"Heard On The Street" Column
Issue: February 2013
By: Frank Bisbee


Integrated Systems Contractors Respond to New Safety and Security Demand

Security and Safety meet to insure that First Responders get their emergency information VERIFIED.

Undoubtedly, you have heard the ads on TV or radio about the enhanced home/business security systems that provide two-way voice and one-way video surveillance upon demand (using Internet Protocols). These new inexpensive systems and security/safety services are rapidly getting public acceptance from both consumers and first responders.

Recent studies have uncovered a growing trend in both public and private sectors to use these new security/safety services (voice and video) to confirm the alarm report. Numerous electrical and integrated systems contractors are already getting a substantial revenue stream by installing the terminal equipment and supporting infrastructure to activate these new expanded security/safety services.

Imagine the 9-1-1 operator getting a report similar to the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School with a VERIFIED threat (using two-way voice and one-way video surveillance - on demand). The emergency dispatcher would be able to confirm the report and, in many cases, provide additional information due to the live surveillance. This level of verification is important because of the significant number of false reports generated by automatic alarm systems (by customer error or by faulty detectors). Add to those problems in the emergency reporting systems, we are seeing an increase in “SWATTING” incidents.

Swatting has its origins in prank calls to emergency services. Increasing sophistication of the techniques employed and the objectives, notably attempts to direct response units of particular types,(in particular, attempts to cause SWAT teams to be dispatched to particular locations) spawned the term swatting. The term may have been coined by the FBI, which investigates these activities that are in the United States or are US-related. Swatting incidents may range from large to small, from an entire SWAT unit to a fabricated police report meant to discredit an individual as a prank or personal vendetta. It is a misdemeanor or a felony in most states to report any untruth to law enforcement. The name "swatting" is derived from SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), one type of such team.

“Swatting” is also a new kind of prank being played on celebrities. Tom Cruise is the latest victim of jokers who call 911 to request a large police response at a celebrity's house, in the hope that a Swat team will turn up on the doorstep.

Caller ID spoofing and phone phreaking techniques may be combined. 911 systems (including telephony and human operators) have been tricked by calls placed from cities hundreds of miles away. The caller typically places a 911 call using a spoofed phone number with the goal of tricking emergency authorities into responding to an address with a SWAT team to an emergency that doesn't exist.

“Swatting” is the unfortunate crime trend of people calling the police to report crimes occurring at locations when no such incident was actually taking place, in order to drive a police S.W.A.T. team to the reported location. Such a prank costs valuable public taxpayer resources.

The 12-year-old boy who was arrested in December for making prank “swatting” calls on Ashton Kutcher’s house and at least one other location last October was charged on several counts, among them, two felony counts of making false bomb threats and computer intrusion, the L.A. District Attorney announced.The juvenile’s name was withheld due to his age. The incident involving Kutcher’s house in Hollywood took place on October 3, 2012, and involved a false report that armed men were inside. The boy was also charged with regards to a call made one week later at a Wells Fargo Bank on Wilshire. There was no indication from the D.A.'s office that the boy would be charged in conjunction to a prank call reportedly made on the home of Justin Bieber.

The "swatting" trend continued in January, however, with prank calls made on the homes of the Kardashians, Tom Cruise and Chris Brown. No arrests have been made yet in conjunction with those incidents. The Beverly Hills Police Department said last month that they believed it was a case of copycat crimes. The LAPD has been investigating the crime spree in conjunction with the FBI. In other words, there may be more news on this disturbing trend. Other recent cases of prank or false reporting have challenged the authorities to pursue a stronger policy on verification.

How do we make our homes, schools, hospitals, and workplaces SAFER?  The technology of Integrated Systems can truly provide us with a better and safer way to report problems and get responses from our fire/police/emergency providers. Does the school where your children attend have a system to communicate a VERIFIED alarm to the local emergency services?

Valuable resources for emergency response should not be wasted.

For example: at a school, a police officer on site may cost more than $55,000 per year and, the budget is already anorexic.

An alarm system and service with two-way voice and one-way video surveillance - on demand may cost about $100-150 per month. Much of the required infrastructure and wiring is probably already installed in the schools. Multi-tasking facilities is part of the integrated systems design concept which reduces costs and provides faster delivery of new services in the structure.  How long would it take the PTA or School Board to make it happen for your school?

Don’t wait for an emergency before you think about it.

But that’s just my opinion,

Frank Bisbee - Editor

"HOTS - Heard On The Street" Monthly Column


How To Judge The Fiber Optic Connector – The Actual Results with Megladon’s HLC® May Shock You

In the development of fiber optic technology over the last 30 years, many companies and individuals have invented the "better mousetrap" - a fiber optic connector that was lower loss, lower cost, easier to terminate or solved some other perceived problem. In all, about 100 fiber optic connectors have been introduced to the marketplace, but only a few represent the majority of the market.

Old Design

Most fiber optic connectors are plugs or so-called male connectors with a protruding ferrule that holds the fibers and aligns two fibers for mating. They use a mating adapter to mate the two connectors that fits the securing mechanism of the connectors (bayonet, screw-on or snap-in.) The ferrule design is also useful as it can be used to connect directly to active devices like LEDs, VCSELs and detectors.

The big silver connector is the Deutsch 1000, what was probably the first commercially successful fiber optic connector. It was really a "pin vise" holding a stripped fiber. The nose piece is spring loaded and was pushed back when the connector was inserted into a mating adapter. The fiber stuck out into a drop of index matching fluid on a plastic lens. This solution was state of the art in the late 70s, yielding about 3 dB loss. Many users remember it as the connector on the front panel of the original Tektronix OTDR.

The Biconic, the yellow body indicating a SM version. Developed by a team led by Jack Cook at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ, the Biconic was molded from a glass-filled plastic that was almost as hard as ceramic. It started with the fiber being molded into the ferrule. This lasted until the company could get a 125 micron/5mil pin insert into the plastic mold, at which point the fiber was glued into the ferule with epoxy. When singlemode versions first appeared, the ferrules were ground to center the fiber core in the ferrule to reduce loss. Since it was not keyed and could rotate in the mating adapters, it had an airgap between the ferrules when mated, meaning loss was never less than 0.3 dB due to fresnel reflection. Usually MM Biconics had losses of 0.5-1 dB and SM 0.7 dB or higher.

The advent of the ceramic ferrule in the mid-80s in Japan changed the connector designs forever. The ceramic ferrule was hard and precise. Fibers were accurately located for alignment and ferrules could be allowed to touch. Adding in convex ferrules for PC (physical contact) between connectors reduced losses to levels below 0.3 dB for both MM and SM varieties.

In the late 90s, small form factor (SFF) connectors became popular, but only the LC (top) has been a runaway success, both in telcos and high bit rate LANs, SANs, etc.

Color Codes

Since the earliest days of fiber optics, orange, black or gray was multimode and yellow singlemode. However, the advent of metallic connectors like the FC and ST made color coding difficult, so colored boots were often used. The TIA 568 color code for connector bodies and/or boots is Beige for multimode fiber, Blue for singlemode fiber, and Green for APC (angled) connectors

The New Design

In 2010 Megladon Manufacturing Group released assemblies that had been Bit Error Rate Tested and certified 10GIG HLC fiber patch cables. Today, this product line ships with an eye diagram and Bit Error Rate test data which enables the installer to deploy with confidence.

Bit Error Rate Certified 10GIG HLC® Fiber Assemblies
As the migration to 10GIG continues in fiber optic networks, many installers and maintenance personnel are challenged when they realize a percentage of the Laser Optimized fiber optic patch cables ordered either have a high bit error rate when mated or develop intermittent issues in a short period of time. What is not known is those products sold as "10GIG patch cables" are not bit error rate tested using an actual 10GIG signal. Instead, the standard insertion loss performance is considered the pass/fail criteria. This does not guarantee an acceptable bit error rate.

Megladon's HLC SCRATCHGUARD® connection technology has been known for more than a decade for its durability and repeatable performance. It is a One Of A Kind patented product that enables business critical applications to operate with minimal connectivity issues. The repeatability of the Hardened Lens and its properties also allows Megladon to bit error rate test and certify the terminated product with an extremely high first pass yield.

"The market has been taught that any multimode fiber patch cable with an aqua jacket will perform in a 10GIG system. The truth is the glass is designed for such a system but the finished patch cable has not been tested with a bit error rate tester. We have not found one manufacturer that will provide bit error rate data with the product. That changed today" said Mike Shannahan, Vice President of Communication Planning Corporation.

In 1997 Megladon Manufacturing created the HLC (Hardened Lens Contact) termination fiber optic products that far exceed industry standards. The HLC® connector has changed the market and taken it to the next level. Megladon's HLC process was developed to meet the growing need for a scratch resistant, highly durable fiber optic mating surface. The ScratchGuard connector technology is a critical step forward in quality and durability. With the fiber optic connector being a critical component, damage to the connector due to handling and repeated use has been a concern and point of failure for network operators. Megladon's HLC ScratchGuard technology has virtually eliminated this problem.

"This is truly a win for the customer. Combining a fiber cable that can tolerate 7.5 mm of bend radius with a nearly scratch resistant connector, the reliability and durability of connectorized cables has just taken a giant step forward.” Stated John Culbert, Pres of Megladon Mfg.

Prysmian Group /Draka Communications, is now the world’s largest producer of fiber optic cables and products.

Prysmian is the leader in fiber and fiber cable solutions, including the most advanced connectorized cables through the combination of BendBright-XST bend-insensitive fiber cable and Megladon's Hardened Lens Connector (HLC) ScratchGuard® connector technology.

Now available in patch cord products, Prysmian / Draka and Megladon have combined two best-in-class technologies to deliver a high performance, highly scratch resistant, bend-insensitive fiber optic cable assembly to the market. The product offering is diverse and includes riser, plenum, and low-smoke zero halogen (LSZH) cables available with ultra or angle polish hardened lens connectors.

The Prysmian / Draka's second generation of bend-insensitive fiber, BendBright-XS has become a product of choice for customers desiring a solid-glass G.657 A&B compliant fiber. With over 150,000 miles of BendBright-XS already in service, Prysmian /Draka is leading the efforts to bring bend-insensitive fiber to the global market.

Global presence keeps Prysmian close to its customers
With its two business divisions, Energy Cables and Systems (cables and systems for underground and submarine power transmission and for underground power distribution) and Telecom Cables and Systems (optical fiber, fiber optic and copper cables and connectivity systems for telecommunications and data communications), Prysmian boasts a global presence with subsidiaries in 50 countries, 98 plants, 22 Research & Development centers worldwide, and 22,000 employees. The widespread and diverse geographical distribution of its manufacturing facilities enables Prysmian to respond to the varying requests and requirements of customers and the market with the utmost speed.

About Megladon®
Megladon Manufacturing Group Ltd., a subsidiary of TyRex Group Ltd., is recognized as a leader in the fiber optic marketplace. Founded in 1997, Megladon made it their mission to provide customers with fiber optic products that far exceed industry standards. As technology innovators, Megladon created the HLC (Hardened Lens Contact) termination, which has changed the market and taken it to the next level. For additional information on Megladon and their patented processes Check out their new website.

Or for additional information regarding Megladon's variety of fiber optic products please contact John Culbert at 512.615.4687 or by email at


“Put Estimating Software to Work for You” - Article from BICSI NEWS - Jan/Feb 2013 by Todd McCormick

Strategy & Development

Put Estimating Software to Work for You

By Todd McCormick

Why should an information technology systems (ITS) contractor or a company involved with designing or installing more than one building system switch from paper or spreadsheet to a computerized estimating system?

It Saves Time

Whether bid or negotiated, the end-product of any job estimate is the price. Getting an accurate number quickly is probably what matters to you—one in which you can have full confidence to submit to the customer or general contractor.

While it may be easy to do estimating on paper or via a spreadsheet for one job, a computerized estimating system offers the ability to customize everything —and use those keys to ensure speedier estimating time and time again.

Estimating software cannot make installation crews work faster. However, it can be adjusted and tweaked to reflect actual site conditions, your own unique productivity and labor factors that others might not be able to match. Sophisticated estimators put together assemblies, special labor units and other unique company-specific constructs. These items can be used job after job. While there might be some tweaking needed depending on conditions and materials, it is quickly and easily accomplished. Once the basic units or assemblies are put together, re-using them saves time and effort.

Having worked with thousands of contracting companies that use estimating software, I can confirm that no two companies have the same database or the same system in place within a year after implementing software—everyone customizes their estimating software to fit what they do and how they do it.

It Improves Accuracy

There are a lot of estimating mistakes that can crop up along the way, and making a mistake in putting a bid together can adversely impact your ability to succeed in this industry and this current economy.

Users of estimating software can eliminate math errors. Anyone can get quantities or prices wrong, or inaccurately estimate labor hours for a certain part of a project. However, if these numbers are entered correctly, the software is pretty good at multiplication. Are humans good at multiplication, too? Of course we are. But we sometimes get distracted by meetings, phone calls, fatigue or other external factors—and that can cause us to multiply X times Y and not get Z. Most estimators feel it is necessary to check and re-check any math done on paper. With the computer’s mathematical ability, you can use this time to do something else. If you have the correct labor units, hours and material prices, estimating software will help provide the right answer. There are also estimating software systems that interface with CAD drawings to help automatically highlight missing key components. Items on the drawing that you omitted the first time when estimating a bid are brought to your attention.

It is important to account for the people responsible for the estimating. Sometimes it is a professional estimator; other times it is you having to work late into the night. We still run into companies that are estimating with paper and pencil. At BICSI conferences and other events, we hear many stories about ITS contractors working into the wee hours of the morning with a scratch pad, a pencil and an eraser.

There is nothing wrong with learning paper-and-pencil estimating. In fact, there are courses available on estimating by hand—it is the basis of any sophisticated approach to estimating. But if you are continually manually estimating jobs late at night, it is highly likely that you are eventually going to make a mistake. You might end up winning a job—at a price 30 percent lower than anyone else! What comes with that win is the unavoidable and costly task of re-examining your estimate, because you probably missed something that everyone else saw.

Todd McCormick is president of McCormick Systems. He has worked in contracting and estimating for more than 30 years. He can be reached at


I am Using Spreadsheets. Why Do I Need A Specialized System?

The above question does not have a definitive answer—every cabling contractor is different. For some, the switch from a spreadsheet to estimating software will be all about the speed of getting to a final price, and the accuracy of estimates. For others, it could be something as simple as the way that material prices are easily obtained and imported directly into the estimate, instead of manually updating prices on spreadsheets. Time is saved, mistakes are avoided. There is also the ability to easily create (and reuse) assemblies. Fine tuned over time, these make estimating faster.

When contractors who have been using spreadsheets ask about entry-level computerized estimating, they are usually surprised by the low price. After they implement the system, they find savings in time and effort that they did not anticipate. A three-person contracting company that primarily pursues bid work recently confirmed that the use of estimating software was providing significant savings thanks to the ability to obtain drawings for jobs electronically and avoid the cost of paying for paper prints.

What Do Today’s Estimating Systems Do?

The following are typically standard elements in estimating software:

Flexibility–As estimators become more comfortable with computerized estimating systems, they learn that the flexibility of being able to have more windows open helps them estimate faster. Some users have oriented their systems to operate on two screens for even more windows to remain open. This enables work to be done on the fly and allows the estimator to spend more time thinking about the project and less time worrying about the computer helping to do the work. The result is a more productive estimator and better estimates.

Networkable—When asked to submit last-minute change orders, you might need access to your estimating system from a work site. Most estimating software systems are easily networkable. Some larger companies, with estimators in more than one location, split up a large job and do the estimating work simultaneously in real time from two or more locations.

Pricing—You should be able to obtain accurate, real-time prices directly from the distributor(s) if your company works with one or more local distributors that are computer-savvy. The prices do not have to be obtained via fax and re-entered; they automatically flow into your estimate via the software, and can be updated at the last minute before submitting the bid. This eliminates mistakes.

Performance monitoring—The project is complete. You made money, but not as much as you had hoped. What happened? Many estimating software users go back and track what occurred on the work site versus what was estimated. This analysis could point to a problem in the field, a problem with the general contractor, or perhaps the need to adjust the estimating process. You won’t know if you don’t do it.

Project management –If you estimate the project and win it, you will need to manage it. There are elemental ways to use the project’s estimate to track your progress and determine whether you are running on schedule.

Estimating software allows you to do on-screen take-offs

Take-off the job from electronic documents—The era of paper drawings for projects is coming to a close. Software is available that accepts a variety of electronic documents (e.g., PDFs and DWG files), allowing you to do take-offs right on the screen, saving time and money.

This article is reprinted with permission of BICSI NEWS Magazine – a bi-monthly publication of BICSI – Betsy Conroy, Editor. BICSI is a professional association supporting the information technology systems (ITS) industry. ITS covers the spectrum of voice, data, electronic safety & security, project management and audio & video technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, optical fiber- and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.

Todd McCormick ( is president of McCormick Systems. He has worked in contracting and estimating for more than 30 years. 

Privately owned McCormick Systems (Chandler, AZ) is the nation’s leader in software used by specialty contractors for construction estimating and project management. The company’s products enable customers to quickly produce consistent, profitable estimates for electrical, plumbing & mechanical, automated building systems, high-voltage construction, service work – and more. or 800-444-4890.


As our industry evolves to include the Integrated Systems Contractor, we need new tools to capture the automation trend. McCormick Systems develops, markets, and supports estimating software to the construction industry. Starting in 1979 on the Apple II computer and a user base of one, McCormick has grown to become recognized as the leader in estimating software. McCormick now has over 8,000 contractor accounts throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and beyond..

McCormick's full line of estimating and management software is in Microsoft Windows platforms. McCormick's network programs are completely multi-user multi-tasking and can be licensed by the station or as a system.

McCormick's Corporate offices are located in Chandler, Arizona and at the present time, McCormick employs over thirty full time persons. The Corporate office contains offices for development, support, shipping, accounting, and marketing. In addition, it has a dedicated "learning center" for product instruction.

Plus visit this free white paper collection for more information:

Using McCormick Software For Project Management Compiled from our Newsletter series on Project Management
The How, Why and Future of Estimating (Re-printed with thanks to The Academy of Electrical Contracting)
McCormick's Remote Takeoff takes off
McCormick Systems' T-Bill now interfaces with a handheld PDA
Historic Building’s Renovation Provides New Home For McCormick
No More Musical Chairs! – Thanks To McCormick’s Win12000 Networked Estimating
Contractors Gain Estimating Flexibility with McCormick's Latest, Version7.0
Version 6.5 From McCormick Speeds Contractor Estimates
CADEstimating - Meet Indiana's Steve Shrader, The Electronic Electrical Contractor
McCormick Systems is contributing to the Mission of educating the marketplace and advancing technology
Before you buy an estimating system
After you Purchase
How do Computers estimate
Five Steps to Networking your estimating system
The Electrical Industry Gets Computerized

Whether you are a one man shop or a large multi-million dollar contractor, McCormick has a system for you.

With McCormick's 4 different levels of estimating programs, we have the perfect fit for you! All of our electrical programs include over 55,000 items and over 25,000 pre-built assemblies. The software has the ability to update pricing from major pricing services including Trade Service, Net Pricer and multiple supply houses. The data base will include bid labor units based on a national average, 2 Change Order labor units, and all 3 NECA levels. With the advanced audit trail and edit extension, it allows you to make changes on the fly instantly. Using McCormick’s Menus and multiple Workspace pages puts all of the parts and Assemblies at your fingertips. The patented multiple windows and ease of creating Assemblies makes estimating a breeze, and moves you considerably ahead of the competition.

90% of your time is spent in takeoff and with our patented multi-window takeoff, McCormick is the fastest... Guaranteed!

McCormick Trade in Guarantee
As your business continues to grow, you can upgrade your McCormick Estimating Program to the next level with 100% trade in credit.

Join the thousands of contractors who have switched to a faster, more efficient way of estimating! Call for a Web Demonstration! 800-444-4890


ShoreTel Helps Retailers Maximize Valentine's Day Profits

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ShoreTel® (SHOR), the leading provider of brilliantly simple unified communications platforms, including business phone systems, applications, and mobile UC solutions, continues to provide communications solutions that help retail companies improve productivity, enhance the customer experience and increase sales.

The retail sector is one of ShoreTel's strong vertical markets. ShoreTel's ease-of-use and management makes it a perfect fit for retail companies which are often faced with managing growth and reducing costs with minimal IT staff, while still maintaining superior levels of customer service. A ShoreTel UC solution, with integrated contact center features, leverages the power of VoIP to integrate communication tasks, allowing real-time management of various communications channels, including voice, IM, video and conferencing, ultimately enabling retailers to offer a better and more responsive experience to customers.

ShoreTel's roster of retail customers includes companies of all sizes and types, including specialized retail customers, like Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Phillip's Flowers and Gifts, and Tulip, a leading UK food supplier. For these retailers, having a reliable ShoreTel IP PBX with integrated UC is especially critical during the Valentine's Day holiday – one of their busiest days of the year. This year is no exception – the National Retail Federation is predicting spending for Valentine's Day to reach $18.6 billion – an estimated $1 billion above the prediction for 2012. During holidays, ShoreTel's retail customers often need to increase the number of call center representatives to manage the increase in traffic; the easy-to-use functionality of the ShoreTel business phone system allows them to easily bring the new representatives fully onboard with minimal training.

"Our ShoreTel phone system has been one of the best investments we have made in our business. The system is extremely user-friendly but yet sophisticated and function-packed," said Peilin Pratt, vice president at "With Valentine's Day coming up and increasing calls coming in, ShoreTel, with its effective desktop Communicator call manager, keeps our customer service team organized and efficient."

"ShoreTel's reliable and streamlined communication solution allows retailers to focus on enhancing the customer experience, which is at the heart of every retailer's success," said Kevin Gavin, chief marketing officer at ShoreTel. "These benefits are especially apparent during the busy holiday shopping periods when retail companies simply don't have time to worry about complex communication systems."

Around the globe, retailers are reaping the benefits of a ShoreTel business phone system with integrated UC to enhance customer service and improve their bottom lines, particularly during the Valentine's Day shopping rush.

"Valentine's Day is a very busy time at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, especially with all the Valentine's Day products we sell! Our Customer Service Workgroup takes catalog orders, assists with online order calls and places orders for their franchise stores calling in to replenish inventory items. And our Field Service rep workgroup takes calls from franchises and company owned stores calling in for support. Our ShoreTel system helps us ensure we handle the increased number of calls we receive so we don't miss any orders and the products get shipped in time for Valentine's Day."

- Key Jobson, CIO, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

"We chose ShoreTel because they matched all our requirements, and frankly, no other supplier came close. We can now leverage this in the future by implementing the conference bridge which will allow us to link all the sites together for communication purposes, as well as enhancing our profile and the service we can deliver to our retail customers."
- Tony Brown, IT Director, Tulip

"Having grown over 85 years to one of the nation's leading florists, we needed a state-of-the-art communications system. ShoreTel improved our handling of customer calls into the Contact Center, gave our distribution center and ten Chicago-area branches uniform station equipment for the varying needs of our users, and added far more features than our previous systems at a lower monthly cost."
- Jim Phillip, Chairman & CIO, Phillip's/1-800-FLORALS

"Each improvement or feature that allows an opportunity for better customer service is definitely worthwhile. The ShoreTel system allows us to concentrate on creating the most innovative and unique designs suitable for specific occasions and to not worry about the technical end of our phone call. We find the caller ID feature extremely helpful as sometimes before we answer the phone we know which customer is calling and can even have their history up before we start speaking...impressed? Yes, they usually are"

- Sue Rice, Contact Center Manager, Phillip's/1-800-FLORALS

Communication Planning Corporation is North Florida’s leading ShoreTel dealer.

Since 1980, CPC has provided quality service for their communications and cabling needs. CPC and ShoreTel can deliver unified communications.

Contact Michael Shannahan, Vice President – Communication Planning Corporation (Jacksonville, FL) Tel. 904-645-9077 or


"The CAT's Out of the BAG" article reprint from BICSInews Jan/Feb 2013 issue by Carol Everette Oliver, RCDD, ESS

Technology & Innovation

The CAT’s out of the Bag

The Story of the Category

By Carol Everett Oliver, RCDD, ESS

All it took was one question posted on LinkedIn, and as the saying goes, the CAT’s out of the bag. The question started as a fact-finding mission to distinguish separate applications for three twisted-pair category copper cables—category 5e, 6 and 6A. I am constantly being asked to differentiate the applications among these three cabling categories and wanted real-life views on the topic from industry consultants, installers, end users, manufacturers and distributors.

With more than 100 comments during a six-month span, the LinkedIn posting became one of 2012’s hottest and longest debates among industry LinkedIn groups, including the BICSI Official Group, BICSI Northeast Region, BICSI RCDD, TekTalk and Structured Cabling Professionals. On many of the LinkedIn group sites, the posting grew and branched out to unrelated topics, reminding me of the children’s “telephone game” where secrets are whispered from one person to the next and the initial topic is somewhat skewed by the time it reaches the final person.

Given the amount of eye-opening views on the topic gathered from LinkedIn members, I decided to conduct further research and interviews with industry icons on the history of category cable, the current applications and the future of copper cabling—all of which is compiled into this historical article that aptly coincides with BICSI’s 40th Anniversary.

Look What the CAT Dragged In

Most of us know that the first recognized category cable was category 3. But what came before that? Was there a category 1 and 2? The answer to that question comes all the way from Spain. Luis Semprun, owner of Data Structures in Madrid, says, “The answer stems way back from the dinosaur ages before there were standards. The first ‘Ethernetsaurus’ cable was actually a telephone-grade cable, and then grade 2 was for integrated services digital network (ISDN) systems.”

