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Wireville.com

Issue: March 2003

By: Frank Bisbee

 


In This Issue
 

Bits N' Pieces

 

Bisbee's Buzz'.

Recently, we had the opportunity to hear an outstanding presentation by Paul M. Mason, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Economics and Geography, College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida. The presentation, "The Outlook for 2003 and Beyond in Industrial and Commercial Real Estate", was made to the local chapter of National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP).

The overall presentation was a bit overwhelming because some of the forecasted economic events seemed a little difficult to accept. However, since that presentation in mid February, numerous economic events, which were outlined in Dr. Mason's forecast, have already occurred. Yesterday, on March 4, 2003, the Blue-Chip Dow closed at a five month low. The Blue-Chip stocks got plowed under by overwhelming concerns about the slump in the US Dollar and an economy struggling under the threat of War.

According to Dr. Mason, " My bottom line on the local economy as well as the national economy is that we will not recover until Iraq is resolved and the uncertainty that it generates is removed. Firms seem to be itching for a rebound, but are too uncertain over Iraq and more recently North Korea. To reiterate, I perceive that the greater RISK to the economy in the current climate is that the preludes to war will continue unabated for far too long maintaining the uncertainty that is restricting business opportunities and a return to strong growth. The greatest OPPORTUNITY is for entrepreneurs like yourselves to risk that the conflict will be resolved very soon so that you can be among the early birds who will profit most from the impending acceleration of the recovery." Perhaps you have seen the effects of this scenario in the prices at the gas pump. Regular is close to $2.00 per gallon, and Premium is an Arm & a Leg.

Commercial Real Estate is a prime indicator for cabling demand in the marketplace. The Tenant churn generates a major portion of the requirement for cabling in the workplace. When the Commercial Real Estate market gets stale, the cabling market gets rotten.


The trade press publications in the cabling industry are no different than those magazines in other industries. The "advertorial" or printed "info-mercial" is a basic component of these publications. The readers receive their subscriptions at no charge. Somebody has to pay for it. This is GOOD and BAD at the same time. The BAD is some of the articles may be grossly skewed and present facts in a misleading or deceptive manner. The GOOD is this media provides a platform for industry readers to get information on new products, services and applications. Most of the "info-mercials" that are written by employees of the companies that are represented in the articles follow a fairly strict guideline of accuracy for obvious reasons of liability. However, when a "Third Party" writes the article, you might want to check the supporting data and claims. Some companies have attempted to manipulate the media through "Third Party" authors and stimulate buyers with questionable claims. An astute reader can usually pick out the bogus material, however, that is getting much more difficult as media manipulators become more proficient.

On the Codes & Standards scene, it's the same game. There are numerous paid "Third Party" voices on the committees, which attempt to control the Code & Standard development process by either stalling or pushing. Industry insiders know most of these "shills," but their presence is tolerated because their sponsors are usually financial powerhouses. Whether it is only a swank dinner with fine wine, or a ski trip to Colorado, it is still "good marketing?" Unfortunately, the Codes become laws. Should these deceptive representatives be required to make their status and benefactors known, like the requirements for the lobbyists to the legislature?

Independent consultant: now there are two words that are as contradictory as the phrase "Jumbo Shrimp"

The cover story of the January/February 2003 issue of the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Journal is: "The Future of CODE Writing, can the voluntary code-development process survive the latest legal assault on copyrights?" The "voluntary" participation in the development of the (NEC) National Electric Code is anything but voluntary. Anyone who has attended one of these meetings can quickly identify the various camps of industry mercenaries. There are laws, which require the disclosure of special interests for members of the committees which develop codes, but no one seems to pay any attention to the requirement. Now, the entire alleged "consensus process" is under assault from all sides. The conservative and powerful BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association Intl.) organization, has also publicly criticized the flaws in the NFPA 5000 because of the failed "consensus process."

Communicating with NFPA in the code development process is as difficult as understanding the entire rules, regulations, policies and practices of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This may explain why The International Code Council (the "other" major competing building code development organization) may be the preferred code group for the Building and Real Estate industry. Safety is too important to ignore and it is everybody's job. We must improve these processes for the creation of fire safety codes.


Cabling Business Magazine February 2003 issue :be sure and review the article on "Abandoned Cable - The Forgotten Medium" by Chris Parks. We are definitely seeing the early signs of a business opportunity beginning to blossom. The removal of abandoned cable is a major potential windfall for cabling and electrical contractors who have been strapped by the harsh economic conditions. One contractor said, with a smile, " Now they will pay to get it in and pay to get it out too!"

In the February issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine askDONNA column, Donna Ballast, RCDD, provides some real insight to the challenge of defining the new provision for the removal of abandoned cable in the NEC 2002. This publication is definitely on top of the issues and technologies, which drive the cabling industry. One area that remains untouched, except, by wireville.com is the dangerous LEAD materials which are present in many of the installed plenum building cables. Installers should be made aware of these materials and the proper OSHA handling practices for LEAD. The installers have the right to know.

Another downside that is not part of the general discussion on abandoned cable removal is disposal. Contractors should check with local authorities for the proper and legal method of disposal. The LEAD stabilizers contained in the typical fire resistant polyvinyl chloride jacket (FRPVC) make this waste stream unacceptable for PVC recycling at this time. The only way to get the LEAD out is not to put it in. As more local authorities become aware of the high concentrations of LEAD stabilizers in some of the plenum jackets they may restrict the use of the typical C & D landfill. You may be required to use specialized sites for disposal of Hazardous/Toxic materials. The expense for special handling is projected to increase sharply in the future.

