIQ tool to assess and compare the building intelligence systems in their portfolio.

In addition, as more and more buildings are BIQ verified, point scores will be aggregated in an anonymous database, enabling users to analyze how their building intelligence design performs in relation both to the median and to buildings that are similar in terms, type and region.

Because the assessment is completely online, owners and managers have the ability to change input up to a year, with an option to extend. This allows users to keep their assessment up-to-date as the building intelligence changes through the project delivery stages as buildings are retrofitted.

Building intelligence results in higher building value, improved comfort, security, flexibility and reliability while reducing costs and increasing productivity. Lower costs and higher property and lease values can result in aggressive return on investments and clear justifications for making buildings more intelligent.

The modular assessment will initially generate a report that will provide benchmark rankings as well as recommendations for improvements in the following categories: communication systems; building automation; annunciation, security and control systems; facility management applications; and building structure and systems.

The ranking tool is available at

About CABA

CABA is the only industry association to offer industry intelligence to stakeholders in all areas of home & building automation. CABA's resources cover areas such as HVAC, lighting, security, A/V, communications technologies, energy management and controls. A number of resources are available through the association including iHomes & Buildings magazine, CABA's Summits and Conferences, CABA's monthly eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit for further information.

Whirlpool Corporation Joins CABA Board Of Directors

The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) announced today the addition of Whirlpool Corporation to its Board of Directors. CABA is a trade association that promotes advanced technologies for integrated systems and the automation of homes and buildings.

"I am gratified that Whirlpool has joined CABA's Board of Directors," stated Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "With the firm's addition, CABA continues its long tradition of representation from premier household appliance manufacturers."

Carol Priefert, Senior Product Development Manager, will represent Whirlpool on CABA's board. She has more than 10 years of experience with the company and has been closely involved with educating consumers about the benefits of Internet technologies.

Priefert is author of the book Home and Family Internet Resource Guide and lectures on the topic. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a BS degree in Family and Consumer Science and has taken MBA classes at Michigan State. She has worked for companies such as ED & F Mann, GE, and Merillat.

She has also played a leading role in CABA's Internet Home Alliance Research Council, a cross-industry network of leading companies engaged in collaborative research to advance the connected home space. The Alliance's research projects enables participating companies to gain important insights into the connected home space and leverage those insights into viable new business opportunities.

Recently, the Internet Home Alliance, under the lead of Whirlpool, completed its collaborative Laundry Time Pilot. Conducted in three Atlanta homes from May 30 through September 7, 2006, the study examined how Internet-connected laundry facilities could benefit household consumers.

"Laundry Time is a great tangible example of the benefit of CABA membership," states Priefert. "Through collaborative research opportunities, CABA members can evaluate their latest products and services in a highly-controlled and realistic environment."

About CABA

CABA is the only industry association to offer industry intelligence to stakeholders in all areas of home & building automation. CABA's resources cover areas such as HVAC, lighting, security, A/V, communications technologies, energy management and controls. A number of resources are available through the association including iHomes & Buildings magazine, CABA's Summits and Conferences, CABA's monthly eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit for further information.--

CABA Promotes Building Life-Cycle Cost Analysis: Organization to Introduce Assessment Tool in 2007

Life cycle cost analysis plays a significant role as property owners and operators address the long-term use of building products, construction processes and infrastructure costs. Life cycle costs analysis calculates the cost of a system over its entire life span.

Often known as "cradle-to-grave" analysis, life cycle costing is important for cost accounting purposes. It helps building owners and operators determine what costs need to be allocated to a building system so that they can recover their investment outlay over time.

Life cycle cost analysis has been described by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a method for assessing the total cost of facility ownership because it takes into account all costs of acquiring, owning and disposing of a building or building systems. It is an economic evaluation method that determines the effects of alternative designs of buildings and building systems and quantifies these effects in dollar amounts.(1)

The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) has been actively involved in developing life cycle costs analysis models for the industry.

In 2004, the organization undertook an industry-wide survey to aid in the development of a parametric model that would analyze the life-cycle costs of buildings. CABA develop the survey based upon a white paper that argued that by utilizing life cycle costing methodology, owners and operators could estimate the total cost benefit of deploying integrated and intelligent building technologies over the lifespan of an entire building. (2)

Driven by CABA's Intelligent & Integrated Buildings Council, industry initiatives continued through 2005 to develop methods to evaluate intelligent and integrated building systems in order to actually monitor operating and maintenance costs and verify holistic cost reductions.

