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Issue: May 2007
By: Frank Bisbee

Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


Success In The Southeast

Recent reports from Electrical Contractors and Communications Contractors leave little doubt that the IBS (Integrated Building Systems), Telephone Systems, and Datacom Structured Cabling Systems are “on fire”. Despite the plague of rising copper cable costs, installations of Cat 5e and Cat 6 datacom copper cable remain healthy and a significant revenue stream for these contractors. Demand for more fiber to the desk or work zone is a side effect of the bleak picture on copper costs. Locations with known long-life facilities are comparing the copper versus fiber life cycle costs and fiber is more often the winner.

Mike Rice, Cabling Project Manager for Communication Planning Corporation (Jacksonville, FL) said there are some new aspects to their project work that are more important than expected. “First of all, the copper cable has become the focus of jobsite thieves. Recently a major electrical contractor in North Florida reported a copper cable theft of more than $20,000. Now their jobsite trailers have security cameras. The problem has generated jokes like ‘We are hiring a tail gunner for the cable delivery truck.’ We think this security issue will not go away anytime soon.”

Scot Hancock, Sr.Telephone Technician for CPC added the importance of a well-planned infrastructure, “We know that a smart cabling system is one of the most important barriers to downstream costs for MACs (Moves, Additions, &Changes) and repairs.” He added the properly documented infrastructure that is fully labeled cuts many hours of hunting for the problem. “All our trucks carry the DYMO Rhino labelers and a Fluke Networks DTX cable analyzer, and we save the test records for the customers. We have more than ample data to show how much cost is eliminated by ‘doing it the right way’. The craft intensive installation requirement for Cat 6 copper is too delicate to go it alone. We are using the Beast Cabling System to insure the cable installs are delivering maximum performance with minimum loss due to cable stress during the installation. We have used this system for the past two years and it helps the project flow smoothly.”  Michael Shannahan, VP-Operations said stay focused on safety and code compliance as well, like fire stops. “The job must be performed in a proper and professional manner to insure the safety of the installers and the customer.”

We use Unique Fire Stop Products ( that we get through CSC ( Never cut corners on safety. The only real problem associated with this growth in business is lack of well-trained technicians to fill the expanding job market. We are always looking for cabling and telephone technicians.”

Mike Heisler of CSC told us the shortage of trained technicians is being felt all over the Southeast. We checked with Barry Simons (ADS Telecom), Brian Chancey (Area Communications), Steve Strumlauf (AIC – American International Communications), and Michael Lohr ( All of these companies have reported outstanding business growth, but a real shortage in trained technicians to meet their increased needs. However, we found the fiber optic installer technician resource growing as more talent passes through the outstanding training programs of the Light Brigade, the Fiber Optic Association, and BICSI Will fiber eventually replace copper as the primary type of cabling? There will be many factors driving the outcome, but perhaps the ever-increasing appetite for bandwidth will give fiber optics the edge.

Abandoned Cable Removal services seems to be more stimulated by the “recycled copper” dollars than the NEC (National Electrical Code). There are many important issues before the National Fire Protection Association in this code cycle and upcoming cycles. You can LEAD, FOLLOW, or GET OUT OF THE WAY, but you must join the NFPA, if want to be part of the process. We recommend it highly.


But that’s just my opinion…

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

Safety is Too Important To Ignore


Dear Plenum Cable Advocates:

Since 1996, I have been engaged in the advocacy for plenum cables meeting the performance criteria set forth in NFPA 90A in the NFPA 262 fire test method.  On the other side of the debate has been a formidable foe in the fluoropolymer industry with a seemingly unlimited budget for time, consult and PR shenanigans proposing UL-2424 cable as a sole means of telecommunications cabling.  A new battle front has been brought to my attention and I believe it may provide the staunchest fight to date over the issue for the coming years.

Recent correspondence from a major fluoropolymer interest included cable-fire test data that was selected to show that non-plenum rated telecommunications cable in steel conduit does not meet the fire and smoke requirements set forth in the NFPA 90A standard today.  The data and imagery provided with the correspondence seems to take aim at the fundamental premise that the NFPA 262 test predicts the performance of telecommunications cable in steel during a fire event.

This most recent correspondence is an extremely well thought out and tactically planned event.  It is my opinion as a strategist that the fluoropolymer interests will seek the following with this latest blitzkrieg:

1.      Divide and conquer interested parties: While this is not a direct attack on steel, this is meant to shake the newly poured foundation of a rebuilt alliance between steel and plastic over cable issues.  This is a divide and conquer attempt in my opinion and the adversarial interests would rather fight two fronts against plastics and steel individually than to fight a unified group of industries.

2.      Challenge NFPA 262 Premise: This is a direct challenge to the NFPA 262 test and the limits established in NFPA 90A.  This strategy appears to set up the debunking of the NFPA 262 test for cable; if you (the group that created the 262 test) created a myth to develop it (as Mr. Dillon has continually upheld he was lied to as a committee member), then you can readily be aware of what corners were cut initially and where the weakness of the test is.

3.      Designate UL-2424: This is an attempt to take the plenum issue to Fire Tests and to establish UL-2424 as the premier test for cable.

4.      Challenge LC interpretation: This is an attempt to challenge the Standards Council ruling that "limited combustible" does not apply to cable.

Back about 7 years ago, I was working to have an ad hoc industry panel review the testing, detection and limits of NFPA 262.  The ad hoc committee and a similar FPRF Technical Advisory Group failed.  The fluoropolymer interests objected very loudly with alleged threats of market action to cable company participants causing the withdrawal of industry participants from the projects.  That static hid the true objection to the committees' work which could have potentially uncovered a misinterpretation of the initial work in the field, direct technical efforts to bolster the test and revamp smoke detection to more accurate detection methods especially for clear gases emitted including HF and fluorine derivatives currently undetected in the current method due to etching and transparency.  If NFPA 262 had been changed dramatically from its initial development, this page in the fluoropolymer activists' playbook would have been neutralized.  This hindsight indicates to me that this latest argument has been in existence for many years and likely was being held for an appropriate time.

My efforts through JMME were largely funded initially by corporate sponsors; however, due to market changes, I lost my corporate funding in 2004.  My participation over the past 2½ years has been at the expense of my personal savings because I am committed to a code system that is not corrupted or manipulated through public relations campaigns or hidden money trails.  I do not want to sound like a telethon, but this fight is not over and the scourge to the NFPA process is not eradicated.  This fight must not stop and I need your support.

I am seeking sponsors to continue JMME participation on the plenum cable issue.  With continued success in building our alliance and putting out the fires at NFPA and numerous local jurisdictions, I need to develop a financial backing for the advocacy efforts JMME is putting forth.  I believe that my work speaks for itself on this issue and the strategic insight that I have brought to the fight has enabled the plenum cable industry to maintain its position while our opponent has spent heavily in an effort to assume market share.  I welcome your inquiries and I hope that I can find a sufficient number of sponsors to continue my work in the plenum cable debate.

Please feel free to pass this along to other interested parties that you may know who might help our cause and my effort.

Thank you for your review and consideration.  If you have any questions about this most recent information, please feel free to call JMME at your convenience.

John Moritz is President of JMME, Inc. , ( a consulting firm providing manufacturers, end users and regulators with advice and strategic guidance on the important role plastics play in today's corporate and personal worlds. Since its inception, JMME has been dedicated to corporate responsibility for developing safe products, effective protections provided by codes and standards for the safe use of plastic products and the overall protection of sports participants and spectators through effective testing and development of plastic sports equipment. John has written numerous articles and presentations on issues related to the selection of plastics in various industries and their potential effects on the marketplace, environment and regulatory processes. John serves on numerous codes and standards technical committees where he has fought diligently to preserve the consensus process and the integrity of the documents. Inquiries are encouraged and welcomed.

©Copyright 2007, JMME, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Fluke Networks Enters Into Global Sponsor Partnership With WorldSkills International

One of only seven global sponsors, Fluke Networks supports world finals of student competition this fall in Shizouka, Japan

Fluke Networks, provider of innovative of Network SuperVision Solutionstm for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, has entered into a Global Sponsor Partnership with WorldSkills International.  The first major sponsor event involving Fluke Networks will be the "International Skills Festival for All" to be held during November, 2007 in Shizouka, Japan.

WorldSkills (formerly known as the "Skill Olympics") has come to symbolize excellence in vocational education and training.  The WorldSkills Competition draws the best students from regional and national skill competitions held currently in over 45 countries/regions.  Competitions are held in 40 official categories, including network-related fields such as telecommunication distribution technology and IT/software applications.

"Our partnership with WorldSkills International allows Fluke Networks to help support, train and develop the workforce of tomorrow," said Paul Caragher, Fluke Networks President.  "The young people demonstrating their skills at this year's competitions will be the ones entering the workplace in the very near future.  This type of real-world vocational training benefits everyone."

"WorldSkills International welcomes Fluke Networks as our newest Global Sponsor Partner," said David Hoey, Secretary General for WorldSkills International.  "We recognize and thank Fluke Networks for their support of local and national events in past years, and look forward to the company's involvement on a global scale."

Fluke Networks' Global Sponsor Partnership is further example of the company's ongoing commitment to education and skill development in the workplace.  Additional activities in this area include Fluke Networks' continuing partnership with Cisco Systems, providing Cisco Networking Academies with access to essential test tools.  Fluke Networks has also developed a networking lab course for vocational schools, college, and universities.  Titled "Enterprise Network Testing, Monitoring & Analysis Solutions," this course helps both with career development and preparation for the WorldSkills competition.

The 39th WorldSkills Competition will be held in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, November 14 to 21, 2007.  Over four days of competition, more than 850 young people drawn from over 45 member countries/regions will test themselves against tough international standards in 47 key skills and technologies.  These competitors will be contending for gold, silver and bronze medals in each skill category.

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. More information can be found by visiting Fluke Networks' Web site at

Chicago-Milwaukee "Mega-Metro" Infrastructure Improvements Are Critical

By James Carlini

If we look at visionary planners that focus on developing greater metropolitan areas, we would find that the eventual growth from Chicago will spread up Lake Michigan into southeastern Wisconsin, including Milwaukee. Some envision that as the great “Mega-Metro area” on Lake Michigan stretching down from Milwaukee to Chicago.

There are already commuters from Wisconsin that take a train into Chicago from as far away as Milwaukee on a daily basis. That number seems to be growing and the vision of creating a Mega-Metro center on the Lake already has some signs of existence.

With all the new residential developments going forward in Chicago, the suburbs, and now southeastern Wisconsin, people have many choices for living in different areas. There is an option to commute to downtown Chicago or telecommute from their house electronically. With a good choice for home office packages from the network carriers that support their area, workers may also have an option to stay at home on days when the weather is bad or when some other issue pops up.

There are also a growing number of companies that provide flexibility for telecommuting from the house.

What is available on the network side?

With current service offerings like DSL, the network packages for a home office are pretty cut and dried. It's too bad we do not have Verizon up here because they have packages today that offer 50Mbps.

You need fiber to the home to get higher connectivity, and in almost all cases we are far from having that as a viable option in the near future.

After looking at available connectivity for the home, the next big issue is to look at how easy it is to get to work every day. Do you drive or take public transportation? Is public transportation even a viable option?

Public transportation? Take the "A" train

Lately, there have been some major developments that would lead you to believe that the Mega-Metro center vision is being further implemented. These developments will depend on access to public transportation to entice workers to become commuters.

If you are living in the Chicago area, you have the CTA as well as various commuter train lines coming in that are managed by METRA. Today, there is a METRA line that extends north all the way to Kenosha, Wis. The trouble with that line is that it has a lot of stops and is not as swift as the AMTRAK line that goes from Milwaukee to Chicago's Union Station. AMTRAK has only two stops in between - Glenview, Ill. and Sturtevant, Wis., just west of Racine.

In Racine, there are several downtown residential and mixed-use developments that are positioning that city to attract the working commuter, with some nice alternatives to downtown Chicago condos. It is a good strategy.

One Racine development, Pointe Blue, will be right on Lake Michigan and will offer a mixture of waterfront villas, single-family homes, boulevard townhomes, and a residential tower. The marketing strategy is that some people that work in Chicago or Milwaukee would buy residences in Racine and commute every day.

The question becomes, why would I buy a $450,000 condo in Racine if I can get one in Chicago and not have to commute? That is a big question, and it's critical to streamline that commute as much as possible.

There are plans for a new light rail system that will make several stops from Racine to Kenosha to connect to the METRA station, but that is a long way off. The need to create a link-up from downtown Racine to the AMTRAK station, which is several miles west of downtown, appears to be a more viable and immediate solution.

Rail collaborators

AMTRAK must also put in more trains to fill up the options for daily commuters. If they do that, the region becomes much more desirable to the Chicago commuter, and real estate projects will be more marketable.

The more expedient solution would be to put some buses on a route from downtown Racine to the AMTRAK station for a streamlined commute, instead of riding a commuter train to another city to jump on another train to get to Chicago.

The concept of improving the overall infrastructure has to be a shared concept as well as a shared cost between local and county governments as well as the railroad authority. The multi-agency dependence is clearly evident in this case, and it's necessary for making this endeavor successful with the real estate developers.

Are all the planning committees and project executives speaking to one another on this endeavor? They should be because saving the money on building the light rail system could be put to good use financing other key endeavors.

CARLINI-ISM: Successful new developments depend on maximizing the infrastructure to support them.

Copyright 2007 - James Carlini

Recent articles by James Carlini

• 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: Getting beyond the vortex of corporate mediocrity

James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, and is president of Carlini & Associates. He can be reached at or 773-370-1888. Check out his blog at .

Hitachi Scores Enterprise Hard Drive Triple Play

Company Secures Position for Growth in Enterprise Segment

Poised to secure a stronger foothold in the enterprise hard drive market segment, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi), today announced a trio of new products: the 15K RPM Ultrastar® 15K300, 7200 RPM Ultrastar A7K1000, and the company's first small form factor (SFF) enterprise hard drive, the 10K RPM Ultrastar C10K147. Hitachi's new hard drives target a broad range of enterprise storage systems, from mission-critical and lower duty cycle storage applications to servers, delivering the quality and reliability customers have come to expect from Hitachi's Ultrastar enterprise-class hard drives.

Expanded enterprise segment participation is a key element of Hitachi's plan for business excellence as the segment continues to experience consistent growth and drive technology innovation that can be leveraged across other Hitachi products. Delivering a new portfolio of enterprise hard drives in 2007 helps support Hitachi's profitability initiatives and places the company in a strong position to achieve its goal of 20 percent year-to-year volume growth in enterprise.

Accelerating the Transition to Small Form Factor

A key new product in Hitachi's enterprise product portfolio is the Ultrastar C10K147, the company's first small form factor enterprise hard drive. The Ultrastar C10K147 was developed specifically for the high performance, low power requirements of servers. According to IDC, the industry is expected to experience a fast ramp in shipments from 2.4 million in 2006 to 9.4 million in 2007 as cost, space and low power considerations in data centers drive the need for a transition to SFF. The delivery of the Ultrastar C10K147 is timed to capitalize on and accelerate this increasing demand.

"As the first to market with a full portfolio of small form factor SAS-based servers and storage, HP offers customers innovations that maximize the performance, reliability, power savings and other efficiency advantages of their IT investments," said Ron Noblett, vice president, Shared Technology, Industry Standard Servers and BladeSystem Division, HP. "With Hitachi as a valued technology provider and its Ultrastar C10K147, we will continue to help drive the industry's transition into the small form factor market."

As businesses and their IT organizations experience a transition to an all-digital world - voice, images and video - the requirement to capture, store and access such data increases exponentially. This information is replicated over and over on the Internet, in servers and in data centers - all on the backbone of enterprise hard drives. Hitachi's broad product portfolio allows enterprise customers to create infrastructures with the optimal mix of hard drives that address the performance, power, capacity and cost parameters for the varying storage and data-access requirements that exist in the storage hierarchy.

"HDD suppliers face an increasing number of demands from enterprise data centers ranging from power and cooling, higher performance, less physical space, to higher capacities," according to John Rydning, research manager for hard disk drives at IDC. "Enterprise HDD vendors, like Hitachi, with a broad portfolio of enterprise HDDs gives customers and system OEMs product choices to satisfy a wide range of enterprise storage requirements."

Platforms Built for Reliability

Hitachi's new Ultrastar hard drives are built upon technology proven for reliability, leveraging the system architecture and electronics of their predecessors. The 15K300 is the next generation of the popular 15K147, which has been qualified at major enterprise storage OEMs. The Ultrastar A7K1000 represents the next generation of the Deskstar E7K500, which has become the most popular hard drive for Enterprise SATA applications, with demonstrated reliability in the field. The Ultrastar A7K1000 is set to continue the reliability standard with a targeted 1.2 million hours mean time between failure(1) (MTBF).

"The enterprise market segment is an extremely important business for Hitachi. Our customers are providing the critical storage infrastructure that supports end-users' ability to create, store and share digital content," said Shinjiro Iwata, chief marketing officer, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "Our OEM customers have identified our products as setting the standard for quality, and building on this successful track record, our 2007 product portfolio helps position Hitachi to further expand our enterprise segment participation and achieve our volume-growth targets."

Demonstrated Enterprise Market Expertise

Hitachi's enterprise "triple play" of hard drives is built on a deep understanding of the enterprise market. From product design through consistent manufacturing output, the company maintains a persistent focus on producing reliable products that meet the unique needs of three critical segments of the enterprise storage hierarchy:

·  Ultrastar 15K300 - Built for mission-critical enterprise computing environments

   -- 3.5-inch, 15,000 RPM, up to 300GB
   -- 16 MB data buffer
   -- Ultra320 SCSI, 3Gb/s SAS and 4Gb/s FCAL interfaces
   -- Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS)
   -- Thermal Fly-height Control (TFC)
   -- Adaptive format
   -- End-to-end data protection

·  Ultrastar C10K147 - Optimized for the power, performance requirements of servers

   -- SFF 2.5-inch 10,000 RPM, up to 147GB
   -- 16 MB data buffer
   -- 3Gb/s SAS interface
   -- Thermal Fly-height Control
   -- Adaptive format
   -- End-to-end data protection

·  Ultrastar A7K1000 - High capacity, low-cost per gigabyte for lower duty cycle enterprise environments

   -- 3.5-inch, 7,200 RPM, up to 1TB
   -- 3.0Gb/s SATA interface
   -- 32 MB data buffer
   -- Targeted 1.2 million hours MTBF
   -- Improved Rotational Vibration (RV) functionality
   -- Self Protection Throttling (SPT) technology
   -- Built on perpendicular magnetic recording technology

To learn more information about Hitachi's new enterprise hard drive portfolio, listen to our Enterprise HDD Podcast at: on-the-storage-infrastructure-high-effiency-drives (Due to its length, this URL may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.)


The Ultrastar 15K300 is available now with production quantities available in the first week of May 2007.

The Ultrastar C10K147 and Ultrastar A7K1000 will be delivered in the second quarter of 2007.

Technical Specifications:

Ultrastar 15K300

   -- 300 / 147 / 73 GB (GB = 1 billion bytes, accessible capacity may be less)
   -- 113 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
   -- 8 / 4 / 2 platters, 4 / 2 / 1 recording heads
   -- 1441 Mb/s max. media data rate
   -- 3.6 / 3.4 / 3.4 ms average seek time (excludes command overhead)
   -- 15,000 RPM, 2.0 ms average latency
   -- Ultra 320 SCSI, 3Gb/s SAS, 4Gb/s FCAL interfaces
   -- 16 MB data buffer
   -- 25.8 mm in height (max)
   -- 745 in weight (max)
   -- 250 G/2 ms pulse non-operating shock
   -- Ultra320 SCSI: 13.1 / 9.7 / 8.2 watt idle power
   -- SAS: 13.6 / 10.2 / 8.6 watt idle power
   -- FCAL: 14.1 / 10.7 / 8.9 watt idle power
   -- 3.5 Bels typical idle acoustics
   -- 5 to 55 degrees C operating temperature

Ultrastar C10K147

   -- 147 / 73 GB (GB = 1 billion bytes, accessible capacity may be less)
   -- 137 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
   -- 4 / 2 platters, 2 / 1 recording heads
   -- 1057 Mb/s max. media data rate
   -- 3.7 ms average seek time (excludes command overhead)
   -- 10,000 RPM, 3.0 ms average latency
   -- 3Gb/s SAS
   -- 16 MB data buffer
   -- 14.8 mm in height (max)
   -- 227g in weight (max)
   -- 300 G/2 ms pulse non-operating shock
   -- 5.9 / 5.3 watt idle power
   -- 2.9 Bels typical idle acoustics
   -- 5 to 55 degrees C operating temperature

Ultrastar A7K1000

   -- 1000 / 750 / 500 GB (GB = 1 billion bytes, accessible capacity may be less)
   -- 148 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
   -- 5 / 4 / 3 platters, 10 / 8 / 6 recording heads
   -- 1070 Mb/s max. media data rate
   -- 8.2 ms average seek time (excludes command overhead)
   -- 7,200 RPM, 4.17 ms average latency
   -- Serial-ATA 3.0Gb/s
   -- 32 MB data buffer
   -- 26.1 mm in height (max)
   -- 700g in weight (max)
   -- 300 G/1 ms pulse non-operating shock
   -- 9.0 / 8.1 / 7.3 watt idle power
   -- 2.9 Bels typical idle acoustics
   -- 5 to 60 degrees C operating temperature

1. This MTBF measurement is based on a sample population and is estimated by statistical measurements and acceleration algorithms under lower duty cycle workload and nominal operating conditions. MTBF ratings are not intended to predict an individual drive's reliability. MTBF does not constitute a warranty.

About Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is a storage technology leader, founded in 2003 through the combination of Hitachi's and IBM's hard disk drive businesses. Hitachi GST enables users to fully engage in the digital lifestyle by providing high-value hard disk storage in formats suitable for the office, on the road and in the home.

With its legacy in hard drive invention, Hitachi GST led the industry in celebrating the storage technology's golden anniversary in 2006. The hard drive has had a profound effect on the computing and consumer electronics industries after five decades of innovation. That heritage lives on at Hitachi GST today through products that define the standard for hard drive miniaturization, capacity, performance and reliability.

With approximately 33,000 employees worldwide, Hitachi GST offers a comprehensive range of hard drive products for desktop computers, high-performance servers, notebooks and consumer devices. For more information, please visit the company's Web site at

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

RHINO Professional Labeling Tools Launches its Most Powerful Label Printer Ever – The RHINO™6000

RHINO Professional Labeling Tools is proud to announce the release of the RHINO 6000, its newest and most powerful label printer ever. Built from the ground up to support the demanding labeling needs of the electrical, datacom, security, construction and MRO markets – and others – the RHINO 6000 delivers an ultra-powerful assortment of exclusive features at a very affordable price.
“At RHINO, we pride ourselves on developing products that are specifically designed with our end-users in mind”, stated Douglas Waldal, Global Business Director of RHINO. “With the RHINO 6000, we spent an enormous amount of time out on job sites; talking with end-users about features they need in a label printer.  We listened very carefully and developed a product that meets and, in my opinion, exceeds those needs.  We have a revolutionary product – one that we feel leap-frogs all of the competition and truly positions RHINO as the premier label printer in the industry”.
The RHINO 6000 is the first printer in the RHINO product family to offer PC connectivity. Labels can be created by downloading files from any Windows-based software program (like Microsoft Excel) or by using RHINO’s own RHINO CONNECT® labeling software (sold separately). Now, content can be prepared ahead of time on a PC, downloaded via a USB cable, and printed on the RHINO 6000 in the office (for kitting) or stored in the printer and printed right at the jobsite. Plus, with the new Transfer Manager that’s integrated directly into the RHINO CONNECT software, any labels changed at the jobsite can also be uploaded back to the computer for documentation purposes. Of course, like all of our other award-winning RHINO printers, users always have the option to type and print labels as needed directly from the RHINO 6000, without using a PC.
But computer connectivity is just one of the many new features that make the RHINO 6000 the most advanced label printer in the RHINO product family. Other features include RHINO’s exclusive “Hot Keys” that help users save time by instantly formatting commonly used label formats such as horizontal and vertical wire wraps, flags, vertical and fixed length labels, serialized patch panels, common barcodes and much more. A built-in library includes over 250 pre-programmed industry symbols and terms for audio/video, voice/data, and security. Plus, tons of memory allows users to customize over 1,000 labels with logos, symbols and industry terms – and recall them in an instant.
“When RHINO asked me to be part of the Beta testing for the RHINO 6000 I was skeptical,” said Cory Pedersen, a licensed Electrician in Wisconsin. “I am a busy guy and I already own a RHINO 5000 printer.  I use the RHINO 5000 all the time and I didn’t think the RHINO 6000 could be any better.  I was wrong. This new printer is amazing. The PC connectivity allows me to create my labels ahead of time and then print them as I need them in the field. The new “Hot Keys” make creating wire wraps even easier than before – with added wire sizes and the advanced serialization is extremely easy to use.  I was very impressed, but you have to see it for yourself.  This printer will save me a lot of time on the job site.”
The new RHINO 6000 also includes these features: a larger and brighter backlit display for working in low-light conditions, a power-assisted cutter, and a quick-charge lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack.  Unlike other RHINO printers, the RHINO 6000 has integrated impact bumpers that do not need to be removed in order to reload label cartridges. The new RHINO 6000 uses RHINO labels up to 1” wide, an increase in size from previous RHINO models that had a maximum label width capacity of 3/4”. The printer also features a powered cassette ejection system for effortless labels.

“The real beauty of this new printer is that despite all the advanced features and functionality we’ve incorporated into it, it’s still extremely installer-friendly and simple to use,” said Michael Clemens, RHINO Sr. Marketing Manager.  “If people find a label printer too difficult to use, they just won’t use it. With our new RHINO 6000, they’ll be surprised at how quickly they can just pick it up and start labeling. There is no doubt in my mind that this is just the best label printer on the market today.”

The RHINO 6000 is an ideal labeling tool for datacom, professional Audio/Video, security and electrical systems, as well as all types of labeling throughout commercial buildings, factories, warehouses, and even homes. The RHINO 6000 printer retails for $249. A hard case kit version is also available for $349 (which includes the RHINO CONNECT software). The Software is available separately for $199.99.

BICSI Spring Conference Delivers Diverse Education To Attendees

Brandon Houk and Nach Lopez, BICSI Level 2 Installers with Able Communications, were among the 74 first-time attendees who were excited to be a part of the 2007 BICSI Spring Conference. “I am glad our company gave us the opportunity to come over here,” said Houk, of Arlington, Texas. “I hope we can continue to come to future BICSI conferences.” Overall, more than 1,800 participants visited the event, held last week in Dallas, Texas.

Following several well-received presentations during the General Session on Monday, April 16, conference attendees had the opportunity to design their own schedules on Tuesday, selecting from over 16 Concurrent Session presentations. The wide assortment of session topics included reducing energy costs, low-voltage applications in multi-dwelling units, telecommunications cabinets, future technologies in clinical environments, data center construction and management, video signal transmissions, physical security, video security and surveillance systems, screened and shielded cabling systems, category 6 shielded cable, communications design for new laboratory environments, PON-Based FTTH and increasing marketplace demands on installation contractors.

The evening closed with the ever-successful BICSI Reception and Exhibits in the Exhibit Hall. Many companies were exhibiting at the conference for the first time, noting that they typically visit BICSI’s winter or fall shows. There were also a few who unveiled the latest ITS products or solutions. Said Jeannie Rayle, with Circa Telecom, “This is the first spring show that we have been to, and I have to say, this has been a very productive show for us.”

Participants continued to show their undying generosity for the charities that are supported at every BICSI Conference through donations to the BICSI Cares charity organization. This year’s receiving charity was the Summer Santa organization, who works to remind everyone that giving and volunteering on behalf of children in need ought to be a year-round activity and not just a thing we do during the holiday season.

Summer Santa representatives were on hand during the Closing Session ceremonies to receive a check in the amount of $11,700. “You don’t know how much we appreciate this, and how much this is going to provide for a lot of kids this summer season,” said Lori Burr, Chairman of Summer Santa.

The closing keynote presentation featured motivational speaker Jim Morris, co-author of his autobiography, “The Oldest Rookie,” which inspired the 2002 movie “The Rookie” starring Dennis Quaid. Morris offered many poignant thoughts to the audience as he shared life lessons learned mixed with a host of funny anecdotes. He stated, “I realized I had been given a second chance to fulfill my life’s dream.” He reminded the audience that “even though we all make mistakes in life,” they should remember to never give up on reaching their goals and dreams.  

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

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

2008 National Electrical Code Fun Facts

We’re now getting close to the end of the development process to revise the 2005 National Electrical Code and turn it in to the 2008 edition. Highlights include the following:

There were 3,688 proposed revisions for the 2008 NEC.

