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Wireville.com

Issue: June 2007
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


Bisbees Buzz

The Information Age is just getting warmed up

The Heard On The Street (HOTS) monthly column is sponsored by many manufacturers, distributors, associations, publications, and contractors. This stream of information is gathered and assembled by the staff of Wireville.com and Communication Planning Corporation.  There is something for everyone.

The Information (content) is for educational and informative purposes. This service is brought to our readers at no charge. For more than a decade, www.wireville.com website has delivered all the news that you can use. Keep sending us your news items.

We appreciate the constant stream of feedback from the readers because it serves to improve the column.

Special Appreciation To The Associations For Sharing Their Information

We support the efforts of these associations to develop a safer and more productive workplace.

ALSO, special appreciation to the fine publications that share articles and news to make our jobs more effective. These publications give the readers a very good and inexpensive education for strategies and tactics to improve the value for the information services consumer. The information superhighway begins in Wireville.

Yup! The Information Age is just getting warmed up.

But that’s just my opinion.

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


SMP Data Is Proud To Announce Several New Products

SMP Data ( Formerly Superior Modular Products) is proud to announce several new products designed to meet specific telecommunication needs for both copper and fiber applications.  

From the FiberOpticx(tm) product line, SMP Data introduces the RTC1UB Series Fiber Optic Enclosures.  These fiber cabinets offer users a quick solution for plug and play connectivity.  They can be ordered empty for field installations or completely pre-terminated for easy plug and play options.  Click on the link below to download more information:

www.smpdata.com/smp/pages/products/newproducts.html

From the Rack Technologies product line, SMP Data introduces two product sets including new Horizontal and Vertical Finger style cable management.  The Finger Duct Cable Management system offers pass thru holes for easy installation and cable maintenance and the rounded edge fingers assist with easy removal and installation of covers making moves, adds, and changes safe and easy.  Click on the link below to download more information:

www.smpdata.com/smp/pages/products/newproducts.html

In addition to the new Finger Duct Cable Management, the Rack Technologies product line is pleased to launch the new TERAX(tm) enclosures.  The TERAX(tm) Wall Mount Cabinet is a modular solution for housing telecommunications and networking equipment in locations requiring security and versatility.  This enclosure was designed explicitly for applications requiring large zone distribution capabilities that can be easily installed and offer a secure environment to protect communications components.  Click on the link below to download more information:   

www.smpdata.com/smp/pages/products/newproducts.html

SMP Data is also proud to announce the release of their 2007 Product Catalog.  This new catalog features all of SMP Data's innovative product lines along with ordering information, technical data, and full color pictures.  In addition to the full line catalog, customers can request an interactive CD version, fully downloadable to offer instant access.  To request a copy of the new SMP Data Communications Product Catalog, contact your local sales rep or fill out the Catalog Request form at

www.smpdata.com/smp/pages/support/literature.html

www.smpdata.com

www.preformed.com


Electrical Contractor Convention To feature “Think Green” topics

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) will host a “Think Green” on Sunday, October 7, 2007 during their annual convention in San Francisco October 5-8, 2007 at the Moscone Center. Electrical and specialty contractors will have the chance to focus on renewable energy issues, and learn about the business opportunities available to them.

Specific workshops and seminars focused toward this emerging new technology include:

It isn’t Easy being Green: But it’s Profitable
Presenter: Jim Benya Benya Lighting Design

NJATC Photovoltaics and Distributed Generation

Presenters: Todd Stafford, NJATC Senior Director; Jim Dunlop, NJATC Curriculum specialist

Contractor Opportunities in the Solar Market Today & Tomorrow
Presenter: Tom Martinez - IBEW 111

Energy Efficiency / Green Products & Fire Stops
Presenter: Christopher De Marco, Specified Technologies, Inc.

Advancements in Integrated Lighting Controls
Presenter: Howard Wolfman, Osram Sylvania

Residential Green Products & Energy Efficiency
Presenter: Jay McLellan, HAI, Home Automation, Inc.

Solar Opportunities for Contractors
Presenter: Jake Brown, Day4Energy

Energy Code Compliance

Presenter: Charles Knuffke, The WattStopper

Emerging Green Markets: The Role of the Electrical Contractor on Green Building Projects
Presenters:  Cassandra Quaintance and Ellen Kotzbauer

In addition, attendees will find renewable energy solutions in the “Green Alley” within the NECA trade show. Manufacturers of the latest solar, wind and other energy-efficient technologies will be on hand to discuss design and installation opportunities that offer new options for commercial and residential use. These tools will give attendees the pro-active edge they need to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)  guidelines, created by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The National Electrical Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for lighting, power, and communication systems in buildings and communities across the United States. NECA’s national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. For more information, visit "http://www.necanet.org". For complete NECA convention and trade show details visit www.necaconvention.org


Leading Cabling Contractor Gets Ahead Of The Competition With CIS

An advanced Cabling Installation System (CIS) from Beast Cabling Systems, Inc. recently enhanced the installation process for The Mercury Group, a leading contractor providing installation of network communications systems for a variety of customers. 

CIS is an innovative system of components designed to bring systemization and control to the various tasks required to properly install network cabling. CIS enables proper bend radius, separation, organization, metering, and labeling of cables for consistent, efficient installations that conserve time and material, reduce errors, and enhance industry best practices for overall better network performance.

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to stay ahead of the competition while maximizing the efficiency and accuracy of every project,” says Gary Berlin, Vice President of Operations for The Mercury Group. “When we researched CIS, Beast Cabling Systems came to our location, introduced the system, and provided excellent training.”

The Mercury Group recently deployed the CIS while cabling a large broadcasting company, realizing a significant increase in efficiency. “We installed cabling on one floor using traditional methods, and then we deployed CIS on the next floor. We saw a 35% labor savings with CIS,” says Berlin. “The system’s labeling and Wirewolf components were key in enabling us to easily and accurately organize and separate cables for termination in the telecommunications closet. The portability of the system also made it much easier to transport cable from one location to another within the facility.”

The Beast Cabling Systems CIS offers a system for easily and properly identifying and labeling cables during installation to reduce errors and provide the foundation for a fully and properly labeled infrastructure. The Wirewolf™ component mounts in front of the Beast Cabling Systems CIS, and once cables have been pulled to stations, the equipment side of the cables are sorted to the left and right through holes in the Wirewolf’s Plexiglas panel that correspond to rack layouts. Contractors using the Wirewolf report saving 18 hours of labor for every 300 cables pulled.

“The process of pulling cable normally includes back-feeding disorganized batches of cable to the closet where you face the time-consuming task of sorting cables for termination. CIS allows you to quickly sort those cables for termination in the closet right after you pull them,” says Greg Bramham, Vice President of Business Development for Beast Cabling Systems.

Pleased with the results and customer service, The Mercury Group purchased three CIS systems for use on other large cabling installations, including a high school, major college campus, and large Coast Guard academy.

“The support from Beast Cabling Systems has been second to none. They help us make sure that we’re using the system to its fullest capacity through training, site visits, and constant support,” says Berlin. “It’s a state-of-the-art system that we can use to maximize efficiency and accuracy on any large cabling job.”

About The Mercury Group
The Mercury Group has over 25 years experience providing a wide range of copper, fiber, and wireless communications system installation, ongoing maintenance, professional consulting services and product implementations for end users, equipment manufacturers, and electrical and general contractors. As a BICSI Premier Contractor, The Mercury Group maintains rigorous quality standards and best practices. For more information, visit www.mercury-group.com.

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 and profitability on every job for better network performance and customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.beastcablingsystems.com .


The Cabling Industry As An Example

Each month this year we have devoted at least one article to the topic of data centers; this month’s article focuses on the keynote address delivered at the most recent Data Center World conference (see p. 35). While that article extensively discusses keynoter Christian Belady’s insistence that efficiency metrics are in the long-term future for data center managers, it’s worth noting that Belady also discussed the expected emergence of standardization in the data center industry.

“Standardization will create a plug-and-play environment,” said Belady, who is a professional engineer and a distinguished technologist on the staff at HP (www.hp.com). Later in his remarks, he noted that industry consortium The Green Grid (www.thegreengrid.org), in addition to its efforts to quantify efficiency, is trying to achieve some level of interoperability among data center components.

In those regards—standardization, plug-and-play deployment, and interoperability—the forward-thinkers in the data center industry could do well to examine the path the cabling industry has followed for nearly two decades. It could be said that the structured cabling industry was anything but “structured” before users of twisted-pair systems began specifying those products by certain Levels. Initially disruptive and proprietary, Anixter’s (www.anixter.com) Levels program eventually became, almost verbatim, the category system by which twisted-pair systems originally were specified under the auspices of the TIA (www.tiaonline.org).

So was born the set of standards that still paves the way for the development, marketing, specification, and use of structured cabling systems. While data center managers look forward to a day when their systems can interoperate, those in the cabling trade take for granted that Vendor A’s Category 6 patch cord will plug into Vendor B’s Category 6 patch panel for a connection that delivers Category 6 performance. All because the TIA’s TR-42 Engineering Committee has continued to come through on the promise to create interoperable twisted-pair cabling specifications.

The framework in place for the creation of cabling standards has already entered the realm of data centers, evidenced by the TIA’s development of its 942 standard specifically related to telecommunications infrastructure for the data center. Sure, I have been critical of the manner in which the TIA’s cabling standards come to fruition, including the political inner workings of some of the groups that ultimately produce those specifications. But at the same time, it is difficult to dispute the notion that these standards, as a collective group, have established a performance baseline that cabling-system users can rely upon, particularly to support specific Ethernet protocols.

With that in mind, the cabling industry could actually serve as something of an example to leaders in the data center industry in their aspirations to create standardized specifications. As the article on page 35 makes clear, data center managers have serious and significant energy-consumption issues to contend with, to the point where the United States Congress directed the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency to study data centers’ power consumption. Kind of makes alien crosstalk look like child’s play. Nonetheless, the effort to make data centers capable of plug-and-play deployment is somewhere on that industry’s collective agenda, and to them I submit the TIA cabling standard-creation process as an example of the successes and the trappings inherent in such an effort.

One of Belady’s cautionary comments was that standardization ultimately will lead to commoditization among data center equipment; he cited the personal-computer industry, saying we should not be surprised to see the data center industry follow the PC’s path. I contend that despite some claims to the contrary, cabling has not become a commodity market. Despite the fact that every cable, connector, or full system of a given category must by definition meet specific electrical-performance criteria, the engineering and, yes, the marketing staffs of our industry’s suppliers have differentiated their product sets enough that we cannot say a cable is a cable is a cable (or a connector is a connector is a connector).

We are in fact in a dynamic and vibrant industry today; we have years of standards-based performance assurances to count on, coupled with a constantly improving product set. Sure, it can be frustrating to sort through the myriad product choices and even more frustrating to wait out the standards-creation process. But I suggest it’s better than the alternative. Plus, we don’t have Congress breathing down our necks to see what we’re up to.

PATRICK McLAUGHLIN
Chief Editor
patrick@pennwell.com

Reprinted with full permission of CI & M Magazine – www.cable-install.com


Rich Promoted Director Of Business Development For Leviton’s Government Services Program

Leviton Manufacturing Company is pleased to announce the promotion of Chuck Rich to the position of Business Development Director for its Government Business Development Program. In his new post Rich will spearhead sales of the company’s voice and data networking solutions to U.S. Government and military installations.  He will also oversee joint sales with the Government’s network of certified contractors and system integrators. Rich brings to his new position more than 17 years of experience assessing, specifying and recommending products and solutions for military information and communication systems.

Rich began his career with Leviton in 2004 as National Business Development Manager for Government Business, where he managed the sale of voice, data and connectivity solutions. Prior to joining Leviton he served as a military communications (MILCOM) systems advisor in end-user requirements and assessments for Los Angeles’ Air Force Base and as Deputy Director for combat communications for Atlanta’s Robins Air Force Base. Rich has held numerous positions in military communications and has also held civilian positions with General Dynamics, Griffin Services, Urban Media Communications and MCS of Tampa where his responsibilities included the sales and implementation of network, security and communication systems.

Rich holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee and an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He holds certifications as a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) and a Project Management Professional (PMP). Over the course of his distinguished military career, he has earned numerous awards, including the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Emerging Leadership award; Officer of the Year award, 1st Fighter Wing Lt. Gen. and Leo Marquez award for Communications Electronics Maintenance, Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Meritorious Service Award and numerous others and citations. Rich sits on the Board of Directors of the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association (AFCEA) and is a member of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) and Project Management Institute (PMI).  www.leviton.com


Anixter Inc. Takes The LEED With Green-Building Certification

Anixter's Alsip Distribution Facility Becomes the Largest Distribution Facility in the United States to Earn LEED Recognition

Anixter Inc., the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), announced that its distribution facility in Alsip, Illinois, received LEED- certification for new buildings from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) on April 24, 2007. The nearly half-a-million square feet building is Anixter's largest distribution facility and has approximately 300 employees who pick, pack, ship and receive virtually every Anixter product available and provide value-added services to its customers as part of its supply chain operations. The distribution center is Anixter's largest distribution center in North America, and is part of a distribution network that is comprised of 75 warehouses and encompasses over four million square feet in North America. The Alsip distribution facility was built in December 2004, and services the Midwest by covering as much as 35 percent of the U.S. population in next-day deliveries and is also a shipping point for our overseas business needs.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for New Construction and Major Renovations is a green building rating system that was designed to guide and distinguish high-performance commercial and institutional projects, including manufacturing plants, laboratories and other building types. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole- building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

"Anixter pursued USGBC's LEED certification because we wanted to provide employees with a healthy, employee-friendly work environment in addition to being a good corporate citizen," said Jay Zwart, Anixter Senior Vice President -- Operations.

The Alsip distribution facility hosts many of Anixter's customers that are in the process of considering Anixter as a potential supplier and supply chain services provider. When entering the facility, customers can see the high- volume of activity a distribution center of this size manages. What they may not notice is the unique lighting elements that make it unlike other distribution facilities in the country. The building features 170 skylights along with numerous side panel windows which helped it meet the LEED criteria requiring 75 percent of the occupied space must have access to natural light.

The building itself was built with steel that is 100 percent recycled content. Its ventilation system has zero air pressure so that when a door is open there is little or no exchange of air or outside pollution. The air management system, during the warm months, cools the interior at night and helps maintain the temperature during the day without the aid of air conditioning. The LEED-certified facility is not only helping save the environment but is helping save money as well. Energy costs are close to 25 percent less than what was being spent in the previous building.

"The LEED guidelines made possible a well-designed, environmentally- conscious workplace that has improved morale and productivity which ultimately results in lower operating costs for our company, and superior service for our customers," said Zwart.

Anixter has taken its responsibility to the environment even further by creating offers through our READY!(sm) Deployment Services program that will help our customers meet their LEED requirements. More information is available about READY! Deployment Services on our Web site at http://www.anixter.com.


Health, safety & toxins

By Paul Barker

Three years ago at the National Electrical Contractors Association’s VDV/IBS Conference in Las Vegas, Frank Bisbee, president of the Communications Planning Corp., in Jacksonville, Fla., talked about the inherent dangers caused by abandoned cable and the opportunities available to contractors as a result of sweeping changes contained in the latest version of that country’s National Electrical Code.

Soon after its arrival, Henkels & McCoy, a privately held engineering, network development and construction firm with headquarters in Blue Bell, Pa., issued an advisory in which it noted that electricians, inspectors and low voltage contractors will use NEC Codebook 2002 for installation and inspections, while lawyers and insurance companies use it to determine criminal liability and/or financial responsibility resulting from a catastrophic event. The NEC defines abandoned cable as installed communications cable that is not terminated at both ends at a connector or other equipment and not identified “For Future Use” with a tag.

Bisbee, for one, applauded the move. “The accumulation of miles and miles of cabling left in the ceilings and walls of facilities has become a major concern for life safety over the past years,” he said in his presentation to NECA delegates.

“Cables that are abandoned in ceilings, riser systems and air handling systems are a source for fueling fire, smoke and sub-lethal toxic fumes that can incapacitate. In addition, PVC jackets tend to break down over time. This decomposition process is accelerated by exposure to increased temperatures and humidity.”

In Canada, a requirement was added to the 2005 version of the National Fire Code to control the accumulation of communication cables and other abandoned cables in plenums. Then again, according to some experts in the field, the standards fiasco is a mute point for whether it is abandoned or live cable, the problem is not how big a fire/smoke risk they are, but how high or low the toxicity levels might be. 

As one industry watcher who asked not to be identified concluded recently, people die from inhaling toxic gasses, not smoke. He also waded into the FT-4 vs. FT-6 debate saying that none of the proponents of the more expensive FT-6 discuss toxicity, only smoke. There are, he added, a lot of myths and half-truths on this subject.

Toxicity testing needed

Dunn Harvey, a veteran telecommunications consultant based in Laval, Que., agrees that the real problem is toxicity and not smoke by itself.

 “In most cases (except fog) smoke will contain numerous toxic gasses. In all cases of fire, carbon monoxide is generated. This is extremely lethal and it is next to impossible to prevent it in any fire and it does not depend on cable having FT-4 or FT-6 rating.”

“Since the real problem is toxicity, until someone finds a way to test for toxicity and eliminate the toxicity, there will not be a real answer to people dying from inhaling gasses and smoke.”

Nova Scotia native Bill Graham, the founder of Mississauga Training Consultants, an industrial skills training firm that offers certification for fiber optic installers, instrumentation, network cabling systems inspection and other industry specific courses for the electrical and communications industry, describes the current situation as quite a mess. He estimates that not only is 90% of cabling that is currently sitting somewhere in ceilings is not being used, but there is also confusion over what type of cabling is acceptable.

"In Nova Scotia if you install data cable, first off you must have a license, secondly, you need a permit and third, it will be inspected," says Graham, a master electrician by trade. "The province has rules in their Electrical code that I love, one of them being that every third tie wrap must be non-combustible and the cable bundle must have a separate attachment.

"Unfortunately, we don't have the same rules in other provinces. As an example, we have a network cabling apprenticeship program in Ontario that is turning out some real good apprentices, but they do not have any codes to work to."  Section 54 and Section 60 have still not been reinstated in the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

Bisbee, meanwhile, says that when it comes to abandoned cable as a health hazard there is no question that the situation in Canada mirrors that of the U.S. There is also similar confusion over the true letter of the law.

Toxic nightmare

“First of all, the plenum issue in the U.S. is covered under a code that refers to this buildup of abandoned cable as a fire hazard,” says Bisbee. “It is not primarily a fire hazard. It is a toxic hazard.

“Calling it a fire hazard is a neat way to try and hide the really big problem. The real problem is how many thousands and thousands of pounds of lead in those jackets are sluffing off in the air system? The thermal plastics containing LEAD stabilizers used in most cables are a problem, nobody’s recycling it.”