CABA contracted with Reed Construction Data/RSMeans to develop an in-depth assessment of best practices for buildings with full or partial building control integration. (3) The purpose of the study was to apply best practices information for new buildings to define life cycle costs. Office buildings were chosen as the primary building type for the assessment. The assessment found that owners were primarily concerned with first costs and building appearance as well as operating costs. The reality however is that over a 30-year period, initial building costs account for only two percent of total building costs, while operations and maintenance costs equal six percent and personnel costs equal 92 percent (4). CABA's study conclusively found that office buildings of 50,000 to 100,000 square feet demonstrated the best return-on-investment for integrated systems, but that there was a lack of tools to evaluate the overall life cycle costs of implementation. As a consequence, CABA undertook the development of a life cycle analysis tool.

  CABA's Life Cycle Analysis Tool is a set of online cost calculators that will be accessible on the CABA Web site, hosted and updated by Reed Construction Data/RSMeans. It will be designed to provide detailed cost models and associated life cycle costs for three building types: commercial offices, educational and governmental buildings. The life cycle analysis tool will address first-time and second-time costs of capital construction and maintenance respectively, as well as longer range operating and replacement costs.

The cost models will be determined through the proprietary RSMeans Construction Cost Index (CCI), which defines the cost models' specific geographic location factors for installed costs. It is expected that the tool will also draw upon standards determined by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Subcommittee E06.81 on Building Economics for determining building life cycle costs.

CABA's Life Cycle Analysis Tool is expected to debut in the first quarter of 2007. Both Industry Canada and the U.S. Department of Energy have provided substantive financial assistance to the project. For more information about the tool, please go to:

About the Author

Rawlson O'Neil King is CABA's Communications Director. CABA is a not-for-profit industry association that promotes advanced technologies for the automation of homes and buildings in North America. More information about CABA can be found at its Web site:

Hitachi Cable Manchester To Introduce New Premise Catalog At BICSI

Hitachi Cable Manchester (HCM) has finished developing its new premise catalog and will be releasing it at the upcoming BICSI show in Orlando, FL.  The new catalog will feature new products such as the Supra 10G Category 6A cable, the high performance Premium Category 6 cable, higher fiber count indoor/outdoor fiber optic cables and armored indoor plenum rated fiber optic cables.  Also incorporated into the new catalog is a conduit fill chart and metric/English conversion table. Visit booth  #921 in the expo area  to pick up your copy.

To learn more about other HCM products, you can also visit the corporate website at

Corning Cable Systems Introduces Secure Keyed LC Connector Solution

Corning Cable Systems, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunication’s segment, introduces its secure Keyed LC Connector solution. The Keyed LC Solution provides network security in optical fiber cabling, utilizing the small-form-factor LC Connector format. 

The Keyed LC Connector was designed for organizations with a need to segregate networks due to privacy or security concerns, including secure government facilities and research labs. Based on the standard LC single-fiber connector, the Keyed LC Connector provides physical separation for up to four networks, applications or organizations.

Four color-coded key combinations prevent inadvertent or unauthorized access to networks and provide fast and easy network identification. On the front and back of the patch panel, keyed connectors and adapters are used to match access rights to the proper network. The key features in the connector and adapter cannot be duplicated with standard LC components, preventing violation of network security.

The small-form-factor Keyed LC Connector allows high-density deployments and supports up to 288 fibers in a 4U rack-mountable housing. A full solution is available, including factory-installed Keyed LC Connectors for assemblies and Plug & Play Universal System modules, field-installable UniCam® Connectors and anaerobic keyed LC connectors, and adapters loaded into standard LANscape® Solutions panels and modules.

The connectors are available in single-mode, 62.5 micron multimode (OM1), standard 50 micron (OM2) and laser-optimized 50 micron (OM3) multimode. The Keyed LC Connectors are also available in two installation types: no-epoxy, no-polish and anaerobic quick-polish.