Four new articles will be added to the 2008 NEC:

• Article 355, Reinforced Thermosetting Resin Conduit: Type RTRC
• Article 519, Control Systems for Permanent Amusement Attractions
• Article 585, Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS)
• Article 626, Electrified Truck Parking Space Equipment

Article 780, Closed-Loop and Programmed Power Distribution, will be deleted from the 2008 NEC. It was originally put into the Code to allow development of a special cabling system used for hard-wired “smart houses.” But the rise of Internet-based control and communications schemes means that computerized, electronic homes never happened in the way envisioned by Article 780. For more information, visit

Behind The Integration Buzz

By Deborah O’Mara

Interest and demand for integrated systems are at an all-time high. In every business, integrating data communication with information technology and physical security is commonplace. At home, customers are hungry for the latest products that promote mobility, convenience and entertainment. Integrated systems may be part security, but more often, they incorporate automation, lighting control, whole-house audio and video, gaming and more.

Why the rush to embrace integrated systems? The fact is product availability and the downward-spiraling cost now makes integrated systems more attainable.

Baby boomers may be fueling the demand as much as their offspring. They have become accustomed to the convenience and service afforded by high-speed Internet and broadband connections, Wi-Fi networks and, in general, multitasking solutions that come in a small package and are easier to use.

People want convenience, and now, costs for products have come down significantly. We’re entrenched in Moore’s Law (a founder of Intel who devised the premise that computer technology doubles every two years), but it might be happening at an even faster pace than he predicted.

Computer, microprocessor and multitasking technologies definitely are driving IBS system growth. There is a merging of formerly distinct connectivity methods—think hardwired and wireless—and mobile communications penetration is at an all-time high. Former proprietary systems have moved to open architecture. Wide area and local area networks (LANs) can be wireless, satellite or a combination of multiple technologies. The existing Ethernet has become the perfect place to deploy everything from data to surveillance to a range of other systems and services. 

Manufacturers in every sector are partnering to play off each other’s strengths, and this is also resulting in new products and equipment. The continued proliferation of bundled broadband services is also bringing high-speed data networks to the home, rather than simply the office or business. The line between hardware and software continues to blur as products become all-in-one, multifunction devices.

Every market is getting in on what technology has to offer. For example, a London clinic recently started using a combination Wi-Fi network and wireless chip technology to track valuable equipment and assets. At the Hoover Dam, bordering Arizona and Nevada, surveillance cameras with built-in mini computers monitor the site 24/7 and capture high-resolution images. At U.S. Customs, biometrics is being deployed for immigration credentials. Hear about the new global positioning and tracking collar system for Fido? It’s another new entrant to the technology playground. 

No single technology stands alone. Rather, multiple offerings piggyback on each other to communicate, send data and automate and secure the home and office. 

Whether you call it digital living, integrated systems or mobile convenience, the market is headed up in both business and home sectors.

“U.S. spending on digital living services and products is expected to reach nearly $300 billion by 2010, driven by the rapid adoption of Internet and mobile services,” said Stuart Sikes, president of Parks Associates, Dallas.

Bridging products and services

According to Parks Associates, the U.S. home controls market is expected to exceed $3 billion in 2007. A recent report by Parks Associates, “Home Systems: Home Controls Update,” states that by 2010, more than 30 million households will have a network that bridges numerous products and extends the entertainment experience to multiple rooms in the home. Home controls will benefit greatly from this increasing connectivity and the market will grow steadily over the next six years, exceeding $4 billion in 2010 and reaching $6 billion by 2012.

“Historically, home control systems have been associated with the new-home market,” said Bill Ablondi, director of home systems research for Parks Associates. “We will see this trend change dramatically over the next few years as power line and wireless technologies eliminate the need to rewire existing homes in order to provide control and audio/video distribution capabilities. With the population of pre-existing homes open to home controls, this market will have immense potential.”

Contractors need to know the market for home controls, according to Parks Associates, lacks consumer awareness, not technical capability. “The entry of high-profile companies, together with the increasing adoption of broadband and connected-entertainment services, will help overcome this hurdle,” Ablondi said.

Wireless innovation

Wireless and mobile services also are driving demand through the roof. Reliability has increased, and range and sustainability have improved. Consumers who want to stream photos, movies and music from PCs to TVs and other video displays around the house will soon be able to do so through new wireless connections for in-home distribution.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the gathering was characterized by the convergence of broadband, content and consumer electronics. The CES show floor included some 20,000 product launches and major partnership announcements spanning industries and connecting consumers with more features, services and control of the content incorporated into electronic devices.

“The show had buzz and optimism and attracted the world leaders of the content, technology and services, communications and automobile industries,” said Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of CEA. Some of the technologies featured on the show floor included digital imaging products, robotics, in-vehicle entertainment, content-shifting devices and gaming/Internet products, in addition to advancements in audio and home theater.

Every sector of the economy is feeling the excitement of integrated systems and services.

The home building market is another example. The increased popularity of installed home technology has resulted in more than 60 percent of builders and contractors employing custom technology installers in 2006, according to the CEA’s Fifth Annual State of the Builders Study released at the International Builders Show in January.

Custom technology installers

“The fact that builders and contractors employ technology installers as often as security installers and electrical contractors is proof that custom technology installation is quickly becoming the fourth trade,” said Joe Bates, CEA director of research.

“Consumers are increasingly asking for installed technologies, whether it’s for a home theater room or an intricate network complete with servers and structured wiring. Clearly, builders, contractors and consumers believe these offerings are no longer just ‘the wave of the future’ but a reality from which builders and contractors are reaping the benefits,” Bates said.

The telecommunications industry is also benefiting from the surge in connectivity and integrated systems. In 2006, the U.S. telecommunications market grew at its fastest rate since 2000, showing convergence continues to stimulate the telecommunications industry, according to the Telecommunications Industry Association’s (TIA) 2007 Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast.

TIA’s annual review of the telecom industry shows the U.S. market grew 9.3 percent in 2006 to total $923 billion in revenue, while the worldwide telecommunications market grew 11.2 percent to $3 trillion. Demand for broadband and high-speed services is fueling this growth, as carriers invest in fiber, IP technology and wireless infrastructures to provide state-of-the-art voice, video and data services, according to the study.

Drink it up

“Consumers are thirsty for broadband, and this report shows carriers are rushing to meet the demand,” said Grant Seiffert, TIA president. “Technologies like voice over Internet protocol [VoIP] and broadband video, as well as mobile data services, are sparking new growth in the telecommunications industry. As a result, carriers are offering more competitive all-in-one bundled packages, and consumers are seeing lower prices and more services.”

The report further forecasts growth in competing broadband technologies such as fiber, satellite, wireless and broadband over power line, which, combined, will account for more than 11 percent of broadband subscribers in 2010. However, in 2006, cable modems and digital subscriber line (DSL) technology continued to dominate the United States, capturing 96 percent of the broadband market, which in 2005 overtook dial-up service. By 2010, 87 percent of Internet connections will be over broadband technology.

More U.S. businesses are using communication systems based on Internet protocol technology. The adoption of IP-based converged enterprise network equipment has surged during the past two years as leases of legacy equipment have expired, the report says. IP/converged systems are expected to overtake traditional enterprise systems by 2009.

Don’t just think of your company as cable installer or electrical contractor, but rather, as a custom technology services provider. This will help position you and your company for the future. Consider what your customers will want and need in the near future and perhaps include the following in your product/company mix:

■ Digital living services and conveniences

■ Lifestyle products for business and entertainment

■ Installers who are savy in hardwired and wireless and can bring their expertise to the                               table

■ Automated functions that are easy to use from touchscreens, cellular phones or other                 in-home or mobile hardware

Now that you know the customer’s motivation, you are ready to position yourself as an IBS specifier and installer and propel your company to future success. EC

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

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

Anixter International Inc. Reports First Quarter Net Income of $1.27 Per Diluted Share on Sales of $1.33 Billion

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 reported results for the quarter ended March 30, 2007.

First Quarter Highlights

-- Sales of $1.33 billion, including $33.6 million from the acquisitions of IMS, Inc. ("IMS") in May 2006 and MFU Holdings S.p.A. ("MFU") in October 2006, rose 24 percent compared to sales of $1.07 billion in the year ago quarter.

-- Quarterly operating income of $90.4 million reflected a 52 percent increase from the $59.6 million reported in the first quarter of 2006.

-- Net income in the quarter, inclusive of income of $3.4 million or 8 cents per diluted share primarily related to the settlement of certain income tax audits, increased 71 percent, to $53.6 million, or $1.27 per diluted share, from $31.3 million, or 74 cents per diluted share, in last year's first quarter.

-- Cash flow from operations was $65.8 million as compared to $12.9 million in the year ago quarter.

Financial Highlights

(In millions, except per share amounts)


                                                   Three Months Ended

                                           Mar. 30,       Mar. 31,    Percent

                                             2007           2006       Change


    Net Sales                          $1,328.7      $1,070.5     24%

    Operating Income                   $90.4           $59.6     52%

    Net Income                           $53.6           $31.3    71%

    Diluted Earnings Per Share         $1.27          $0.74     72%

    Diluted Weighted Shares            42.0           42.4       -1%

Robert Grubbs, President and CEO, stated, "We are pleased to note that the same trends that drove record performance in 2006 have remained largely intact through the first few months of the new year. At this time, all indications are that these trends will continue for the next few quarters. Assuming strong market conditions and continued success in our ongoing initiatives to expand our business, we should be in a position to have another very good year.

First Quarter Results

For the three-month period ended March 30, 2007, sales of $1.33 billion produced net income of $53.6 million, or $1.27 per diluted share. Included in the current year's first quarter results were sales of $33.6 million from the acquisitions of IMS and MFU in May and October 2006, respectively. Also included in this year's first quarter is income of $3.4 million or 8 cents per diluted share primarily related to the settlement of certain income tax audits. In the prior year period, sales of $1.07 billion generated net income of $31.3 million, or 74 cents per diluted share.

Operating income in the first quarter increased 52 percent to $90.4 million as compared to $59.6 million in the year ago quarter. For the latest quarter, operating margins were 6.8 percent compared to 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2006.

First Quarter Sales Trends

Commenting on first quarter sales trends, Grubbs said, "Sales in the first quarter grew at a year-over-year organic rate of 19 percent after adjusting for the IMS and MFU acquisitions as well as the favorable foreign exchange impact of $25.9 million on first quarter 2007 sales. This organic growth clearly exceeded our target of 8 to 12 percent as we once again saw very strong customer demand across a broad mix of end markets."

Grubbs continued, "The factors driving our organic growth were consistent with those we have seen during the past year. In the most recent quarter, we again saw strong larger project business, particularly as it relates to data center builds in the enterprise cabling market and energy / natural resources customers within the electrical wire & cable market. At the same time, we have continued to experience strong growth in the security and OEM markets. Lastly, higher copper prices continued to contribute to our organic growth in the most recent quarter, with market-based copper prices averaging approximately $2.71 per pound during the quarter compared to $2.25 per pound in the year ago first quarter and $3.20 per pound in the fourth quarter of 2006. We estimate that the higher copper prices accounted for approximately $35.0 million of our year-on-year quarterly increase in sales within the electrical wire & cable market. Excluding the impact of copper prices, the IMS and MFU acquisitions and foreign exchange, however, we were still able to grow company-wide sales by 15 percent over the prior year first quarter."

"Specifically, in North America we saw year-over-year sales grow by 19 percent to $927.0 million in the most recent quarter," commented Grubbs. "In addition to strong end-market demand, North American sales were up $12.2 million due to the acquisition of IMS and an estimated $31.4 million due to higher copper prices. Foreign exchange had a negative impact of $1.3 million. In Europe, we saw sales climb by 39 percent versus the year ago quarter, of which $26.4 million was due to exchange rate differences, $21.4 million was due to the acquisition of MFU at the end of October 2006 and $3.6 million was due to higher copper prices in the electrical wire & cable business. Taking out exchange rate differences, acquisitions and copper effects, sales in Europe still grew organically by 16 percent as compared to the year ago quarter."

"In the emerging markets of Latin America and Asia Pacific, we saw a 34 percent increase in year-on-year sales, with a favorable impact of $0.8 million from currency exchange rate effects. Growth was particularly strong in Asia Pacific, which posted year-on-year growth of nearly 80 percent," continued Grubbs.

First Quarter Operating Results

"As a result of very strong sales growth, first quarter operating margins were 6.8 percent as compared to 5.6 percent in the year ago period," said Grubbs. "In North America, the 19 percent sales growth drove an improvement in operating leverage, which generated operating margins of 7.6 percent compared to 6.0 percent in the prior year first quarter. While strong market conditions and market share gains were the primary drivers of the sales growth and improved profitability, copper prices also contributed to first quarter operating results. Specifically, copper prices added an estimated $31.4 million to North American electrical wire & cable sales, which added an estimated $5.6 million to first quarter operating income as compared to the year ago quarter."

Grubbs added, "In Europe, operating margins in the most recent quarter were 4.6 percent as compared to 3.4 percent in the year ago quarter. This significant improvement in operating margins reflects the operating leverage we gained as a result of strong organic sales growth and the acquisition of MFU. Operating income in the quarter was, however, negatively impacted by copper price changes. While year-on-year increases in copper prices added to sales in Europe, the first quarter short-term drop in copper prices reduced gross profit and operating income by $0.7 million. This reduced operating margins by 28 basis points. We were again encouraged by the results in the most recent quarter as well as the near term outlook for our business in Europe."

"First quarter operating margins in the emerging markets were 5.7 percent as compared to 7.4 percent in the year ago quarter. The year ago first quarter benefited from a gain of $2.2 million related to a favorable sales tax settlement and, after excluding this gain, the year ago operating margins were 4.3 percent. Continued sales growth throughout these markets once again allowed us to achieve better leveraging of infrastructure costs that resulted in improved operating margins," added Grubbs.

Cash Flow and Leverage

"In the first quarter we generated cash from operations of $65.8 million as compared to $12.9 million in the year ago quarter," said Dennis Letham, Senior Vice President - Finance. "In anticipation of continued positive cash flow and in order to improve the effectiveness of our capital structure, we completed two important capital structure transactions during the quarter. We repurchased a total of 3 million shares, or approximately 7.6 percent of our outstanding shares, at an average price of $54.23 per share. To finance this repurchase the Company sold $300 million, principal amount, of 1% Convertible Senior Notes, that mature in 2013."

"As a result of these capital structure transactions our debt-to-total capital ratio at the end of the first quarter has increased to 52.5 percent as compared to 45.7 percent at the end of 2006. For the first quarter our weighted-average cost of borrowed capital was 4.8 percent, however, compared to 5.2 percent in the year ago quarter. At the end of the first quarter, 80 percent of our total borrowings of $950.9 million were fixed, either by the terms of the borrowing agreements or through hedging arrangements. We also had $233.3 million of available, unused credit facilities at March 30, 2007, which provides us with the resources to support continued strong organic growth and to pursue other strategic alternatives, such as acquisitions, in the coming quarters."

Business Outlook

Grubbs concluded, "2007 is off to a good start as most of the same underlying trends that generated record performance in 2006 continue to drive the business. If the underlying market fundamentals remain healthy and we continue to make solid progress on our strategic initiatives to build our security and OEM business, add to our supply chain services offering, expand the geographic presence of our electrical wire & cable business, and expand our product offering, 2007 has the potential to be another very strong year."

"As we move into the next three quarters of 2007, we will be measuring our progress against three comparatively stronger quarters of performance that will have the effect of slowing the year-over-year reported rates of sales and earnings growth. Nonetheless, we believe that the current market conditions will allow us to continue growing organic sales in line with our stated goal of 8 to 12 percent. It is our expectation that sales growth at these rates will enable us to continue achieving better operating leverage over time."

First Quarter Earnings Report

Anixter will report results for the 2007 first quarter on Tuesday, April 24, 2007, and broadcast a conference call discussing them at 9:30 am central time. The call will be Webcast by CCBN and can be accessed at Anixter's Website at The Webcast also will be available over CCBN's Investor Distribution Network to both institutional and individual investors. Individual investors can listen to the call through CCBN's individual investor center at, or by visiting any of the investor sites in CCBN's Individual Investor Network (such as America Online's Personal Finance Channel and Institutional investors can access the call via CCBN's password-protected event management site, StreetEvents ( The Webcast will be archived on all of these sites for 30 days.

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.

     Additional information about Anixter is available on the Internet at


    Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations

    (In millions, except per share amounts)

                                                          13 Weeks Ended

                                                    March 30,       March 31,

                                                       2007           2006

    Net sales                                  $1,328.7       $1,070.5

    Cost of goods sold                       1,010.3           813.3

    Gross profit                                   318.4           257.2

    Operating expenses                         226.1          196.7

    Amortization of intangibles                   1.9             0.9

    Operating income                              90.4           59.6

    Interest expense                             (10.9)          (8.5)

    Other, net                                         0.7           (0.1)

    Income before income taxes                80.2           51.0

    Income tax expense                           26.6           19.7

    Net income                                     $53.6           $31.3

    Net income per share:

    Basic                                              $1.42          $0.81

    Diluted                                            $1.27          $0.74

    Average shares outstanding:

    Basic                                               37.8           38.7

    Diluted                                             42.0           42.4

    Geographic Segments

    Net sales:

    North America                                $927.0         $778.8

    Europe                                           305.1           219.4

    Asia Pacific and Latin America              96.6            72.3

                                                    $1,328.7      $1,070.5

    Operating income:

    North America                                $70.8          $46.9

    Europe                                           14.0             7.4

    Asia Pacific and Latin America                       5.6            5.3

                                                       $90.4          $59.6


    Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets

                                                      March 30,   December 29,

     (In millions)                                      2007          2006


    Cash and cash equivalents                          $45.5          $50.9

    Accounts receivable, net                         1,037.4        1,016.1

    Inventories                                        947.9          904.9

    Deferred income taxes                               36.3           32.0

    Other current assets                                19.8           16.4

       Total current assets                          2,086.9        2,020.3

    Property and equipment, net                         65.2           62.0

    Goodwill                                           382.5          364.8

    Other assets                                       156.0          119.1

                                                    $2,690.6       $2,566.2

    Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity

    Accounts payable                                 $ 613.3        $ 506.8

    Accrued expenses                                   162.7          203.4

    Short-term debt                                     93.7          212.3

       Total current liabilities                       869.7          922.5

    1.0% convertible senior notes                      300.0              -

    5.95% senior notes                                 200.0          200.0

    Revolving lines of credit and other                197.1          238.2

    3.25% zero coupon convertible notes                160.1          158.8

    Other liabilities                                  103.9           84.7

       Total liabilities                             1,830.8        1,604.2

    Stockholders' equity                               859.8          962.0

                                                    $2,690.6       $2,566.2

Industry Leaders To Be Honored With Achievement Awards At 2007 NAED Annual Meeting

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) will honor seven industry leaders at the 2007 NAED Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The award ceremony will take place during the Closing Event, the NAED Awards Banquet, on May 8 from 6:00 - 10:30 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park. The event will include dinner and entertainment by the comedy group, The Capitol Steps.


Lee Hite, president and CEO of the Hite Company, Altoona, Pa., will receive NAED’s highest honor, the 2007 Arthur W. Hooper Award. This honor is presented to an individual who has led an exceptional career in electrical distribution spanning many years.

Throughout his nearly 40 years in the industry, Hite has been active in NAED. He served as chairman in 1997. During his tenure, Hite oversaw NAED's move from Connecticut to St. Louis and guided the association through a complete restructure.

In addition to his chairmanship, Hite has held a variety of positions on NAED committees, including chairman of the Your Emerging Talent (YET) group and vice president of the Eastern Region. He has also served as chairman of IMARK and has been very involved in several local community organizations. He was awarded the NAED’s Distinguished Service Award in 2002.

Clyde and Marjorie Rutland of Wholesale Electric Supply Company of Houston are the recipients of the 2007 NAED Distinguished Service Award. The award is given in recognition of outstanding and dedicated service to NAED and the electrical industry.

Clyde Rutland, chairman of the board, and Marjorie Rutland, president and CEO, have attended every Annual Meeting, regional conference and marketing area meeting since joining NAED in 1953.

During their combined 120 years in the industry, Clyde and Marjorie have been actively engaged in NAED. Clyde served as NAED vice president from 1978 - 1982, was area chairman for eight years and was a member of the executive committee. Marjorie supported her husband’s role as vice president of NAED by hosting various events. She also served as a member of the function planning committee for Zone 37 for eight years.

Square D/Schneider Electric will receive the 2007 NAED Award of Merit. This award is presented in recognition of a company or individual in the electrical manufacturing business that has been exceptionally active in promoting and supporting the wholesale electrical distribution industry. Chris Curtis, president of Schneider Electric US, will be accepting the award.

The award recognizes the entire company’s outstanding contribution to the industry in several areas. Square D/Schneider Electric has gone above and beyond with its commitment to industry training through the NAED Education & Research Foundation; data synchronization through the Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA); and creating efficiencies in the channel through NAED’s Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) initiative.

In addition, the company generously supports volunteerism; it has dedicated time and resources to both NAED and other important initiatives, including assisting in the rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Region following Hurricane Katrina, partnering with Habitat for Humanity and participating in many local community-based activities.

Robert Bukowsky, vice president of sales for Ideal Industries, Inc., will receive the 2007 NAED Associate Award. The award is given to an individual associated with an electrical manufacturing company who has made outstanding contributions to NAED and the electrical industry.

During his 22 years in the industry, Bukowsky served on NAED’s Manufacturers’ Council and has been the council’s chairman for two years. He was appointed to the Associates Advisory Committee, represented manufacturers on the NAED Alternate Channels committee and is a supporter of the NAED Education & Research Foundation.


NAED’s Honorary Life Award recognizes retiring distributors and manufacturers who have made exceptional contributions to the channel during their careers.

Ted Treadway is the retired president and CEO of the 102-year-old Treadway Electric Co. in Little Rock, Ark. In 2004, Treadway received NAED’s highest honor, the Arthur W. Hooper Award, which is presented to an individual who has led an exceptional career in distribution spanning many years. Treadway has enthusiastically supported NAED and distribution; he served on NAED’s Board of Directors for a total of 12 years, was regional vice president for the Southern Region, and participated in various NAED committees. Treadway has also served on various commodity committees over the years. He was also a founding member of IDEA, EDIC and the Electrical League of Arkansas.

John Alton was CEO of Minerallac Co./Cully Enterprises, Inc. from 1991 - 2006. He has more than 35 years of experience in the industry. At Minerallac, Alton increased sales by a factor of 9, employment growth by a factor of 6, manufacturing square footage by a factor of 8 over 18 years. He was renamed Manufacturer of the Year by NEMRA in 1996 and chaired their NEMRA Manufacturers Group (NMG) from 1993 - 1995. He has served on many of NAED's distributor group and advisory committees and manufacturer's committees, often providing insight from the small manufacturer's perspective.

Don Lee is the former owner and general manager of San Leandro Electric Supply Co. in San Leandro, Calif. Lee founded the company in 1964. At San Leandro Electric Supply, Lee's goal was to create the best, but not necessarily the biggest wholesale distributorship. During his 56 years in the industry, Lee was active with NAED, serving as an area manager for two terms, as a roundtable member for several NAED meetings, and as a member of NAED Board of Governors. Lee has also served on advisory committees for Ideal and Furnas Electric. He also received several citizenship awards from the city of San Leandro, Calif.

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.

Copper: Red Hot, Again

By Joe Salimando

Even though it’s been done in this space a number of times in recent history, it is presently very hard to avoid writing about copper. After all, the red metal advanced by $1/pound in two months. That 40% move was a seeming repetition of the 2006 rally that took the basic electrical component to $4/pound by May.

Further, thanks to the goddess Fortuna (who must have a thing for me!), I have been relentlessly right on copper. Yes, I know this is horribly immodest – but hey, how often am I ever going to be this right? Let me do an end-zone dance for once.

You can verify this by checking any of the columns linked below. Should you go from one to another to another, you’ll see the following pattern:

  1. High-paid economists and forecasters have been wrong, time after time, in their predictions for copper’s future prices.
  2. Here on, you’ve been able to read a different analysis. This projected continued strength in copper is due to two major marketplace realities (realities that, apparently, eluded folks must smarter and richer than your humble columnist).
  3. We’ve been right. Everyone else has been wrong. That’s not an exaggeration: Literally everyone else has been way off on the future of copper’s price. TedMag has been the only voice, anywhere, calling for copper to keep going!

Perhaps it’s not shocking that an electrical news site would be bullish on copper. But with just about everyone calling for a major correction in copper in 2007, we remained stubbornly optimistic. Thus far, we’ve been right.

An obvious question is: Time to get aboard on the train, and talk about further strength in copper (and other commodities)? Or should we jump off now?

Riding The Trend

Traders of all kinds of stuff – stocks, bonds, commodities, sardines – say “the trend is your friend.” Warren Buffet has said and written that you should make a minimal number of investment decisions in your life, by which he means you should find good companies, buy their stock, and hold them forever (which he actually does).

George Soros says the way to make a fortune is to identify the trend that is false, ride it for as long as it lasts, and then jump off just before everyone else realizes what you already know. This is a guy who reportedly made $1 billion in a single trade (betting against the British pound); even if you hate his politics, it’s hard to argue with his approach.

Here are potential problems with TedMag’s copper-market-calling luck (or is it genius?) looking forward from here:

  1. History teaches that some of those who are – once – right in a big way are often wrong forever after. Take Robert Prechter, a stock-market genius. He predicted the stock-market collapse of 1987. He’s been waiting for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to hit 400 just about ever since. Someplace between his ears someone with a higher power has written the word “Disappointment” in big red letters.
  2. The “different analysis” applied by this column to copper isn’t any different today than it was in February 2006. I’m sorry about that, but it’s the case. Whether this is/is not boring isn’t relevant; the question remains -- is it still correct?
  3. As a “contrarian,” I like to move in the other direction. In October, at the McGraw-Hill Construction “Outlook 2007” forecasting conference, the agenda included an expert on materials. He predicted copper would average $2.75/pound in 2007. He had good reasons for that call; he might yet be right. However, my initial reaction was to run out and call for $6/pound copper!

In other words, just because you were right once doesn’t mean you are ever going to be right again. And when one is right and copper goes to $4/pound, that could encourage one to stretch the prediction out further . . . “copper is going to $6.50/lb.” . . . a bit like saying the Dow is going to 400.

Reasonable Expectations

Let’s examine some elements of the analysis you’ve found here previously:

Copper trades like a commodity. Commodity traders in London, New York, and elsewhere trade copper regularly – and some make a living at it. Typically, commodities bounce around in price. There can be huge, prolonged bounces up and down. Sometimes, these moves prove to be nothing more than big, headline-making . . . blips!

Commodity traders (generally) rely on technical indicators. A “technical indicator” is (typically) a visual – a chart of price movement over time. There are many different ways to create such a chart (and many ways to read them) – which is why there are buyers and sellers! When a given item moves to an all-time high, as copper did in the spring of 2006, there are – in theory – no limits to how high it can go. The people who bought copper at $3.89/pound last year probably expected it to go to $5.25. If you look at a long-term price chart, one could argue in favor of that expectation (while simultaneously acknowledging that it probably was unreasonable).

Premise #1 upon which has based its prediction remains shrouded in mystery. We don’t know what’s going on in copper supply/demand in China. We know that country has a growing appetite for all kinds of “stuff” – especially as it grows, expands electrical output, brings more people into cities, adds numbers to its middle class, and prepares for the 2008 Olympics. But no one (perhaps not even the Chinese) has a handle on the country’s warehouse stocks of copper, its weekly or monthly consumption, or demand over the next six months.

Premise #2, as advanced here, was that at least part of the story of copper’s price strength was about weakness in the U.S. dollar. The U.S dollar remains weak. For a gauge of “how weak is it, anyway?” I monitor the dollar-yen exchange rate. I believe the yen should be about 83 to the dollar; right now it’s at about 119.
So: At this point, the dollar hasn’t really weakened against the yen. It’s possible that we will see, in the near future, tremendous additional weakness in the dollar.

All of this adds up to what we’ve seen. Here’s a five-year chart of copper, just in case you’ve somehow ignored this.

5 Year Copper Chart

Previous Conclusion . . . Still Valid?

There are 14 TedMag special reports covering copper below (13 of them solely on the subject) – dating back to early 2005. Perhaps it’s a credit to that it’s accommodated that much commentary on copper in the past 2+ years. On the other hand . . . maybe I’ve become Johnny One-Note?

Go back to the two-part series from early 2005, you find some background. Re-reading these early columns, I’m chagrinned and proud (a tough exacta) –

Stupid: I said copper was used in power T+D cables. It ain’t. Aluminum is.

Smart: As a throwaway line in 2/05, in the process of explaining why copper was going to rise in price forever (think China/India), I wrote that Uranium was a buy. The stuff was priced at around $20/pound. Recently, it’s gone over $100.

