Most business operations keep
diligent records of their money, assets, and liabilities. This inventory holds
true for almost all areas of operation, except TRAINING. Many of the businesses
involved in communications infrastructure are woefully negligent in tracking
the training of their staff. The problem is exacerbated by the rapid
development curve of technological advancements in information transport systems. Unless an accurate and up-to-date inventory
of the technology training is maintained, the company losses the vital
competitive edge and becomes, at best, just another “me too!” purveyor.
Some companies try to keep up
by hiring trained staff instead of developing the staff. This usually leads to
lower employee loyalty and dedication, because many of the technical staff
feels like there are no long-term opportunities with the employer. “Use them up
and throw them away when they fall behind the current market technology
requirements.” This is a sad commentary on management strategy. What makes this
scenario even worse is that many operations that are clueless on their training
inventory and have almost no plans to stay competitive and current.
Just look around at the vast
affordable resources for training. The excuse of “we can’t afford the training
now” is absolutely false. You cannot afford to fall behind on the training
- Electrical Contractor Magazine
- Communications News
- CNS – Cabling Networking Systems Magazine
- Cabling Business Magazine
- Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine
- Lightwave Magazine
- TED (The Electrical Distributor) Magazine
- Power Outlet Magazine
- Heard on The Street monthly column on www.wireville.com
- Plus a host of newsletters
training and certifications
training and certifications
Newton’s Telecom Dictionary, 23rd Edition is a
crucial reference material in a constantly changing world of techno-terms,
buzzwords, and alphabet soup. Don’t leave home without it.
BICSI -- Industry association
providing knowledge transfer and educational resources for information
transport systems/cabling installation and design professionals. BICSI offers a
wide variety of educational tools and outlets including reference publications,
conferences, regional meetings, breakfast clubs, training courses as well as
exams. Currently, all industry professionals are invited to the 2008 BICSI
Winter Conference, January 14-17, in Orlando,
Florida, promising excellent
education and networking opportunities. Go to www.bicsi.org
to find out more about BICSI offerings.
We found a real affordable
gem from Cabling America. You can get the latest How to Books (self-paced training) in Cabling Installation,
CCTV, Fiber Optics and Security. http://www.cablingamerica.com/
It might surprise you to know that VDV
Works are probably the world's largest source of training materials and support
for cabling through our VDV
Academy. Of course, it
starts with "Lennie" and "Uncle Ted" - the definitive
online guides to fiber and structured cabling, where it seems everyone gets
started. Using our texttbooks, "The Fiber Optic Technician Manual"
and "Data, Voice and Video Cabling" and over two decade of training
experience, VDV Works has developed instructor training materials used by over
300 instructors worldwide in colleges, professional training organizations, IT
companies government agencies and end users to train their students and
personnel. According to Jim Hayes, President “VDV Works even has self-study
programs that guide people through learning the technologies and even learning
the "hands-on" skills needed.”
VDV Academy training curriculum is used by schools for preparing
students for FOA and SCA certification and many offer BICSI CECs.
Information is available at http://vdvacademy.com/
Ready To Learn Online Training
Training is the best and only
way for electrical contractors and
electricians to stay ahead in a world filled with changing markets,
technologies and methodologies. However, training can be expensive, and it
certainly is time-consuming to travel to another city to attend a
seminar on new products or new techniques. The advent of personal computers,
company networks and the Internet has taken some of the economic sting out of
training. This technology provides online distance learning opportunities for
electrical contractors and their employees. They can learn at their own pace,
without leaving the office or job site.
For more than a century,
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), Northbrook,
Ill., has provided technical
expertise to manufacturers in 35 countries to enable the building of safer
products. Through a combination of online training, books, safety videos, live
Web-delivered programs and facilitated workshops, UL University (www.uluniversity.com)
now offers training for a broad range of subject matter customized to fit
specific educational needs.
Self-paced online courses
include Hazard-Based Safety Engineering (HBSE), which is targeted for design,
product safety and regulatory compliance engineers. It is designed to help
balance safety requirements and guidelines against other parameters, such as
usability, cost and customer satisfaction. Courses also include the National Electrical Code (NEC): a
Practical Application, which provides a detailed examination of the history of
the NEC and the Code proposal process, with an emphasis on how to use the NEC to locate and interpret Code requirements. UL University also
has a course on neon lighting, which is designed to provide a detailed
examination of the history of neon lighting and how it evolved, and it focuses
on the design, application and installation of neon systems in accordance with
StandardsLearn.org (www.StandardsLearn.org) is the portal
to online standards and conformity assessment education and offers free,
self-paced e-learning courses as a public service of the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI), Washington,
D.C., (www.ansi.org). The resource provides
easy-to-use educational tools for anyone who wants or needs an introduction to
standards and conformity assessment activities. Courses include Through History
with Standards, an introduction to how standards and their impact on commerce
and society have evolved over a span of several centuries; Why Standards
Matter, a general introduction to standards and conformity assessment activities,
designed to provide a basic initiation to standards for management and
technical personnel in business, industry association management, engineers,
purchasing staff and consumers; U.S. Standards System, which provides an
overview of the U.S. standards development environment, demonstrates the value
of participating in standards development, reviews the key questions to ask
before standard development is initiated, and explains how standards
development relates to national and international business; and Legal Issues in
Standard Setting, which provides a simple review of antitrust laws and patent
policies and how they may apply to the standards development process.
Understanding and correctly
applying the NEC is vital to
electrical contractors’ continued success. So the National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA), Quincy, Mass.,
which publishes the Code, offers its Online Learning
where contractors and electricians can learn valuable new skills or stay
up-to-date on current standards and recommended best practices. Courses are
designed to provide access to convenient, cost-effective training anywhere,
anytime. Offerings have been expanded to include nearly 40 hard-hitting
educational sessions, including four online certificate programs. When all the
courses within a program are concluded, users get a certificate of completion,
and CEUs are awarded for programs with eight or more courses.
certificate programs offer courses in automatic sprinkler systems, electrical
installation in hazardous locations, fire alarm fundamentals, and fire and life
safety in healthcare occupancies. Individual courses include sprinkler system
repair, automatic sprinkler inspection, testing and maintenance, sprinkler
design, identifying materials and equipment for hazardous locations, protection
methods concepts, zone classification, Class II wiring methods, introduction to
specialized fire detectors and supervisory initiating devices, fire alarm
functions and power supplies, basic circuit design, heat and smoke detectors,
and notification appliances. Other courses include handling flammable liquids
and an overview of the principle workplace fire extinguishers.