David “Bo” Conrad, RCDD, Bo Enterprises, explains that there actually was no category 1 but that in the 1970s, the cable was defined as plain old telephone service (POTS) with a rating of 64 kilohertz (kHz) to support analog voice signals.

“Most homes were wired with this quad wire, whose four conductors were red, green, yellow and black, capable of supporting two phone lines,” he says “This cable type also supported the 64 kilobits per second (kb/s) speeds of RS-232 type cable, which converted Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) cabling to a twisted-pair format.”

Since there were no standards at that time, all cabling was proprietary and a battle commenced between computer manufacturers like IBM and DEC. “At that time, IBM really owned the computer marketplace and had a version of unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cable called Type 3. It was rated at 1 megahertz (MHz) to support the new 4 megabits per second (Mb/s) token ring protocol for networking their computers,” Conrad explains.

Early IBM Type cables, dating back to the 1980s, preceded the design of the category cables (courtesy of Berk-Tek).

Phone systems were an early adopter of twisted-pair and high pair count cabling, whereas computer cabling was mainly coaxial-based, especially at the early mainframe stages—long before minicomputers, personal computers and LANs. “While the computer protocol war was happening between the two main protocols and computer giants—Ethernet from DEC and token ring from IBM—a smaller company from the Silicon Valley, called Synoptics, revolutionized Ethernet’s RG-8 thicknet and RG-59 thinnet coaxial style cables by developing a modular RJ-45 twisted-pair hub that could support 10BASE-T at 16 MHz,” recalls Conrad. This was the precursor to the first defined twisted-pair cable, known as category 3.

“IBM lost the first battle to Ethernet and tried again later with category 4, a twisted-pair cable with a rating of 20 MHz to support their ‘faster’ 16 Mb/s token ring,” adds Conrad. “We all know that Ethernet and UTP won this network battle, especially with the introduction of the 100BASE-T standard, which replaced hubs with switches… and cabling obsolescence continues to be driven by computer technology; then and now.”

Leveling the CAT Playing Field

Before category cables were officially recognized and before industry standards for twisted‑pair cabling existed, Anixter introduced a program at the 1989 BICSI Winter Conference to differentiate cable performance criteria for the cabling they offered. According to the program, which was later purchased by Underwriters Laboratories® (UL), level 1 was a 24 American wire gauge (AWG) copper cable used only for voice applications. Level 2 cable handled IBM mainframe and minicomputer terminal transmission, as well as some early slow-speed (1 to 2 Mb/s) LAN protocols, like attached resource computer network (ARCnet). Level 3 was designated as the minimum quality twisted-pair cable to handle10BASE-T Ethernet and active 4/16 Mb/s token ring.

“Many people jumped on the bandwagon to define data cables,” says Pete Lockhart, one of the originators of the program who worked at Anixter from 1988 to 2011. “That included the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), which started writing specifications before the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and Northern Telecom, which presented a white paper at the International Wire and Cable Symposium (IWCS) on a twisted-pair cable that could handle 16 Mb/s of Ethernet and token ring.”

These efforts ultimately provided a design concept for level 4 type cabling and established a random testing program through UL. According to Lockhart, by the 1991 BICSI Conference held in Scottsdale, Ariz., a level 5 UTP cable design was defined to run up to 100 Mb/s to 100 meters (m [328 feet (ft)]). “That was the game changer for copper cabling,” he says.

Many of us in the industry have wondered how the 100 m (328 ft) twisted-pair distance limitation came into existence. According to Lockhart, an industry study in the late 1980s looked at the average distance between the telecommunications room and telecommunications outlet/connector. The average run was 67 m (220 ft). Manufacturers of active components (i.e., transmitters, receivers and switches) were therefore designing their equipment to transmit to 100 m (328 ft).

Breeding Standards

Today, there are three main standards bodies that serve the U.S. telecommunications industry—Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers® (IEEE®), TIA and BICSI. However, there is also influence from the international standards body of the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC). IEEE defines the protocol and data rates of Ethernet and defines Layers 1 and 2 of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. TIA specifies the cabling structure, including media categories, fiber and copper components, general environment and implementation requirements. BICSI provides installation guidelines and best practices for specific environments like health care, education, data centers and security.

Cable classifications were originally considered “types” and then “levels,” but in standards’ nomenclature, the term “category” emerged. In 1985, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) asked the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) to develop a cabling standard that would define a generic telecommunications wiring system for commercial buildings to support a multiproduct, multi-vendor environment. This would be a cabling system defined to run all current and future networking systems over a common topology using common media and connectors.

Two years later, the manufacturers of Ethernet-based equipment were looking at using twisted‑pair telephone cable for computer transmission. In 1990, the IEEE released the 802.3 Ethernet standard 10BASE-T—where the “10” represents the speed of 10 Mb/s, the “BASE” represents baseband transmission and the “T” refers to twisted-pair. In 1991, the EIA, together with TIA, published the first telecommunications cabling standard called ANSI/TIA/EIA-568, and structured cabling was born.

At that time, cabling systems were categorized in terms of their frequency bandwidth and improved specifications. The TIA standards defined the cabling components (i.e., cables, connecting hardware and patch cords), permanent links and channels by performance categories. The first category UTP copper cable was category 3, designed to reliably carry data up to 10 Mb/s. Soon thereafter, TIA TSB-36 specified two higher grades of UTP cable—category 4 and category 5. Category 3 was relegated to mainly two-line telephone systems and 10BASE-T. Category 4 was specified for data rates of 16 Mb/s and performance up to 20 MHz. It was quickly replaced by higher-bandwidth category 5.

Category 5 was defined in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A in 1995 and was specified for frequencies up to 100 MHz. It was developed to deploy Fast Ethernet networks such as 100BASE-T. Categories 3 and 5 were not limited to four pairs but often were constructed with 100 pairs for backbone applications. Category 5 had an expected useful life of about 10 years, but in 2001, the next generation of category 5e was ratified in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2 and became the media for Gigabit Ethernet, or 1000BASE-T.

“Insertion loss deviation was the ‘Achilles’ heel’ of category 5. We needed tighter specifications and electrical performance parameters for Gigabit Ethernet,” says Lockhart. “At that time, category 6 was actually on the table, but TIA decided to add the needed return loss specification and create category 5e, which did not change the frequency.”

Category 5e ensured that additional parameters were satisfied, including headroom for near-end crosstalk (NEXT), equal level far-end crosstalk (ELFEXT) and return loss. In addition, category 5e introduced the characterization of power sum crosstalk, the cumulative interfering signals from each pair, calculated via a power sum algorithm when using all four pairs simultaneously.

Data transmission speeds continued to escalate along with increased network performance requirements. In 2002, category 6 was ratified in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1, more than doubling the performance bandwidth from 100 MHz to 250 MHz. Along with category 6 came tighter electrical specifications, which created additional testing parameters and the characterization of component balance for improved immunity against noise, in the form of electromagnetic interference (EFI) or radiofrequency interference (RFI). Category 6 was designed to last a decade and is still the preferred cable standard for most of today’s LAN installations.

Although category 6 is recognized by the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group to run short lengths of 10 gigabit per second (Gb/s) applications, it is not the recognized standard media for these applications. It is therefore not recommended for new installations because alien crosstalk performance must be verified with a time-consuming and onerous field qualification process. Whereas primary, internal crosstalk is interference created between pairs within the same jacket, 10GBASE-T is sensitive to alien crosstalk or undesired external signal coupling between adjacent cabling components.

In 2008, category 6A was ratified in ANSI/TIA-568-B.2-10 to create a copper twisted-pair solution for 10GBASE-T, which is prequalified to meet alien crosstalk requirements, thereby removing the need for extensive field testing. Category 6A was developed for bandwidths up to 500 MHz and was designed to be more robust through features such as a tighter pair twist and overall metal foils or increased separation between pairs in adjacent cables to address balance and signal interference.

As the category numbers increase, the pair twisting gets tighter. This is due to the increased speed and bandwidth characteristics and to mitigate any attenuation or crosstalk issues (courtesy of Berk-Tek).

Many CAT Lives

It has been five years since the last of the category cable was standardized in North America. The information technology systems (ITS) industry currently recognizes four types of twisted-pair, 100 ohm copper category cables—category 3 (1 to 16 MHz), mainly used for telephone; category 5e (1 to 100 MHz), category 6 (1 to 250 MHz) and category 6A (1 to 500 MHz). All of these are available in unshielded or shielded constructions.

Let us circle back to the original question posed on LinkedIn, which asked where and when which category cable—category 5e, 6 or 6A—should be specified. The decision to specify category 6A over category 6, or category 6 over category 5e, is based on many factors, including the applications’ bandwidth requirements, installed environment and facility life cycle. There is currently a decline in the installation of category 5e and a shift to higher bandwidth cables. Keith Clark, Datacom Sales & Associates, summed it up in his LinkedIn post. “Annually, we are seeing growth in 6A, strong growth in 6 and a decline in 5e.” Following are some of the real-life differentiators and opinions.

§         Category 5e still has a place—Most of the category 5e installations currently being specified are based on the current installed base (retrofitting to an existing category 5e system), a shorter life cycle of the facility and lower bandwidth requirements (i.e., word processing and accounting spreadsheets).

“My belief is that 90 percent of computer work is really glorified word processing, and as such, [category] 5e would be a winner all day long. Slow desktop performance is nearly always the computer being full of junk (i.e., from surfing the Web)… We still specify a lot of [category] 5e, especially where there are budget constraints or if a client will be in a location for less than five years,” says Glenn Sexton, president and CEO at Northwest Information Systems.

§         Category selection should depend on building life cycle—“Would you recommend a roof that would only last a couple of years when the life cycle of the building is much longer?” asks Alexander (Alex) Smith, RCDD, president of Connectivitywerx. “I recommend various categories of cable to our clients depending on a number of criteria, and life cycle costing should definitely be considered.”

§         Category selection is based on bandwidth (and migration path)—Category 6A is recommended by most industry professionals to handle the migration to 10 Gb/s. While some enterprise environments are still operating at 100 Mb/s, many others have migrated to 1 Gb/s. These speeds are adequate for email and spreadsheet sharing, but other environments have a need for much higher bandwidth.

Smith makes some interesting points regarding bandwidth and headroom (i.e., cable bandwidth allowance above standards specifications). “If the client site is populated with high-bandwidth users and time-sensitive requirements, they may benefit from that extra headroom by incrementally improving network performance and reducing slow time. However, this may require a network analysis and would assume that the networking hardware and server architecture are fully optimized for maximum performance,” he says.

§         Category selection is determined by market and environment—“Category 6 is now the de facto standard for most large projects (i.e., new office buildings, K-12 schools, dormitories), and we see category 6A in new hospital construction and some science labs,” says Thomas McNamara, RCDD, senior technology consultant at BVH Integrated Services, Inc.

Keith Clark adds, “If you are dealing with health care, education or oil and gas, these industries realistically benefit by installing a category 6A cable plant—health care due to the file sizes of digital imaging, education due to one-time installation or minimal funding for later upgrades, and oil and gas because they have the budgets and large bandwidth requirements.

According to David Stoltz, RCDD, specification engineer for Leviton, the current trends in the adoption of higher transmission speeds and category 6A is not limited to environments like health care, but also due to advancements in chip technology and processing power needed in the cable plant.

§         Cable selection should be based on technology—According to Robert Carlson, vice president of global marketing for Siemon, for anyone planning to be in a facility for three or more years, the proper selection of cable should be based on the direction of technology. “Based on continual technology advancements like new 10GBASE-T chip technology, higher densities and lower power trends for providing higher bandwidth and faster speeds to support the ever increasing amount of Internet, network and storage traffic, one should strongly consider the most advanced copper and optical fiber cabling systems to get the most out of the cabling investment,” he says. “Cabling is the most difficult component of a network to upgrade and the most disruptive to replace. It is a small fraction of the cost of network electronics and will support two to three generations of active equipment.”

§         Category selection needs to address power—Power over Ethernet (PoE) allows power and data to be delivered through one twisted-pair copper cable. Category 6 or higher cabling is the preferred choice for PoE and PoE+ because of its somewhat larger conductors and improved heat dissipation characteristics. Shielded cabling adds the ability to dissipate even more heat in hotter environments or when supporting PoE+ or higher applications. “If a client is in a leased premises with a five-year lease and does not plan to deploy 10 Gigabit Ethernet but does plan to deploy voice over IP (VoIP) or PoE, then I recommend category 6… If a client owns the facility, such as a college or industrial facility, then I would recommend a minimum category 6A screened twisted-pair (ScTP) and ideally a category 7A fully shielded twisted-pair system,” says Smith of Connectivitywerx.

§         Cable selection may be dependent on pathway size—“The biggest impediment for category 6A is the size of the cable. Few, if any, existing pathways can readily accommodate the cabling. However, for new construction, pathways and spaces should, at the very least, be designed to support category 6A,” says Larry Farmer, principal consultant/client relations executive at Diamond Technology Services.

In a comment on designing pathways, Tom McAllister, RITP, national sales manager for comCables, says, “Let’s be standards compliant. If we really want to help future proof our clients’ facilities, then we should recommend larger pathways, conduits, back boxes and wire managers so that when the time comes, the next generation of cabling will fit without tearing up the walls.”

§         Shielded category cables perform best under duress—Categories 5e, 6 and 6A are available in shielded versions that offer the best immunity to noise and are considered the higher performing twisted-pair cabling options. Smith, who is located in Canada and mainly follows international standards, says, “The rationale for recommending category 6A ScTP over category 6A UTP is based on the benefit that alien crosstalk becomes a non-issue with a screened or shielded cable.” It should be noted that a shielded category 6A is often also smaller in diameter than an unshielded category 6A.

On the CATwalk

What is next for the future of category cables? Notwithstanding the challenge in getting category 7 and category 7A widely accepted in North America, the outlook for copper category cables seems to be aimed at higher bandwidths requiring tighter test parameters as we move toward 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet. There is also a shift toward intelligent buildings that are looking to deploy copper twisted-pair cables to attach building automation devices to the network. In addition to its high bandwidth capabilities, category 7 and 7A cabling offers some unique advantages for intelligent buildings, such as cable sharing that allows some lower speed, one- or two-pair applications (i.e., voice, cable TV, closed-circuit TV, access control and building automation controls) to be shared over one four-pair cable and telecommunications outlet/connector to reduce materials and pathway space versus running a separate cable for each application.

Category 7 and 7A are internationally recognized cables and are shielded for maximum protection against noise and interference (courtesy of Siemon).

In the fall of 2012, IEEE 802.3 announced the formation of the IEEE 802.3 Next Generation BASE-T Study Group. The new group is tasked to determine the goals and objectives for the next generation of the IEEE 802.3 BASE-T family of technologies for Ethernet transmission over twisted-pair cabling. It is likely that a 40 Gb/s copper twisted-pair application will become standardized within four years.

While the use of 10 Gb/s continues to grow in the data center, recent developments in wireless technology are also now providing a reason for customers to adopt category 6A in the office environment. Continued revisions to the wireless standards have enabled the proliferation of wireless devices in almost all environments, and IEEE 802.11ac incorporates several new improvements to accommodate this growth and substantially increases the aggregate bandwidth capacity. Within two years, access points will have the ability to overfill a 1 Gb/s pipeline. A 10 Gb drop to the access point is not a far-off reality as it is estimated that by 2015, wireless access points will provide a theoretical aggregate capacity of 6.9 Gb/s. The densities of the access points may also continue to increase as the access point reach capability drops. With the explosion in wireless originated traffic that is forecasted to continue its exponential growth, some industry experts recommend installing two cables of category 6A or shielded category 6 when planning for long-term wireless infrastructure.

The TR-42.7 Copper Cabling Subcommittee is currently developing ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1, Balanced Twisted-Pair Telecommunications Cabling and Components Standard, Addendum 1: Specifications for 100 ohm Next Generation Cabling. In October 2012, the committee met to look at objectives for supporting 40 and 100 Gb/s and additional support for PoE and PoE+, which could include a twisted-pair media to exceed category 6A specifications. The name of “category 8” has been initially selected as the next iteration of copper twisted-pair cabling.

“Although TIA is not actively developing a standard for category 7A at this time, it is acceptable to specify ISO/IEC’s class FA cabling in the North American markets,” says Valerie Maguire, global sales engineer for Siemon. “The rationale is that, in addition to being recognized by BICSI, NEMA, IEEE and other standards organizations, class FA is simply a superset of TIA category 6A requirements. With its superior performance, class FA cabling is better positioned to support extended lengths, reduced latency and reduced power consumption than category 6A when a 40 Gb/s application is finally approved.”

Lastly, copper cable to connect building automation systems is the media choice for IP convergence in intelligent buildings, and both TIA and BICSI are looking at creating standards and documentation for these systems. In fact, the term "building automation" will likely be replaced with “intelligent building.”

As demonstrated in this article, much has evolved during BICSI’s 40 years of history. Convergence is now here, and our industry will continue to watch more applications evolve and attach themselves to the data networks. This will likely provide the “CATs” with many more lives and plenty of parades on the CATwalk.

Carol Everett Oliver, RCDD, ESS, has been with Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, for seven years and is a frequent presenter and author. She is currently BICSI’s U.S. Northeast Region Director and was the recipient of BICSI’s 2010 David K. Blythe Award for Outstanding Member of the Year. Carol participates on several BICSI committees and is a chapter leader for the ANSI/BICSI ESS Standards Committee, as well as on the ASIS Education Council. She can be reached at

[Pull Quote]

The decision to specify category 6A over category 6, or category 6 over category 5e, is based on many factors, including the applications’ bandwidth requirements, installed environment and facility life cycle.


When a CAT has Class

By Valerie Maguire, BSEE

North American and international cabling performance standards committees work hand-in-hand with applications development committees worldwide to ensure that new grades of cabling will support the latest innovations in signal transmission technology. TIA standards are often specified by North American end users, while ISO/IEC standards are more commonly referred to in the global marketplace.

While the technical requirements of the North American and international standards are very similar for various grades of cabling, the terminology for the level of performance within each committee’s standards can be confusing. In TIA standards, cabling components (e.g., cables, connecting hardware and patch cords) are characterized by a performance “category” and are combined to create permanent links or channels that are also described by that performance “category.” In ISO/IEC, components are characterized by a performance “category” and the respective permanent links and channels are described by a performance “class.” TIA and ISO/IEC equivalent grades of performance are characterized by their frequency bandwidth and are shown in Table 1.

Frequency bandwidth









1 – 100 MHz

Category 5e

Category 5e

Category 5e

Class D

1 – 250 MHz

Category 6

Category 6

Category 6

Class E

1 – 500 MHz

Category 6A

Category 6A

Category 6A

Class EA

1 – 600 MHz



Category 7

Class F

1 – 1,000 MHz



Category 7A

Class FA

Table 1: TIA and ISO Equivalent Cabling Classifications


TIA categories and ISO/IEC classes of structured cabling that are recognized for the support of data-speed applications are specified in the standards listed in Table 2. Note that both standards bodies are working on developing requirements for the next generation of twisted-pair cabling targeted to support 40 Gb/s transmission rates.


TIA Cabling Standards

Category 5e

ANSI/TIA-568-C.2, Balanced Twisted-Pair Telecommunications Cabling and Components Standard, 2009

Category 6

ANSI/TIA-568-C.2, Balanced Twisted-Pair Telecommunications Cabling and Components Standard, 2009

Category 6A

ANSI/TIA-568-C.2, Balanced Twisted-Pair Telecommunications Cabling and Components Standard, 2009

Category 8

ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1, Specifications for 100Ω Next Generation Cabling, under development

ISO/IEC Cabling Standards

Class D

ISO/IEC 11801, 2nd Ed., Information technology – Generic Cabling for Customer Premises, 2002

Class E

ISO/IEC 11801, 2nd Ed., Information technology – Generic Cabling for Customer Premises, 2002

Class EA

Amendment 1 to ISO/IEC 11801, 2nd Ed., Information technology – Generic Cabling for Customer Premises, 2008

Class F

ISO/IEC 11801, 2nd Ed., Information technology – Generic Cabling for Customer Premises, 2002

Class FA

Amendment 1 to ISO/IEC 11801, 2nd Ed., Information technology – Generic Cabling for Customer Premises, 2008

Name Under Development

ISO/IEC 11801-99-x, Part 2, Guidance for balanced cabling in support of at least 40 Gb/s data transmission, under development

Table 2: TIA and ISO/IEC Standards

Valerie Maguire, BSEE, is the global sales engineer for Siemon, vice chair of the TIA TR-42 Telecommunications Cabling Systems Engineering Committee, vice chair of the TIA TR-42.7 Copper Cabling Subcommittee, TIA TR-42 appointed liaison to IEEE 802.3, treasurer of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group, secretary of the IEEE 802.3 Maintenance Task Force, and clause 1 editor of pending IEEE Std 802.3-2012. She can be reached at

This article is reprinted with permission of BICSI NEWS Magazine – a bi-monthly publication of BICSI – Betsy Conroy, Editor. BICSI is a professional association supporting the information technology systems (ITS) industry. ITS covers the spectrum of voice, data, electronic safety & security, project management and audio & video technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, optical fiber- and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.

About the Author: Carol Everett Oliver, RCDD, ESS, has been with Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company for seven years focusing on new I.T. initiatives, such as IP Convergence and emerging markets (such as security, healthcare and education) for structured cabling.  In her position as Channel Marketing Manager, Oliver looks at market drivers, standards, technology and product trends and how these affect best cabling practices and how these can be publicized and promoted to IT managers, end users, contractors and system designers.  She is recognized as a subject matter expert by presenting at national conferences, webinars and through her many published industry articles. Prior to Berk-Tek, she had her own marketing agency for ten years where she wrote technology-driven articles and case studies for many diverse industry companies.  She is currently the BICSI Northeast Region Director (2012-2014) and is a chapter leader in the BICSI ESS (Electronic Safety and Security) standards group as well as a member of the ASIS Education Council and SIA association.

Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, has been providing  engineered  copper and optical fiber cabling solutions for data, voice, video and IP applications for more than 50 years.  Berk-Tek offers over 100 different optical fiber, twisted pair copper and hybrid network cable products with guaranteed above-standards’ performance, independent verification, with state-of-the-art engineering.  Copper products range from standard Category 5e to Category 6A and optical cable products include all single mode and multimode cables with various constructions and fiber counts, and available with up to OM4+ fiber technology to exceed all speeds and bandwidths – from 1 to 100 Gig.  Some of their newest innovations include their recently introduced smartPAK 1500-ft. copper cable boxes that save time, money and space and reduces scrap on the jobsite; interlocking TekLok boxes for 1,000 feet of copper;   OneReach™ copper and fiber PoE extender system for providing power and data to devices beyond 100 meters (up to 4,000 feet); and, TekFlex™, bend insensitive optical cable with OM4+ GIGAlite™-10 fiber.


Belden Q4 net income jumps on divestitures

Belden Inc saw its fourth-quarter net income soar to $166.6 million compared with $26.5 million in the prior-year quarter on a gain from divestitures.

The recent quarter included a gain of $124.7 million from the disposal of discontinued operations. In the quarter, Belden completed the $43 million sale of its consumer electronics assets in China, and the sale of its Thermax and Raydex cable businesses for $265 million.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the company reported revenue of $477.7 million, up 8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.

“Our performance in the fourth quarter was consistent with trends experienced all year; strength in industrial end-markets was offset by weaker enterprise demand," President and CEO John Stroup said in a statement. "I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made on expanding margins in a challenged macroeconomic environment and believe we’re well positioned going forward.”

In full year 2012, Belden saw its net income jump to $194.5 million, up 70 percent from 2011. Revenue for 2012 was $1.84 billion, falling 2 percent from the prior year. Company officials said they expect Belden's first quarter 2013 revenue to be $505-$515 million, and full-year 2013 revenue of $2.07-$2.12 billion.

Belden (NYSE: BDC) designs and manufactures cable, connectivity and networking products for the industrial automation, enterprise, transportation and infrastructure markets. It has about 6,700 employees companywide, with manufacturing operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.


FACTOID: USA - The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every five must be straight.  These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

FACTOID: Almost half the newspapers in the world are published in the United States and Canada.

FACTOID: In 32,000 years, there are about one trillion seconds.

FACTOID: Global Population is estimated at 7.06 billion. Only 39% use the Internet today. (up from 18% in 2006)


CRAIG CONSULTING SERVICES – Training Schedule for BICSI Classes

BICSI Training Schedule

January - April, 2013

Dates                                                    Class


1/14 – 1/18                                            ITS Technician   (TE 350)

1/28 – 2/01                                            ITS Installer 1    (IN 101)


2/11 – 2/15                                            ITS Copper                   (IN 225)

2/18 – 2/22                                            ITS Fiber                       (IN 250)


3/4 – 3/8                                               BICSI                            ITP 110

3/11 – 3/15                                            BICSI                            ITP 200

3/18 – 3/22                                            ITS Copper                   (IN 225)

3/25 – 3/29                                            ITS Fiber                       (IN 250)


4/1 – 4/5                                               ITS Technician   (TE350)

4/15 – 4/19                                            ITS Copper                   (IN 225)

4/29 – 5/2                                              ITS Fiber                       (IN 250)

Note: Classes marked in RED are taught by BICSI Master Instructors. Contact BICSI at 1-800-242-7405 for details.

Schedule subject to change based upon Customer requests.