Summary: Here’s what I said about copper’s price future in the column posted 2/15/05:

Demand for copper in China and India -- for internal consumer uses -- will be huge, for at least the next 15 years. What could stop copper prices from soaring in the next 5,000 days -- to $1.60 a pound, $1.80 a pound, $2.00 a pound, or higher?


B. Copper producers develop more copper mines. This is possible -- copper is not as scarce in the Earth's crust as is, say, gold (3 parts per billion!). But developing a copper mine is no snap-of-the-fingers undertaking. Demand growth probably will outpace supply increases for three to five years . . . if not longer.


My personal belief is that "B" is the likely scenario, but that it will take a significant time for supply to catch up. In fact, I can see an ongoing "tortoise and hare" scenario, in which copper supply continually expands . . . but never quite catches up with [demand].

There’s the old saying – “from your lips to God’s ears.” Apparently, upon reading these paragraphs, some electrical distributors whispered that. These people, whoever they are, obviously have an extraordinary amount of influence with the big fella.

Because – lo and behold, it happened!

Next week – a bit more on the red metal, and other commodities. Have you checked out what’s been going on in nickel lately? Here’s a chart of the same 5-year period as above for copper.

Nickel has actually outperformed!

5 Year Nickel Chart


Copper Sustains A Bounce (3/21/07)

Copper’s Fall Isn’t About . . . Copper (1/24/07)

Commodity Facts, Forecasts & Fears (12/20/06)

Six Predictions for 2007 – see #5 (12/6/06)

Copper Topping . . . Or Bottoming? (11/9/06)

Copper Boom: No End In Sight – (Part III) (8/30/06)

Copper & Inflation, Part II (8/22/06)

Copper & Inflation – Part I of III (8/17/06)

Inflation: Nearly Invisible Long-Term Changes (6/14/06)

When Will Copper Prices Fall? (5/31/06)

Is ‘Peak Copper’ Here, Now? (4/12/06)

King Copper – More (6/1/05)

King Copper, Part 2 (2/15/05)

King Copper, Part 1 (2/8/05)

Joe Salimando of EFJ Enterprises is a consultant, web content provider, and wordsmith based in Oakton, Va. To e-mail him, click on the link in his name; or call 703-255-1428. See his EleBlog (an electrical industry Web blog).

Personal Disclaimer: The appearance of the ambling pachyderm is indicative of the writer's obsession with elephants, not his political leanings.


TIA Applauds Inclusion of Telecom Research Provisions in Senate Competitiveness Legislation (S.761)

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) commends the Senate’s inclusion of provisions that would bolster telecommunications research as part of its “America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES)” Act (S. 761).

“Research is a major component of our industry and the Section 4011 provisions included in S. 761 can help TIA member companies create and perfect future communications technology innovations,” TIA President Grant Seiffert said.

Section 4011 of S. 761 includes provisions that would allow the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a program of basic research in advanced information and communications technologies so that advanced communications services can be made available to more citizens. The provisions would also award grants to support vital communications areas such as research on affordable broadband access, including wireless technologies; network security and reliability; communications interoperability; networking protocols and architectures, including resilience to outages or attacks; trusted software; privacy; nanoelectronics for communications applications; low-power communications electronics; and implementation of equitable access to national advanced fiber optic research and educational networks in noncontiguous States.

“New partnerships between industry and government are needed to meet tomorrow’s challenges and to maintain the competitive position of the United States in the communications industry,” Seiffert added. “We applaud the Senate for considering this bi-partisan proactive measure to help spur broadband deployment and urge its passage.”


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

Coexistence In Connectivity - Making A Place For Fiber Alongside UTP

 There’s an ongoing debate between structured cabling/unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and fiber optics. Which method is better depends on the application. For large, data-hauling applications, nothing beats optical fiber. However, there’s still a place for UTP, and it also provides a high-performance method of connectivity.

For 10 gigabits per second (10Gbps) Ethernet applications, UTP systems continue to improve. For example, Hubbell Premise Wiring, Milford, Conn., and Superior Essex Inc., Atlanta, recently announced that Intertek/ETL Semko independently tested the Hubbell/Superior Essex 10G UTP cabling system to the latest 10Gps TIA/EIA 568-B.2-10 Augmented Category 6, Draft 5.0 transmission performance requirements. The test verified the copper-based, unshielded cabling system complies to this latest industry performance standard.

Fiber optics deployment is growing for both commercial and residential applications. Here as well, UTP and coaxial are deployed on the inside, with the optical connectivity reaching from the telephone company’s central offices to the premises.

“Future use of fiber inside the home is expected to be minimal,” said Frank Murawski, president of FTM Consulting Inc., Hummelstown, Pa. Murawski authored the study, “Structured Cabling Systems Market,” which analyzes copper versus fiber cabling shipments and points to significant fiber growth in Ethernet applications. The study also predicted a significant market shift by 2008, as fiber becomes the dominant media for data centers, campus and fiber to the home (FTTH).

“We project that copper UTP cabling will continue to dominate the horizontal cabling subsystem market in the future,” he said. “Fiber-to-the-desk [FTTD] will remain elusive, being a small percentage of the total horizontal cabling subsystem in the future. FTTD will be found mainly in niche applications in which speeds of 10Gbps or higher are required at the workstations. For example, any workstation handling a great deal of video feeds will be the typical application implementing FTTD in the future.”

The study forecasts fiber-cabling shipments to grow from $1.2 billion in 2005, at a rate of 26.3 percent, to $4 billion by 2010. The highest growth application is projected to be data centers.

The security side

“Fiber will be used at network bottlenecks such as data centers,” Murawski said. In security applications, he said, “fiber is used in video surveillance primarily to support longer cable runs—for example, a city’s street camera deterrent system.”

FTTH continues to make significant inroads, and telephone companies have been laying optical cabling from their central offices for a decade or more. Now a provider is needed to extend what the telephone companies have laid to residential customers, and that’s beginning to happen. Verizon recently began its marketing FTTH service, called FiOS Internet, in select areas. FiOS service includes access to newsgroups, up to nine Verizon e-mail accounts, online services and 10 MB of personal Web space. Service perks include online gaming, video chatting such as instant messaging, feature films downloads and CD-quality audio.

Inside the home, structured cabling networks, UTP or coaxial still provides LAN connectivity. Therefore, to implement FiOS, Verizon technicians evaluate the wiring in the home to determine if existing coaxial or special data wiring such as Category 5 can be used. If necessary, they install coaxial or Category 5 runs from an optical fiber network terminal on the outside of the building (like a telephone company network interface but for fiber) to the home’s router.

New alliances in the traditional control and connectivity industries are also developing and boosting fiber market share. Leviton Manufacturing Co., Little Neck, N.Y., recently announced an alliance with AFL Telecommunications, Spartanburg, S.C., to bring the benefits of FTTH service to homeowners. The alliance supports the needs of residential developers and builders seeking to integrate FTTH in multifamily dwellings and master-planned communities.

According to Michael Mattei, Leviton’s director of Fiber Business Development, fiber solutions have yet to be fully integrated into the home. “Typically, fiber enters through the side of the house, but that is where it ends,” he said. Mattei predicted there will be approximately 18 million FTTH subscribers by 2010.

“Once you get fiber to the home, anything inside is possible,” Mattei said. “For short distances, copper still works fantastically. Inside the home, cabling or structured wiring terminates at a central box on the outside of the home where it integrates with optical fiber through an interface.”

Fiber optics can come to the home, but inside, structured cabling is still deployed, providing further evidence that a variety of connectivity scenarios will coexist now and in the future.   EC

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

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

News From BOMA

BOMA Canada Releases Pandemic Planning Guide

BOMA Canada recently released the Pandemic Planning Guide for Commercial Buildings, which includes recommended procedures, public responses and standard communication. The Guide can be downloaded at BOMA Canada’s Pandemic Site for Canadian Commercial Real Estate at

Survey Says: GO Green Plus a Success in Canada

According to a survey conducted by BOMA/Toronto, commercial buildings that have committed to meeting environmental targets under its Go Green Plus program are performing significantly better than other buildings in three key environmental benchmarks. On average, the buildings are using 11 percent less energy, 18 percent less water, and have waste diversion rates that are 17 percent greater than average.

BOMA International Honored at ENERGY STAR® Awards

BOMA International was named a 2007 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in the Energy Efficiency Program Delivery category during the ENERGY STAR awards March 21 in Washington, D.C. BOMA received the award for the successful BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP). BEEP co-founders Gary Wood, chair, BOMA Foundation; and Brenna Walraven, chairman-elect, BOMA International, accepted the award on behalf of BOMA International. In his speech Wood thanked those who helped create BEEP. “Without the sweat equity efforts of these volunteers with real experience in operational excellence, BEEP would not be recognized here today,” Wood said. BOMA International is the first real estate association to receive an Energy Star Partner of the Year award. Read More

The BICSI European Conference Is The Industry Event Of This Summer

June 18 – 20   Citiwest Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

 The BICSI European Conference is the industry event of this summer! There are informative sessions planned to match your interests and motivate you as an ITS professional.

Conference Highlights

In addition to the educational presentations, there are many other functions included in the price of your conference registration.

Networking in the Exhibit Hall—You can see what’s new in ITS products and solutions during breakfast, lunch and evening reception event as you browse the exhibits.

Cyber Lounge—Computer kiosks and wireless access are available for checking e-mail, accessing the Internet, requesting a conference attendance certificate and more.

Guest Program—The Guest/Spouse Hospitality Lounge is open Monday through Wednesday to all registered guests and spouses. BICSI is pleased to offer Dublin tours. More information is available on the BICSI European Conference Web site.

Dublin Tours

Golf Tournament—For a golfer, it does not get much better than playing golf on the greens of Ireland. The European Conference Golf Tournament will take place on Monday. Registration and details will be available soon.

BICSI Cares— The charity arm of BICSI, BICSI Cares collects donations at each BICSI conference and gives 100 percent of the contributions to a local children's charity. The charity presentation will be held on Wednesday morning, followed by a door prize drawing. Visit the BICSI Cares booth at the conference for more information.

Earn CECs

Visit the great city of Dublin and earn CECs. The conference also fulfills the RCDD conference attendance requirement. View the program to see CECs available to earn.

Conference Program

Plan to attend the 2007 European Conference! Click on the link below to complete the European Conference online registration.

Hotel Information

Registered attendees receive a special conference discount on hotel accommodations. This discount ends 18 May 2007, so be sure to make your reservations soon.

Exhibitor Information

Are you looking for an opportunity to showcase your company to an audience of ITS professionals from around the globe? Exhibit at the European Conference! Click on the links below for more information on exhibiting. As an exhibitor, take advantage of sponsorship opportunities, and increase your visibility to attendees and your business.

Exhibitor Information


Superior Essex/Leviton Shielded Cat 6+ Cabling System Now Independently Verified To Meet IEEE 10GBASE-T Standards

Superior Essex (NASDAQ: SPSX) and Leviton announced today that the companies’ new NextLAN™  Cat 6+ Shielded Cabling System has been  independently tested by Intertek/ETL Semko ("ETL") to exceed the performance requirements of IEEE 802.3an, the industry requirements standard for 10GBASE-T Ethernet applications. Compliance to this standard by achieving 10G performance up to 500 MHz is critical to ensuring that the installed cabling system will be capable of supporting 10 Gigabit Ethernet when commercial electronics are introduced later this year. The ETL test report will be available to the companies’ customers.

Developed through an extensive research and engineering alliance, the NextLAN Cat 6+ Shielded  System combines Leviton Cat 6+ shielded connectors, patch panels and patch cords with Superior Essex Cat 6A STP cable in a design that provides a high-performance alternative to unshielded 10G cabling systems.

About the NextLAN Alliance
NextLAN is an engineering alliance, between Leviton and Superior Essex, which facilitates joint collaboration on the development of next-generation cables and connectivity products for the datacom market.
Learn more at

About Superior Essex
Superior Essex Inc., a FORTUNE 1,000 company, is one of the largest wire and cable manufacturers in the world. The company manufactures a broad portfolio of wire and cable products with primary applications in the communications, magnet wire and related distribution markets. It is a leading manufacturer and supplier of copper and fiber optic communications wire and cable products to telephone companies, distributors and system integrators; a leading manufacturer and supplier of magnet wire and fabricated insulation products to major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for use in motors, transformers, generators and electrical controls; and a distributor of magnet wire, insulation, and related products to smaller OEMs and motor repair facilities. Additional information on the company can be found on its Web site at

About Leviton
The Leviton Voice & Data Division is a Division of Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc., a world-renowned corporation with a long and successful history. Building upon more than ten decades of experience, today Leviton is among the largest companies in the world specializing in the design, development, and production of electrical and telecommunications wiring devices. Leviton products offer wiring device solutions for use in residential, institutional and commercial markets in both domestic and international markets. Leviton Voice & Data is dedicated to producing complete system solutions for network infrastructure, from the backbone to the workstation, incorporating fiber and copper innovations to create the best, most integrated network possible. Leviton Voice & Data produces connectors, cabling assemblies, panels, wall plates and workstation solutions, cable management, and home technology equipment for commercial and residential uses. For more information, visit the Leviton Voice & Data website at .

3 Percent Withholding: An Update and a Call to Action

My first column of 2007 focused on this year’s top legislative priority for NECA members and thousands of other contractors winning repeal of Section 511 of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act. Unless it’s repealed, all government entities—federal, state and local—will be required to withhold 3 percent from all payments for any goods or services, and this requirement is particularly hard on contractors.

While 3 percent may not sound like much to the government, it exceeds the average pre-tax profit margin in construction and is larger than the profit margins permitted under many government contracts. The problem is compounded when contractors are subjected to having up to an additional 10 percent of progress payments withheld. Not only does impeded cash flow jeopardize a contractor’s ability to complete a current project, the ability to secure bonding and compete for future jobs is also imperiled because surety companies look for a healthy cash flow, strong margins and timely payments before they’ll provide the necessary support.

In January’s column, I was able to provide some good news about how the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) led a successful effort to head off an attempt to move up imposition of the withholding requirement from 2011 to 2007. It was a case where swift and concerted constituent action led to an interim victory, all within the space of a few hours on a Friday afternoon.

Now, I have an update and more good news to report: Bills to repeal Section 511 have now been introduced in both the House and Senate. They are HR 1023, cosponsored by Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.-02) and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.-17), and S 777, introduced by Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho). How the bills came about points to what we contractors must do in order to gain their passage.

In a videotaped interview for “Capitol Currents,” NECA’s online government affairs magazine (, Rep. Herger explained why he began leading the charge for repeal last year and stepped up his efforts in this Congress. “I heard from contractors on this issue,” he said.

The congressman indicated that those contractors who made the effort to visit him in his home office in Chico, Calif., made an especially strong impression. And, he urged contractors everywhere to follow their example. He said a good time to find members of Congress in their home districts is during recesses, such as at Easter, the Memorial Day break or the entire month of August. He also advised contractors to make a point of reaching out to Democratic legislators since their party controls the Congress’ balance of power.

Early next month, hundreds of contractors, representing NECA and a handful of other construction organizations, will storm Capitol Hill during the 2007 Campaign for Quality Construction National Issues Conference, May 1–3. I’m sure they will make some headway in educating the lawmakers on what’s wrong with the 3 percent withholding scheme, and they will address some other key issues, as well.

But, please, don’t leave it all up to them. With so many issues competing for Congress’s attention, all its members need to hear—promptly and repeatedly—why Section 511 must be repealed. And, they need to hear it from the people who have the power to keep them in office or throw them out—their constituents back home.

Make those phone calls. Send those faxes and e-mails. And, if at all possible, visit your representatives and senators face to face. The withholding requirement would hit us all where we live, so we need to fight it on our home turf as well as in the halls of Congress.

Milner Irvin

President, NECA

 Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

General Cable Forms Joint Ventures In India

General Cable Corporation (NYSE:BGC - News) announced today that it will form two joint venture companies in India with the Plaza Cable Group of Companies. The ventures, headquartered in New Delhi, will incorporate all of Plaza's existing wire and cable assets. Plaza, with annual revenues of approximately $25 million, currently manufactures low and medium voltage energy and construction cables for the Indian market. When completed, General Cable will hold a majority interest in both companies with the remaining interest held by the current owners. The Company expects to use available cash to fund both the initial purchase price and any required short-term capital investments. The energy cable venture is effective today, while the construction cable venture is expected to be completed during the second quarter. Over the next two years the company plans to invest up to $40 million to expand cable production of low, medium and high voltage electric utility products.

"We have worked hard to create the optimal entry strategy for the Indian market and believe the combination of Plaza's strong brand and business network coupled with our technical resources and management expertise provides us the best possible platform to grow our business in India," said Campbell Whyte, President and Chief Executive Officer, General Cable Asia Pacific. "India's energy cable market is expected to continue to grow in the 7%-8% range over the next several years. With an experienced local management team led by Aviral Garg, General Cable's India Country Manager, we will significantly expand current production capabilities and capacity to serve this growing market for energy infrastructure and construction cables in India," Whyte concluded.

"This transaction, along with the recent acquisition in China, further our strategy of global expansion into economies that are building (or rebuilding) their energy infrastructure," said Gregory B. Kenny, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable. "We have ambitious plans for further growth in India and expect to quickly become a leading supplier in the Indian market. We continue to actively seek additional acquisition opportunities to grow our position in this strategically important market," Kenny concluded.

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

NECA Convention October 5-8, 2007

Only In San Francisco

Thousands of hearts are left in San Francisco every year. It has not only been named “Everybody’s Favorite City” by Americans enthralled by its scenic beauty, cultural attractions, diverse communities and world-class cuisine, but also it has consistently ranked among top international travel and meeting destinations.

Here’s why: The fog rolls in, lacing the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay to create the romantic mood celebrated in so many movies, books, and songs. Then, it dissipates just as quickly to unveil breathtaking vistas of such iconic landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. A stroll of the city’s streets or a ride on one of those famed cable cars can lead to Union Square, the Italian-flavored North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Castro, the largest Chinatown in the United States, Japantown, and the Mission District – with intriguing neighborhoods to explore at every turn.

Bursting on the scene as a major city almost overnight during the 1849 Gold Rush and then reborn from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco is famous – and sometimes infamous – for its colorful past which includes the writers of the Beat Generation, the hippies of the Summer of Love, and pioneers of diversity. In the present, the City by the Bay continues to fascinate with its culture-changing performing arts and entertainment venues – not to mention unparalleled dining and shopping opportunities.

However, at NECA 2007 San Francisco, the focus is firmly on the future. And that is most appropriate in this most forward-looking city.

Schedule at a Glance

* all times subject to change; detailed schedule to come!

  • Friday, October 5
    • Opening Reception
  • Saturday, October 6
    • Sessions and Workshops, 8 - 10 a.m.
    • Opening General Session, 10:15 - 11:30 a.m.
    • NECA Show, 12 - 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 7
    • Sessions and Workshops, 8 - 10 a.m.
    • NECA Show, 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Monday, October 8
    • Closing General Session, 9:00 - 10:15 a.m.
    • Sessions and Workshops, 8 - 10 a.m.
    • NECA Show, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
    • Closing Celebration

Learn more about the 2007 NECA Show in San Francisco, Oct. 6-8 at For more information, visit

ACUTA Survey Reveals Both Anticipation And Anxiety When It Comes To Implementing VOIP On Campus

More than 90 percent of higher education communications technology professionals say vendors of Voice over IP equipment are over-hyping the technology, according to a detailed survey by ACUTA, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education.

ACUTA today publicly released some of the key findings of its survey, which was conducted earlier this year and revealed to attendees at its recent IP Summit in Baltimore. ACUTA is the only international association dedicated to serving the needs of higher education communications technology professionals, representing nearly 2,000 individuals at some 770 institutions.

The survey, conducted among more than a third of ACUTA’s member colleges and universities, contained both good news and bad news for proponents of VoIP on campus. Even though 92 percent of respondents think vendors are pumping out hot air when it comes to VoIP, there is still tremendous interest in the applications that VoIP makes possible.

For instance, desktop video and videoconferencing is a VoIP benefit seen by 85 percent of respondents, with 83 percent seeing emergency notification as a plus. Seventy-nine percent of respondents anticipate campus benefits in audioconferencing, while 77 percent like the idea of IP-based security cameras. Other applications receiving sizable interest are interactive voice response, directory services, and voice over wireless.

At the same time, there are serious concerns among the communications technology members of ACUTA when it comes to VoIP. Four out of five survey respondents don’t believe the benefits of VoIP are compelling, nor do they believe it makes sense to spend money to replace equipment that is currently working well. A similar majority of respondents are concerned about security as well, fearing that their IP PBX could be hacked or become a target of a distributed denial of service attack.

Despite their reluctance regarding VoIP, 60 percent of ACUTA survey respondents realize that they need to embrace it as their traditional equipment comes to the end of its useful life. And despite their distrust of vendors’ VoIP claims overall, the college communications technology professionals say those vendors with whom they have a good history and a strong installed base have positively influenced their VoIP sentiments.

Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA, said the survey provides great insight into the outlook toward VoIP by the people who run campus communications networks. “ACUTA members are a very technology-aware group, and the industry can learn a lot by understanding the elements of VoIP that they value, as well as their concerns about IP technology and its applications,” Semer said. “We look forward to continuing to survey our members as their outlook evolves.”  

Three Louisville Companies Land On Fortune 500

Six Kentucky companies made the Fortune 500 list for 2007, with Louisville-based health insurer Humana Inc. ranking higher than any other company based in the state.

Fortune compiles its annual list of the biggest businesses based on 2006 fiscal and calendar year financial performance, focusing on revenue.

Humana ranked No. 110, moving up from No. 150 last year. Two other Louisville companies made the list: Yum Brands Inc. (No. 262, down from No. 257 last year) and Kindred Healthcare Inc. (No. 497, up from No. 498 last year).

Covington-based Ashland Inc. came in at No. 248, Covington-based Omnicare Inc. ranked No. 353, and Lexington-based Lexmark International Inc. ranked No. 442.

Two other Kentucky-based companies made the Fortune 1000: Louisville-based Brown-Forman Corp. at No. 828 and Highland Heights-based General Cable Corp. at No. 561.

Published April 16, 2007 by Business First

New Construction of Adventum™ Indoor/Outdoor Tight Buffer Fiber Optic Cable (Patent Pending)

Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, one of the leading copper and fiber optic cabling manufacturers, announces a new indoor/outdoor fiber optic drop cable, specifically for security and FTTx, including MDU/MTU, applications.

The Adventum ATx -- ATR (Riser Rated) or ATP (Plenum Rated) cables -- are available in one or two tight-buffered fibers in a loose tube cable design, incorporating DryGelÔ technology, the industry’s first all-dry water-blocking system. Significant cost reductions over traditional indoor/outdoor installation methods are realized as this cable performs well in wide temperature and environmental conditions -- as an outside plant or indoors through risers or plenum areas.  No transition points are required.

Fiber optic cable is often used in security applications due to its extended distances, immunity to EMI and other interferences, and superior signal integrity. The smaller design and flexibility of this cable makes installing and terminating in these deployments quicker and easier and eliminates strand waste. “We have, in effect, designed a tight buffer cable with all the benefits of a loose tube cable,” explains Beni Blell, RCDD, Fiber Optic Product Business Manager for Berk-Tek. “Whereas, this new two-fiber Adventum cable was developed to specifically address a CCTV application, this is also ideal for Multiple Dwelling Units (MDUs) where long runs in non-dedicated pathways are common and requires the cable to be robust enough to be pulled with up to 300 lbs alongside coax, UTP, POTS, and power cables,” he adds.

This new series of Adventum cables is patent pending and is now a standard stock item available through distribution with riser and plenum ratings and in multimode or single-mode fiber constructions. The cable features GIGAlite™ premium fibers and can also be built using GIGAlite™-10XB fiber, the industry’s highest performing laser optimized 50-micron fiber.  In addition, no buffer tube fan-out kits are required and direct termination with any field installable connector is enabled. This cable is also available with one or both ends pre-terminated by Berk-Tek, as well as with optional Interlocking Armor.

About Berk-Tek, A Nexans Company
For more than 45 years, Berk-Tek has been a leading manufacturer of more than 100 different network copper and fiber optic cable products. The company has led in the development of high-performance and enhanced fiber optic and UTP cables designed to transport high-speed data and voice transmissions. Berk-Tek has major manufacturing facilities at New Holland, PA, Fuquay-Varina, NC and Elm City, NC. For more information, visit

About Nexans
Nexans, the worldwide leader in the cable industry, brings an extensive range of advanced copper and optical fiber cable solutions to the infrastructure, industry and building markets for telecommunications and energy networks. With an industrial presence in 29 countries and commercial activities worldwide, Nexans employs employs 21,000 people and had sales in 2006 of $10 billion. Nexans is listed on the Paris stock exchange as NEX. Visit

Protons & Electricians - Miller Electric Charges Unique Healthcare Project

During the last few decades, doctors and medical researchers have developed a promising new procedure called proton therapy that could revolutionize the way they treat cancer. It’s a new kind of radiation treatment, and it’s being offered at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute. It is just the fourth proton facility in the United States and the only one of its kind in the Southeast. The institute expects to treat more than 1,000 patients by the end of 2007.

Located on the campus of Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., one of the nation’s leading teaching hospitals, the $30 million, 98,000-square-foot facility provides conventional cancer radiation treatment as well as the newer proton therapy. The facility includes clinics for pre- and post-therapy and treatment evaluation of cancer patients, planning suites, an infusion and anesthesia suite, psychosocial and dietary services and research and faculty offices. At capacity, the facility can treat up to 200 patients. In addition to providing patient treatment, the institute also provides patient and research support services.

In January 2003, the University of Florida broke ground on this state-of-the-art facility. After an international, state-mandated selection process, Perry-McCall of Jacksonville was selected to oversee the project as the general contractor.

“They had demonstrated a vast experience in the placement of large concrete structures, which was basically the key to making this project work,” said Miles Albertson, associate director for facilities, planning and construction at the University of Florida. “We needed a contractor who had the ability to form and place 6- to 13-foot concrete wall, floors and ceilings with tolerances only in the hundredths of an inch.”

The actual construction of the facility took more than 24 months, but with preplanning and programming, it was a five-year endeavor. There were numerous challenges in the construction. Proton facilities are built primarily below ground to take advantage of the earth’s natural shielding, and the original design for the institute called for the treatment area to be 30 feet below grade; however, during the initial stages of the project, it became evident that wasn’t possible.

Trusted partner

Miller Electric Co., Jacksonville, Fla., was the lead electrical contractor on the job. Miller electricians began working on the project in June 2004 and completed their part of the plan by May 2006. At the height of the project, the team peaked at 55 electricians.

“The project began as a design spec,” said Kevin Hayes, project manager from Miller Electric. “We began with a full set of drawings. The majority of the project was already [specified] out as far as what they wanted on the building. But as the project progressed, we added information, which resulted in different changes in the scope of the work to meet the anticipated completion date.”

Miller Electric installed the incoming electrical service, main distribution equipment, subpanels, power and lighting branch circuits, the voice/data and fire alarm system. They used Square D for the main switchgear and subpanels, Hubbell products for the switches and power outlets, Lithonia for the lighting and Wiremold wire basket cable trays.

From the start, Miller Electric team members realized they were facing enormous challenges. “Before we began working on the project, we spent several months reviewing all of the drawings,” Hayes said. “We had to plan how to deal with conduit step-ups and the gantries and how many levels we needed to bring it up.”

Hard to handle

“Our original goal was to have a similar floor plan and building construction as the first proton facility at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston,” Albertson said. “With the Boston facility, the construction team sank the building one floor in the ground to aid in radiation shielding. But with our facility, the water table was very close to the surface. Also, there were ruins of an old hospital building buried beneath the ground. This caused us to put the building on top of the ground, which resulted in a considerable increase in the concrete shielding necessary to protect people from radiation. It also required us to formulate a special concrete that isn’t normally available in Florida.”

The team at Perry-McCall came up with a plan to raise the treatment area to only 15 feet below grade while still containing the protons to avoid exposure.

“We saved the University of Florida about $3.5 million in sheet piling by just raising the building out of the ground,” said Dick Gilreath, project manager at Perry-McCall.

“We used massive amounts of concrete,” Gilreath said. The thinnest concrete wall in the proton area is 6 feet, and the thickest concrete wall is over 18 feet. The concrete ceilings are 8 feet thick with some as thick as 12 feet. Perry-McCall poured 5.1 million pounds of concrete in one day for a 1,300-yard concrete floor. The contractor used a total of 1,936 truck-loads of concrete for the project.

With the huge amount of concrete that had to be poured for the project, it was a major undertaking for the team from Miller Electric.

“We had to install the raceways in walls that were 12 feet thick,” Hayes said. “Getting the raceways through the massive concrete to their respective locations with the many concrete pours installed at different times was a major feat. There are roughly six miles of 2½-inch PVC conduit, six miles of 1¼-inch PVC conduit and another four miles of ¾- and 1-inch conduit throughout the mass concrete. And we had to install them at the precise location, so we wouldn’t delay the installation of the proton therapy equipment.”