Remember, liability usually precedes legislation. The lawyers will get their "pound" long before the legislation is a reality. We need only to look at the chain of events for other hazardous materials such as asbestos and LEAD in paint to see the future. Employers who fail to acknowledge their responsibilities to their employees, particularly in health and safety issues, may find themselves sitting across from a frowning panel of jurors while the plaintiff's lawyer accuses the defendant of every horrible intentional behavior in the world including littering, loitering and singing off key.

Cabling Systems Magazine - January/February 2003 issue contains a thorough survey on the fiber optics market. This "Fiber Report Card" contains a few surprises. The author, Chris Blythe, notes, In a world where business empires can crumble in a single calendar cycle the loss of momentum for FTTD- (Fiber To The Desktop) can't be good.

We believe that FTTD is still alive and has been growing at a constant rate for the past five years. Growth in this area has been slower than the fiber industry would like, but the specialized applications for FTTD remain limited.

However, we are seeing a reduction in the marketing hype for FTTD.

Publisher Vaios Petsis and Editor Paul Barker were on hand to represent Cabling Systems Magazine and gather all the latest news at the recent BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando. This publication continues to grow at a pace comparable to the other Canadian cabling publication, Structured Cabling Magazine.

Structured Cabling Magazine, a CLB Media Inc. (subsidiary of Canada Law Book Inc.) was also well represented at the BICSI Winter Conference. We met with Fred Ouimette, Publisher; Leslie Wu, Editor; and Frank Shoniker, Director, Sales & Marketing for CLB Media Inc. Their team was as busy as beavers gathering all the news that was fit to use. The March issue contains an interesting article that compares the appropriate applications for fiber, copper and wireless. Enjoy their regular departments, including the world famous Marilyn Michelson's "A Question Of Standards" and a wrap up of the BICSI Winter Conference.

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), founded in 1901, is alive and well. The economic downturn has certainly constricted business opportunities for their substantial membership of more than 70,000 firms, with 119 NECA chapters in the U.S. However, this vibrant membership is quick to seize the day. We have interviewed several NECA members who have reported new emphasis on the M-A-C attack (Moves, Adds & Changes). This area of activity also provides NECA members with one of the highest profit services available. Face it, most buyers don't bid out M-A-C work. NECA is also taking a close look at the financial bounty embedded in the removal of abandoned cable.

In the February issue of The Electrical Contractor Magazine, Joe Salimando authors an interesting article, " A Contractor Paradise". This article is also focused on the M-A-C attack. Salimando's unique style tells it like it is. Maybe it's time for contractors to refocus on the basics since the economy does not seem to be improving at this time.


Back to Dr. Mason, Economist from the U of N. Fl, he concluded his speech with the following ditty, proving that even economists have a good sense of humor. Did you get that, Mr. Greenspan?

"Sales and income figures show an easing up of the rate at which business is easing off. This can be taken as ample proof of the government's contention that there's a slowing-up of the slow-down. Now to clarify that, it should be noted that the slowing-up of the slow-down is not as good as an upturn in the down-turn. Also, it suggests that the climate's about right for an adjustment of the readjustment to rate structures.

Now, turning specifically to rates. We find a very definite decrease in the rate of increase. This clearly shows there should be a letting up of the letdown. Of course, if the slow-down should speed up, the decrease in the rate of increase of rates would turn into an increase in the rate of decrease.

And finally, the inflation of the resultant recession would turn the recession into a depression while deflation in the rate of inflation would give the impression of a recession of the depression.

This report is covered by copywrong."

But that's just my opinion. Frank Bisbee


Graybar One of "America's Most Admired Companies" by Fortune magazine

Graybar (St. Louis, MO), North America's largest distributor of electrical, telecommunications and networking equipment, has been named one of America's Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine for the second consecutive year.

In selecting Graybar for the "Most Admired" list, Fortune surveyed 10,000 executives, directors, and analysts around the country, who then rated companies in 66 industries using eight criteria: Innovativeness, employee talent, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment value, and quality of products and services. The final list included 587 companies in 66 categories.


Graybar, which was listed in the "Wholesalers: Electronics & Office Equipment" category, ranked #5, a significant jump of three spots over its ranking in 2002, the first year it was selected to the "Most Admired" list, when it ranked #8.

"Being recognized among the 'Most Admired Companies' in America is a fantastic honor, and very, very gratifying," said Robert A. Reynolds Jr., president, chairman and chief executive officer of Graybar. "It's a testament to the efforts of our more than 8,000 employees coast-to-coast, who have worked especially hard over the past year to ensure that our leading-edge technology and logistics capabilities help raise the bar on performance and value for our customers."

As America's largest employee-owned company, we've demonstrated that we have the power and stability of a big corporation and the integrity and drive of a neighborhood business," he added.

This prestigious recognition from Fortune comes on the heels of another recent honor bestowed upon Graybar in the past four months. Graybar continued to rise in Forbes magazine's rankings of "America's Top Private Companies" in November, moving up to #21 from #35 in 1998.

"These honors reflect a company that is continuing to build on past successes," Reynolds added. "It clearly validates the fact that Graybar's management team has a solid plan for the future, and it's working."


About Graybar

St. Louis-based Graybar, a Fortune 500 company and the nation's largest employee-owned company, is a specialist in supply chain management services and the leading North American distributor of electrical, telecommunications, and networking equipment and components. It stocks and sells 1.4 million items from more than 4,100 manufacturers, and operates more than 250 distribution centers throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit www.graybar.com .