Craig Consulting Training Center

13370 Branch View Lane, Suite # 140

Dallas, Texas 75234

(972) 393-1669 Office

(972) 393-5735 Fax


Industry Awards, Premier Entertainment, Inspiring Keynote Close Out 2013 – the 40th BICSI Winter Conference & Exhibition – Tampa, FL

Tampa, Fla., January 26, 2013— BICSI, the association supporting the information technology systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment, ended its 2013 BICSI Winter Conference and Exhibition Thursday morning. During the five-day event, more than 4,000 attendees experienced technical education sessions, viewed booths in the sold-out exhibit hall, enjoyed activities celebrating BICSI’s 40th anniversary and spent time networking with others in the industry.

On Wednesday night, BICSI celebrated the accomplishments of several individuals who have displayed great dedication to BICSI and the ITS industry, and the audience enjoyed a stellar performance by the legendary KC & The Sunshine Band. The awards given during the evening include:

• During the conference, 15 ITS Installers and Technicians competed for the chance to become the next Installer of the Year in the sixth annual BICSI Cabling Skills Challenge. For the second year in a row, the accolade went to Thomas “Lee” Renfroe, RCDD, ITS Technician.

• The Ray Gendron/BICSI Cares Scholarship went to two students: Alonso Martinez and Michael McNeil. Martinez majors in Information Technology Network Design and Management at Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah, and McNeil is majoring in Electrical Engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.

• The Larry G. Romig Committee Member of the Year award honors individuals for exemplary efforts and dedication within a BICSI committee. The Larry Romig award was presented to Cathy Dunn, RCDD, for her contributions to the industry as a whole and also for her work in BICSI’s Membership Outreach and Development (MOD) Committee.

• The David K. Blythe/University of Kentucky Award for Outstanding Member of the Year recognizes the volunteer spirit of BICSI members, and spotlights one individual for outstanding efforts in promoting BICSI’s educational programs and commitment to professional development within the industry. BICSI India’s District Secretary, Ninad M. Desai, RCDD, NTS, took home the award for his efforts in promoting BICSI in India and beyond.

• Selected by BICSI’s President, the Presidential Eagle Award, is given to individuals who have exhibited leadership, sacrifice, faith in BICSI and dedication over a period of time. This year’s award was presented to John D. Clark Jr., CAE, BICSI’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer.

• Awarded by the University of South Florida, College of Engineering, the Harry J. Pfister Award for Excellence in the Telecommunications Industry recognizes the lifetime achievement or major accomplishment of an individual in the telecommunications industry. For his work in promoting BICSI within the security industry and advocating the Electronic Safety and Security (ESS) credential, Steve Surfaro was this year’s HARRY J. PFISTER Award recipient.

The conference continued on Thursday, when the Closing General Session opened with a technical presentation titled, “Energy Efficiency in Data Centers: Solutions, Incentives and Policies to Meet This Challenge.” Afterward, BICSI Cares made their presentation to The Give Hope Foundation, a charity which provides support to children and families in Central Florida who are battling childhood cancer and have a unique combination of medical, emotional and financial needs. One hundred percent of the donations collected by BICSI Cares throughout the Winter Conference were donated to The Give Hope Foundation.

Attendees were pleased with their experiences. “This is my first BICSI Conference. I’m a traditional security guy and I typically go to ASIS shows and others, but I came here because we are now focusing on this industry segment,” said Alan Green of Vivotek USA, Inc., in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “I, personally, have been very impressed with the turnout and the quality of conversation.”

 “It’s refreshing to be around fellow engineers who know the ITS business,” said Dale Vestram of South Florida Water Management District in West Palm Beach, Fla. “The attendees and myself all have a common frame of reference. I’ve been coming to BICSI conferences for eight years, and I am able to keep current with new technologies that I don’t normally encounter in my field.”

“This was my 38th year of attending BICSI conferences and I am going home with a bundle of new ideas to improve our business. The exhibits were very impressive with lots of new offerings and I got a chance to visit with Harry Pfister and Wes Summers.” said Frank Bisbee of Communication Planning Corporation (Jacksonville, FL).

BICSI's 40th annual 2013 conference is in the record books now. Tampa was spring-like weather (Thanks to BICSI founder Harry Pfister & the Chamber of Commerce).  Jim Carlini's keynote presentation on NextGen Real Estate & Communications opportunities was powerful. The concept of Smart Buildings is a real revenue generator. BICSI counted on Carlini to make it a worthwhile conference and he delivered. Attendees were rewarded by a vision of the future impact of technology.

· “Next Generation Real Estate: The Convergence of WiFi, DAS and Smartphones as Multivenue Intelligent Amenities” by James Carlini, Carlini & Associates, East Dundee, Illinois, USA

· With the advent of smartphones, there are many new ways of doing business utilizing this hand-held edge technology. From ordering concessions and team wear in stadiums to making reservations for "after the game" at nearby restaurants, a new and different wireless infrastructure is required. With new applications developed, including the MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange) by major retailers to the concept of "mobile wallets" (facilitated by the near field communication [NFC] chip in the latest smartphones) used instead of credit cards, the need for a whole new network infrastructure supporting these capabilities is critical. Smartphones are here to stay and are expanding into many different areas. Do you know how to build the network infrastructure to support them? Are you ready for the challenge of the 21st century or are you stuck with selling 20th century solutions? Carlini expanded our knowledge and defined how businesses can converge and automate in this presentation.

One industry veteran commented, “If I saw nothing but Carlini's presentation the whole conference was worthwhile. Very powerful presentation.” Look for more on the Carlini vision of Smart Buildings, Smart Communities, and Smart Cities in future industry media.

Closing Keynote Speaker Michael Abrashoff shared with attendees his experiences as a commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet and drew parallels to leadership that are applicable in all areas of business. President Bowman brought the conference to a close late Thursday morning, thanking attendees for coming.

The dates for the 2013 BICSI Fall Conference & Exhibition, which will be held September 15-19 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

BICSI is a professional association supporting the information technology systems (ITS) industry. ITS covers the spectrum of voice, data, electronic safety & security, project management and audio & video technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, optical fiber-and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.

BICSI provides information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies in the ITS industry. We serve more than 23,000 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, USA, BICSI membership spans nearly 100 countries.


Mohawk Launches Pre-Terminated Assembly Offering With 48-Hour Shipping

Worcester, MA, February 2013: Mohawk, a progressive manufacturer of copper cable and fiber optic products, would like to announce its formal re-launch of pre-terminated fiber optic assemblies, including MTP®, LC, and SC terminated products; some constructions featuring a 48-hour order-to-ship service.

The constructions that qualify for the quick-turn shipping include assemblies made with 12 and 24-fiber OS2 and 12, 24, and 48-fiber OM3 cable.  Receive your order confirmation before noon and your order will ship within two business days.  Other assembly constructions are also offered with competitive lead times.  Please contact your local Mohawk sales representative for more details.

All assembly work is completed in the United States and well exceeds the TIA standard for insertion loss with a guaranteed performance of <0.35 dB.

About Mohawk

Mohawk is headquartered in Worcester, Massachusetts, and has been providing copper and fiber cable innovations for over 50 years. Mohawk is an ISO 9001 certified company and develops products to meet and support TIA/EIA, ISO/IEC, ICEA and NEMA standards. As part of the global Belden operations, Mohawk is supported with worldwide management, financial resources, and distribution capabilities.


ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center Extends Feature Set While Keeping User Experience Brilliantly Simple

ShoreTel meeting the demand of larger enterprises with investments in contact center solutions

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ShoreTel® (NASDAQ; SHOR), the leading provider of brilliantly simple unified communications platforms, including business phone systems, applications and mobile UC solutions, today announced the release of ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center 8. With enhancements to the email and chat channels within the contact center, the latest release extends the rich set of features enterprises use to communicate with customers and deliver quality service.

Enterprises today serve a new type of consumer that expects freedom of choice in how and when they communicate. As a result, enterprises have moved from traditional voice-based interactions to a compound system that allows customers to contact companies via the method most convenient to them.

The enhanced release of ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center makes it easier for enterprises to meet the needs of today's multi-device, multi-channel consumer by removing barriers and offering more avenues for communication. Agents can now more effectively handle emails, chats and calls, both inbound and outbound. Customers can also schedule callbacks so they can be contacted at a time that is convenient.

"ShoreTel is being selected by more large enterprises than ever before, for which the multi-channel contact center is a key part of their evaluation for their overall communications strategy," said Pejman Roshan, vice president product management, ShoreTel. "We're realizing the significant investments we've made in channel programs and certifications, and integrated innovation partner solutions to bring a sophisticated yet brilliantly simple contact center solution to market. We will continue to focus on this strategic communication segment driven by the adoption of mobile users demanding multiple ways to communicate, and in parallel evolve our solutions to incorporate more unique hybrid cloud solutions over time."

"Contact center investment will be a strategic focus for many organizations, as they want to empower their employees with tools, not only to provide improved customer experience but also to create an environment that allows them to generate more revenue," said Ryan Tay, research manager, communications, IDC. "Contact centers are undergoing modernization and transformation. Multi-channel/platform solutions, mobile customer care applications, analytics, social media and cloud delivery will be in high demand and vendors that can provide compelling innovative solutions will be in a good position to lead the overall market."

Through features like interaction reports and real-time reporting, ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center release 8 provides greater business insight on the customer experience, thus allowing businesses to continually fine tune customer interactions and provide more responsive service. The end result is both a satisfied customer and a productive business.

"I would definitely recommend ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center 8 to peers and friends. It keeps with the ShoreTel concept of being Brilliantly Simple with regard to installation, administration and management. The multimedia function enhancements and additions in Chat make the system more flexible and expand the coverage of your agents to your company's web pages. The 'cradle-to-grave' reporting capabilities using Contact Center Interaction Reports allow you to track the complete experience of a caller and the reporting package empowers supervisors and decision makers with enough statistical data to make informed decisions for improved performance." said Roberto Rosado, senior engineer,


"Our business requires giving our customers a choice in how they want to communicate with us. We use ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center 8 to offer voice and email, as well as outbound voice calls for timely and efficient follow-up. We have the solution we need to effectively manage these channels, which assists in our mission to stay ahead of the ever changing trends while keeping the cost burden off of our partners' shoulders." said Todd Stone, chief technology officer, QMACS

About ShoreTel

ShoreTel, Inc. (SHOR) is a provider of business communication solutions whose brilliantly simple unified communications platforms, applications and mobile UC solutions promise a new rhythm of workforce engagement and collaboration. With costly complexity eliminated by design from its award-winning, all-in-one IP phone system, UC and contact center solution, and its industry-leading hosted phone system, workers enjoy a freedom and self-reliance that other providers can't match. Users have full control to engage and collaborate, no matter the time, place or device, for the lowest cost and demand on IT resources in the industry. ShoreTel is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has regional offices and partners worldwide. For more information, visit or

ShoreTel, ShoreTel Sky, and the ShoreTel logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of ShoreTel, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

Communication Planning Corporation is North Florida’s leading ShoreTel dealer.

Since 1980, CPC has provided quality service for their communications and cabling needs. CPC and ShoreTel can deliver unified communications.

Contact Michael Shannahan, Vice President – Communication Planning Corporation (Jacksonville, FL) Tel. 904-645-9077 or


A CIO Looks at Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going – Article from ACUTA JOURNAL by Corinne Hoch, CEO of ACUTA

Corinne Hoch, CEO, ACUTA

The pendulum always swings … in my 20+ year career in technology I have seen the change from cloud-based provision of telecommunications services to proprietary and now, perhaps to a hybrid cloud-based provision of IT enterprise services. Who knows where we will go next, but isn’t it exhilarating to chart the changes?

Yes, our landscape is changing, but I’d like to suggest that we consider the use of topology as the descriptive agent. In my opinion, landscape is the physical result of a multitude of efforts, and topology is the result of convergence, connectedness, and continuity. And that is exactly what is happening on our campuses as we assess our ability to play an important role in supporting the many businesses that comprise higher education, always vigilant of emerging technologies and how they can and should help all facets.

Topology is a branch of mathematics predicated upon transformation. One of the first papers that many of us studied is a problem set forth in Leonhard Euler’s Seven Bridges of Konigsberg. How do you cross each bridge only one time? What is the most efficient route to resolution? Well, the surprising answer to the infamous problem is based upon connectivity—which led to the study of graphs, which, in computer science and in a round-about manner, leads us to different organizational structures in information technology.

In the following pages of our winter Journal you will read about the various stages of resultant topology that is reflected by many different campuses. Where they are today is contingent upon many contributing factors: culture, organization, type of service that works for them, geographical location, and more.

I asked Keith Fowlkes, vice chancellor for Information Technology and CIO at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, to do a “deep dive” into the questions that we attempt to answer in the ensuing pages, Here is his “take”:

Q. Describe, briefly, the merging/converging and leveraging of financials, operations, systems and more within IT.
A. I believe that this directly relates to the increasing and diversifying role the CIO plays within an institution. In the past, people in technology leadership were called upon to carry out the “techie” duties, run the mainframes, lead programming projects, and manage the networks. Today, it is much more important for top technology leadership to be involved in processes throughout the organization, including business process redesign, financial planning, business continuity planning, and research into new practical technologies that could have a use within the enterprise. Today’s CIO has to be prepared both to meet the technology needs and to give input into the overall business needs of the institution. The CIO has to see through the technology and see what the short- and long-term needs of the institution are and how to meet them.

Q. Address the business and social impact of the anticipated exodus of retirees.
A. One of my senior technology leadership team retires in the next year. She has been at our college for 35 years and has not only stellar technology skills but a deep knowledge of organizational history, processes, and data. There is no replacing that kind of person who is respected for her expertise, loyalty, and positive relationships. We are planning to overlap her retirement with mentoring a professional for 6-8 months to learn the basics of her position and just a bit of her history on data and relationships. Then, we plan to hire her as a consultant after her retirement as needed. I believe that other groups must look at succession planning like this to address the future and have a grasp on the past. We all need mentors, and it is time that we plan to mentor a new generation without feeling threatened for the sake of our organizations.

Q. What has been the impact of merging departments and implementing new technologies?
A. So far in my career in higher education, I’ve seen IT split apart to specialize, then merge, just to split apart and merge again. The one thing that I’ve seen over and over is when technology groups are distributed, computing standards and integration of systems tend to go out the door. It always results in greater institutional cost, technology standards that run amuck, and terrible finger-pointing matches.

I believe there is a happy medium in our future. I would call it hybrid distribution of services. So, each department or unit wants its own team of specialists. I say sure, but allow control of this process to be shared. Have IT and departments share certain components of technology services, like user support and systems support/administration. Continue to have centralized network administration, system administration, standards management, and high-level analysis personnel in central IT but also departments to share the hiring, evaluation, equipment/software procurement, and budgeting components. With this approach, some very careful planning, and the right collaborative leadership, organizations might have a shot at meeting needs without breaking the IT bank of the institution.

Q. What are the main challenges of supporting students, faculty, staff, research, administration, and satellites?
A. There are so many choices for technology constituents that adhere to so many diverse standards, it is getting very difficult to support and maintain them. That is one of the major problems today that has intensified. An old but good example is electronic mail. A large group of students may like mobile Android technology while a die-hard group of faculty and staff have BlackBerrys while yet another group love their iPhones. The key has to be connection and security standards. If all of these can speak the same language (protocol) with a strong standard security mechanism (encryption), great! But, if someone wants to start using something that only supports POP mail standards or wants to adopt the newest DMARC authentication, then you have to stop and guide the process a bit. Otherwise, it will get messy and costly very, very fast.

The other concern is that with the newest technologies so accessible, everyone becomes a technology “expert” and a cheerleader for their favorite tech of the month. The CIO has to attempt to guide the organization with experience and a deeper understanding of those new technologies and what is best for the long-term success of the organization and the underlying costs associated. One person’s beautiful tablet OS could be tomorrow’s incompatible door stop.

Q. What impact will open source, WiMAX and derivatives, and LTE have on how IT provides services?
A. I’m a cautious advocate of open source. I think that we’ve seen the impact of open source and its hidden costs enough by now to make a good evaluation of those options. The server and mobile OS, learning management, Web content management, and even VoIP markets have changed, but with little or no serious cost impact to organizations. Organizations are much more hesitant to trust their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to an open-source solution without heavy in-house support and expertise.

If I knew the true future impact of WiMAX derivatives, I would be a very rich man!  LTE is going to be the standard that changes everything after carriers complete a full buildout. The next generation of cellular data technology—6G—will most likely get speeds over 1Gbs. I guess my question is if students have a full 1Gbs connection to the Internet with their smartphone/tablet computer, how can the majority of small/mid-sized institutions economically provide similar service unless the carriers cannot deliver a good quality of service? If providers can provide this level of service, it will drastically change the landscape of institutional technology data service, much as it has already deeply affected telephone long-distance resale operations.

Q. Is social media under the umbrella of IT? If not, who oversees and makes decisions?
A. I believe the public relations people are the best choice to manage the core institutional social media site, but I believe social media will develop into what our institutional websites look like today. Most departments within an institution will have their own social media outlets. The challenge I see for the future is for the social media providers to develop a good way to somehow associate these various pieces.

Q. Do Web developers work for IT or some other area of the university?
A. Web administrators and developers should be in IT but content should (and mostly does) belong to some other area of the institution. The key is the establishment of a symbiotic relationship between them. In many institutions, non-IT content providers look at IT as “techie plumbers.”  That does not go down well with most of the Web administrators and developers with whom I’ve talked over the years, and it causes lots of communications troubles. Again, this is a good example of an area that could benefit by that hybrid distribution concept. There is definite dissonance today between the new silos being built between the “creative people” and the “technical people.”  It takes special leaders to tear down those silos and not have serious territorial and/or ego issues.

Q. Have reductions in budgets resulted in the expansion of the distance education environment and outsourcing?
A. For UVa-Wise, no for either of those. We have been on hold while looking for a new chancellor, so distance education is holding steady with no growth or changes. I believe that people in higher education are beginning to see the outsourcing “catch.”  Outsourced services are definitely cheaper in the short run but, depending on the service, become increasingly expensive with regard to customer satisfaction, organizational mission fit, and overall quality and control.

Q. How are cloud services bringing changes in staffing, budgets, and bandwidth needs as bandwidth “hogs” are finally outsourced due to unsustainable costs?
A. Cloud services are definitely having a tremendous impact on bandwidth needs for institutions, but some of that is offset by cost savings in core services. A good example is e-mail outsourcing. UVa-Wise has not outsourced our e-mail services; we are relatively small and the incremental cost of keeping students on our servers is small. On the other hand, our parent institution, University of Virginia, has outsourced its student e-mail services to Google, as have many others. Cost savings reported at many schools have been pretty significant, and that definitely contributes to the mounting need for more bandwidth on campus. I think we will see other similar types of trade-offs in the coming years out of necessity to feed the “cloud monster” for video, audio, file storage, and telephony.

Q. Have broadcasting and/or video conferencing become the norm for both educational and administrative purposes?
A. For UVa-Wise, the answer to this question is YES. I see online video as the future replacement for all sorts of services and communication to students, alumni, parents, donors, and others. Streamed event-based video, streaming video on-demand, and instructional online video is the future in my opinion as schedules get tighter and budgets get smaller. We have started a new online video initiative that includes a campus video newsletter production and IT video training “on-demand.” This is all to complement our existing streaming services for our athletic events and college educational cable television channel. We are now using FUZE for Web conferences with inter- and intra-campus meetings just to get everyone in a virtual room to discuss the needs of the institution.

Q. How are strategic plans across campus including technologies that demand the attention of IT?
A. One of the major problems that has been developing for a while is the decentralization of technology services on campuses of every size. It seems that every area of the institution has a strategic plan that includes some type of technology. Sometimes, these are formulated without consulting with technology leadership to see if resources are available to support them. UVa-Wise is fortunate in that we are small, but technology leadership in larger institutions is really feeling a pinch and gets left holding the proverbial bag when things do not work. Information technology organizations are having a hard time developing their own strategic plans because of the hundreds of different pockets of “departmental technologists” developing new ways to use central IT resources. The challenge for IT is to bring all the people together on a regular basis to discuss needs and plan resources necessary to provide solid service for all.

Q. What is the impact of changing technologies, organizational models and financial strategies as we (IT in general) move forward?
A. I believe that the IT organization will have to evolve into something much different from what it is today. As I noted earlier, technology leadership is going to be forced to become a more synergistic organism in the enterprise. Technology professionals have to become more well-rounded and invested participants in departmental projects. Gone are the days of the IT professional who sits in front of a desk all day coding projects. Most of us will have to learn to be people-people to some degree, translators, analysts…even therapists!

Senior IT leadership has a tall order to fill. We must be able and willing to help our professional staff groups develop into more well-rounded professionals. In some organizations, this will require the coder to develop a knowledge of databases. Some will need to develop marketing skills. Others will have to improve their grasp of accounting principles.

The tendency of non-technical people today is to pigeon-hole technology professionals into being “techies” without interests or talents outside technology. We cannot allow that to happen. Senior IT leadership must help their technology professionals grow in other areas of functionality or be forever banished to the basements and data centers of academe without a voice in how to address technology needs in the best ways possible. Senior institutional leadership must help their CIOs understand what business needs have to be addressed and what skills are needed from IT to help address them.

As Keith handled all of the routine operational challenges, Hurricane Sandy intruded forcefully, demanding his attention in ways that could not be refused. Yet, he responded to our questions thoughtfully, and we appreciate his contribution to this issue of the Journal. He is, indeed, an insightful leader who “gets IT”!

I encourage all those who aspire to do great things on their campuses within the realm of technology to attend the 17th Annual ACUTA Strategic Leadership Forum April 15 – 16, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency in San Diego, held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual ACUTA Conference.

Please contact me with any questions or comments at any time:

Reprinted with permission from The ACUTA Journal for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, Winter 2012.

ACUTA is a nonprofit association whose core purpose is to support higher education communications industry professionals in contributing to the achievement of the strategic mission of their institutions. Originally founded in 1972 by telecommunications managers or directors, the association has grown with the evolution of technology to include not just voice professionals but data and video as well. This is reflected in the name, ACUTA, which stood for the Association of College and University Telecommunications Administrators, but now broadly positions the group as the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education. The group retains the acronym ACUTA to capitalize on its reputation and recognition that span 40 years.

Membership in ACUTA resides with the college and university, and these institutions are represented within the association by the men and women responsible for planning, implementing and maintaining voice and data networks throughout campus. A number of Canadian institutions give ACUTA a presence across North America. Companies that provide products and services relevant to the provision of voice, data and video are also invited to become Corporate Affiliates. Current membership includes more than 700 college and university members plus about 150 corporate affiliates.

The group specializes in educational opportunities as well as professional networking, offering two seminars and one major conference each year in addition to numerous web seminars. A website ( provides immediate access to numerous resources, an active listserv offers useful information as members interact with peers, and the publications program provides a monthly electronic newsletter and a quarterly journal as well as other materials that address issues of relevance and importance.

The next annual ACUTA conference will be the 42nd Annual ACUTA Conference & Exhibition - April 14-17, 2013 - Manchester Grand Hyatt - San Diego, CA.  Information & Registration This will be an excellent conference.


ShoreTel Sky Mobility Receives Internet Telephony Product of the Year Award

Innovative Cloud Mobility Solution Recognized for Exceptional Ease of Use

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ShoreTel® (SHOR), the leading provider of brilliantly simple unified communications platforms, including business phone systems, applications, and mobile UC solutions, today announced that TMC, a global, integrated media company, has named ShoreTel Sky Mobility as a recipient of the 2012 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award.

ShoreTel Sky Mobility extends the business VoIP and unified communications (UC) applications that companies love to the smartphone. Users are able to leverage a single converged device for both business and personal communications, and access deskphone and UC capabilities on their smartphone without having to learn a new interface. In addition to offering users a dual persona, ensuring easy separation of personal and business identities on a single mobile device, ShoreTel Sky Mobility automatically and securely selects the best available network – Wi-Fi or cellular – without any action by the user. The mobile VoIP solution is available to ShoreTel Sky clients for a monthly fee per user.

"It used to be that most work was done by people sitting at desks in office buildings," said Keith Nealon, president of ShoreTel's Cloud Division. "Now we work from home, airplanes, hotels and coffee shops. Old assumptions about work are being challenged and new tools for productivity and collaboration are emerging. Our hosted PBX platform puts the intelligence of the phone system in the cloud, and with ShoreTel Sky Mobility that intelligence is in the palm of your hand, wherever you are. It gives our customers the ease of using the device that is already in their pocket and gives the enterprise a way to reduce costs, while maintaining a consistent corporate identity and caller experience."

"It is with pleasure that we recognize ShoreTel with a Product of the Year Award. The editors of INTERNET TELEPHONY have verified that ShoreTel Sky Mobility displays quality and innovation while providing solutions to real business communications challenges," stated Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. "I would like to congratulate the team at ShoreTel for their commitment to advancing IP communication technologies."

2012 Product of the Year winners are published in the January/February 2013 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine. INTERNET TELEPHONY has been the authority in IP communication since 1998™.

For more information about ShoreTel Sky Mobility, visit

About ShoreTel, Inc.

ShoreTel, Inc. (SHOR) is a provider of business communication solutions whose brilliantly simple unified communications platforms, applications and mobile UC solutions promise a new rhythm of workforce engagement and collaboration. With costly complexity eliminated by design from its award-winning, all-in-one IP phone system, UC and contact center solution, and its industry-leading hosted phone system, workers enjoy a freedom and self-reliance that other providers can't match. Users have full control to engage and collaborate, no matter the time, place or device, for the lowest cost and demand on IT resources in the industry. ShoreTel is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and has regional offices and partners worldwide. For more information, visit or

ShoreTel, ShoreTel Sky, and the ShoreTel logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of ShoreTel, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

Communication Planning Corporation is North Florida’s leading ShoreTel dealer.

Since 1980, CPC has provided quality service for their communications and cabling needs. CPC and ShoreTel can deliver unified communications.