Installing the floor duct in the concrete pours when those surfaces could be up to 18 inches thick also was difficult.

“We had to go in and cut and weld some of the floor duct to fit it in the way they wanted it installed,” Hayes said. “We had to raise it up with certain supports to support the wireway. We had certain tolerances that we had to meet.”

Miller Electric installed a Siemens Building Technologies MXL fire alarm system.

“We ended up installing fire alarm pull stations. There were fire alarm combination chimes-strobes and duct smoke detectors, a fire alarm panel and flow and tamper switches,” Hayes said.

The company also installed lay-in type lighting fixtures. The lobby had pendant fixtures, recessed and installed on a 45-degree angle. The hallway itself is at an angle, and all of the ceiling tiles had to be put in at an angle.

The amount of precision and technology to build the project required close collaboration among the project partners. During construction of the facility, more than 1,000 requests for information were written between the construction and design teams to ensure that the project was built without error and on schedule.

Hayes attributes the success of the project to effective communication with all the team members. “The people we had there did a terrific job relaying the information to the right people,” he said. “That made all the difference.”

Feinberg is a Florida-based veteran journalist with more than 20 years business writing experience. She may be reached at

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 Issue

"Fiber To The Home Summit Meetings" Coming To New England And Mid-Atlantic States In June

Following up on the highly successful "Fiber To The Home" Summit Meeting this January at LA Trade Technical College in Los Angeles (, The Fiber Optic Association has scheduled Summit meetings in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions.

The FOA FTTx Summit is aimed at installers, contractors and instructors who want to know more about FTTx technology, training and job opportunities. Presentations and displays by industry leaders and FTTx implementers/employers will allow attendees to learn from and meet the people involved.

On June 12, we'll be the guests of New Hampshire Technical College at Pease near Portsmouth, NH, as the guests of Dave Miller who teaches the FOA program at the college.

On June 14, we'll be at West Chester College in the NW Philadelphia suburbs hosted by Arnie Harris of ElA, a FOA approved training organization.

Full details on the meetings and signup forms will be posted online on the FOA website ( ) or those interested may sign up for the FOA email newsletter list ( ) to be notified.

The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. is an nonprofit educational organization chartered to promote fiber optics through education, certification and standards. Over 170 FOA-Approved schools have certified more than 22,000 fiber optic technicians. The FOA offers free online introductory fiber optic programs for everyone and training for instructors at FOA-Approved schools. The FOA is also an active participant in industry standards activities such as TIA and NECA.

Anixter International Inc. Announces The Acquisition Of Total Supply Solutions Limited

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"), announced that it had acquired all of the outstanding shares of Total Supply Solutions Limited ("TSS").

Manchester, U.K.-based TSS is a 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"). For 2007, TSS is expected to generate sales of approximately $22 million. Of the projected sales approximately half will be in the U.K., with the remainder coming from Poland and the Czech Republic. Anixter is paying approximately $8 million in cash, including the payoff of TSS debt obligations, for all of the outstanding shares of TSS.

Commenting on the acquisition, Bob Grubbs, President and CEO of Anixter, said, "We are pleased to have acquired TSS 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 in Eastern Europe."

"This acquisition not only expands the geographic scope of our OEM Supply business, but it also brings some very complementary customers to our existing base. 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.

Renovation Meets Integration

The need for modern mechanical and communication systems is breathing new life into aging buildings through technologies many decades newer than their bricks and mortar.

When building renovation includes integration, advanced wired and wireless infrastructures are allowing upgrades and networking of outdated control systems even when running new wiring might be impossible, impractical or cost prohibitive.

With the latest introductions to the integration market, business buildings, learning institutions, hospitals, museums, manufacturing plants and various historical facilities are benefiting from the integration of energy-efficient and sophisticated technologies including fire and life safety systems, security programs and lighting.

Integration also is incorporating data networking capabilities and the installation of standard communication protocols for more effective inclusion of future devices and technologies.

Retrofit challenges

Rebuilding the power and data infrastructures in older buildings, however, can pose a number of structural challenges to electrical contractors starting with outdated, incompatible and unreliable wiring incapable of interfacing with advanced building automation devices.

From an architectural standpoint, ceilings and walls made of materials such as brick, stone, cinder block, plaster, asbestos and steel beams enclosed in columns are difficult to open and restore. Many retrofitting projects require minimal disruption to daily operations and occupants. Others mandate low physical impact to the structure, especially with vintage and historical facilities.

According to Jeff Raimo, product manager, Siemens Building Technologies Inc., specific vertical markets and facilities have their own unique challenges. For example, it is critical for healthcare facilities to minimize the amount of airborne contaminants for infection control, while modifications in industrial plants should not interfere with production or create safety hazards.

“Frequently the best strategy is to utilize a mix of hard-wired and wireless solutions. Many devices can be easily wired and this is often the most efficient way to connect them. However, other devices may have challenging wire runs to them, and wireless makes more sense,” Raimo said.

High-capacity raceway

When wiring inside walls and ceilings is outdated, inaccessible or too time-consuming to modify, surface-mounted raceway presents high-capacity integration solutions. Generally, raceway provides flexibility for future moves, adds or changes and has increased capacity compared to conduit. Recent developments provide dual-channel raceway with the ability to carry both line and low-voltage in the same raceway, said Ray Szekretar, product marketing manager of metallic raceway for Wiremold.

“Dual covers allow contractors both [power and data] to access their respective channel whenever they need to without having to access the other channel or have everything open when working with a single cover product,” Szekretar said.

Northside Independent School District (NISD) in San Antonio is committed to incorporating technology into all facets of instruction and staying ahead of the technology curve during an ambitious construction and renovation program. The district is growing by approximately 3,000 students a year with a forecast of more than 100,000 students within the next eight years.

“We have to be prepared for change, and raceway systems allow that to happen. If a school needs more computers in one area, for example, we need to be able to easily expand without major renovations,” said Paul Megerle, NISD electrical/telecommunications project manager. “This is just as true in new schools as older ones that are being upgraded because they have the same changing needs.”

Even newer buildings, those from 10 to 20 years old, require extensive work. NISD has consistently invested in upgrade services with clean power, installing raceways in all classrooms for teacher and student computers as well as floor boxes or poles to support technology.

Bringing older buildings into the new millennium for data communications requires a large volume of low and line voltage and high-speed cabling. The Wiremold nonmetallic dual channel series has 10-gigabit-ready fittings to accommodate emerging Ethernet over copper applications. An integrated divider is built into the modular design and adjusts to fit couplings as well as obstacle-avoidance fittings for box-enclosed columns and vertically run conduit or raceway.

Updating contracts often have stringent time constraints due to current occupancy. Prewired raceway cuts down on field fabrication. “It can get contractors off the job in one-third the time. This is obviously a huge money saver, especially in light of the fact that raceway is usually one of the last things installed. It can potentially put a job back on time or finish a job early, which might result in a bonus,” Szekretar said.

A prewired option allowed 19 older schools in the Columbia County, Ga., school district to be wired with voice and data connections in a tight timeframe leading up to the first day of school.  Prewired 4000 series raceway was installed to spec with mounted finished units, connected leads and communications cabling—a total of 753 drops in 33 days.

Advanced mesh network solution

Wireless infrastructures also are gaining popularity in retrofit situations where spaces may be frequently reconfigured. Many times a power source is already present, so a new wireless controller can be retrofitted to an existing VAV box, eliminating the need to pull new wiring to each box if a hard-wired network infrastructure was degraded, incompatible or not present. Wireless sensors can then easily be added to existing interior spaces without regard to what wiring might be present or where it is located.

A recent development in the wireless arena has been the emergence of mesh communications, which is bridging some of the shortfalls of earlier point-to-point wireless systems. Siemens recently introduced Apogee Wireless, the industry’s first wireless building automation system. This mesh network uses a grid-like topology to provide multiple redundant communication paths with each node functioning as a sender, receiver and router. Engineered to route signals around obstructions, each node is required to communicate with only two or three neighboring nodes.

The mesh technology is appealing to building managers because of its reliability across a wide array of building types. “The technology is proving itself to be very adaptable, regardless of whether it is being used in a small commercial office building or a large, cavernous manufacturing plant,” Raimo said.

The advanced wireless automation system allows for a staged migration of legacy systems to meet budgets and existing occupant schedules. Typically, the wiring being used by legacy systems cannot be reused by new systems. Consequently, new wiring has to be installed, and the entire network has to be taken down and data transferred to the new network at the same time.

“With a staged approach, controls can be replaced and connected to the new system via wireless links—one by one—without affecting the remaining legacy control devices. This makes scheduling easier and allows a seamless migration with no disruption in service that can be staged over time if needed to better fit tight budgets,” Raimo said.

The impact on energy efficiency is measurable, Raimo said. Wireless automation systems allow previous stand-alone systems to be networked, controlled and operated from a central control location. Combined with wireless sensing, it allows the most efficient use of equipment.

“Heating and air-conditioning units, lighting systems, fans and other pieces of equipment are only operated when needed or scheduled, cutting down on wasted energy,” Raimo said.

Although wireless systems are poised for significant growth, current building codes and standards lack technology. IEEE has continued to drive the adoption of new wireless standards in section 802.11 of the protocol standards. For low-power, low-data rate wireless, Raimo said the ZigBee Alliance—an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked monitoring and control products based on an open global standard—has been active in developing a new wireless standard.

As the cost of wireless technology continues to decrease, a wireless connection will make sense for more devices, with some experts projecting it to be a low-cost infrastructure in the future.

Raimo speculates power requirements will continue to decrease, and the use of power-harvesting strategies will increase, allowing more battery-powered wireless devices to run longer without maintenance or eliminating batteries altogether. Radio frequency electronics will be embedded into more devices. Sensors will continue to shrink and be implanted into a larger number of devices to monitor for predictive maintenance, comfort, life safety and security, etc. Building automation system devices could use the larger ubiquitous wireless infrastructure.

“Each building contains a warehouse of information that can be mined and monitored via the Internet or automatically for optimal control, energy efficiency and occupant comfort. Technical advances in areas like wireless and sensors will make it practical to access all of this information,” Raimo said.           EC

McClung, owner of Woodland Communications, is a construction writer from Iowa. She can be reached via e-mail at

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

Government Consultant Gets The Pink Slip

Last Friday, in response to an EWG investigation, the government fired a conflict-ridden industry consulting firm, Sciences International (SI). SI is no ordinary science-for-hire company. For the past eight years, SI was actually running the federal center that decides whether or not chemicals pose reproductive risks to people. At the same time, SI boasted of more than 50 chemical company clients, many of whom made the chemicals under scrutiny by the SI-controlled federal center.

After the L.A. Times publicized the EWG investigation on March 7th, powerful Congressional leaders like Representative Waxman and Senator Boxer demanded answers. Immediately, SI was suspended and a formal inquiry was launched. The result? A pink slip.

But sending SI home is only the first step toward safer chemical reviews. What's to keep the National Toxicology Program (NTP) from replacing one conflicted contractor with another? Certainly not a conflict of interest policy——because they don't have one.

EWG will continue to push for a transparent process for exposing and dealing with government and corporate conflicts of interest. We are also demanding a full review of the 19 other chemicals Sciences International has analyzed for the government since 1998. Read about it in the Washington Post.

We appreciate your support of the EWG team that makes these victories happen.


Richard Wiles
Executive Director

Wesco Q1 Sales: $1.45 Billion

Wesco’s sales in the first quarter were 15% higher than one year ago, hitting $1.45B. The company’s gross margin was 20.6% this time, vs. 20.0% a year ago.

Note that the sales increase over Q1 ’06 was $185M, of which $160M was attributed to the addition of Communications Supply Corp. Subtract that out, and Wesco’s Q1 sales were 2% higher than one year ago.

“Core electrical sales rose 2%, while sales at our most recent acquisition, CSC, added 13% to consolidated sales revenue. Gross margins were maintained despite margin compression in a few commodity-based categories,” said Stephen A. Van Oss, senior vice president and chief financial & administrative officer.

Added Ray W. Haley, chairman/CEO: “We have encountered unanticipated sales weakness in early 2007, as capital expenditures and large construction project spending have developed more slowly than expected.”

Stray facts:

  • Free cash flow in Q1: $73M.
  • Wesco bought back more than 3M shares in Q1, at a cost of roughly $198M. That’s nearly half the $400M the company plans to spend by early 2008 on share buy-backs.
  • The company said it remains committed to an earnings gain of as much as 40 cents per share (in 2007) from the CSC acquisition.
  • WCC stock price is down from the near-$80 range a bit less than a year ago to $61 last Friday.
  • According to a report from Reuters, Wesco said Q2 sales will be around $1.6B, with as much as $185M from CSC, and that it expects “the second half of 2007 to be stronger than the first six months.” Could Wesco hit $6B in annual sales this year? Perhaps! 4 x $1.45B = $5.8B. Mix in a stronger 2nd half . . .
  • Separately, Wesco on 4/18 said an effort to register $300M of convertible senior debentures with the SEC was effective. This debt issue, convertible into common shares of the company, was sold privately to qualified institutional buyers (something allowed under Rule 144A of the Securities Act of 1933).

Grainger’s Sales In Q1: $1.5B

Sales at Grainger’s multi-line MRO operation hit $1.5B, up 9%, in Q1. The company’s gross margin in the quarter was nearly 41%. “We are executing well on our strategy and our investments in growth are paying off,” said Richard L. Keyser, chairman/CEO.

Daily sales rose 8% in January, 10% in February, and 9% in March. Strong sales of seasonal projects were said to add one percentage point to sales; the continued unwinding of “low margin contracts for automotive and integrated supply” reportedly subtracted one percentage point.”

Branch-based sales rose by 9% in January and 11% each in February and March.

Expansion efforts have added a net two branches to the chain’s operations, which now total 410 regular branches, 20 will-call express units, eight in Mexico, and two in China.
Sales in China were less than $1M in the quarter. In Canada (an operation broken out separately, and thus not included in the numbers above), the company closed on branch; it now has 154 there.

Additionally, the company said it “market expansion program” contributed two percent points to growth in the U.S. “Additions to the product line [a total of 25,000 new products added] made in 2006 and 2007 contributed approximately three percentage points to growth in the segment.”

From Keyser: “We continue to gain share in this fragmented industry by serving our existing customers well and leveraging our supply chain, branch network, and sales resources to find and serve new customers.” Grainger’s stock (GWW) closed out last week at $83.99 – an all-time high.

Electrical/Datacom NEWS

A-D PARTICIPATORS – “highest overall participation” was another award given by Affiliated Distributors at its recent meeting. This recognizes distributors with high percentages of purchases from A-D suppliers (as a % of total company purchases). Winners: Electric Supply Center; Good Friend Electrical Supplies; Queen City Electrical Supply; Ralph Pill Electric Supply; and Rockingham Electrical. Canadian winners in this category were Bartle & Gibson and E.B. Horsman & Son.

ANIXTER BUYS – Anixter has purchased Total Supply Solutions Ltd. (based in Manchester, in the U.K.), a fastener distributor. TSS expects sales of $22M in 2007; with half coming from its home country and the remainder from Poland and the Czech Republic. Price: $8M in cash and the payoff of TSS debt obligations. Separately, Anixter said it now has a new $350M unsecured, amended, and restated revolving credit agreement.

BECKER GROWS – this Dayton, Ohio-based company, which employs 200, opened a branch recently (in Ashland, Ky.) and purchased Eastgate Electrical Supply (Richmond, Ind.). Becker, which serves 6,000+ customers (according to the 4/18 Dayton Daily News), expects to add 500 more with Eastgate, which has three locations and 25 employees. Becker, which dates its founding to 1920; said it expects to double its sales within four years, according to the newspaper. The company now has 12 branches in GA, IN, KY, and OH.

COLUMBIA’s 46% GROWER – Columbia Electric Supply (Brockton, Mass.) said its Fall River, Mass., branch posted growth of 46% last year over 2005. The branch began operation in 1992.

IRBY ADDS IN TN – Stuart C. Irby Co. is expanding in Tennessee (the Sonepar unit said in a release). It has moved into a new 100,000-sq.-ft. RDC and opened four new locations (Irby Electric Express units) in suburban Nashville. “We expect to introduce new value-added capabilities that will establish Irby as the partner of choice,” said Michael C. Wigton, company president.”

REXEL SALES UP – Rexel reported on its Q1 sales (earnings and more await a mid-May release). The company’s overall sales were up 5.9%, to roughly $3.5B. Sales were up 11.5% in Europe (the company’s biggest market in the quarter) and down 0.4% in North America. Sales were 589M euros higher than in the first quarter of 2006 – of which 545M euros came from acquisitions, “partially offset by 70M euros in adverse exchange rate fluctuations.” What does this add up to? According to the market, it’s not so hot; Rexel’s shares closed last Friday at 15.5 euros – down a full euro (down 6%) from the price at which it came public a few weeks ago.

THIEVES CAUGHT – officials in Boise, Idaho, have arrested two men and hit them with a total of eight felony counts, according to the 4/13 Idaho Press-Tribune. Why? “The two men are alleged to have represented themselves as customers affiliated with local electrical businesses to obtain goods that were charged to those companies . . . Detectives . . . say this criminal activity took place at four local electrical [distributor branches] on four separate occasions.” The charges say the men stole more than $5,000 worth of merchandise.

France Confers Legion d'honneur On Etsuhiko Shoyama, Chairman of Hitachi

Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT - News; TOKYO:6501 - News) today announced that France is to confer the order of the Legion d'honneur on Etsuhiko Shoyama, Chairman of Hitachi, with the rank of officier. The Legion d'honneur was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is France's highest order, conferred on individuals and organizations deemed to have made a major contribution to France through their endeavors in the areas of culture, science, the military, industry, and commerce.

France's Ambassador to Japan, Gildas Le Lidec, will confer the award today at a ceremony to be held at the French Embassy in Japan from 5:30 p.m.

The Hitachi Group started operating in earnest in France in the 1970s, implementing a range of activities that included research and development, production, and sales. Currently, these activities are carried out by 15 French subsidiaries with some 840 employees, thereby contributing to the nation's economic growth. In addition, the Hitachi Group has been praised for its good relations with the government of France and with French corporations, and for its business strategies in Europe and the contributions, it has made to local communities, all of which have contributed to France's growth and led to this award.

The Hitachi Group will continue to contribute to France's economic growth by moving forward with its diverse range of business activities, which includes information equipment, construction equipment, automotive equipment, air conditioner and digital consumer electronics, and the research and development that underpin those products.

Comment by Mr. Shoyama

The Hitachi Group ranks France as an important base in Europe where it is moving forward with a range of activities. It is deeply gratifying to have these efforts recognized, in this way, by the government of France, and by everyone else concerned, and I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for the honor. Hitachi Group looks forward to continuing to be a bridge between France and Japan.

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

Invest in France Agency (IFA) is the national body responsible for promoting, prospecting and facilitating the international investment in France. It also coordinates initiatives promoting the appeal and image of France.

The IFA network operates worldwide, with offices in France at both national and local level. It draws on the expertise of specialists in a range of disciplines based at its head office in Paris, as well as in offices in North America, Europe and Asia. In France, IFA works in partnership with regional development agencies to offer international investors outstanding business opportunities and customized services. Please see website for more information.

Corning Cable Systems Introduces UniCam® Pretium™ Connector Product Family

Corning Cable Systems LLC, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, introduces an expansion of its field-installable UniCam® Connector product line. Corning’s UniCam Pretium-Performance Connectors are guaranteed to achieve best-in-class optical performance, with a typical insertion loss as low as 0.1 dB. The product line enhancement also includes the new UniCam Pretium Tool Kit, which features lightweight, handheld tools, virtually zero set-up time and enables installation of a connector in less than one minute.

Corning Cable Systems’ UniCam Connectors are no-epoxy, no-polish connectors that install quickly and easily in the field with a single no-consumables tool kit. The new UniCam Pretium-Performance Multimode Connectors feature a 0.1 dB typical and 0.5 dB maximum insertion loss. The connectors will meet TIA/EIA-568 B.3 specifications for insertion loss and return loss at temperatures of -40° to +75°C, which allows the connectors to be used outdoors when enclosed in environmentally protected hardware. UniCam Pretium-Performance Single-Mode Connectors offer a 0.2 dB typical and 0.5 dB maximum insertion loss, as well as the wider operating temperature range of -40° to +75°C. The connectors are available with a ceramic ferrule in LC, SC and ST® compatible connector styles.

The new UniCam Pretium Tool Kit contains a new handheld installation tool and a high-performance, diamond-blade cleaver that virtually eliminate human variability from installation. With the new tool kit, UniCam Pretium-Performance Connectors can be installed in about 45 seconds. As with all of its UniCam Connectors, every Pretium-Performance Connector is 100 percent guaranteed to meet the published specification at the time of installation, or Corning Cable Systems will replace it.

With multimode UniCam Pretium-Performance Connectors, the improved optical performance can be achieved when installing with either the new Pretium Tool Kit or the “classic” UniCam Tool Kit. Due to the precise requirements of single-mode fiber,

UniCam® Pretium-Performance Single-Mode Connectors must be terminated using the new Pretium Tool Kit in order to achieve the enhanced attenuation and operating temperature specifications. UniCam Connector installation is an economical method of field termination due to the speed of termination, low-cost tooling and guaranteed performance.

Standard UniCam Multimode Connectors are offered with a composite ferrule in SC and ST® compatible connector styles and have a 0.3 dB typical and 0.75 dB maximum insertion loss. UniCam Connectors also continue to be offered in FC and MT-RJ connector styles. Both the standard and Pretium-Performance Connectors offer fast, easy installation and the 100 percent performance guarantee. The connectors are ideal for deployments in local area networks (LANs), campuses and data centers, and the quick installation reduces the total installed cost of connectorization, making it cost effective for all fiber applications, from the main cross-connect to the workstation.

Since the product’s introduction in 1993, Corning Cable Systems has sold more than 40 million UniCam Connectors. Reaching this milestone highlights the quality, reliability and customer satisfaction associated with the UniCam Connector and demonstrates Corning’s unparalleled leadership position in the no-epoxy, no-polish field-installable connector market.

UniCam Pretium-Performance Connectors and the UniCam Pretium Tool Kit are currently available in Corning Cable Systems’ NAFTA regions. The products will be available worldwide in June 2007.

Interactive Intelligence Acquires Alliance Systems Professional Services Division

Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ), a global developer of unified communications software, and Alliance Systems Ltd., a global provider of server and storage solutions, have entered into a definitive Asset Purchase Agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Interactive Intelligence has acquired the professional services group of Alliance Systems, which is focused on licensing, implementing and supporting Interactive Intelligence contact center automation and enterprise IP telephony software solutions.

The acquisition will enable Interactive Intelligence to immediately expand its professional services organization in an effort to more effectively support its largest direct customers, many with thousands of users across global sites.

Fourteen Alliance personnel have joined the Interactive Intelligence team who, along with a channel of about 250 value-added resellers, help support the company’s more than 2,500 global customers.

“This acquisition will help us continue our initiative to aggressively expand into the high-end contact center and enterprise markets by giving our largest customers access to an even broader pool of qualified and experienced professional services personnel, including access to increased on-site managed resources,” said Interactive Intelligence founder and CEO, Dr. Donald E. Brown. “We’re fortunate to be able to immediately add a competent, experienced, well-trained group of people, and look forward to giving the Alliance professional services team even greater career opportunities by working for a company whose business is the development and licensing of software on which they are already certified.

“This acquisition does not represent a departure from our core strategy of cultivating a strong reseller channel, but does enable us to better compete for larger opportunities where the customer requires a direct relationship, or where our partner channel requires augmented services,” Brown added.

For Alliance, the acquisition will enable the company to focus on its core business of server design, manufacturing, support and distribution.

“Our core server and infrastructure business has been growing very rapidly and we wanted to focus our resources on increasing our manufacturing capacity, engineering resources and our global logistics and support business,” said Alliance CEO, Jonathan Shapiro.

Alliance has partnered with Interactive Intelligence since 1997 to provide high-performance, reliable and energy-efficient pre-certified servers for the company’s unified communications software suite, which was designed to eliminate the cost and complexity introduced by individual point products.

Alliance and Interactive Intelligence will continue to work closely to provide joint customers with the highest quality server-based unified communications solutions available.

About Alliance
Alliance Systems is a leading provider of server and storage solutions targeting the Communications, Enterprise, and Military markets. Founded in 1992, Alliance provides computer infrastructure that supports wireless, VoIP, contact center, security, and video enterprise communications solutions. Alliance’s unique, open architecture, server designs include rack-mount, blade, and ruggedized form factors. These solutions feature high performance, superior reliability, and energy efficiency, which enable its customers to rapidly deploy Internet and communications applications worldwide. Additionally, Alliance provides an extensive range of value-added services including design and engineering, manufacturing, logistics, and support.

Alliance's solutions are sold to OEMs, resellers and service providers worldwide. The company's customer base exceeds 1,200 entities in 70 countries. Alliance Systems' head office is located in Plano, Texas, USA with European Headquarters in Bad Homburg, Germany and logistics locations in The Netherlands, South Africa, Germany, and the Philippines. For more information, visit

About Interactive Intelligence
Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) is a global provider of business communications software and services for contact center automation and enterprise IP telephony. The company was founded in 1994 and has more than 2,500 customers worldwide. Recent awards include the 2006 Network World 200, CRM Magazine’s 2006 Rising Star Excellence Award, Network Computing Magazine’s 2006 Well-Connected Award, and Software Magazine’s 2006 Top 500 Global Software and Services Companies. Interactive Intelligence employs approximately 525 people and is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company has five global corporate offices, with additional sales offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Interactive Intelligence can be reached at +1 317.872.3000 or; on the Net:

News From Building Green

Piping in Perspective: Selecting Pipe for Plumbing in Buildings

Tristan Roberts

Potable water supply piping and drain-waste-vent (DWV) piping represent a significant fraction of a building's materials. Although green builders focus a great deal on water efficiency, there has been little attention toward reducing the need for piping in buildings-except perhaps the water-supply pipes for waterless urinals.

Choosing the greenest pipe for both applications, particularly deciding between metal pipe and plastic alternatives, requires evaluating a variety of environmental and human health impacts as well as durability and performance issues. All piping materials require the extraction of raw materials; the processing and transport of those raw materials; and the manufacturing, transport, installation, use, and disposal of the product.

Each of these processes consumes energy and exacts environmental and human health costs. Choosing the most environmentally friendly piping often requires weighing costs and benefits to identify the least offender.

To see the full feature article:

The full article requires a log-in to view, and is NOT available for re-publication. If you would like to read the full article, and do not have a log-in, please contact Jerelyn Wilson at

You are welcome to post the summaries and links from this email on your website(s), provided that you make it clear that the stories are coming from Environmental Building News and that the full article is available at Please include this byline: From Environmental Building News,

BuildingGreen, Inc. owns the copyrights to all material contained in this email and to the full written articles. All rights are reserved except those explicitly granted herein. Contact Jim Newman at BuildingGreen, Inc., with questions or for additional information.

Other Current Stories from Environmental Building News:

Automotion System Creates Hands-Free Parking

Nadav Malin

The AutoMotion Parking System creates a fully automated parking garage. Park your car at the door and swipe your credit card, and the machine transfers your car onto a lift on tracks that shuttles it into an available slot. AutoMotion touts the benefits of avoided human contact (reducing risk of damage or theft) and of increased parking capacity-twice as many cars can be filed away in a typical garage space. The biggest benefit, however, may be the health and energy advantages of not driving cars into buildings.

To read the full article:

Cold-Cathode CFLs from Litetronics

Alex Wilson

Anyone who has used a laptop computer has probably benefited from cold-cathode fluorescent lighting. Now the same technology that back-lights those computer screens is making its way into decorative and area lighting with the Micro-Brite line of cold-cathode compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) from Litetronics.

To read the full article:

What USGBC's PVC Report Means for GreenSpec

Nadav Malin

Now that the much-anticipated final report on PVC by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has been released, one may wonder how the report's findings will affect BuildingGreen's coverage of products and materials in EBN and our GreenSpec Directory. After a comprehensive and objective review, USGBC has determined that, relative to other common materials used in the four application areas examined, PVC is not uniformly bad enough, compared with the likely alternatives, that avoiding it warrants a point in the LEED Rating System. Will we continue to write about alternatives to PVC in EBN? Will we continue to include products in GreenSpec specifically because they provide alternatives to PVC in certain applications?