Corning Cable Systems’ no-epoxy, no-polish UniCam® Connectors install quickly and easily in the field with a single no-consumables tool kit, with a typical installation time of less than one minute per connector. This reliable, proven technology has led to the sale of more than 40 million UniCam Connectors since 1993, demonstrating Corning’s unparalleled leadership position in the no-epoxy, no-polish field-installable connector market.

Corning Cable Systems’ anaerobic connectors feature a fast-cure anaerobic adhesive and do not require electrical power for lamps or ovens. The connectors are hand polished and do not require a polishing machine. A single-strike crimp solution allows an assembly and polish time of less than four minutes per connector. 

For additional information on Corning Cable Systems products or services, contact a customer service representative at 1-800-743-2675, toll free in the United States, or (+1) 828-901-5000, international, or visit the Web site at  (

TIA Announces Staff Additions James Maday, Terry Lane And Michael Nunes

In his first week as President of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Grant Seiffert announced that the association has bolstered its collective expertise as the leading advocate for the global information, communications and entertainment technology industry in Washington, DC, through the hiring of James Maday, Terry Lane and Michael Nunes.

“Adding James Maday, Terry Lane and Michael Nunes to TIA’s staff enhances and complements our current team,” Seiffert said.  “With these additions, TIA can help our member companies advance global communications in the rapidly evolving information, communications and entertainment technology industry.”

James Maday joined TIA on December 13 as manager of government affairs.  Maday will help TIA coordinate the projects, programs and policy activities being undertaken by the Policy Department in its advocacy for the association’s member companies.  Maday comes to TIA from Capitol Hill, having worked as a legislative assistant for Congressman Michael Oxley from 2003 to 2006.

Terry Lane served on the staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives for two years as deputy communications director.  Prior to that, Terry covered the telecommunications industry for Communications Daily as a reporter for more than four years.  He joined TIA’s Communications Department as its communications manager on December 27 and, among other assignments, will assist TIA on public policy communications efforts and research projects on trends affecting the industry.

Michael Nunes arrived at TIA today as its new director of international and government affairs; Nunes brings more than 10 years of international relations and trade experience to TIA, most notably and recently in the capacity of economic advisor to Jennifer Hillman, a commissioner with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).  Nunes has worked extensively on telecom issues, first as an analyst with the Gartner Group in Mountain View, Ca., and later as telecom services analyst for the ITC.

Maday, Lane and Nunes will join TIA Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs Rebecca Schwartz, a recent association hire who monitors FCC actions, rulemaking and regulations affecting TIA member companies.  Schwartz, who holds a degree from Catholic University’s School of Law and a certificate from the Communications Law Institute, interned at TIA and Alcatel before joining the association in the fall of 2006.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association is the leading trade association for the information, communications and entertainment technology (ICET) industry. TIA serves ICET suppliers to global markets through its leadership in standards development, domestic and international policy advocacy, and facilitating member business opportunities. TIA represents the communications sector of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). For more information, go to

Minuteman® Endeavor On-line Uninterruptible Power Supply Sets A New Standard For Flexibility, Capacity And Value

Para System, Inc., a leader in power technology with its line of Minuteman® Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems, announces its Minuteman® Endeavor™ On-line UPS Series combining double-conversion technology and industry-leading features. Its unique design and flexibility allows the units to be installed in  one of several configurations depending on the situation:

Rack/cabinet configuration (19-inch rack kit included, 23-inch rack kit optional)

Tower configuration (installation kit included)

Wallmount configuration (installation kit optional)

Double-conversion technology is designed so that the inverter is always connected to the output of the UPS. When utility line power is present, the inverter operates to charge the battery. Because the inverter is always connected to the load, this design provides better filtering and a more stable output voltage than typical standby or line interactive technologies.

Models in the Endeavor Series are:

ED1000RM2U - 1000VA / 800W

ED1500RM2U - 1500VA / 1200W

ED2000RM2U - 2000VA / 1600W

ED3000RM2U - 3000VA / 2100W

Key features for the Endeavor Series include:

Virtually unlimited runtime using external battery packs

Maximum 8 hour rapid recharge time of batteries, no matter how many battery packs are installed, through the use of independent battery chargers in each external battery pack

Output receptacle control through two independently controlled output circuits, allows users the ability to shutdown or reset specific connected devices without having to shutdown the entire output of the UPS

Compact design at only 3.5 inches (89mm) high, Endeavor Series units can be installed in a rack or cabinet using only 2U of rack space and still provide the most battery runtime using the least amount of rack space

The Endeavor Series features a front panel display that provides information about battery status, connected load capacity, multiple alarms and warning indicators. It also serves a testing mechanism.