BICSI Inc., a Telecommunications
Association, Tampa, Fla., (www.bicsi.org), supports the
information transport system (ITS) industry with information, education and
knowledge assessment for those individuals and companies that provide the
fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and
automation systems. BICSI’s Web-based training courses offer a mix of
conceptual and procedural learning experiences through reading and user
interactivity. Online courses include local area networks (LAN) with an
introduction to LAN stations and servers, LAN operations, and LAN standards;
Remote Access Technologies, including components, operations and standards; and
Network Storage, including fundamentals of high speed interfaces and system
backups. Simulated tests form a databank of more than 600 questions to test one’s
knowledge before sitting for the Registered Communications Distribution
Designer (RCDD) specialty exam.
help its members, the Management Education Institute (MEI) of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, Md.
focuses its curriculum on the business, technical and project-management
disciplines that are essential to success in the electrical contracting
industry. The institute brings a wide range of resources to bear in the
continuing development of its education services program and now offers online
training. One MEI online course provides clear instruction on the proper
application of the NECA Manual of Labor Units when estimating electrical
construction projects. Through this course, contractors and estimators will
learn how to properly apply the labor unit data to a specific material
installation. It contains helpful information about the origin of the labor
units, the proper application of the data and how one can use these labor units
to competitively bid electrical construction projects. In addition, the new
Practical Guide to E-Mail in the Workplace focuses on improving the management
of a company’s e-communications and helps contractors reduce e-mail risk by
encouraging employees to think carefully before sending e-mails. It explains
how e-mails can come back to either haunt or defend the company in any
liability action, and it emphasizes the need to keep a professional tone and
quality in an organization’s e-mails.
The National Joint
Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC), Upper Marlboro, Md. (www.njatc.org),
offers electrical training through its on-the-job and classroom apprenticeship
programs for both traditional electrical and low-voltage installations.
However, it offers online training (www.njatctrainingonline.org) that provides access to
quality, cost-effective safety training materials. Lessons are self-paced and
cover safety issues for the electrical worker, including bucket truck rescue,
clearances, enclosed spaces, excavations, hand and power tools, overhead lines,
first aid, underground installations, grounding, personal protective equipment
(PPE), chemical and chlorine safety, asbestos hazards, environmental management
and handling hazardous waste. Courses in employment law also are available
partnership with Blue Volt, Portland,
Ore. (www.bluevolt.com), the NJATC offers
state-approved continuing education courses that allow electricians to keep
their licenses current while training on their own schedule. Subjects include
negotiating skills, building lasting customer relationships, fundamentals of
marketing, effectively closing a sale, significant changes to the NEC, grounding and bonding, industrial
safety, motors and controls, communication skills, government contracting,
human resources and workplace issues, knowledge management, information
technology, and the Internet and computer basics.
major electrical manufacturers’ products; information about installation
methods, safety and standards; and manufacturer certification courses are only
a mouse click away for anyone who is interested. Manufacturers recognize the
need electrical contractors have for this valuable training and, in today’s
ether-world, are able to provide it easily and cost-effectively, allowing the
contractor to gain the knowledge required to add value to its offerings.
■ Fluke Corp., Everett,
Wash. (www.fluke.com), offers online
calibration and metrology training courses, including a certificate of
completion that satisfies documentation requirements.
■ Square D/Schneider Electric, Palatine,
Ill. (www.squared.com), provides online training for its DigestPlus Selector
and other productivity-enhancing eTools
that let the contractor get the most out of the company’s time-saving,
■ Panduit Corp., Tinley Park,
Ill. (www.panduit.com), provides training for
its cable support, copper, fiber, raceway, connector, structured cabling and
wiring accessory products.
■ Leviton Manufacturing Co. Inc., Little Neck, N.Y. (www.leviton.com), offers ez-Learn,
which provides lessons in structured wiring products, life-saving electrical
safety devices, and the latest advances in lighting control and energy
■ ElecTech, from Pass and Seymour/Legrand (P&S), Syracuse, N.Y.
allows electricians and others to learn all about the company’s products and
earn credits towards P&S merchandise.
■ Advance Transformer Co., Rosemont, Ill. (www.advancetransformer.com),
welcomes Advance University online registrants to
its accredited courses on
ballast components, operation, troubleshooting and new technologies.
Energy and Automation Inc., Alpharetta,
self-study courses that range from free, online courses to its new pay-per-view
Safety Series and include foundation industrial electronics knowledge and basic
automation system skills.
■ Learning on the Go from Eaton Corp./Cutler-Hammer, Cleveland, Ohio
is designed to provide a solid foundation of industry knowledge, from the
fundamentals of electricity and electrical distribution, to basic information
on product groups such as adjustable frequency drives, panelboards and motor
control centers. Each learning module focuses on a specific product group and
contains general information, such as common terms, product theory and
operation, codes, and real-world applications.
■ Cooper Bussmann Inc., Ellisville, Mo. (www.cooperbussmann.com), offers
e-training modules that cover listing and labeling, arc-flash hazards,
overcurrent calculations and protective devices, voltage ratings, and
electrical hazards, as well as industrial control panels, safety basics, and
technical training manuals.
This is just a short list of all
the training opportunities offered by manufacturers. In addition, more will
likely offer online training in the future.
Taking advantage of online
training is easy, cost-effective and enables electrical contractors to stay on
the cutting edge of rapidly advancing and evolving technologies. EC
BREMER, a freelance writer
based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL
CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 or email@example.com.
Reprinted with permission from Electrical Contractor Magazine (October
IS TOO IMPORTANT TO IGNORE.