To read the full article:

BuildingGreen, Inc. is publisher of the nation's oldest publication on sustainable design and construction and the leading national directory of green building products. For more information on BuildingGreen and its resources on environmentally responsible design and construction, visit , e-mail, or call 800-861-0954 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 802-257-7300). BuildingGreen is an independent, socially responsible, company based in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Contact Information



phone: 617-699-7323


Get The Low Down - Low Voltage Preventative & Value-added Maintenance

Traditionally Maintenance work has been preventive—it saves users/customers money by avoiding downtime due to failures. The act of keeping a company’s systems and equipment up and running drives a preventive maintenance program. What follows are some examples of how preventive maintenance applies to certain equipment.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems require some regular maintenance, which can be performed during scheduled appointments. At the camera or pole, check the camera housing pressure (typically 5 PSI +/– 1 PSI); visually inspect the housing, the pan-tilt mechanism and the surge suppressor and ground; clean and remove debris; clean housing glass with a simple glass-cleaning solution; check wiper unit and blades; change filters in housing; inspect for corrosion; and check and test thermostat.

At the head end, inspect the cables and connectors; change filters; clean and vacuum the cabinet; and check surge protectors, terminals and connections for corrosion, camera functions, thermostat function (if present) and the fan for proper operation.

When the cable television (CATV) cabling is fiber, cable sheath monitoring acts as a good warning system. You can also use sensor wires and/or moisture tapes to detect splice housing integrity. Other maintenance tasks are inspecting/cleaning/replacing filters, removing dust from electronic equipment and regularly inspecting active equipment cabinets.

A new area of maintenance—value-added—deals with additional work that can and should be done to avoid equipment failures and downtime. It applies to systems being installed today, including some of the following examples.

■ For fiber optic cabling maintenance, inspect the connectors and cables, do an end face inspection (min. 400X scope), clean the connector end face, clean and inspect the coupler sleeve (coupler microscope), complete periodic insertion loss tests, perform an optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) test (reference to original acceptance trace), do a signal output test on active components checking for degradation, remove dust from cabinets or patch panels, and check pressure of splice cases.

A wireless or radio frequency system requires a different kind of maintenance than a cabled system. Inspect and clean the antenna; inspect cables and connections for corrosion and, if required, test the cables to Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) cabling test standards for the appropriate cable type; check weather seals on cables and connectors; clean and regrease cable connectors with a dielectric grease; clean and inspect cabinets; check weather seals, signal strength with appropriate test equipment, surge suppressors and ground connections; and remove dust and debris from the cables, connections and access point(s).

■ A telephone system or private branch exchange (PBX) requires cleaning and inspecting of cabinets/closets (no litter should be stored in a telecom closet); cleaning or replacement of filters; inspecting and cleaning cables and terminal blocks and checking for corrosion; managing cables; inspecting and tightening of ground cables and connections; checking surge suppressors and ground connections; periodic cable testing; inspecting coiled cords for fraying, etc.; replacing cross connects that are too short; and cleanup of excess or unneeded materials.

A good maintenance plan can be developed that is financially and physically practical for the customer and beneficial to both of you. Be proactive by recognizing the roles cabling and wireless access play—they still depend on the cabling (fiber, copper or coax) to function. Even wireless networks need to be cabled from the access point back to the telecom room.

Customers usually want to know what maintenance is going to cost them, and perhaps it may be helpful to tell them what it would cost if they don’t maintain the systems. The cost of maintenance would be miniscule compared to the money the company could lose if a system goes down.

John Vickery of Chula Vista Electric, Chula Vista, Calif., said: “A good analogy would be buying a new car and not doing any maintenance on it. How long would it last if you never changed the oil, filters or cleaned the engine versus how long it would last if you changed the oil every 3,000 miles; changed the air, oil and fuel filters; cleaned the engine regularly; and even gave it a wash and wax now and then?

“You can reasonably extend the life expectancy of any system if you make a good, practical effort at doing regular maintenance even if it is as simple as removing the dust and sweeping the floor,” Vickery said. “It’s also important to have that maintenance performed by qualified people. After all, I wouldn’t want my auto mechanic to be cleaning the connectors on my fiber optic cable system just because I can give him the tool!”        EC

MICHELSON, president of Jackson, Calif.-based Business Communication Services and publisher of the BCS Reports, is an expert in TIA/EIA performance standards.Contact her at or visit

Reprinted with full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

BOMA International And Buildings Magazine Present The BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) Series Webinars

Buildings magazine has partnered with BOMA to present the BEEP Series -- four two-hour online Webinars that provide energy efficiency education and training. The course is 90-minutes long, followed by 30 minutes for Q&A.

The BOMA BEEP (BOMA Energy Efficiency Program) is an innovative operational excellence program to teach commercial real estate professionals how to reduce energy consumption and costs with proven no-and low-cost strategies for optimizing equipment, people and practices.

This groundbreaking program has been developed by the BOMA Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR® program and is supported in part by a grant from EPA.

Learn in the Comfort of Your Own Office!
BEEP Series gives you the information, strategies, technologies, how-to guides and resources you need to reduce energy and costs…all without leaving your office. Each seminar is delivered conveniently via web-assisted audio seminars.

Click here for a full description of the topics to be discussed in each Webinar.


Click here to register for one or more of the BEEP Series Webinars.

Registration Fees

BOMA members: $99 for each Webinar in the series.
Non-BOMA members: $124 for each Webinar in the series.

TIA Unveils 2007 Technology And Policy Primer

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has published its 2007 Technology and Policy Primer, a comprehensive document that provides a detailed overview for the benefit of policy leaders on the technologies and policies surrounding emerging trends in broadband communications networking. Designed to inform readers on the innovative products and services supplied by TIA members and used in global communications, the Primer was created with extensive involvement and input from TIA member companies who participate in the association's Public Policy Committee.

"Broadband deployment is a vital goal for both TIA members and the U.S., and TIA hopes that clarifying these complex technologies and policy issues will help us realize a significant increase in that deployment," TIA President Grant Seiffert said in describing the association's goal in developing and publishing the 2007 Technology and Policy Primer.

"The creation and sale of information, communications and entertainment technology equipment creates millions of jobs, fosters health care, provides consumers choices in how, where and when to access video, music and sports, improves education, and serves as an important backbone for financial services, transportation, and public safety," Seiffert added. "In fact, these technologies and services serve as innovation engines that expand the global communications network."

The TIA 2007 Technology and Policy Primer covers a wide array of technologies relating to the edge, access and core of networks. These technologies include, but are not limited to, fiber, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable, wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi® and WiMAX®, customer premise equipment (CPE), and short-range communications such as radio frequency identification (RFID). The Primer also serves as a companion piece to TIA's 2007 Industry Playbook, also released in March 2007.

To view an electronic version of the Playbook, click here:

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

The Electrical Fusion Orchestra

On St. Patrick’s Day, I went the nontraditional route, choosing to escape the rowdy crowds by dining in an Asian-fusion restaurant. It seems everything is getting integrated these days, even our fancier cuisine. What’s next?

You, the electrical contractor, already know the answer. Most of you are dealing daily with the interoperability of building systems ranging from the control of lighting and HVAC to the inverters that change solar rays into energy to power our lives. You’re the force behind this intricate melding.

As evidenced by our cover image this month, we consider the electrical contractor to be the conductor of a complex electrical orchestra, which can play to perfection only when the EC brings the elements together. Increasingly, building systems are interdependent—especially with new energy conservation mandates that enforce them to be so—and today’s customers expect their systems to operate harmoniously (no sour notes allowed in this band!). Future work is going to depend on your abilities to read the music.

If you want to know what this issue is about, check out the following stories. “Take the Plunge” by Tom Glavinich, page 50, will arm those of you ready to become an integrated building systems (IBS) contractor with knowledge needed to dive in. Deborah O’Mara introduces some products, services and ideas new to the market in “Behind the Integration Buzz,” page 30. Since structured cabling makes much of this trend possible, we have Russ Munyan’s “Infinity and Beyond” on page 56, which will tell you about the advances in structured cabling.

You also will need to get firmly ensconced in this IBS work, and one way to do so is through better relationships (which may be one reason behind the growth in design/build). Chuck Ross brings up some interesting points regarding relationship building, including spending more time listening to those manufacturers and distributors with which you deal. Find his story, “Design/Build: New Opportunities and New Alliances,” on page 94.

We also are launching a new column this month (page 124), one aimed at your supervisors, project managers and foremen. There are countless issues that affect these workers, and this column will focus on them.

One final note: That St. Patrick’s Day dinner struck a chord with me for another reason, which is why I brought it up in the first place. The fortune cookie that concluded the meal read: “The road to success is always under construction.” How are you going to construct your business to excel in this new world where you’re controlling all the strings (and wire instruments and horn/strobes)? Better figure it out.            EC

—Andrea Klee, Editor

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007

Belden Announces Expiration & Final Results Of Exchange Offer For Its 4.00% Convertible Subordinated Debentures Due 2023

Belden (NYSE: BDC - News) announced the expiration and final results of its offer to exchange up to $110 million aggregate principal amount of its new 4.00% Convertible Subordinated Debentures due 2023, or new debentures, for an equal aggregate principal amount of its currently outstanding 4.00% Convertible Subordinated Debentures due 2023, or old debentures. The exchange offer expired at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on April 19, 2007.

$110,000,000 aggregate principal amount of old debentures, representing 100% of the total outstanding principal amount of the old debentures, were tendered for exchange. Belden has accepted all validly tendered old debentures and, in exchange, will issue a like principal amount of new debentures and pay a cash exchange fee of $6.25 for each $1,000 principal amount of old debentures exchanged. The new debentures will be issued promptly to holders that properly tendered old debentures in accordance with the terms of the exchange offer.

This news release is neither an offer to sell nor the solicitation of an offer to buy securities and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which, or to any person to whom, such an offer, solicitation or sale is unlawful.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this release other than historical facts are "forward- looking statements." These forward-looking statements are based on forecasts and projections about the industries served by the company and about general economic conditions. They reflect management's beliefs and expectations. They are not guarantees of future performance and they involve risk and uncertainty. The company's actual results may differ materially from these expectations. Some of the factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations include general economic and market conditions and other factors beyond the company's control. Please see the Risk Factors in Belden's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed March 1, 2007, for additional information about factors that could cause the company's results to differ from expectations.

The forward-looking statements contained in this news release include statements related to the exchange offer. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this news release. Except for its ongoing obligations to disclose material information under the federal securities laws, Belden disclaims any duty to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

Belden is a leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of signal transmission products for data networking and a wide range of specialty electronics markets including entertainment, industrial, security and aerospace applications. To obtain additional information contact Investor Relations at 314-854-8054, or visit our website at

3M Closure Has Factory-Installed Gasket

The 3M Closure 2 Type 505 ISG (Installed Sealing Gasket) Series is a complete pressure-tight, re-enterable and reusable closure system for protection of communications cable splices across a spectrum of applications. These closures are designed for installation in a variety of aerial, buried or underground outside plant applications and are available in a variety of lengths and diameters. 

The new 2-type 505 ISG closure features a factory-installed gasket which allows for quick and easy installation in both new construction and maintenance environments. Because the closures are pressure tight, water cannot invade the splices.

As the demand for broadband services via DSL over imbedded copper networks grows, service providers are having to upgrade/condition their networks, increasing the need for re-entry of the copper pressurized closures. The new closures, which are easy to re-enter and are reusable, can increase productivity and offer virtually zero-cost re-entry. The 2-type 505 ISG closure is a mechanical closure and requires no open flames or heat to install.

DSL is also driving central office vault upgrades and expansions, with service providers requiring flame retardant closures in their central office vaults. The 4-type series line of closures is the flame retardant version of the 2-type series. Previous versions can be upgraded to accommodate the re-enterable and reusable gasket.

For more information about the new 3M Closure 2-type 505 ISG, contact the 3M Communication Markets Division, A130-2N-14, 6801 River Place Blvd., Austin, Texas 78726-9000, USA, or call (800) 426-8688.  For more information about 3M communication products, go to

3M Telecommunications

3M provides practical, scalable solutions to telecommunications service providers around the world. From military and government applications to aerial, underground and buried plant, to central office, utilities and more, it’s the widest and most comprehensive suite of products, and it's all from 3M---a major force in the telecommunications industry for more than 100 years. Our proven systems optimize network testing, construction, locating and maintenance for faster, more reliable high-bandwidth transmissions.  3M provides physical media-layer capabilities for FTTP and DSL deployments from central office to customer premises. Worldwide customers rely on 3M fiber optics technologies to leverage existing infrastructure or install completely new networks.

Graybar Joins APC Gold Certified Partner Program

Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, announced that it recently joined the APC Gold Certified Partner Program.  Graybar technical sales professionals throughout the United States completed a rigorous training and proficiency-testing program and are now certified by APC to configure and implement APC physical infrastructure solutions.  Using APC’s online configuration tools, they can plan APC InfraStruXureâ solutions up to 80kW for customers with a wide range of IT architecture needs.

The InfraStruXure design, which integrates power, cooling, rack, management, environmental and security monitoring, and services, allows the selection of standardized components to create a data center solution through modular and mobile configurations.  This standardization enables an easily scalable architecture designed to meet changing needs and future expansion.  This award-winning, patent-pending approach provides increased availability, improved adaptability and speed of deployment as well as lower total cost of ownership for IT environments – from wiring closets to server rooms to data centers.

“We are proud to achieve APC Gold Certified Partner status, which, we believe, will benefit our customers immensely,” said Michael Dumas, vice president, comm/data business at Graybar.  “Now we have Graybar Network Systems Specialists and Account Managers throughout the company who have achieved the highest level of certification on APC’s innovative InfraStruXure solutions.  This scalable, “pay as you grow” approach to building a state-of-the-art data center works to our customers’ advantage.  We look forward to our enhanced collaboration with APC to configure, implement and service APC InfraStruXure solutions.” 

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

About American Power Conversion
APC, which combined with MGE UPS SYSTEMS to form the Critical Power & Cooling Services business unit of Schneider Electric, is a leading provider of global, end-to-end solutions for real-time infrastructure.  Founded in 1981, APC’s comprehensive products and services for home and corporate environments improve the availability, manageability and performance of sensitive electronic, network, communication and industrial equipment of all sizes.  APC offers a wide variety of products for physical infrastructure including InfraStruXure®, its revolutionary architecture for on-demand data centers, as well as physical threat management products through the company’s NetBotz division.  These products and services help companies increase the availability and reliability of their IT systems.  All trademarks are the property of their owners.

FTTx/PON Computer-Based Training CD-ROM 2007 Released At OFC

The Light Brigade announces its new 2007 FTTx/PON computer-based training (CBT) CD-ROM. The CD-ROM is the latest educational and training product The Light Brigade has developed for those investigating, planning or installing FTTx networks. The CBT allows users to learn at their own pace and through the use of selectable chapters and topics provides an excellent resource tool.

Whether you’re a network designer, installer or user associated with a telecom, municipality, utility, manufacturer, or in management, you need to understand this expanding field that is now providing maximum bandwidth to the customer. This interactive CD-ROM is geared for designers, planners, maintenance, and installation personnel.

The CD-ROM includes standards, specifications, FTTx formats, topologies and architectures. It also includes products, installations, test equipment and testing options. Topics included in the FTTx/PON CD-ROM include:

  • The evolution of the industry towards FTTx/ PON.
  • New FTTx recommendations and standards, including GPON and GEPON.
  • How to design and install a FTTx/PON network.
  • FTTx variations and architectures.
  • New FTTx products including fiber distribution hubs, pedestals, closures, and test equipment, along with their applications and options.
  • WDM and future migration content for WDM and switching technologies.
  • Testing and troubleshooting the ODN, including the OLT and ONT.
  • Challenges and options in the outside plant.
  • Business issues.

Features include five entire DVD video chapters, new animations, graphics and a new interactive design section with class A, B, and C options.

Company Information

Since 1987 The Light Brigade has instructed 30,000 attendees in its public and custom classes. The company offers courses nationwide covering basic fiber optic design, maintenance and testing, as well more advanced courses such as hands-on modules and FTTx/PON. TLB also creates courses customized to any need or skill level. In addition to its course materials, TLB produces professional-quality educational DVDs, videos, CDs and computer-based training.

The FTTx/PON computed-based training CD-ROM (Part No. W–6B–PON3) is available at a price of $175. For more information or to order, contact The Light Brigade at (800) 451-7128 or email You may visit .

Fire Alarm System Upgrades - New Technologies Add Layers Of Safety & Security

Fire alarm systems, like everything else, don’t last forever. Periodically, they must be upgraded due to old age, nuisance alarms, lightning damage or because of a building expansion. Whatever the reason, there are numerous issues to consider before the system can be upgraded successfully.

Design considerations

Regardless of the reason for the upgrade, or the level of expansion to an existing system, it is important to have the assistance of a qualified designer. This is an important first step; installation problems become more prevalent without a proper design. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 72 National Fire Alarm Code (2002), Section 4.3.2, contains requirements for the fire alarm system designer. “Fire alarm system plans and specifications shall be developed in accordance with this Code by persons who are experienced in the proper design, installation and testing of fire alarm systems,” according to the code.

As with all fire alarm systems, cheaper is not always better. A good designer should be able to provide cost-versus-value information. Consider using a well-qualified fire protection engineer for the design. Regardless of whether the technician is a fire protection engineer (FPE) or an electrical engineer, the owner should ensure the engineer has fire alarm design experience. There are too many engineers designing fire alarm systems who are not qualified and should not be doing so.

The engineer is responsible for the design and overall operation of the system. The fire alarm contractor is responsible for the installation and specific operation of the system. Unfortunately, unqualified engineers typically provide only very basic information to the installers and leave it up to them to actually design it. For example, it should be the responsibility of the designer to evaluate the fire risks and potential sources of problems. The type of smoke detectors used should be specified by the engineer based on this evaluation as well. Designers should have a sound understanding of the applicable building and fire codes. They need to understand the interface and interaction of fire alarm systems with other building features, like smoke control systems, suppression systems, elevators, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Since Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JHACO) reference NFPA 101, The Life Safety Code, it is especially important fire alarm contractors are proficient in that code as well. Designers should consult with the authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) to ensure they meet any local amendments or interpretations of the codes. If involved on a Veterans Affairs (VA) project, they also should be familiar with Department of Veteran Affairs Fire Protection Design Manual. The designers should have personnel available to respond to requests for information (RFIs), visit the job site frequently to ensure the system is being installed per their design and meet with the construction teams to answer questions and provide input.

A significant change from the 2003 to the 2006 edition of NFPA 101 allows new systems installed in an existing facility to meet the requirements of the existing building chapter instead of meeting the requirements of the new building chapter. This is now found in Chapter 43, Building Rehabilitation, in Section It reads, “All new work shall comply with the requirements of this Code applicable to existing buildings.” The exception to this applies to residential board and care occupancies, which require smoke alarms to be installed meeting the new construction requirements.

In some cases, upgrading the fire alarm system triggers the need to upgrade other building features as well. How old is the elevator system? Will it meet today’s elevator codes?

In our cost-driven world, it is the lowest bidder who often gets the job. This does not always equate to the best value. Many of these low bidders are counting on change orders to make up for their low bid price. Poor designers put clauses in the specifications not allowing change orders, but this is just a way to cover up for their poor design. It is difficult to get the job if you try to design it yourself to meet code because many others will bid only what they think they can get away with. Too many times, these low bidders get the job because the AHJ is not fully qualified in understanding the code requirements. This usually is because their training budgets are not adequate or they don’t have enough personnel to handle the workload. If the AHJ approves fire alarm systems that don’t meet code and lets them get installed that way, the owner is not only not getting a good product for the price, but they may be getting an unsafe system that cannot save lives as it should. Since NFPA states owners are the ones responsible for the system, they assume greater liability.

Installation considerations

A fire alarm system may be upgraded for one of two reasons. A new system may need to be installed for a new wing and get connected to an existing system. In many cases, especially relatively old properties, the existing fire alarm system is a nonaddressable zoned system that is just about maxed out with little or no expansion capabilities. Interconnecting or interfacing two systems with the idea of having them operate as one can cause numerous headaches, especially when trying to reset an alarm.

In many cases, replacing the existing system due to its age or damage to the existing system may be necessary. First and foremost, the building is occupied now, and access to all areas will not be as easy as in a new, vacant building. This can be especially disruptive in a hospital.

These questions need to be answered prior to system upgrade:

Can any of the existing fire alarm devices still be used?

Are they compatible with the new system?

Are they installed in all locations required by today’s codes?

What changes will have to be made to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

If the original system was installed prior to 1990, it may not comply with ADA requirements. Manual pull stations may have to be lowered to the proper height, and strobe lights may have to be added. Upgrading a fire alarm system is one of the triggers that would require upgrading the building to meet ADA requirements.

The existing fire alarm wiring may not be compatible with the new system and may have to be replaced. Remember that the National Electrical Code (NEC) stipulates that abandoned cables above drop ceilings must be removed. The same would apply to abandoned fire alarm devices. They must be removed so they do not give the impression they are providing fire protection.

Equally important, only qualified fire alarm contractors should install systems. According to NFPA 72 (2002), “Installation personnel shall be supervised by persons who are qualified and experienced in the installation, inspection and testing of fire alarm systems.” These individuals should be factory trained on the control equipment to be installed and should be knowledgeable of the applicable codes. Each installer should be a minimum of National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) Level 2 certified.

Maintenance and service

Not only should the installation price be considered, but the type of system overall can affect long-term costs. Maintenance costs are an important issue to consider in determining the value of the system. For instance, an addressable fire alarm system capable of checking sensitivity of the detectors automatically and handling other supervisory functions may be more cost-effective with regards to maintenance than a conventional analog system that must have the detector’s sensitivity checked manually.

In addition, the wrong type of smoke detectors can lead to an increase in nuisance or false alarms. This includes duct smoke detectors as well as area detectors. No one will dispute smoke detectors from 20 years ago had real false alarm problems, but new smoke detectors are less susceptible to false alarms. If detectors are causing problems, it is either because the wrong device has been installed for the application or environment or it has not been installed properly.  

Today’s technology has improved dramatically to reduce potential causes of nuisance alarms. Newer generation smoke detectors are better adapted for harsh environments, such as elevator shafts. Some can distinguish between fire and cigarette smoke. New multisensor detectors incorporate more than one technology to analyze fire signatures to reduce false alarms. The newest technology to hit the market is video smoke detection. These detectors use cameras to alert someone of a potential fire source, so the responding person can make a quick determination of whether there is a fire.

Mass notification

Information on mass notification systems (MNS) is the latest addition to the codes. NFPA 72 added a new annex on mass notification systems in its 2007 edition. This type of system is used when there may be a need to notify many people quickly for emergencies other than a fire condition. NFPA 72 added language that would allow a fire alarm system to be used for mass notification purposes so an additional system would not be required. In fact, there is new language that will allow a mass notification system to take priority over a fire alarm signal.

Integrated systems combine the functions of the fire alarm, security and building management into one design, and, of course, this presents additional challenges. However, a qualified fire protection installer and designer with an eye to the codes should be ready to deploy the best methods necessary to protect lives and property.  •

Hammerberg, SET, CFPS is president/executive director of the Automatic Fire Alarm Association Inc. headquartered in Lake Mary, Fla.. Hammerberg is on the NFPA 72 Technical Correlating, Protected Premises and Testing & Maintenance committees and is editor of the Testing & Maintenance chapter of the NFPA 72 Handbook, NFPA 90A,
NFPA 101/5000 Building Services & Fire Protection Equipment
Committee and the ICC Industry Advisory Committee. He can be
reached at

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

HB 1500 Is The Katrina Of Telecommunications In Illinois

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

CHICAGO – Has your network infrastructure plan collapsed? Fort Wayne’s network infrastructure in Indiana is wired and inspired.

Some states (including Illinois) are looking at passing statewide bills that will give AT&T the ability to have one statewide franchise in order to put in Project Lightspeed or U-verse without having to negotiate with each municipality. I think that is great. Pass HB 1500 in Illinois. Have a statewide franchise.

In exchange for a statewide franchise, though, there must be a mandate set that every business and household has a network connection of no less than 1 Gbps by 2010. That would be my bargaining position for its passage. That would create a lot of good jobs in Illinois building network infrastructure as well as building Illinois into a competitor.

Anything less is unacceptable. When it comes to highways, we have many politicians claiming it’s good to create road-construction jobs. When it comes to information highways, no one wants to show their ignorance and nothing gets done.

Would municipalities and their politicians give up all their negotiating rights in order to get a better statewide network infrastructure? Do they even realize what a good network infrastructure is? If they did, they would be where Fort Wayne, Ind. is today instead of being way behind and trying to argue about their rights to negotiate.

HB 1500 has put a huge spotlight on the inadequacies of understanding a basic layer of municipal infrastructure: the network infrastructure. HB 1500 is the Katrina of telecom in Illinois.

Spotlight on Unpreparedness

Ten years ago, broadband connectivity wasn’t even on the radar screens of site-selection teams looking to locate corporate facilities. Today, it is one of their top three issues.

Does your city or village council really understand that? How many city and village councils have actually tried to upgrade the network infrastructures for their whole municipality in order to make the municipality more appealing for economic development?

Upgrading network infrastructures should be a prime concern of all municipalities in the Midwest. Instead, most are not seeing it as important to their viability and only a few are past the talking stages if they have any concern at all.

How many residents out there can claim they can get a 30 Mbps package today to their house? U-verse hasn’t even claimed that speed yet let alone actually deployed it anywhere. The initial U-verse service offerings are just 500 Kbps, 1 Mbps and 1.5 Mbps.

Do you think your municipality may be behind?

Having a 30 Mbps package available today to your house would be pretty impressive. Not fast enough for you gamers or architects sending out CAD drawings to clients? How about a 50 Mbps package today on fiber? How about a 200 Mbps package coming up in the next year or so?

The capability is not restricted to the north side of town or the new subdivision down the street. It is in the whole town. Where is this? As Rodney Dangerfield once said in the movie “Back to School”: “How about ‘Fantasyland’?”

With packages on the low end that are 20 times faster than DSL and more than 30 times faster than the highest speed U-verse is offering on the high end, Verizon’s service offerings today in Fort Wayne to every household are a reality.

This is the model major cities should be looking at if they want to remain viable in the next 20 years. Forget partial solutions or guaranteed use of copper that you can eventually run 20 Mbps services on in a couple years and only if you are on the right side of town.

By the time you get that, they will be getting 1 Gbps in Fort Wayne. In talking to the mayor of Fort Wayne (Graham Richard), their 2000 initiative (“Wired & Inspired”) that started all of this has paid off in securing people’s jobs and even creating more jobs within Fort Wayne.

The Verizon investment was in excess of $100 million and they connected 128,000 homes and businesses. By doing that, they also created a solid network infrastructure where companies like Raytheon have expanded to create hundreds of good-paying jobs.

One salesperson who was facing relocation got to stay because he set up a remote office in his home with 30 Mbps connectivity. His company’s home office was so impressed with what he configured that they made it the model for remote offices across the whole company.

Too bad your community doesn’t have that type of package available. As far as that company is concerned, your neighborhood is just too antiquated for their operations. Hopefully Wal-Mart is hiring summer help.

Your Politicians Are Antiquated

Who is going to be better prepared to compete in a global economy: the average worker who has a DSL line today at home and will be able to move up to Project Lightspeed in Illinois and its maximum of 25 Mbps in three to five years or someone in Fort Wayne who has 50 Mbps today and will likely get 1 Gbps in that same time frame?

Scratch that question. That is making the assumption that the Illinois worker can actually get DSL in their neighborhood today.

That is not a given. Did you know that Naperville, Ill. (which is the fourth-largest city in Illinois with a population of about 129,000) only has a 63 percent penetration rate of DSL? They are not fully covered and they haven’t even made a decision on Project Lightspeed.

Forget Project Lightspeed, too, because that is also making the assumption that residents in Naperville can actually get it in their neighborhood. That will not be a given either. Compare this to the current resident on the network in Fort Wayne, which is the second-largest city in Indiana with a population of about 252,000 people.

It’s already in place and you can get 50 Mbps today.

Can you hear the property values crashing in Naperville? I can. Do you hear that sucking sound? That’s the good jobs being sucked out of Illinois. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. Don’t worry. You won’t hear that. That is the coffers for Illinois payroll tax revenues. You’ll hear that from other states.

Test Your Local Politician

Don’t know who to vote for in the upcoming election? Here are some questions to ask candidates to see what they know:

  1. What is the difference between a gigabit and a gigabyte?
  2. How much faster is 100 Mbps than 1 Gbps? (This is a trick question.)
  3. What is the definition of a high-speed network? (If under 1 Gbps, do not elect. If 10 Gbps or more, vote them in.)
  4. Forget Wi-Fi. Ask them the benefits of fiber over copper connections.
  5. What is FTTH?
  6. What is FTTP?

The vast majority of your elected officials are antiquated when it comes to understanding the importance of a network infrastructure and what it means to economic development and regional sustainability. Remember that you put them there.

You may recall that chart I had comparing the growth of St. Louis and Chicago after the Civil War. Back then, St. Louis was far ahead of Chicago in terms of population. Too bad its politicians made the wrong decisions. In 35 years, Chicago significantly surpassed St. Louis.

Restricting network infrastructures or keeping old ones in place will have the same effect. The only difference is that the growth in population and commerce could happen in 15 to 18 years rather than 35 years. How long will it be before Fort Wayne surpasses St. Louis?