In addition to the various mounting/rack kits, the Endeavor UPS may be ordered with stand-alone Ethernet/SNMP communication an environmental sensor and/or a dry contact closure card for additional control and power management capabilities.

Detailed information can be accessed and control of the UPS via the new Minuteman SentryPlus™ software included, free with each Endeavor unit.  It can be installed and accessed concurrently over USB, RS-232 and Ethernet connections when used with the Endeavor Series.

Para Systems offers a $200,000 Minuteman Platinum Protection Plan™ for equipment connected to the Endeavor Series UPS systems. In addition, a standard, non-prorated, three-year warranty is provided on the UPS units including the batteries.

Recognizing the benefit of being environmentally conscious, Para Systems has developed the Endeavor Series to comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive as established and defined by the European Union. The Endeavor Series UPS systems are certified to the following standards: UL 1778, CSA, and CE. The 500VA, 2000VA, and 3000VA units are FCC Class A certified) and the  1000  VA unit is  FCC Class B certified.

Lower costs, with more features, makes the Minuteman® Endeavor Series UPS the value leader in the UPS industry, with MSRPs between $599 and $1,399. The Minuteman® Endeavor Series UPS is in stock and ready for immediate delivery.

220V versions of the Endeavor Series will be available for distribution during the first quarter of 2007.

Fiber Optics 1-2-3 and Advanced Hands-on Fiber Optic Training in Puerto Rico

The Light Brigade announces a combination of the company’s two most popular courses — Fiber Optics 1-2-3 Design, Installation, and Maintenance and Advanced Hands-on Modules on the Road — to be held successively in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February, 2007

Fiber Optics 1-2-3 Design, Installation and Maintenance focuses on how to design, install, test, and maintain fiber-optic communication systems for voice, video, and data applications.  The course includes two days of classroom (theory) training and two days of hands-on exercises. It is eligible for 32 BICSI RCDD credits as well as optional ETA Fiber Optic Installer certification.

The Advanced Hands-on Modules “On The Road” course is designed for those who will be working with singlemode fiber for voice, video or data communications. The materials focuses includes optical return loss testing; OTDRs; how to avoid the incorrect handling and installation at 1310 nm, 1550 nm and 1625 nm; and how to enhance troubleshooting, maintenance and restoration response techniques. This course features one day of classroom (theory) instruction and three days of hands-on exercises. It is eligible for 28 BICSI RCDD credits as well as optional ETA Fiber Optic Technician–Outside Plant certification.

Fiber Optics 1-2-3          February 20-23, 2007

Advanced Hands-on       February 26 - March 1, 2007

Students who enroll in both courses receive a price reduction for both courses.

For more information or to register for a course, contact Ignacio Diaz of Glenn International at (787) 7017103 or Pam Wooten of The Light Brigade at (206) 575-0404.

Company Information

Over 30,000 attendees have participated in The Light Brigade’s instructor-led fiber-optic training courses worldwide. In addition, The Light Brigade has a wide variety of fiber optic training DVDs, videotapes, CD-ROMs and computer-based training available.

Graybar Opens In Panama City, Fla.

$4.3-billion distribution leader expands its Florida presence with 22nd location

Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, has opened a 19,000-sq.-ft. distribution facility in Panama City, Fla.  An open house and trade show, featuring more than 30 suppliers of electrical, comm/data and security solutions, will be held on Dec. 7 to mark the official opening. 

Although Graybar is new in town, the 137-year-old employee-owned company has a

70-year history serving Florida customers.  With the addition of its Panama City facility, the company now has 22 locations throughout Florida, including a 240,000-sq.-ft. regional distribution center in Tampa. 

Located at 3513 Transmitter Rd. and Highway 231, Graybar Panama City stocks more than $700,000 of inventory, with $25-30 million of inventory available next-day from the Tampa distribution center. Graybar Panama City offers counter/will-call service and local truck deliveries Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with after-normal-business-hours emergency service as needed.  The phone number is (850) 767-2600. 