“What we have is a toxic nightmare. It’s like saying the reason we are taking the asbestos out is because of the fire hazard. That’s where we are right now. You can call it what ever you want to call it, it’s the law of the land in this country and many others that have adopted the National Electrical Code.”

“In the cabling business, one of the components used in the stabilizer was lead. It was cheap, it was effective and it allowed the cable to last longer under heat and humidity. It also allowed the machines to run faster when they were extruding it.”

“Now, about 90% of all that cable installed the air systems are jacketed with materials that have high concentrations of lead -- anywhere from 7-10%. Even at 1%, which would be many, many times over what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is saying exposure limits are, we are looking at more than 10,000 parts per million.”

When it comes to abandoned cable, meanwhile, Robert Horne, co-founder of the Attain Group, an Ottawa firm that provides independent telecommunications consulting services to both public and private real estate owners, federal government departments, architectural and construction engineering firms, and tenants, follows a simple credo.

“If it is not used, it should be pulled out,” he says. “It’s the same as leaving old wood and paper around that could catch fire. It’s an extra fuel that is not needed. The bottom line is this: You have a fuel load in the ceiling and if it’s abandoned, remove it.

“As far as the toxicity of the cable is concerned, the National Fire Code allows for an FT-6 and FT-4 rating. If a code change was to occur that says it must be this type of cable, of course we would abide by it, but until that time, I would not advise anyone to change to low smoke, specialty cable that is very expensive.

Subhead: Few firms pull cable out

“If it is that much of an issue then I would say the legislators and the people who make the changes to the code, should be making those changes. Why would I advise them to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more for the wrong type of cable? It’s just a complete waste of money.”

If there is any doubt, Horne turns to a codes specialist in order to get a proper interpretation of the building and fire codes currently in existence.

Ross McCubbin, founder of Amik Technology, an IT consulting firm based in Thunder Bay, Ont. that specializes in infrastructure building design, managed cable systems and telecommunications design and support, concedes that few organizations pull cable out.

“Sometimes companies will move in and try and re-use cabling, but more often than not when they move and especially rental properties they tend to cut the wire across the cross-connect they had and away they go, which can render it useless for the next guy,” he says. “It means there is a whole bunch of PVC and FEP cabling out there.

“As those cables sit there, they are breaking down. A lot of it is generated by the decomposition of the jacket and it’s blowing around in the air spaces and eventually down on the people.”

So what is it going to take to solve the abandoned cable crisis? McCubbin for one, advocates a combination of increased education and legislation. “Education can go a long way,” he says. “Ideally, there should be a level playing field from a code and quality control perspective.”

Reprinted with full permission of CNS magazine – www.cnsmagazine.com

www.communicationplanning.com     www.wireville.com


KITCO Fiber Optics Names New Distributor

KITCO Fiber Optics is please to announce that it has appointed Norfolk Wire & Electronics as a distributor of KITCO’s commercial products.  KITCO and Norfolk Wire & Electronics have a long association together as KITCO was originally a division of Norfolk Wire in the early 1990’s.  Geoff Clark, President and CEO of KITCO, stated: “With 8 locations in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, Norfolk Wire is uniquely positioned as a regional distributor in our own backyard.  We are excited to renew our relationship with Norfolk Wire and look forward to a successful partnership in the commercial fiber optics marketplace.”  Accu-Tech Corporation will continue to serve as KITCO’s national distributor for commercial products.

According to Ron Hurley, Norfolk Wire’s original founder, “We are proud to have the opportunity to provide KITCO’s outstanding fiber optic products to our customers.  As we continue to expand our business, we look to KITCO for their expertise in product development and training.  I am especially excited about their new products and the ability to develop custom fiber optic kits for our customers.”

About Norfolk Wire & Electronics: NW&E was originally founded in 1985 and re-established in 2001.  The distributor currently has 8 locations: SERVMART (Norfolk Naval Base), Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Yorktown, Richmond, Raleigh, Charleston and Greenville, with a location opening soon in Roanoke.  NW&E offers online account management and ordering, and all locations have showrooms equipped to provide customer demos of all products.  In addition, training courses are held monthly in all locations.  NW&E’s commitment to customer excellence is summed up in its motto: “Our Service is Our Best Product.”

About KITCO Fiber Optics: KITCO 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. www.kitcofo.com


The New Urbanism: The Feng Shui Of Community Planning

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

Should community planners start changing their approach to municipal planning and status quo infrastructures? You’d better really understand the market first, warns James Carlini.


Last week, I attended the Killer App Expo on municipal broadband as a guest of Graham Richard – the mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind. – who has been recognized with several awards for innovation and achievement in municipal government. He spoke about:

  1. The need to have a rebirth of the American municipality,
  2. The need to create a solid platform for economic development through network infrastructure, and
  3. The need to bring new business concepts like Six Sigma into everyday municipal operations.

In addition to his speech, another keynote speaker was Andres Duany. He focused on the need to reevaluate the way municipal planning is approached architecturally.

New Urbanism

Duany is one of the founders of the architectural movement of the new urbanism concept in community planning.

I liked some of his statements. For example, he said: “Cities should be designed like a suit or a pen.” When calculating open space and other municipal plan requirements, he also said: “Bean counting is passing for planning.” He is also against “suburban sprawl” and has some real issues with the decline of neighborhoods.

He also focused on putting a mixture of houses on a street, making sure people can walk to some of their destinations and creating a “neighborhood feel” rather than a drive-to-everywhere subdivision.

Duany talked about bringing everyone together and recreating the neighborhood. Instead, since the end of World War II, suburban subdivisions and track houses have created more of a buffer zone of economically divided households. These include the cheap townhouse developments, the mid-range single family homes and the expensive sprawling estate homes.

He also pointed out the trend of some people looking for more housing solutions that are “green” (good for the environment). His argument is that creating these types of community models are “morally superior” and would have an effect on a certain element of buyers. Duany also pointed out that any city without a downtown area will lose its young.

There were many points Duany brought up that made sense about designing communities with more of a neighborhood feel to them. Still, he did not sell me 100 percent.

When you look at the realities of what’s selling on the market, the secluded miniature mansions that cost millions of dollars (which he discounted as not being good) seem to be doing much better than the “affordable row houses and townhouses” that are in so many urban and suburban settings.

Reality: New Urbanism Lacks Universal Appeal

The rules and approaches that are laid out in new urbanism are like the rules in classic music composition.

Those who have studied music know the tonic chord should follow the dominant chord and all the other classic composition rules that lay out the approach for writing a “classical piece”. The same structured approach is found in elements of architecture. Classic rules dictate the structure and final outcome of the piece or the building or neighborhood in architecture.

Some great composers (like Richard Strauss) came along and broke all the classic rules in music composition.

Many others followed in jazz and other forms of music. Some consumers have never gotten past classical music. While the vast majority of people have gone so far beyond classical music, it does not appeal to them for a myriad of reasons. The same can be said of many other “traditions of structure” including architecture and classical community planning.

Like any other product or fashion, the new urbanism approach doesn’t appeal to the total market. The real estate market is divided into many segments that require different amenities to please different buyers. Many are focused on different key elements like status and icons of achievement.

There are some who don’t want to live in an urban setting. Other elements that change decisions to locate in areas (like school quality, safety, property tax costs and overall affordability) also impact a decision. There are some who want privacy and exclusion from a neighborhood and will pay a premium for that choice.

Hybrids vs. Heavy Horsepower

As for energy consumption, houses and cars have a different appeal to many consumers.

It’s hard to get everyone to look at a hybrid as their ultimate dream car and socially responsible transportation goal when you have society and entertainment icons like Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez driving heavy horsepower Bentley “drop-head coupes” (the British phrase for convertibles).

Even government figures that preach conservation, then hop into a limousine or private jet are viewed as hypocrites by those that have no option but to run their big SUVs because they cannot afford to buy a more fuel-efficient car at this time.

How can they preach “buy yourself a small hybrid” while they use up more fuel in one cross-country flight than what the average consumer will purchase in a couple years? Also, Nascar won’t be changing to hybrids any time soon.

The consumer market is too segmented. The message for success that is amplified in the media is not living in a harmonically even, eco-friendly neighborhood as much as it is screaming for go-for-broke ambiance and individualism.

That image of ambiance is manifested in a huge house, couple 500-horsepower cars, a floating mansion, items like Greg Norman’s $70 million mega yacht and other non-green play toys.

Trend setters and architectural futurists like Duany attempt to say the “young generation” will be more focused on green and will be socially conscious on energy. I totally disagree. I say look at the north suburban high school parking lots where one parent from a North Shore community said it looks more like a BMW car dealership than a student parking lot.

If you don’t think young consumers are brand conscious, talk to the parents who have to buy super-expensive North Face jackets for them because they would be ostracized at high school wearing anything less.

If anything, younger consumers will be hyper-sensitive to availability of bandwidth, home theatres and other high-bandwidth consumption amenities that have yet to be developed before they ask if the water heater or furnace are “energy efficient” or solar-powered.

Bandwidth Will Be Key

Homes that have fiber to the home (FTTH) are already perceived to have a higher value, according to one of the panelists who spoke at the conference. That value is rising. Add $5,000 to the price if it has FTTH. Add $7,000 in 2008. In a couple years, it will be: “You don’t have FTTH? Here is an offer for $20,000 less.” Worse, it could be: “Sorry. We’re just not interested at any price.”

Maybe we should start mandating high-speed connectivity as part of the building codes for new construction.

From a state standpoint, in return for a statewide franchise that some incumbents want (like in HB 1500 in Illinois), demand a statewide upgrade to real speeds (like 1 gigabit). With all the money saved by not having to negotiate with every municipality, any carrier should include upgrading to real speeds to guarantee regional economic sustainability.

The connection to work will be virtual as more people telecommute and don’t depend on transportation. The green achievement will be facilitated more through connectivity than through everyone buying a hybrid. If everyone can telecommute to work one or two days a week, that is a huge reduction in their energy expenditures.

As for community planning, the need to understand the market is key.

I believe Duarny has many good ideas. I just don’t think all people buying houses will settle for the same elements and amenities he proposes. More architects and city planners must realize that the old real estate adage of importance has changed from “location, location, location” to “location, location, connectivity”.

Carlinism: Rules are made to be broken. Those who break them sometimes create much better end results than the theorists and traditionalists who made the rules.


Check out Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.


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

Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini


NAED Announces 2007-2008 Board of Directors

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces its new Board of Directors for 2007-2008. Led by the NAED chair, the Board of Directors is a dedicated group of industry leaders who volunteer their time and efforts to improve the association and the electrical distribution channel.

The 2007-2008 NAED Chair of the Board is Tammy Miller, CEO of Border States Electric Supply in Fargo, N.D. Miller has been CEO of Border States, the nation’s 14th-largest electrical distributor, since January 2006. She previously served as the company’s president, executive vice president, CFO and southwest region general manager.

Active in NAED, she has been a member of the association’s Board of Directors for the past eight years and was Western Region Vice President. She has chaired the NAED Finance Committee and Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Distributor Task Force. She also serves on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council. The first woman to serve as NAED chair, Miller’s new role became official at the conclusion of the 2007 Annual Meeting, held May 5 – 9 in Washington, D.C.

“As NAED begins the year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary, we can take great pride in the association’s commitment to the success of our members and the distribution channel,” Miller said. Her theme for the year is “Honor Tradition. Ignite Innovation.”

“NAED is working on many tremendous initiatives that will ignite innovation in our channel to help members be more profitable over the next century. The association truly is the bridge in our channel that can bring together distributors, manufacturers, software providers, marketing groups and others to tackle the tough issues,” she said.

Richard (Dick) Waterman, executive vice president and CEO of International Electric Supply Corp. (IESC), will be Chair-Elect. He will work closely with Miller to prepare for assuming NAED board leadership in 2008 - 2009.

IESC is the holding company formed after the Rexel Group’s recent acquisition of GE Supply. Based in Dallas, IESC oversees the separately managed and operated businesses of Rexel Inc. and GE Supply. Together they employ more than 7,300 people at over 450 locations in the United States. Waterman has worked in the electrical industry for 40 years. He has served as a board member of the NAED Education & Research Foundation and as chairman of the Electro Federation of Canada.

Members of the 2007 - 2008 NAED Board of Directors are:

Tammy Miller, NAED Chair, Border States Electric Supply, Fargo, N.D.

Richard (Dick) Waterman, NAED Chair-Elect, Rexel Inc., Dallas, Texas

John Duda, NAED Past Chair, Butler Supply Inc., St. Louis, Mo.

Daniel Gray, NAED Eastern Region Vice President, Independent Electric Supply, Somerville, Mass.

Glenn Goedecke, NAED South Central Region Vice President, Mayer Electric Supply Co., Birmingham, Ala.

Thomas Isenberg, NAED Western Region Vice President, Western Extralite Co., Kansas City, Mo.

Richard Williams, NAED Eastern Region Vice President-Elect, Dominion Electric Supply Co. Inc., Arlington, Va.

Barry Boyer, NAED South Central Region Vice President-Elect, Van Meter Industrial Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Jack Henderson, NAED Western Region Vice President-Elect, Hunzicker Brothers Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla.

Clifton Kelly, NAED Member at Large, Stoneway Electric Supply, Spokane, Wash.

David White, NAED Member at Large, Shealy Electrical Wholesalers Inc., Columbia, S.C.

Robert Reynolds, Jr., NAED Member at Large, Graybar Electric Company Inc., St. Louis, Mo.

Joe Huffman, NAED Member at Large, Consolidated Electrical Distributors Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.

Lawrence Stern, NAED Finance Committee Chair, Standard Electric Supply Co., Milwaukee, Wis.

Jack Mumford, NAED Foundation Chair, Western Region Sonepar USA, Portland, Ore.

John Spoor, NAED Foundation Chair-Elect, State Electric Supply Co., Huntington, W.Va.

Larry Powers, NAED Manufacturer Representative, Genlyte Group, Union, N.J.

Todd Kumm, IDEA Vice Chair, Dakota Supply Group, Fargo, N.D.

Douglas Borchers, Your Emerging Talent (YET) Chair, Dickman Supply, Inc., Sidney, Ohio.

As the governing body of NAED, the Board of Directors is accountable for the effective performance and direction of the association, as well as communicating to the membership about NAED’s activities and policies. Within the framework of the association’s by-laws and policies, the Board of Directors determines measurements for success, establishes policy imperatives, defines the organization’s vision for the future, fulfills fiduciary obligations and serves as champions of the association. NAED officers attend two NAED Board meetings a year and are encouraged to attend all NAED Regional and Annual Meetings.

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

www.naed.org


New Fiber Inspection And Cleaning Tools Eliminate The #1 Cause Of Fiber Cable Failure

Fluke Networks, provider of innovative Network SuperVision Solutionstm for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, announces the availability of a new miniature video microscope and fiber optic cleaning kits.  These new products improve performance and reliability of fiber optic links.

"By far, the most common problem I see with fiber links is end-face contamination," said Larry Johnson, President of fiber training company Light Brigade.  "And the problem is getting worse. Contamination and end face damage increases attenuation, reflectance and can cause damage.  With higher network data rates the fiber links are even less tolerant of signal loss.  Proper cleaning techniques are essential, and safe end-face inspection is critical."

New inspection, cleaning tools result in better network performance
To help users get the best performance from fiber links, Fluke Networks is introducing the FiberInspector Mini, an exceptionally portable video microscope that lets users view both multimode and singlemode end-faces in crisp detail.  FiberInspector Mini completely protects the user from exposure to harmful laser light. 

Also new is the Fiber Optic Cleaning Kit.  One element of the kit is a Fiber Optic Solvent Pen which uses a plastic-safe solvent with superior cleaning properties to isopropyl alcohol.  Also included are Fiber Optic Cleaning Card and a Fiber Optic Cleaning Cube, both of which provide cleaning and wiping surfaces that are safe to fiber end-faces, and two sizes of Fiber Optic Swabs for cleaning inside fiber ports.  The kit includes a rugged carrying case, and all items are also sold separately.

New online instructional video shows best practices for cleaning fiber end-faces
An animated, interactive demonstration showing proper use all of Fluke Networks' fiber inspection and cleaning tools is available at www.flukenetworks.com/fibercare.  Following the best practices shown in this online video ensures effective removal of all types of contaminants and avoids costly, unexpected network downtime. 

Product availability
Fluke Networks' new FiberInspector Mini and Fiber Optic Cleaning Kit products are available for immediate delivery from Fluke Networks' sales partners worldwide.

About Fluke Networks
Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the installation and certification, testing, monitoring and analysis of copper, fiber and wireless networks used by enterprises and telecommunications carriers. The company's comprehensive line of Network SuperVisiontm Solutions provide network installers, owners, and maintainers with superior vision, combining speed, accuracy and ease of use to optimize network performance. Headquartered in Everett, Washington, the company distributes its products in more than 50 countries. www.flukenetworks.com


Integrated Zone Cabling Solution

Remember the Titans, a movie released in 2000, focused on student integration in 1971 at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA.  At that time three area high schools were combined into one campus – T.C. Williams High School -- to achieve desegregation. This consolidation brought together faculty and students from different ethnic and social backgrounds. The heart of the film is on the relationships extending from the combined multi-racial football team members and their coaches out to the community, which depict the “sign of the times.”  

Today the real T.C. Williams High School, built in 1965, is being replaced with a brand new, state-of-the-art high school complex.  And with this updated campus, comes a new meaning for the term, “integration.”  The design of the new 480,000 square-foot facility includes an integration of fiber and copper cabling to provide a unique network infrastructure for advanced data capabilities for the students and faculty, as well as, services to the community, including a planetarium, day care center, and expanded meal servicing.

The cabling system consists of an extensive fiber optic backbone and distribution system from one server room to multiple zone boxes.  Fiber optic cable is the perfect medium for the long runs to the zone boxes.  From each zone box, copper horizontal cable provides data and video applications. Voice cabling was separately homerun from the server room directly to the outlets. 

Designing to LEED

Designing and building the new school, which is adjacent to the existing school, took a lot of coordination between all the contractors -- from the general contractor, Hensel Phelps Construction Company to the low-voltage wiring group, M.C.Dean, Inc.  The school consists of three floors and three wings of classrooms, labs and administration, as well as open areas, such as a central living laboratory. This facility also complies with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED’s rating program to achieve valuable ecological efficiencies, such as water and energy.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance “green buildings.” LEED gives building owners the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.  In fact a new report, prepared by Capital E (www.cap-e.com), “Greening America’s Schools Costs and Benefits” (October 2006) documents the financial costs and benefits of green schools compared to conventional schools and demonstrates that a “greening” school design provides an extraordinarily cost-effective way to enhance student learning, reduce health and operational costs and, ultimately, increase school quality and competitiveness. For the T.C. Williams High School construction project, Hensel Phelps Construction Company integrated the “whole building” design practices into their design. 