But that’s just
"Heard On The Street" Monthly Column
4949 Sunbeam Rd, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
3Com To Be Sold for $2.2 Billion To Bain Capital, Taken Private
3Com Corp., a
maker of networking hardware and software, will be sold to affiliates of
private equity firm Bain Capital Partners LLC for $2.2 billion and taken
private, 3Com said Friday.
The cash deal
also gives Huawei Technologies, China's
largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, a minority stake in 3Com
that the American company hopes will improve its growth prospects in Asia.
By going private,
3Com hopes to free itself from markets' short-term financial expectations,
Edgar Masri, president and chief executive of Marlborough, Mass.-based 3Com,
told analysts in a conference call.
"As a private
company, we will be able to focus on our long-term strategic objectives,"
receive $5.30 in cash for each share of 3Com stock, or a premium of about 44
percent over the stock's $3.68 closing price on Thursday.
3Com is a maker
of network equipment for data and telecommunications systems, with more than
6,000 employees in over 40 countries, and annual revenue of $1.3 billion. The
company's fortunes rose sharply during the late 1990s amid the technology boom.
3Com's stock price briefly rose above $100 in 2000, but later plunged as boom
turned to bust.
3Com had recently
been the subject of buyout speculation, and entertained competing offers. Masri
did not identify other bidders, but said the company decided the offer from
Boston-based Bain was the best, in part because of Bain's reputation as a
leading private equity firm with deep financial resources and ties in Asia.
He said the
premium that Bain is paying "validates the tremendous opportunity for
growth 3Com has ahead of it," particularly overseas.
3Com said its
board had unanimously approved the deal, and recommended shareholders approve
it. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of next year,
subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
3Com would be
required to pay a break-up fee of $66 million if it backs out of the deal,
while Bain would pay at least $66 million and up to $110 million if it backs
out, depending on the circumstances.
Masri declined to
specify how large of a minority stake that Huawei would have in 3Com after the
deal is completed, but said that information would be made public in coming
Huawei also will
become a commercial and strategic business partner of 3Com, Masri said.
previously teamed up in a networking products joint venture called H3C, but
3Com bought out Huawei's 49 percent stake for $882 million in November 2006.
Trading of 3Com
shares was halted early Friday after the Wall Street Journal reported on its
Web site that 3Com planned to announce a sale to Bain and Huawei later in the
day. Shares rallied $1.20, or 32.6 percent, to $4.88 -- within range of the
reported purchase price -- before trading was shut down.
University Of Nebraska Deploys EKINOPS 360 Platform For High-Capacity Optical Network
The University of Nebraska (UNL)
has installed DWDM equipment from Ekinops, a leading provider of optical
transport and DWDM solutions, that massively increases connectivity to its
campus in Lincoln
and is critical to the university’s participation in an international physics
research project, Ekinops announced today.
The new optical network took
part in a demonstration on Tuesday at the opening session of the Internet2
Member Meeting in San Diego.
The demonstration showed how an 8 Gigabits per second stream from the UNL
physics lab, transported by the Ekinops equipment to the Internet2 network, was
dynamically switched across the Internet2 backbone.
To enhance its participation in
the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) CMS project, the
university has deployed the Ekinops 360 platform, using multiple DWDM channels,
each running at 10 Gigabits per second. It increased the university’s available
bandwidth more than 48 times compared with its previous connectivity speed.
The Ekinops 360 is a
carrier-class optical transport platform designed for metro, regional, and
long-haul networks. The platform can aggregate and transport any Ethernet,
Fibre Channel, SONET, or SDH client protocol.
of Nebraska-Lincoln, a 22,000-student
campus that is part of the University
of Nebraska system, is a Tier 2 site
in the CMS project, one of the ongoing experiments at the CERN particle
accelerator in Switzerland.
The CMS project generates massive amounts of data, which is distributed to
different computing centers across the world for processing.
To fully participate in the
project, the university needed a network capable of carrying massive amounts of
data to its supercomputers. Approximately 200 Terabytes (200 trillion bytes) of
data are transported weekly.
Dale Finkelson, the university’s
network engineer, was tasked with finding a solution with greater transport
capacity to the university. “We evaluated different options but building our own
optical network and utilizing DWDM promised the greatest increase to our
capacity and was extremely affordable at the same time,” Finkelson explained.
The network span is 230 miles
and links the university campus in Lincoln to
the Internet2 in the Kansas City
node. Benefiting from the Ekinops 360 long haul transponders, the requirement
for amplification is minimal. The installed configuration occupies a small
number of slots in the chassis and allows for adding a much greater capacity in
Although the primary requirement
was to transport 10G data from the university’s routers, the university is also
using Ekinops aggregation technology for aggregating and transporting multiple
Gigabit Ethernet inputs over a 10G wavelength.
The university’s IT staff has
also found that despite the platform’s enormous capacity, the Ekinops 360 was
easy to install and operate. “Once the power and fibers were ready,
installation took half a day. People started using it 20 minutes after we
plugged it in, and it has run solid ever since,” said Finkelson.
Since deploying the new optical
network, the University
of Nebraska has seen
tremendous performance improvements and cost savings. “Having our own optical
network gives us a lot of flexibility,” Finkelson said. “We can add capacity at
a minimal cost and in a very short time. If we need another 10G wavelength for
another large project, it would be as easy as plugging another card in the
“Academic and research
collaboration requires moving tremendous amounts of data and puts heavy demands
on the transport network,” said Jonathan Amir, Ekinops’ vice president of
sales. “A growing number of universities are relying on Ekinops for a simple,
high-capacity and cost-effective DWDM transport solution and we are very proud
of our work with the University
of Nebraska and with
other academic organizations.” www.ekinops.net www.acuta.org
APWMayville™ To Show Turnkey Rack Solutions At VON
APWMayville™, a division of
Mayville Products Corporation and a leader in rack and enclosure solutions for
the telecommunications, broadcast, audio/visual, security, and data communications
industries, will display a complete range of turnkey rack solutions for Telcos
at the upcoming VON Show starting October 29th at the Boston Convention Center.