Leading Graybar Panama City is Branch Manager Dale Strothman.  He and Manager of Customer Service Robert Miller have more than 20 combined years with the company and 30-plus years of industry experience.

“With the opening of our new Panama City location, Graybar can better serve the growing Panhandle community,” said Branch Manager Dale Strothman.  “We are ready to help our customers power and network their facilities, offices and housing with speed, intelligence and efficiency.”

About Graybar

Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high-quality electrical, telecommunications and networking products, and specializes in related supply chain management and logistics services.  Through its network of more than 250 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, serving as the vital link to hundreds of thousands of customers.  For more information, visit

Graybar Names New National Market Manager/Service Provider

Hire supports company’s growth initiative to address market convergence

Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, has named Scott Jackson national market manager – service provider.

In this role, Jackson will be responsible for guiding the company’s nationwide Service Provider marketing team.  Previously, Jackson worked in accounting for SoTel Systems, and in sales for CORE Telecom Systems and Phillips Communications and Equipment Company. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in management from Missouri State University.  

"Convergence of technologies is leading to a convergence of markets in the Service Provider sector,” said Mike Dumas, vice president, comm/data business, Graybar.  “By adding Scott to our team, Graybar is stepping up its commitment to helping our Service Provider customers successfully compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace.  We will ensure they have the best-of-class broadband, wireless, cable television, outside plant and power solutions coupled with value-added distribution services tailored to their unique needs.”

About Graybar

Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical, telecommunications and networking products, and specializes in related supply chain management and logistics services.  Through its network of more than 250 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, serving as the vital link to hundreds of thousands of customers.  For more information, visit or call 1-800-GRAYBAR.

Beast Cabling Systems Adds Business Development Executive

Beast Cabling Systems, Inc, a leading provider of advanced cabling installation system (CIS) components, today announced the appointment of Mark Vida as vice president of sales and business development.  Vida is responsible for helping the company expand recognition and sales of Beast Cabling Systems CIS for contractors.

With over 20 years experience in senior positions in sales, business development and general management for global communications equipment suppliers and leading edge technology companies, Vida immediately recognized the potential for next generation CIS to change the way contractors bid, install and maintain cabling.

“Beast Cabling Systems has the right solution at a very key time in the low-voltage cabling marketplace,” said Vida, citing the emergence of higher frequency copper cabling and increased use of fiber cabling across local area networks, outside plant, storage area networks and data centers. “The CIS by Beast Cabling Systems revolutionizes best practices for installation and creates a better work environment for technicians. It also enables contractors to recognize enormous savings. By eliminating errors and cable damage while keeping crews operating with less fatigue and fewer hours per project, the whole performance of the contractor moves up a notch,” according to Vida. “We have customers right now who are realizing over a hundred thousand dollars of increased profits annually. They are also winning more contracts by positioning Beast CIS best practices in bid responses,” he said.

CIS is a category of components and practices that bring control and consistency to the installation, organization and testing of cabling infrastructures. These systems have a significant impact on contractor operation and profitability. Beast Cabling Systems CIS is a portable system that separates, organizes, meters, and labels cable off the reel or out of the box and into cable pathways, conserving time and materials, reducing errors and damage, and ensuring safe, uniform installation practices for any crew on any job.

About Beast Cabling Systems

Headquartered in Arlington, VA, privately-held Beast Cabling Systems provides patented cabling installation system (CIS) components and services to the voice and data cabling markets. Contractors using Beast CIS achieve a competitive advantage by improving practices, reducing workplace fatigue, and improving profitability on every job. For more information, visit


BICSI Executive Director David C. Cranmer, RCDD®, today announces the appointment of Richard E. Dunfee, RCDD/OSP Specialist as the organization's new Director of Professional Development.

Dunfee's appointment directly correlates with BICSI's strategic direction to advance the technical expertise, knowledge and success of BICSI's membership, their customers and the information transport systems (ITS) industry.

"Richard's vast knowledge and experience in the telecommunications industry will be invaluable as BICSI looks to bring the technical aspects of the association back into focus," says Cranmer. "To guide us in this direction, it was important to find an individual with exceptional leadership skills. In Richard, I believe we've found this and much more."