A 450,000-gallon underground cistern was installed to collect rainwater from the building’s roof to store it for toilet flushing, air-conditioning and irrigation.  A roof garden cleanses roof-run-off before draining to the storm sewer and provides a living laboratory for students.

While the adherence to the LEED program will result in a more efficient water and energy usage, these unique features created quite a challenge for planning cable pathways and delivery of both the electrical and telecommunications services.  Moseley Architects designed a zone cabling environment, which allows all of the main data and voice termination to be housed in one main server room (MDF). From there the data distribution cable, or backbone, consisting of 12-strands of fiber optic cable, is pulled to the zone boxes which are housed in the ceilings within the classrooms or hallways.  

Space efficiency with Armored Cable

“The main design driver was all about space efficiency, including honing the pathways to minimize the cable bulk and eliminate intermediate termination closets,” states Douglas Stanley, RCDD, Telecommunications Designer with M.C. Dean, Inc. (Dulles, VA).  The one main telecom closet, also known as the server closet, is located the second floor of the “B” wing. Instead of running a backbone system to several telecom closets, multiple runs of fiber optic cable were pulled to zone boxes to save on valuable floor space.

“The original design included the zone boxes fed by conduit occupied with standard 62.5 micron fiber optic cables,” states Luigi Prezioso, Manager of the Telecommunications Group for M.C. Dean, Inc.  Protecting optical fiber cables within the plenum space has traditionally meant using costly conduit or innerduct.  “By working with the City, the architects, and Hensel Phelps, we went one step further to save even more space and by specifying ArmorTek from Berk-Tek, which is an armored jacketed cable, which totally eliminates the conduit, while providing excellent protection of the fibers,” notes Prezioso.  “Additionally, armored fiber has been gaining popularity in riser and plenum spaces due to its inherent qualities such as smaller size, extraordinary strength, flexibility, easier and faster installation over conventional methods – which includes installing a conduit and feeding the cable through it,” he adds.

In addition to saving space, the ArmorTek helped with the over all project schedule.  It saved time by reducing the conduit installation, in pulling the cable to each location as well as in the termination procedures in the closet. “Like most installations, the contractor likes the cabling to be installed from the top floor down.  Since the third floor was scheduled to be completed first and we didn’t want to slow up the schedule by having to wait on the installation of the conduit, the ArmorTek was the perfect solution,” notes Prezioso.  “Obviously, the armored fiber optic cable helped us simplify the schedule and conduct multiple activities simultaneously, which allowed us to meet our deadline, but it also helped the customer save real estate in the plenum areas,” he adds.

All fiber optic cable was terminated into Ortronics’ OptiMo fiber cabinets in the one server room on the second floor. “With armored cable, it can be pulled all the way into the rack, stripped at the entrance of the fiber cabinet and safely terminated,” states Rafael Rosa, Telecommunications Lead Technician for M.C. Dean, Inc.

Most of the ArmorTek was pulled through the hallway drop ceilings and then fed into zone boxes, or consolidation points, in the classrooms.  However, because the third floor had top side windows along the outer hallways to provide natural light, the fiber distribution cabling had run through the classroom ceilings.  This had to be carefully pre-planned so that it would not conflict with other low-voltage cable services in the same space, such as lighting, audio/paging and security applications.  “Fiber provides better immunity interferences such as EMI and other signal degradation caused by close proximity to these cables,” adds Rosa.

Zoning out

Although the original TIA/EIA-568-A standard for telecommunications cabling specified direct runs from the closet to the workstation outlets, the TSB75 supplement provided expanded guidelines for horizontal cabling.  The TSB75 approved that a point of connect and disconnect could be allowed in the open office between the telecommunications outlet and the telecommunications closet.  Zone cabling was originally made popular as a flexible alternative to open offices.  Since this addendum, the zone cabling concept has become popular in other environments, such as schools and data centers, and is not for just open offices anymore. 

With zone cabling, distribution cables (also called “feeder” cables) are run from the telecom closet to a series of consolidation points to “feed” a cluster of workstations.  This layout eliminates additional intermediate closets, as the termination field is located either in the floor or in the ceiling’s zone boxes within 15 meters of the workstation outlet.  This topology also makes it easier to make cable changes between the short runs from the consolidation point to the outlet instead of throughout the entire horizontal run back to the wiring closet.  This cuts down on installation time, labor and material costs and can result in significant cost savings over the life of the cabling system. 

Zone cabling was selected as the ideal choice for T.C. Williams for both the space savings, by eliminating closets, and due to the extended cable run lengths.  “Since the design included  horizontal distribution runs from the server room to the data outlet that were well beyond the allowable 90-meter limitation that industry standards set for copper cable, we used fiber,” states Stanley.  “With fiber, we could extend the runs up to 300 meters, if needed,” he adds. 

Therefore, instead of having multiple closets with racks and multi-port patch panels taking up valuable class, hallway or lab space, there were 141 consolidation boxes located in the ceiling.  One zone box could service one to two classrooms, depending on the number of outlets needed.  A typical classroom would require 7 data ports, whereas lab and administration areas would require up to 40. 

Connecting the dots

Each zone box measures 24” x 24” x14”, approximately the same size as a ceiling tile, and houses the active and passive connectivity, and patching fields to convert the distribution of services from fiber to copper Category 5e.  This includes a switch and an Ortronics Clarity5E 24-port copper patch panel for the Category 5e cable.

“It’s as easy as connecting the dots,” states Prezioso. “There are basically five rack spaces inside the zone box.  A bracket holds the switch, which easily slides in front of the door.  The fiber cables are brought into the zone box to make fiber cable termination simple.  On the top is the copper patch panel with cable managers to make the transition between the fiber and the copper, neat and organized. Berk-Tek’s LANmark-350 Category 5e cable is punched down in the back of the copper patch panel and goes directly to the workstation outlet through a conduit in the wall,” he explains.

When added up, there are a total of 3,384 SC fiber terminations, 1,602 total outlets and 2,377 Category 5e jacks.  The data system is a warranted NetClear GT (enhanced Category 5e) system from Berk-Tek and Ortronics/Legrand, which guarantees the installation workmanship,and products for the entire channel – from the patch panel to the Ortronics Clarity5E TracJackÒ workstation outlet.

“For the voice, we ran separate homeruns of Berk-Tek’s Category 3 to each voice outlet, which totaled 35 miles of voice cabling,” states Stanley.  “Since there were approximately 450 voice outlets, we felt that delivering a Category 3 to each voice workstation was cost effective,” he adds.

Graduating Up

Because of the fiber backbone and ease of accessibility to the zone boxes (or CPs), the horizontal cable can easily be upgraded in the future for higher bandwidth applications, on an as-needed basis.  In addition, they can eventually eliminate the Category 3 runs for voice and install VoIP over the data cabling by simply adding  the electronics connecting through the CPs to the workstations.  “That’s the beauty of the zone cabling topology – to allow upgrades without having to run cable through out the building.  Minimum disruption is certainly a concern in all educational facilities,” states Prezioso.

“Zone cabling eliminates downtime by minimizing network disruption and thereby maintains maximum network productivity,” adds Stanley.

At this high school, and throughout the Alexandria City Public Schools system, is a Technology Integration Project (TIP) to increase student achievement through the full integration of technology as a tool for learning.  By providing every student with a laptop computer, the school system has made technology as accessible as all other tools for learning.  To provide Internet access, the new T.C. Williams High School will incorporate a wireless system.  The zone cabling layout will allow access points to easily plug into the patch panels in the CPs and cabled back to the server room.

Like the film, which won awards and accolades for the screenplay and actors, M.C. Dean, Inc. has been recognized for their collaborative and innovative design ideas and efficient cabling layout.  Watch for the premiere of this new school in Fall 2007.

Reprinted with full permission of CI & M Magazinehttp://cim.pennnet.com/home.cfm


Graybar Joins NEMA’s Associate Member Program

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) today announced that Graybar has joined its new associate member program. The program is designed to increase the value of membership within NEMA while making the organization more inclusive and representative of the electrical manufacturing and standards community.

Graybar, a Fortune 500 company, specializes in supply chain management services and is a leading North American distributor of high-quality components, equipment, and materials for the electrical and telecommunications industries.  

“NEMA has been collaborating with Graybar for a number of years,” said NEMA President and Chief Executive Officer Evan Gaddis. ”We welcome Graybar as a team player in the manufacturing and distribution community.”

Established in 1925, Graybar procures, warehouses, and delivers electrical, communications, and data products, components, and related services. With more than $5 billion in revenue (2006), Graybar employs nearly 8,000 men and women at more than 250 distribution centers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

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


ACI Communications Corporation: Off To Another Record-Breaking 2007 year!

We have just completed the structured cabling and wireless data & voice communication system for Dr. Nicolitz’s Southpoint Surgery Center as well as Fleming Island Surgery Center, both state of the art surgery centers.

ACI Communications Corporation has just been awarded the structured cabling for the voice and data communications contract for Dr. Bowden’s new Surgery Center located in Southpoint.  ACI will be installing the Communications system soon for this brand new location.

In addition to ACI’s medical division, the automotive division is having another record breaking year. We have just completed the new telephone systems for the Coggin Auto Mall in Ft. Pierce, FL, including the Honda, BMW, and Mercedes Benz dealerships, Lou Sobh’s Honda of the Avenues, and Mercedes Benz of Melbourne. We will be designing and implementing both of Brumos’ new locations; Lexus of Orange Park and Mercedes Benz of Orange Park. Other recent installations include the Nimnicht’s new state of the art Pontiac, GMC, Hummer dealerships at the Avenues, as well as Nimnicht’s new Cadillac & Saab dealership in Orange Park, FL and Lighthouse Toyota’s new world class facility in St. Augustine, FL. as well as Ford of Ocala, Ford of Sebring, and Ford of Belleview. Later this year we will also be designing and implementing Bozard Ford’s new state of the art facility in St. Augustine, FL.

ACI’s rapidly growing wireless LAN division has recently completed projects for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, The City of Jacksonville, Flagler College, NOVA Southeastern University and the structured cabling and fiber optics for The Energy Authority in downtown Jacksonville.

In addition to these, ACI has just completed the installation and networking for Adamec’s Harley Davidson’s three showrooms in Jacksonville on Baymeadows, Wells Rd. and Atlantic Blvd. including Adamec’s new Super Center on Baymeadows and I-95.

ACI also houses a wireless division that offers a full line of wireless accessories including the newest technologies from Sprint/Nextel.  We specialize in helping business’ increase productivity and gain a significant edge in the marketplace while simultaneously saving our customers on their overall communication costs.

ACI Communications Corporation designs, markets and supports a full range of voice and data communications networks and systems for the enterprise market.

With a backlog of automotive dealerships and surgery centers in hand, awaiting new facilities in 2007, it looks like it will be another record breaking year for Jacksonville based ACI Communications Corporation. WWW.ACICOM.NET


The Weakest Link

By Hugo Draye

There is an old expression, which says the hardest part of communicating with another person is the final few inches from the listener’s ear to the brain. In some respects, the same is true for today’s network.

The data centre, the cabling and all the other hardware may be state-of -the art. But the last link between the network and the user is the lowly, often forgotten patch cord. And that last link, the patch cord, is very often the weakest link.

At slower network speeds, the patch cord may not have been a major contributor to overall performance.

But with networks running 10GBASE-T, 1000BASE-T and now 10GBASE-T, the quality and performance of every part of the network, including the patch cords, takes on added importance. As with other parts of the network, testing to standards can show which patch cords perform and which will not. And surprisingly, many brand new, just out of the bag patch cords do not (more on that a little later.)

The permanent link and the channel: Before looking at the testing process for patch cords, let’s review how the rest of the cabling is tested. Most new or modified structured cable links undergo a documented certification test of the permanent link.

As the name implies, the permanent link is that portion of the cabling installed on a permanent basis. The cable itself is hidden within walls, under floors and in ceilings, routed in cable trays and conduit. The permanent link is certified from one wall plate jack to the other.

It is possible to certify a link that includes the patch cords on either end. This is called testing the channel, and is performed less frequently than a permanent link test.

A proper channel test requires that the actual patch cords that will be used every day are included during the test.

Two-person test crew

These patch cords must be left in position following the test. It requires channel test adapters on the test equipment to remove measurement effects introduced by the mating of the patch cord to the jack in the channel adapters. It also involves a two-person test crew, one on each end of the link.

There is another way to test the complete channel. A compliant permanent link plus a compliant patch cord will result in a compliant channel. Since the installer most likely certified the permanent link, the tenant or the network manager can add a set of tested patch cords and be assured that the entire link will be compliant to the performance level for which it was tested.

So what is the right way to test patch cords? Do new patch cords need to be tested? What about patch cords that come with test documentation? Or patch cords that are made on site?

There are accepted industry standards that define patch cord tests. TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 spells out the limits for the two most important test parameters for patch cords, Near End Cross Talk (NEXT) and Return Loss (RL).

An up-to-date certification tool designed to test patch cords can compare test results with acceptable limits, but the operator should know a few things.

Patch cords tend to be very short, typically under three metres. What happens near the ends is more severe, more detectable and more impactful than the phenomena, which occurs in the middle of the cable.

This means the quality of the termination between the cable and the plug is absolutely essential to the patch cord’s performance.

To properly test the patch cord, all measurement interference from the test tool must be eliminated, while every aspect of the patch cord must be included. This requires a dedicated patch cord adapter on the tester that uses an ideal “reference jack” as defined by standards.

This reference jack is the same type used in permanent links, and is performance tested before and after assembly in the adapter.

The goal is to have the highest possible “Mated Connection Performance” between the eight exposed conductors on the patch cord and the matching conductors in the test adapter.

Without this Mated Connection Performance, RL and NEXT measurements will not be accurate.

This also explains why patch cords cannot be tested with channel adapters on the test instrument. Channel adapters are designed to discard the measurement effects of the jack, which is exactly what must be tested when looking at a patch cord.

Channel adapters also test to a standard, which assumes long length and multiple connections. The patch cord standard assumes a very short length and no other connections. This means the pass/fail limits for a patch cord are higher than that for the channel. If a user tests a patch cord using channel adapters, a poor quality patch cord could easily be identified as passing and installed in the system.

Note of caution

As noted above, new installations are typically certified by the installer. The time to test the patch cords is when the network manager starts connecting new devices to the cabling.

A properly conducted patch cord test requires only one operator, and the addition of affordable adapters can turn an existing certification tool into a standards-compliant patch cord tester.

But a note of caution is required here. Today’s certification tools and adapters can test patch cords for Cat 5e and Cat 6. As the standards for Cat 6A are not yet complete, there is not viable way to field test patch cords to Cat 6a.

Cable manufacturers can test their Cat 6A patch cords with their own connectors, but at this point, these tests should be considered proprietary due to lack of a finished standard.

Earlier in this article reference was made to some brand new, right out of the bag patch cords failing to meet performance standards.

The test consisted of 149 new patch cords purchased from 34 distributors, assembly houses, retail outlets and catalogue outlets, all tested with a certification tool using patch cord test adapters.

The results were surprising and not encouraging. Category 5e tests revealed a 69.8% failure rate. Category 6 cord requirements are much more strict, and the data showed that 83% of Cat 6 cords tested did not meet the TIA requirements. These failure rates were roughly equivalent across all purchase channels.

Category 6 failures were predominately NEXT issues; however, many failed both NEXT and RL. No Cat 6 cords failed RL alone. Failed Category 5e cords had smaller failure margins, with NEXT and RL problems more evenly distributed. Many failing cords exhibited damaged or deformed cable, inconsistent assembly techniques, and too tightly coiled packaging.

It was apparent that most cord assemblers do not have the proper manufacturing processes or testing capability to consistently produce compliant Cat 5e or Cat 6 cords.

One Cat 5e assembler had 100% passing samples. They use high quality bulk cable and plugs, combined with good handling, assembly, and packaging techniques.

Another assembler uses similar techniques to produce Category 6 cords. It is possible to produce high volume, fully compliant Category 5e and 6 patch cords if the proper cable, plugs, assembly methods, and test gear is used.

Some people prefer to make their own patch cords, and based on the data above, there appears to be some reason to think that is a good idea. However, the data collected from Fluke Networks’ tests shows that self-made patch cords generally have worse performance than manufactured patch cords, and rarely justify the time, materials and level of experience needed.

Patch cords are designed to be made with stranded cable. This version of UTP is far more flexible than the solid cable used in the permanent link. Do not make the mistake of using a length of standard UTP and mating it with patch cord plugs.

The plug and crimp tool was not designed to be used with solid wire, and the resulting connection will likely fail a performance test. The cord itself will also be prone to mechanical failure as the solid wire fatigues from flexing and eventually cracks. If a handmade patch cord must be used, the safe approach is to test it.

Even though patch cords get used, abused and overlooked, there are several things that can be done to make strengthen this link:

  • Make sure that all permanent links have been certified. This is an essential part of every installed or modified link.
  • Before attaching equipment to the permanent link, test the patch cords.
  • Patch cords should be tested using a certification tool with patch cord adapters. Do not perform a channel test on a patch cord.
  • Test new patch cords. Some new cords are susceptible to failure.
  • Hand built cords are also prone to failure. If they must be used, make sure they are tested

Hugo Draye is Marketing Manager for Fluke Networks’ Certification Tools. With over 20 years of industry experience, Draye frequently lectures at industry seminars and conferences and his articles appear regularly in the trade press. www.flukenetworks.com

Reprinted with full permission of CNS Magazine – www.cnsmagazine.com


General Cable Acquires Global Offshore Cable Supplier

General Cable Corporation (NYSE:BGC - News) announced today that it has agreed to acquire Norddeutsche Seekabelwerke GmbH & Co. KG (NSW), located in Nordenham, Germany from Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW - News). The transaction is expected to close Monday, April 30, 2007. NSW had revenues of approximately $120 million in 2006.