APWMayville’s turnkey rack
systems for the telecommunications industry leverage the company’s strengths in
broadcast and IT datacom, providing complete grounding systems and the ability
to effectively manage large volumes of cables for Telcos as they build out IPTV
headends for delivering broadcast TV services to the home.
APWMayville, exhibiting at
VON for the first time (Booth #564), will bring its E-Rack™ and Pioneer™
Seismic Rack to the show along with a variety of power, cabling, lighting and
cooling accessories. All products are
fully customizable with either rack to enhance functionality for Telco
integrators and engineers, and eliminate the need to purchase essential
components from multiple vendors. Both
the E-Rack and Pioneer Seismic rack are NEBS-compliant and UL listed to meet
all required telecommunications industry standards. The Pioneer Seismic rack is also seismically
“As more Telcos prepare to
launch IPTV to add television to their bundle of existing services, they will
require at least one central headend to house equipment that will receive,
encode, and transmit video on the way to the subscriber’s TV set,” said Dan
Eder, President of Mayville Products Corporation. “This equipment requires a sturdy, reliable
and flexible rack solution that can accommodate the cabling and power
requirements that comes with video headend equipment. APWMayville’s experience in the broadcast
industry is a benefit for Telcos that are building out IPTV headends, whether
it’s a single headend for a local or regional bell company, or a network of
central and localized headends for national Telcos.”
APWMayville racks come in
full range of heights, widths and depths to accommodate any integration
requirements. All E-Racks and Pioneer
Seismic racks come with vertical and horizontal lacing bars for cable management;
shelving options in the form of heavy duty, cantilevered and rollout shelves;
top and rack-mountable fans for moving cool air through the racks; customized
filler panels for a consistent appearance in empty rack spaces; and overhead
lighting for easier adjustment of front-panel equipment settings.
The company also offers its
PowerOptions™ range of thin power strips, which will be on display at VON. The PowerOptions family is a full range of
isolated-ground and standard-ground power strips and power distribution units
that increase versatility in the design and integration of rack systems. PowerOptions receptacles can be rotated
90-degrees to accommodate transformers, which would otherwise block adjacent
outlets on the power strip. The rotated receptacles allow all outlets on the
strip to be utilized regardless of transformer presence, all while keeping the
length of the power strip to a minimum.
The PowerOptions range offers
horizontal power strips for rackmounting, and vertical power strips that are
installed using the company’s PowerMount system. PowerMount systems carry out the basic
function of holding power strips in place, while providing the flexibility of
affixing power strips in virtually any location inside the rack. They offer a 180 degree swivel feature to rotate
the power strip during maintenance or integration procedures, reducing bends in
cabling and providing easier access to power cords. The entire strip can face the front, middle
or back of the cabinet.
APWMayville also offers
grounding solutions for its racks. This
includes banana jack receivers at the top of the racks, built-in ground lugs to
ground the rack frame, and grounding wire to connect with outside earth.
Network Video Technologies Joins NetClear ESS Affiliate Program
Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company,
and Ortronics/Legrand are pleased to announce that Network Video Technologies
(NVT) Inc. has been added as an approved affiliate vendor for the NetClear ESS
(Electronic Safety and Security) program.
Through IP convergence,
previously disparate disciplines, including data, video and power, are now
being connected together over one standardized structured cabling network to
allow the sharing of resources, which provides a higher level of network
efficiency, while increasing the network’s return on investment. Together Ortronics/Legrand and Berk-Tek, a
Nexans Company, have expanded their NetClear structured cabling solutions for
enterprises to include security and surveillance applications through the new
NetClear ESS program. “As part of
NetClear ESS, Berk-Tek and Ortronics are teaming up with associated vendors in
the CCTV realm, such as camera manufacturers and active component manufacturers
to offer proven integrated solution sets for both I.T. managers and security
integrators,” notes Chris Adams, Marketing Manager for Ortronics/Legrand. “Our goal is to offer our customers a group
of like-minded technology affiliates that can bring solution sets and system
experience to those ready to embrace IP technology for security applications.”
NVT is in the business of transmitting
CCTV video and supplying camera power over unshielded twisted pair wire via
structured cabling networks. “As an affiliate vendor, NVT provides products,
solutions and support to Berk-Tek and Ortronics/Legrand to educate the market
on the transition as analog CCTV moves from a coax-based infrastructure to
UTP-based,” states George Wojtan, Datacom Market Manager, NVT. “Together our
products will allow installers and end-users to benefit from the performance,
cost savings, simplicity, and future proofing of structured cabling,” he
Through NetClear ESS,
Ortronics/Legrand and Berk-Tek provide industry leading copper and fiber optic
structured cabling systems to assure scalability and performance for all types
of networks and technologies. “NetClear ESS solutions demonstrate a progressive
path to security over IP, from analog to hybrid to total IP, including running
data, video and power (PoE) over the same UTP cable,” notes Carol Everett
Oliver, RCDD, Marketing Analyst for Berk-Tek.
“Companies like NVT, are instrumental in providing that bridge for CCTV
and as convergence encompasses future building automation functions,” she adds.
As part of the NetClear ESS
initiative, educational programs, such as full-day seminars, on-site training
classes and webinars will be created for both security integrators and cable
About the NetClear Alliance
NetClear is a Technology Alliance between Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, and
Ortronics/Legrand to provide advanced, end-to-end co-engineered solutions for
enhanced Category 5e, Category 6, Augmented Category 6 – 10 Gigabit and optical
fiber channels - all backed by a 25-year warranty. For more information, visit www.netclear-channel.com
About Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company
For more than 45 years, Berk-Tek has been a leading
manufacturer of more than 100 different network copper and fiber optic cable
products designed to transport high-speed voice, data and video transmissions.
For more information, visit www.berktek.com.
Ortronics/Legrand is a global leader in high performance
structured cabling solutions, services, and support. Ortronics offers a
complete range of Category 5e, 6 and 10 Gig copper, fiber optic, wireless and
residential/MDU connectivity solutions. In addition, Ortronics offers Cablofil®
wire mesh cable tray and Wiremold® pathways. For more information, visit www.ortronics.com.