KRONE Launches New Network Cables with AirES Technology (And they are LEAD-FREE)

The KRONE Group (Centennial, CO) has developed new network cables that improve data throughput, save space, ease installation, and reduce the danger of fire and smoke. These new Category 5e and 6 cables are designed for KRONE's TrueNet Structured Cabling System. They incorporate KRONE's latest scientific breakthrough technology called AirES (Air-Enhanced System) Technology, which provides superior performance while reducing overall size up to 32 percent. This innovation has a significant impact on several areas of network cable installation, operation and maintenance including:

Entirely LEAD-Free Compounds

Improved data transmission

Easier and faster installation

Significant reduction in cable tray space

Reduction in flammability

This technology enables our customers and partners to maximize throughput for optimum efficiency and productivity in the workplace, while at the same time speeding up the installation process and saving valuable space in communications expanses," said Ron Lowy, chief operating officer at KRONE. "We are also very aware of the public's concerns regarding plenum wiring spaces - these new cables will make the workplace safer for everyone as well as for their valuable equipment."

KRONE's AirES technology, through patent pending design and processes, reduces the amount of material required in the cable while lowering the dielectric constant of the wire improving signal strength. This saves as much as 32 percent of the available space in cable runs. The smaller diameter wire also saves precious space in the communications closet, reduces the amount of cable management accessories required and lowers the risk associated with fire and smoke in the plenum space.

About KRONE

KRONE is a world leading cable and connectivity company with 75 years of experience in the design, development and supply of cable and connectivity solutions for enterprise and public networks.


BICSI Members Recognized at Annual Awards Banquet

At the annual BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, FL, two individuals received awards for their efforts in the telecommunications industry through their leadership and excellence in BICSI volunteer activities.

BICSI developed the "Larry J. Romig Committee Person of the Year Award" in recognition of the volunteer work performed by its members, and to honor one individual each year for exemplary efforts and dedication within a BICSI committee.

BICSI's Board of Directors President, John Payseur, RCDD/LAN Specialist, presented this award to Sam Rosenthal, RCDD/LAN Specialist. Mr. Rosenthal actively serves on the Codes Committee, Standards Committee, the Government Relations Committee, the Technical Information & Methods Committee, the Nominating Committee, and BICSI Cares. Mr. Rosenthal works as a Design Project Manager for General Dynamics Network Systems in Massachusetts.

The "David K. Blythe/University of Kentucky Distinguished Service Award" recognizes the volunteer spirit of BICSI members and spotlights one individual as the BICSI Member of the Year for outstanding efforts in promoting BICSI's educational programs and commitment to professional development within the telecommunications industry.

This year's award was presented to BICSI member, Masood Shariff. Mr. Shariff serves as the chair of the TIA-TR-42.7 subcommittee, which recently produced the Category 6 Standard, long awaited by the telecommunications industry. He also serves on BICSI's Technical Information and Methods Committee, and from 1997 to 2001 was a representative handling the technical content of BICSI's conferences. Mr. Shariff is a Senior Technical Consultant for SYSTIMAX® Labs, Inc., in New Jersey


SCTE Partners with NJIT, AM Communications to offer "Distance Learning"

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and AM Communications, Inc., will offer five distance learningcourses for telecommunications students and professionals.

The courses, which will be available starting March 1, 2003, are developed by SCTE, NJIT and AM Communications, Inc. They are produced, administered and quality controlled by NJIT, a fully accredited public technological research university based in Newark, N.J.

Instructors for the courses are engineers and technicians employed by AM Communications-a leading provider of engineering, construction and fulfillment services for the cable industry, as well as an international provider of a systems and software for HFC networks, headquartered in Quakertown, Pa.

"Distance learning is structured in much the same way as classroom learning," said SCTE's director of training, Debbie Manoff. "What makes it different is that students can participate in an online, instructor-led course at their own pace. "So they get the best of both worlds-the depth of a professional development training course led by an expert in the field and the flexibility of online learning."

According to Dr. Gale Tenen Spak, NJIT's associate vice president, this flexibility gives students the opportunity to participate at any time of the day or night in a 30-day time period via "instructor-led electronic conversations among the teacher and other students."

Five courses will be introduced from March through July 2003: Cable 101: Introduction to Cable Telecommunications; Digital and High-Speed Data; Broadband Telephony; Cable Telecommunications Installation; and Customer Service for Technical Personnel.

Three of the courses-Digital and High-Speed Data, Broadband Telephony and Cable Telecommunications Installation-are recommended study resources for individuals pursuing SCTE's Broadband Premises Specialist certification and endorsements. Course descriptions and registration details are available online at www.scte.org in the Training and Certification section under Online Learning.

About SCTE

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers is a non-profit professional organization committed to advancing the careers of cable telecommunications professionals and serving their industry through excellence in technical training, certification and standards. SCTE currently has over 15,000 members from the U.S. and 70 countries worldwide and offers a variety of programs and services for the industry's educational benefit. SCTE has 70 chapters and meeting groups and has technically certified over 3,000 employees of the cable telecommunications industry.

About NJIT

NJIT Continuing Professional Education orchestrates multi-million dollar training initiatives (eLearning or in classroom settings) in conjunction with government, corporate and private funding sources. We also provide training to many federal and state-funded recipients, including unemployed and underemployed, minorities, women and the disabled. NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as America's "perennially most wired" public university.

About AM Communications, Inc.

AM Communications, Inc., located in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, is a leading supplier of software-driven network reliability solutions for HFC broadband network enterprises. AM's advanced systems and service offerings employ leading-edge technologies that embody the company's 25+ years of HFC experience and expertise. Through its exclusive and strategic relationship with Network Systems and Technologies (NeST), AM has access to a skilled manpower pool of over 400 software and hardware engineers as well as 2000 operations support personnel. AM's world-class Quality credentials include ISO9001 for engineering, business, and operations procedures, as well as CMM Level 5 for software development.


CDT Executive Retires

George Graeber, CDT President, has made it known that Joe Merkwaz has announced his intention to retire effective February 2003. After Joe's 24 years with CDT and, coupled with additional years at Brand-Rex and Berk-Tek, he feels it is time to move onto the enjoyment of a quieter life style. Reflecting on his 40 plus years of dedicated service and contribution to the industry, Joe wishes to thank the many associates, customers and industry friends who have provided much support and enjoyment to him over the years. Joe and his wife, Joan, plan to spend their time between their summer home in Maine and winter residence in Florida. Effective with Joe's retirement, Peter Sheehan will assume responsibilities for all of Sales and Marketing activities for Nordx's Central Office products.