Carlinism: Municipalities should look at their network infrastructure as the foundation to build commerce. There isn’t much to build on without a solid network infrastructure in place.

The Killer App Conference & Expo will be held from April 30 to May 2 in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Check out Carlini’s blog at

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

Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini

Fiber-To-The-Home Connections Continue To Accelerate

The number of U.S. homes receiving video, internet and voice services over direct fiber optic connections has doubled over the past year, continuing a recent trend of robust growth in deployment of this high bandwidth technology, according to a new study sponsored by the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).

According to the study, released during the Digital City Expo in Reston, Virginia, 1.34 million homes are now connected to the internet via end-to-end fiber, with FTTH now passing 7.9 million homes. This compares to 671,000 connections and 4.1 million homes passed as of March 2006.

Further, the study shows that fiber-to-the-home is being installed by a wide range of incumbent and competitive providers, and not just large telephone companies. Accounting for more than 430,000 FTTH subscribers are small rural telephone companies, medium-sized telephone service providers and cable companies, private facilities-based competitive local exchange carriers and public entities such as municipalities and public utilities.

“While Verizon is by far the largest single provider of fiber-to-the-home services, our figures show that there are more than 340 companies serving customers with these ultra high bandwidth services,” said Mike Render of RVA Market Research (, author of the study. “In fact, small rural telephone companies are actually leading the way in terms of penetration – with three percent of their combined customer base now connected via fiber-to-the-home.”

Render noted that while the U.S. continues to lag behind Japan in the total number of homes connected to FTTH, it had taken a commanding lead in terms of the growth rate in direct fiber optic connections.

“Clearly, America’s need for speed is driving sustainable, accelerated growth in the deployment of high bandwidth fiber to homes across the country,” said Joe Savage, President of the FTTH Council. “We expect this rate of growth will continue as an increasing number of Americans discover the ease with which video entertainment, gaming, and data applications are delivered through fiber-enabled connections.”

“Demand for broadband and high-speed services is fueling growth in the U.S. and global telecommunications markets,” TIA President Grant Seiffert said in reaction to the study. “In fact, according to TIA’s 2007 Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast, the U.S. telecommunications market grew 9.3% in 2006 – its fastest rate since 2000 – and the worldwide telecommunications market grew 11.2 percent. This study reinforces a major trend in our industry, namely investment in new fiber, new IP technology and new wireless infrastructure to provide state-of-the-art voice, video and data services.”

Both organizations have urged policymakers to reduce barriers to next-generation broadband deployment, with the FTTH Council recently calling on the U.S. government to adopt a strategy for universal access to broadband connections at transmission speeds of 100 megabits per second.

Further information on the study, including graphs and charts, can be found at

About the Fiber-to-the-Home Council
Now in its sixth year, the Fiber-to-the-Home Council is a non-profit organization established to help its members plan, market, implement and manage FTTH solutions. Council membership includes municipalities, utilities, developers, and traditional and non-traditional service providers, creating a cohesive group to share knowledge and build industry consensus on key issues surrounding fiber to the home. Communities and organizations interested in exploring FTTH options may find information on the FTTH Council web site at

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

The Nuances Of The Vertical Market

The healthcare market, like any other, has its characteristics and nuances. It’s up to you to learn just what they are. For example, in the healthcare environment, regulations and the increasing emphasis on the convergence of information technology and systems and services is paramount. Physical security continues to meet and meld with data and information communications. In the construction foxhole, keeping a clean area and working so as not to disturb patients during a renovation is critical.

This issue’s focus is the healthcare market. The country’s infrastructure of medical facilities is aging, and many new facilities are being built or undergoing extensive renovation. That’s opportunity knocking, if you know how to approach it.

Electrical contractors continue to take advantage of the growth in this area, tackling a variety of projects from coast to coast. But interestingly, many of these companies maintain ongoing, long-term relationships with the healthcare market spanning decades. Inside this issue, you’ll find some outstanding projects, including Oregon Electric Group’s work for Providence Newberg Medical Center, page 78, the first of its kind green healthcare project on the West Coast, as well as Miller Electric’s work on The University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute, page 84.  Electrical contractors are getting in on the ground floor of these and many other projects that are improving the nation’s healthcare infrastructure.

You, too, can succeed if you know the nuances of the market.     

Editor’s Eye

By Deborah O’Mara

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

Imagine Communications Appoints Telecommunications Industry Veterans Lorenzo Bombelli & Brian Bentley To Senior Management Team

Imagine Communications, developer of the industry's most powerful and scalable digital video platform, today announced the recent appointments of Lorenzo Bombelli to VP of Product Strategy and Management and Brian Bentley to VP of Sales.

Imagine's President & CEO Jamie Howard comments, "We're very excited about the addition of Lorenzo and Brian to our executive team.  Imagine will leverage their extensive experience in telecommunications, home entertainment and cable systems as we move from trial to deployment stages with our Quality on Demand Product Suite, designed specifically to address the bandwidth and video quality issues facing today's multichannel TV operators.  The timing of these appointments could not be better."

Howard continued, "Lorenzo Bombelli has a wealth of experience in the cable industry, most extensively with Scientific Atlanta, and his knowledge of where this industry is heading from a technical standpoint will serve us well.  And Brian Bentley has held senior sales positions with some of the most highly respected companies in the telecommunications industry, including Scientific Atlanta, Motorola and BigBand. We're thrilled to have the benefit of Brian's extensive experience and connections in cable. Lorenzo and Brian both have a deep understanding of digital video networks, operator and broadband subscriber needs, and the home entertainment environment - they are the ideal appointments to help us capitalize on our momentum in the industry with broadband operators and to drive our company and QOD Product Suite to the next level."


Lorenzo Bombelli, VP of Product Management Lorenzo Bombelli brings to Imagine Communications more than 16 years of experience in the cable industry, including 14 years at Scientific Atlanta/Cisco. In his role as VP of Product Strategy and Management, Bombelli will work with the management team to execute Imagine's product strategy and expand the company's market share in the North American cable industry. He has held various key management positions at SA/Cisco, most recently as the Director, Product Strategy and Management for Subscriber Network Systems, and has also held roles with responsibility for strategy and network architecture development, P&L management, product management, market management, pre-sale technical support, customer service, engineering management and engineering. Prior to SA/Cisco, Bombelli held product management and engineering roles at Nexus Engineering.. Bombelli received his Executive MBA with a Master of Science, Management of Technology from Georgia Institute of Technology.  He is an active member of SCTE and CTAM.

Brian Bentley - VP of Sales

Brian Bentley is a seasoned sales executive who joins Imagine Communications with more than 20 years of sales experience in the telecommunications industry. Bentley will work closely with product management and marketing to lead, generate, implement and manage overall sales strategy and activities within the company.  He has held various senior sales positions in highly respected companies including Scientific Atlanta, Motorola, BigBand Networks and Terayon Communications.  Most recently, Bentley was Senior VP of Worldwide Sales at BigBand, where he was responsible for a global sales force of 22 executives and engineers, resulting in the company's leadership in broadband video routing.  He was also North American Sales VP for River Delta, a broadband routing company acquired by Motorola in 2001.  After the acquisition, Bentley became VP of Motorola's AT&T Broadband Sales group, where he managed $870M annual sales. He also held the position of Vice President, North American Sales for Motorola, where he secured contracts for Motorola's initial cable modem launches from four of the top five MSOs.  As VP of Sales, Telecommunications at Scientific Atlanta, he managed a team of sales executives and sales engineers for all of SA's product lines sold to TCI, the largest U.S. MSO at that time.  Bentley is a graduate of Arizona State University with a B.S. in economics.

About Imagine Communications
Imagine Communications has launched the industry's most powerful and scalable digital video platform enabling system operators to cost-effectively increase bandwidth efficiency and video quality. Imagine's Quality on Demand Product Suite (QOD Product Suite) incorporates breakthrough next-generation variable bit rate and statistical multiplexing technology (VBR/StatMux), enabling up to 50 percent more streams per QAM versus today's Constant Bit Rate (CBR) approach. Imagine's state-of-the-art ICE-Q™ video quality measurement algorithms enable better video quality at any given bit rate. Imagine is based in San Diego with R&D and engineering in Israel.  Its strong management team includes industry leaders with decades of experience delivering innovations in video communications. Founded in 2005, Imagine Communications is privately held and funded by Carmel Ventures and Columbia Capital. For more information, visit

PDI To Introduce Certified Partner Program For BCMS Communications At AFCOM's Data Center World®

Power Distribution Inc. (PDI) introduced the BCMS Certified Partner Program at the AFCOM's Data Center World® March 25-29th in Las Vegas. This program is designed to allow data center managers to know that their building management system has been integrated and proven out with PDI's patented Branch Circuit Monitoring System (BCMS). By doing this before the systems are installed at the site, the owners and consulting engineers can know that their system commissioning and integration will be successful during and after the construction phase of a data center project.

PDI's patented BCMS system has become an industry standard for helping manage data center loads. As the density of the loads have increased with the development of new servers, PDI has quickly adapted this product line to keep up with this growing need. The Branch Circuit Monitoring System can monitor and report current and voltage measurements on each individual circuit branch breaker which can prevent overloading any of these circuits. The BCMS products can be added to new units and retrofitted into an existing data center with ease. This certification program is the first of its kind in the industry to focus on the integration of power distribution products into the building management system.

About Power Distribution Inc
Founded in 1978, PDI is a privately held, Virginia based, company that is a leading provider of power distribution equipment and services. Principle products include Static Switches, Power Distribution Units, Remote Power Panels, Redundant Power Systems, Harmonic Cancellation technology, and Branch Circuit Monitoring Systems. The BCMS product is an option available with the other distribution products, or it can be provided for retrofit in equipment already owned by the customer.

Anixter International Inc. Enters Into Amended & Restated Revolving Credit Agreement

Anixter International Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News), announced that its primary operating subsidiary, Anixter Inc., has entered into a senior unsecured, amended and restated revolving credit agreement.

As amended and restated the revolving credit agreement will allow for borrowings of up to $350 million (or the equivalent in Euros) for a 5-year period ending April of 2012. The key changes to the terms and conditions of the agreement include the elimination of limitations on foreign acquisitions, elimination of the minimum net worth requirements and elimination of the restriction of the amount of dividends that Anixter Inc. can pay to Anixter International Inc. The pricing for borrowings under the agreement has been reduced to LIBOR plus 60 basis points while the facility fee payable on the full amount of the agreement has been reduced to 15 basis points. The agreement, which is guaranteed by Anixter International Inc., contains financial covenants that restrict the amount of leverage and set a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio similar to the prior agreement.

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.

New Release Of NetFlow Tracker Extends Fluke Networks' Capabilities In Enterprise Performance Management

Fluke Networks, which purchased Crannog Software in January of this year, today announced the availability of NetFlow Tracker version 3.0, the first version of NetFlow Tracker to carry the Fluke Networks brand.  NetFlow Tracker 3.0 is a critical analysis tool for network managers tasked with demanding performance requirements in a converging enterprise network environment.

"This is another milestone for Fluke Networks," said Jeff Lime, Fluke Networks' Senior Vice President of Marketing.  "Combined with our concurrent announcement of new Visual UpTime products, and our existing enterprise solutions, we feel that no other company can offer the depth and breadth of solutions for Enterprise Performance Management that we can."

A better view of configuration changes and flow data, plus broad interoperability
NetFlow Tracker, long known for its ability to monitor all flows, all the time, now has the ability to attach a vrf/VPN value to each Tracker interface id.   This allows NetFlow Tracker to detect changes in the VPN and reconfigure itself to monitor new connections without user intervention, saving time and removing the possibility of human error.

NetFlow Tracker version 3.0 also offers significantly enhanced filtering and reporting capabilities that make it faster and easier to collect the flow data and report the results.  New filtering options are simpler to use yet offer more flexibility, and permit the filters to be saved for future use.  A new report editor makes it easier for the user to customize the entry page for creating dashboard executive reports.

NetFlow Tracker offers strong support for carrier applications, and interfaces with many of the most important suppliers in the industry.  NetFlow Tracker is a Cisco-certified solution, and Fluke Networks' Dublin office, which developed NetFlow Tracker, is a Cisco Technology Development Program Partner.  In addition NetFlow Tracker is a Nortel-certified Open Development Partner product (with Nortel IPFIX support), a Juniper-certified Select Solutions/Alliance Partner product and has proven interoperability with Packeteer, Expand, Enterasys, Riverbed and Huawei.

NetFlow Tracker is part of Enterprise Performance Management
The release of NetFlow Tracker 3.0 is Fluke Networks' latest addition in the rapidly growing area of Enterprise Performance Management, defined as the delivery of application, VoIP and network performance management in a converging enterprise network environment.  Fluke Networks' Enterprise Performance Management solutions provide broad enterprise visibility, deep analysis and troubleshooting capability in an integrated system. This allows IT organizations to maximize the value and performance of their IT infrastructure and deliver a superior end-user experience.  For more information on Fluke Networks Enterprise Performance Management products and solutions, visit

Infinity & Beyond - The diverse future Of Structured Cabling

Talk to the old soldiers of the structured cabling industry about their careers, and a few related themes often come to the surface. They usually say things such as, “Cabling has changed so much over the years. It’s really been exciting to be a part of it all.” Then they will often follow quickly with something like, “But you know, I’m as excited about the future of our industry as I have ever been!” Truer words could not be spoken about the current state of structured cabling. Four areas in particular have significant influence or offer considerable opportunity in the business of structured cabling.

10 gigabit cabing

Structured cabling stories about 10 gigabit over Ethernet currently catch the most attention. Networking capacity continues to grow with insatiable ferocity, and a new generation of multimedia applications using simultaneous video, voice and data transmission is creating unprecedented demands.

Category 6, or Class E, cabling was designed with nearly double the bandwidth of Category 5e for gigabit Ethernet (1,000 Base-T, 1,000 Mbps or 1 Gbps), which has a maximum specified frequency of 250 MHz.

Since it is impossible to run 10 Gbps over 100 meters of Category 6, a new cable standard, called Category 6a (augmented Category 6) has been created, and its TIA standards are still in development. So there are now three kinds of Category 6 cable: the original Category 6 that is specified to 250 MHz; Category 6e, with extended characterization of Category 6 cable up to 500 MHz; and Category 6a, which is a new Category 6 cable for 10 gigabit over UTP (10 GBase-T), defined up to 625 MHz.

Gigabit Ethernet desktop connections and 10 gigabit backbones are becoming common requirements for many organizations, while 10 Gbps unshielded twisted pair (UTP) connections will be initially implemented in data centers and low-rise backbones and for mission-critical applications.

But no one thinks that even 10 gigabit over UTP will satisfy the marketplace’s neverending hunger for faster networks and more bandwidth. Generally, structured cabling has a useful life of 10 to 15 years, but most active network equipment—including computers, servers, Ethernet switches, routers and hubs—has a typical useful life of three to five years. As a result, the structured cabling installed today must outlive at least three generations of networking equipment upgrades.

Therefore, the challenge for project owners (and the electrical contractors who advise them) will continue to be determining what is adequate when deciding the grade of cable to install in a new network infrastructure that must function for such a period of time.


Many of us can remember movies showing futuristic, “high-tech” wireless devices that are now commonplace. Remember Robin Williams’ flip-phone in the 1991 movieHook?” Wireless over Ethernet has definitely arrived, but there is a lot more of it to come.

In-Stat, a digital communication market research service of Reed Business Information, reported in December 2006 that more than 75 percent of businesses in 2006 had at least one wireless data application and that the use of wireless data applications continues to grow across multiple applications and all vertical market segments. While notebook computers are now commonplace, smartphones—which integrate the functionality of mobile phones with personal digital assistants (PDAs) and/or other information appliances—are in a position to play an increasingly important role.

There are plenty of other wireless technologies to look for in the future. Alexander Resources, a Texas-based research, consulting and education firm specializing in wireless communications, reports use of new wireless technologies for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications will greatly improve and expand M2M business applications. Wireless technologies will create significant revenue opportunities for cellular, WLAN and WPAN equipment manufacturers, service providers and application developers.

Alexander Resources further predicts that the number of cellular M2M connections will eventually overtake the number of cell phones in North America, Western Europe and Japan, and wireless local area networks (LANs) will prove popular for a wide range of M2M and telematics applications. The worldwide market for wireless M2M communications will grow from $24 billion in 2004 to an estimated $270 billion by 2010.

In the meantime, millions of wireless nodes have already been installed worldwide, and the advent of mesh-enabled, large-scale wireless networks means more structured cabling opportunities for electrical contractors.

Power over Ethernet

The next major head-turner in the world of structured cabling is power over Ethernet (PoE), which provides power to an end device—e.g., Internet protocol (IP) telephone, wireless LAN access point or other device—via the data or spare pairs of an Ethernet cable. Though the IEEE Standards Board approved the PoE Standard (IEEE 802.3af-2003) in June 2003, PoE began to come into its own in 2006 and appears to be gaining market presence at full power in 2007.

One of the most obvious benefits of PoE is the significant cost savings that results from not having to install separate Ethernet and power cables, be it for a desktop phone or a remote outdoor security camera mount. When used in conjunction with a centralized uninterruptible power supply (UPS), PoE ensures continuous operation during power failures, which has tremendous benefits for IP telephony, security, access control and building automation services that are all migrating toward Ethernet. Furthermore, devices can be efficiently rebooted/reset or shut down remotely from the convenience and safety of a network telecommunications room.

Current PoE standard accounts for delivery of 15.4W per port at a nominal 48V DC over UTP wiring, including Category 5, 5e and 6 media, as well as patch panels, outlets and connecting hardware. A “higher-power over Ethernet,” or “PoE Plus,” standard is in the works (IEEE 802.3at), with an anticipated publication date in the second quarter of 2008. It will permit 30–50 watts of power to each powered device (PD), and perhaps more, to support higher-voltage applications.

The DC power is injected into the cabling by end-span power sourcing equipment (PSE) at the data terminal equipment (DTE), or by midspan power at cross-connection points along the way. The power is used by a PD located at the end of the channel.

Endspan PSEs are composed of Ethernet switches with embedded power supplies for delivering both power and data and are compatible with 10 Base-T, 100 Base-TX or 1,000 Base-T data transmissions. Midspan PSEs are stand-alone hubs or patch panels between the PDs and existing, nonpowered switches or routers. Midspan PSEs do not support 1,000 Base-T transmissions because they contribute additional connections in signal paths, which can terminate data signals.

Venture Development Corp., a Massachusetts-based technology market research and strategy firm, predicts 140 million endspan PSE port shipments worldwide for 2006 and 175 million in 2007.

Residential cabling

Residential structured cabling continues to provide good income to many electrical contractors (ECs), for whom there is plenty of ongoing opportunity. Research suggests while many new homeowners move into homes with preinstalled structured cabling, there still remain homebuilders—and their ECs—who miss out on the opportunity to profit from providing this feature.

Experts predict plenty of opportunity in the near future for electrical contractors that choose to participate in the in-home structured cabling market. Parks Associates, a digital and home networking research firm based in Dallas, predicts the U.S. in-home structured cabling system market to grow from $580 million in 2005 to $900 million by 2008. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) advises its members that there is money to be made in this market, and 33 percent of builders surveyed said that their revenue from home technology products had increased in 2005, up from 24 percent during the prior year. The good news for ECs is few builders install home tech products themselves, with a strong majority (67 percent) using electrical contractors.

Despite the opportunity for increased profit on new home sales, the NAHB also reports that only 49 percent of surveyed builders installed structured cabling in 2005, down from 61 percent in 2004, because of advances in wireless technology. Eighty-three percent of builders offered structured wiring to their buyers in 2004, but that dropped to 82 percent one year later, with half of them offering it as a standard feature and the other half as an option.

On the positive side, 32 percent of homebuyers said they did not buy structured wiring simply because it was not offered by their builders. With 40 million total residential broadband subscribers in the United States (representing just under 35 percent of total households), this remains an area of significant potential growth. That number will continue grow through the remainder of 2007 and beyond.

Consider, for instance, the growth of residential voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technologies. By the end of 2006, the residential broadband IP telephony market is expected to have approximately 5 million residential subscribers, and that number is predicted to reach more than 19 million in 2010. FTTH was estimated to be in more than 1 million homes in 656 U.S. communities by 2006, with expected exponential growth. These are but two technologies that will function optimally in structurally cabled homes, which means a great number of homes will be in need of structured cabling in coming months and years.

A growing majority of electrical contractors consider low-voltage cabling to be a significant and important part of their businesses, while shrinking minority of others don’t do low-­voltage work, avoiding it when they can and contracting it out when they must. Then there are those in between, who can and will do it—albeit begrudgingly—but prefer to stick with traditional electrical work whenever possible.

The ever-expanding world of structured cabling can provide plenty of business and income opportunity for electrical contractors, but ECs can profit only if they opt to do the work. EC

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

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

CommScope Names Mike Kelley As Senior VP Global Enterprise Operations

CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV - News), a world leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks, announced the appointment of Mike Kelley as Senior Vice President, Global Enterprise Operations.

Kelley, 46, will be responsible for building upon and integrating CommScope's global Enterprise manufacturing operations, including facilities based in North America, Europe and Australia. Kelley has been a CommScope leader for eight years as plant manager and Vice President of Operations at the Claremont, North Carolina manufacturing facility.

"With more than 20 years of broad operations experience and his key leadership role in our recent, successful manufacturing initiatives, Mike is the right person to guide our global Enterprise operations," said Randy Crenshaw, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise. "In the past few years, Mike has shown that he is a capable, focused leader who can meet the challenges of a dynamic operations environment."

Prior to joining CommScope in 1999, Kelley was Plant Manager for General Cable Corporation in Plano, Texas. Before that, Kelley held various manufacturing and operations positions at Belden CDT Inc., including Plant Manager at its Tompkinsville, Kentucky facility and Director of Operations at its Venlo, Netherlands facility.

Kelley received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1984 and his Bachelors degree in 1983. He and his wife, Patti, have two children and live in Conover, North Carolina.

CommScope is a world leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks. Through its SYSTIMAX® Solutions and Uniprise® brands it is the global leader in structured cabling systems for business enterprise applications. It is also the world's largest manufacturer of coaxial cable for Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) applications. Backed by strong research and development, CommScope combines technical expertise and proprietary technology with global manufacturing capability to provide customers with high- performance wired or wireless cabling solutions.

This press release includes forward-looking statements that are based on information currently available to management, management's beliefs, as well as on a number of assumptions concerning future events. Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, which could cause the actual results to differ materially from those currently expected. For a more detailed description of the factors that could cause such a difference, please see CommScope's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In providing forward-looking statements, the company does not intend, and is not undertaking any obligation or duty, to update these statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Watts Joins Rexel, Fills New Installation Products Position

Rexel’s U.S. operation has created a new corporate marketing position responsible for installation initiatives and filled it by hiring David Watts.

 “David will work closely with our product management team and our preferred suppliers,” said Karl Williams, Rexel’s director of product management. “He’ll need to position both Rexel INSTALLATION products and develop premium line strategies.”

Background on Watts: He comes to Rexel after working earlier with Wesco International, Do It Best, and Home Depot; he had store-level P&L responsibility at Home Depot.

About Rexel
Rexel (, one of the three largest electrical and datacom distributors in the U.S., is an operating unit of International Electric Supply Corp. (Dallas), the U.S. subsidiary of Paris-based Rexel SA.

Rexel SA is the world’s largest electrical/datacom distributor. It operates out of 1,900 locations in 28 countries. With more than 25,000 employees, the company’s 2006 sales topped $12 billion.

IT and the EC - What can it do for you?

Information technology (IT) is being used throughout business and industry to improve organizational productivity and efficiency. The steady rise in U.S. worker productivity over the past decade has been credited to the investment in and use of IT by business. Electrical contractor (EC) firms also have adopted IT to streamline their business and construction processes as well as improve communication between the field and office along with other project participants.

However, many EC firms have had mixed results with IT, and changes resulting from the use of IT have not always been what was expected. For example, many electrical contractors may think that the use of cell phones in the field has resulted in less planning by field supervisors who believe that needed material and equipment are just a phone call away. To successfully implement IT, the EC needs to understand how and when to adopt IT, know how IT will affect operations and have a plan for effective and efficient IT implementation. Having policies and procedures in place for the use of IT by personnel is critical to successful IT implementation.

The capabilities and availability of IT are constantly increasing for the electrical contractor. Every day, the EC is faced with new IT products and services that promise to improve the efficiency of its operations and increase its profits. These technologies include full-featured cell phones, Web-based collaboration tools, high-speed Internet service at project sites and global positioning systems (GPS) for site layout and equipment, among many others. The only certainty is that the dizzying pace of IT change and innovation will continue well into the future.

Adopting IT is not always an option for the electrical contracting firm either. Customers—including owners, general contractors, designers, distributors, code enforcement agencies and others that it interacts with daily—also are driving the use of IT. These other entities require that the EC firm be fully compatible with their systems and know how to efficiently interface and exchange information with them electronically. This includes everything from simple e-mail to the use of sophisticated project scheduling systems and Web-based collaboration tools. In many places, the traditional paper-based plan rooms are disappearing, and the EC must connect with an electronic plan room and download the needed bid documents. Once downloaded, the electrical contractor must have the needed software to work with the documents electronically or print the documents at its expense.

Manage your ‘electronic tools’

IT resources represent the electrical contracting firm’s “electronic tools” and need to be maintained just like any other tool or piece of equipment. This means developing a complete inventory of hardware and software. Inventory information should include a description of the IT asset, who is responsible for it, where it is located, its acquisition date, its acquisition cost and other relevant data. All software licenses should be kept on file in a central location accessible only to authorized personnel. Software licenses and other information are needed not only to prove ownership, but also for upgrades, technical support and the recovery of lost or damaged software. In addition, the electrical contracting firm should have a zero-tolerance policy for the use of unlicensed or pirated software by employees, because the firm could be held accountable for the violation even if it was the result of an individual employee’s actions and the firm had no knowledge that it had occurred.

No matter how big or small the electrical contracting firm is, there is the possibility that employees will misuse or abuse the firm’s IT resources. This can be anything from responding to a personal e-mail during business hours to downloading or passing offensive material using the company’s network. Written IT policies and procedures provide guidelines regarding the appropriate use of resources and what is expected of them. IT policies should cover the use of cell phones, e-mail, instant messaging, Internet and the electrical contracting firm’s access to company-owned computers, cell phones and other communications devices for the purposes of investigating policy violations or complaints.

Additionally, established IT policies and procedures will help protect the electrical contractor from legal actions brought against it due to employee actions when using the firm’s IT resources. These policies and procedures need to reflect the electrical contractor’s culture, be consistent with other policies and procedures such as company truck use, and be developed with the help of the firm’s attorney. Once these policies and procedures are in place they must be distributed to all affected employees and enforced uniformly.         EC

This article is the result of a research project investigating the streamlining of the EC firm’s home office operations sponsored by ELECTRI International Inc. The author would like to thank EI for its support.

Glavinich is an associate professor of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at The University of Kansas. He can be reached at 785. 864.3435 or

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

New Stainless Steel Adaptors For SilverLine TuffGrip Test Cables

Times Microwave Systems has added precision, high quality stainless steel adaptors to complement our SilverLine TuffGrip Test Cables.  These new TuffGrip adaptors are much more durable than typical nickel-plated brass adaptors.

TuffGrip adaptors are competitively priced but made in the USA from high quality stainless steel.  The Type N male and female bullet adaptors provide excellent performance to 18 GHz with exceptionally low VSWR.  The 7-16 DIN adaptors are laboratory grade but designed to be rugged enough to provide long life in field applications.  The coupling action on these large connectors is smooth and easy.

These precision adaptors are available in the following interface configurations:

7-16 DIN female to 7-16 DIN female

N male to N male

N female to N female

N male to 7-16 DIN female

N male to 7-16 DIN male

About Times Microwave Systems
Times Microwave Systems has more than 50 years experience designing innovative, high-reliability, coaxial cables and assemblies for demanding interconnection applications. An engineering oriented organization, the company specializes in the design and manufacture of high performance flexible and semi-rigid coaxial cable, connectors, and cable assemblies for RF transmission from HF through microwave frequencies.

New NECA Show Exhibit Manager Joins Association

The NECA exposition office is growing. Former exposition sales director Beth Ellis has been promoted to Executive Director of NECA's Convention-Exposition team, and Mickey Cuzzucoli has joined NECA as Exhibition Sales Manager for the annual NECA Show. Cuzzucoli is responsible for exhibition booth sales and Show logistics.The NECA Show is the leading exposition for the electrical construction and integrated building systems markets, boasting attendees that make up more than 65 percent of the industry’s specifying and buying power. 

Cuzzucoli has extensive experience in national and international expositions sales/management. She has sold booth space for trade shows taking place in Japan, China and Latin America, as well as Las Vegas.