Contact Michael Shannahan, Vice President – Communication Planning Corporation (Jacksonville, FL) Tel. 904-645-9077 or


BICSI withdraws from the STEP Foundation after a close look at their agenda changes

February 12, 2013  A Message from BICSI President Jerry Bowman

Dear BICSI Members,

In November of 2011, BICSI’s Board of Directors voted to become a Sustaining Member of the Sustainable Technologies Environment Program (STEP™) Foundation. At that time BICSI joined InfoComm, CompTIA, and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) as Sustaining Members in STEP. In 2012 the Communications Cable & Connectivity Association (CCCA) also joined STEP as a Supporting Member. Becoming a member of STEP was a continuation of BICSI’s effort to leverage the increasing focus on sustainability that we began with the Green Building Technology Alliance, and had the promise of enabling BICSI to add programs, publications and services to our educational and credentialing portfolio.

The original STEP Foundation concept was a fairly simple one. Its Mission was to bring sustainability to the process of planning, designing, integrating and operating technology systems, as well as to reduce the long-term environmental impact from technology deployment. The fulcrum of STEP would be a STEP sustainability rating system, and STEP membership would require a manageable start-up investment by BICSI.

Over the past months the STEP Board of Directors has been involved in a series of long term strategic planning activities. During this process it has become evident to us that STEP’s direction was changing and the new direction was significantly different from the original STEP concept and not consistent with our BICSI sustainability vision and not in the best interest of our members. Given these differing visions the BICSI Board voted during the Winter Conference to have BICSI withdraw from the STEP Foundation, effective immediately. Our partner associations in STEP have been notified. Although BICSI will no longer be a STEP member, early indications are that BICSI’s withdrawal from STEP will not hurt our relationships with InfoComm, TIA, CompTIA, and we intend to continue working with them in the future.

With our STEP withdrawal I have also suspended activity of the STEP Committee until we have a new direction for our sustainability efforts. Brian Hansen and the STEP Committee have worked very hard, and I wanted to express my personal thanks for Brian’s leadership and the exemplary way he has represented BICSI on the STEP Board of Directors.

In the interim I have appointed U.S. Western Region Director Larry Gillen, RCDD, ESS, OSP, CTS, to head up a BICSI Sustainability Task Force, with the mission of exploring options that will enable BICSI to continue to provide industry leadership in the sustainability arena. I will provide updates on these efforts as they emerge.

More as I know it.

BICSI President


AFL Acquires Optimal Cable Services

Spartanburg, SC – February 4, 2013 – AFL announces it has acquired Optimal Cable Services, a leading manufacturer of fiber optic cable and provider of connectivity products based in Melbourne, Australia. Optimal will join the AFL portfolio expanding the company’s global offering of solutions to the telecommunications, mining and general distribution markets.

“AFL’s products and services are now in use in over 120 countries around the world. We currently manufacture our products in multiple locations, and adding Optimal greatly extends our manufacturing capabilities in the South Pacific,” said Kurt Dallas, vice president and general manager, global cable systems, for AFL. “The team at Optimal has an excellent track record of taking care of customers and we look forward to working with this group to further grow our business and customer base across Asia.”

Optimal’s product portfolio is an exceptional complement to AFL’s current offering. At its facility in Melbourne, Optimal manufactures uni-tube, stranded loose tube, armored loose tube, high count loose tube, riser and all-dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) cables in addition to composite, cords and ancillary products. Optimal also provides patchcords, pigtails, connectors, adaptors, tooling, test equipment and media converters.

“In the cable business particularly, AFL has a rich history of blending technology, business acumen and customer service. We were immediately impressed with AFL, its products and services, and the leadership team,” stated Paul Cross, sales & marketing director and general manager for Optimal Cable Services. “With the combined strengths of AFL and Optimal, the growth opportunity is tremendous. Additionally, the value proposition for our current and future customers is very compelling.”

Optical Cable Services will continue operations in its existing facility in Melbourne, Australia. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. For additional information on AFL, its products and services, visit

About AFL
AFL provides industry-leading products and services to the electric utility, broadband, communications, OEM, enterprise, wireless and transit rail markets as well as the emerging markets of oil and gas, mining, nuclear, avionics, medical, renewable and intelligent grid. The company’s diverse product portfolio includes fiber optic cable, transmission and substation accessories, outside plant equipment, connectors, fusion splicers, test equipment and training. AFL’s service portfolio includes market-leading positions with the foremost communications companies supporting both the central office and outside plant areas.
Founded in 1984, AFL is proud to offer engineering expertise, exceptional products and reliable service that help our customers improve their critical and electrical infrastructure. AFL has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Europe, South Pacific and Asia. The company is headquartered in Spartanburg, SC, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. For more information, visit

About Optical Cable Services 
Founded in 1986, Optimal Cable Services provides fiber optic cable and connectivity solutions to customers around the world. Optimal Cable Services supports and supplies a wide ranging customer base which covers a variety of industries and sectors including distributors and wholesalers, government agencies, infrastructure and construction, property developers, security and protection, telecommunications, IT and transport. For more information, visit


Hélène Vaillancourt of CSA Group Joins CABA Board of Directors

February 14, 2012 - The Board of Directors of the Continental Automated Buildings Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Hélène Vaillancourt, Executive Vice President, Science & Engineering, CSA Group to the Board.  

"Hélène Vaillancourt has been key to promoting standards interoperability throughout multiple technology industries," says Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "She will bring to CABA a wealth of talent and global experience that will benefit our membership and associated industry stakeholders."


Vaillancourt's responsibilities at CSA Group include overseeing the company's global laboratories in Europe, North America and Asia. She also leads the organization's core technical team that supports certification and testing capabilities and training, and develops new capabilities in emerging and new technology areas. She champions cross-functional teams that are working on improving operational efficiencies and leads the team that ensures the integrity of the CSA Certification Mark.


"I am delighted to join the CABA Board and to use my global industry experience to help contribute to CABA's on-going and future business initiatives," says Vaillancourt. "CABA is an important industry association that represents the collective interest of the home and building automation industry in North America and provides an international industry network that is of significant value to its members and stakeholders."


Hélène Vaillancourt joined CSA Group in October 1999 as the Team Leader, Certification Services for the Montreal office of CSA Group. Prior to joining CSA Group, Vaillancourt was with CRIQ (Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec) as the Team Coordinator for the Mechanical Laboratory, where custom testing services were offered to evaluate the static and dynamic resistance of new product designs in a variety of sizes, starting from metallic storage boxes to subway truck frames. 


Vaillancourt started her career with the Industrial Material Institute of the National Research Council of Canada. Vaillancourt graduated in mechanical engineering from Laval University. She obtained her MASc in mechanical engineering from École Polytechnique in Montreal by doing research in the field of biomechanics. She also earned her doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto. Her research in the field of dentistry had both numerical and experimental aspects.

About CABA
The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) is a leading industry association that promotes advanced technologies in homes and buildings in North America. More information is available at

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit membership association dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. Its knowledge and expertise encompass standards development; training and advisory solutions; global testing and certification services across key business areas including hazardous location and industrial, plumbing and construction, medical, safety and technology, appliances and gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability; as well as consumer product evaluation services. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide. For more information about CSA Group visit


North American Cable Equipment, Inc. Announces DATATRONIX brand CAT6 patch UTP cables

February 18th, 2013 - Las Vegas, NV - North American Cable Equipment, Inc. (NACE) is pleased to announce the addition of DATATRONIX UL listed CAT6 UTP patch cables to their line of Ethernet connectivity products.

THE DATATRONIX High Quality, UL listed 550 MHz speed Category 6 patch cords are available in molded end non-booted style with 4 colors to choose from: blue, green, grey, and yellow. The cables have stranded conductors for improved flexibility to reduce conductor breakage common with solid conductor patch cords. All patch cords are fully tested to meet or exceed performance specifications in accordance with industry standards.

The patch cords are packaged in easy to open plastic bags and a simple easy to remove twist tie holds the cable together. Barcodes have been applied to each bag for ease of inventory control and point of sale transactions.

According to Aaron Starr, NACE President and CEO, "The DATATRONIX CAT6 patch cords have been manufactured using the latest and most efficient techniques. We are passing the savings from manufacturing down to line to help cut costs in this difficult market."

The DATATRONIX products are available for immediate delivery from NACE and their Distributors. Quantity discounts are available.

The new CAT6 and legacy CAT5e patch cables can be seen at this Datatronix link: For full information on NACE, access their website at:

North American Cable Equipment, Inc. founded in 1992 with headquarters in West Chester, Pennsylvania and distribution facilities in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Nevada is a leading supplier of electronics, cable, and installation materials to the data, security, fiber optic, satellite TV, CATV, digital signage, and related communications industries. NACE brands include Cabletronix, SecurityTronix, Fibertronix, Datatronix, and Symphonic Designs.

North American Cable Equipment, Inc.

Kirk Davies, Director of Sales



Registration Now Open for 2013 NAED National Meeting for May 4-7, 2013

Industry Leaders Assemble for Education, Strategy, and Networking

ST. LOUIS... The National Association of Electrical Distributors today announced the opening of registration for the 2013 NAED National Meeting, taking place May 4-7, 2013 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place in Boston, Mass.

Attendees who register for the National Meeting before the March 27 early-bird deadline will save $250 on registration costs. A venue for the vigorous exchange of ideas from across the industry, the event will feature:

Keynote presentation from Zanny Minton-Beddoes, editor for The Economist. Minton-Beddoes will describe the contours of the new economic reality and lay out the challenges that lie ahead as the global economy emerges from the deepest recession since the 1930s.

Information-packed panels and educational sessions on topics ranging from simplifying technology talk to how to manage and understand the terms and conditions in an agreement to finding out the top five educational programs the NAED offers;

Special networking opportunities within strategic-planning booth sessions, the Women in Industry Networking Luncheon and the Closing Awards Banquet.

Visit the NAED National Meeting page to register online. For more information, contact the NAED Conference Department at (888) 791-2512.

Sponsors of this year's National Meeting include: Legrand and Thomas & Betts at the diamond level; Eaton Corp., Hubbell, Rockwell Automation and Southwire at the platinum level; and DATAgility, EGS Electrical Group, GE Industrial Solutions, I.B.I.S., Inc., IDEAL Industries, Inc., Infor, Panduit, and Siemens Industry, Inc. at the gold level. Additional companies are sponsoring at the silver level or onsite events.

The 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 operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.


Siemon Introduces XGLO™ RazorCore™  Fiber Trunking Assemblies – a great application for data centers

February 15, 2013. Watertown, CT - Siemon, a leading global network infrastructure specialist, is pleased to expand its comprehensive line of fiber trunking solutions with XGLO RazorCore assemblies. Siemon’s RazorCore cables have a significantly reduced cable outside diameter (OD) for maximum space savings and air flow.

Available in OM3 and OM4 laser-optimized multimode fiber and in singlemode fiber, XGLO RazorCore Assemblies provide an efficient, cost-effective alternative to individual field-terminated components. By combining the performance of factory termination with the reduced OD of Siemon’s RazorCore fiber, these new assemblies ensure both superior reliability and space utilization in data centers, Storage Area Networks (SANs) and Local Area Networks (LANs), while offering up to 75% faster deployment over traditional field termination. Compatible with all Siemon fiber enclosures, the new XGLO RazorCore assemblies feature an optional encapsulated protection sleeve with cable pulling eye to fully protect the fibers during installation.

"When selecting a fiber optic solution for our data centers, we wanted a solution that was fully scalable and allowed for the maximum density possible," says customer Jean François Tremblay, Data Center Manager  at Orange Business Services (a subsidiary of France Telecom), who recently installed XGLO RazorCore fiber trunking assemblies. "With Siemon's reduced diameter RazorCore plug and play trunks we were confident that the product could accommodate future growth both in space, due to the reductions in tray and pathway fill, and bandwidth, as requirements approach 40 and 100 Gb/s, with the straight-forward upgrade path."

"Siemon precision cable assemblies are 100% inspected for superior performance and enhance the installation method popular in today’s data centers. By expanding our offering with smaller-diameter RazorCore assemblies, our customers also obtain an average 50% size reduction compared to traditional assemblies," says Kevin Stronkowsky, Fiber Optic Product Manager at Siemon. "This results in less cable tray fill, reduced pathway restrictions and better airflow—all of which support higher densities with improved efficiency and reduced cost.”

Warranted for 20 years, XGLO RazorCore Fiber Assemblies come with 900um simplex breakout, 2.0mm duplex breakout, simplex and duplex SC or LC connector types, as well as SC-LC hybrid options. The RoHS-compliant assemblies are available in a variety of jacket ratings, including Riser, Plenum and Low-Smoke, Zero Halogen. Available with 12, 24, 36 or 48 fiber counts, custom assemblies are easily created with Siemon’s flexible part number scheme to meet specific customer specifications and performance needs. Each XGLO RazorCore Assembly is designated for proper connector orientation, coded with a unique identification number and individually packaged with a dual shelf reel to protect connectivity during payout.

Learn more about XGLO RazorCore Fiber Trunking Assemblies at:

About Siemon

Established in 1903, Siemon is an industry leader specializing in the design and manufacture of high quality, high performance network cabling solutions and services for Data Centers and Intelligent Buildings. Headquartered in Connecticut, USA, with global sales, technical and logistics expertise spanning 100 countries, Siemon offers the most comprehensive suite of copper and optical fiber cabling systems, cabinets, racks, cable management, data center power and cooling systems and Intelligent Infrastructure Management solutions. With more than 400 patents specific to structured cabling, Siemon Labs invests heavily in R&D and the development of Industry Standards, underlining the company’s long-standing commitment to its customers and the industry.

FEBRUARY 2013 – The new Siemon Catalog is available – request your copy online.


What You Don’t Know Is Hurting You – Commentary by Joe Salimando

Maybe you can’t really be sure of things – what seems to be happening, what the media says is developing, and even in what you are able to perceive.

Housing Re-Booming

Housing made a comeback of sorts in 2012. While the numbers do not match what happened in 2005-6-7, that doesn’t matter. What we know (now) for sure is that those earlier years were an illusion funded by extremely stupid mortgage loans.

We might go right back to systematically destructive and moronic financial behavior. That puts 2012, with around 800,000 starts, in a brighter perspective.

But wait!

See the graphic from – posted 1/25/13 – of non-seasonally adjusted, unannualized New Home Sales. It calls into question everything you’ve been told lately about the housing market:

ZH asked: “Just where is this recovery everyone keeps on talking about?”

Then there’s Robert Shiller, economist. I’m a big fan! He’s a cautious man, almost always hedging what he says. But his writing is different. He did not hesitate to write a book (published in 1999) titled Irrational Exuberance, which – without mincing words – predicted the stock-market crash of 2000. Additionally, Shiller is part of the team behind the S&P Case-Shiller housing index – which you’ll find to be the best such index out there, if you look into it.

From his recent piece on housing in the NY Times:

“We certainly can’t rule out another boom. It’s possible that the 20th-century pattern of real home prices, which typically hugged the historical mean, has disappeared. Perhaps people are more speculative in their thinking, after the recent roller-coaster ride, and more prepared psychologically to buy into a bubble. But I wouldn’t put any money on that.”

The Shale Boom’s Shaky Supports

Increasingly, I’m reading the following about shale gas and “tight” oil (or oil-from-shale):

               1 – the drillers need higher prices to sustain operations. That’s because what you get in shale resources (like the Bakken) isn’t a few deep, long-lasting wells. Instead, you have to do a lot of drilling – as each well’s production declines steeply -- quickly.

               2 – perhaps prices of natural gas and/or crude oil will fall. If that happens, the companies operating in the U.S. shale areas will fold up their tents. They can’t afford to sustain day after day of operating losses.

               [Of course, it’s also possible these prices will rise. If that’s the case, then what has “energy independence” actually done for U.S. businesses or the American people?]

               3 – In the view of some who have troubled to document the data available, the widely forecasted scenario that we’ll need a whole lot fewer petroleum imports by 2030 may well evaporate . . . perhaps as soon as 2020.

Two things for business owners to think about here:

A. If the shale boom is real, with U.S. production ramping up, shouldn’t world oil prices have already declined? Why haven’t prices gone to the other side of $70/barrel? Why, if anything (at $97/barrel as I write this) . . . are they moving the other way?

B. Long-term projections tend to make fools of forecasters. Alan Greenspan (called “The Maestro” by media types) spent a lot of time in 1999 and 2000 talking about what the Fed would have to do when there was ZERO federal debt. How would the Fed manipulate markets – which is what it does – when there was a shortage of Treasury debt, the main tool the Fed then had?

How moronic does that look now, a bit more than a decade later? Do you feel we’re running out of U.S. government debt – or precisely the opposite?

Is this how the “energy independence” forecasters will look in 2025?

Markets Thrive On Liquidity

According to the chart (from one of the monthly missives by Bill Gross of PIMCO), between 2006 and 2012, the world’s major central banks created $9 trillion out of thin air. We went from a $5T amount of “base money” in the developed world to more than $14T by 2012.

And: It’s getting worse, right now, with prospects of still more voluminous money-creation to come in 2013 and 2014.

With all this newly created money sloshing around the world – and no prospect of anyone tightening up on the spigot – is it any wonder that:

o        Interest rates are low. You’ve got an open-wallet approach to buying all kinds of bonds from all kinds of central banks.

o        Stock markets have rallied. The continued suppression of safe government bond interest rates is forcing investors of all types to put new money into SOME non-bond investment.

o        Governments have had an easy time selling increasing amounts of debt into the marketplace. I was tempted to type “except for Greece” – but the fact is, that country has neither defaulted on its debt nor left the European Union.

Tentative conclusions

You might draw the following conclusions from what’s above.

A STRONG MARKET MIGHT BE TEMPORARY. That goes for housing, the stock market, and your local geographic/service area. The global economy has become hooked on the sweet sugar of ever-increasing liquidity. You might keep that uppermost in your mind in making business and personal decisions.

EXPECT THE PARTY TO STOP – OR AT LEAST GET LESS CRAZY. There’s no “magic number” at which central banks must stop printing money. If it’s possible that we’ve already seen the bulk of the economy’s “juicing” from these financial steroids, it’s reasonable to believe that markets won’t be as accommodating in the near future as they have been in 2009-2012.

Bottom line: Even if the central banks continue to pursue the craziness of increasing the globe’s stock of money, it still will mean less and less over time.

WE’LL REVERT TO THE MEAN. At some near-future date, either central bankers will stop printing with abandon or the markets will start to react negatively to never-ending process of global money-printing.

Ask yourself: What happens five minutes later? Will the 10-year Treasury bond’ carry an interest rate of 1.8% – or 5.2%?

Ask yourself: Will rising rates, when they happen, strangle every single national economy (developed, emerging, and all other) on Planet Earth?

Ask yourself: What happens to you and your family, or you and your company, if you continue to plunge blithely along . . . when we come to this point – a “cliff’ of sorts (but a real one). 

Note that what’s happening now is NOT new. In Planet Earth’s history, no fiat currency (paper or coin) has lasted very long. You can look this up. There have been ZERO exceptions.

Governments just can’t resist the temptation to abuse the right they have to conjure money (and, they think, wealth) out of thin air. They never have – and, if anything, more and more of them in the 2000s are enthusiastically EMBRACING the temptation!

So what if they are wrong?

Is it different this time? You betcha! This time, the monetary debasement is going on all over the world. The bet, by central bankers, politicians, economists, and media types, is that they can control everything – what’s happening now, and the negatives likely to flow (sooner or later) from what they’re now doing. No worries!

Turns out, whether you like it (or know it) or not, you have placed a very large wager – the future prosperity or lack of same for you, your family, and your company – on these people.

In the end, we’re all making a bet that these people are going to be right. Should all these brilliant folks turn out to be dead wrong, it is you and I who are going to pay.  ###

Salimando’s EleBlog (, updated frequently, contains content about the electrical & datacom industries, contracting companies, green issues, how economic developments could affect business owners, and much more. The site had more than 320 posts in October & November 2012.

Starting as a copyboy on the Binghamton Sun-Bulletin in 1974, Joe Salimando has worked as a reporter, writer, columnist, editor, and publisher for various publications (over 38 years). He served as Publisher of NECA’s Electrical Contractor magazine from July 1990 to April 1998.

A freelance writer/editor these days, he’s the managing editor of CapitalTristate Now, a publication of the mid-Atlantic unit of electrical distributor Sonepar. He posts regularly to NECA’s Energy Solutions blog.


Amid Heightened Concerns About Campus Safety, Southern Wesleyan University Taps CallFire for Emergency SMS Notification System to Keep Lifelines Open

SANTA MONICA, Calif.  (January 28, 2013) – Suddenly, for parents and students in every corner of the country, nothing is more important than ensuring campus safety.
That’s certainly the case at Southern Wesleyan University (SWU), a 106-year-old institution in South Carolina.  SWU has joined forces with CallFire (, a pioneer in cloud telephony, to introduce “Emergency SMS Notifications,” a campus-wide text messaging system designed to help safeguard the school in the event of a crisis.  The system makes sending important, potentially life-saving messages at critical times easy and affordable.  Indeed, CallFire did it all for less than $100. 
Located in the tornado-prone southeast, where roughly a dozen twisters hit each year, SWU needed an immediate, affordable and easy solution to communicate with all of its students, faculty and staff. 
Notifying the SWU community of weather emergencies isn’t the new system’s only responsibility.  Inspired by the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, an addition to the federal Clery Act mandated that universities send notifications to their students and staff regarding an emergency of any kind.  SWU approached CallFire to meet that requirement and to address concerns about the level of staffing needed to handle mass notifications.  CallFire works with a number of states and municipalities to manage emergency notifications.  
While CallFire recommended SMS text messaging as the most appropriate solution to instantly reach so many in the event of an emergency, the company also worked alongside SWU to comply with the Clery guidelines requiring that all recipients opt-in before receiving a message.  
With several tornado threats during the 2012 fall semester, SWU sent out some five notices, all of which were successful.  Of the university’s entire population – students, faculty and staff -- more than half have opted to receive emergency messages, and that number continues to grow as word of the system spreads. 
“CallFire was great to work with,” said Dr. Joseph Brockinton, SWU’s Vice President for Student Life.  “The new system has helped us keep our costs down while providing us with the exact service we need to communicate quickly with our campus community.  We are grateful for the company’s cooperation and performance.”  Brockinton sent three tornado alerts himself, all with a 100 percent reception rate – a process that took just minutes.
In creating the system, CallFire came up with a unique keyword solution.  First, SWU advised students and staff of the SMS service via emails, a weekly e-news publication and during weekly chapel services. Recipients who wanted to opt-in were then prompted to send a keyword text to a short code, with the option of unsubscribing at any time.  Subscribers immediately received a “congratulations” feedback message confirming their subscription was successful. 
“Southern Wesleyan’s experience demonstrates the power of text messaging to connect people and communities quickly and cost-effectively,” said Dinesh Ravishanker, CEO, CallFire.  “The system is versatile, non-intrusive and cost-effective -- and because it’s strictly opt-in, participants take these text messages seriously.  The system is moving vital information, and the two-way exchange delivers both updates and peace of mind.”
On SWU’s behalf, CallFire now maintains a phone list of all opt-in participants.  As an added benefit to the university, CallFire collects and troubleshoots any cellphone issues, should they arise, to guarantee subscribers’ inclusion in the alert service.
About CallFire
CallFire ( simplifies telephony, making sophisticated, expensive carrier class telecom capabilities available through an affordable, easy-to-use GUI and API platform. Any business, from start-up to enterprise, can reach its customers on any device, using text messaging or voice, with CallFire’s massively scalable, cloud telecom platform. CallFire products include Voice APIs, Business Text MessagingVoice Broadcast, Local Phone NumbersCall TrackingIVRPower Dialing for agents and more. Call analytics enable CallFire’s 50,000 users to reach customers more often using text marketingvirtual numbersauto dialers and mobile messaging. For more information, please visit or call 877.897.FIRE


ARCOM Releases Masterworks 7.2 Software for Spec Writers - New Paragraph Builder Feature Streamlines Specification Editing Process

Salt Lake City, Utah (January 29, 2013) — ARCOM is pleased to announce the release of Masterworks 7.2, the industry's most extensive productivity software for word processors, and the unveiling of Paragraph Builder, a brand-new Masterworks feature that further streamlines the editing process for MasterSpec® licensees. Masterworks Paragraph Builder reduces the amount of time and energy specifiers spend on manually deleting and adding content related to manufacturers and products.

As with prior versions, Masterworks 7.2 provides tools and productivity features for creating and editing construction specifications quickly and easily and includes wizards for automating repetitive tasks, global editing and formatting, extensive reports, and much more. Masterworks also includes SpecAgent®, a companion resource that provides side-by-side access to manufacturer product information while editing MasterSpec.

Paragraph Builder eliminates the need for specifiers to manually edit each MasterSpec option, the customizable bold text bound by brackets featuring variants of paragraphs, manufacturers, products, and materials. As the specifier retains and deletes options, Paragraph Builder ensures correct language and formatting and shows the Section Text taking shape in a preview window.

Especially helpful is Paragraph Builder's ability to make global manufacturer or product changes throughout an entire section at once with a section-level view. As specifiers select the product types, Paragraph Builder provides a visual indicator of which manufacturers make at least one product for each product type, ensuring continuity throughout the document.

Paragraph Builder also allows the specifier to easily access additional product data and information provided by the manufacturer.

Masterworks is a product in ARCOM's SpecWare® suite of specification productivity software and is provided complimentary to all current MasterSpec  clients. To view an instructional video for the Masterworks Paragraph Builder, click here.