"With more than 100 years of experience, NSW has tremendous technical expertise offering complete solutions for submarine cable systems including the manufacturing, engineering, seabed mapping, project management, and installation for the offshore communications, energy exploration, transmission, distribution, and alternative energy markets," said Gregory B. Kenny, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable. NSW is a leading global supplier of offshore communications, power and control cables as well as aerial cables for power utility communication and control networks. NSW has been in operation since 1899 and is situated in an ideal location with a deep-sea pier capable of loading cable laying ships directly from their production facility on the North Sea in northern Germany. NSW has manufactured and installed submarine projects throughout the world, including one of the world's longest hybrid submarine communications cable systems extending 8,600 km linking 15 countries. Offshore cable demand is strengthening driven by offshore oil and gas exploration, renewable energy, as well as traditional power requirements to inter-coastal and island areas. Also, after many years of maintenance level spending by global telecommunications carriers for submarine fiber optic cable, network capacity utilization rates have begun to increase. With global demand for voice, video, and data increasing, telecommunications carriers are now looking to reinvest and add capacity in the global submarine network. "This acquisition brings the critical technology to allow us to fully address one of the fastest growing high value-added markets for energy, control and communication cables and systems, with an addressable market well in excess of $1 billion. We expect this acquisition to be modestly accretive in its first full year of operations," Kenny said.

NSW is also a market leader for a variety of specialty products including specialized high-end winding wire for high voltage motor applications and specialty extrusions for various filtration and waste water treatment applications.

"General Cable is very pleased to have the NSW team join our global organization. NSW's highly regarded technology platform and brand name combined with General Cable's vast array of complementary products, marketing and logistics strengths will provide a more complete solution which will be sold globally to these expanding markets," said Domingo Goenaga, President and Chief Executive Officer, General Cable Europe.

With nearly $3.7 billion of annual revenues and over 8,000 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 www.generalcable.com.


BuildingGreen To Exhibit At "Growing Beyond Green," The 2007 AIA Convention

BuildingGreen to exhibit at "Growing Beyond Green," the 2007 AIA Convention Editors Alex Wilson, Nadav Malin, and Jim Newman are featured speakers

Booth 11110, American Institute of Architects

2007 National Convention and Design Exposition, May 3-5, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio

Visitors to this year's AIA Convention, "Growing Beyond Green," will have an opportunity to talk to the people behind BuildingGreen's information resources for green design at Booth 11110.

Architects and other design professionals can demo the company's award-winning online resource, BuildingGreen Suite, which includes full-issue archives of Environmental Building News, green building case studies, and the GreenSpec® Directory, with information on more than 2,000 green building products.

Editors and members of BuildingGreen's staff will also be speaking. Three talks take place on Thursday, May 3.

Alex Wilson, executive editor of Environmental Building News, will be one of three speakers at a talk entitled "Establishing a National Agenda for Green Building Research," 1:30 to 3 p.m. (TH13).

The discussion focuses on the national green building research agenda developed by the U.S.

Green Building Council and the AIA Committee on the Environment to bring attention to the most critical gaps in information needed to advance sustainable design, construction, and operations.

Filling these gaps is essential for mainstream adoption of green building practices and the advancement of building science and innovation.

Mr. Wilson will also speak on "Sustainable Design in the Post-Katrina Era," 6 to 7 p.m. (TH63).

This poses the question: How should sustainable buildings be designed and built in disaster-prone areas? Presenters will report on a series of charrettes held at the USGBC's Greenbuild Conference in November 2005.

Nadav Malin, vice president of BuildingGreen, editor of Environmental Building News, and executive editor of GreenSource magazine, will moderate a panel with other GreenSource editors on "Going Platinum: Setting New Benchmarks for Architects," 4 to 5:30 p.m. (TH40) Panelists will present four diverse case studies that prove that attaining a LEED platinum rating is achievable on different types of projects-even when conditions are less than perfect.

On Wednesday, May 2, Mr. Malin, who is also chair of the Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group for LEED, as well as a LEED Faculty Member, will also present on Environmentally Preferable Materials as part of the Public Architects Training Workshop, 10:30 a.m. to noon (WE21).

And on Friday, May 4, Jim Newman, director of online services for BuildingGreen, together with Larry Strain, FAIA, and Scot Horst, will present "Public Green Guideline Specifications: Bringing Your Green Vision to Fruition on the Job Site,"

8:15 to 9:45 a.m. (FR19). Translating green ideas to green buildings requires contract documents to guide construction. This seminar presents new green guideline specifications available to designers and specification writers.

BuildingGreen supports the AIA's commitment to sustainable design through a collaborative arrangement that gives AIA members an immediate 30 percent discount on new and renewing individual subscriptions to BuildingGreen Suite.

The online resource is available for individual,

firm- and campus-wide access. For information, go to www.buildinggreen.com/press/aia-bg.cfm

GreenSpec-listed products will be featured in booths throughout the show floor. Look for the GreenSpec logo.

This year's AIA convention offers more 250 continuing education programs, 60 tours, 40 events, and 800 companies exhibiting their products and services. For information, go to www.aiaconvention.com or contact AIA at 202-626-7300.

About BuildingGreen, Inc. www.BuildingGreen.com BuildingGreen, Inc., are publishers of authoritative information on environmentally responsible building design and construction, including the leading monthly newsletter Environmental Building News, and the GreenSpec® Directory with 2,000 green building product listings.


Comprehensive Line Of Surge Suppressors

Para Systems, Inc., a leader in power technology with its line of Minuteman® Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems, announces a new line of surge suppressors.

A total of ten new products have been released and are available for immediate delivery.

The Minuteman surge suppressors can be categorized into the following four classifications.

Rotating outlets – Four of the new Minuteman surge suppressors have rotating outlets  that are designed to alleviate the issue of plugging a number of multiple transformer “blocks” into a power strip without covering other outlets.

6-Rotating outlet surge suppressor with coax and phone line protection.  

8-Outlet/6-rotating and 2 fixed outlets surge suppressor

10-Outlet/5-rotating and 5 fixed outlets surge suppressor with phone line protection 12-Outlet/8-rotating outlet surge suppressor with coax and phone line protection

“Child safety” surge suppressors – Designed to avoid shock from accidental contact with electrical power.  Two of the new products feature outlets that require the sliding of a safety cover before a plug can be inserted into the surge suppressor.  This reduces the possibility of a person inserting an object into an outlet. These surge suppressors are ideal for schools, child care facilities and homes with small children.  One of the units also has a connection to provide protection for a phone line. The units are:

·         7-Outlet surge suppressor with “child safety” covers

·         7-Outlet surge suppressor with “child safety” covers and phone line protection

·         Ruggedized surge suppressors - Designed to operate in harsh environments.

·         Ruggedized 7-outlet surge suppressor

Other

·         Single outlet wall tap surge suppressor

·         3-Outlet wall tap surge suppressor with coax protection

·         6-Outlet surge suppressor “twin pack”

Additional major features of the new surge suppressors include:

Wall mountable – all of the new surge suppressors are wall mountable, thus saving desk and floor space.

Telephone/Fax/Modem Line Protection – Several of the new surge suppressors provide protection for coax, phone lines, fax lines and modem lines.

RoHS Compliant – Recognizing the need to promote environmental responsibility, Minuteman surge suppression products are manufactured in accordance with RoHS guidelines. 

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

Warranty – Each of the Minuteman surge suppressors are covered with a warranty and connected equipment protection.

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

Low costs and unique features make the Minuteman® surge suppressors a value leader in the UPS industry, with end-user pricing between $7.00 and $60.00. The Minuteman® surge suppressors are in stock and ready for immediate delivery.

www.minutemanups.com 


Software Technology Integrates Data Center Design, Monitoring, Management

In support of what it’s calling an “enterprise software strategy for efficient management of company-wide IT physical infrastructure,” APC (www.apcc.com) has introduced InfraStruXure Central v4.0, a redesigned platform for the integration and deployment of intelligent enterprise management applications.

The company says InfraStruXure Central technology is designed to lower support costs and prevent downtime through rapid problem resolution of physical and environmental issues—including floor space, power, cooling, cabling, and threat protection.

“The data center of the future must be fully integrated, fully managed and fully scalable,” says  Dr. Phil London, APC’s vice president of Software and Management Solutions, in explaining the software technology’s purpose.  “These are mandatory principles from concept to commissioning, from operation to obsolescence.”

The company is developing an integrated suite of applications that will let IT and data center professionals manage the entire lifecycle of their physical infrastructure. The system architecture combines the outputs from an automated data center design application with real-time monitoring and measuring applications. It also features ITIL service management applications designed to deliver previously unavailable integration and effectiveness in IT physical infrastructure management.

At an estimated resale price of less than $10,000, the base configuration of InfraStruXure Central v4.0 includes device management, alerting and reporting.  The system can scale from simple wiring closet monitoring to full enterprise management of data centers and remote facilities, and supports most manufacturers’ IT devices.  Additional applications can provide centralized environmental monitoring, video surveillance, rack and data center access control, and ITIL-based Capacity and Change Management

“InfraStruXure Central v4.0 gives us a new level of visibility and control,” said Bill Hodges, director of data center operations at Sisters of Mercy Health System in Chesterfield, MO.  “Information systems infrastructure is a critical element in our ability to deliver the highest quality health care.  InfraStruXure Central provides both the monitoring tool and the management reporting required to maintain the infrastructure foundation of our environment.”

Hodges adds, “With InfraStruXure Central, we have the ability to establish and define our event alerting structure that includes threshold setting, escalation intervals, and crisis event reactionary time, allowing us to proactively resolve areas of risk or address interruptions before they become service outages.”

By integrating data from the company’s design tools, APC says IT managers can also compare what is actually happening to what is supposed to happen. This design and operations data can then be fed to a new capacity management application, called Capacity Manager. This feature helps eliminate the guesswork of where to place a server with respect to power, cooling, floor and rack space, and allows for management and tracking of the workflow and movement of IT equipment.  All information from the change and capacity management applications is fed back to the database, creating a closed-loop system, designed to ensure an updated, accurate model.

Offered as a no-charge service to InfrStruXure Central purchasers, InfraStruXure Designer provides the most efficient data center layout incorporating power and cooling, as well as floor and rack space. Its intelligence enables a design to incorporate redundancy, model the loads of thousands of different IT devices, as well as generate 3-D visual renderings. Advanced power capacity and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling ensures the physical infrastructure design avoids over-sizing, while providing the flexibility of a scalable infrastructure to meet the current and future needs of an IT department’s servers, storage and networking IT equipment.

APC’s London notes, “With InfraStruXure Central as the core platform, we have a great base on which to continue to build. We are delivering the industry’s first closed loop system. You can only eliminate inaccuracies by combining design, operation and management.

“With today’s high density computing, everything has become extremely complex. It is now clear that the days of managing the data center by hand are over.”

Reprinted with permission of CI & M Magazine – www.cable-install.com


NECA Convention Closes With Entertainer, Dana Carvey

Numerous entertaining personalities will be on stage at the Masonic Auditorium, for the National Electrical Contractors Association Convention Closing Celebration,, on October 8 – but they’ll all be embodied by one man. There’s a good reason why Dana Carvey is called the “Master of Disguise” (also the name of his most recent film.)

Carvey’s career began in Bay area clubs shortly after he won the San Francisco Stand-Up Comedy Competition while a student at San Francisco State. But it was during his time with the “Saturday Night Live” ensemble (1986-1992) that his distinctive comedy style propelled him to prominence.

It was there that the boyish comedian created several memorable characters, including Church Lady (“Well, isn’t that special?”), Hans of the Austrian body-building team Hans and Franz, and Garth of Wayne’s World. It was also where he honed his skills as a mimic. He has received widespread praise for his uncanny impersonations of a plethora of politicos and celebs, including Bush (George Herbert Walker, George W. and Barbara).

Following SNL, Dana Carvey extended his role as “Garth” to co-star in the film version of “Wayne’s World” and its sequel then crossed over to the more refined genre of romantic comedy in “Clean Slate.” He subsequently appeared in several other movies and televised programs.

However, these days he’s very particular about where he performs and participates in the entertainment industry only when it doesn’t compromise his time with his wife and sons. Thus, the fact that Dana Carvey is spending time with NECA conventioneers is special, indeed!

The National Electrical Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for lighting, power, and communication systems in buildings and communities across the United States. NECA’s national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. For more information, visit "http://www.necanet.org". For complete NECA convention and trade show details visit www.necaconvention.org


Range Resources Picks SYSTIMAX(r) Solutions For Cabling In Fort Worth's Tandy Building

SYSTIMAX Solutions(TM) from CommScope (NYSE: CTV), the worldwide leader in structured connectivity solutions, has contributed to a cultural landmark with the recent completion of its installation for Fort Worth, Texas-based Range Resources Corporation. KRK Technologies, a SYSTIMAX Business Partner, designed and installed the

SYSTIMAX(r) GigaSPEED(r) XL copper solution that will provide Range Resources' new offices in Fort Worth's City Place (formerly the Tandy Center), with the power and speed it needs to support VoIP, large file transfers and bandwidth-intensive applications.

After RadioShack Corporation moved out of Fort Worth's Tandy Center, the historic towers, originally built in 1976 and 1978, lay dormant for almost two years. Today, the building's cores have been dismantled in order to modernize the interiors of the buildings and they have been redeveloped as City Place - a mixed-use complex with residential, commercial and office space. In April, Range Resources, an independent oil and gas company, plans to become the first tenant in the commercial tower and will use SYSTIMAX Solutions cabling to support Voice over IP and high-bandwidth engineering programs.

"When we outgrew our existing offices and made the decision to move into City Place, we knew that we were going to need VoIP in the new offices," Joe Hale, IT Director for Range Resources, said. "But our existing solution just wasn't going to support it. We knew we needed not just an end-to-end solution, but one that we could rely on for the next five to 10 years. We looked at several products and at four other contractors, but after KRK took us on the tour of SYSTIMAX's lab, and when we saw the technology, what went into it and how well it worked, we knew we'd found the right solution."

KRK Technologies installed 80,000 feet of the GigaSPEED XL 2071 plenum copper cabling in the horizontal and 5,000 feet of the GigaSPEED XL 2081 plenum cabling in the backbone. Both types meet the TIA/EIA 568-b.2-1 Category 6 and ISO/IEC Category 6 specifications and provide the added performance margin required to support high-bandwidth applications - perfect for Range Resources applications, which include reservoir and 3-D seismic simulations.

"We wanted to make sure that Range Resources had a sophisticated infrastructure and design that would support its more bandwidth-intensive applications," said Mark Guajardo, RCDD - Operations Manager for KRK Technologies. "SYSTIMAX Solutions is the leader in our industry, and it just made perfect sense to use the GigaSPEED XL for this installation. The solution will enable Range Resources to run its simulations and send and share large image files that you'll find at any oil and gas company."

The Category 6 copper cabling will also support VoIP, a quality valued by Range Resources as it has 650 employees in offices in Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In addition, the end-to-end solution will support network line speeds in excess of 1 GB/s for all of the 140 employees, on all five stories, in the Fort Worth office.

"SYSTIMAX Solutions has a long history of providing top-quality, complete solutions that meet, and often exceed, industry standards and specifications," Mark Peterson, senior vice president, Enterprise Global Marketing, CommScope, said. "That's why our business partners, like KRK Technologies, and our end-users, like Range Resources, know they can turn to us for reliable solutions they can count on for years to come. We are excited to be a part of this historic move, and we look forward to continuing to support Range Resources in its endeavors."

About SYSTIMAX Solutions
SYSTIMAX Solutions from CommScope (NYSE: CTV) is a worldwide leader in structured cabling systems and provides integrated end-to-end connectivity solutions for video, voice, data and building management applications in both wired and wireless enterprise networks.

SYSTIMAX Solutions supplies its high-performance and market-leading range of products through a network of highly skilled BusinessPartners. The product range includes the copper-based GigaSPEED X10D and GigaSPEED XL Solutions, the fiber optic LazrSPEED(r) and TeraSPEED(TM) Solutions and the iPatch(r) Real Time Infrastructure Management System. The SYSTIMAX AirSPEED(TM) Solution adds a wireless option to the portfolio. Drawing on their Bell Labs heritage, the people of SYSTIMAX Labs who have spearheaded these innovations will continue to play an integral role in the future success of SYSTIMAX Solutions. Currently the company's BusinessPartners install an average of over 1,000 miles (1,600km) of SYSTIMAX cable every day in approximately 130 countries worldwide. http://www.systimax.com


Some Straight Talk About Installer Training

By Bill Graham

As an electrician and electrical contractor, entering the data communications field in the early 1990s was an exciting new endeavor. It would end up also being both rewarding and frustrating.

Exciting because as an electrician I had every qualification I could obtain in the electrical construction and industrial field including being a master electrician and licensed electrical contractor in Toronto, as well as holding licenses from other provinces.

In 1993 I entered data communications and more specifically fiber optics as a sideways move from the electrical field.

I often joke that I spent the first two years on the telephone as I gathered information on materials, tools and methods, creating files on all these products and making good use of the companies' 1-800 numbers and mail-in reply cards.

The Rewards: I soon realized that data communications installers and fiber optics installers in particular, were generally being paid 20-50% more per hour than electricians.

A lot of work was piece based, which paid installers extremely well.  At the same time, electricians went through four or more years of an apprenticeship, passed rigid exams and were required to hold a license, and with this came some liability.

The data communications installer, at least at the time, needed no certification and often was on the job with very meager experience -- and for this received much higher compensation.

The Frustration: My first awakening into the data communications business occurred in 1994 when I attempted to buy 10 sets of tools to equip a fiber optic class. I faxed in the order to a supplier and received no reply.

A few days later another supplier called up and told me that if I wanted fiber optic tools and materials I had to buy them through his company.

Imagine the surprise and frustration I felt. I had been purchasing electrical materials, tools and services for 25 years and had never been told whom I had to purchase from.

If that was not bad enough, vendors started approaching me. They wanted me to be part of their certification courses so that I could install their products.

I quickly realized that data-communications was much different from the electrical industry.

I also found that the certification from a vendor was considered very important to the customer and also that this "vendor certification" meant the following: the installed system (vendor A) must contain only their products. If I installed another company's products I could lose (Vendor A) certification. If I did not purchase a specific amount of product a year I could lose my (Vendor A) certification.

In addition, a Vendor A system was easy to sell to my customer because it had a "lifetime" warranty rather than their competitor's only "15-year" warranty.

Now, the vendor did not specify whether it was the customer's life, the system life or heaven forbid my life that this time period applied to. But they did have inserted in the fine print that any change made to the system by anyone other than them would void all warranty.

In other words, if an installer changed a pair of wires on a block, the warranty could be technically void. And the most amazing thing to me was that they were able to sell this to a customer.

The data communications customer and installer are obviously subservient to the vendors and manufacturers. And to the vendors and manufacturers this was an arrangement made in heaven.

As an electrician, had any company said to me that their receptacle or switch could only be installed in "their" box with "their" cover plate they would have been laughed at. Materials are produced to interoperability standards to ensure that they are compatible. And interoperability standards include all components in a data communications system to ensure compatibility in the same way as they would in an electrical or a plumbing system.

Had any company said that we must take their training program to install their products and we would lose this certification if we installed another company's products, again they would have been laughed at by the electrical industry.