Dunfee is a familiar face to the BICSI membership, having served as the Training Program Manager for BICSI's Department of Professional Development and Credentialing. He returns after working as an ITS Consultant and in various project management functions for Verizon over the last two years.

Says BICSI President John Bakowski, RCDD/NTS/OSP/WD Specialist, "We most certainly welcome Richard back into the BICSI family, and will look forward to utilizing his knowledge base to grow our expertise and collectively continue to make BICSI the preeminent source of information and training for the ITS industry."

Dunfee holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Kent State University and has been a member of BICSI since 1989. He states, "I'm very excited to be returning to BICSI. This association continues to lead and support the industry, and I am eager to be part of the team that will promote BICSI's future growth."

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BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies. BICSI serves more than 24,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and automation systems. Through courses, conferences, publications and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ITS professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, BICSI membership spans nearly 100 countries.

SMP and PLP Showcase New Products at BICSI Orlando

SMP Data Communications, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-speed cross-connect products for communication networks, will be launching several new products at the BICSI Winter Conference, January 22-25 in Orlando, Florida. . Included in this launch will be SMP's Limited Axcess™ product line, Dual Axcess™ residential solution, a "spider" zone distribution bracket ideal for the data center market and a new NEMA Type 3 complaint fiber box for smaller OSP applications.

SMP's new Limited Axcess product line does exactly what the name implies, limits the access to your network. Limited Axcess technology provides an enhanced layer of network security to isolate access to different networks within the same facility, and to protect network infrastructure in public access areas. This is done by incorporating two layers of keying, one in the jack/plug connection and the other with color-coded keyed bezels and patch cord boots. The Limited Axcess patent pending technology provides enhanced system performance exceeding proposed Category 6a requirements.

SMP's new Dual Axcess™ System is on the leading edge of residential structured wiring solutions. The Dual Axcess System features an innovative design allowing individual cable runs to be selected as either a full gigabit channel or a hybrid 10/100 and voice solution. This unique approach saves installers time and money by reducing required cable runs by 50%, while at the same time keeping the home owner a step ahead of evolving technologies by incorporating a selectable configuration. The Dual Axcess System offers installers a complete residential system that is fully testable as a Category 5e TIA compliant channel using standard field test equipment and an easily upgradeable solution for future home owner needs. "This solution offers an effective schematic for residential installers looking for guaranteed performance and easier system integration" explained Steve Funderud, Product Manager for the Dual Axcess System.

SMP's new "spider" zone distribution cable tray mounting solutions provide a convenient means to access copper or fiber network cross connect points, and are ideal for data center applications. Utilizing a unique snap fit leg design, the bracket mounts easily on top of any 12" to 18" cable tray and allows for additional cables to be installed without disruption of zone connection or other cables, by simply pivoting the bracket out of the way. These modules reduce cabling and installation costs by reducing the number of cables and congestion in the cable tray, allowing a single multi-conductor cable to the distribution point... SMP's "spider" zone distribution solutions can accept either SMP 6 pack fiber adapter plates or MT fiber cassette modules, or Plug-and-Play gigabit copper modules, depending on the application.

Lastly, SMP's new NEMA Type 3 compliant enclosure is an ideal solution for smaller OSP and small inside premise applications. The OCO6N provides a mounting bracket to accept any of the SMP adapter plates for 6 up to 24 ports. The unit comes standard with a tamper resistant fastening system and if additional security is required the enclosure can accept a customer-supplied padlock.

"The overwhelming positive response to the launch of these new products has verified that our eyes and ears in the marketplace are very much in touch with customer needs and confirms SMP as a true pioneer in the industry" stated Brad Everette, Marketing Manager for SMP Data Communications. SMP will be showcasing all of these products at the upcoming BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, where all will be available for preview and demonstration at the SMP/PLP booth # 300.

SMP Data Communications, headquartered in Swannanoa, North Carolina, is internationally recognized for its role in establishing the world's data/communications standards, through its innovative-patented technologies. SMP, founded in 1990, manufactures and develops copper and fiber passive connectivity hardware components for use in commercial and residential applications. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Preformed Line Products (PLPC) of Cleveland, Ohio. For more information about SMP's complete product line visit our website at


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