BOMA International Passes New Policy Positions on Energy Benchmarking and Tax Reform

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 30, 2013) The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International passed two new policy positions and reaffirmed its position in opposition of mandated luminous egress path markings during the association’s Winter Business Meeting last week.

New policy positions:

Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure
BOMA International supports voluntary benchmarking and encourages its members to benchmark their buildings at least annually using EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager platform or other similar programs. BOMA International opposes mandates for energy benchmarking, disclosure and labeling.

OMA International recognizes that many states and municipalities are implementing mandatory benchmarking and disclosure requirements. In recognition of such, BOMA supports the creation of a national model building energy performance program, based on the EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager platform, to avoid a patchwork of differing regulations from location to location.  BOMA supports the creation of a user-friendly model that is easy to use and easy to understand and promotes knowledge of building energy performance without hindering real estate transactions. As part of any such program, utilities must be required to provide whole building benchmarking data to building owners and managers, with disclosure limited to parties directly involved in a sale, lease or financing transaction.

BOMA also supports increased funding for the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to enhance their research and depth of data in the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) and for EPA ENERGY STAR. With increased federal funding, EPA ENERGY STAR may be able to provide more robust data to expand its 1 to 100 rating system to all commercial property types.

Tax Reform
BOMA International supports comprehensive tax reform policies that:

  1. Do not penalize capital investment in commercial real estate;
  2. Do not discriminate against real estate as an investment class;
  3. Do not retroactively tax imbedded investments;
  4. Revise depreciation schedules to more closely reflect market reality for building components;
  5. Treat leasehold improvements fairly as a permanent policy—allows depreciation over no longer than a 15 year period;
  6. Maintain a low tax rate on capital gains; and
  7. Provide long-term certainty and stability.

During the Winter Business Meeting, BOMA International also reaffirmed its position in opposition of mandates for luminous egress path markings in existing buildings.

“BOMA’s new policy positions on Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure and Tax Reform demonstrate the importance of voluntary benchmarking and comprehensive yet business-minded tax reform in the current market,” commented BOMA International Chair Joe Markling, managing director of Strategic Accounts with CBRE. “BOMA members have proven that a voluntary marketplace does promote responsible energy management. The creation of a national model building energy performance program will streamline benchmarking and access to performance data. These are important tools the industry needs to manage energy performance. On the tax side, reform that doesn’t penalize capital investment in business is crucial if we expect to pick up the pace of recovery. Without tax reform, we can expect sluggish job and business growth to continue to be the norm.”

Learn more about BOMA International’s latest policy positions as well as other federal legislative and regulatory issues.


About BOMA International
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is a federation of 93 BOMA U.S. associations, BOMA Canada and its 11 regional associations and 13 BOMA international affiliates.  Founded in 1907, BOMA represents the owners and managers of all commercial property types, including nearly 10 billion square feet of U.S. office space that supports 3.7 million jobs and contributes $205 billion to the U.S. GDP.  Its mission is to advance the interests of the entire commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information.  Find BOMA online at


AFL Recipient of Four Patents for New Technologies


Spartanburg, SC – January 31, 2013 – Nine AFL associates were recognized for receiving patent awards with their work developing new products and technologies.

Brian Herbst, business development director, specialty cables, received a patent for a downhole hybrid cable using both fiber and copper elements. Traditionally, downhole cables had either fiber or copper, but not both. The optical fiber is used for a variety of sensing applications, while the insulated copper is used for more traditional temperature and pressure point sensing. This new design will help improve the adoption of optical fiber in the industry by providing the advanced optical fiber with the limited copper-based sensing capability.

Wenxin Zheng, engineering manager, fusion splicing division, received a patent for a method to splice a bend-optimized optical fiber. The patented method works for many different types of photonic crystal fibers developed in recent years. In addition, the method can be used with AFL factory splicers including the FSM-100 family and LazerMaster.

Bryan Malinsky, applications engineer, Doug Duke, senior applications engineer, Toshiki Kobu, specialty splicer marketing manager, Yoshiharu Kanda, mechanical engineer, and Wenxin Zheng received a patent for automatic alignment for splicing non-circular fibers. The technology is a custom alignment and splicing process developed for an optical fiber that is D-shaped. By using custom-designed software and power meter feedback, alignment and splicing two D-shaped fiber is achieved while maintaining the polarization state.

Ted Lichoulas, R&D engineering manager, and Eddie Kimbrell, senior designer, received a patent for a universal mounting bracket for AFL’s xDSL product line. Designed to hold AFL’s xDSL single line module and AFL’s Balun for cable routing, the bracket is engineered to be installed in K-footprint and S-footprint NIDs which are commonly deployed throughout the United States.

For more information about AFL and its products and services, visit

About AFL
AFL provides industry-leading products and services to the electric utility, broadband, communications, OEM, enterprise, wireless and transit rail markets as well as the emerging markets of oil and gas, mining, nuclear, avionics, medical, renewable and intelligent grid. The company’s diverse product portfolio includes fiber optic cable, transmission and substation accessories, outside plant equipment, connectors, fusion splicers, test equipment and training. AFL’s service portfolio includes market-leading positions with the foremost communications companies supporting inside plant central office, EF&I, outside plant, enterprise and wireless areas.
Founded in 1984, AFL is proud to offer engineering expertise, exceptional products and reliable service that help our customers improve their critical and electrical infrastructure. AFL has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. The company is headquartered in Spartanburg, SC, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. For more information, visit


Crestron Unveils Complete, Sustainable Integrated Building Management Solutions at ISE 2013

Amsterdam, Netherlands, January 28, 2013 –Today, commercial buildings are smarter than ever before and require a fundamentally new approach to building management. Crestron will introduce the European Market to its Integrated by Design solutions in Amsterdam this week during ISE 2013. Crestron solutions enable global monitoring, management and control of AV, energy, voice & data, lighting, security, room scheduling, and HVAC on a single platform to maximize energy savings, lower operational costs and increase productivity. ISE attendees will have the opportunity to experience the fully-functional integrated building environment live at the show.

“No one is building schools, hospitals, hotels or office spaces that aren't energy efficient, networked and digital,” says Robin van Meeuwen, VP of Sales and Marketing at Crestron International. “While the various technologies and systems may be on the network, they all run separately. Our clients want and expect all systems on the network to work together in an intelligent way and to be centrally managed.”

There’s only one dependable way to achieve measurable, worthwhile reductions in energy usage and utility costs: integrate all building systems on a single platform. Crestron brings all the technology under one roof so clients can make intelligent, informed decisions, support all the technology in all the rooms and set up automation to optimize energy efficiency.

“Integrated by Design is where we see the future of building and home technology heading,” adds van Meeuwen. "Our solutions are engineered to integrate with other technology in the building on one platform so that it can be monitored, managed and controlled conveniently and more efficiently.”

Crestron will introduce several new products at ISE that enable complete building management. Here are some Integrated by Design solutions attendees will experience at the show:

Crestron 3-Series Control Systems with BACnet®/IP support form the core of any modern building, integrating and managing all the disparate technologies throughout the facility to impact productivity, efficiency and cost savings. Built-in BACnet/IP support enables seamless integration with existing building management systems. All systems run independently and communicate with each other on the same platform, creating a truly smart building.

Fusion global enterprise management platform revolutionizes the way organizations control their building technology. Fusion is a modular platform providing the foundation for smarter buildings that save energy and enhance worker productivity. Customers can choose to deploy Fusion RV (RoomView), Fusion EM (Energy Management) or both based on organizational needs. Fusion RV enables organizations to centrally monitor and manage room scheduling, as well as AV presentation and video conferencing resources from the help desk. Award-winning Fusion EM manages and monitors all energy sources in real-time, captures, analyses, and modifies historical usage data, and allows users easy access to control and automate commands that impact energy savings, all within the same interface.

Crestron DigitalMedia makes it easy and affordable to upgrade all the analogue AV systems to digital and get them on the network. DigitalMedia includes everything needed to connect, display, distribute and manage all analogue and digital - audio and video signals. DigitalMedia is easy to integrate with the managed network. DM® features a built-in managed Ethernet switch and operates in Private Network Mode - meaning the entire DM system uses just one IP address on the network. DM also supports SNMP data, so IT managers can monitor the AV system from their IT dashboard - such as HP Network Management Center or IBM Tivoli®.

Crestron is showcasing its new Core 3 UI powered family of tablet-sized, Power over Ethernt (PoE) touch screens. Available in 5-inch, 7-inch and 10-inch models, the ultra-thin TSW collection provides the same high performance home control as larger touch screens and a consistent elegant look. Featuring ultra-bright high resolution graphics, capacitive touch screen technology, edge-to-edge glass, amazing Core 3 UI graphics, and H.264 streaming video, all models install easily requiring only a standard Ethernet wire, satisfying the requirements of the most demanding custom integrators, interior designers, and tech savvy homeowners. Built-in Rava SIP Intercom technology provides the added convenience of full duplex intercom, VoIP telephone, and group paging functionality. The 7-inch TSW-750 is available now. The 5-inch TSW-550 and 10-inch TSW-1050 are scheduled to ship later this year.


Crestron Unveils New 64X64 DigitalMedia™ Switcher at ISE; Available on February 23rd

Largest Capacity DM® Switcher Yet Features 4K Support, All-New Blade I/O Expansion and Built-In Touch Screen for Easy Setup of Large-scale Digital AV Networks

Amsterdam, Netherlands, January 29, 2013 – In advance of its release next month, Crestron will launch the new 64X64 DigitalMedia switcher, the latest addition to its revolutionary digital AV network platform, at ISE in Amsterdam. Crestron DigitalMedia is the world's only complete, engineered digital AV distribution solution and the most powerful AV networking platform ever developed. The 64X64 DigitalMedia switcher (DM-MD64X64) is built to meet high-definition and analog AV distribution requirements for large commercial facilities such as stadiums, arenas, universities, and corporate enterprises. DM-MD64X64 is scheduled to ship on February 23rd.

The largest capacity DM® switcher to date accepts, manages and distributes 64 AV sources of virtually any signal type across long and short distances over a Cat5e wire or fiber - all on a single platform. New Auto Locking technology delivers even faster switching times, so any noticeable switching gap is virtually eliminated. In addition to increased capacity, the 64X64 DM switcher delivers valuable new system features including an innovative modular blade I/O expansion system and a built-in 15" color touch screen.

“DM is a full and ever-expanding product line that is constantly evolving to meet the demanding requirements of the world’s top organizations and facilities,” said Fred Bargetzi, Crestron VP of Technology. “The new 64X64 system is just the next step in that evolution.”

A built-in 15" color touch screen enables complete setup and operation with button-touch simplicity. As a result, integrators and installers no longer need to setup and connect their PC to the switcher to perform configuration and troubleshooting. DM-MD64X64 also includes an onboard Web server, enabling full operation and monitoring through any web browser without the need for custom software.

Through a user-friendly graphical interface, integrators can direct the routing of AV signals and view resolution and format information for every input and output signal, including a live video image of any input. With the press of a button, the single-file update function updates all the firmware for every connected device, saving hours of upload time.

The intuitive touch screen also serves as a single point of control for diagnostic testing. Certified DM engineers & technicians can employ many time-saving diagnostic capabilities such as monitoring each i/o blade status, fan tray and power supply, detailed troubleshooting of every signal path, loading of custom EDID settings, control of transmitter and receiver settings, and backup and loading of the entire system configuration.

A new hot-swappable modular blade I/O expansion system makes it easy to configure, modify, and upgrade a DM system in the field, giving you the ability to make changes to the system as requirements change. Input and output blades are offered to support the choice of HDMI®, DM 8G+ HDBaseT, DM 8G®Fiber and DM 8G Single-Mode Fiber.

Each blade provides eight inputs or outputs of any one type, and seamlessly integrates copper & fiber outputs on the same platform. DigitalMedia is the only solution that provides a fully integrated HDCP compliant fiber solution that also can be mixed and matched with copper on the same matrix.

Hot-swappable redundant power supplies ensure continuous operation in mission critical applications throughout the life of the system. Each of two onboard power supplies have a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) of over a half million hours. In the unlikely event of an individual power supply fault, the switcher will continue to operate unhindered on only one power supply.

The Crestron DigitalMedia platform
The most demanding organizations in the world, including some of the most prestigious Fortune 500 companies and universities, trust and rely on Crestron DigitalMedia.

Crestron DigitalMedia is the only engineered, end-to-end solution that carries virtually any mix of HDMI and analog AV signals over a single standard CAT5e wire without compression or repeaters. The result is the most vivid, reliable long distance AV distribution technology available and the sharpest high-definition experience possible. Uncompressed 1080p HD video with Deep Color, 4K Ultra HD, 3D video, and high-definition computer signals, plus HD digital audio, control, data, and Ethernet, are transmitted up to 330 feet over DM 8G cable, 1,000 feet using CresFiber® 8G, or 7.5 miles (12 km) via DM 8G Single Mode Fiber.

“When you design and install an AV network with Crestron DM you get much more than just hardware and software, you also get years of digital experience, with the support of thousands of installations and hundreds of thousands of fully-tested connection points behind it,” said Bargetzi.

The 128X128 DigitalMedia switcher is scheduled for release later this year.

To learn more about how the 64X64 DigitalMedia Switcher can take your digital AV network to new heights, please visit

To see Crestron DigitalMedia technology in action, visit stand C24, Hall 2 at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), January 29-31 at Amsterdam RAI.


Service Provider Router Market to Transition from a Growth to a Mature Market by 2017, According to Dell’Oro Group

Market growth expected to fall below five percent by 2017

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – February 4, 2013 – According to a newly published report by Dell’Oro Group, the trusted source for market information about the networking and telecommunications industries, the Service Provider Router market will face a lower growth rate in the next five years as compared to past periods of market expansion.  Service Providers are expected to reduce their router investments in the coming years as network traffic growth slows, equipment prices shrink, and networks are more efficiently provisioned.

“In the recent past, it was common for the Service Provider Router market to grow annually by 20 percent or more as network operators allocated larger portions of their capital expenditures to routers to support Internet traffic growth.  In stark contrast, we forecast annual market growth to remain below ten percent from 2012-2017,” said Shin Umeda, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group.  “Service Providers will need to take advantage of new products and network architectures, and improve operating processes to make their networks more efficient and obtain the most return on their investment,” added Umeda.

The Service Provider Router market is further broken down into the Service Provider Core and Edge segments in the Routers 5-Year Forecast Report.  In addition to this, the Enterprise High End and Access markets are also analyzed in depth.

About the Report

The Dell’Oro Group Routers 5-Year Forecast Report provides a complete overview of the Routers industry with tables covering Service Provider and Enterprise Router markets for historical and future time periods.  The report includes qualitative analysis and detailed statistics on revenue, average selling prices and unit and port shipments. To purchase this report, please call Julie Learmond-Criqui at +1.650.622.9400 x244 or email


About Dell’Oro Group

As the trusted source for market information about the networking and telecommunications industries, Dell’Oro Group provides in-depth, objective research and analysis that enables component manufacturers, equipment vendors, and investment firms to make fact-based, strategic decisions.  For more information, contact Dell’Oro Group at +1.650.622.9400 or visit


Service Provider Voice Core Market Outlook is Stabilizing, Forecasts Dell’Oro Group

Voice over LTE and IP Multimedia Subsystem Are Growth Catalysts

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – February 4, 2013 – Dell’Oro Group, the trusted source for information about the networking and telecommunications industries, reported that service provider voice core equipment spending over the next five years is expected to remain approximately constant at nearly $7 billion per year.  This market has been in decline over the past five years.  Growth segments such as IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Core, Voice Application Servers and Session Border Controllers (SBC) are forecast to offset declines in mature product segments such as Softswitch and Media Gateway.

“What has changed is that service providers are now offering commercial Voice over LTE systems in Korea and the United States.  The underlying IMS architecture enables not just voice, but also messaging, file transfer, and video calls.  As service providers deploy these services, they will be more effective in competing with Over-the-Top services that consumers purchase directly with their smartphones,” said Chris DePuy, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group.  “We expect to see a significant increase in IMS-based commercial deployments over the next year,” concluded DePuy.

Projections for the Session Border Controller market remain essentially unchanged despite volatile results from some vendors in this market.  The forecast report also includes Voice over LTE (VoLTE) subscribers, IMS Core equipment, Softswitch and Media Gateway equipment, and Enterprise Session Border Controllers.  Markets are covered for vendors such as Acme Packet, Alcatel-Lucent, Broadsoft, GENBAND, Huawei, Metaswitch, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Sonus, and ZTE.

About the Report

The Dell’Oro Group Carrier IP Telephony 5-Year Forecast Report offers a complete overview of the Carrier IP Telephony industry with tables covering manufacturers’ revenue, average selling prices, license/channel shipments for IMS Core (CSCF and HSS), softswitches, media gateways, session border controllers, and voice application servers. The report also includes an analysis of VoLTE. To purchase this report, contact Julie Learmond-Criqui at +1.650.622.9400 x244, or email at

About Dell’Oro Group

As the trusted source for market information about the networking and telecommunications industries, Dell’Oro Group provides in-depth, objective research and analysis that enable component manufacturers, equipment vendors, and investment firms to make fact-based, strategic decisions.  For more information, contact Dell’Oro Group at +1.650.622.9400 or visit


"Tech for Work n' Play" Promotion Lets Customers Earn Points Towards Free Apple® iPads and OGIO® Bags – IDEAL Industries

SAN DIEGO, CA, January 28, 2013 -- IDEAL Industries Networks today launched its first-ever "Tech for Work n' Play" sales promotion that assures network professionals have all the tools they need to work hard and play harder. 


From now until July 31, 2013, IDEAL will reward customers with points whenever they purchase an IDEAL SignalTEK® II  (Standard & FO) Qualifier and select versions of NaviTEK® II and LanXPLORER™ testers. Also eligible are fiber optic SFP modules and Smart Remote accessories. Points can be redeemed for Apple® iPads® and iPods® or OGIO® golf and messenger bags.    


The promotion is structured in a way to allow savvy customers to accumulate points very quickly. And there is no limit as to how many points can be earned by a single customer. Users have a full six months to earn their points, allowing them to work the program into 2013 purchasing plans to earn thousands of dollars in gifts.


Qualifying IDEAL testers are: LanXPLORER PRO (15 points), LanXPLORER PLUS (10 points), SignalTEK II FO (10 points), SignalTEK II (8 points), NaviTEK II PRO (5 points), and Navitek II Plus (2 points), as well as IDEAL 850nm SFP (2 points), 1310 SFP (2 points) and Smart Remote (2 points) testing accessories.  


Up for grabs are the Apple iPad "3" Retina (35 points) with its breakthrough 3.1 million pixel display, the iPad 2 (25 points), and the all-new iPad Mini (15 points), a thinner, lighter, version of the iPad with a smaller screen and form factor that makes it even more portable than its larger sibling. OGIO prizes include the course-ready OGIO Minute CC Stand golf bag (15 points) and the Hip-Hop™ bike messenger-style laptop bag (2 points). In addition, there is the super-cool Apple Nano (5 points) with new Multi-Touch display and 16GB for music, photos and videos.


SignalTEK II Cable and Network Qualifier  

The SignalTEK II multifunctional handheld cable qualifier is a cost-effective alternative to traditional cable certifiers. Perfect for small- to medium-sized LANs, it will validate that copper or fiber cabling is capable of supporting bandwidth-heavy VDV and IP-based video surveillance applications over 10/100 Megabit or Gigabit Ethernet.  


SignalTEK II is targeted at data cabling installers, IT administrators, systems integrators and facilities managers who need to demonstrate that new and existing cabling installations meet performance and reliability expectations. A bi-directional "pass/fail" test of a network's links based on IEEE 802.3ab determines within seconds whether the installed cable can support higher bandwidth applications such as VoIP or Gigabit Ethernet without problems. Additional active network troubleshooting capabilities of PoE and PoE+ maximize return on investment.


For more product information, visit or go to to register to win a free SignalTEK II qualifier.  


Headquartered in San Diego, CA, IDEAL INDUSTRIES NETWORKS is an innovative manufacturer of Hand Held Network Testers deployed in LAN Installation, LAN Management and WAN Access. Its mission is to deliver testing solutions that meet the key needs of the IT professional including accelerating the testing process, improving accuracy of overall results, and ultimately to save businesses time, money and manpower over other methods of testing. For more information about IDEAL Industries Networks products, visit 


IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. has been serving the electrical industry since 1916. IDEAL is one of the world's leading manufacturers of professional quality tools and supplies serving installation professionals in the construction, maintenance, data communications and original equipment manufacturing industries. Visit for more information.


D-Tools SIX SP1A Now Available

New enhancements of latest Service Pack are now available to current users of D-Tools award-winning System Integration software solution.

CONCORD, CA, FEBRUARY 12, 2013 - D-Tools, Inc., the worldwide leader in system integration software, today announced the release of SI SIX Service Pack 1a. The SP1a upgrade sets the path for the forward mobility of continuous and valuable software updates to the D-Tools platform. D-Tools has been dedicated to providing timely software updates and enhancements since the release of System Integrator SIX. 


D-Tools System Integrator software is currently used by over 4,400 companies to streamline the estimation, design, and project management processes associated with the installation and integration of low voltage systems

"Since the release of SIX, our focus has been to deliver continuous software enhancements that increase productivity and further streamline the business processes of our user community," said Adam Stone, President and CEO of D-Tools, "SIX software has set a new standard for our continued development and this SP1a release is another milestone in our continued focus towards delivering a best-of-breed solution for system integrators."


SI SIX SP1a includes the following enhancements:

  • Project Enhancements:
    • o   SIX Projects now have "Assigned to: User" functionality
    • o   The Project Explorer can now filter to display "All" projects, "My" projects, and "Archived" projects
    • o   Comments can now be added to any project
  • Order Status Reports:  Users can now completely customize their order status list and three new management reports have been added including:
    • o   Purchase Order Request with Order Status
    • o   Check List with Order status - A list report with order status, order date,
      and received date fields.
    • o   Bulk Wire Check List - This report aggregates wire lengths and can be used to order bulk wire.
  • Proposal Report Themes:  Users can now create and customize themes to match the look and feel of their company.
  • Create, Map and Sync Labor items in QuickBooks
  • Auto-Save Functionality - Can set time duration when working on larger projects

A complete list of SP1a features, bug fixes , and enhancements is available at  


Please click here to visit the all new SIX Wiki.

Please click here to visit the Getting Started with SIX videos.


About Aquavision

Aquavision are the originators and pioneers of bathroom television and have been manufacturing waterproof models since 1999.  However, they are not restricted simply to wet room installations. Many find their way into living rooms and bedrooms because Aquavision is also the original developer and manufacturer of in-wall televisions.  


About D-Tools, Inc.

D-Tools, founded in 1998 and based in Concord, California, is a worldwide leader in accessible, highly accurate system design and documentation software. The company's -flagship product, System Integrator™ (SI), is a total design solution that utilizes Autodesk® AutoCAD and Microsoft® Visio for comprehensive system design, documentation and project management. D-Tools SI allows residential and commercial integrators to streamline their business processes to increase overall revenues while reducing the time and costs associated with the installation and integration of low-voltage systems. Over 4,400 leading companies use D-Tools software to reduce time and costs and streamline the system integration process. D-Tools is a three time recipient of the Consumer Electronics Association's Mark of Excellence Award, multiple recipient of Custom Retailer's Excite Award (2007,2008,2009,2010,2011), Multi-Room Audio Video Awards - Best Installation Aid, National Systems Contractors Association, Sound and Video Contractor's Innovations in Technology for Business Productivity Award and CE Pro's High Impact Award for Design Software.


For more information, contact D-Tools at (866) 386-6571, e-mail at, follow us on Twitter:, like us on Facebook at visit D-Tools online at


Leviton Fiber Optics Trunk Cables Successfully Tested in 40 GbE Data Center Bridging Event - Ethernet Alliance “Plugfest” event assembled leading Ethernet equipment vendor

January 31, 2013, Bothell, WashingtonLeviton announced the successful testing of its Opt-X® Unity 40G/100G Pre-terminated MTP® Trunk Cables in a 40 GbE channel using multi-vendor core Ethernet switches and QSFP optical transceivers. The testing of Leviton’s Opt-X Trunk Cables was conducted at the Ethernet Alliance’s TeraFabric Plugfest, held at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory. The event focused on testing the interoperability of cabling, test equipment, network adapters, storage systems and switches built to support IEEE 802.1 Data Center Bridging (DCB) standards and draft standards. 

The event saw the industry’s first multi-vendor public test of the official IEEE Data Center Bridging Exchange (DCBX) standard 802.1Qaz. In addition, 40 GbE was successfully tested for the first time in a multi-vendor DCB environment. Cabling vendors also performed thorough signal integrity testing for direct-attach copper cables. Test cases were run using direct-attach passive and active copper cables as well as direct-attach active optical cables.

“The Ethernet Alliance’s TeraFabric Plugfest was a great opportunity for Leviton and other leading vendors to demonstrate interoperability,” said Dave Mullen, senior product manager, fiber, for Leviton Network Solutions. “Engaging in collaborations like Plugfest demonstrates Leviton’s commitment to helping customers adopt and deploy next generation Ethernet applications.”

The Leviton Opt-X Unity system, which includes trunks, harnesses, array cords and MTP cassettes, allows for a straightforward migration path to 40 GbE or 100 GbE performance, and is backwards compatible with existing Gigabit or 10 GbE networks. The system meets the tight optical cabling channel insertion loss (IL) requirements specified in the IEEE standard, from 2.6 dB for 10 GbE to 1.9 dB for OM3 40/100 GbE and 1.5 dB for OM4 40/100 GbE. The 24-fiber MTP system offers at least double the density in fiber enclosures than legacy 12-fiber cabling, and it allows for fewer cable pathways and improved air-flow in data centers.