I can remember a couple of instances over the past 30 years that this idea was floated within the electrical industry, but it was a non-starter and quickly died. Generic training for most skills has had a long and successful history worldwide.

Somehow at some point in time, the data-communications industry users allowed communications equipment manufacturers to tell them what was best for them, what they should buy and who they should purchase from. It is time for customers and users to reclaim this right. The result of this is many "total solutions" by manufacturers that end up as the most expensive type of installation, with the most parts, and not necessarily the best system.

The Solution: Certification for fiber optics installers began with my affiliation with the Fiber Optic Association (www.foa.org) around the time it was formed in 1997. Founded by Jim and Karen Hayes, the objective of the association was to set certification standards within the industry and also be non-vendor specific.

At last count, the FOA, which is managed by a five-person board none of whom are part of the vendor community, had upwards of 20,000 certified installers across North America and the Caribbean.

An advisory board has a minority number of vendors. While vendor control is not wanted or possible, the input from them is needed and should be given freely. For the fiber optic industry this has a proven history of success that has served the industry well.

However, for the copper industry there is still the same confusion. Nova Scotia and Ontario at least have a "Network Cabling Specialist" designation and an apprenticeship program.

In Nova Scotia, this program is supported well with appropriate code changes, but in Ontario, the code sections 60 and 54 were removed in 1983. The Electrical Safety Authority and provincial politicians have not yet found the intestinal fortitude to reinstate these sections, despite renewed fire and safety concerns from the insurance industry, with large network systems in buildings installed without the advantage of codes, standards or inspections.

The simple solution is for government, vocational schools and industry to support a standardized training program for structured cabling installers. This ideally would have vendor support, but not control.

A new organization, and a long awaited breath of fresh air to the industry, called the Structured Cabling Association www.scausa.org/ (SCA) recently hit the ground running as the industry's first "non-profit professional society" focusing specifically on education, certification and standards.

This is modeled after the Fiber Optic Association and, I feel, is the solution to the problem. Will we see an immediate change? No, certainly not. It will take some time for people to be trained and certified through this program. But it will come to be in time. Customer acceptance is a prime requirement and this comes through non-vendor specific customer education.

Venders must be willing to support the training and certification efforts without strings attached and some do a commendable job with this.

Unfortunately, others still think a training institution is a threat to them or is competing with them and will even have the gall to suggest that the training institution should purchase their products to demonstrate in the classroom.

Vendors must readily support the program with product support. Governments at all levels have a role to play and must support this with community college programs as well as providing adequate codes and standards for teachers and industrial instructors to teach to.

Government has an obligation to protect consumers by providing standards that are not vendor controlled.

Lastly, of course, is the data communications installer who must realize that he or she is part of an exciting, fast growing and lucrative field.

And that person must commit to becoming knowledgeable and also certified in this skill all the while committing to life-long learning to keep abreast of the flood of new products.

William Graham is an electrical contractor, a certified fiber optic specialist in testing, connectorizing and splicing through the Fiber Optic Association. He operates Mississauga Training Consultants and can be reached at 905-785-8012 or via e-mail at mrfiber@canada.com.

Reprinted with full  permission of  CNS Magazine - www.cnsmagazine.com


Out of the Gate: Commscope Hits High

CommScope Inc., a supplier of coaxial cable and other networking infrastructure, surged immediately after the opening bell Friday after it boosted its sales outlook on a robust first-quarter earnings report.

Shares were up $5.55 or 12.2 percent, to $51 on the New York Stock Exchange in morning trading, after touching an all-time high $52.25 at the open. The stock previously traded as high as $45.97 in the past 52 weeks and is up 60 percent in the same period.

The company on Thursday after the closing bell said first-quarter earnings surged more than threefold on robust demand across all its segments, and beat analyst estimates on both sales and profit. CommScope also boosted its full-year revenue expectations.

Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst Kenneth W. Muth in a client note raised his rating to "Outperform" from "Neutral" and lifted his target price to $60 from $42.

"Management has done a great job realigning manufacturing, expanding margins and ramping EPS over the last 12 months, which appears sustainable," wrote Muth. www.commscope.com


Fluke Networks White Paper Series

With hot topics like VoIP and MPLS, enterprises need to understand critical aspects to ensure a successful deployment.  The Fluke Networks White Paper series can help you with overall knowledge as well as best practices for making your deployment successful  Our new series of complimentary white papers is now available for download. All it takes is a simple registration to download each pdf.

Avoid Three Common Pitfalls with VoIP Readiness Assessments:

Enterprises and equipment vendors are learning the value of a complete readiness assessment before deploying VoIP across an organization. The assessments are a critical step to a successful VoIP deployment, but many enterprises are hitting three common pitfalls with various assessment approaches. This white paper will focus on how to avoid the pitfalls of following a snapshot approach, believing synthetic VoIP calls are sufficient and focusing on the assessment only and ignoring post-deployment management. The paper will reinforce why readiness assessments are key for a successful VoIP deployment while also highlighting best practices to assist enterprises in successfully deploying VoIP. Download

Migrating to MPLS-based networks - Avoiding the mistakes your peers have made:

Over the past several years, few topics have gained as much attention as Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). MPLS-based networks have been received as the new industry-leading transport technology for enterprises across the world. Heralded as the next big thing, MPLS-based transport penetration has been increasing substantially as organizations begin the migration from existing frame relay, ATM or private line (point-to-point circuits) networks. While MPLS-based networks have many great features, there are also new pitfalls that can occur with Class of Service and IP-based connectivity. This white paper will focus on how to avoid potential serious issues when you deploy an MPLS-based solution. Download

Building an ROI - Application and Network Performance Management:

Believing there are benefits to improved network and application performance is not enough for most organizations. The ability to quantify cost savings, improved productivity or reduced risks is a critical component in justifying an investment in application and network performance. This white paper will list eight key areas where cost savings can be quantified. Each organization will have different results and savings - some savings might be spread out evenly while others will be skewed to only one or two criteria. Download

Migrating to an MPLS-Based/Private IP Network - Are You Ready?: 

With the increased reliance on business-critical applications, enterprises are considering MPLS-based private IP networks to improve performance with class of service prioritization and any-to-any connectivity.  This white paper will provide an overview of the benefits associated with private IP networks as well as the challenges that occur when networks go from Layer 2 to Layer 3 based connectivity.  Download

www.flukenetworks.com/epm


Building Intelligence Quotient Is An Assessment And Rating Tool And A Design Guidance Tool

An interview with Mr. Zimmer, President of CABA

Sinclair:  What is the BIQ?

Zimmer:  Firstly, CABA’s Building Intelligence Quotient is an assessment and rating tool. It evaluates a building intelligence design against best practices and gives a rating. By doing that it serves as a marketing tool that demonstrates the value of building intelligence.

Secondly, the BIQ is a design guidance tool. By providing a description of building improvement opportunities and links to information, it helps demystify the implementation of intelligent building technologies and takes away some of the fear of the unknown.

Sinclair:  Can you provide some background on the tools development?

Zimmer:  The BIQ was conceived by CABA’s Intelligent and Integrated Buildings Council (IIBC).  Using CABA’s Technology Roadmap for Intelligent Buildings and the Best Practices Guide for Evaluating Intelligent Building Technologies, the IIBC task force developed a list of intelligent building components grouped into four main categories: Communications Systems, Automation and Security Systems and Building and Facility Management Applications.  As the next step, they hosted a workshop with a number of industry experts representing most of the stakeholders in the industry to refine the list and add weighting factors to each category and each line item.  This list has been refined over time with input from many IIBC members. 

 Sinclair:  Who uses the BIQ?

Zimmer:  Everyone that wants to know how the automation systems in their building or buildings rate in terms of their automation features, integration capabilities and their increased value by being intelligent. Owners and developers with multiple properties use the BIQ to assess and compare the building intelligence systems in their portfolio.

 Sinclair:  How does the BIQ determine building intelligence?

Zimmer:  The BIQ determines building intelligence by providing a baseline assessment of an existing building.  BIQ users are provided access to an online questionnaire.  Once they complete the questionnaire, the BIQ system instantly and automatically generates a report with a total percentage score (Quotient) and building automation highlights and areas for improvement.  The assessment assigns points in eight areas: systems overview, power distribution voice and data systems, connectivity options, intelligent features, facility management applications, degraded mode operation and building automation environment.

The assessment generates a report that gives valuable and timely feedback by identifying strengths and weaknesses and recommending design and operational improvements to the building.  This is backed up by helpful online links to building systems companies and other resources that can facilitate the upgrades.  The report generated by BIQ is not intended to be a replacement for an engineering study but it is a way to ensure the user is aware of technologies and how they may be integrated. 

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 of size, type and region.

Sinclair:  How long is the learning curve?

Zimmer:  There isn't one—anyone can be up and running in minutes. Once complete, the system issues an assessment report along with recommendations for design improvements and resources for making those improvements.

 Sinclair:  Why an online system?

Zimmer:  Because it is used interactively online, the BIQ system enables you to change inputs in order to keep your assessment up to date. It also allows for multiple users and is able to compare the different properties in your portfolio. Best of all, it serves as a virtual consultant, providing instant feedback on the intelligent building design along with advice and resources for improvements. 

Sinclair:  How does BIQ improve intelligent building design and performance?

Zimmer:  In several ways, BIQ paints a clear picture of your building intelligence performance against best practices for design, installation and operation. It gives practical advice for improvements, offers resources for making the upgrades, and provides additional information on relevant strategies and technologies.

 Sinclair:  How does the BIQ system improve the intelligence features of my building?

Zimmer:  The most critical challenge in designing, building and operating intelligent building technologies is the effective integration and interoperation of several different building management technologies and other technologies. BIQ helps to ensure that your building has the subsystems you need based on your functional priorities. It then guides the design team to properly integrate the various technologies.  BIQ further increases the value of intelligent building technologies by providing guidance on the use of communications for remote monitoring, control and access.

 Sinclair:  How long can I use the BIQ assessment for a given project?

Zimmer:  You can change inputs as the building parameters change for up to one year after signing up, with an option to extend. You can also purchase an annual unlimited usage license if you have a large portfolio of buildings and you are a CABA member.

Sinclair:  Why should I obtain third-party validation?

Zimmer:  By verifying that your property has achieved the items in the self-assessment through an independent third party, you add value and credibility—in the market, the community, and among tenants.

 Sinclair:  What does the validation process entail?

Zimmer:  The building systems and their interoperability will need to be demonstrated to an independent third party professional that has been trained to visit the building and verify the installation, operation and performance capabilities as described in the reports generated by BIQ. These professionals may be engineers, system integrators and technical experts in the building automation.

 Sinclair:  Is the BIQ system secure?

Zimmer:  With BIQ self-assessment, project confidentiality and security are assured. Online data is confidential. No other users will have access to it or to your benchmark results. This information will be accessible to you and you alone. Verified data is collected anonymously and used for statistical and benchmarking purposes, but no information that could identify your company or building will be collected or used for this analysis. You decide whether to identify your building and it’s BIQ for the benefits to appraisers and if you want to seek certification.

Sinclair:  How much does the tool cost?

Zimmer:  BIQ assessments apply to individual buildings only.  With multi-building complexes, such as universities, you are required to submit each building within the facility on an individual basis.  Per building, a BIQ assessment costs $500 for the first building, $450 for another subsequent nine buildings, and $400 if you are assessing over 11 buildings.  These rates apply if you are a CABA member.

 Sinclair:  Where can you access the tool?

Zimmer:  The tool can be accessed through the CABA Web site at www.caba.org/biq.

 Sinclair:  Who developed the BIQ?

Zimmer:  A special BIQ Consortium was chosen to develop the tool.  It consists of ECD Energy and Environment, IBI Group and Sustainable Resources Management Inc.  The BIQ was made easy to use on line by adopting the proven Green Globes Internet platform that is also being used by BOMA Canada for their “Go Green” program.


Industry Veteran Malcolm Watson To Chair NAED’S 2008 Centennial Celebration Committee

To help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) in 2008, NAED has named Malcolm Watson, past chairman of NAED and former president of Watson Electric Supply, Lindale, Texas, as the honorary chair of the association’s Centennial Celebration Committee. Watson served as chairman of NAED in 1978; he has been a part of electrical distribution for over 50 years, since his family-owned company was founded in 1947.

“I’m honored and humbled that NAED has asked me to serve as the honorary chair of its Centennial Committee,” Watson said. “The 100th anniversary will provide us with a unique opportunity to move into the future by reflecting on our rich, shared history together as an association. By understanding where we’ve been, we can evaluate where we are today, and determine where we need to be in the future.”

In addition to Watson, all other past and current chairs of NAED have been invited to participate in the Centennial Committee. “I can’t think of a more dedicated group of people to work with. They’ve cared and nurtured NAED through good and bad times, and I’m looking forward to working with them,” Watson said.

Watson also encourages NAED members to submit their ideas and input for the celebration plans through an interactive online Web site at www.naed100.org.

“We’ve planned several excellent initiatives to commemorate NAED’s Centennial year in 2008. On behalf of the committee, I’d like to invite both distributors and manufacturers alike to share your ideas and your stories with us and the NAED staff. This is one way you can help lead the association into its second century,” Watson explained.

NAED’s Centennial Celebration will begin with the 2007-2008 regional conference season, culminating with the 2008 Annual Meeting. Mark your calendars now for these significant regional and national events:

    * Eastern Region Conference, Nov. 14-17, 2007, Hamilton, Bermuda

    * Western Region Conference, Jan. 16-19, 2008, Phoenix, Ariz.

    * South Central Region Conference, Feb. 20-23, 2008, Palm Desert, Calif.

    * 2008 Annual Meeting, May 17-21, San Francisco, Calif.

For additional information on NAED’s 100th anniversary plans, contact Becky Burgess, NAED meetings and conference director, at (888) 791-2512 or bburgess@naed.org.

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


Homeward Bound

By Rosie Lombardi

The race to the front door has finally begun in earnest. The construction of that last mile needed for broadband delivery of all of the Web's bounties to the home has been inching along for years. While carriers worry about their build-out strategies, the pressure is mounting. Consumers want more and more bandwidth-gobbling goodies: HDTV, video streaming, digital music, interactive gaming.

So what will the impact be on the structured cabling sector when the floodgates open?

Technology soothsayers have been predicting a surge in demand for high-end broadband services for years.

However, a chicken and egg situation has prevailed: carriers have dragged their feet about building big pipes to homes, waiting for spikes in consumer demand to justify spend; but without big pipes to deliver premium services, consumers are not interested in paying more money.

Several trends indicate this impasse will change dramatically in the near future. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has sounded the death-knell for analog television, mandating a switch to digital broadcasting by 2009. “There is no edict here in Canada, but we'll follow the U.S. market,” says Carmi Levy, senior research analyst at London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group.

Subhead: Bandwidth crunch

Industry insiders say this will set the stage for mass adoption of HDTV, which in turn will spur demand for more broadband access. Currently, cable leads in broadband delivery in North America, and pressure is already reaching critical mass.

At the of Cable Telecommunications Engineers 's 2007 Emerging Technologies show held in Houston in January, cable companies said a new bandwidth crunch is coming from the surge in HDTV, which requires almost four times as much bandwidth as standard digital TV. Panelists also cited the sudden rise of YouTube, which serves 120 million video streams per day and draws more than 34 million users per month.

The crunch will continue to intensify. In the U.S. for example, sales of large LCD televisions were spectacular last Christmas, spiking at 297%t in unit sales on Black Friday, according to consumer research by the NPD Group.

And these first-generation models are evolving. “High-definition is defined as one million mega-pixels, but the models coming out in 2007 have two million -- and the human eye can detect 20 million,” says Richard Smith, the Moncton, N.B.-based director for BICSI’s Canadian region.

Entertainment is a key driver in demand for more bandwidth as a fundamental shift is underway, says Levy. “We're moving from using the Web for simple surfing to using it as the basis for a richer, interactive media experience. It is now the place where we spend most of our free time, instead of television, radio or the movies. Consumers are starting to see what convergence really means.”

Consumers also have pragmatic considerations as they grow more educated about digital services, says Michael Cai, research analyst at Parks Associates, a Dallas, Tex.-based research consultancy.

“There are certain applications they don't realize are supported by broadband, for example, VoIP. They may not want to get broadband but want VoIP to save money on voice services.”

Teleworking is a growing trend that also fuels demand. A major shift is underway in the workplace as more and more people work from home. In a 2006 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 16% of hiring managers said they would allow workers to telecommute.

Levy points out that Canada's economy is driven by SMB enterprises, so home offices will take root sooner than in the U.S. “This is how people will work in the future, and they'll need the infrastructure to support that,” he says.

Interest in “smart” automated buildings that connect home systems and appliances to a central control hub is also on the rise. Often perceived as luxury technology, this area is becoming more affordable. “Only .001% of consumers want this to turn on their hot tubs remotely, but there are thousands of practical applications,” says Ron Zimmer, president of CABA (Continental Automated Buildings Association), an Ottawa-based industry organization that supports and promotes smart building automation.

He says one growing area that is providing hard-nosed incentives is home energy management. People are feeling the pain of skyrocketing energy prices.

Levy agrees, adding that, “this will probably be the first killer app in this space. Consumers get it – this will save them money.” AT&T has already launched a remote home-monitoring service this year to let users control home lighting and appliances via live video for $10 per month.

Video streaming is also starting to serve home purposes beyond entertainment. “The future is security,” says Zimmer, pointing out that security cameras are relatively inexpensive and more easily networked today. From checking up on baby to letting the delivery guy into the house remotely from a home office, home security cameras can save time and worry on a number of fronts, he says. Home monitoring for the elderly is also starting up as more and more people sandwiched between generations look for solutions in providing home care.

Demographic change will also play a major role in spurring broadband. As Mike Capuano, a senior marketing manager with Cisco Systems Inc. puts it, “There are more consumers coming into world who need broadband than exiting it.”

Smith, meanwhile, says the MTV generation is growing up on all this whiz-bang technology: “I look at my 12-year-old daughter who MSNs dozens of friends while watching HDTV with headphones on listening to iTunes -- and she's just one person in the house. The hunger younger generations have to interact with friends, devices and systems is not going to diminish. It never has in my lifetime.”

Subhead: Who will rule the waves?

While Canada leads other G7 countries in broadband penetration, there is still a huge untapped market. About 22% of Canadians have broadband, with cable modem access leading over DSL by a slim margin, according to a 2006 OECD study.

What that means is that telcos and cable companies are locked in a ferocious battle for supremacy. “Whoever controls that last mile, controls the rules of the entire game,” says Levy, pointing out utilities are also butting into this space with broadband over power line (BPL) offerings. Wi-MAX, an untested but much-hyped wireless technology with a range of about 30 miles, is also a contender.