Harvey McDowell joins Berk-Tek as Operations & Technology Manager

Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), a Nexans company, is pleased to announce the appointment of Harvey McDowell, Operations and Technology Manager for the company's Optical Fiber Division. McDowell will direct all manufacturing operations, quality assurance and engineering functions at the Fuquay-Varina, NC location.

" We are pleased to announce Harvey's appointment, " said John Gibson, Senior Vice President, Operations and Technology for Berk-Tek. "Harvey's related industry experience and technical expertise will greatly strengthen our capabilities, positioning us for significant growth in the next few years. "

McDowell has 17 years of engineering and operations experience with Siecor / Corning. He earned a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University. Some of his technical accomplishments include numerous fiber optic patents, along with several industry awards as a technical contributor.

About Berk-Tek, A Nexans Company: For more than 40 years, Berk-Tek has been a leading manufacturer of more than 100 different network copper and fiber-optic cable products. The company has led in the development of high-performance and enhanced UTP cables designed to transport high-speed data and voice transmissions. Berk-Tek has major manufacturing facilities at New Holland, PA, Fuquay-Varina, NC and Elm City, NC.

About Nexans: Nexans, a worldwide leader in the cable industry brings an extensive range of advanced copper and optical fiber cable solutions to the infrastructure, industry and building markets. Nexans cables and cabling systems can be found in every area of people's lives, from telecommunications and energy networks, to aeronautics, aerospace, automobile, railways, building, petrochemical, medical applications, etc. With an industrial presence in 28 countries and commercial activities in 65 countries, Nexans employs 17,150 people and had sales of euros 4.3 billion (US$ 4.1 billion) in 2002. Nexans is listed on the Paris stock exchange as NEX


Nexans Competence Center Changes Name

Upon announcing over a year ago the opening an international state-of-the-art research, testing and design facility in New Holland, PA, Nexans announced it has changed the name of the center, to better reflect its evolving capabilities.

Nexans renamed the New Holland Competence Center to the Data Communications Competence Center, in an effort to ensure consistency and better reflect the focus of its competence centers.

"The name change encompasses our current LAN activities, as well as our broader scope, recognizing our evolution into other data communications applications," said Eric Lawrence, Technical Director, Data Communications Competence Center. "The new name clarifies our core competencies that will be our primary focus. But, like our other competence centers, we will continue to support the entire Nexans group."

Lawrence has managed the center since its inception and was recently promoted in February. As Nexans Technical Director for Cabling Systems Product Line in North America, he has a functional reporting responsibility to Nexans' Technical Vice-President, Michel Rousseau, in Nexans headquarters office in Paris, France.

The "New Holland Competence Center" name reflected the center's address _ which is the same location that houses the corporate headquarters of Berk-Tek, A Nexans Company (a division Nexans Inc.) and it is the site of Berk-Tek's copper UTP cabling manufacturing plant.

The competence center laboratories use state-of-the-art, proprietary tools to analyze and develop advanced cabling solutions. The Advanced Materials Development team utilizes sophisticated analytical capabilities that facilitate the development of advanced materials and processes. An international team of experts in the fields of cable, connectors, materials, networking standards, telecommunications and testing supports the competence center, which is part of a global network of ten competence centers, centralized by a the Nexans Research Center (NRC) in Lyon, France.


Agilent to cut 4,000 jobs

Aiming to lower the point at which it can break even, equipment maker Agilent Technologies on Friday announced plans to cut an additional 4,000 jobs on top of previous layoffs. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based test and measurement equipment maker, spun off from HP in 1999, said the move will allow the company to eventually break even with sales of $1.45 billion. The new round of reductions come on top of thousands of other jobs cut at Agilent in the past 24 months.


NORDX/CDT announces intelligent management system

NORDX/CDT, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cable Design Technologies, and iTRACS have announced a partnership between the two companies, by which NORDX/CDT will license, manufacture, market and distribute intelligent cable-management systems based on iTRACS technology. The system will consist of NORDX/CDT hardware including patch panels, cords, and iTRACS Analyzer monitoring equipment.

The system is called IntelliMAC and is part of NORDX/CDT's IBDN line of cabling systems. "We have taken our top-of-the-line GigaFlex products and incorporated iTRACS technology into them," explains Andre Mouton, NORDX/CDT's product line manager for the system." He emphasizes that under the terms of the partnership, NORDX/CDT and iTRACS will market the IntelliMAC system together. NORDX/CDT will market and support the system's hardware-including patch cords, patch panels, and active monitoring software-and iTRACS will market and support the software.

iTRACS software monitors the hardware to self-discover the network topology in data centers, communications room and wiring spaces. It automatically detects both authorized and unauthorized changes, uses patent-pending technology to pinpoint wiring trouble spots, alerts IT staff to problems, and issues work orders or trouble tickets to initiate corrective action. All iTRACS circuitry is isolated from the network, ensuring that the system does not impact data flow or network performance.

Users can purchase the system with the cable-management technology built in, or can purchase components that allow them to retrofit an existing system with the technology.

"We chose to partner with iTRACS because of the company's expertise, and for three other primary reasons," Mouton continued. "First is iTRACS's global presence. They can follow us anywhere in the world that we have clients. Next is their experience, with both hardware and software, in very large installations. And also for iTRACS's commitment to technology development. The technology incorporated into the

IntelliMAC system will not remain stagnant; it will continue to develop. IntelliMAC products are now available, Mouton says, although currently they are being shipped on a project-by-project basis rather than through more-traditional channels. He expects that to be the case until the later part of March.