BICSI MEMBERS ELECT NEW OFFICERS
BICSI members have chosen five officers to
serve two-year terms on the Board of Directors in voting that ended October 15.
Brian Hansen, RCDD/NTS Specialist has been
elected BICSI President-Elect. Hansen pledges to work side-by-side with
incoming BICSI President Ed Donelan, RCDD/NTS Specialist, to make BICSI the
leader in global standardization and ensure greater membership benefits. He
maintains residence in Rosemount, Minnesota and is a specification engineer for
the Voice & Data Division of Leviton.
Elected to the position of Treasurer is James
(Ray) Craig, RCDD/NTS Specialist. Craig is owner of Craig Consulting Services
in Coppell, Texas.
Also selected in this year’s election are the
following Region Directors:
Region Director: Brian Ensign, RCDD/NTS/OSP Specialist
North-Central Region Director: Jerry Bowman, RCDD/NTS Specialist (incumbent)
European Region Director:
Brendan (Greg) Sherry, RCDD/NTS/WD Specialist (incumbent)
The new officers will officially be
inaugurated in January 2008 during the BICSI Winter Conference at the Gaylord
Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida.
BICSI is a professional
association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with
information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies.
BICSI serves more than 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, BICSI membership spans nearly 100 countries. www.bicsi.org
Building Green News
Prefabricating Green: Building Environmentally
Friendly Houses Off Site
For a home in Walpole, New
Hampshire, Habitat for Humanity chose to build a prefabricated home with
precision-cut timbers and panels constructed at the Bensonwood factory by
volunteers; the panels were later assembled on site, also with volunteer labor.
The resulting house produced less waste material than a site-built house,
thanks to cutting equipment programmed to maximize the use of each piece of
wood. It was also built faster than a site-built house, including the time
spent assembling panels at the factory, and it featured a well-insulated building
envelope with strong attention to construction details. The house included
Bensonwood's unique measures designed to "disentangle" the
electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems from the structure, making them
easier to install and modify.
One of the benefits of
prefabrication is that waste materials from one house can be stored for later
use, limiting the amount of material that ends up in the landfill. According to
Andrew Gianino, owner of modular house distributor The Home Store, in Whately,
Massachusetts, building in a factory has another advantage: houses are built
from the inside out, making insulating and air-sealing easier.
Prefabricated housing has
long been touted as a cost-saving building process, particularly in areas with high
labor costs. This cost savings makes prefabricated housing a good choice for
affordable housing, but green options such as increased insulation or
environmentally friendly finish materials can currently raise costs, since the
assembly line must be changed for a single house.
Prefabricated housing has
come a long way from the metal-skinned trailer of the past, in design,
construction, and energy efficiency. Some companies are using the efficiencies
of prefabrication to bring green design and materials to more affordable homes,
but the industry as a whole has a long way to go to address environmental
To see the full feature
The full article requires a
log-in to view, and is NOT available for re-publication. If you would like to
read the full article, and do not have a log-in, please contact Jerelyn Wilson
You are welcome to post the
summaries and links from this email on your website(s), provided that you make
it clear that the stories are coming from Environmental Building News and that
the full article is available at www.BuildingGreen.com. Please include this
byline: From Environmental Building News, www.BuildingGreen.com.
BuildingGreen, Inc. owns the
copyrights to all material contained in this email and to the full written
articles. All rights are reserved except those explicitly granted herein.
Contact Jim Newman at BuildingGreen, Inc., Jim@BuildingGreen.com with questions
or for additional information.
Other Current Stories from
Environmental Building News:
When It's Greener To Build
Tristan Korthals Altes
Our architecture, no matter
how efficient, will always exact some environmental costs. But concern about
resource consumption should be a lens through which we examine buildings, not
the definition of green itself. We should also consider our fundamental ethics
of building: Why do we build? In what ways is the act of building green? When
there is a need for a building, and the design and construction team remains
loyal to the expression of that need, we see ecological and humane buildings
rise from the earth.
To read the full article:
Binders in Manufactured Wood
Backpage Primer from
Environmental Building News
Two glues, or binders as they
are called in the industry, dominate the manufactured wood products industry:
urea formaldehyde (UF) and phenol formaldehyde (PF). For interior-grade
products, including particleboard, MDF, and hardwood plywood, UF binders have
long been more popular because of their low cost and light color compared with
PF binders. For exterior-grade applications such as plywood and OSB, PF binders
are favored because of their better moisture resistance. While UF binders are
significantly less expensive than PF binders, they give off a lot more
formaldehyde -- a volatile compound that is classified as a known human
To read the full article:
Websites Explain Energy Tax Incentives
The existence of the Energy
Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) is well known; the fact that it was extended through
2008 might also sound familiar; the financial and environmental opportunities
that the Act, and other policies, create for builders, homeowners, and
commercial building owners, however, are less understood. This article provides
an annotated list of websites that offer a variety of information.
To read the full article:
information outlets such as Environmental Building News (EBN) that cover the
most pressing issues in environmental design and construction with a clear
approach to all sides of an issue, keeping our readers informed on building for
sustainability. This email brings you, as a news editor or website owner
interested in sustainable design, an excerpt from our top story for the month,
as well as links to other stories currently posted in the free area of www.BuildingGreen.com
All materials Copyright
BuildingGreen, Inc. 2007
Benefits Of Hosting The CABA Exhibit
- Your Company Brand will appear on the CABA Exhibit
- Complimentary Registration as a CABA Exhibitor to attend the show
- Display your Brochures and Flyers at the CABA Exhibit
- Opportunity to Network with thousands of Industry Professionals
the contact information of all visitors to the CABA Exhibit
to provide a Draw Prize from your company (Optional)
Entry into the HOST'S DRAW for a FREE CABA
Research Report (Valued up to $4,200.00)
Due to CABA's large membership we are scheduling
members interested in hosting on a first call basis.