Both telcos and cable companies have fiber-optic backbones, but cabling to homes is largely twisted-pair and coaxial, which are still good enough for most of today's services. But bigger pipes will be needed to deliver future bandwidth-gobbling applications. “If you look at bandwidth consumption, studies show it's almost doubling every 24 months,” says Trevor Smith, program manager for FTTX solutions at Eden Prairie, Minn.-based ADC Telecommunications Inc. “So if carriers are planning a network to support 30 Mbps, they many find that's obsolete in five years.”

Carriers face a strategic dilemma, he says. They must guesstimate what their bandwidth requirements will be for the next five to 30 years to attract customers, then decide what strategy they'll adopt to build out their networks: extending their existing copper and coaxial bases, laying fiber to the home (FTTH), or laying it somewhere in-between to nearby nodes to edge closer to consumers.

But investors will cast a baleful eye on infrastructure investments that won't show a return for many years. While FTTH is the most future-proof option, it is also the one that is most expensive and takes the longest to deploy, says Smith.

To complicate matters, the CRTC is considering legislation that will force incumbent telcos to share their fiber with cable companies and other competitors. Telcos have protested, pointing out they'll have no incentive to expand their fiber infrastructure if they cannot recoup their investments.

This is a worldwide issue, says Joe Savage, president of the FTTH Council, an advocacy group based in Portland, Ore. In the U.S., it was resolved by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that allows carriers who invest in new access infrastructure to retain sole control -- which means other carriers will have to duplicate fiber for home access instead of sharing one infrastructure. “Verizon and other carriers said, hot dog, so fiber deployments are really taking off in the U.S.,” says Savage.

In Canada, a similar boom may occur depending on how the CRTC rules and other developments. “From the market reports I've seen, I think the Canadian boom for FTTH is probably in the 2008-2010 timeframe,” says Smith.

Indoor plumbing

Smith says there is a relationship between increased broadband and home networks. More broadband piped into homes leads to more home network implementations to shuttle the signals throughout the house.

Many families have two or more home computers and televisions, and want the option to work or access entertainment in any room.

Also, the concept of networking is moving from the office to the home to enable families to share a range of peripherals such as back-up servers, printers and cameras, says Levy. Broadband sharing will be the driver for increased home network adoption as multimedia applications become more widespread, according to a 2006 IDC study.

New home buyers are expressing interest when developers present wired infrastructure as an option at the construction phase, particularly if the costs are factored into the mortgage, says BICSI president John Bakowski.

Info-Tech's Levy agrees. “I see a strong business in the new home market – but not much in retrofitting,” he says, pointing out these homeowners typically opt for Wi-Fi since it's much cheaper and easier to install.

According to Frank Koditek, a product marketing manager with Belden Inc., cabling for new homes is still primarily copper.

Copper and coaxial can deliver about the same amount of bandwidth as fiber, but only over short distances of about 100 meters, he says. While the costs of the actual cabling for copper and fiber are fairly close, the electronics and termination equipment needed for fiber are more expensive.

But consumer awareness that fiber is a better and more future-proof option is catching on, says Savage.

He says fiber received the highest rating for quality in broadband delivery in a recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports magazine. Fibered communities are more attractive to homebuyers, and landlords can charge higher rents for fibered multi-dwelling units.

Research shows that growth in home wiring will be steady but not dramatic, says Cai. In the U.S., the number of households with a data network increased from 2.5 million in 1998 to more than 20 million in 2006. “Growth will be in new homes and wealthy people who can afford retrofits. The majority either can't afford wiring or have alternatives like Wi-Fi or BPL,” he says.

Fiber to the curb

Carrier and home network build-up for broadband will have salutary effects on the structured wiring sector, but also comes with some challenges for ITS specialists.

In the U.S., high-tech installers are in great demand, particularly in the urban centres of the North-east and South where carriers are focusing their efforts, says Bakowski.

But there is less activity in the more sparsely populated North, which is similar to Canada. “I've noticed cable companies are installing a lot of fiber to the curb in Canada, but fiber for the last mile -- I can only see that happening in new sub-divisions in the near future,” he says.

But he sees good prospects in the home technology market. If people are going to pay more for HDTV and premium services, they are going to want the best signals they can get via high-performance home networks, he says.

For these installations, consumers prefer to deal with only one specialist who does the entire job, says Adam Welch, a manager at Everett, Wash.-based Fluke Networks, which provides testing tools. But many are using electricians or security alarm installers who may not necessarily have the right expertise.

To establish themselves as the best providers in this space, installers need to upgrade their skills to provide cradle-to-grave installations for triple-play data, voice and video services. “They need to know all the design parameters that will give the customer the optimum performance for what they're paying,” says Bakowski. This means understanding all related technologies – copper, fiber, wireless and BPL, evaluating the home's physical infrastructure and environment, and learning how to troubleshoot problems.”

One key departure from an installer's traditional approach is the need to understand electromagnetic (EM) fields and how they can interfere with data flows, warns BICSI's Smith.

As more and more devices get plugged into systems, current flows create more magnetic fields around electrical conductors. “For example, a jack in the bedroom carrying both voice and Web -- if those wires pass through a magnetic field created by some old fridge motors, this will destroy the data signal,” he says. Installers can no longer rely on physical elements they can see when they're installing wires; they need to analyze and test the room's EM environment with tools.

Industry insiders say accounts of botched installations are accumulating, as are stories of sub-contractors who inadvertently cut through wiring after successful installs.

To protect installers, there are tools that test and document to ensure the cabling performs to standards and worked properly when installed. “So installers are protected from the liability of others coming in and messing up their work,” says Welch.

Another issue is that many existing computers are calibrated for slower speeds. When dealing with fiber networks, installers must expect to spend time ensuring computers work at higher speeds, as these will not magically adjust for broadband, says Savage. “Verizon made a decision that technicians don't leave the house until the computer operates at 10-15 Mbps,” he says, pointing out this means fiddling with Windows, Ethernet cards and other network elements until the system operates at the speed at which the access arrives.

Demand for skilled installers, particularly good ones, will continue to grow, says Bakowski. “It's an exciting time to be involved in this area, but five years from now there will be new stuff so installers must keep up.”

Rosie Lombardi is a Toronto based freelance writer. She can be reached at rosie.lombardi@hotmail.com.

Reprinted with full permission of CNS Magazine www.cnsmagazine.com


Harger Lightning & Grounding Website

Harger Lightning & Grounding proudly introduces the release of its new & improved Website at www.harger.com. Harger’s website provides information and products to provide a total system solution to the protection of any facility or site.

The website includes Harger’s New Master Equipment Catalog that was released early in 2007. The Technical Assistance section has been expanded to include Specifications for Structural LP System, Wireless Communication Site LP & Grounding System, Signal Reference Grid System and Grounding & Bonding for Communications System (ANSI-J-STD-607-A). Downloadable details for grounding, exothermics and lightning protection have been added. The Lightning Risk Assessment Calculator allows the user to perform a risk assessment based on the NFPA 780-2004 edition. In the Library Section, you can view and download brochures, line cards and presentations. See what Training Programs are offered by Harger. Locate a Harger Stocking Distributor or Factory Representative in your area, and so much more.

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


Anixter International Inc. Announces The Acquisition Of Eurofast

Anixter International Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News), the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers ("OEMs"), today announced that it had acquired all of the outstanding shares of Eurofast SAS ("Eurofast") from Lisi SA.

Collegien, France-based Eurofast is an aerospace fastener distributor that will complement Anixter's product offering with a broad array of valued-added services and inventory management programs to Original Equipment Manufacturers ("OEMs") in the aerospace and defense industries. For 2007, Eurofast is expected to generate sales of approximately $22 million. Anixter is paying approximately $27 million in cash, for all of the outstanding shares of Eurofast.

Commenting on the acquisition, Bob Grubbs, President and CEO of Anixter, said, "We are pleased to have acquired Eurofast and the excellent team of people involved at the company. This acquisition is another step in the geographic expansion of our OEM Supply business through the addition of important customers primarily within France in an end market where we have little penetration today within Europe. Given our stated goal of building on our current strategic platform to drive future organic sales growth, this acquisition is a nice addition to our existing business," said Grubbs.

About Anixter
Anixter International is the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers. The company adds value to the distribution process by providing its customers access to 1) innovative inventory management programs, 2) more than 325,000 products and over $900 million in inventory, 3) 220 warehouses with more than 5.5 million square feet of space, and 4) locations in 247 cities in 49 countries. Founded in 1957 and headquartered near Chicago, Anixter trades on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AXE.

About Lisi
Lisi is a worldwide leading fastener and assembly components manufacturer in the automotive, aerospace and cosmetics markets. Lisi is headquartered in France and listed on Euronext (CAC Mid 100; ISIN: FR 0000050353).

Safe Harbor Statement
The statements in this news release that use such words as "believe," "expect," "intend," "anticipate," "contemplate," "estimate," "plan," "project," "should," "may," or similar expressions are forward-looking statements. They are subject to a number of factors that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from what is indicated here. These factors include general economic conditions, technology changes, changes in supplier or customer relationships, commodity price fluctuations, exchange rate fluctuations, new or changed competitors and risks associated with integration of recently acquired companies. Please see the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings for more information. http://www.anixter.com


Inside the numbers: 10-GbE cost comparisons

Patrick McLaughlin is chief editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

As a technical undertaking, 10GBase-T is an accomplishment of significant proportions. The engineering efforts required to create a protocol for transmitting 10 billion bits of data per second on eight copper wires are worthy of celebration and marvel. For professionals in the cabling industry, however, it is doubtful that those contemplating 10-Gigabit Ethernet deployment have used the word “marvelous” to describe the deliberations and considerations that have gone into selecting which flavor (10GBase-T or 10GBase-SX) of the protocol to deploy. And some users who have settled on 10GBase-T have found the option of using unshielded or shielded twisted-pair cabling a source of consternation.

In the 10GbE ecosystem, technical issues raise cost questions, which give reason for deeper consideration of the financial investments involved. Logical questions arising from cost analysis involve the long-term technical benefits of deploying 10GbE; the cycle completes itself and starts over again.

Today cabling-system vendors provide full assurance that their twisted-pair solutions accommodate 10GBase-T transmission—even though the Telecommunications Industry Association’s (TIA; www.tiaonline.org) full set of Category 6A specifications is not yet finalized. With the first 10GBase-T-compliant networking products hitting the market, these cabling vendors are getting their first opportunities to prove those claims.

Meanwhile, fiber-based 10GbE systems have been available and deployed for some period of time. The truism we have all heard is even with the use of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, the cost of optoelectronics equipment (i.e. fiber-based networking equipment) so far exceeds that of copper-based electronics, holding out for the introduction of copper-based systems is the most cost-effective move a user can make. And this author, for one, typically takes that statement at face value.

Just how much of a value is 10GBase-T over 10GBase-SX? And even if 10GBase-T proves to be the financially advantageous option, how should a user make the decision about whether to operate the protocol on shielded or unshielded cabling? With those questions lingering, or put another way, fueling the 10GbE ecosystem, Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine sought out three cabling-system providers, each of which offers multimode fiber, unshielded twisted-pair, and shielded twisted-pair solutions. With some vendors rather adamantly advocating one medium over the others for 10GbE transmission, we invited ADC (www.adc.com); CommScope (www.commscope.com), which offers the Uniprise and Systimax brands; and Tyco Electronics/AMP Netconnect (www.ampnetconnect.com) to participate in a Q&A-style discussion about the technical and, significantly, the financial considerations that users face when 10GbE is in their future.

Speaking for ADC in this discussion is John Schmidt, senior product manager for structured cabling. Representing CommScope is Matt Brown, global data center solutions manager. Brian Davis, global product manager, represents Tyco Electronics.

Please note that in providing these individuals’ answers to the questions posed, they had the option of answering or not answering any question. Also, when more than one individual answered a question the same or essentially the same, Cabling Installation & Maintenance has chosen to provide a single response.

Q: On a “1x/1.5x/2x”-type basis, generally what are the installed-cost figures for 100-meter, 4-connector channel Category 6A UTP, Category 6A foiled/unshielded twisted-pair (F/UTP), and laser-optimized 50-micron multimode fiber cabling systems?

Davis: Category 6A F/UTP and multimode fiber are 1x; Category 6A UTP is 1.1x.

Brown: Fiber-cable prices have remained stable during the past few years, while copper raw material prices have driven the cost of UTP and F/UTP cabling up. Based on UTP as 1x, F/UTP installed links will be 1.15x and laser-optimized fiber links will be 1.75x.

Q: Can you provide similar information about the cost of 1-Gig network equipment (network interface cards [NICs], LAN cards), comparing 1000Base-T with 1000Base-SX?

Schmidt: According to Intel pricing, 1000Base-T NICs are $145 while 1000Base-SX NICs are $510. And Cisco prices 1000Base-T small-form-pluggables (SFPs) at $315 while 1000Base-SX SFPs are $380. On the NIC side, 1000Base-SX will be approximately 3.5 more expensive than 1000Base-T. Keep in mind that 1000Base-T NIC ports have astronomically higher volume than 1000Base-SX. For switch ports, which have higher 1000Base-SX volume, the cost is much closer, with 1000Base-SX having only a 20% premium over 1000Base-T ports.

Brown: 1000Base-T and 1000Base-SX NICs have both fallen dramatically over the past two years. They are between 20% and 35% of their 2005 price. The price gap between -T and -SX has narrowed from 4x in 2005 to 3x today.

Q: Do you have any insight into what the market might expect, in terms of a cost difference between -T and -SX, when a full complement of 10GBase-T networking equipment is available?

Brown: Estimates at IEEE have historically predicted 10GBase-T prices will be 40% of 10GBase-SX prices. We believe the biggest hurdle for 10GBase-T is the electronics power requirement. The most efficient NICs on the market have power consumptions <6 Watts, while fiber-based 10G NICs are readily available between 2 and 4 Watts.

Schmidt: Two NIC vendors, Tehuti Networks and Chelsio Communications, have announced product. Chelsio’s 10GBase-T NIC is priced at $1,995. Neterion’s 10GBase-CX4 NIC is $1,095, while its 10GBase-SR NIC is $1,995 and its 10GBase-LR NIC is $2,895. 10GBase-T NICs are currently about the same price as 10GBase-SR, as they have just been introduced and have low volume. It is expected that by 2009 the relative cost between 10GBase-SR and 10GBase-T will be 4x, with 10GBase-T NICs sub-$200 and 10GBase-SR around $800.

Q: Given the economics of optical networking, users may be tempted to dismiss it out of hand for channels of 100-meter distances or less. But are there circumstances under which fiber can be the best overall choice in systems ≤100 meters?

Davis: There are several reasons to deploy fiber in horizontal links less than 100 meters, including the following seven scenarios.

  1. Cabling runs through or is exposed to high radio-frequency interference/electromagnetic interference (RFI/EMI) noise areas.
  2. Cabling runs through or is exposed to high-voltage areas—there are no induced voltages on all-dielectric fiber cable.
  3. Restricted pathway space, including but not limited to small conduits, small bulkhead openings, and fire barriers.
  4. Cabling runs through or is exposed to high-temperature areas.
  5. 10GbE-capable runs are needed today.
  6. Secure areas with concerns about transmitted/radiated signals.
  7. Limited termination space for highest-density connectivity.

Brown: Fiber has its strongest play when density is a major concern, as in the storage area network (SAN) environment. This relatively short-distance application is dominated by fiber cabling due to density concerns as well as the potential for fiber to upgrade to 100-gigabit and beyond. Fiber makes sense below 100 meters when density and a clear upgrade path to next-generation speeds are major concerns.

Schmidt: Absolutely. In particular, laser-optimized multimode fiber is an ideal medium for shorter-distance transmission for the following situations.

  1. Fibre Channel transmission in SANs.
  2. Highly secure network connections, due to fiber’s high degree of difficulty to tap or monitor.
  3. Very high density network connections that require small cable diameters.
  4. Sub-100-mter lengths that are expected to be 100-Gigabit Ethernet in the future.

It is expected that 100-Gigabit Ethernet will have a 100-meter distance limitation on laser-optimized multimode fiber.

Q: When planning 10GBase-T-capable twisted-pair systems, end users face complicated decisions about cable types and those types’ characteristics. Assuming we are talking about a four-connector channel in a “friendly” environment (no excessive external noise sources or extreme bends along the pathway), does your organization recommend one medium over another?

Schmidt: Unshielded twisted-pair Augmented Category 6, for the following reasons.

  1. UTP Category 6A is available in the smallest diameter that will support 10GBase-T—0.275 in. versus 0.285 in. in F/UTP cables—which will improve conduit-fill ratios by allowing more cables to fit in a given-size conduit.
  2. UTP Category 6A is the lowest-cost medium that will support 10GBase-T, accounting for all factors including component cost, installation cost, troubleshooting, and testing.
  3. UTP Category 6A is designed to meet and exceed all the electrical requirements set forth by the IEEE, ISO, and TIA to support 10GBase-T without resorting to shielding.
  4. In 2006, more than 6.2 billion feet of category-rated cable was installed in the United States; of that, less than 1.5% was F/UTP, according to market-research firm BSRIA (www.bsria.co.uk). As a result, there is very little installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance experience with F/UTP cabling in the United States—precisely why the vast majority will continue to use UTP cabling.

F/UTP and S/FTP cabling certainly has its place within the network; it will provide superior external-noise suppression for installations near high noise sources, such as radio or microwave transmitters. However, standard noise from common sources, and certainly alien crosstalk, can be more than adequately eliminated by UTP Category 6A. So for 98.5% of installations in the United States, UTP cabling is going to be a more economical choice that does not sacrifice performance.

Brown: We recommend TIA Category 6A, ISO Class EA compliant UTP cable. F/UTP solutions have several drawbacks beyond their 15% price premium. When using UTP cabling, the installer does not need to implement the additional bonding and grounding steps that are required with F/UTP cables. There is additional time and cost associated with terminating the shield and drain wire on F/UTP cabling. Due to the sensitivity of this operation to installer technique, between 5% and 20% of terminations need to be re-worked to properly ground them. The possibility of the foil tape folding or kinking can give F/UTP cables a larger bend radius than UTP cables. F/UTP cables typically have 2-inch bend radii (similar to coaxial cables), compared to typical UTP bend radii of 1 inch. Ease of cable routing and dressing are critical in today’s dense connectivity environments, such as the data center. While F/UTP cables are smaller than some UTP cables, the density advantages of F/UTP are small and do not justify the increased cost and difficulty of installation. If density is a critical concern, then fiber is preferred.