Mouton says the system currently is targeted at customers "with very specific needs, such as system security or protection. Someone who wants to add security to their structured cabling system can do so through this system."


Anixter Sells Levels XP Cabling Testing Program to Underwriters Laboratories

Anixter Inc. (Skokie, Ill), the world's leading distributor of communications products, announced that it has sold the rights and intellectual property associated with its testing and certification process for Levels XP channels to Underwriters Laboratories (UL). The only specification of its kind -- Levels XP (Expanded Performance) measures network cable performance on live data and certifies the capability of a cabling system to minimize bit errors. It is the most accurate measurement of data throughput and enterprise network bandwidth and will now be available exclusively through UL, the recognized leader in conformity assessment services.

Under the terms of the sale, UL will now perform all Levels XP channel testing and certification for existing Levels XP partners and new clients at its state-of-the-art XP lab in UL's Melville, NY facility. Anixter will continue to market and support Levels XP as the cornerstone of its marketing strategy.

The Levels XP channel-testing effort emerged as an outgrowth of Anixter's Levels program. Initiated in 1988, the Levels program was created as a means of evaluating, categorizing and establishing standards of performance for cable and cabling systems used within an enterprise network. It is the very basis upon which the industry's Category system (Cat5, Cat5e, etc.) is founded and standards of performance are based.

"The very fact that UL purchased our Levels XP channel and certification process, validates our procedures and the importance of throughput and bandwidth verification," stated Frank Coletto, senior vice president of marketing for Anixter. "This is a real win-win for UL, Anixter and our customers. It allows UL, the world leader in independent testing, to do exactly what it does best -- namely, superior testing and certification. It allows us the ability to continue to devote our energies toward providing the best solutions, support and service to our customer base. And it gives our customers the peace of mind in knowing that the cabling systems they get from us will perform exactly as they expect."

We are pleased to take over the reins of the Levels XP testing and certification program from Anixter," commented Steve Galan, wire and cable manager for Underwriters Laboratories. "This reinforces UL's commitment to providing premium testing solutions for the wire and cable industry and expands our service capabilities even further for our clients."

Anixter will maintain its Levels Lab facility, according to Pete Lockhart, the company's vice president of technology. "We will continue to perform component testing in our lab and random testing of our inventory stock," Lockhart pointed out. "It's a commitment to our customers and a commitment to quality that we intend to keep. Our mission will continue to focus on new and better ways to serve our valued customers."

About Anixter

Anixter International is a leading distributor of communication products and a leading distributor of fasteners and other "C" Class inventory components to Original Equipment Manufacturers. The company adds value to the distribution process through its valued added services and logistics programs and by providing its customers access to 1) more than 185,000 products and approximately $500 million in inventory, 2) 125 warehouses with more than 4.4 million square feet of space, and 3) locations in 193 cities in 40 countries. Founded in 1957 and headquartered near Chicago, Anixter trades on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AXE.

About Anixter Levels Lab

The Anixter Levels Lab, located in Mt. Prospect, IL, analyzes manufacturing quality and performance levels of network cabling and components, such as patch cords, NIC cards and switches. Anixter's Levels Lab contains miles of copper and fiber optic cable, hundreds of different connectors, patch panel ports and patch cords. The equipment allows Anixter to simulate many data cabling systems. Through this recreation ansimulation of key network parameters, the Levels Lab can analyze performance expectations, detect problems and find real-world solutions to them.

About Underwriters Laboratories (UL)

UL® is the world's leading product safety and certification organization with more than 16 billion UL® markings applied to more than 17,000 types of products each year. UL® is also the leading independent auditor of laboratory and laboratory processes and procedures. Moreover, in the telecommunications industry, UL® certifies the vast majority of products to the industry's standards.


TIA publishes two new standards

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has published two new standards. The standards are Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard, Part 2: Balanced Twisted Pair Cabling Components, Addendum 1 -Transmission Performance Specifications for Four-Pair 100 U Category 6 Cabling.

The document is addendum No. 1 to TIA/EIA-568-B.2. The document specifies requirements for insertion loss, near-end crosstalk (NEXT), loss, equal level far-end crosstalk (ELFEXT), return loss, propagation delay, and delay skew requirements for 100 U four-pair Category 6 cabling, cables and connecting hardware.

The standard also specifies NEXT loss and return loss requirements for modular plug cords. For cabling and cable NEXT loss and ELFEXT, both worst pair-to-pair and multi-disturber power sum requirements are specified. Balance recommendations are provided for Category 6 connecting hardware and cables.

In addition to these requirements and recommendations, Category 6 cabling, cables, cords and connecting hardware shall meet or exceed all the requirements of ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.1 and ANSI/TIA/EIA-568.B-2. Compliance with this standard does not imply compatibility with cabling having nominal impedance values other than 100 U. TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 was created by TIA TR-42.7 Subcommittee on Telecommunications Copper Cabling Systems.


CDT Announces Second Quarter FY2003 Results

Cable Design Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA) announced net income for its fiscal second quarter ended January 31, 2003 of $0.2 million, or $0.00 per diluted share.

Excluding the pretax restructuring charge of $1.5 million, due to the streamlining of certain businesses through workforce reductions, net income was $1.1 million, or $0.02 per diluted share.

Total sales for the second quarter 2003 were $112.0 million versus $115.2 million last year. Second quarter 2003 operating income, excluding restructuring charges, was $3.3 million versus a loss of ($1.8) million for the second quarter last year, which indicates a significant operating improvement on lower sales.

Network Communication segment sales for the second quarter 2003 were $66.0 million and represented 58.9% of total company revenues and compares to $68.0 million for last year's second quarter. Gigabit network cable represented 90% of Category 5 and above network cable sales. Network Communication segment operating income, excluding restructuring charges, for the second quarter 2003 was $0.3 million and compares to a loss of ($3.9) million for the second quarter last year.