EHX Fall 2007 HALL HOURS
Wednesday, November 7, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday, November 8, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday, November 9, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
If you are interested in being a Host with the CABA
at this year’s EHX Fall 2007 show please contact:
Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA)
Participate In A CABA Survey About iHOMES & Buildings Magazine
CABA is inviting all members of our
industry to participate in our short online survey on iHomes
& Buildings magazine. Taking the survey will allow CABA
to improve the quality of its publication to the benefit of both the industry
and CABA memebers. All those who participate in this survey will be automatically
entered into a draw to win a $500 discount on CABA research. The discount will
be applicable to either CABA's Connected Home Roadmap or Intelligent Buildings
THE CABA SURVEY NOW!
REDESIGNED CABA MAGAZINE TO OFFER
AFFORDABLE NEW ADVERTISING PACKAGES
CABA is pleased to announce that a
redesigned version of iHomes
& Buildings magazine will debut in late October. The
last edition can be accessed here.
CABA's magazine is designed to reach the
multi-billion dollar home system and building automation industry. It is a
leading source of industry news, opinion and research for industry
professionals and the general public.
Now it will be easier to read and specifically
targeted to promote your company's products and services. The new advertising
packages will be multi-platform, getting word out about your product on our Web
site, in printed format, and at highly targeted events.
our new media kit to ensure that your company is featured in the
CABA magazine at both EH Expo and CES 2008.
CABA Invites You To The Family Ecosystem Forum
You are invited
to a CABA Internet Home Alliance Research Council (IHA-RA) special event. The
Family Ecosystem Forum will be held Oct. 30 at the Whirlpool Corporation Center
for Partnership Development in Benton Harbor, MI. This informative event will examine groundbreaking
market research on consumers and their spending intentions concerning
technology in the home. The Forum will
explore major research projects (over $270,000 in value) undertaken by the
IHA-RC (http://www.caba.org/iha) in the last year, including:
Kitchen, a study that investigated consumer electronics and appliances in use
in North American kitchens and determined which new products and services
homeowners would like to see added to their kitchens in the future; and
Living, a study undertaken with the National Association of Home Builders,
which identified the solutions consumers over the age of 50 want most in a home
to keep them safe, comfortable and living independently.
event will be special, because not only will the market research be discussed
but also tangible strategies to increase retail sales! Speakers are lined up from CABA, Crestron
Electronics, Exceptional Innovation, Home Automation, Inc., Whirlpool
Corporation and Zanthus Research.
Further, the one-day meeting will provide an opportunity for you to
network with leading market researchers, retailers and manufacturers who are
targeting the multi-billion dollar home technology marketplace.
fees start at $195. and you will receive an instant discount on IHA-RC
research. All delegates will receive the
Executive Summaries of the "Digital Kitchen" and "Senior
Living" Reports, plus $500 discount coupons to purchase the full research
register, go to http://www.caba.org/iha/ecosystemforum.html. Contact Fred Bryson, CABA's Business
Development Manager, at 613.686.1814 x226, 888.798.CABA (2222) or firstname.lastname@example.org
for more details.
is limited to 50 participants - so register quickly to confirm your spot! If you can't attend, please pass this
information to a colleague that may benefit from this research.
Ron Zimmer, President & CEO
Automated Buildings Association (CABA) Your Information Source for Home &
Building Automation http://www.caba.org
Time is Now to Shore Up Office Building Vacancies in Chicago
Published on 10/10/2007 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you
always read real perspectives
What needs to be done in
order to bolster downtown Chicago and suburban office building leases?
There is more economic fallout
from the sub-prime mortgage market crash and other mortgage credit issues as
real estate markets see an increase in vacancies at various office buildings.
Crain’s Chicago Business recently ran an article that
pointed out some of these trends in the suburban Chicago market.
Downtown Chicago is also
feeling some vacancy
problems as several high-profile buildings are being put onto the sales
block in the East Loop area. Two towers within the Illinois Center are for sale
as several large building owners in that area are thinking it’s a good time to
Some tenants are migrating to
newer buildings. What are their reasons? Are the amenities different? Are the
older buildings technologically obsolete?
Discount Rates or Sell?
Vacancies are rising in older
buildings and rents have to be discounted according to conventional wisdom in
the industry. Too many real estate executives panic in a market like this. They
go to the lowest common denominator: price per square foot.
This “strategy” (and I use
the term loosely) has been used all over as everything else goes out the door.
The way to try to entice a potential tenant is to drop from the market rate of
$20 a square foot to $17.50 until Harry across the street drops his to $14.95.
You then have to throw in six months of free rent on top of his new “market
While that was the way to do
it 30 years ago, times and strategies have changed. If they haven’t changed in
a real estate organization, they better because just dropping the price isn’t
going to work any more. The tenant market is much more sophisticated
(especially for class “A” office space).
If someone is selling a
building, the buyer better do much better due diligence. Most real estate
investment trusts (REITs) don’t look at the technology supporting the
building. The traditional approach for reviewing a building’s attributes has to
be augmented. Otherwise, they will pay too much and this market will soon
become a multimillion-dollar game of hot potato.
Building systems have to be
reviewed. How “smart” the building is has to be asked and answered before any
realistic price can be offered. A list of due diligence questions on technology
is not what most REIT executives have in their back pockets.
Strategies, Buildings Have
to Be Updated
If they are looking for
blue-chip tenants, I can assure you the idea of selling space as a commodity is
not going to work any more in attracting and maintaining a solid tenant mix.
This is part of my white paper that will be published later in 2007 in the
Intelligent Engineering Consortium’s annual review of communications:
Business Campuses: Keys to Future Economic Development” is a thought leadership paper that was finished after
working on several planning issues with the DuPage National Technology Park.
Key industry people were also interviewed from across the country along with
several people from the Asian market.
The need to understand how to
position real estate is a much more sophisticated approach than many
traditional real estate and property managers have had to tackle. Corporate
site selection committees are looking for different amenities than when a
building may have been leased up five or 10 years ago.
This fact should be taken
into consideration when making an offer to buy one of these buildings.