Additional information about the TeraFabric Plugfest and other Ethernet Alliance interoperability events is available at For information on Leviton Network Solutions, visit  

About Leviton Network Solutions

Leviton Network Solutions delivers complete network infrastructure systems for enterprise, data center, government, education, health care and residential markets around the globe. Solutions include copper and fiber optic connectivity, power distribution units, and much more. All Leviton products are engineered to exacting standards, offer industry-leading performance and are backed by the industry’s best service and support. Builders, contractors and other industry professionals consistently rank Leviton products as the most preferred brand in the industry.  Make the smart choice for a better network. Learn more at or

About Leviton

Leviton is the smart choice, providing the most comprehensive range of solutions to meet the needs of today’s residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Leveraging more than a century of experience, Leviton helps customers create sustainable, intelligent environments through its electrical wiring devices, network and data center connectivity solutions, and lighting energy management systems. From switches and receptacles, to daylight harvesting controls, networking systems, and equipment for charging electric vehicles, Leviton solutions help customers achieve savings in energy, time and cost, all while enhancing safety. For more information, visit,, or


Leviton introduces a powerful new webinar series “CrossTalk Live” - Emerging Switch Architectures in the Data Center

CrossTalk Live is Leviton's new series of webinars that keep you up-to-date on the latest trends and product information. Get insight from industry experts on the important topics that affect your business. First: Emerging Switch Architectures in the Data Center.

Join Leviton Network Solutions expert Gary Bernstein, RCDD, CDCD, for a CrossTalk Live educational series presentation on emerging switch architectures and the impact on 40/100 GbE data center migration. Get a detailed overview on new active equipment architectures from leading manufacturers, developing TIA cabling requirements, and their impact on cabling designs. Click here to register or visit


Microsoft to Discuss “Commoditization of the Cloud” in Keynote at Data Center World Spring 2013

Zero Carbon Data Center Project Opens New Sustainability Opportunities

West Chester, OH – January 30, 2013 –Microsoft’s Brian Janous, Utility Architect for Data Center Advanced Development, will deliver the keynote address at Data Center World Spring 2013 in Las Vegas, April 28-May 2, 2013. Data Center World organizer AFCOM, is pleased to announce that Janous will speak about Microsoft’s recently announced Data Plant pilot project – the first zero carbon data center that will be completely independent of the grid andwill recycle common waste bi-products to sustainably power increasingly prevalent cloud services at global scale.  

“The reduction of energy use in data centers is an enormous issue in our industry,” said Tom Roberts, president of AFCOM association and chairperson for Data Center World. “Microsoft’s investment in this area will be of tremendous interest to Data Center World attendees. Brian will provide valuable insight into the process of leading cloud-scale infrastructures toward a more profitable and sustainable future through strategic energy sourcing,innovative solutions to supply power to data centers through on-site generation, and the issues of power availability ”

“Cloud computing is transforming the way we live and interact with technology, and to support this, our industry is experiencing tremendous growth,” said Janous. “As data center operators, it’s critical to consider both the sources of energy into the data center, but also ways to improve efficiency while using software to improve resiliency of the entire data center ecosystem. At Microsoft, with projects like our DataPlant, we’re envisioning new scenarios to help us drive dramatic gains in efficiency by looking well beyond traditional models of data center design.”  

            Janous is responsible for leading the development and execution of Microsoft’s global data center energy strategy. These data centers provide the foundational cloud infrastructure for  more than 200 Microsoft online and cloud services for consumers and businesses worldwide. His responsibilities include the oversight of all energy supply agreements, distributed generation, and strategic partnerships to ensure a power supply that is reliable and sustainable for a globally distributed network of data centers. As part of the Data Center Advanced Development team, he supports efforts to create end-to-end strategies that will drive innovations in the next generation of Microsoft data centers.

A 2012 study by Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), on The Role of ICT in Driving a Sustainable Future”, will also be referenced in the keynote presentation.  The new SMARTer 2020 study concluded the potential of the IT industry to reduce annual emissions by 9.1 GtCO2e by 2020, which is a staggering seven times greater than the carbon footprint of the IT industryitself. The study illustrates opportunity for IT-related services like cloud computing to make an impact on a global scale. 

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) is a leading source of impartial information, resources and best practices for achieving integrated social and environmental sustainability through ICT.

Data Center World Spring 2013 will include more than 60 educational sessions covering all aspects of the data center and facilities management field including disaster recovery, DCIM, management, data center builds anddesign, facilities management, power and cooling, cloud as well as pertinent and topical peer-to-peer user sessions and round table discussions.

About Data Center World Conference
Data Center World is produced by AFCOM (, the leading association supporting the educational and professional development needs of data center professionals around the globe. Established in 1980, AFCOM currently boasts 3500 data centers professionals and 40 chapters worldwide, and provides unique networking opportunities and educational forums and resources through its bi-annual Data Center World Conferences, published magazines, regional chapters, research and hotline services, and industry alliances. For additional information on the conference and exhibits, visit


Industry Support Continues for NAED Education & Research Foundation
Legrand contributes $25,000

ST. LOUIS... The National Association of Electrical Distributors today recognized the generous support of Legrand for their contribution to the NAED Education & Research Foundation.


“Legrand is happy to once again support the NAED on this key initiative,” said John Hoffman, executive vice president of Sales & Market Development. “This is an investment in the future of our industry which is important to manufacturers and distributors alike.”

All funds go toward providing industry-leading education and research programs for the electrical distribution channel.

"Without the support of the industry, the NAED Foundation would not be able to provide the tools necessary to help the professional growth and career development of those who work in the electrical industry," said Michelle McNamara, NAED senior vice president and executive director of the NAED Education and Research Foundation. "Legrand’s generosity will help the Foundation continue supporting our members. We are honored and thankful for their support."


For more than 40 years, the NAED Education & Research Foundation has provided members with the latest industry information, valuable education tools and industry research initiatives. Past tax-deductible donations have led to preparatory courses for the Certified Electrical Professional program and the newly launched Branch Manager University, among other initiatives.

The annual campaign for the Foundation continues through June. For more information about contributing to the NAED Education & Research Foundation, contact Erika TenEyck at

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 operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.


NAED Releases Technology Benchmark Results

Electrical distributors and contractors share preferences, potential challenges

St. Louis…The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces the availability of new research on how the electrical distribution industry uses technology. Following up on the technology benchmarking survey completed in 2011, the NAED partnered with several other groups to survey electrical distributors and electrical contractors in the fall of last year.

For the distributor survey, the NAED partnered with the Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) to benchmark technology implementation, identify issues and challenges distributors face and identify areas for improvement. With 124 distributor companies responding to some portion of the survey, the results included the following:

  • More than 97 percent had websites
    • 52 percent reported up to 15 percent of customers visit their website in a typical month
  • 87 percent responded that ensuring data in business system is accurate is the technology issue considered a critical or high priority
  • 54 percent offer online order placement capability

The NAED also conducted a co-branded survey with the Independent Electrical Contractors Association (IEC) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to gather data how contractors use technology.

Survey questions covered general categories such as online business activities, important website features and online product searches. The results included:

  • 98 percent search online product catalogs
  • 85 percent access product spec sheets online
  • 79 percent make routine purchases online

Electrical distributors can use the results of this survey to create more value for electrical contractors, make the supply chain more efficient, and reduce costs for all parties involved.

Complete mediations from both of these surveys will be presented at the South Central Region Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. Feb. 25-27, 2013. Visit to see the surveys full results and methodology.

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 operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.


NAED Education & Research Foundation Receives Industry Support - Lutron Invests in the Future

ST. LOUIS... The National Association of Electrical Distributors today recognized the generous support of Lutron for their contributions to the NAED Education & Research Foundation.


"Lutron is happy to make this contribution - the NAED allows distributors and manufacturers to come together and collaborate on training and programs that make a difference and lead to growth in our industry," said Rick Angel, senior vice president - Global Distribution Sales.  

All funds go toward providing industry-leading education and research programs for the electrical distribution channel.


"We are both honored and thankful for Lutron’s generous contribution,” said Michelle McNamara, NAED senior vice president and executive director of the NAED Education and Research Foundation. “The work of the NAED Foundation depends on the support of industry. It is because of their commitment that we are able to provide the tools necessary to help the professional growth and career development of those who work in the electrical industry."


For more than 40 years, the NAED Education & Research Foundation has provided members with the latest industry information, valuable education tools and industry research initiatives. Past tax-deductible donations have led to preparatory courses for the Certified Electrical Professional program and the newly launched Branch Manager University, among other initiatives.


The annual campaign for the Foundation continues through June. For more information about contributing to the NAED Education & Research Foundation, contact Erika TenEyck at

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 operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.


National Association of Home Builders Resolves to Adopt BIM

January 31, 2013, By: Brad Everette, BIM Consultant

The evolution of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been rapid.  In just a few years we have watched BIM adoption evolve through Architects to Engineers to Contractors with Manufacturers trying to stay in front of the demand for quality content.  Until now, BIM seemed to fit into nice little pockets including Data Centers, Commercial Buildings and Federal/State Construction Projects.  That changed last week in Las Vegas.

In a meeting on January 24th, the NAHB voted unanimously to “support the concept of Building Information Modeling (BIM) utilizing the open industry standards for interoperability and collaboration as defined in the National Building Information Modeling Standard – US (NBIMS-US)”.

NAHB BIM Resolution

Why is this a Game Changer?

Let’s just say that the US Construction Industry is worth about $800B annually.  Over 30% of that annual investment is Residential.  (  The BIM market just expanded by over 50%.

·         Accepting that Revit is the dominant tool for BIM, most residential builders and contractors will not invest in the software or expertise to use it.  Therefore, the demand for non-Revit user BIM software products for clash detection, schedules and other viewers is about to explode.

·         Manufacturers who have traditionally classified their products as Residential now get the benefit of product specification utilizing a quality BIM strategy.  Expect growth in Heat Pumps, Hot Water Heaters, Appliances, Cabinets, Doors/Windows, Garage Doors, Flooring, Outdoor Appliances, Home Theater/Security/Networking, Furniture, Light Fixtures…and more.  Check out this video and think about how BIM could help with interior design.  Autodesk AR

·         Think about the number of Federal and State programs that offer incentives for renewable energy investments targeting the homeowner.  Now think about the number of manufacturers who use that as part of their marketing message.  BIM is a great tool for managing LEED.  (5 Ways BIM Can Help Plan and Track LEED Credits )  Next step…residential and your communicating with your Regional Authority.

Change can be fast.  Technology can be scary.  Don’t get left behind and don’t miss the opportunity to grow as a result of either one. 

Office: 828-274-8011

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New Dates, New Location Slated For SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® 2013: October 21-24 In Atlanta

FEB. 15, 2013 (Exton, PA)—The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) today announced new dates and a new location for SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® 2013—Monday through Thursday, Oct. 21-24 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

The change is intended to enable the industry to maximize participation in each of the largest fall showcases for cable technology in the United States and Europe.  The move to October eliminates a conflict that had resulted from unprecedented changes in dates for several major European events.

“SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® and the IBC conference and exposition in Amsterdam are the two must-attend fall events for cable executives,” said Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of SCTE.  “Rather than force participants and attendees to divide their focuses between two events and two continents, we’ve taken a flexible approach that puts the needs of the industry first.”

Kevin Hart, senior vice president and CTO of Cox Communications, serves as Program Committee Chairman for SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® 2013.  Hart, a veteran of more than 20 years in the telecommunications and information technology industries, will leverage his unique background in IT, cable, telco and wireless to drive the expansion of Cable-Tec Expo educational content.

Information on sponsorship opportunities for SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® 2013 is now available from SCTE’s Heather Gosciniak at  Exhibitor registration will begin shortly.  The Cable-Tec Expo 2013 website—the primary resource for the call for papers, registration and the event agenda—will be live on Monday, Feb. 25.

The cable telecommunications industry’s largest engineering show, SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® annually brings together experts from across the cable operator, programmer and vendor communities.  The conference supports SCTE’s educational goals through technical workshops, hands-on, technology-focused exhibits and knowledge sharing with peers from throughout the industry.

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is a non-profit professional association that provides technical leadership for the telecommunications industry and serves its members through professional development, standards, certification and information. SCTE currently has nearly 14,000 members from the U.S. and 70 countries worldwide and offers a variety of programs and services for the industry’s educational benefit. A prime example is SCTE’s Smart Energy Management Initiative (SEMI), an unprecedented effort to help cable operators leverage financial and environmental advantages of implementing Green strategies. SCTE has 68 chapters and meeting groups and more than 3,000 employees of the cable telecommunications industry hold SCTE technical certifications. SCTE is an ANSI-accredited standards development organization. Visit SCTE online at Connect with SCTE at


Klein Tools® Introduces Klaw™ Pump Pliers

Unique jaw design provides multiple points of contact for maximum torque and grip!

February 14, 2013 (Lincolnshire, IL) – Klein Tools ( for professionals since 1857, introduces a new line of pump pliers featuring a curved jaw designed to grasp with multiple points of contact compared to standard straight jaw pump pliers which only have two points of contact.  Multiple points of contact provide better gripping power and torque.

The Klein Klaw™ Pump Pliers are available in two styles:  Quick-Adjust and Classic.  The Quick-Adjust has a push button, quick ratchet feature that allows the user to easily adjust the plier to any position.  Both styles of Klaw Pump Pliers are compact and narrow for better access in small or hard to reach spaces.  The gripping surfaces of the jaw also have specially hardened teeth for positive gripping and reduced wear. In addition, a special groove at the tip of the jaw is designed for holding nails.

“The curved jaw really makes this tool impressive,” says Senior Product Manager Gary Lalla. “It grabs multiple points around the pipe or bolt so you have very little chance of slipping.”

10” Quick-Adjust Klaw™ Pump Pliers (Cat. No. D504-10B)

12” Quick-Adjust Klaw™ Pump Pliers (Cat. No. D504-12B)

7” Classic Klaw™ Pump Pliers (Cat. No. D504-7)

10” Classic Klaw™ Pump Pliers (Cat. No. D504-10)

12” Classic Klaw™ Pump Pliers (Cat. No. D504-12)

# # #

Since 1857 Klein Tools, a family-owned and operated company, has been designing, developing and manufacturing premium-quality, professional-grade hand tools. Klein Tools are manufactured in seven plants throughout the United States and are the number one choice among professional electricians and other tradespeople. For more information, visit


FiberPlex LightViper Fiber Optics Returned to the Superdome as Game-Changer for Super Bowl Sunday

HD video, audio and lighting control combine with speed-of-light performance to make fiber-optics a cost-effective option for live sports production.

Annapolis Junction, MDFiberPlex Technologies’ LightViper fiber-optics system returned to the Superdome last week as a game-changer for broadcasters during Super Bowl® Sunday.

“As they find new ways to get more signal flow onto fiber and with new advances in fiber technology that make it easier to route different fiber streams to different places, it’s changing production and setup for broadcasters and on these large events,” comments Michael Mason, the President for CP Communications, New York, which supplied remote subsystems, including LightViper fiber-optic audio transport, to the NFL Network and Touchdown Entertainment for Super Bowl coverage.

Longer range and greater bandwidth capability, combined with speed-of-light performance, complete noise immunity and secure connectivity make fiber-optics technology a vital player in sports production for transporting live camera and audio feeds directly from the field to a production studio on- or off-site.

In particular, new FiberPlex advances in Active Wave Division Multiplexing make it possible to convert a single pair of fiber into 16 pairs of fiber for the multiple feeds typical of a live sportscast, therefore enabling uncompressed high quality media for longer range transport and in some cases, reducing the reliance on remote trucks for onsite production.

CP Communications has LightViper fiber-optics built into booth kits that include microphones, mixers and other top-of-the-line equipment, which offered broadcasters plug-and-play transport within the Superdome stadium. 

“We’ve come a long way since fiber was first used in the Super Bowl,” comments Kyle Rosenbloom, the Eastern Regional Client Relations Executive with FiberPlex Technologies, which has been making fiber products for a quarter of a century.

He says that the primary features of fiber-optics: immunity to noise, high bandwidth capability, unnoticeable latency, low total cost of ownership versus copper, and secure connectivity properties have made it a staple at many stadiums. However, the number of fiber strands needed in the past to transport several camera and audio feeds has made it cost prohibitive. New Active WDM technology changes all that, he adds. “It is now not only possible to put all of those feeds on one cost-effective strand of fiber, but Active WDM now gives us the simple plug-and-play, fast setup time needed, without the time consuming limitations of Passive WDM.  Now sportscasters can transport varying types of media in two directions, while at the same time respond to and adjust to changes in the field as they occur, which impacts other costs such as down time, setup time, and even remote truck expenses.”

FiberPlex makes a full range of fiber-optics products for sports facilities, as well as for houses of worship, corporate facilities, higher education, K-12, financial institutions, retail environments, and more.

About FiberPlex Technologies, LLC (

FiberPlex Technologies, LLC is the global leader in secure digital communications. The FiberPlex brand has been engineering, manufacturing and delivering secure fiber solutions to the U.S. government for a quarter of a century and shares that expertise with commercial and international markets. As an expert in the industry, FiberPlex educates all sorts of businesses, including houses of worship, hospitals, financial institutions, campuses, broadcasters and live production firms, on how to leverage fiber technology to lower risk and increase profits.


Fluke Networks Launches Visual TruView, Industry's First Truly Unified, Performance Monitoring and Troubleshooting Solution

Scalable, single-appliance speeds network troubleshooting; addresses needs of more than half of today's network engineers, who are dissatisfied with current tools to quickly identify network issues

LONDON, Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cisco Live -- Fluke Networks today announced Visual TruView™ appliance, the first truly unified, single-box network and application performance monitoring and troubleshooting solution. Visual TruView's integrated approach fills an important need in the market; a recent survey of network professionals conducted by Fluke Networks indicated that more than half do not have the tools they need to quickly and accurately identify issues with VoIP, application transactions and other network performance issues.

To speed problem resolution, TruView integrates the separate disciplines of network and application performance monitoring, element managers and Stream to Disc (S2D) with up to 10G performance,1 so engineers never have to waste time performing "swivel chair" correlations across multiple tool sets.  To ensure these integrated functions operate without degrading performance, Visual TruView has 2.5 times more analytical processing power than any competing solution.  Plus, TruView features a single, correlated dashboard that makes it easy for engineers to drill down to individual or group of flows, packets or transactions of any user, site or period of time in just a few clicks. Furthermore, it offers automatic identification and configuration of applications and networks, so set up takes just 15 minutes or less.2 

An increased need for visibility into network performance and the true cause of issues is clearly a driver for today's IT pros worldwide. "The consequence of this evolution is that the network is placed in a highly visible position in the context of IT operations," according to Gartner. "When an application fails, it is a natural assumption to blame the network, justifiably or not. To redress this perception, the network operations staff needs to recognize the strategic value in real user experience monitoring on a constant basis, identifying underutilized resources and optimizing their infrastructures where possible."3

"TruView was built from the ground up to provide this visibility," said Daryle DeBalski , vice president and general manager of the Fluke Networks' Visual business unit.  "We've reinvented the way engineers can see and manage issues with today's complex networks so they can move to immediate resolution.  TruView changes the game on speed and collaboration for our customers."

Fluke Networks President, Arif Kareem adds, "Fluke Networks is built on a 20-year legacy of providing innovative solutions that speed the deployment and analysis, and ease the monitoring of networks and applications. TruView is a clear demonstration of our customer commitment to continuing this legacy."

Visual TruView is available immediately, worldwide.  For more information – please click here.

About Fluke Networks
Fluke Networks is the world-leading provider of network test and monitoring solutions to speed the deployment and improve the performance of networks and applications. Leading enterprises and service providers trust Fluke Networks' products and expertise to help solve today's toughest issues and emerging challenges in WLAN security, mobility, unified communications and data centers. Based in Everett, Wash., the company distributes products in more than 50 countries. For more information, visit or call +1 (425) 446-4519.

For additional information, promotions and updates, follow Fluke Networks on Twitter @FlukeNetVisual or @FlukeNetENT, on Facebook, on the LinkedIn Company or Group page, or at the Tru micro site.

1. Certified by Tolly Group, 2012.
2. Fluke Networks market research, 2012.
3. Gartner, Inc., NPM Delivers Improved Network Visibility to IT Operations, Vivek Bhalla , Jonah Kowall , October 24, 2012.


RAD’s Award-Winning Service Assured Access Solutions Earn MEF’s New Carrier Ethernet 2.0 Certification

Tel Aviv, Israel, January 30, 2013 – RAD Data Communications has been included in the first group of manufacturers of Carrier Ethernet devices to have received CE 2.0 certification. The announcement was made at the Metro Ethernet Forum’s Americas Carrier Ethernet Summit in San Diego, California.

The RAD products to have undergone testing in independent labs to receive their CE 2.0 certification are the ETX-5300A Ethernet Service Aggregation Platform, ETX-205A Advanced Carrier Ethernet/Mobile Demarcation Device and ETX-203AX Carrier Ethernet Demarcation Device. These are components of RAD’s Service Assured Access solution, enabling service providers and operators to provision end to end services reliably and consistently without degradation in performance, achieve lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and improve their competitive edge. All three products were previously honored by the industry by winning various Carrier Ethernet Awards at Carrier Ethernet World Congress events.

“CE 2.0 certification is further evidence of RAD’s industry leading position as a vendor of Service Assured Access solutions for retail, wholesale and mobile service providers,” said Amir Karo, RAD’s Vice President of Business Development and Marketing. “RAD is proud to play a central role in the advancement of standardized Carrier Ethernet technology, which will benefit end-users by providing better SLA tools and improved QoE and, in turn, increase operator revenue and profitability by reducing TCO.”

Next Generation CE 2.0 extends the original purpose of Carrier Ethernet with vital additional features, including multiple classes of service (Multi-CoS), greater manageability, and easier inter-connect for eight standard service types, enabling new levels of efficiency and making it easier for a large number of access providers to join the Carrier Ethernet community.

“CE 2.0 is a difficult accreditation to achieve,” noted Bob Mandeville, President and founder of test lab Iometrix, which is responsible for the MEF’s testing process. “To be recognized as CE 2.0 certified, each company must pass a test suite that totals 634 stringent tests,” he explained. “The demand for certified products and services is a driving force, and we expect a significant increase in service provider certifications not only from established markets, but also from developing economies in 2013.”

“Forty years after its inception, Ethernet continues to innovate,” stated Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of the Ethernet, in summing up the gala certificate award ceremony. “CE 2.0 gives service providers and vendors the ability to drive global interconnection and deliver a whole host of services to enterprises rapidly and with multiple classes of service and robust service level agreements,” he concluded. “These twenty companies are the first to recognize this enormous potential, and it gives them a distinct competitive advantage, as Carrier Ethernet continues to dominate and surpass all other technologies and services on the market.”

About the MEF

The MEF is a global industry alliance comprising more than 200 organizations including telecommunications service providers, cable MSOs, network equipment/software manufacturers, semiconductors vendors and testing organizations. The MEF’s mission is to accelerate the worldwide adoption of carrier-class Ethernet networks and services. The MEF develops Carrier Ethernet technical specifications and implementation agreements to promote interoperability and deployment of Carrier Ethernet worldwide.

About RAD

RAD Data Communications provides Service Assured Access solutions that reduce operational complexity and improve service profitability for retail, wholesale and mobile service providers, as well as evolutional migration solutions for service providers and power and transportation utilities, facilitating a smooth, secure and cost-effective transition to packet-based networks. RAD’s multi-faceted in-house technology embraces OAM and performance management; service assurance; traffic management; fault management; synchronization and timing over packet; TDM pseudowire; ASIC and FPGA development; hardware miniaturization; and SFP form-factor solutions. The company's installed base exceeds 12,000,000 units and encompasses more than 150 service providers around the world. RAD is a member of the $1.2 billion RAD Group of companies, a world leader in networking and internetworking product solutions.

RAD Data Communications site:     Twitter:


Fiber to the Home Council to Hold "Community Toolkit" Conference in Kansas City

Conference to Take Communities from Gigabit Envy to Gigabit Deployed

(WASHINGTON) - One week after launching its Online Community Toolkit for building ultra high-speed networks, the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council Americas has announced it will hold a special conference in Kansas City, May 29-30 to assist local civic and community leaders from across the U.S. pursue their dreams of gigabit connectivity.

The conference, From Gigabit Envy to Gigabit Deployed, will bring the Community Toolkit to life, with working sessions that focus on every aspect of upgrading a network from building the business case and securing community support to navigating the local government and engaging the key stakeholders. Also featured at the conference will be a keynote speech from Lev Gonick, Vice President, Information Technology Services and CIO Case Western Reserve University, who will discuss how gigabit connectivity has changed Case Western and the city of Cleveland.


Partnering with the FTTH Council on this event will be Google Fiber, Gig.U, KC Digital Drive, NATOA, Broadband Communities, and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) each of whom will contribute their expertise in helping participants plan and deploy ultra high-speed networks in their communities.


"We're responding to the overwhelming interest in obtaining gigabit connectivity from community and business leaders across the U.S. by giving them the tools they need to make sure their communities stay competitive," said Heather Burnett Gold, President of the FTTH Council. "Not only is this an opportunity for them to connect with and learn from partners who have gone through the steps of building a fiber network, but more importantly, it is also a chance to craft an action plan that they can take back to their communities and begin implementing."


The FTTH Council's announcement comes just days after Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Julius Genachowski, issued a "Gigabit City Challenge" calling for every state to have at least one gigabit community by 2015. More than one thousand communities had expressed interest in hosting Google Fiber's network that is currently being deployed in Kansas City.