Davis: For 10GBase-T-capable twisted-pair systems, Tyco Electronics recommends a Category 6A F/UTP system. From a performance perspective, shielded technology eliminates the effects of alien crosstalk—the most dominant and critical additional parameter for 10GBase-T. From an installation point of view our jack greatly simplifies installation and ensures consistent high-performance terminations. This jack is designed to handle heavier-gauge conductors and makes it easy to maintain pair twist—even with the tighter pair twist of Category 6A cables. There is no need to field test a shielded installation for alien crosstalk, whereas an unshielded solution requires hours of additional testing for 100% coverage, or a “sampling” test procedure, which reduces the time investment by sacrificing 100% verification.

Cost model allows you to make your own calculations

The TIA’s Fiber Optics LAN Section (FOLS; www.fols.org) provides on its Web site a cost model that allows users to compare the costs associated with deploying the cabling infrastructure and network hardware for protocols including Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Cost-model users must register before beginning, but the registration and use of the model is free. FOLS has updated the pricing data in its cost model periodically, and the model allows users to input their own numbers as well. The participants in this article—ADC, CommScope, and Tyco Electronics—are all FOLS members.

Reprinted with full permission of  CI & M Magazine –  www.cable-install.com


Yotta280 Provides Fortune 500-level Online Data Storage Services To Small & Medium-sized Businesses Nationwide

Yotta280, Inc. is bringing YottaVault, a completely secure, automated and affordable managed backup service that stores valuable business data off-site for safe keeping and rapid retrieval to Small and Medium-sized businesses nationwide. A solution previously reserved for Fortune-500 companies; YottaVault is an affordable, convenient and smart choice for all organizations. Yotta280 is the first large scale data protection company to locate its headquarters and vault infrastructure in Jacksonville, FL.

The Computer Security Institute has found that most companies spend between 1% to 5% of their IT budget on information security- a direct result of the staggering losses associated with information security breaches, theft, hardware failures and data retrieval disasters.

“YottaVault is leading-edge information protection technology and will change the landscape of how SMB’s and SME’s protect their valuable data assets for many years to come. Explosive data growth in all size businesses and ever changing compliance regulations will drive the need for our service to incredible heights.” said Terry Fields, President.

YottaVault is a unique alternative to traditional backup methods, replacing conventional one dimensional tape based systems with a fully automated disk-to-disk off-site solution. YottaVault provides centralized, unattended and encrypted backups for branch offices, file servers, workstations, laptops and database servers with instant online restore functionality. Backups can be automatically performed as scheduled or continuously as data is created.

Backup data is transferred to one of Yotta280’s world-class facilities via a high speed internet connection. The protected data can be easily and quickly restored from the customer’s place of business. Yotta280’s facility offers 30-day standalone electrical power, can withstand 154 mph winds and rains from a category 5 hurricane; guaranteeing availability and peace of mind.

Additional information can be found by calling (904) 674-2110 or visiting www.yotta280.com


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

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

Features:

  • Building out the Network From Start to Finish

            By Charles M. Fleckenstein

  • Universities Prepare for Network Updates

By Kevin Tanzillo          

  • Making the Leap From Manual to Computerized Estimating
  • By Brian Royer
  • Petco Cages New CCTV System

By Dan O’Connell

  • What’s New in the Firestopping World?

By Steve Paulov

Industry Expert Columns:

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

Hot Products:

Fiber Cleaning and Inspection Tools, Triple Play Service Delivery Architecture, Termination Tools, Stainless Steel Faceplates, Labels for Wires and Cables, Printers, Snap-in Connector Systems, Fiber Optics, Structured Cabling System Installations, Cable Trays, Dome Cameras, CCTV Surveillance Cameras, Video Communication Systems and much, much more!

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


NAED Announces Tammy Miller as 2007-2008 Chair Of The Board

The 2007-2008 NAED Chair of the Board is Tammy Miller, CEO of Border States Electric Supply in Fargo, N.D. Miller has been CEO of Border States, the nation’s 14th-largest electrical distributor, since January 2006. She previously served as the company’s president, executive vice president, CFO and southwest region general manager.

Active in NAED, she has been a member of the association’s Board of Directors for the past eight years and was Western Region Vice President. She has chaired the NAED Finance Committee and Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Distributor Task Force. She also serves on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council. The first woman to serve as NAED chair, Miller’s new role became official at the conclusion of the 2007 Annual Meeting, held May 5 – 9 in Washington, D.C.

“As NAED begins the year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary, we can take great pride in the association’s commitment to the success of our members and the distribution channel,” Miller said. Her theme for the year is “Honor Tradition. Ignite Innovation.”

“NAED is working on many tremendous initiatives that will ignite innovation in our channel to help members be more profitable over the next century. The association truly is the bridge in our channel that can bring together distributors, manufacturers, software providers, marketing groups and others to tackle the tough issues,” she said. www.naed.org


Hitachi Announces New Directors

Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT - News; TOKYO:6501 - News) announced new directors in accordance with a decision taken at a meeting of Nominating Committee convened today, and is subject to approval at Hitachi's Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders in June 2007.

1. Director Candidates (Proposed at Hitachi's Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders in June 2007) ((1) New)

(Chairman of the Board)

Etsuhiko Shoyama, currently Chairman of the Board

(Director)

Kazuo Furukawa, currently Director; Representative Executive Officer, President

Yagi Yoshiki, currently Director

Tadamichi Sakiyama, currently Director

(1) Toyoaki Nakamura, currently Representative Executive Officer, Senior Vice President and Executive Officer, General Manager of Finance Department I

(Outside Director)

(1) Yoshie Ota, currently Advisor, Japan Institute of Workers' Evolution

(1) Mitsuo Ohashi, currently Chairman of the Board, Showa Denko K.K.

(1) Akihiko Nomiyama, currently Special Advisor, NIPPON MINING HOLDINGS, INC.

(1) Kenji Miyahara, currently Chairman of the Board, Sumitomo Corporation

Tohru Motobayashi, currently Outside Director; Partner, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

(Director)

(1) Takeo Ueno, currently President, Hitachi Via Mechanics, Ltd.

Isao Uchigasaki, currently Director; Director and Chairman of the Board, Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd.

(1) Michihiro Honda, currently Chairman of the Board, Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

Each committee is scheduled to be composed of the following members (Chairman underlined)

·  Nominating Committee:

Etsuhiko Shoyama, Yoshie Ota, Mitsuo Ohashi, Tohru Motobayashi, Kazuo Furukawa

·  Audit Committee:

Yoshiki Yagi, Yoshie Ota, Akihiko Nomiyama, Kenji Miyahara, Tadamichi Sakiyama

·  Compensation Committee:

Etsuhiko Shoyama, Akihiko Nomiyama, Kenji Miyahara, Tohru Motobayashi, Kazuo Furukawa

2. Resigning Directors

Takashi Miyoshi, currently Director

Ginko Sato, currently Outside Director; Honorary President, Japan Association for the Advancement of Working Women

Hiromichi Seya, currently Outside Director; Senior Corporate Advisor, Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.

Takashi Kawamura, currently Director; Director and Chairman of the Board, Hitachi Software Engineering Co., Ltd.

Yoshiro Kuwata, currently Director; Director and Chairman of the Board, Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation

Masayoshi Hanabusa, currently Director; Chairman of the Board, Hitachi Capital Corporation

Ryuichi Seguchi, currently Director; Chairman Emeritus, Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.

3. Biography of New Director Candidates

Toyoaki Nakamura

1. Date of Birth :  August 3, 1952

2. Education

   March, 1975   :  Graduated from Faculty of Economics,

                    Keio University

3. Business Experience

   January, 2006 :  General Manager of Finance Department I, Hitachi,

                     Ltd.

   April, 2005   :  Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial

                     Officer of Hitachi Data Systems Solutions Holding

                     Corporation

   April, 2004   :  Chief Financial Officer of Hitachi Data Systems

                     Solutions Holding Corporation

   April, 2002   :  General Manager of Finance Division, Information &

                     Telecommunication Systems Group

   April, 2001   :  General Manager of Finance Division, System

                     Solutions Group

   June, 2000    :  Deputy General Manager of Finance

                    & Distribution Systems Group

   June, 1998    :  Senior Manager of Finance Department,

                     Semiconductor Division

   April, 1975   :  Joined Hitachi, Ltd.

Yoshie Ota

1. Date of Birth :  September 1, 1942

2. Education

   March 1966    :  Graduated from Faculty of Economics,

                    Keio University

3. Business Experience

   July 2005     :  Advisor, Japan Institute of Workers' Evolution

   July 1998     :  Chairman, Japan Institute of Workers' Evolution

   June 1995     :  Director-General, Women's Bureau, Ministry of

                     Labor

   June 1994     :  Director-General, Minister's Secretariat,

                    Ministry of Labor

   December 1991 :  Vice Governor of Ishikawa Prefecture

   April 1966    :  Joined Ministry of Labor

Mitsuo Ohashi

1. Date of Birth :  January 18, 1936

2. Education

   March 1959    :  Graduated from Faculty of Economics,

                    Keio University

3. Business Experience

   March 2007    :  Chairman of the Board, Showa Denko K.K.

   January 2005  :  Representative Director

                    and Chairman of the Board of Directors,

                    Showa Denko K.K.

   March 1997    :  Representative Director and President (CEO),

                    Showa Denko K.K.

   March 1995    :  Senior Managing Director, Showa Denko K.K.

   March 1993    :  Managing Director, Showa Denko K.K.

   March 1989    :  Director;

                    General Manager, Corporate Planning Department,

                    Showa Denko K.K.

   May 1988      :  General Manager, Corporate Planning Department,

                    Showa Denko K.K.

   March 1985    :  General Manager,

                    Petrochemicals Control Department,

                    Showa Denko K.K.

   December 1961 :  Joined Showa Denko K.K.

   March 1959    :  Joined the Mitsui Bank Limited

Akihiko Nomiyama

1. Date of Birth :  June 15, 1934

2. Education

   March 1957    :  Graduated from Faculty of Law,

                    the University of Tokyo

3. Business Experience

   June 2006     :  Special Advisor, NIPPON MINING HOLDINGS, INC.

   June 2003     :  Chairman of the Board,

                    NIPPON MINING HOLDINGS, INC.

   September 2002:  President and CEO,

                    NIPPON MINING HOLDINGS, INC.

   April 2002    :  Chairman of the Board,

                    JAPAN ENERGY CORPORATION

   June 2000     :  Chairman of the Board, President and CEO,

                    JAPAN ENERGY CORPORATION

   June 1996     :  President and CEO,

                    JAPAN ENERGY CORPORATION

   June 1994     :  Senior Managing Director,

                    General Manager of Tokyo Branch Office,

                    JAPAN ENERGY CORPORATION

   December 1993 :  Managing Director,

                    General Manager of Corporate Planning Group,

                    JAPAN ENERGY CORPORATION

   December 1992 :  Managing Director,

                    General Manager of Corporate Planning Group,

                    NIKKO KYODO CO., LTD.

   July 1989     :  Managing Director,

                    NIPPON MINING CO., LTD.

   July 1984     :  Director,

                    Deputy General Manager of Petroleum Group

                    NIPPON MINING CO., LTD.

   July 1981     :  General Manager of Administrative Department,

                     Petroleum Group, NIPPON MINING CO., LTD.

   April 1957    :  Joined NIPPON MINING CO., LTD.

Kenji Miyahara

1. Date of Birth :  November 5, 1935

2. Education

   March 1958    :  Graduated from, Faculty of Law,

                    Kyoto University

3. Business Experience

   June 2001     :  Chairman of the Board, Sumitomo Corporation

   June 1996     :  President and Chief Executive Officer,

                    Sumitomo Corporation

   June 1995     :  Executive Vice President, Sumitomo Corporation

   June 1993     :  Senior Managing Director, Sumitomo Corporation

   June 1990     :  Managing Director, Sumitomo Corporation President

                     and Chief Executive Officer, Sumitomo Corporation

                     of America

   June 1988     :  Director, General Manager, Iron & Steel Import &

                     Export Division Sumitomo Corporation

   June 1986     :  Director, Deputy General Manager, Iron & Steel

                     Import & Export Division Sumitomo Corporation

   April 1958    :  Joined Sumitomo Shoji Kaisha, Ltd.

Takeo Ueno

1. Date of Birth :  February 9, 1942

2. Education

   March 1964    :  Graduated from Faculty of Law,

                    Hitotsubashi University

3. Business Experience

   June 2001     :  President, Hitachi Via Mechanics, Ltd.

   April 2000    :  Deputy General Manager, Sales Management Division

   April 1999    :  Corporate Officer,

                    General Manager, Materials Department

   May 1995      :  General Manager, Materials Department

   August 1987   :  Deputy General Manager, Materials Department

   December 1983 :  General Manager,

                    Material Division of Hitachi Works

   April 1964    :  Joined Hitachi, Ltd.

Michihiro Honda

1. Date of Birth :  October 13, 1942

2. Education

   March 1965    :  Graduated from Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,

                    Shizuoka University

3. Business Experience

   June 2006     :  Chairman of the Board, Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

   June 2003     :  President, Chief Executive Officer & Director,

                    Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

   June 2000     :  President & Representative Director,

                    Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

   June 1999     :  Executive Managing Director

                    & Representative Director, Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

   June 1995     :  Member of the Board of Directors,

                    Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

   April 1993       General Manager of Yasugi Works,

                    Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

   April 1965    :  Joined Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

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


Seen And Heard At Data Center World

To help network cabling managers seamlessly leverage existing copper electronics with high-density fiber-optics, Transition Networks (www.transition.com) Gigabit Ethernet media conversion technology has been added to Corning Cable Systems’ (www.corningcablesystems.com) portfolio of Plug & Play Universal System products.

The media conversion module features 12 RJ-45 copper ports on the front and two 12-fiber MTP connector ports at the rear. Up to two modules can be placed in the 1U Media Converter Housing, offering 24-copper-port density, and up to eight modules can be placed into the 4U housing for 96-copper-port density.

“Large data centers have a continuous need to upgrade their networks to ensure the effective transport and quality of high volumes of data,” says Bill Schultz, vice president of marketing at Transition Networks. “Corning leads the market and is offering a portfolio of solutions that feature high-density ribbon cabling and MTP connector-based trunking for space-saving and convenient fiber deployment. The addition of our media conversion technology to the Plug & Play Universal Systems line offers more versatility to help organizations optimize the connectivity infrastructure in their data centers.”

The addition of the media converter module to Corning’s product portfolio “allows customers to gain all the benefits of a pre-terminated, modular solution, while using the low-cost legacy copper electronics that are available today,” says Doug Winders, vice president of sales and marketing for Corning Cable Systems Private Networks.

Power, cooling and management solutions provider American Power Conversion (APC; www.apcc.com) is teaming with IBM (www.ibm.com) to provide a new global service product offered by IBM’s site and facilities services unit.

The Scalable Modular Data Center is designed for rapidly deploying a pre-engineered 500- or 1,000-square-foot data center. IBM will offer its customers pre-configured American Power Conversion InfraStruXure solutions, including perimeter or InRow cooling, and NetBotz physical threat monitoring. InfraStruXure integrates power, cooling, racks, management, security and environmental solutions. The Scalable Modular Data Center will utilize IBM’s resources for assessments, project management integration, and ongoing solutions-related maintenance contracts.

“From our experience in marketing products to small- and medium-sized businesses, we designed this solution specifically to meet the customer’s need for flexible infrastructure that can install in virtually any environment, and still support the cost-effective addition of components as a business grows,” says Rob Johnson, APC’s president and chief executive officer.

Reprinted with full permission of CI & M Magazine – www.cable-install.com


Anixter to Host: 'The IP Connected Enterprise' Seminar Series

Anixter Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News), the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), will host its annual National Seminar Series for the 8th consecutive year. The IP Connected Enterprise will be conducted in 16 cities across the US between May and November of 2007. Some of Anixter's top technical experts will address the challenges and solutions associated with the increasing stress put on network infrastructures as more and more building systems are converging onto one IP network.

Attendees are invited to a day of exploring emerging trends within the industry, new technologies and the issues behind the worldwide movement towards the IP Connected Enterprise. These seminars will educate attendees on the concept of developing a "utility grade" building infrastructure, designed and installed to enable Ethernet connectivity of all possible building systems to a single IP network. In addition, Anixter's featured manufacturers will be on hand to display their latest products and solutions in a mini tradeshow setting.

These seminars are open to anyone interested in learning the latest products, technologies, and standards that exist today, and the many issues concerning the design, build and maintenance of a modern building infrastructure, including the need for a robust and reliable cabling infrastructure. IT Managers, Facility Directors, IS/LAN Managers, Architects, Consultants, Engineers, Security Managers, Directors and Integrators are invited to participate. Registration begins at 11:30 AM and the event includes a complimentary lunch buffet. There is no cost associated with the seminar; however, space is limited. Each seminar will conclude with a free raffle drawing at 4:00 PM. BICSI and National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) continuing education credits will be available to interested attendees.

    Daily Agenda

    11:30am    1:00pm     Registration

                          Exhibits Open

                          Buffet Lunch

    1:00pm     2:00pm     Presentation: Exploring Issues

                          Associated with Migration to

                          Intelligent Information

                          Networks

    2:00pm     2:15pm     Break

                          Exhibits Open

    2:15pm     3:15pm     Presentation: Infrastructure

                          Solutions for the IP Connected

                          Enterprise

    3:15pm     4:00pm     Exhibits Open

                          Raffle Drawing

The IP Connected Enterprise seminars are currently scheduled for the

following cities:

     11-May-07      Houston, TX

     17-May-07      San Ramon, CA

     7-Jun-07       Des Moines, IA

     21-Jun-07      Philadelphia, PA

     28-Jun-07      Adelphi, MD

     12-Jul-07      Columbus, OH

     26-Jul-07      White Plains, NY

     9-Aug-07       Indianapolis, IN

     23-Aug-07      Novi, MI

     6-Sep-07       Cincinnati, OH

     20-Sep-07      Dallas, TX

     4-Oct-07       Seattle, WA

     11-Oct-07      Charlotte, NC

     25-Oct-07      Memphis, TN

     1-Nov-07       Phoenix, AZ

     15-Nov-07      San Antonio, TX

To view the schedule, register for a seminar in your area, or simply get more information and updates, visit the Anixter Web site at anixter.com/events or contact Mary Cathlin Sullivan at 224-521-4181.

About Anixter
Anixter International is the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers. The company adds value to the distribution process by providing its customers access to 1) innovative inventory management programs, 2) more than 350,000 products and over $900 million in inventory, 3) 220 warehouses with more than 5.5 million square feet of space, and 4) locations in 247 cities in 49 countries. Founded in 1957 and headquartered near Chicago, Anixter trades on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AXE.
www.anixter.com


SIOR Foundation Contributes $10,000 To BOMA Energy Efficiency (BEEP) Program

The SIOR Foundation (SIORF), a non-profit foundation, independent of the S­­ociety of Industrial and Office REALTORS®, that provides financial support for activities that expand knowledge within and beyond the commercial real estate industry, has been named a Champion sponsor by the Building Owners and Manager Association (BOMA) International for their $10,000 contribution to the groundbreaking BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP).