Specialty Electronic segment sales for the second quarter 2003 were $46.0 million compared to $47.2 million for the same period last year. Specialty Electronic segment operating income, excluding restructuring charges, for the second quarter 2003 was $3.0 million compared to $2.1 million for the same period last year.

Total sales outside of North America were $39.8 million during the second fiscal quarter 2003 compared to $36.5 million for the same period last year. The increase in sales outside of North America was primarily due to higher sales in Western Europe, which are attributable to the KDP acquisition, as well as the favorable effect of currency translation on sales, which was partially offset by lower sales in Southeast Asia.

Gross Margin was 23.1% in the second quarter 2003 compared to 22.3% for last year's second quarter, due primarily to an improved margin for the Network Communication segment. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $21.8 million for the quarter and down 15% from last year's second quarter SG&A expenses of $25.6 million. The decline in SG&A is primarily a result of the recent streamlining of operations.

During the second fiscal quarter 2003, the Company reduced debt by approximately $2.2 million on a cash basis. Total debt has been reduced by $30.9 million on a cash basis for the first six months of fiscal year 2003. Depreciation and amortization was $4.8 million and capital expenditures were $2.0 million for the quarter. Capital expenditures are expected to total approximately $6 million for fiscal year 2003.

Fred Kuznik, CEO of CDT stated, "Our second quarter is historically the most challenging quarter during the fiscal year due to seasonal factors such as year-end slowdown of purchasing activity and fewer working days due to holidays. Despite this, we remained profitable in a difficult economic environment. Our upcoming third fiscal quarter is normally a more robust quarter than the second and we are experiencing signs of stability consistent with sequential quarterly historical trends."

Kuznik concluded, "Due to our restructuring efforts over the last year and a half, we have reduced costs and improved operating efficiencies. Despite the uncertain economic and geopolitical environment, we believe that when an eventual upturn occurs we will be well positioned to capitalize on the opportunities that are present."

About CDT

Cable Design Technologies (www.cdtc.com) is a leading designer and manufacturer of high bandwidth network connectivity products used in computer interconnect, switching and wireless applications and electronic data and signal transmission products that are used in automation and process control and specialty applications.


Vertical Analysis of Anixter International Inc. Published

ICON Group International Ltd. today released studies on labor productivity and financial benchmarks for Anixter International Inc.

The report uses a proprietary methodology to generate international financial and human resource benchmarks and measure gaps that might be revealed from such an exercise. Using common-size statements, ICON Group International Ltd. prepares these vertical analyses by pooling statistics on tens of thousands of companies across over 40 countries and applying a seven-stage methodology. (1) identification of industry classifications, (2) firm-level data collection and aggregation, (3) standardization of raw statistics, (4) filtering outliers, (5) calculation of global norms, (6) projection of deviations and gaps, and (7) projection of ranks and percentiles.

Previously available only through booksellers such as Hoovers, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble, two studies are now available direct from the publisher at a 50% discount off the cover price.


Graybar Teams with Mitel Networks to pursue new Federal Contract Strategy

Agreement provides single solution, cost savings for government projects requiring voice, video and data products

Graybar (St. Louis, Mo), North America's largest distributor of electrical, telecommunications, and networking equipment, is teaming with Mitel Networks, Inc. to jointly increase their competitive edge in the booming, $275 billion federal market, it was announced today.

Graybar and Mitel, a leading supplier of voice, video and data convergence solutions over broadband networks have signed a Federal Supply Service (FSS) contractor teaming agreement, which allows both companies to integrate their expertise as General Service Administration (GSA) contractors to compete for more federal business.

"This FSS contractor team arrangement helps keep costs down for federal agencies working with Graybar and Mitel Networks and their combined capabilities," said Jeff Cook, vice president, Government Sales, Graybar. "The key advantage for the federal government is having the ability to buy an entire converged communications solution, rather than making separate buys from various contractors."

The agreement covers all agencies of the federal government – including Department of Defense facilities, U.S. military bases and posts, and federal courthouses. It also allows Graybar and Mitel Networks to compete jointly for contracts they may not have been able to qualify for independently.

Graybar's value-added services and leadership in supply chain management complement our advanced communications solutions," said Sue Slate-Anders, sales director, Government Systems, Mitel Networks. "Teaming with Graybar allows us to significantly reduce the total procurement cost to the federal government, increasing our visibility and market share for federal contracts requiring voice, video and data products."

"Graybar and Mitel have enjoyed a strong commercial relationship for many years," added Cook. "The government teaming agreement is just another step in the prosperous growth of our two companies, and the latest example of our commitment to raising the bar on performance and value for our customers, which include federal government agencies."

Under a separate GSA contract, Graybar sells electrical supplies, including energy-saving lamps and ballasts, as well as communications and data products distributed for internal fiber optic networks. Besides the GSA, Graybar holds additional contracts with two other government agencies - Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and U. S. Communities - through which government and public agency buyers can purchase products from Graybar.


About Mitel Networks

Mitel Networks is a market-leader for voice, video, and data convergence over broadband networks. With a focus on the user experience, the company delivers advanced communications solutions that are easily customized for individual business needs. Mitel Networks, Inc. is headquartered in Northern Virginia with offices, partners, and resellers worldwide.


BICSI Conference Attendees Donate $23,300 to New Hope for Kids Outreach Program

New Hope for Kids, a Maitland, FL. based charity, received a donation in the amount of $23,300 at the close of BICSI's three-day Winter Conference held at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center during January. This donation was made possible through contributions by attendees at the conference.