"Our recent Online Community Toolkit was the first step we took to provide resources to community and business leaders that want to upgrade their local networks. We're looking to build on top of this web-platform and create an interactive space at the conference for folks to really share experience-based knowledge and offer guidance on how to jump-start community-driven gigabit projects. The Chairman's challenge reinforces the imperative of moving our country to all-fiber connectivity in order to advance our competitiveness and economic security" said Gold.


"By building on its Online Toolkit, the FTTH conference is setting itself up as an effective incubator for community leaders interested in joining the gigabit revolution. Gig.U is looking forward to partnering with FTTH and sharing its knowledge with city officials, business leaders, and communities," said Blair Levin, Executive Director of Gig.U and partner at the FTTH conference. "This is a unique opportunity for communities to learn how they can turn the dream of gigabit connectivity in their communities into a reality."

About the FTTH Council Americas
Now in its 12th year, the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council is a non-profit association consisting of companies and organizations that deliver video, Internet and/or voice services over high-bandwidth, next-generation, direct fiber optic connections - as well as those involved in planning and building FTTH networks. Its mission is to accelerate deployment of all-fiber access networks by demonstrating how fiber-enabled applications and solutions create value for service providers and their customers, promote economic development and enhance quality of life. More information about the Council can be found at


The Light Brigade® Launches New Fiber Optics 1-2-3 Course and Manual for 2013

This is a major upgrade to our most popular course and manual. Fiber Optics 1-2-3 provides all of the knowledge and skills required to design, install, and maintain fiber optic communication systems.

January 24, 2013 – Tukwila, WA – The Light Brigade has launched its most significant upgrade to its core course in Fiber Optics. Staying abreast of the latest innovations and changes in the industry, the Fiber Optics 1-2-3 course has been updated to feature the latest in fiber optic technology, products, and standards. The new manual contains twenty chapters and more than 470 pages that cover multimode and single-mode technologies from A to Z. It is considered the foremost technical primer and resource manual for anyone involved in fiber optics. Updates to the course and manual include:

  • Multimode fiber technology featuring OM3, OM4, and bend insensitive fibers
  • Restricted mode and encircled flux launch conditions
  • Single-mode fiber technology, including G.652D, G.655, and G.657 fibers
  • The newest termination products and techniques
  • Up-to-date standards and specifications
  • Fiber to the home, Ethernet, and the Internet protocol
  • Expanded installation and optical testing content
  • The latest active devices, including FTTx products
  • In-depth information on passive devices such as optical switches and splitters

Starting in January, all Fiber Optics 1-2-3 courses will be taught to the new curriculum and manual. Former students can purchase the latest revision of this manual for $100 by ordering Fiber Optics 1-2-3 Rev #W-13U.

The latest Light Brigade course information and class schedules can be found in the 2013 Light Brigade Training Catalog.

For additional information on The Light Brigade, visit, email or call 1 (800) 451-7128 or 1 (206) 575-0404.

About The Light Brigade
Founded in 1987, The Light Brigade has instructed over 45,000 attendees in its public and custom classes on fiber optic design, maintenance, and testing, including advanced topics such as FTTx, DWDM, and PMD/CD. In addition to creating custom courses tailored to any need or skill level, the company produces educational DVDs and CDs.


Hélène Vaillancourt of CSA Group Joins CABA Board of Directors

February 14, 2012 - The Board of Directors of the Continental Automated Buildings Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Hélène Vaillancourt, Executive Vice President, Science & Engineering, CSA Group to the Board.  

"Hélène Vaillancourt has been key to promoting standards interoperability throughout multiple technology industries," says Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "She will bring to CABA a wealth of talent and global experience that will benefit our membership and associated industry stakeholders."

Vaillancourt's responsibilities at CSA Group include overseeing the company's global laboratories in Europe, North America and Asia. She also leads the organization's core technical team that supports certification and testing capabilities and training, and develops new capabilities in emerging and new technology areas. She champions cross-functional teams that are working on improving operational efficiencies and leads the team that ensures the integrity of the CSA Certification Mark.

"I am delighted to join the CABA Board and to use my global industry experience to help contribute to CABA's on-going and future business initiatives," says Vaillancourt. "CABA is an important industry association that represents the collective interest of the home and building automation industry in North America and provides an international industry network that is of significant value to its members and stakeholders."

Hélène Vaillancourt joined CSA Group in October 1999 as the Team Leader, Certification Services for the Montreal office of CSA Group. Prior to joining CSA Group, Vaillancourt was with CRIQ (Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec) as the Team Coordinator for the Mechanical Laboratory, where custom testing services were offered to evaluate the static and dynamic resistance of new product designs in a variety of sizes, starting from metallic storage boxes to subway truck frames.

Vaillancourt started her career with the Industrial Material Institute of the National Research Council of Canada. Vaillancourt graduated in mechanical engineering from Laval University. She obtained her MASc in mechanical engineering from École Polytechnique in Montreal by doing research in the field of biomechanics. She also earned her doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto. Her research in the field of dentistry had both numerical and experimental aspects.

About CABA
The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) is a leading industry association that promotes advanced technologies in homes and buildings in North America. More information is available at

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit membership association dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. Its knowledge and expertise encompass standards development; training and advisory solutions; global testing and certification services across key business areas including hazardous location and industrial, plumbing and construction, medical, safety and technology, appliances and gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability; as well as consumer product evaluation services. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide. For more information about CSA Group visit


Military Facilities Reap Huge Benefits From Using LEED from USGBC

New research confirms LEED helps the government save taxpayers money and meet environmental objectives

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 15, 2013)  — Today the Department of Defense released the findings of an independent report on energy efficiency and sustainability standards used by the Pentagon for military construction. The report strongly affirmed the value of LEED-certified high performing buildings to America’s military and U.S. taxpayers.

The following statement is attributed to Roger Platt, Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Law, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

“LEED has played a significant role in reducing energy and water bills in public sector buildings across the country, saving taxpayers money and contributing to the nation’s security. This important new independent study from the National Research Council concludes that the LEED green building certification program should continue to be used in Defense Department buildings to advance energy efficiency in construction and reduce operational costs.

Using LEED at Pentagon installations is a win-win proposition for the country and for the military personnel these buildings serve. While the study looked only at energy efficiency, LEED is a proven tool for also saving water, reducing waste and improving indoor environmental quality, benefitting the health and well being of building occupants, and certainly our military personnel deserve no less.

By using LEED, the Department of Defense is able to cut costs responsibly without endangering our nation’s military readiness. LEED is a critical tool for the Defense Department’s past, current and future energy savings.”

The report can found here.
For more information on LEED-Certified buildings in the public sector, visit our website.


About the U.S. Green Building Council - USGBC

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit and connect on Twitter and Facebook.

About LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building program system is the foremost program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. More than 51,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising 9.6 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 135 countries. In addition, more than 32,000 residential units have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with more than 95,000 more homes registered.

By using less energy, LEED-certified spaces save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. Learn more at


TCF has added IPEX / Kwikpath to our line card of leading edge manufacturers

Kwikpath is a nonmetallic, flexible corrugated product designed to make the installation and management of interior fiber optic and communication cables fast, easy and worry-free.

As an approved integrated system, Kwikpath raceways are available in 3/4" to 2" sizes in convenient coil and reel lengths. And with no special tools or equipment needed, our patented snap-on fittings can easily join or terminate raceway tubing.

New! Kwikpath Plenum White raceway and fittings are the latest addition to the Kwikpath Communication Raceway System. Designed for use in open exposed ceiling environments where cabling systems are visible, Kwikpath Plenum White is UL 2024 approved for flame spread and smoke-resistance making it the ideal communication raceway for plenums and other spaces used for environmental air.

Resi Raceway
Kwikpath Resi is a flexible raceway system created especially for residential communications systems, arranging and organizing telephone, ethernet, satellite, internet, video, security and sound cabling. Installing Kwikpath Resi into a home allows the owner to add or change cabling without having to tear out walls or surface-mount cables along walls and baseboards. Its caramel color makes it easily recognizable and visible preventing damage to cabling when renovations require tradesmen to enter or change the walls.

Riser Raceway
The backbone of the structured cabling system, Kwikpath Riser is a nonmetallic, flexible PVC corrugated product manufactured and tested specifically for riser applications. Easily identified by its mandarin orange color, it’s available in convenient coil or reel packaging with sequential markers every 1 foot.

Plenum Raceway
Kwikpath Plenum is made from a UL approved compound and like Kwikpath Riser, forms non-metallic, flexible corrugated cable raceways. Vibrant orange in color, Kwikpath Plenum meets the UL tests on flame propagation and smoke density with values well below the standard requirements. This heat/smoke-resistance make it an ideal raceway to run Optical Fiber Cables (OFPN) and/or Communication Cables (CMP/CMP-OF) through plenums and other spaces used for environmental air. Kwikpath Plenum comes with sequential markers every 1 foot.

This manufacturer is an addition to the existing line card of quality products that include: 

OCC - SPECO – Veracity - Megger – Instek Digital

Visit the TCF linecard on the web at:


tED's 30 Under 35: Meet's Mildred Munjanganja

By Joe Nowlan

In April, the editors of tED magazine sent out a call for the industry’s “rising stars”—electrical professionals 34 years old or younger who have the initiative, drive, integrity, and creativity to move the industry forward in the decades to come. The call drew nominations from all segments of the industry—distributors, suppliers, rep firms, software/services providers, and VARs. Here on, we will post a new, full interview with one of these impressive young people weekly; coverage of all of the honorees can be found in the July 2012 issue of tED. Watch for information about our next “30 Under 35” competition in early 2013.

When Mildred Munjanganja began at in 2004, the company was two years old and had six employees.

“It was a small business, with six or seven people working here. There was a warehouse, but it was more of a one-box warehouse. So at first I asked myself, ‘What am I doing here?’“ Munjanganja laughed.

While Munjanganja had dreams of working for a billion-dollar company, the size of the small business did not discourage her.

“Every company starts small, and it takes people with the right vision and the right goals and attitude to make a small company big or great. [I had] the realization that I could make an impact there,” she explained.

Today, employs 45 people. Thirty-two years old, Munjanganja is the vice president of sales/managing director. was founded to help clients with “cable clutter” in homes and offices. In recent years, the company has expanded its product offerings to include electrical supplies.

“The most important aspect of my job,” Munjanganja explained, “is finding the right people for the company, making sure we have them in the right positions and doing the right jobs. And then developing them, making sure they are reaching their full potential and becoming more than they imagined they could ever be.”

She came to the United States from Zimbabwe in 2002 and earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Rhodes University. Both her parents were “business people,” she explained, and are still living in South Africa along with her youngest brother. A second brother works in London and another brother lives in Australia and has just earned his bachelor’s degree.

“I consider us like the United Nations,” she laughed.

She is also involved with two web sites: and

“I believe that we as leaders are responsible for shaping and developing the people that we have the opportunity to impact….Some of the information and tools [that are needed] are not always going to be available,” she said. “So I started to give some tips and ideas to other leaders.”

Her other site,, provides an array of home and office organizational tips—”ideas on how to rid clutter from every part of your life,” the site explained. was co-founded by a woman, Valerie Holstein. While the number of women in the electrical industry is slowly growing, they are still a distinct minority, Munjanganja admits.

“There are very few women in our industry [and] very few young women, at that,” Munjanganja said. “But this is what you make of it…. The industry is very, very welcoming. It hasn’t been difficult to embrace [electrical] … because it is very open to women and for young people.”

She would eagerly recommend the electrical industry to a younger employee and hopes the industry makes itself more known to potential employees.

“[Electrical] impacts so many facets of the global world. That may not be recognizable in the beginning [of a career].... Our reach is so broad that we are not limited. You can come into our industry and find a niche that you can focus on and that you can flourish in,” she said.

Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at

© 2013 The Electrical Distributor. All rights reserved.

This noteworthy article was reprinted with permission from tED - the ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTOR magazine. 2013 . This fine publication is the official voice of NAED – the National Association of Electrical Distributors Check them out online for the latest news. The best defense against counterfeit products is a dependable electrical distributor.


THE EFFECT OF A COPPER ETF – article from tED magazine by Ken Stier


The predicted impact of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision to bless the establishment of the first physical copper Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) to be listed on a U.S. exchange: higher copper prices.

by Ken Stier from tED Magazine Feb. 2013

Wall Street has alighted on a new way to make money, which may come at the expense of the rest of us through higher copper prices. That, at least, is the predicted impact of the SEC’s Dec. 14 decision to permit the first physical copper ETF to be listed on a U.S. exchange. The first sponsor is JPMorgan; asset management heavyweight BlackRock also has a proposal before the SEC that is expected to be approved soon. The concern about these new investment vehicles comes from industrial users of copper and others critical of the increased involvement of large financial players in commodities. This involvement is generally seen as boosting prices, sometimes far in excess of what demand and supply fundamentals would otherwise dictate.

Of course, there are other more benign, even positive, assessments welcoming the arrival of these new investment vehicles that will, for the first time, put copper within the investment reach of a wide swathe of smaller players, down to retail players:

First, while there are existing copper futures and options markets, these require large minimum stakes—25 million metric tons (about $200,000)—whereas the ETFs are expected to offer tradable units as small as 1/100th of a metric ton for about $80, according to Catherine Virga, research director of CPM Group (

Second, the extra liquidity in the copper market should make hedging easier — as well as more necessary, since there is general agreement that increased “financialization” tends to make commodity prices more volatile. There is also general agreement that these ETFs will be price positive—at least initially.

But beyond the positives above, there is wide spectrum of opinion about the negative impact of these ETFs and their larger significance within metals markets. At least one prominent industry veteran sees a vast scheme by investment banks and traders to profitably unload huge unwanted inventories onto an ill-informed investing public that will ultimately get caught up in a boom-and-bust bubble (more on that later).

Rising prices?

For Jason Schenker, of Prestige Economics (, copper ETFs are a logical next step in an expanding array of ETFs now available for precious metals, which include gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

“I think there is real interest for this, and there has been for some time,” said Schenker. “I have clients who have been asking how to invest in physical copper for some time. They don’t want to buy mining stocks; they just want to buy the metal.”

The result will be a range of new buyers, which tends to push prices upward. “I think you could see everyone from individual investors to small home developers and homebuilders that have copper exposure using it as a de facto hedge,” explained Schenker.

But within at least some portions of the copper-using industry, there runs a strong suspicion about financial community involvement, principally because of the concern that copper supplies will be held off the market in order to jack up prices.

“If JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have taken massive positions in copper — and by doing so they’ve taken some off the market and created a short-term supply problem—wouldn’t it behoove them to continue to try to keep a stranglehold on that market while copper goes from $3.50 to $4.50 [a pound] and then liquidate their positions regardless of whether there was a month in there where we had a hard time getting a supply?” asked Daniel Jones, president of Encore Wire ( “They are not worrying about [us] or anyone else getting a steady flow of their raw material. Their aim is to make money, period, on a speculative nature. We believe that their objectives are at odds with ours. We’re trying to buy a base commodity and pass that along at a reasonable profit to our consumers—end of story. They’re in it for a whole different reason.”

Opposition and defense

Encore was one of a handful of copper industry firms that filed comments with the SEC opposing JPMorgan’s proposal.

“Adopting this rule change will therefore undermine the integrity of the very markets that the NYSE and the SEC are supposed to protect, grossly and artificially inflate prices for an industrial commodity already in short supply, and, as a consequence, wreak havoc on the U.S. and global economy,” argued lawyer Robert Bernstein in an 11-page letter to the SEC (at the time he was with Vanderburg & Feliu, a New York law firm, but continues to represent copper companies). Altogether there were six parties—collectively filing 14 letters—opposing the ETF, but they proved no match for the multiple voluminous letters submitted by JPMorgan’s lawyers at Davis Polk.

Indeed, the interactions with Davis Polk served as an intensive tutorial for the SEC. In one 163-page letter, Davis Polk replied to a long series of SEC queries—including “What was the refined [copper] production in each of the past 10 years?”, “What was the world refinery capacity in each of the past 10 years?”, and “What data is available regarding projected refined production over the next three to five years?”

Thanks to the gradual widening of government transparency, this seminar remains online for anyone to see, including, laudably, the SEC’s 75-page ruling that offers a point-by-point assessment of how it weighed the countervailing arguments.

It is an earnest study of a complicated subject. But just how sound the SEC’s reasoning is—and whether all of the right questions were asked—is for others to judge, and perhaps only time will really tell. USGS Copper Specialist Daniel Edelstein, who briefed a roomful of SEC staffers on the subject, proclaimed he is agnostic on the issue of ETFs mainly because market vehicles are beyond his ambit.

What seems clear, though, is that this was never an even fight. The SEC’s orientation is toward broadening the range of instruments available to investors, as long as they are not pernicious—and not fundamentally to worry about the wider impacts, say, on copper consumption. This statement from the agency appears to support its idea that any deepening of markets will, ipso facto, mean an overall economic benefit:

“The Commission believes that the listing and trading of the Shares, as proposed, could provide another way for market participants and investors to trade in copper and could enhance competition among trading venues. Further, the Commission believes that the listing and trading of the Shares will provide investors another investment alternative, which could enhance a well-diversified portfolio. By broadening the securities investment alternatives available to investors, the Commission believes that trading in the Shares could increase competition among financial products and the efficiency of financial investment.”

The question of supply

It is not hard to see the source of industry worries. Although annual copper production is close to 20 million metric tons, most of that is quickly put to industrial use. After all, copper is the third-most important industrial metal after iron and aluminum.

This leaves little left over to supplement existing stocks of branded copper (London Metal Exchange-approved, Grade A copper) available for immediate delivery. These stocks have been declining in recent years because the market is in the midst of a four-year deficit.

In 2002, global inventory was roughly 1.1 million metric tons, but that is down to about 500,000 million tons this year—with fewer than 300,000 tons of copper stored domestically, according to Janet Sander, purchasing vice president for Encore Wire. The United States is a net copper importer of about 800,000 tons per annum. JPMorgan has proposed initially holding 61,800 tons, while BlackRock’s proposal is roughly twice that—cutting substantially into stocks immediately available for delivery. “It’s a financial instrument; it no longer becomes a physical product,” noted Sander.

This last point is certainly debatable. “Inventories in general are a form of investment,” argued Virga. “It’s going from an investment held in a warehouse to another investment held in a different warehouse, so it’s still material that’s available and, at the right price, that anyone would either sell or buy.”

She acknowledged, however, that inventory held by the U.S. ETFs is not expected to be subject to London Metal Exchange rules requiring that half of the stocks be available for short-term lending. There is also debate about whether China’s huge stockpiles—estimated to be up to 1.5 million tons—are really deliverable when much of it is believed to have been put up for collateralized loans.

Virga makes a broader point about copper fabricators. “They are very knowledgeable on the fundamentals, and although they appreciate the liquidity and the lending that they get from investors…historically, copper consumers have not been too keen on any type of investor coming into their markets. Therefore, I’m not surprised to see opposition.”

She insisted, though, that the fears are exaggerated. “On a short-term basis, there could be the potential to have reduced availability and supplies, but that’s not sustainable, not in the longer term,” Virga noted. “If prices get higher, investors will take advantage of the jump and sell, and then supplies will become available.”

Schenker makes an even sharper critique: “Filing opposition to investment vehicles or commodity derivatives is not useful [because] the truth is that [companies] have the risk,” he argued. “And if you have the risk as part of your core business, you pretty much have to partake in the risk management side of things or run the risk of being subjected to the price strength. So while I do agree that adding additional participants, especially of this nature, could increase volatility, it may also increase the liquidity and the marketability that allows for more efficient risk management.”

Additional opposition

It’s not just industry complaining. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) blasted the SEC’s decision: “These securities will be used to speculate in copper, which will increase copper prices and volatility and undermine market efforts to produce prices in response to supply and demand by copper users, not the supply and demand of speculators.”

He added that the SEC move was part of the agency’s continued “misguided foray into commodities markets,” which have been flooded by “excessive speculation that has overwhelmed normal supply and demand factors and increased prices at the expense of American consumers and businesses.”

The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which Levin chairs, has conducted several studies of commodity markets in recent years detailing how speculation—through commodity index funds, mutual funds, and commodity-related ETFs—cost American consumers and businesses billions through higher oil, gas, and food prices.

An even more searing critique comes from Simon Hunt, an industry veteran with an eponymous consulting firm in Surrey, England. Hunt laments the financial takeover of the industry as leading to the “demise of copper as an industrial metal” and believes effective control of the copper market was consolidated by investment houses and traders like Glencore and Trafigura, the Dutch behemoth, as they cashed in on the historic commodities boom that ended with the financial collapse of 2008. Following the crash, they were left holding huge levels of inventory, which they are now keen to off-load to the ill-informed investing public.

“The financial sector, including merchants, holds a huge tonnage of copper cathode outside the reporting system,” said Hunt. “My analysis is that there are about 5 million tons being held outside the reporting system by these entities.” The result: “I would say prices are double what they should be in round numbers,” he noted.

That, said Simon, who has been around copper mines since childhood as he accompanied his father while he set up power generation for mines in what was then northern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), has accelerated efforts by industry to find substitutes for copper. “An auto company, a utility, an appliance maker, or whatever has to plan five, 10 years ahead. How can they plan on part of their product, which is copper, based on the whims of the financial community?” he asked.

Actual consumption has been growing at about 1.4% per annum, far less than more widely cited figures, which he said tend to conflate consumption with demand (the latter also includes financial demand, not what actually goes into a furnace). “The problem is that every year they’re having to buy more and more copper to hold the price up,” explained Hunt, who predicted that this is the beginning of a new bubble.

The big players, of course, have no intention of being left holding the bag. “The inventory is unwanted material and the ETFs are a way to get rid of metal that—if they sold directly into the market—would collapse the price,” Hunt added. “This way, they are pushing the price risk onto other investors.”

Although planned some time ago, the timing of the ETFs may be impeccable, especially if—as Hunt predicts—the U.S. dollar falls in the second quarter of this year, strengthening arguments to hedge.

“I feel that that’s too cynical,” countered Virga. “This material is actively traded. No investment bank would hold material that long; it would have triggered the stop/loss and they would have had to sell it no matter what. I don’t think that they’re off-loading.”

Schenker does not subscribe to this theory either. “As a financial institution that makes money by providing investment vehicles that make money, I don’t think it would make sense to create an investment vehicle knowing it will lose money. I also believe the ethics of that action would clearly be negative. So I would be shocked if that’s the case.”

There are reasons to wonder how well subscribed these ETFs will prove to be. A London-listed physical copper ETF has seen substantial outflows this year, leaving sponsor ETF Securities with just under $16 million under management, the Wall Street Journal recently reported. After 10 analysts polled by Barron’s predicted 10% gains for stocks next year—coupled with expected 2% dividends—the “Heard on the Street” columnist opined that these ETFs, which carry insurance and storage costs in addition to management fees, make a less attractive offer.

There are, of course, any number of reasons a particular ETF may not be successful. And it is worth noting that ETFs have had a better record in the United States than elsewhere. For some, precious metal ETFs have been key price drivers. Most think Wall Street’s ETFs are likely to do better, at least initially, particularly if China, which consumes more than 40% of the world’s copper, has really bottomed out—and if the United States manages to avoid fiscal defenestration. But it will also rest on Wall Street’s impressive, if somewhat dented, selling prowess.

“I think the lesson from any failed commodity derivatives or trading products is that there is a need for a distribution network for it,” said Schenker. “A retail network that pushes the product is necessary, and therefore, I would argue that the success or failure of any financial investment vehicle really depends on an ability to stress the value proposition of the client base.”

Caveat emptor.

Ken Stier is a New York-based reporter, editor, and communications professional with more than 25 years of experience. He can be reached at

This important article was reprinted with permission from tED - the ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTOR magazine. 2013 . This fine publication is the official voice of NAED – the National Association of Electrical Distributors Check them out online for the latest news. The best defense against counterfeit products is a dependable electrical distributor.


Why RTPMs improve success of cabling infrastructure deployments - Article from CI&M

The project manager function, which has evolved over many years, serves stakeholders well.

By Dennis Mazaris, RCDD, RTPM; Concert Technologies

An effective project manager is crucial to the outcome of any project. From defining the objectives of the project and specifying the required tasks, to determining the resources, budgets and schedule needed to meet the objective within a specific timeframe, cost and quality, project managers have become more essential than ever—especially when it comes to technology infrastructure deployments.

In 2010, BICSI announced its purchase of the Telecommunications Project Manager (TPM) training program from Don Nelson Consulting and the new Registered Telecommunications Project Manager (RTPM) credential. As part of the venture, all existing TPMs were grandfathered into the new BICSI credential, which was called the RTPM Interim, or RTPM(i), during the transition phase. In August 2011, the official credential was launched and all interim certificate holders became BICSI RTPMs.

Why did BICSI launch the RTPM? Given the emphasis that they have put on information technology system design and installation over the past 40 years, it only made sense for BICSI to give appropriate attention to the critical task that connects the two. The RTPM is the only credential that effectively infuses the discipline of project management with the specific nuances and technologies involved in deploying a cabling infrastructure. In today’s economy, the use of RTPMs can help increase the likelihood of success by minimizing the risk of being over budget and behind schedule.

The evolution of the project manager

Somewhere around 1910, Henry Gantt, an American mechanical engineer and management consultant, developed one of the first formalized project management tools—the Gantt chart. A type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule and the key elements and relationships between the tasks, Gantt charts were first used during World War I and later employed on major infrastructure projects in the 1930s, including the Hoover Dam and the interstate highway system.