“The construction market is changing and incredible product advances are being made in the industry. Contractors have a pressing need to know what products will make their projects more cost efficient   Bringing buyers and sellers together is what the NECA show is about."

Cuzzucoli earned her degree from Northern Illinois University. She is also an accomplished Raku pottery artist.

Cuzzucoli can be reached at NECA at 301-215-4552 or by email, Learn more about the 2007 NECA Show in San Francisco, Oct. 6-8 at

Take The Plunge

The term, integrated building systems (IBS), refers to the trend in the building industry where building systems are becoming increasingly interdependent. “Integration” and “interoperability” are also heard in the building industry today. In modern buildings, it is recognized that the operation of each system impacts all others. Security is no longer just about access control and intrusion detection. Security is becoming an integral part of the building’s overall life safety system that includes not only protecting occupants against fire but also a variety of other potential physical, biological and chemical threats. This shift is also blurring the line between life safety systems and building management systems, which are becoming increasingly intertwined. Similarly, there is a trend toward a single building network that supports not only data communications but also voice and video communications as well as provides the needed communications’ infrastructure for all other building systems. All of this is creating an opportunity for the electrical contracting firm.

What’s an IBS contractor?

An IBS contractor is responsible for ensuring building systems effectively communicate with one another and work together as a system to provide a safe, healthy and productive environment for building occupants and an economical and efficient building for the owner.

Under this definition, there is a wide range of services that could be provided by an IBS contractor, depending on the needs of the owner and the technical and managerial capabilities of the IBS contractor. On one end of the spectrum, the contractor could be what is often referred to today as a systems integrator who provides the technical expertise needed to bring diverse building systems together through a hardware and software solution.

At the other end of the spectrum, the IBS contractor may have some of the needed system integration expertise to self-perform some of the work but would subcontract most of the work to other specialty contractors. In this case, the IBS contractor would operate as a specialized general contractor and his managerial expertise would be as or more important than their technical expertise. In either case, the IBS contractor is providing single-point responsibility for building system operation to the extent defined in the contract documents.

What’s driving the market?

IBS is not a new concept. It is essentially the “intelligent” or “smart” building concept that has been around for decades; it now exists under a new name. The intelligent building concept never really took hold because the needed technology was not available or economical until recently. It was pushed by manufacturers and others in the building industry but never embraced by building owners because the payoff was just not there. Today, however, the needed technology is becoming commercially available and increasingly economical. In addition to technology, there are a number of other economic and social drivers also making IBS increasingly attractive to building owners, operators and tenants.

With energy and other building operating expenses rising along with increasing public interest in environmentally friendly or “green” buildings, owners are beginning to see both the economic and operational advantages of building systems’ integration. Furthermore, open-architecture control systems are becoming increasingly easier to implement, and there is a greater emphasis on building security and life safety systems that require interaction with all building systems in order to maximize their effectiveness. Once-“dumb” building materials, such as glass and ceiling tile, are becoming intelligent and need to be tied into other building systems to be effective. As a result, it is no longer a market push by the building industry but instead a market pull by building owners and occupants for effective building system integration and operation.

CSI Division 25/integrated automation

One of the major IBS market drivers may be the breakup of the traditional specification sections that occur in the 2004 edition of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) MasterFormat. In the new MasterFormat, the old Division 15/Mechanical and Division 16/Electrical have expanded to seven separate standalone divisions that make up the Facility Services Subgroup. This subgroup addresses fire suppression (Division 21), plumbing (Division 22), HVAC (Division 23), integrated automation (Division 25), electrical (Division 26), communications (Division 27) and electronic safety and security (Division 28).

CSI Division 25 addresses integrated automation and is really the linchpin of IBS because this is where the integrated building controls are specified. The Level 2 subject titles in Division 25 are as follows:

This new CSI division is where specification occurs for the hardware and software needed to integrate mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) and other related building systems. Integrated automation covered in CSI Division 25 should lead to integrated and optimized building communications and control systems. CSI Division 25 can be used to specify either open-architecture or proprietary building systems.

Open-architecture versus proprietary systems

An important consideration for the electrical contractor planning to evolve into an IBS contractor will be whether building systems will remain proprietary or shift to open-architecture systems. With an open-architecture control system, the hardware and software specifications are public information and available to anyone who wants to manufacture hardware components or develop software for the system. In proprietary or closed-architecture control systems, the original system developer maintains control of the system specifications and is the only entity that can supply hardware or software for the system.

Today, proprietary building automation, fire alarm, security and other systems are the norm, and suppliers not only provide the system but also do the original installation and provide ongoing maintenance. Proprietary control systems make integration difficult and require hardware and software gateways to bridge between systems, which can limit the amount of work available to the electrical contracting firm.

The adoption of open-architecture building control systems such as LonWorks or BACnet over the traditional proprietary systems will significantly influence the future of IBS. The impact will be similar to what is happening with building communications systems where structured cabling systems and standard protocols provide a platform that can accommodate any compatible equipment. This convergence of voice, data and video is resulting in new technologies such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). The result is a shift from yesterday’s proprietary stand-alone voice, data and video systems to today’s open communications’ systems that are based on industry standards rather than proprietary hardware and software.

Electrical contractor qualifications

Electrical contractors are uniquely qualified to provide IBS services to owners because they understand power, communications and control systems and how they are installed and operate. In addition to technical expertise, the electrical contractor has the management expertise, qualifications and financial ability to see that the job gets done right. If specific expertise or knowledge is needed that the electrical contractor does not have, the electrical contractor can identify other specialty contractors with the required expertise and coordinate the work for the owner.

In the end, the customer has only one entity to deal with, and the electrical contractor has sole responsibility for the operation of the customer’s building systems. The owner never again has to put up with extended periods of down time and additional service costs that result when multiple service firms argue about whose part of the system is causing the problem.

But how does the electrical contractor become an IBS contractor? The first step the electrical contracting firm needs to take toward becoming an IBS contractor is to become familiar with the systems and market, including the potential for building system integration and open-architecture control systems in its service area. Electrical contracting firm personnel at all levels in the company need to understand IBS, the potential benefits for its customer base and how the electrical contracting firm can market and deliver IBS services to its customers. Being knowledgeable about IBS will not only allow the electrical contracting firm to perform the work but, equally important, market its IBS capabilities to its customers, architects, engineers and specialty designers and consultants, such as lighting and security.

At this stage of IBS market development, building owners and designers are just becoming aware of its potential, and the electrical contracting firms’ marketing efforts should involve educating them about IBS and the potential benefits of open-architecture control systems.

The electrical contracting firm should start with familiar building systems when building its IBS expertise and track record. These systems include lighting control systems, electrical power monitoring and control systems, security systems, fire alarm and other familiar systems. Except in the simplest cases, the electrical contracting firm should not branch out into unfamiliar systems such as HVAC or other facility-specific systems until it fully understands the systems and needed controls.

The best place for the electrical contracting firm to build its IBS market is its existing customer base. Regular customers and particularly those that it performs design/build projects, maintenance or service should be targeted. Design/build is an ideal way of getting into the IBS market because selection of the equipment and systems for the project is usually left to the design/build contractor. In addition, existing customers that have confidence in the electrical contracting firm’s abilities are more likely to consider an open-architecture control system proposal or entertain a voluntary alternate on a competitively awarded contract. EC

This article is the result of a research project investigating the emerging IBS market for the electrical contractor that is being sponsored by ELECTRI International (EI). The author would like to thank EI for its support.

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

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

Hitachi Delivers One-Terabyte Hard Drive to Fanfare, Ranked 'Superior' in PC World Review

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi) today announced that its Deskstar(TM) 7K1000, the world's first one-terabyte hard disk drive (HDD), was ranked at the top or near the top across the PC World Test Center's test suite. As a result, PC World ranked the Deskstar 7K1000 a top score of "superior" on its tests, calling it a "formidable performer."

This is the first of a series of independent product reviews that showcases the powerful combination of industry-leading capacity and high performance, which Hitachi has brought together in the one-terabyte Deskstar. This milestone product is a 3.5-inch, 7200 RPM hard drive, designed for desktop computers, media-center PCs, gaming machines, digital video recorders, personal storage and other applications requiring ultra-high storage capacities.

"The results of the PC World review provide strong evidence that we have delivered a product with the performance and capacity demanded by today's consumers," Shinjiro Iwata, chief marketing officer, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "But aside from the unmatched capacity in a single hard drive, the Deskstar 7K1000 represents a technical and cultural milestone that speaks to the revolution we are experiencing in personal data storage today."

The Deskstar 7K1000 began shipping to retailers and online retailers at the end of March 2007, meeting Hitachi's commitment to ship the world's first one-terabyte hard drive to retail customers within the first quarter of 2007. As demonstrated in PC World's test suite, the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 hard drive delivers superior performance, as well as leadership capacity, to meet the needs of consumers who want to create, share and store their digital information in ever increasing volume.

Citing several testing parameters, PC World Test Center found that the Deskstar 7K1000 was the fastest on a file search test, requiring just 151 seconds to search for a text string in the 11.7GB of content that was placed on the drive. In addition, among the various testing sequences, the Deskstar terabyte HDD tied for the highest marks on the Test Center's ACDSee Test, requiring only 513 seconds to perform scripted tasks like searching and converting files from one format to another.

The Deskstar 7K1000 is built on the industry's most reliable perpendicular magnetic recording technology, allowing Hitachi to extend capacity beyond that available in current 3.5-inch hard drive products. Hitachi's terabyte hard drive features a 3.0Gb/s Serial-ATA (SATA) interface and large 32 MB data buffer to provide the performance required for high-end PC applications.

About Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is a storage technology leader, founded in 2003 through the combination of Hitachi's and IBM's hard disk drive businesses. Hitachi GST enables users to fully engage in the digital lifestyle by providing high-value hard disk storage in formats suitable for the office, on the road and in the home.

With its legacy in hard drive invention, Hitachi GST led the industry in celebrating the storage technology's golden anniversary in 2006. The hard drive has had a profound effect on the computing and consumer electronics industries after five decades of innovation. That heritage lives on at Hitachi GST today through products that define the standard for hard drive miniaturization, capacity, performance and reliability.

With approximately 33,000 employees worldwide, Hitachi GST offers a comprehensive range of hard drive products for desktop computers, high-performance servers, notebooks and consumer devices. For more information, please visit the company's Web site at

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

Graybar Surpasses $5 Billion Mark In 2006

Graybar, one of the nation’s leading distributors of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, reported $5.01 billion net sales in 2006, an increase of 16.8 percent over 2005. The company also posted net income of more than $57.39 million, up 242.3 percent compared to the prior year.

“A good economy and growth in the electrical and comm/data markets helped us increase sales,” said Robert A. Reynolds Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Graybar.  “But it was our ability to achieve higher gross margins and productivity while controlling expenses that significantly improved our bottom-line results. Our commitment to organic growth empowers our employee-owners to concentrate on doing what they do best – delivering service solutions and products that work to our customers’ advantage.”

An 18.5 percent gross margin increase coupled with reduced selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales boosted operating income 88.3 percent to $122.02 million. The company also lowered both short- and long-term debt and interest expenses to complete the year in a strong cash position.

 According to Reynolds, the company is increasing productivity and reacting more quickly to market conditions with its Enterprise Resource Planning system. This information technology platform provides real-time access to valuable business data. It connects the company’s nationwide network of branch, zone and district locations for efficient asset and supply chain management.

“Graybar’s leading-edge information technology and logistics capabilities are continuing to raise the bar on performance and value for our customers,” added Reynolds.

Reynolds said Graybar looks forward to continued business growth and profitability in 2007. He explained that the company’s commitment to organic growth, continuous improvement, personnel development and technology is key to accomplishing those goals. 

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

ACUTA’S 11TH Strategic Leadership Forum Addresses Campus Technology Policies

For college and university leaders, the evolution of communications networks and the ways they are used pose significant policy challenges. The 11th annual ACUTA Forum for Strategic Leadership in Communications Technology will provide the tools they need to develop realistic and effective policies.

The Forum, presented by the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA), will be July 30-31, 2007, in Hollywood, Florida, in conjunction with the organization’s 36th Annual Conference. The Forum combines interactive presentations by campus and industry experts with numerous roundtable discussions, allowing participants to learn both from each other and from presenters.

The annual Forum, this year titled “Convergence or Divergence: Technology Policies and User Expectations,” is for individuals in higher education with senior strategic planning and decision-making responsibility for communications technology and information technology. It is open to both members and non-members of ACUTA, the only national association dedicated to serving the needs of higher education communications technology professionals.

 “Higher education leaders today deal with an environment where not only is the technology changing, but so are campus cultures,” said Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. “This year’s forum is designed to help them develop policies and practices that accommodate the changing work styles of their employees, address the communications needs of all students, and safeguard their networks and sensitive information.”

The Forum will explore how institutions deal with personal use of university-owned technology as well as business use of personally-owned technology; security and privacy; the need for 24x7 access to resources; the diverse technology approaches of different student groups; and how new technologies can be implemented to meet the ever-increasing expectations of users.

Forum presenters sharing their leadership and technology expertise with their peers include representatives of such institutions as the University of North Carolina, Notre Dame, Indiana University, Florida State University, and the University of Pennsylvania. They will talk about their successes and how they are dealing with the changing campus technology landscape.

The Forum also features a keynote presentation by Neil Howe, author of the popular “Millennials” books, who will speak about the effect of the Millennials entering the workforce. The second edition of his Millennials Go to College: Strategies for a New Generation on Campus has just been released.

Participants in the Forum also enjoy all the benefits of the larger ACUTA conference, which annually attracts several hundred representatives of colleges and universities across North America. The conference runs from July 29 to August 2, and includes its own broad range of informational presentations, networking opportunities, and exhibit area.

The Forum site is the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Fla. More information about the Forum and Annual Conference can be found at

Steel Conduit Holds Steady - Benefits Continue To Follow Product

In these days of cable tray, wire mesh and Romex (brand name for National Electrical Code (NEC) wire with type nonmetallic, variant B insulation), the “heavy” steel conduit industry has a battle on its hands with self-promotion. Nonetheless, there is no shortage of qualities that steel conduit brings to a project, making it worth serious consideration by project owners, engineers and cabling contractors.

While steel conduit has been used since the early 1900s, it has only recently shown its ability to reduce the electromagnetic interference (EMI) from everyday electrical and power distribution systems. Those invisible electromagnetic fields (EMF) can cause distortion of monitor images, the alteration or destruction of electronic data and the disruption of communications to process control equipment. Such problems impact worker productivity and efficiency. At worst, EMI can also cause an alarm or signaling system to malfunction. Depending on the industry, that can range from irritating to costly to catastrophic. 

Georgia Institute of Technology focused a three-year study on reducing the effect of EMF on electrical and electronic equipment. Research was sponsored by the Steel Tube Institute (STI) of North America, which is an advocacy group made up of steel conduit manufacturers. The study concluded that steel is the most effective shield for 60 Hz EMF, reducing these fields by as much as 95 percent. Aluminum conduit reduces such fields by about 5 percent, while nonmetallic materials are equivalent to conductors installed in free air.

Engineers and designers often have to balance appropriate products or construction methods with installed costs. Steel conduit certainly is not the least expensive wiring method, yet its effectiveness against magnetic forces can make its life-cycle cost a relative bargain. Many building owners and managers have discovered the hard way that shielding EMF at the design and build stages is the most cost-effective approach.

In addition to its EMF-reducing qualities, the Georgia Tech study also concluded steel conduit provides an excellent electrical path to ground. A properly installed metal conduit system is recognized by the NEC as an equipment-grounding conductor, eliminating the need for supplemental grounding conductors.

STI incorporated the results of the university’s research into Grounding and ElectroMagnetic Interference (GEMI) analysis software, which is available free of charge at The software provides a factual basis for the cost of EMI, justifying steel conduit’s higher up-front costs to building developers and owners. Also available on the Web site are recent case studies that demonstrate the benefits of the new software tools and of specifying steel for EMI shielding.

Of course, steel conduit shares many benefits with other metal conduit, such as strength and the resulting physical protection it offers the cables within, though the wall thickness and strength of steel provide the greatest mechanical protection to the enclosed wire conductors. Other benefits include steel conduit’s adaptability/reusability for future additions or replacement cables and its noncombustible nature. But unlike other metal conduit, steel conduit is chemically compatible with concrete.

There are three basic types of steel conduit: rigid steel conduit, intermediate metal conduit and electrical metallic tubing.

■  Rigid steel conduit (RSC) is the heaviest-weight and thickest wall conduit. It is a threaded metal raceway that can have a primary coating of zinc, a combination of zinc and organic coatings or a nonmetallic coating, such as PVC. Supplementary coatings can be applied to all three where additional corrosion protection is needed. Galvanized rigid metal conduit (GRC) is noncombustible and can be used indoors, outdoors, underground, concealed or exposed. Rigid steel conduit with coatings that are not zinc-based may have temperature limitations and may not be listed for use in environmental air spaces.

■  Intermediate metal conduit (IMC) was developed in the 1970s and is a lighter-weight, thinner wall alternative to RSC, weighing in about one-third less than RMC. The outside is zinc-based coated for corrosion protection, and the inside has an approved organic corrosion-resistant coating. IMC is interchangeable with galvanized RSC. Both have threads with a ¾-inch per foot taper, use the same couplings and fittings, have the same support requirements and are permitted in the same locations.

■  Electrical metallic tubing (EMT), often called thin-wall, is an unthreaded steel raceway. The outside corrosion protection is zinc-based, and the inside has a corrosion-resistant organic coating. It is installed by use of set-screw or compression-type couplings and connectors.

■  While some think using steel conduit is always the right choice, others  believe it is never the right choice. Too many members of the low-voltage cabling industry err by operating exclusively within the second category. Those contractors need to know when and where steel conduit is the right choice and advise their clients accordingly. That will prove advantageous for their clients and the industry in general.   •

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

Reprinted with Full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine April 2007 issue

Leaders To Offer Ideas, Strategies For Distributors' Future Success

"Thought Leader" Panel at Annual Meeting General Session

What steps should distributors take to ensure their future success? Gain insights and recommendations from five leaders in electrical distribution at the "Industry Thought Leader Panel" presentation at the Opening Session on May 7 during NAED's 2007 Annual Meeting.

NAED Chairman John Duda of Butler Supply will moderate a five-member panel including: Kirk Hachigian, chairman, president and COO of Cooper Industries; Stuart Thorn, president & CEO Southwire Co.; Roy Haley, chairman & CEO of WESCO Distribution Inc.; Sandy Rosecrans, president of City Electric Co. Inc.; and Jack Floyd, CEO of One Source Associates Inc.

The discussion will tackle three key issues impacting distributors' success:

Product Launches - How do we collaborate more effectively to decrease the time and cost of introducing new products, solutions, labor-saving options, and profit-enhancing activities into our channel?

Growth Opportunities - What opportunities exist outside our traditional model that could blend with the products and solutions we offer?

Economic and Market Trends - What technologies, skills, talents, offerings, and intrusions will most affect our business base in the coming months?

The panel invites NAED members to submit questions in advance by emailing Sonia Coleman at The panel will answer submitted questions as time permits. The deadline for questions is Wed., May 2.

Make plans to attend NAED's Annual Meeting and join top-level executives from across the industry for education and networking.    More ...

Bob Gold joins ScTE Foundation Board

The SCTE Foundation is pleased to announce today that Bob Gold, principal of Bob Gold & Associates, has been appointed by the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Board of Directors as a new member to the SCTE Foundation Board of Directors.

Gold, an SCTE member since 1997, becomes the fifth member of the SCTE Foundation board and first additional member since the initial Foundation board was appointed in June 2005.

At its meeting last week in Dallas, the SCTE Board of Directors received and endorsed the Foundation board’s recommendation to appoint Gold to the SCTE Foundation board, which includes inaugural members Keith R. Hayes of Charter Communications, John Clark of SCTE, Bob Macioch of Time Warner Cable, and Mike Phebus of Jones/NCTI.

Gold, with more than 20 years of experience in public relations and marketing, has launched nearly a dozen cable networks, rebranded many others, created campaigns for net-based start-ups, helped to raise more than a million dollars for charities, taught hundreds of students about public relations, and helped to further strategic business plans for numerous businesses and associations.

Since 1997, Bob Gold & Associates has focused its public relations efforts on building strategic relationships for its clients in the high-technology arena serving the cable and wireless industries. Clients include Charter Communications, Comcast Cable Communications, Strategic Technologies Inc. (Lennar’s cable division), ESPN, Bloomberg Television, RGB Networks, EGT, Universal Music’s new world music channel (International Music Feed), EuroNews, and Outdoor Channel.

Prior to founding his own agency, Gold was vice president of marketing and communications at Prime Sports Network (now Fox Sports), where among many duties he also oversaw charitable giving for the Los Angeles-based regional sports network.

Gold holds a master’s degree in communications management from the University of Southern California. His agency is located in Torrance, Calif.

The mission of the SCTE Foundation is to (1) assist in innovation and education within cable and telecommunications engineering; (2) help further research and information of cable and telecommunications technology; and (3) help maintain a history and awareness of cable and telecommunications evolution.

Complete details about the SCTE Foundation, including the grant and scholarship application, are available at by clicking on the About Us section.

EnvironDesignLIVE Webinar Series

EnvironDesignLIVE Webinars will help architects, designers and building owners demystify how green products are tied to green projects by exploring the latest product rating systems and methods available to determine which building products should be specified in order to achieve maximum impact.

EnvironDesignLIVE Webinar attendees will learn:

    * How to effectively use green product rating systems

    * A deeper understanding of the various sustainable project ratings systems

    * The connection between how product ratings systems impact your project's green rating

Kick-Off Webinar #1: "A Contract With Our Future"

Speaker: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Author and Activist

Date: May 15 Noon Central time – Cost: Free

Our natural surroundings play an important role in our work, health and our identity as Americans. Learn how good environmental policy is good business, good economics and good policy for posterity from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. When a business follows sound environmental policies and procedures, it practices smart business, money is saved in the long run, consumers want to do business with environmentally-friendly companies and most importantly, it helps ensure future generations can live in an environment that is that is safe, clean and beautiful.

About the Speaker:

"Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as a resolute defender of the environment, is the ideal speaker to set the stage for these webinars and reinforce our overall theme to the audience. Mr. Kennedy's depth of understanding and tireless commitment to environmental causes uniquely qualifies him to kick off EnvironDesignLIVE," said Mike Stanley, publisher of Interiors & Sources.

Mr. Kennedy serves as senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council; chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper; and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney for the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University School of Law, and is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio.

Mr. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet" for his success in helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group's achievement helped spawn more than 125 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

Click here to register for this free webinar.

Webinar #2: Getting to Real Green in the Marketplace

Speaker: Kirsten Ritchie, Director of Sustainable Design, Gensler

Date: May 29 - Noon Central time

Working on over 3,000 projects representing over $10 billion in annual construction

spending, Gensler is well positioned to drive green products into the marketplace. However, we must always balance green attributes with performance and aesthetic considerations. In addition, we need to be absolutely sure the green story being told is the true story. In this Webinar, Kirsten will take the audience through a variety of sustainability case studies including product marketing literature, construction specifications and assorted online web resources to describe what works for the Gensler team of designers and architects and what doesn't.

About the Speaker:

Kirsten Ritchie, P.E, is Director of Sustainable Design with Gensler. An innovative problem-solver sought by clients to address emerging environmental and sustainability topics within the context of competitive advantage, Kirsten has managed the SCS Environmental Claims Certification Program. She is the Chair of ASTM Task Group on Environmentally Preferable Products, serves on the Technical Advisory Board for Collaborative for High Performance Schools, and is a board member with International Design Center for the Environment.

Click here to register for this webinar or register for all six paid sessions.

Webinar #3: Is it Green? Sorting out Building Product Certifications & Eco-Labels

Speaker: Rebecca Aarons-Sydnor, Project Manager, Sustainable Design Consulting

Date: June 12 Noon Central time

As more and more industries, consensus groups and private entities develop environmentally responsible standards for building products, it is becoming increasingly important that you learn how to critically review these standards and the groups that have created them. This Webinar will help you make informed decisions on green product resources and individual product marketing information. Learn how to incorporate green product criteria into standards and specifications and explore approaches to choosing among them for maximum project impact.

About the Speaker:

Rebecca Aarons-Syndor is Project Manager with Sustainable Design Consulting, SDC. Greatly influenced by Thomas Jefferson's philosophy that no generation should live such that it places future generations in debt, Rebecca is a LEED® Accredited Professional and has a Master of Science in Sustainable Design, from Carnegie Mellon University.

Click here to register for this webinar session or register for all six paid sessions.

Webinar #4 - Marketing Green Design:

Speakers: Leanne Tobias, Principal, Malachite LLC; Gary F. Christensen, President, The Christensen Corporation; Carlton Brown, COO, Full Spectrum, New York

Date: June 26 Noon Central time

Understand the business results that building owners and developers require for financial success, how green design can help produce strong financial results, and how to market those results. Learn why cost is only one aspect of the decision to build green and why a single-minded focus on cost may not make financial sense. Learn how building green can pay for itself and generate profits over a property's life cycle. Discover how to use the LEED system to make your clients' projects more profitable and to sell your green design services more effectively to current and prospective clients.

About the Speakers:

Leanne Tobias is Principal with Malachite LLC. She is a USGBC, LEED Accredited Professional and serves on the Executive Board of the International Design Center for the Environment and the Advisory Board for Green Building Finance Consortium.

Gary F. Christensen of The Christensen Corporation operates a commercial lending service and recently completed the Banner Bank Building in downtown Boise, awarded LEED-CS Platinum status by the US Green Building Council, a distinction shared by only 3 private, for-profit developers at the time. Gary has teamed with Ben Shedd, an Academy Award winning producer/director to create a documentary on the development of the project.

Carlton Brown is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Full Spectrum New York, a green urban development firm.  He is the developer of 1400 Fifth Avenue and the Kalahari, both green condominium projects located in the Harlem area of New York City.  He has served on several boards including the NY Chapter, AIA, the Business Resource & Investment Service Center (BRISC) of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and Board Chair of 651 Arts.

Click here to register for this webinar session or register for all six paid sessions.

Webinar #5: Stepping up to Deep Green

Speaker: David Gottfried, President, WorldBuild

Date: July 10 Noon Central time

Climate change and other environmental challenges now threaten the future of life, as we know it. The U.S. Green Building Council and its LEED Green Building Rating System have defined green building for over 50 cities, dozens of states and federal governmental agencies and thousands of projects, members and LEED Accredited Professionals. The momentum has been unprecedented and is only just starting, but we need to go further. If everyone lived and worked in a LEED Platinum building and drove a Toyota Prius, the world would still sink and humans would continue killing each other. How can each of us dig deeper, and impact more systemic and regenerative change: inside our souls, daily life, families, work and spheres of influence? Learn the path to "deep green,"as well as his green life rating system and his vision for a restorative world.

About the Speaker:

David Gottfried is the President of WorldBuild Technologies Inc., founded in 1994. He has over two decades of multidisciplinary real estate and management consulting experience, primarily serving the building industry: as a real estate developer, construction manager, sustainable development management consultant, and founder of the U.S. and World Green Building Councils. Since 1991, Gottfried has worked exclusively with clients that strive to lessen our reliance on limited natural resources and wasteful practices, while boosting lifecycle based economics and quality of life. This work commenced with the "greening"of building projects and portfolios of projects, and more recently, has led to helping enhance the sustainability of companies and positioning  heir product offerings to the rapidly growing "green"marketplace.

Click here to register for this webinar session or register for all six paid sessions.

Webinar #6: Boot Camp – Greening Your Firm in 10 Easy Steps

Speaker: Barbra Batshalom, CEO, The Green Roundtable

Date: July 24 Noon Central time

How does your firm incorporate green products and technologies into mainstream practice? How highly do you score in the rating systems? Learn practical steps to seamlessly incorporate green products, strategies and technologies into your baseline design services and increase profitability, and improve employee attraction and retention. Content of this Webinar is based on an extensive 18-month boot camp program run in mid-to-large design firms. It has been distilled to give you the framework and process models to share with your firm and implement yourself.

About the Speaker:

Barbra Batshalom is the founder and Executive Director of The Green Roundtable(GRT) and NeXus an independent non-profit organization and an Affilliate of the USGBC. Barbra brings a diverse background to her work including social psychology, exhibit design and 15 years in architecture and green design consulting on a wide variety of building types and planning scales. Barbra founded GRT to address underlying dysfunctions in design process to improve the value, performance and health of the built environment.

Click here to register for this webinar session or register for all six paid sessions.

Webinar #7: ECO-DESIGN – Understanding Sustainability and LEED

Speaker: Holley Henderson, LEED AP, H2 EcoDesign, LLC

Date: August 7 Noon Central time

This Webinar provides a brief introduction to sustainability and the positive role that designers can play.  Currently, the U.S. market has embraced the LEED Rating System developed by the USGBC. This Webinar will include a full explanation of the latest trends relative to the LEED for Commercial Interiors System and how it can be used as a tool for projects.  Most importantly, this is an in-depth look at the benefits and selling of sustainable design. The webinar will include a focus on LEED-CI and how this system worked on the Interface Showroom project; the first Platinum rating – it's a hands-on account of the entire process.