New Hope for Kids, an outreach program for children and their families coping with death or life-threatening illness, provides a safe place for children, ages 3-18, grieving a death to share their experiences, thoughts, and feelings as they move through the healing process. The Grieving Children Services program extends support services to families, the community, schools, and others who know children whose lives have been impacted by a death. In addition, Children's Wish grants provide meaningful support and fulfilled dreams for children under age 18 with life-threatening illnesses.

BICSI's charity arm, BICSI Cares, Inc., was officially established as a 501(c)(3) corporation in 1998, but for years prior BICSI donations benefited children in cities where BICSI conferences were held. Committee members and volunteers collect individual and corporate donations at BICSI's conferences and events worldwide. More than $800,000 has been distributed since 1992.


Berk-Tek announces the appointment of Beni Blell, Optical Fiber Product Business Manager

Blell will manage Berk-Tek's (New Holland, PA) a Nexans Company, innovative and comprehensive offering of Fiber Optic LAN/WAN cables, like Adventum_ - which bypasses the indoor/outdoor transition points saving installation costs, and GIGAliteTM-10, a 50 µm multimode fiber that supports 300-meter link lengths for 10 Gigabit/sec applications.

Blell brings 11 years of industry experience to his new position with management roles in engineering and product marketing. In addition, he has extensive experience in product development and in systems and applications engineering. Holding a MS in Engineering and a BS in Aerospace Engineering, Blell has worked for industry recognized employers including Corning Cabling Systems, CommScope and Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corp.

About Berk-Tek, A Nexans Company: For more than 40 years, Berk-Tek has been a leading manufacturer of more than 100 different network copper and fiber-optic cable products. The company has led in the development of high-performance and enhanced UTP cables designed to transport high-speed data and voice transmissions. Berk-Tek has major manufacturing facilities at New Holland, PA, Fuquay-Varina, NC and Elm City, NC.


BICSI Member Recognized by the University of South Florida for Telecommunications Service at Annual Awards Banquet

The Harry J. Pfister Award for Excellence in Service to the Telecommunications Industry was established in 1982 by the University of South Florida to honor an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the industry over a period of time. The University presented its 2003 award to Edward J. Donelan, RCDD/LAN Specialist, at the 2003 BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, FL.

A 25-year industry veteran, Mr. Donelan is a firm believer in achieving excellence and a lifetime advocate of the importance of quality education. He has put his beliefs to work by presenting many high school and college technical seminars in the New York tri-state area, in an effort to attract and educate the next generation of telecommunications professionals.

Currently serving his second term as BICSI's U.S. Northeast Director, Mr. Donelan has altered the landscape of BICSI regional meetings by offering leading edge technical topics, BICSI continuing education credits, training and testing, as well as vendor and manufacturer involvement in showcasing the latest industry products and services.

Putting his commitment to excellence into practice, Mr. Donelan has created a six-step system using the BICSI database that will allow members to partner with qualified telecommunications professionals across the country and around the world. (See the 2003 January/February BICSI News cover story, www.bicsi.org. )

Ed Donelan is president of Telecom Infrastructure Corp., a firm specializing in designing and implementing communications infrastructure systems in Brewster, NY.

The award was presented by Dr. Bob Carnahan, Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.


Superior TeleCom files for chapter 11 and court approves Company's "first day" motions

On Monday March 3, 2003, Superior TeleCom Inc.'s U.S. operations filed petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The Company is working in consultation with its lenders towards a debt restructuring. Superior TeleCom's United Kingdom and Mexican operations were not included in the filing. Superior TeleCom Inc. On Tuesday the Company announced that it had received approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Company's "first day" motions that will help ensure Superior TeleCom's operations to proceed smoothly and uninterrupted throughout the reorganization proceeding. "The court's approval of our first day motions will ensure that Superior TeleCom can conduct business as usual and remain focused on serving our customers as we go through this process," said David S. Aldridge, Chief Financial Officer of Superior TeleCom. The court approved interim access to the $100 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility for use by the Company. At the Tuesday hearing, the court also approved, among other things, motions related to: Paying claims of essential trade creditors, Paying shipping charges, import/export obligations, sales and use taxes Maintaining the Company's consolidated cash management system Authorizing payment of pre-petition employee obligations and Authorizing continuation of customer programs.


Graybar to launch 17-city Technology Showcase Tour featuring seminars, products from top-ranked companies

Event is open to all members of electrical, telecommunications, networking industry


Graybar, North America, is launching a series of technology showcase events across the country from mid-March through late October - to provide contractors, installers, and resellers with updates on new industry standards and advancements in enterprise networking, it was announced today.

The 2003 Graybar Technology Showcase will feature exhibits of many new products and services from 30 to 80 leading technology providers at each event. It also will include seminars tailored to meet the needs of network administrators and building owners, and a session on Graybar> ' s VIP Program, which independently tests and validates complete comm./data cabling

systems for functionality and interoperability.

Seminar attendees also will earn two continuing educational units from Building Industry Consulting Services International (BICSI). This is a great opportunity for network administrators, installers and other members of the comm./data industry to obtain crucial information that will help them better succeed in their work," said Dennis DeSousa, senior vice president, Comm./Data Business, Graybar. "It also will help them raise the bar for performance and value for their internal and external client".

Registrants can click on www.graybar.com, or call their regional Graybar branch for more information. (See attached schedule.) One of the more promising areas of focus at the showcase will be Wireless Local Area Networks (or Wireless LAN), which will be discussed during the Enterprise Networking Solutions seminar, DeSousa said. He explained that analysts with Dataquest, Inc. predict the Wireless LAN industry will continue to experience double-digit growth this year, with revenues of $2.8 billion, up 33% from 2002.

Seminar topics will include:

Enterprise Networking Solutions - Instruction on

what is new in Wireless LANs and switching technology, including XRN

, Network Jack and NBX. Course value: 2 BICSI CEUs.