Define Class ‘A’ Buildings
The definition of a class “A”
building has always been a building offering top-notch amenities and being in
the right location. Many real estate executives have yet to figure out that the
old real estate adage they still adhere to (“location, location, location”) has
changed to “location, location, connectivity”.
While broadband connectivity was
not on anyone’s criteria list 10 years ago, it is in the top three today. If
you think you are in a class “A” building today, it better have broadband
connectivity. That means fiber-optic connectivity and gigabit speeds. That
doesn’t mean DSL or T-1 connectivity.
In doing research a while
back while looking for class “A” buildings in DuPage County, there were more
than 60 buildings that had vacancies. As soon as you put “broadband
connectivity” in as a necessary amenity, that number dropped to six.
If a site selection committee
was looking for corporate space, 90 percent of the properties that property
management companies think are class “A” would be overlooked and therefore do
not “rate” as a class “A” rating.
What did I just say? You read
it right. Class “A” buildings are quietly being rated again just from a
standpoint of connectivity. To some, that sounds too radical.
If property managers don’t
have it as an amenity, they will be looking a long time for a replacement
tenant. While they can discount and discount and perhaps they will snag
someone, it won’t be a blue-chip tenant. That’s the reality of the market. This
is the quiet revolution that has been happening.
Many in the real estate
market have not seen it because they still have a lot of tenants on lease. As
leases end and tenants turn over for whatever reason, you will see more class
“A” buildings become less desirable. They won’t be able to attract and maintain
the blue-chip tenants that are looking at connectivity as a required amenity.
It’s already happening.
Unless developers and property management firms understand what needs to be
offered to attract and maintain quality business tenants, they are losing
tenants to new developments that may have been farsighted enough to add
broadband connectivity. This also affects the regional viability to sustain
While traditional approaches
are good in traditional markets, this issue is changing tradition. If you don’t
think so, look at where corporate facilities are being located and relocated.
The buildings and surrounding community offer broadband connectivity. This is
true not only in the United States but in Asia as well.
Places like Far Glory Park in
Taiwan and Cyberport in Hong Kong are examples of campuses offering high-speed
connectivity as a common amenity for business tenants. As for organizations
buying existing buildings, they better understand what they are buying. They
don’t want to be playing hot potato in this market.
Carlinism: Intelligent buildings have been clustered together to
create intelligent business campuses.
Jim Carlini will be speaking at Rural TeleCon
Springfield, Ill. from Oct. 14 to 17 on intelligent
He will also lead a half-day seminar on the same topic
at the Building Industry
Consulting Services International’s winter
conference from Jan. 14 to 17, 2008 in Orlando.
Check out Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.
James Carlini is an
adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also
president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be
reached at email@example.com or
Click here for
Carlini’s full biography.
Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini
WiMAX World At McCormick Place In Chicago: Nothing Today is Free
Published on 10/3/2007 by www.Midwest
Carlini’s Comments, MidwestBusiness.com’s oldest column, runs
every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common man’s view on
business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of “pseudo”
WiMAX will be a big
alternative to big cities especially after the “free” Wi-Fi business model has
fizzled, writes James Carlini following WiMAX World in Chicago.
Attending WiMAX World at
Chicago’s McCormick Place last week should have been an eye opener to anyone
who attended. There needs to be some big investments in network infrastructure.
This can’t be delegated to a third-party service provider offering a “free service,”
according to some of the executives who spoke in the panel discussions.
Nothing is free. Still,
several cities thought taking a hands-off approach from an investment
standpoint by bringing in a third party to build a wireless network would give
them the benefits of ubiquitous wireless connectivity without putting any money
into it. It doesn’t work that way. As I pointed out in columns back in June and
Anyone thinking third-party
Wi-Fi is the ultimate answer is fooling themselves. There is no getting around
the issue that a network infrastructure is a big capital investment that can
provide great results if implemented correctly.
In many cases, cities didn’t
turn to seasoned professionals. They would have told them to get something more
substantial or that the network topologies being cited were inadequate.
Instead, they bought off on the hype of a new wonder technology along with its
Just as you wouldn’t expect
fire fighters to use garden hoses to put out fires, you can’t expect network
infrastructures to deliver huge amounts of bandwidth if you’re using a wireless
network that was never designed to be a fire hose of bandwidth.
If we explain it that way, perhaps
people will “get it right” instead of “getting burned” by inadequate network
The people advising these
cities to get a “free service” to add into the infrastructure without any
investment while keeping the rights to control and oversee the services are
just wrong. Their RFPs are also worthless because those who respond will match
it with a worthless network.
It was clearly pointed out at
one of the sessions that both providers and cities are “reassessing” their
“free network” concept, which actually killed some “first deals”. Some service
providers have gotten more selective in looking at municipal opportunities.
The bottom line is RFPs
coming out from various cities that want something for nothing are being passed
over. You need a real commitment from a municipality. It was also interesting
to see that some industry executives were more apologetic for the fizzling out
of municipal Wi-Fi projects.
Cutting Edge? Guess Again
One keynote speaker gave a
good overview of why we are slipping in the United States. While he didn’t say
it or directly imply it, that’s what I got out of it.
Won Pyo Hong, who is the
executive vice president of Samsung’s telecom systems, pointed out some
interesting developments in Korea, which seems to be more advanced in its
networks as well as devices that people can already use.
He focused on the fact that
the Korean market is very demanding for wireless connectivity and they already
have external mobile WiMAX devices. Korean early adopters can be categorized
with this information:
· 74 percent are individuals
· 80 percent are males
· 66 percent are in their 30s and 40s
· 26 percent are entrepreneurs
Here are some other interesting facts he pointed out:
· First click on the Internet is at 3 years old
· 51.6 percent of 3- to 5-year-olds access the
Internet 4.3 hours a day
What did I get out of his
informative speech? We need to catch up and in a hurry.
We are well beyond the
Information Age and even past the Internet Age. I would say we are at the
Mobile Broadband Age where people have high-speed access from a mobile device
that includes rich video capability. Aiming for anything less than that is like
saying we want to move from records to eight-track tapes in the age of
There has been a big shift
from searching the Web for text-based information to adding video content and
social networks that mix all of this content together. Access for this type of
content has to be capable from handheld devices and not just desktop or laptop
Going the extra mile in
development of network architecture and applying technology to enterprises has
always been a strategic directive from my standpoint.