In the 1950s, modern project management grew out of various fields, including construction, engineering and defense. The American Association of Cost Engineers further pioneered the concept, and in 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) was formed. With the advancement of computer technology in the late 1970s, it made sense to expand project management concepts to other areas like software development and telecommunications. For software development, the adoption was spurred by the fact that nearly 25 percent of projects were failing to reach completion on time and with the appropriate cost and quality. In the telecommunications industry, the adoption of project management was in response to deregulation and changes in technology that led to more service providers and solutions. (Source: Managing Projects in Telecommunication Services, Mostafa Hashem Sherif, 2006, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

Over the years, the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential offered by PMI has become a popular and well-respected career development strategy as government, commercial and other organizations began employing PMPs to improve the success rate of projects. In fact, the PMP credential was tied for fourth place in’s 10 Hottest Certifications for 2006 and two years later, it was number 7 on ZDNet’s list of 10 Best Information Technology (IT) Certifications. The PMP credential is considered top-notch; applicants must have a four-year degree and at least three years of project management experience with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management experience, or at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management.

Enter the RTPM

The skills of a PMP—project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and completion—can be applied to any project, including network infrastructure deployments. But as technology and networks have continued to evolve, deploying the supporting infrastructure has its own specific challenges, from coordinating with various trades, ensuring jobsite safety and making sure scheduled deadlines are not exceeded, to procuring all of the components, managing the convergence of many different systems and ensuring that the infrastructure ultimately supports the customer’s technologies and applications. With full knowledge of the standards and the industry best practices governing the design and installation of technology infrastructure, the RTPM has a more focused role in the process.

“Comparing the RTPM with the PMP credential is like comparing apples and oranges. They are both project management credentials, but they offer something completely different,” says Sherri Crist, RTPM, a project manager from the Houston, TX area. “For example, a major healthcare network building a new high-rise hospital would typically have PMPs on staff to manage the entire construction project and work directly with the construction managers and/or general contractors. The RTPM, on the other hand, has a completely different role in the construction project. Often specifications will require an RCDD and BICSI-certified technicians and installers as part of the construction team, which adds a layer of protection to ensure that the projects are designed and installed per the standards. An RTPM that has a very well-rounded overview of these same standards and BICSI best practices is yet another layer of protection. And they can ultimately act as a liaison between the installation, construction and owner management teams.”

“Project management is project management. However, each project has elements that are unique to that industry and therefore requires skill and knowledge not normally taught as part of the core project management curriculum,” says Matthew Fox, RCDD, RTPM, a project manager for E1 Dynamics Inc. “For example, a software development project has all the same core project management elements as building a six-story office building, but one requires an understanding of how software code is produced and tested while the other requires knowledge of concrete or framing. While a construction project manager could manage a software project, without fully understanding the people, technology and process, it could be a disaster.”

Andrew Crone, RTPM, vice president of operations for Concert Technologies, a technology rollout company based in Northern Virginia that employs RTPMs for every project, couldn’t agree more. “While we do have PMPs on staff, we decided to have all of our project managers become RTPMs. The PMP credential is somewhat overkill for all of our project managers, and it doesn’t specifically focus on the aspects of a technology infrastructure deployment,” he says. “The ability of the RTPMs to understand project management processes and terminologies, while relating them specifically to the technology being deployed, is the best of both worlds.”

What are the benefits?

An RTPM oversees and coordinates the interaction among designers, engineers, installers and technicians when a new infrastructure project is underway. In addition to personnel and project management expertise, the RTPM has specific knowledge of the cabling components, equipment and technology that all come together to effectively transmit information across a variety of information technology systems. Some of the key benefits of having an RTPM oversee an infrastructure project include the following.

Accountability and communication—With designers, technicians, installers, manufacturers and distributors all involved in a cabling infrastructure deployment, having one point of contact who is clearly identified as being responsible for the completion and success of the project gives the general contractor, end customer and the installation crews complete peace of mind. When there is an RTPM to go to with questions and concerns, everyone understands their specific responsibility, and it helps establish a system of communication that keeps everyone on the same page. When there is a potential problem, having one person to identify and correct it goes a long way in keeping the project on schedule, rather than having several individuals trying to fix the problem in different ways.

“With the RTPM’s knowledge zeroed in on all the aspects of the infrastructure an what it takes to properly procure, install and test the components for maximum system performance, they can better set up communication plans and manage all of the stakeholders—from working with local government and pulling permits, to providing a complete breakdown of the steps required to install and test the infrastructure so that everyone on the project understands what their roles and responsibilities are on any given day,” says Crone.

Cost reduction—In the network cabling industry, the ability to deliver a completed project within budget is critical, especially in today’s economy. When no one is responsible for ensuring that the specific tasks stay on track, labor costs can quickly get out of control. This can ultimately cause dissatisfied customers or having to bite the bullet and potentially make no profit. The RTPM can also help ensure that the installation is completed per the scope of work that was agreed upon by the customer. When a project expands beyond the initial scope, everybody ends up paying.

“Because the RTPM understands what it takes to properly deploy an infrastructure and avoid scope creep, they can segment the process and accurately determine the man hours it takes to complete each task, from roughing in the cabling and terminations, to labeling and testing,” says Crone. “All of this is done through the use of Gantt charts and other project management strategies that can then be used to show the customer the breakdown of the schedule and the labor. Customers love to see exactly what they are paying for, rather than just throwing an overall labor figure at then with no justification.”

On-time delivery—We all know that time is money. Projects that don’t stay on schedule not only create dissatisfied customers, they also prevent installers from moving onto the next job. The RTPM provides a means for setting specific goals, determining the tasks required and calculating realistic time frames to deliver the project. As part of the project management process, the RTPM constantly monitors and tracks the nuances of the project to guarantee on-time completion.

“The RTPM can provide a more-detailed approach to materials management by having a one-to-one connection with the manufacturer and distributor to ensure that materials are onsite, on time,” says Crist.

Risk mitigation—With an RTPM managing the project, risks can be identified early, which allows the right decisions to be made from the start. In fact, RTPMs are specifically trained in risk management and developing risk plans. For example, the RTPM understands how critical it is to have ample pathway space for the network cabling being installed, and sometimes a different trade is responsible for installing that pathway. The RTPM can therefore include coordination with other trades and pathway inspection as a critical element of the project management process. Because RTPMs have technology deployment experience, they can also apply lessons learned from similar past projects to subsequent projects.

“An RTPM can catch technical deficiencies on the project,” says Crist. “An RTPM should also understand the manpower requirements and work directly with operations to ensure that proper safety and certification requirements are met.”

Todd Boucher, RCDD, principal of Leading Edge Design Group, a provider of data center design, agrees. “A good project manager will help mitigate the risk of construction cost increases and scheduling delays by proactively identifying field-related issues and working collaboratively with all project stakeholders to develop an appropriate resolution,” he says.

Better quality and performance—Because the RTPM knows the ins and outs of TIA cabling standards and installation best practices, such as those outlined in the BICSI Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual (TDMM), they are better equipped to ensure that the completed project offers the expected quality and performance. The RTPM has the knowledge and experience to accurately calculate the man hours and resources required and to be very detailed in their instructions—from labeling schemes and termination methods to rack and equipment placement. And because they understand the standards and best practices, RTPMs can address any noncompliance issues that occur.

Matthew Odell, RCDD, director of healthcare technologies for S2N Group, a technology contractor that offers a single-point-of-contact for IT services in new construction and renovations, knows firsthand how having project managers with specific cabling knowledge delivers better quality, especially in healthcare projects.

“In the healthcare environment, there are so many different systems that need to come together and ultimately perform,” says Odell. “Having someone who knows the cabling technology and how data effectively gets from Point A to B is critical to a successful outcome. If you’re managing a technology infrastructure deployment, you need the BICSI background. A PMP may have more in-depth knowledge about budgets, risk assessment and scheduling, but the RTPM will understand the standards, specifications, the equipment and components, the lead time required for materials and all of the costs associated with infrastructure deployment. It’s like having a specialized project manager for the job.”

Opportunity for success

Technology companies that are embracing the use of a structure project management process and having RTPMs on staff are setting themselves apart and succeeding in today’s industry. While a project manager is a benefit on any single technology infrastructure deployment, the role takes on a whole new dimension when dealing with multiple sites or projects that require increased responsibility, coordination and teamwork. Experienced and knowledgeable RTPMs are especially beneficial for technology rollout companies with a core business in multi-site, multi-service, multi-technology rollouts that perform multiple technology infrastructure deployments on a national or global scale.

For Concert Technologies, employing RTPMs on every project helps them to successfully complete hundreds of projects weekly. “Our project managers define all of the activities, resources and durations to develop a complete breakdown for each project and then review that with the customer,” says Crone. “They collect information from various resources, work with distributors and deliver an extremely accurate bill of materials. Once the projects are underway, they are the main point of contact and responsible for maintaining all of the resources, making sure the teams stay on track and ensuring consistency across multiple project sites.”

Concert Technologies’ project facilitators, who also acquire the RTPM credential, communicate with the lead technicians multiple times a day, work closely with the project managers and determine precisely what will be done on each subsequent day.

Having worked with a Concert Technologies RTPM, Mark Hogan with the Social Security Administration knows the value of having a project manager oversee multiple sites. “We have various buildings and sites around the country, which requires us to deal with different groups of people, from landlords to GSAs,” he says. “Having one person to negotiate everything has given us complete peace of mind and guaranteed the same success regardless of the location. We have more than 25 different sites, and having a dedicated project manager for all of them was like having a right-hand man on the job. Every site passed the specs we required as a government agency, and everything was the same, from Alabama to New York.”

A true career path

Becoming an RTPM is an ideal opportunity for anyone already involved with managing and coordinating network infrastructure projects, such as lead technicians or team leaders. Highly recommended for anyone sitting for the RTPM exam, BICSI offers an intensive five-day course, PM110: Telecommunications Project Management, which covers the entire cycle of a project, with emphasis on construction projects as they relate to network infrastructure design and installation.

“I see the RTPM as a true career path for individuals in our industry,” says Crone. “It’s also an excellent credential for field technicians to acquire. Our field technicians that have the RTPM truly understand their marching orders and can give better feedback to project managers and eventually become project managers themselves. We do project deployments all over the world and the RTPM credential and expertise allows us to provide a clear and defined scope of work and schedule for each and every project. This has been critical to our success.”

Concert Technologies currently has more than 30 RTPMs on staff and requires that new project managers and facilitators acquire the credential within a year.

Boucher has witnessed the value of a skilled project manager. “Having a qualified project manager with an intimate knowledge of both the telecommunications industry and the project management process is critical to the success of any project,” he says. “He or she will serve as your representative throughout the construction process, ensuring that the installation is executed in a manner consistent with the design, specifications and industry standards.”

Dennis Mazaris, RCDD, RTPM is president and CEO of Concert Technologies (


Reprinted with Permission from Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine – A PennWell Publication

PennWell Corporation
1421 South Sheridan Road
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74112 USA

PennWell Corporation Market Sectors Served: Oil and natural gas, Electric power generation, Electric power delivery, Hydropower, Renewable energy, Water and wastewater treatment, Waste management, Electronics and semiconductors, Optoelectronics and photonics, Imaging and machine vision, Fiber optics and communications, Aerospace and defense, Cabling installation and maintenance, LEDs and lighting, Firefighting and emergency services, and Dental.


Evolving test capabilities for 40G cabling systems - Article from CI&M

New products offer capabilities for MPO-based parallel-optics systems. Meanwhile, copper looms.

By Patrick McLaughlin

The growing interest in and deployment of 40-Gbit/sec transmission systems in data centers has brought the concept of parallel-optic transmission technology to the forefront. In simple, practical terms, a 40-Gbit/sec Ethernet transmission scheme combines four, 10-Gbit/sec transmission paths (in parallel, hence the nomenclature).

Because the transmission of 40G requires four paths, and the reception of 40G also requires four paths, the multi-fiber push-on (MPO) optical connector has emerged as the interface of choice for the installers, technicians and managers of 40G-capable fiber-optic cabling systems in data centers. As authors Jeff Bullion and Gordon Wiegand point out elsewhere in this issue (see page 25), the MPO has not yet been widely adopted as a transceiver interface. Even so, its use within the backbone and horizontal cabling infrastructures of data center networks is significant and growing. The most popular style of MPO connector has 12 fibers, though 24-fiber MPOs are available and have been put forth by some system providers as the better long-term option for migration to speeds beyond 40G. (See “Are you ready for 40 and 100G?” October 2011; and “A 24-fiber interconnect solution: The right migration path to 40/100G,” September 2012).

Parallel optics

While the 24-fiber MPO connector might emerge as the market’s choice, the current state-of-the-market, or state-of-the-technology, is the 12-fiber MPO. Until recently, conducting tests of MPO-connected cabling systems has been an impractical proposition and frequently has been passed over. The vast majority of MPO-based systems are factory-terminated, not field-terminated. And providers of preterminated MPO-based fiber-optic cabling systems generally have assured users of their systems’ performance without requiring that they be tested. Considering that one of the incentives driving the certification testing of any installed cabling system is to obtain the manufacturer’s warranty, getting an OK from the manufacturer to skip the testing process is likely to be welcomed with open arms by users.

But another significant incentive of testing a system is to ensure it actually performs at the specified and expected level. Cabling-test-equipment manufacturer Fluke Networks ( has embarked on a campaign to raise that issue with users of preterminated systems. Among the lessons in Fluke Networks’ campaign was the concept of total cable certification for a preterminated system. The company stated, “Preterminated fiber is an important innovation that offers the ease of installing high-performance fiber networks with reduced hassles in the installation process. However, if you simply rely on the factory guarantee but ignore field testing aspect of certification, the fiber link installed can fail the industry performance standards and/or customer requirements. It is always important to complete the following steps to ensure total cable certification: 1) Confirm the fiber trunks are as specified. 2) Clean and inspect the fiber before installation. 3) Certify the fiber loss against the loss budget (Tier 1 certification) and then characterize the end-to-end fiber link (Tier 2 certification) to complete the total certification process.”

Testing the MPO

In October 2011 fiber-optic test-equipment manufacturer Kingfisher ( introduced an MPO test-equipment kit, containing cleaning, inspection and test equipment. When it made the introduction, Kingfisher noted, “MPO/MTP ribbon fiber connectors are rapidly gaining popularity in many areas of fiber optics, from LAN to telco and others. They provide a practical method of reducing the cost and complexity of handling cabling and connectivity in high-fiber-count environments, which are becoming much more common. However, to date they have been poorly supported by appropriate test kits.”

The Kingfisher kit is available in three levels of functionality, including cleaning and inspection, clean/inspect/multimode test, and clean/inspect/multimode and singlemode test. The company added that the kit includes “multimode test sources which feature encircled flux compliance for improved loss testing accuracy, and Multi-Fiber ID, which gives improved continuity/polarity test capability across 12 fibers.”

The development of MPO-based test equipment opens up the possibility of alleviating the burdensome process of testing fiber trunk systems, as MPO-based multifiber cabling infrastructures are frequently called. When Fluke Networks introduced an MPO-based test kit in July, it provided detail on research it had done into the existing processes for testing fiber trunks. On average, its research found, it takes 6.5 minutes to setup and test the 12 fibers in an MPO trunk. “In today’s market, few MPO fiber trunks are tested in the field,” given the time it takes to conduct such tests, the company said. Its recently introduced product, MultiFiber Pro, reduces the test time to approximately 20 seconds—14 seconds for setup and 6 seconds for testing—the company said. “For the average data center with 1,600 MPO trunks, the MultiFiber Pro tester can save contractors more than 155 hours of labor and $17,000 USD in costs, assuming an average burdened labor rate of $55 USD,” the company noted.

The MultiFiber Pro includes a “scan-all” test functionality that autotests all 12 fibers in an MPO connector, in addition to the ability to troubleshoot a single fiber. The tester also provides built-in polarity verification and other capabilities.

Citing Cisco’s Market Need for 40 Gigabit Ethernet Market Report, published in 2012, Fluke Networks’ vice president of datacom cabling and installation tools Jason Wilbur commented, “With rates of 40-Gbits/sec in data centers expected to grow by more than 175 percent by 2016, it’s critical that we provide our customers with a solution that makes the MPO testing process both easy and cost-efficient. That need is compounded by the fact that preterminated MPO cables can be damaged or contaminated during transport and installation, and industry best practices dictate that validating performance is a critical step in ensuring data center performance.”

Other recent technological developments may further drive the need for MPO-based test equipment. In December Sumitomo Electric Lightwave announced that in January it would begin shipping a jacketed MPO ribbon splice-on connector. When making the announcement, the company said its “decision to design and launch the Lynx2-MPO Ribbon Jacket splice-on connector addresses the growing network migration from 10 Gbits/sec to 40 and 100 Gbits/sec, and the subsequent accelerated use of optical-fiber ribbon cables that meet the larger fiber counts, real-time scalability, speed of installation, and cost efficiencies required for the migration.”

The advent of field-splicing MPO-style fiber connectors is likely to fuel the desire for field testing of those connections.

Here comes copper

Meanwhile, fiber-optic transmission evidently will not be the proverbial only-game-in-town forever when it comes to 40G transmission. The Telecommunications Industry Association’s (TIA; forging ahead with a Category 8 cabling specification will be geared specifically for the transmission of 40-Gbit/sec Ethernet to some distance that is likely to be less than 100 meters. Preliminary information from the TIA’s TR-42.7 Telecommunications Copper Cabling Systems Subcommittee indicates that Category 8 cabling performance will be specified to 2 GHz.

The certification of a twisted-pair copper cabling system to 2 GHz is one of many challenging initiatives that TR-42.7 will intend to tackle. As 2013 moves along, more specifics about Category 8 and the testing for it are likely to emerge. We will keep you informed of those activities as we obtain such information.

Patrick McLaughlin is chief editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine


Reprinted with Permission from Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine – A PennWell Publication

PennWell Corporation
1421 South Sheridan Road
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74112 USA

PennWell Corporation Market Sectors Served: Oil and natural gas, Electric power generation, Electric power delivery, Hydropower, Renewable energy, Water and wastewater treatment, Waste management, Electronics and semiconductors, Optoelectronics and photonics, Imaging and machine vision, Fiber optics and communications, Aerospace and defense, Cabling installation and maintenance, LEDs and lighting, Firefighting and emergency services, and Dental.


40GBase-T promises excitement - Article from CI&M by Patrick McLaughlin –Chief Editor

In December we reported on some of the initial efforts by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) to produce a set of Category 8 twisted-pair cabling specifications for the support of 40GBase-T (see “TIA working on Category 8 standard,” December 2012). The TIA group working on the Category 8 specifications has ambitious plans concerning the amount of progress it expects to make in 2013.

If you are inclined to read and/or contribute to industry-related discussion groups, you may already have seen some of the technopolitical debates taking shape around the Category 8 specifications. In large part these debates concern the TIA’s decision to move ahead with a Category 8 specification independent of the ISO/IEC’s Category 7 and 7A specifications, and the likelihood that the Category 8 requirements for some electrical-performance characteristics will be less-strict than those of Category 7A for the same characteristics. We mentioned this in our December reporting as well, but as you might imagine the topic has taken on a life of its own in the aforementioned discussion groups.

For me there is a bottom line to the discussion/debate. It’s the bottom line for me because it’s what I honestly believe matters the most to you as readers of this publication. And that is: Will a cabling system that complies with the specifications support the intended application? In this case, it’s: Will a Category 8-compliant system support 40GBase-T?

The development of Category 8 is in keeping with the successful efforts through which a set of cabling-performance parameters is developed in tandem with an Ethernet transmission protocol. By contrast and for example, the TIA’s development of Category 6 was not in sync with an IEEE effort to develop 1000Base-TX (i.e. Gigabit Ethernet over two copper pairs). The IEEE passed on a 1000Base-TX project and the TIA’s own efforts to put forth 1000Base-TX fell flat. Category 6A, on the other hand, aligned that cabling-performance level with 10GBase-T.

No one has ever told me that the TIA passed on opportunities to construct a Category 7 or 7A set of specifications because there was no direct alignment with an Ethernet protocol. But the TIA’s actions, in the form of its decision to move forth with a 40GBase-T-aligned Category 8, make a statement.

The issue of Category 8’s backward-compatibility with Category 7A remains unsolved as of today. Look for upates here, and in those juicy discussion forums, in the months ahead.


Reprinted with Permission from Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine – A PennWell Publication

PennWell Corporation
1421 South Sheridan Road
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74112 USA

PennWell Corporation Market Sectors Served: Oil and natural gas, Electric power generation,  Electric power delivery, Hydropower, Renewable energy, Water and wastewater treatment, Waste management, Electronics and semiconductors, Optoelectronics and photonics, Imaging and machine vision, Fiber optics and communications, Aerospace and defense, Cabling installation and maintenance, LEDs and lighting, Firefighting and emergency services, and Dental.


Passive Optical LAN Solutions from 3M Debut at BICSI Winter

- The 3M POLS portfolio offers a complete, end-to-end fiber solution for the enterprise -

TAMPA, Fla. – Jan. 21, 2013 – BICSI Winter Conference and Exhibition, Booth #233 – 3M unveiled a portfolio of Passive Optical LAN Solutions for the enterprise LAN. The future-ready fiber-to-the-desktop LAN technology is gaining traction within the industry as the alternative to traditional copper-based Layer 2 Ethernet switches.

Passive Optical LAN is being adopted at a fast pace by large government and enterprise LAN customers attracted to the benefits including significant cost savings of including up to 70 percent reduction of equipment and infrastructure, up to 80 percent less power costs because there is no active component required on every floor in the telecom room, and up to 90 percent less space and material requirements.

Delivering converged high bandwidth services with no need for active electronics between the main equipment room and the work area all over one singlemode fiber means POLS provides a better way of networking with the added benefit of future-proofing cabling infrastructure assets.  Overall, POL requires less equipment using less energy (compared to traditional enterprise Ethernet LAN switches deployed over 100 Ohm Category copper twisted  pair media) which translates to lower deployment and operating expenses for a smarter business solution.

3M draws on the experience of more than 50 years in telecommunications to optimize the Passive Optical LAN Solutions portfolio. 3M POLS products include:

·         High-Performance Fiber Cable

·         Innovative One Pass Fiber Pathways for below-the-ceiling

·         Revolutionary Field Terminated Connectors

·         Wall and Rackmount Fiber Distribution Systems

·         Optimized Splitter Modules and Shelves

·         Multi-fiber backbone trunks and MPO modules

·         Various types of Pre-terminated Fiber Cable Assembliesneeded for POL

·         Faceplates and Wall Outlets

·         Copper Patch Panels and Jacks

More about Passive Optical LAN Solutions from 3M is available at www.

About 3M Communication Markets Division
For more than 50 years, products from 3M have formed the backbone of the telecommunications industry. Global customers have come to rely on 3M quality to connect and protect their infrastructure. As a network of networks, the
3M Communication Markets Division connects smart grids to smart phones, wind farms to server farms, greenfield to brownfield and wireline to wireless. Today, 3M is taking fiber further, moving mobility forward and maximizing networks – from xDSL and FTTN to the enterprise.

A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands of innovative products for dozens of diverse markets. More information about 3M Company is available online.

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New Field Terminated Fiber Connectors from 3M for the Enterprise

- Fiber connectors from 3M transform old notions about field terminations while delivering great flexibility, cost savings and reliability -

TAMPA, Fla. – Jan. 21, 2013 – BICSI Winter Conference and Exhibition, Booth #233 - 3M announced an expansion of its fiber connector product line for fast, on-site installation in the enterprise. With one-piece, pre-assembled designs, the newest fiber connectors from 3M are engineered to be field terminated, providing a completely customizable, while still reliable, mechanical connectivity solution.

With minimal tool requirements, simple installation and no need for cable slack storage, mechanical field terminations save installation time while helping minimize capital investment.

The expanded product family of LC, SC, and now ST fiber connectors from 3M enables contractors, design engineers and data center managers to install, customize and maintain a network architecture with one product family. New connectors from 3M include:

·         3M No Polish ST Connector for fast, on-site installation of 250 micron and 900 micron terminations utilizing a one-piece, pre-assembled design. The addition of the NPC ST Connectors completes the line of 250/900 micron No Polish Connectors from 3M.

·         3M No Polish Connector Jacket for fast, on-site installation without an assembly tool.  These LC and SC compatible connectors are designed for the new generation on bend-insensitive singlemode and multimode fiber cables.

o        LC connectors for 1.6 mm to 2.0 mm cable .

o        SC connectors for 1.6 mm to 3.0 mm cable

·         3M Crimplok+ Connector for fast, easy field installations of 250 micron and 900 micron singlemode and multimode fiber. Combining the speed of mechanical splice connectors with the performance of fusion splice-on connectors, the Crimplok+ Connector from 3M is the first known, commercially available FTTX field-mounted fiber connector that meets indoor and outdoor performance requirements without a splice, gel or adhesive. These connectors are SC compatible with a metallic element that mechanically locks the fiber in place.

Choosing the right connectivity product can result in cost savings and efficient deployment while providing reliable service to customers. The high costs associated with factory-terminated cables – inventory expense, the need for slack storage and the pre-terminated cables themselves – have many providers opting for field-terminated connectors where the installation can be customized by using a reel of cable and connectors.

Find out more about fiber connectivity solutions from 3M.

About 3M Communication Markets Division

For more than 50 years, products from 3M have formed the backbone of the telecommunications industry. Global customers have come to rely on 3M quality to connect and protect their infrastructure. As a network of networks, the 3M Communication Markets Division connects smart grids to smart phones, wind farms to server farms, greenfield to brownfield and wireline to wireless. Today, 3M is taking fiber further, moving mobility forward and maximizing networks – from xDSL and FTTN to the enterprise. 

A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands of innovative products for dozens of diverse markets. More information about 3M Company is available online.


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