TIA/EIA 606A Administration - Learn more about this important standard as it relates to benefits for network administrators and building owners, including information about Fluke testers and the Tempo DocIT administration software. Course value: 3 BICSI CEUs.

Graybar VIP Program and Updates> - Information on how this exclusive Graybar copper and fiber testing program can remove the guesswork in selecting the proper cabling solution for today’ s high-speed networks. Course value: 2 BICSI CEUs.


Registration is free and open to anyone in the telecommunications and networking industries, especially electrical, telecommunications and networking contractors, installers, and enterprise network purchasing managers.

2003 GRAYBAR TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE

www.graybar.com .

March 13 - Portland, ME DoubleTree Hotel - 207-773-1766

March 26-27 - Los Angeles, CA Pacific Palm Conference Resort - 323-268-4112

April 10 - St. Louis Renaissance Hotel - 314-573-2000

April 17 - Columbia, MD Sheraton Hotel - 301-459-2600

April 24 - Chicago, IL Marriott Downtown - 312-491-1123

April 30 - Albany, NY Marriott Albany - 518-436-4761

May 1 - Dallas, TX World Trade Center - 817-213-1200

May 6 - Pittsburgh, PA Holiday Inn, Greentree - 412-323-5200

May 14 - Norfolk, VA Hilton Hotel Airport - 757-857-1241

May 28-29 - Santa Clara, CA Convention Center - 408-441-9009

June 5 - Boston, MA Westin Hotel, Waltham - 617-482-9320

June 18 - Atlanta, GA Gwinnett Civic & Conv.Center - 770-441-5580

September 9-10 - Portland, OR DoubleTree, Jantzen Beach - 503-249-1300

September 10 - McClean, VA Best Western, Tysons Westpark - 301-459-2600

September 10 - Hamden, CT Radisson Inn, Cromwell - 203-288-3811

September 18 - Philadelphia, PA Holiday Inn, King of Prussia - 215-336-2211

October 21-22 - Denver, CO Denver Merchandise Mart - 303-458-7770


Anixter Annual Network Performance Seminar Series

Anixter (Skokie, IL), the world's leading distributor of data communications products, will conduct its annual Network Performance Seminar Series for the 4th consecutive year. All new presentations and an expanded geographic schedule will bring the series to 16 cities across the country between March 20th and November 13th, 2003.

Over the past three years, Anixter's seminar series has attracted more than 4,600 attendees. This year each half-day session will focus on important, topical issues such as "Security Trends and Drivers" and "Preparing Campus Environments for the Future." In addition, some of the country's premier manufacturers will be on hand at a mini-tradeshow where attendees

Can meet with their representatives one-on-one.

The seminars are open to anyone interested in learning how to improve and enhance their network or security/surveillance systems. IS/LAN mangers, CSOs and security managers, CIO/CFOs, contractors, consultants, architects and others involved in information and security networks are invited to participate. Registration begins at 11:00 AM and the event includes a

complimentary lunch buffet. There is no cost associated with the seminar; however, space is limited. Each seminar will conclude with a free raffle drawing and reception from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Daily Agenda

11:00am - 12:30pm Registration, Exhibits, Buffet Lunch

12:30pm - 1:30pm Emerging Applications Call for High Performance Networks

Find out why high performance networks are becoming an absolute necessity to ensure your business can handle the increasing demands of tomorrow's high-tech applications. Keeping abreast of all the advances in computing technology are critical to the network planning process and vital to the success of your corporate network.

1:30pm - 1:45pm Break, Exhibits Open

1:45pm - 2:45pm Security Trends and Drivers

With the merging of security and IT departments comes a host of network and system management challenges. To help address these issues, Anixter has developed a standards-based CCTV system, called Closed Circuit Twisted Pair (CCTP). This is the first system of its kind to integrate power, video and control signals all over a single piece of UTP cabling. Learn about this revolutionary advancement and how it can save you time and money.

2:45pm - 3:00pm Break, Exhibits Open

3:00pm - 4:00pm Preparing Campus Environments for the Future

Anixter will provide attendees with a complete overview of the recent advancements made in fiber optics, wireless and free space optics that can help maximize your network capabilities across a campus.

4:00pm - 5:00pm Dessert Reception, Exhibits Open, Raffle Drawing

Seminars are currently scheduled for the following cities

Columbus, OH March 20th

Richmond, VA March 27th

Atlanta, GA April 10th

Portland, OR April 24th

Tulsa, OK May 8th

San Francisco, CA June 5th

Rochester, NY June 19th

Louisville, KY June 26th

Chicago, IL July 10th

Salt Lake City, UT August 14th

Baltimore, MC September 25th

Phoenix, AZ October 9th

Orlando, FL October 23rd

Detroit, MI November 6th

Additional seminars will be scheduled in New York City and Boston.


Calendar of Events

IEEE Wireless Communications & Networking Conference
March 16 – 20
New Orleans, LA


2003 VDV/Integrated Building Systems Conference and Expo
March 7 - 14, 2003
Las Vegas, Hilton


NEMRA 33rd Annual Conference
(National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Assoc.)
March 12-16, 2003
Washington, D.C.


National Facilities Management & Technology Conference/Expo
March 18-20
Baltimore, MD


Optical Fiber Communication Conference
March 23 - 28
Atlanta, GA


International Security Conference West 2003
March 26-28, 2003
Las Vegas, Nevada


National Building Green Conference
March 30 – April 1
Baltimore MD

The TFM Show/Construct America
(Total Facility Mangemnt)
April 9 – 11
Chicago, IL


ACUTA 2003 Spring Seminars
April 27 - 30
Norfolk, VA. on April 27-30.

Graybar Technology Showcase

Anixter Annual Network Performance Seminar Series 

REMEMBER TO RECYCLE.. REDUCE... REUSE....


 

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