The BEEP program, which offers cutting-edge energy savings solutions through a series of Webinars, was developed by the BOMA Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR® program. A critical component to the BEEP program is benchmarking energy performance through the EPA’s Portfolio Manager.

“More and more building owners and managers are making energy efficiency a priority and the BEEP educational series provides the tools to make it happen,” said Gary Wood, RPA, chair of the BOMA Foundation. “This generous contribution by Champion Sponsor SIOR Foundation will help us build on the success of BEEP as participants take the next step and benchmark their energy performance through the EPA’s Portfolio Manager. Through benchmarking, we can show lawmakers that incentives and voluntary programs like BEEP are the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption.”

“We are proud to support BEEP, a program that has revolutionized the way our industry tackles energy consumption,” said David Zimmer, SIOR, SIORF President. “SIORF is committed to help bring the energy efficiency strategies offered in the BEEP seminars to an even broader audience. We look forward to working with BOMA International to help building owners and managers reduce emissions and save on energy costs while providing healthier work environments for tenants.” 

Upcoming courses include: 

BEEP: Valuing Energy Enhancement Projects & Financial Returns, August 16, 2007

Building an Energy Awareness Program, October 18, 2007

BOMA International was recently named a 2007 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for BEEP. The award was given in the Excellence in Program Delivery in the Commercial and Industrial category. BOMA International is the first real estate association to receive the Partner of the Year award.

www.boma.org/TrainingAndEducation/BEEP/.

For more information on SIORF, please visit www.siorfoundation.org

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.  www.boma.org  


Leviton Expands Fiber Raceway System Offering

Leviton Voice & Data is pleased to announce several new additions to their Fiber Raceway product line that will allow customers to tailor the Fiber Raceway system to their specific application.

Our Fiber Raceway System is now available in two new colors: black and orange, has several new accessories, and has expanded mounting hardware options. Customers may now specify sizes and colors for Fiber Raceway Systems:  2”x 2”, 2”x 4”, 4”x 4”, 4” x 8” or 4” x 12” – in yellow, gray, orange, or black.

A new Outlet Trumpet Fitting for the 4” x 12” system allows fiber cabling to exit easily from the end of raceway and down to the cabinet or rack. A new In-line Vertical Drop Fitting for the 4” x 12” system lets fiber cabling drop directly below the raceway, while still allowing free flow for ongoing fibers. A new End Support Fitting provides a way to permanently attach the 4” x 4” raceway transitioning from the overhead mounting system down to the top of a cabinet.

The mounting hardware now available for the Fiber Raceway System includes a new Ladder Rack Mount Kit designed for the 4”, 8”, and 12” wide systems to attach on to 1 ½” or 2” ladder racks. In addition, a new Heavy Duty Ladder Rack Mount Kit is designed to support heavier cables installed in the raceway, such as copper cabling. Both of these new mounting kits will allow customers to install the Leviton Fiber Raceway System on top of existing ladder racks in order to maximize space already allocated for their cabling patchways. www.leviton.com

Leviton Voice & Data is pleased to announce several new additions to their Fiber Raceway product line that will allow customers to tailor the Fiber Raceway system to their specific application.

Our Fiber Raceway System is now available in two new colors: black and orange, has several new accessories, and has expanded mounting hardware options. Customers may now specify sizes and colors for Fiber Raceway Systems:  2”x 2”, 2”x 4”, 4”x 4”, 4” x 8” or 4” x 12” – in yellow, gray, orange, or black.

A new Outlet Trumpet Fitting for the 4” x 12” system allows fiber cabling to exit easily from the end of raceway and down to the cabinet or rack. A new In-line Vertical Drop Fitting for the 4” x 12” system lets fiber cabling drop directly below the raceway, while still allowing free flow for ongoing fibers. A new End Support Fitting provides a way to permanently attach the 4” x 4” raceway transitioning from the overhead mounting system down to the top of a cabinet.

The mounting hardware now available for the Fiber Raceway System includes a new Ladder Rack Mount Kit designed for the 4”, 8”, and 12” wide systems to attach on to 1 ½” or 2” ladder racks. In addition, a new Heavy Duty Ladder Rack Mount Kit is designed to support heavier cables installed in the raceway, such as copper cabling. Both of these new mounting kits will allow customers to install the Leviton Fiber Raceway System on top of existing ladder racks in order to maximize space already allocated for their cabling patchways. www.leviton.com


NECA Convention Offers Integrated Building Solutions

Recent NECA studies, conducted by Renaissance Research, NYC, confirm the growth in electrical construction firms offering a full scope of services including datacom networking, security, fire and life safety, access control, home automation, and more.  Recently, more end-users look to electrical contractors to provide one-stop service for all their traditional and specialty wiring needs.  The 2007 National Electrical Contractors Association annual convention has expanded its educational offerings to include an integrated building systems track,October 5-8 in San Francisco. 

Topics include:

-Today’s Estimators Estimating with Tomorrow’s Technology
-Fundamentals of Flame-Resistant Clothing for Protection from Fire & Electrical Hazards
-”LED”: The Next Generation of Lighting Technology
-Opportunities in the Ever changing Electronic Security Industry
-Today’s Lighting Controls for Home Automation
-The Latest in Lamps and Ballasts
-Discharge of Lamp & Ballast Systems and Energy Savings Devices
-Using the UL White Book can Increase Your Bottom Line
-Design/Build Estimating
-Energy Efficient Advancements in Sports Lighting
-Industry Certification for Medium Voltage Cable Splicing

NECA invites all electrical and specialty contractors to attend the NECA trade show. Admission includes these and other technical education sessions. Over 280 companies in over 600 exhibit booths will showcase the latest products and services offering solutions for traditional electrical, integrated building systems, lighting, and renewable energy needs.

The National Electrical Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for lighting, power, and communication systems in buildings and communities across the United States. NECA’s national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. For more information, visit "http://www.necanet.org". For complete convention and trade show details visit www.necaconvention.org


KITCO Fiber Optics Names New Manager Of Military Fiber Optic Systems

KITCO Fiber Optics has named Ron Knight as the company’s new Manager of Military Fiber Optic Systems.  Mr. Knight recently retired from the US Navy following more than 20 years of distinguished service in Joint Military Operations, Missile Defense Programs, Homeland Security, and Tactical Air Control Systems.  His last assignment was as Global War On Terrorism Director/Learning Program Director at the Center for Surface Combat Systems in Dahlgren, VA.  In his new role Mr. Knight will be responsible for representing KITCO Fiber Optics in military systems and programs within the shipboard, aviation and Homeland Security markets.

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.  www.kitcofo.com


Dan Hogan Of Panasonic Appointed To CABA Board Of Directors

CABA is pleased to announce the appointment of Dan Hogan of Panasonic to the CABA Board of Directors.

By joining CABA's Board, Hogan has joined an elite group of industry leaders who promote advanced technologies for the automation of homes and buildings in North America and throughout the world.

Dan Hogan is President of the Panasonic Home & Environment Company, a subsidary designed to expand the range of products and services Panasonic offers to homebuilders, residential renovation contractors and their suppliers.

Previously, he was Director of Panasonic Boston Laboratory, the only pure hardware coporate R&D lab maintained by Matsushita Group outside of Japan. The lab's core competence is lasers and optics; with special emphasis on ultrashort pulse laser processing and micro-optics design and fabrication.

Hogan received his BS from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and his Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO commented: “I am delighted to welcome Dan Hogan to CABA and I know that his breadth of experience will be invaluable in achieving our strategic objectives.” www.caba.org


Belden Makes Its Name Change Official

Belden (NYSE: BDC - News)  announced that it has changed its corporate name to Belden Inc. The Company had been known as Belden CDT Inc. since the 2004 merger involving Belden Inc. and Cable Design Technologies Corporation. The Company's ticker symbol will remain BDC.

John Stroup, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "I am delighted we are now making the name change official. Belden is both a strong product brand and a powerful, well-recognized corporate identity. The new Belden branding that we launched in 2006, with the associated tagline Sending All the Right SignalsTM, signifies a change in our business focus: from 'cable' to 'signal transmission solutions.' A solutions approach brings more value to our customers and more opportunity for us as a company. It gives us more control over our destiny and challenges us to think more broadly about our markets."

The name change took place today through a transaction that merged a wholly owned subsidiary into the parent company, an action which under Delaware law permits the parent company to change its name. Belden's Board of Directors today approved the action, and the Company filed the necessary certificate today in Delaware.

The Board also declared a regular dividend of five cents per share payable on July 5, 2007, to all shareholders of record as of June 8, 2007.

About Belden
Belden is a leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of signal transmission solutions for data networking and a wide range of specialty electronics markets including entertainment, industrial, security and aerospace applications  http://www.belden.com.


Accu-Tech Corporation Opens Stocking Location In Chicago

On June 25th Accu-Tech Corporation opens the doors to its 27th stocking location with their Chicago Area Branch.  Not since Kevin Butler stormed onto the scene as the kicker for the Super Bowl XX Champion Bears, has The Windy City seen this much action from the State of Georgia.  Accu-Tech looks forward to servicing Chicago and the Metro Area with their communication cabling product needs.  The Chicago Area branch will be located at 1109 Windham PKWY, Romeoville, IL  60446.  Please stop by and visit with Branch Manager Frank Jinks.  www.accu-tech.com.


States Need To Be More "Connectivity Conscious"

By James Carlini • 05/02/07

Having a good infrastructure has always been important to the economic growth of a municipality as well as a state. The infrastructure has traditionally been viewed as transportation - rail, waterways, and air as well as highways, water, and power (electricity). Today, the definition of infrastructure must also include network infrastructure and the ability to have broadband connectivity to compete globally.

Just as you would not locate your company on some back road that is far away from the expressway, the airport, the train, and other infrastructure, you would not want to be connected to the information superhighway through some dial-up line or even DSL. You need something greater. Strategic decisions for locating businesses are influenced by the availability and quality of network infrastructure. Those that don't understand this are living in the horse-and-buggy era.

Which states are poised for economic growth?

What are the current answers to the questions that were posed in a 2004 Survey of the California Public Utilities Commission that was concerned with the overall broadband policies and practices in the United States?

Have states moved forward from their positions in 2004 or have they actually slid backwards?

Some have limited or even restricted municipal deployment of broadband services since then, and I would conclude that this has been a step backwards in trying to create a positive environment for economic growth.

The California PUC survey had some excellent questions. The results of this survey provided a very quick and concise overview of what states were leaders and which were laggards in understanding the need to include a state-of-the-art network infrastructure as part of the platform for future economic growth.

This survey is something that ALL states should answer on an annual basis because the environment is changing rapidly as more states become aware of the need for broadband deployment for economic development.

From a corporate standpoint, reviewing the answers from this type of survey would definitely sway companies planning new facilities to locate in one state or another.

• Some of the questions that seem to be void of any state oversight were:

• Does the state set rates for broadband services?

• Does the state set broadband service quality?

• Does the state have expedited rights-of-way policies?

• Does the state have a definition for “advanced services”?

In the past, states would rely heavily on input from the incumbent carriers for their regulatory framework regarding telecommunications. Outside objective expertise was not sought out because of the cozy environments that regulators had with incumbents.

Today, we have to break away from that influence because it does not have the state's best interest in mind, but it is not an easy task. In some cases, more lobbyists and pseudo-research firms have been used to promote the incumbents' views and restrictions on municipal broadband endeavors. More restrictions have resulted and competition has been nullified.

Eroding tax base

Downsizing, outsourcing, and off-shoring in various corporations have contributed to substantial shifts in some states' tax base, which is why some states are in the red by billions of dollars. Some legislators are unaware of the problem or just do not want to recognize and tackle it.

Legislatures have not adjusted their spending programs or created some safeguards to redevelop or replace industries that are in decline or that have left the state. Relying on a horse-and-buggy taxing approach will not solve the issues created in the Information Age.

With banks, manufacturers, and financial-service institutions looking at mergers and buyouts, the changing of locations and the consolidation and closing of offices and data centers and other corporate facilities is a reality that can shift what was once a stable tax base.

No state or municipality can take for granted that they will always have an industry or key company that provided jobs, tax revenues, and a stable economy. They must create and foster an environment that provides a solid infrastructure, which in today's economy includes a network infrastructure. If they do this, they will always attract and maintain a diverse pool of viable companies.

CARLINI-ISM: Those states that create and foster a positive platform for network infrastructure are going to capture businesses from the states that don't.

Recent articles by James Carlini

James Carlini: Mega-Metro Center may go beyond Chicago and Wisconsin

James Carlini: Chicago-Milwaukee "mega-metro" infrastructure improvements are critical

James Carlini: H-1B jobs: Where is the shortage of skilled workers?

James Carlini: Proposed telecom bill would have “Katrina” impact

James Carlini: Lack of connectivity is real estate's hidden time bomb

James Carlini: State video franchises vs. universal service: Grasping the total picture

James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, and is president of Carlini & Associates. He can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888. Check out his blog at http://www.carliniscomments.com.

COPYRIGHT (c) 2007 James Carlini, All Rights Reserved


Convention Presents A Labor Relations Town Hall Meeting

Responding to requests for more labor relations content during the annual convention, NECA will present a general session meeting, in a town hall format, on Sunday, October 7, 2007 in San Francisco. This unique setting will allow NECA and IBEW leaders to focus on the concerns and issues shaping the electrical construction labor market today.  Microphones will be positioned in the aisles to encourage an open dialogue, with the speakers.   Panel participants include John Grau, NECA CEO, Ed Hill, IBEW International President, and Geary Higgins, NECA Vice President, Labor Relations. 

Mark Breslin, Exeutive Director, Engineering and Utility Contractors Association will moderate the town hall meeting.  Mark Breslin has served for 22 years as the Executive Director of EUCA, a multi-employer bargaining group representing hundreds of firms in California. During this time, he has been chief negotiator, arbitration specialist and contractor advocate, negotiating over 100 master agreements.

Known for his blunt and uncompromising style, Breslin has made presentations on labor-management relations to over 100,000 labor, management and rank-and-file union members across the U.S. and Canada. He has trained thousands of union and management representatives on business development and market share recovery strategies, and he works with nearly every major international union and dozens of employer associations throughout North America. Breslin is the author of Organize or Die, published in 2003.

The National Electrical Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for lighting, power, and communication systems in buildings and communities across the United States. NECA’s national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. For more information, visit "http://www.necanet.org". For complete NECA convention and trade show details visit www.necaconvention.org


AFCOM In The News – Data Center World®

AFCOM, the leading association supporting the data center industry, held its Spring Data Center World® Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in late March.

Testimony to AFCOM’s growth, and the demand for continuing education within data center industry, the conference set new records for overall attendance.   More than 1,000 AFCOM members convened for five days of learning, networking and relaxation, representing a 30 percent increase in attendance compared to the last time AFCOM met in Las Vegas two years ago.

Members and guests came from 24 countries and throughout the United States to participate in 70 education and product information sessions across five tracks:  Data Center Management, Security, Best Practices, Disaster Recovery and Facilities Management. A record 176 exhibitors displayed their power and cooling equipment, software, security and disaster recovery solutions, and the latest in servers, mainframes and clean products.

Five new AFCOM chapters were chartered during the Peer Connection Luncheon, an increase from seven to 24 in the past three years. AFCOM has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. Membership has increased more than 60 percent, and in 2006, Tradeshow Week named the Data Center World Expo one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows.

AFCOM Pres. Jill Eckhaus welcomed attendees prior to the keynote address and referred to them as the gatekeepers of the world. “Collectively, you protect the public from things like identity theft and lost medical records. If you fail to keep your data center up and running with continuous availability, your organization can lose millions of dollars,” Eckhaus said.

“AFCOM’s mission is to keep its members informed, provide valuable content and services and stay true to its more than 3,500 members. I believe it is this continuity that has allowed the organization to continue to grow over the years. The face of the data center changes every five years; it is our goal to make sure our members are prepared for those changes,” Eckhaus said.

“Getting the most out of your data center and why does it matter?” was the subject of the keynote address presented by Christian Belady, distinguished technologist for Hewlett-Packard Corp.

 “How do you know whether you are running an efficient data center operation? What’s the metric?” Belady asked. “The most important thing for all of us in the industry to do is come up with a way to measure data center efficiency. How else will you know when someone says they have a new technology that will improve your efficiency?”

Belady sees the industry at a crossroads. “Are we ready to jump ahead and put the right resources to work on the problem the right way using new technologies that are emerging? It’s absolutely critical,” he said. How well you navigate these trends and integrate them will determine your TCO and ultimately your ROI. How well you do this is what will differentiate who will be making money and who will be losing money, he said.

The Fall 2007 Data Center World Conference & Expo is Sept. 16–19 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas. For more information, go to www.datacenterworld.com.   www.afcom.com


RHINO Professional Labeling Tools Expands Regional Sales Team


RHINO Professional Labeling Tools is proud to announce that Craig Robinson has been promoted to the position of Eastern Regional Sales Manager. Mr. Robinson joined RHINO in September, 2006 as the Florida Sales Manager, and quickly established RHINO in the State by significantly increasing sales and awareness in the short time he was in that role.

“RHINO’s business is exploding,” stated Ernie Racenet, Global Business Unit Director of RHINO. “Our Award winning RHINO product line and the new RHINO 6000 and RHINO 101 products are fueling the growth of this business and expanding the overall labeling category.  RHINO is quickly becoming a powerful brand that users specify.  Craig’s experience with distributors, sales agencies and end users has been a tremendous asset to RHINO and our customers in Florida. We are happy to reward Craig’s hard work, passion and performance with a new and expanded role with RHINO – one which will allow him to do for the Eastern United States, what he did so very well in Florida.”

“As a BiCSi RCDD (Registered Certified Distribution Designer),” says Keith Smith, also an RCDD and Strategic Account Manager with RHINO, “Craig’s credentials offer the expertise needed by the datacom world.  Cable and infrastructure labeling needs the guidance offered by TIA trained experts.  Craig’s overall knowledge and experience will prove to be invaluable to the cabling environment.”

“Craig’s promotion marks the beginning of a sales expansion effort for RHINO – one that will grow our brand further in existing and even new markets,” continued Racenet. “We are excited for the new opportunity Craig has in front of him and are confident his skills and drive will be up to the task.”

 Prior to joining RHINO, Robinson held various sales and project management positions at Norfolk Wire & Cable, CommScope, Milcom and TexCom.


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