About the Speaker:

H2 Ecodesign is a sustainable design consulting firm that is a catalyst for eco-positive design in the built environment and global business strategy for owners, design firms, manufacturers and other entities.

Prior to H2 Ecodesign, Holly Henderson was with Interface as Director of Creative Design, and previously an interior designer for TVS in Atlanta. She was the first LEED 2.0 Accredited Interior Designer in the state of Georgia, as well as managing LEED AP for the Interface Showroom and Offices – the first (and currently only) LEED–CI Platinum Level Project.

Click here to register for this webinar session or register for all six paid sessions.

Earn Education Credits:

Curriculum for all Webinars has been approved by the IDCEC, which includes ASID, IDC, IDEC, and IIDA credits. Attendees can earn one contact hour or 0.1 CEU.

Curriculum for Webinars # 2, 3, 4 and 6 is also registered with the AIA/CES. Attendees can earn Learning Units (1.0) plus Learning Units in the HSW category through the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

BOMA International 2007 Medical Office Building Seminar To Be Presented By Montecito Medical & ING Clarion Partners

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International today announced that BOMA’s 2007 Medical Office Building and Healthcare Facilities Seminar, July 18-20, at the Marriott New York Marquis Hotel in New York City, will be presented by Montecito Medical and ING Clarion Partners.   

In the past five years, attendance at BOMA’s Medical Office Building Seminar has tripled to more than 300 delegates. The seminar attracts a diverse group of healthcare real estate professionals, including executives from health systems, developers, healthcare REITs, third-party management service firms, investors, consultants, construction specialists and architects, and even physicians.

“The Medical Office Building and Healthcare Facilities Seminar is the only educational program of its kinds that meets the growing demands of the healthcare real estate professional,” says Mark Johnson, CPM, co-chair, BOMA Medical Office Buildings and Healthcare Facilities Committee and senior vice president, DASCO Companies. “We are delighted that Montecito Medical and ING Clarion Partners have come on board as presenting sponsors for the 2007 seminar. As two companies that understand and support this growing market, their involvement will ensure that the seminar continues to exceed the expectations of attendees.”

“Montecito Medical is pleased to be presenting BOMA International’s Medical Office Building and Healthcare Facilities Seminar with ING Clarion Partners,” said Montecito Medical President Chip Conk. “As a key player in the medical office market, we will bring our expertise and passion to the seminar, which has become the must-attend event for healthcare real estate professionals.”

Among the trends that will be addressed at the seminar will be healthcare systems’ efforts to bring care to patients in medical office buildings and ambulatory service centers in their communities, rather than have patients come to a central hospital campus.

Sessions will explore such issues as property management requirements for ambulatory surgery centers, as well as joint venture ownership structures whereby developers, hospitals and even physicians have ownership stakes in either the medical office building, the operating practice (the surgery or diagnostic center that is a tenant in the building), or both. Other sessions will examine monetization strategies, marketing and leasing strategies, managing construction costs and parking options for on-campus medical office buildings.  

In addition, healthcare real estate experts will address several other timely issues and challenges associated with healthcare real estate, including:

  • Construction costs and methodologies for both new developments and for tenant build-outs
  • Green building options
  • Property management strategies to contain escalating operating expenses
  • Identifying and using key performance indicators for MOBs
  • Capital markets and MOB valuations
  • Strategies for preparing MOBs for sale
  • Legal and regulatory issues

Registration and information for the 2007 Medical Office Buildings and Healthcare Facilities Seminar, July 18-20, at the Marriott New York Marquis Hotel in New York City is available online at More detailed information about the education program is available at

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

NECA, IBEW Honored with Top Award in Web Design Competition for

The National Electrical Contractors Association, together with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), announced today that the two organizations have jointly received a Gold Award in the 2006 Best of the Web Awards competition sponsored by Building Design + Construction.  The national competition recognizes the best Web sites in the building communities, judged on the basis of user experience, informative content and innovative features.   Winning sites are deemed to offer the best in content, design and functionality.

Topping all entries in the Association/Government category, the Gold-winning site,, was designed and developed by Concept Foundry, a Bethesda, Maryland-based design and communications firm, for its clients NECA and IBEW.   The site is aimed at getting young people charged up about career paths in the electrical industry.  With sections geared toward students, parents and guidance counselors, this site offers descriptions of nearly 60 different electrical jobs, provides information on educational and training options and includes video testimonials from successful young people in the electrical trade.  Judges for the competition declared the site “fun, engaging and a great service to the community.”

Says Edwin D. Hill, president of IBEW, “We are honored to have the quality of our communications work recognized as leading the industry, and pleased to be working with NECA to create a Web resource of immediate and lasting value to both our organizations.”


Through their joint marketing organization – the National Labor-Management Cooperation Committee (NLMCC) of the organized electrical construction industry – NECA and IBEW together work to:

  •           Reach customers with accurate information about the industry; and

  •           Achieve better internal communication between labor and management.

With 750,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields – including construction, utilities, telecommunications and manufacturing –  the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is among the largest member unions in the AFL-CIO.  The IBEW was founded in 1891.  For more information, visit

Voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for bringing lighting, power and communications to buildings and communities across the United States, the National Electrical Contractors Association was founded in 1901.  NECA’s national office and 120 local chapters advance the industry through advocacy, education, research and standards development.  For more information, visit .

Check out what’s new for Cabling Business Magazine’s June 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!


  • How TIA-942 Can Affect the Data Center

By Doug Coleman

  • Multiplexing for Copper and Fiber

By Kevin Tanzillo

  • Tools for Cable Preparation

By Melody McClusky

  • Exploring the Underfloor Branch Circuit Monitoring System

By Doug Mulholland

·         Effective Routing of Fiber Optic Cable

By Jane Braun

  • The Data Center Environment

By Nicole Glidden

  • CCTV Tutorial

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:

Connectors, Media Control Cables, Stripping Tools for UTP, Crimping Tools, Wireless Access Point Enclosures, Testers, Telecom Enclosures, 10GBASE-T Ethernet applications, Label Printers, LCD Console Drawers, Racks, Cabinets, Patch Panels, Surge Protectors, CAT5 Compliant RJ45 Switches, Ethernet switch product lines, Safety Glasses and Protective Gear and much, much more!

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

Educational Security

Ontario school district uses an identity-driven architecture to secure its LAN extension network for 40,000 users at 120 different sites.

In the best of circumstances, securing geographically dispersed networks with users who inadvertently or intentionally hack into unauthorized resources or applications poses a significant challenge. When you have 40,000 such users spread across more than 120 sites, this challenge can lead to the adoption of entirely new security measures to enforce network access controls that can be easily managed by finite IT resources.

Jeremy Hobbs, district chief information officer, saw the advantages of centralizing the school district’s network computing architecture that is spread across 120 sites and is difficult to manage and secure.

The Upper Canada District in Ontario faced just such a challenge in its LAN extension network that lacked the necessary LAN security and access control provisions. Particularly challenging for the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) was the need to implement LAN security that was non-disruptive to students, faculty and staff, many of whom are mobile users. As a public institution with a restricted budget, the solution also had to integrate with the existing LAN/WAN infrastructure, including all WAN perimeter and virtual private network security provisions, as well as satisfy the demanding performance requirements imposed by a centralized computing architecture.

UCDSB is one of the largest public school boards in Ontario, and is responsible for supporting more than 100 K-12 schools with approximately 35,000 students and a staff of some 5,500 teachers and administrators. The board serves as the central decision-making and financial body for assuring quality education for all students in the district.

Like many businesses, the district saw the advantages of centralizing its network computing architecture, according to Jeremy Hobbs, district chief information officer. “A distributed architecture spread across 120 sites is extraordinarily difficult to manage and secure,” he explains. “When WAN links were slow and their costs disproportionately high, a distributed architecture was less expensive. But today, with more affordable broadband access services and high-end servers, a centralized architecture is far more cost effective.”

The district utilizes a fiber-optic LAN extension network operated by Bell Canada. The main site, in Brockville, Ontario, houses the central data center and the main administrative offices. All 100 schools, along with four satellite offices and several alternative educational sites, are served by a link on the LAN extension network.

Servers that were located in the schools and other remote facilities have now been relocated and consolidated at the Brockville data center. “Consolidation and centralization yielded substantial cost savings for the district,” Hobbs says. “The change also made it possible for us to implement a single-domain network with identity-driven access.”

an Access-control challenge

“Both students and staff are regular users of our network,” he continues. “This creates a major challenge for controlling access to information resources. We want to provide open, public access to the Internet, the library and class resources, but need to strictly control access to all confidential information within our private network, such as student records, personnel information and financial data. Our objective was to find a way to easily and cost-effectively manage, enforce and audit access control based upon the identity of a user.”

The district previously experienced issues with malware propagation and network downtime, so the solution would also need to reduce the risk of threats infiltrating and spreading throughout the network. Finally, Hobbs wanted to integrate these LAN security provisions without the need to install client-based software or otherwise manage any client PCs, particularly those owned by teachers and students.

The goal to secure network access from some 9,000 PCs located throughout all 120 facilities for 40,000 students, faculty and staff made the task particularly challenging. Performance would be a critical consideration, as well, for, as Hobbs explains, “We regularly see 4,000 concurrent sessions on the network, with different users logging on and off continuously at different times of the day.”

The district’s environment was ideal for implementing an identity-driven infrastructure, Hobbs offers. “We wanted anybody–teachers, administrators and students alike–to be able to use any PC anywhere on the network. Trying to do this with virtual LANs would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. The only way we could make network access both ubiquitous and secure was to centralize control.”

One of the most difficult steps in implementing identity-driven access turned out to be the creation of the security business rules, which specify access privileges for different groups of users. Providing appropriate access for many different types of users requires a set of elaborate access-control policies.

“Because we wanted to enforce access centrally at the servers and not from the PC, we had to take great care in getting all of the policies just right,” Hobbs explains. “And although it can be a painstaking process, with so many different users and applications, it is well worth the time and effort it takes.”

After an evaluation of available solutions, Hobbs chose to use the LANenforcer LAN security appliance from Nevis Networks. Operating as an in-line appliance, LANenforcer is part of the Nevis LANsecure solution, which also includes a 48-port LANenforcer secure access switch and LANsight Security Manager, a centralized, policy-based security-management system.

three reasons for choice

Hobbs selected LANenforcer for LAN security in the district’s identity-driven infrastructure based on three reasons. The first is the product’s use of role-based user access-control policies that can be centrally managed under a flexible, composite group-policy model. “Although other LAN security solutions offer similar group-level control policies, Nevis supports the broadest spectrum of applications, which allows us to make our policies universal and sufficiently granular,” says Hobbs.

The second reason is the tight integration between the Nevis LANsight Security Manager and Microsoft Active Directory servers. Active Directory maintains the assignment of each individual user to a group; LANsight applies network access-control policies to each group, and optionally, to individual users.

“The separate systems have worked flawlessly together from day one,” Hobbs notes. This group-level capability reduces the time and effort it takes his staff to make policy changes, while giving all users an appropriate and consistent view of the network wherever and whenever they connect, based entirely on their identity.

“We have some new online and computerized learning initiatives planned, and the solution is going to allow us to roll those out faster, because security policy is now simply tied to the user’s identity rather than the network topology,” he adds.

The third reason, Hobbs says, is that LANenforcer is implemented as a self-contained and purpose-built appliance. “We cannot afford a large staff of specialists, so we utilize appliances wherever we can,” explains Hobbs. “Appliances are inevitably easier to install and operate, and normally deliver superior performance. And the better appliances are often at once both best in class and plug and play, which is why we use appliances for our firewall, DNS and DHCP servers, VPN and other needs where we can. Because the appliance delivers in-line Ethernet throughput at a full 10 gigabits per second, we can enforce multiple security policies simultaneously without taking a performance hit, which is something you can’t afford to do at LAN speeds.”

Because the LANsecure architecture operates in-line, the district installed three LANenforcer 2024 LAN security appliances in a load-balanced configuration to minimize outages and maximize performance. “The advantage of operating in-line is that it provides the perfect vantage point for monitoring traffic before, during and after network access is granted to any user. This satisfies our critical need to enforce pre- and post-authentication network access controls, while maintaining continuous threat detection to snuff out potential malware.”

The three appliances are deployed at the core of the district’s LAN extension network, in the Brockville data center, where all traffic is aggregated. The in-line operation enables each appliance to inspect its share of the traffic at a full 10 Gbps, together providing persistent access control and threat protection for all concurrent sessions.

identity-based access

The persistent nature of the LAN security begins with clientless endpoint integrity verification and identity-based access control, and supplies ongoing threat detection with capabilities that include: a stateful firewall; traffic, protocol and behavioral anomaly detection; and intrusion prevention and quarantine–which all function collaboratively to detect and thwart both known and zero-day threats.

Policies specified in the LANsight Security Manager enable the LANenforcer appliances to enforce granular, identity-based access policies for different groups of users. Teachers, school administrators and students are given access only to those resources that are appropriate for their group membership profile.

Endpoint assessment is performed before, during and after users attempt to connect to the network, allowing risks associated with unmanaged endpoints to be reduced significantly. Detailed reporting allows IT staff to monitor user activity, and verify the confidentiality of personnel records and other sensitive data.

In addition to being the central repository for security policies, LANsight also provides real-time event correlation to help detect and block potential threats. The appliance’s event correlation analysis gathers events from multiple LANenforcer systems–taking into account security policies, user identity, user device, user activities and target application–to provide deep analysis at wire speed with virtually no false positives.

The database is capable of correlating up to 20,000 events per second, logging details about the individual user, IP address, MAC address and application(s) involved. Hobbs and his staff are then able to view summary information on use–and abuse–either in real time or historically, and can drill down as needed to identify potential threats, take corrective action, perform forensic analysis or conduct a detailed audit of compliance with security policies.

Another advantage of the district’s centralized approach to identity-based security, Hobbs says, is its ability to operate seamlessly with the existing LAN infrastructure, and continue to operate as changes are made. The most significant such change planned by the district is the addition of wireless LAN access at all facilities.

“Wireless LANs will allow us to support laptop PCs and other mobile devices owned by students and faculty,” Hobbs comments. “Knowing that we would soon be adding wireless access for unmanaged systems is another reason we selected LANenforcer. The solution does not require us to install and maintain a special client on any systems, so our existing security policies can remain in effect as users begin to access the network with their own devices.”

wireless network to expand

Initially, the district plans to install a single Wi-Fi hot spot in a common area at each facility. Over time, wireless access will become more ubiquitous, allowing students and teachers to access the network in classrooms.

The LANsecure architecture employs a dissolvable ActiveX control that is downloaded whenever a user attempts to log onto the network. The control serves as an agent that validates the security posture of the user’s device. Where the policy imposes conditions involving endpoint security compliance, such as current patch level and antivirus or antispyware protection, the LANenforcer is able to activate separate provisions for automatic quarantine and self-remediation.

Unmanaged endpoints pose significant risks to network availability, data integrity and confidentiality when the security posture of these hosts is ignored. Having previously experienced malware infections that disrupted the network and consumed staff resources during the recovery efforts, Hobbs wants to make certain that the freedom associated with wireless access will not wreak havoc on the currently stable–and secure–network.

What made the challenge confronting the Upper Canada District School Board particularly daunting was the goal to enable any user to use any of the 9,000 PCs. With limited funding and IT resources, the identity-based network access-control solution would need to be relatively inexpensive, and easy to install and operate.

“With the solution, we were not faced with any unpleasant choices between security and savings,” Hobbs contends. “The Nevis approach fits perfectly with our centralized architecture, giving us both ubiquitous and persistent protection in an easy-to-use and affordable appliance.”

With the solution in place, the district has fulfilled its vision of implementing a policy-based, identity-driven infrastructure. Hobbs and his staff now have full visibility into network use and abuse, down to the individual user level. The protections operate persistently, before, during and after users connect, and then continuously in the form of multilayered threat detection and containment provisions. At least one conclusion is fairly obvious from such an implementation in the face of so many challenges: The district did indeed do its homework.

For more information from Nevis Networks:

About Nevis Networks
Nevis Networks is a provider of LAN security solutions that protect information privacy and integrity, provide user-based visibility, and maintain regulatory compliance. Nevis has developed a series of high-performance, low-cost security products that extend similar levels of protection found in the perimeter to all users on enterprise LANs. These solutions allow enterprises to share network access to managed (employees) and unmanaged users (guests, contractors and customers) while providing the necessary control required by compliance and regulatory bodies. Nevis was founded in 2002 by executives with track records in security, semiconductor design and networking technologies. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with additional research and development centers in Pune, India, and Beijing.

COO Shane Buckley joined Nevis Networks in 2006 and is responsible for worldwide customer-facing functions, including sales, marketing and customer service. Prior to joining Nevis, he served as vice president of enterprise at Juniper Networks and international president for Peribit Networks. Earlier in his career, Buckley was a vice president at 3Com. He holds a degree in electronic engineering from the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland.

Reprinted with full permission of Communications News – April 2007 issue   

Preformed Line Products Announces Improved Financial Results for the Quarter Ended March 31, 2007

Preformed Line Products Company (Nasdaq: PLPC - News) today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2007.

Net income for the quarter ended March 31, 2007 increased 49% to $3,718,000, or $.69 per diluted share, compared to $2,499,000, or $.43 per diluted share, for the comparable period in 2006.

Sales for the quarter of $56,531,000 were 7% higher than sales of $52,635,000 in the first quarter of 2006.

Rob Ruhlman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We experienced improvements in our major domestic markets during the quarter. Sales in our domestic core markets of power and telecommunications improved 21% in the first quarter of 2007 compared to 2006. Investment in new projects to upgrade the power grid by the electric utility companies was the major driver of this increase. We also benefited from increasing investment by cable companies to defend their market share as well as the investment by communication companies in running fiber to the premise. Foreign sales were down less than 1% from the previous year; however, currency had a 4% favorable impact on sales. I am pleased with the increase in net income of nearly 50% and am optimistic about the rest of the year."

Founded in 1947, Preformed Line Products is an international designer and manufacturer of products and systems employed in the construction and maintenance of overhead and underground networks for energy, communications and broadband network companies.

Preformed's world headquarters are in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Company operates four domestic manufacturing centers located in Rogers, Arkansas, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albemarle, North Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina. The Company serves its worldwide market through international operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Thailand.

This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 regarding the Company, including those statements regarding the Company's and management's beliefs and expectations concerning the Company's future performance or anticipated financial results, among others. Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in those statements. Among other things, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements include the strength of the economy and demand for the Company's products, increases in raw material prices, the Company's ability to identify, complete and integrate acquisitions for profitable growth, and other factors described under the heading "Forward-Looking Statements" in the Company's Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 15, 2007. The Form 10-K and the Company's other filings with the SEC can be found on the SEC's website at . The Company assumes no obligation to update or supplement forward-looking statements that become untrue because of subsequent events.

    In thousands, except per share data    Three month periods ended March 31,
                                                  2007              2006
    Net sales                                  $     56,531      $     52,635
    Cost of products sold                            37,623            36,164
        GROSS PROFIT                                 18,908            16,471
    Costs and expenses
      Selling                                         5,963             5,767
      General and administrative                      5,816             5,796
      Research and engineering                        1,946             1,873
      Other operating expenses - net                    186                61
                                                     13,911            13,497
    Royalty income - net                                381               346
        OPERATING INCOME                              5,378             3,320
    Other income (expense)
      Interest income                                   305               402
      Interest expense                                 (165)             (102)
      Other expense - net                                (6)              (19)
                                                        134               281
        INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES                    5,512             3,601
    Income taxes                                      1,794             1,102
        NET INCOME                             $      3,718      $      2,499
    Net income per share - basic               $       0.69      $       0.44
    Net income per share - diluted             $       0.69      $       0.43
    Cash dividends declared per share          $       0.20      $       0.20
    Weighted average number of
     shares outstanding - basic                       5,360             5,731
    Weighted average number of
     shares outstanding - diluted                     5,406             5,792
    In 2007 we adopted FASB Staff Position No. AUG AIR - 1 retrospectively.
    Consequently for the three month period ended March 31, 2006 net income
    increased by $15.
                         CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                                                 March 31,        December 31,
    Thousands of dollars, except share data        2007               2006
    Cash and cash equivalents                  $     21,392      $     29,949
    Accounts receivable, less allowances
     of $1,088 ($1,209 in 2006)                      38,336            30,029
    Inventories - net                                44,183            40,415
    Prepaids and other                                7,289             5,032
        TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS                        111,200           105,425
    Property and equipment - net                     54,016            52,810
    Deferred income taxes                             3,914             5,145
    Goodwill - net                                    4,793             2,166
    Patents and other intangibles - net               2,465             2,546
    Other assets                                      2,653             2,760
        TOTAL ASSETS                           $    179,041      $    170,852
    Notes payable to banks                     $      4,816      $      3,738
    Current portion of long-term debt                 2,168             2,157
    Trade accounts payable                           14,865            11,606
    Accrued compensation and amounts
     withheld from employees                          6,218             5,556
    Accrued expenses and other
     liabilities                                      8,459            10,022
        TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES                    36,526            33,079
    Long-term debt, less current portion              1,740             2,204
    Other non-current liabilities and
     deferred income taxes                            7,074             4,421
    Common shares - $2 par value,
     15,000,000 shares authorized,
      5,358,437 and 5,360,259
       outstanding, net of
       367,333 and 365,311 treasury
       shares at par, respectively                   10,717            10,721
    Paid in capital                                   1,629             1,562
    Retained earnings                               133,686           131,949
    Accumulated other comprehensive loss            (12,331)          (13,084)
        TOTAL SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY                  133,701           131,148
         SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY                  $    179,041      $    170,852
    In 2007 we adopted FASB Staff Position No. AUG AIR - 1 retrospectively.
    Consequently at December 31, 2006 retained earnings increased by $215,
    accrued expenses decreased by $326 and deferred income taxes decreased

Source: Preformed Line Products Company

Preformed Line Products Expands Its Presence Into Central Europe With the Acquisition of BELOS S.A.

Preformed Line Products (PLP) today announced an agreement to acquire 84% of BELOS S.A., a manufacturer of fittings and equipment for power utility and mining applications based in Central Europe. The acquisition will strengthen PLP's platform in Europe while enhancing its worldwide product offerings and opening new lines of business.

Established in 1947, BELOS employs over 230 people, and operates from manufacturing and office facilities based in Bielsko-Biala, Poland. BELOS is known throughout Europe as a leading manufacturer of fittings for low, medium and high voltage overhead power networks, power supply units for electrostatic precipitators and equipment for surface mining operations and hard coal mines. With a broad range of over 2,000 products, this complimentary addition will quickly expand PLP's existing product offerings, and better position it to meet a growing demand from customers looking for a "one stop shopping" experience.

BELOS will be integrated into PLP's international subsidiary companies. "The acquisition of BELOS provides PLP with access into fast-developing Central and Eastern European markets, and expands PLP's existing product offerings and manufacturing capabilities in the region," stated Rob Ruhlman, PLP's Chairman and CEO. "BELOS brings quality, engineering, production and marketing expertise into the mix and serves markets currently untapped by PLP."

"The management and staff of BELOS support this undertaking and look forward to growing the business within PLP's International Operations group, and continuing to serve new and existing customers," said Jerzy Szpineter, BELOS' General Director.

"This is a move forward for BELOS and PLP, and we are excited about the new opportunities it will bring to both companies," added Bill Haag, Vice President of International Operations for PLP. "I am sure working with the BELOS management team and employees will take our business in this region to the next level."

Founded in 1947, Preformed Line Products (NASDAQ: PLPC - News) is an international designer and manufacturer of products and systems employed in the construction and maintenance of overhead and underground networks for energy, communications and broadband network companies. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the Company operates four domestic manufacturing centers, located in Rogers, Arkansas, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albemarle, North Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina. PLP serves worldwide markets through international operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Thailand.

Health, Safety & Toxins

One industry watcher who asked not to be identified concluded recently that 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.

By Paul Barker, Editor

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 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.

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, 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 Cabling Networking Systems Magazine March/April 2007 issue

Ron Zimmer Talks About CABA’s Building Intelligence Quotient (BIQ)

What is the BIQ?

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 help demystifies the implementation of intelligent building technologies and takes away some of the fear of the unknown.

Can you provide some background on the tools development?

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. 

Who uses the BIQ?

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.

How does the BIQ determine building intelligence?

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.

How long is the learning curve?
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.

Why an online system?
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.

How does BIQ improve intelligent building design and performance?
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.

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

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.

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

Why should I obtain third-party validation?
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.

What does the validation process entail?
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.

Is the BIQ system secure?

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.

How much does the tool cost?

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.

Where can you access the tool?

The tool can be accessed through the CABA Web site at

Who developed the BIQ?

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.

Graybar Joins APC Gold Certified Partner Program

Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, today announced that it recently joined the APC Gold Certified Partner Program.  Graybar technical sales professionals throughout the United States completed a rigorous training and proficiency-testing program and are now certified by APC to configure and implement APC physical infrastructure solutions.  Using APC’s online configuration tools, they can plan APC InfraStruXure® solutions up to 80kW for customers with a wide range of IT architecture needs.

The InfraStruXure design, which integrates power, cooling, rack, management, environmental and security monitoring, and services, allows the selection of standardized components to create a data center solution through modular and mobile configurations.  This standardization enables an easily scalable architecture designed to meet changing needs and future expansion.  This award-winning, patent-pending approach provides increased availability, improved adaptability and speed of deployment as well as lower total cost of ownership for IT environments – from wiring closets to server rooms to data centers.

“We are proud to achieve APC Gold Certified Partner status, which, we believe, will benefit our customers immensely,” said Michael Dumas, vice president, comm/data business at Graybar.  “Now we have Graybar Network Systems Specialists and Account Managers throughout the company who have achieved the highest level of certification on APC’s innovative InfraStruXure solutions.  This scalable, “pay as you grow” approach to building a state-of-the-art data center works to our customers’ advantage.  We look forward to our enhanced collaboration with APC to configure, implement and service APC InfraStruXure solutions.” 

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

About American Power Conversion
APC, which combined with MGE UPS SYSTEMS to form the Critical Power & Cooling Services business unit of Schneider Electric, is a leading provider of global, end-to-end solutions for real-time infrastructure.  Founded in 1981, APC’s comprehensive products and services for home and corporate environments improve the availability, manageability and performance of sensitive electronic, network, communication and industrial equipment of all sizes.  APC offers a wide variety of products for physical infrastructure including InfraStruXure®, its revolutionary architecture for on-demand data centers, as well as physical threat management products through the company’s NetBotz division.  These products and services help companies increase the availability and reliability of their IT systems.  All trademarks are the property of their owners.

Graybar Achieves #1 Industry Ranking On The 2006 FORTUNE “America’s Most Admired Companies” List

Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, has achieved the #1 ranking in the industry category Wholesalers: Diversified on the annual FORTUNE “America’s Most Admired Companies” list.

This is the sixth consecutive year Graybar has earned a place on the list, which is featured in the March 19 issue of FORTUNE.   It is the first time Graybar has attained the title Industry Champion, a name bestowed on companies rated at the top of their industry category.

“We are honored to receive the #1 ranking among the largest diversified wholesalers,” said Robert A. Reynolds Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Graybar. “Being named Industry Champion is especially significant because the industry continues to recognize our company’s strengths.  We use those strengths to our customers’ advantage by helping them power and network their facilities with speed, intelligence and efficiency.”

To compile the Wholesalers: Diversified industry category for 2006 FORTUNE “America’s Most Admired Companies” List of Industry Champs, survey partner Hay Group selected the top 10 revenue-producing companies in the category and added the #1-rated company from last year. Then they asked directors, executives, and analysts in the industry category to rate the companies according to eight key attributes:  innovation, people management, financial soundness, quality of management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, long-term investment and quality of products/services.  The six companies with the highest scores made the list.

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

Accu-Tech’s Samsung 500 RaceDay Event A Success

BICSI’s Spring Conference in Dallas, Texas started with a checkered flag as Jeff Burton won NASCAR’s Samsung 500, on Sunday, April 15.  There to watch Jeff, who won the inaugural Texas race 10 years ago, were Accu-Tech Corporation and over 100 of there vendors and customers, who spent the first part of the day partying at our hospitality tent and touring the pits.  The day was sponsored by Accu-Tech, Panduit, General Cable, Transition Networks and STI Firestop as a way to show there customers how much they are appreciated. 

Accu-Tech has a history with race cars, but this event was unprecidented in it’s attendance and fun.  A great time was had by all and everyone took home a race t-shirt to show that they were at THE social event that mattered most at Spring BICSI 2007.


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