My philosophy has always been
you have to spend money to make money. Unfortunately, most executives would
rather cut corners or not even undertake a major technology upgrade for their
organization. That is very shortsighted in light of what is being generated
Being on a cutting-edge project
and creating something no one else has is a great endeavor. Those endeavors are
probably the best investment a public or private organization can undertake.
Sprint’s Xohm WiMAX service
looks to be very promising and was discussed by its CTO (Barry West) at one of
the discussions. They have partnered with Motorola and Nokia to offer a total
solution for users who want both mobility and broadband. This is an endeavor
they are currently working on and have committed to offer in many markets by
Many of the exhibitors at the
trade show had some interesting products and services that will have traction
in the industry. You can tell the wireless services are behind in the U.S.
because products like the handheld, folding Samsung Butterfly (SPH-P9000) are
available in Korea today but are not yet available in the U.S.
It has a decent-sized video
monitor as well as a keyboard. It is WiMAX enabled and has Bluetooth, a camera
and a miniature Windows XP computer. It is the second device on this video. Simply put,
the Butterfly will obsolete the Treo, Blackberry and other devices with a
Carlinism: Just as one course in first aid doesn’t make you a
brain surgeon, one course in networks or a certificate doesn’t make you a
network infrastructure consultant.
Jim Carlini will be speaking at Rural TeleCon
Springfield, Ill. from Oct. 14 to 17 on intelligent
He will also lead a half-day seminar on the same topic
at the Building Industry
Consulting Services International’s winter
conference from Jan. 14 to 17, 2008 in Orlando.
Check out Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.
James Carlini is an
adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also
president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Click here for
Carlini’s full biography.
Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini
NBC Universal To Serve As CES’ First Official Broadcast Partner And Showcase Multi-Platform Content
New content developments from major players
in the entertainment industry will connect with the latest distribution
platforms at the 2008 International CES®, making CES the global hub
for all that’s new in digital entertainment. The 2008 International CES, the
world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology, returns to Las Vegas,
January 7-10, 2008.
As CES’ first-ever “Official Broadcast
Partner,” select NBC Universal broadcast and cable entities will be
broadcasting live from the CES exhibition floor, covering the many exciting
product debuts and special events. In addition, NBC Universal, one of the
world’s leading media and entertainment companies, will debut an interactive
and multi-faceted show floor exhibition at CES, highlighting the wide range of
digital programming produced by its television, cable and motion picture
“The collaborative relationship between consumer
technology and the content industry remains stronger than ever, as consumers
crave their content and entertainment across multiple platforms, whether it’s
in the living room, in the car or on the go,” said Gary Shapiro, president and
CEO for the Consumer Electronics Association®, owner and producer of
the International CES. “With major content exhibitors, a keynote address from
Comcast’s Brian Roberts, Digital Hollywood and dozens of other educational
conference sessions and several exciting content attractions, the 2008
International CES is the year’s must-attend event for Hollywood and the content
"For over eighty years, NBC Universal's
powerful storytelling has drawn consumers to the latest and greatest
technologies and devices, from radio to television and cable to broadband and
mobile," said Beth Comstock, President, NBC Universal Integrated Media.
"We are proud to serve as the first-ever broadcast partner for the
International CES, the world's premier consumer technology tradeshow, allowing
us to showcase how powerful the partnership between quality content and
consumer electronics can be."
Also at the 2008 CES, the Technology &
Engineering Emmy Awards will take place for the second year, honoring
achievements in two areas: Science & Technology for Television, which
includes broadcast, cable and satellite distribution and Advanced Media
Technology, which includes interactive television, gaming technology, the
Internet, cell phones, private networks and personal media players.
“It has never been more clear that exploding
demand for high quality content, of all kinds, on all platforms, is a key
factor driving the unprecedented growth in consumer electronics today, "
said Mark Lukasiewicz, Vice President of Digital Media for NBC News and one of
NBCU's project leaders at CES. "Our presence on the CES show floor this
year gives us a unique opportunity to show the CE industry the rich content
that NBCU has to offer worldwide, and to cover this pivotal industry event for
consumer and business audiences on all our platforms.”
This year’s International CES will house more
than 175 conference sessions, including various sessions focused on the content
and entertainment industry. CES attendees will hear from top industry
professionals on emerging trends focused on the latest developments in the
Conference sessions with a focus on content and entertainment include:
- Hollywood and the Digital Consumer: How
Technology, Content and Services Establish the Next Level of Consumer
Entertainment Experience – Part of
the Digital Hollywood Partner Program, attendees will learn about the
entertainment industry’s next "golden age" of production, and
gain insight into how the industry is anticipating and responding to
consumer needs in an on-demand, fully integrated world of television, film
- All Video All the Time: Broadband, IPTV, DVD and
Mobile – In this Digital
Hollywood session, attendees will hear predictions from industry experts
on the future of IP delivery and its impact on the film industry.
- Movies, TV and Video for Mobile: Original
Entertainment & Information Programming Jump-Starts the Revolution – As consumers worldwide begin tuning into a
mobile video universe, attendees will learn about the challenges facing
the transformation of the communications world.
For more news on the 2008 International CES
before, during and after the show, including information on CES exhibitors,
conference sessions and TechZones, visit www.CESweb.org.
General press and analyst
registration, as well as detailed press conference information, is available at
Journalists are encouraged to arrive in Las Vegas by Saturday, January 5, to
take advantage of all the CES press events, including CES Unveiled from 4-7
p.m. on January 5.
New MetroScope™ Carrier Ethernet Analyzer Reduces Deployment Costs For Service Providers Rolling Out Differentiated Services
analysis and troubleshooting tool with unique LinkReflector far-end device
helps carriers reduce CapEx costs up to 40% over competing solutions
Networks, provider of innovative Network SuperVision Solutions™ for the
testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks,
today announced the availability of MetroScope™ carrier Ethernet
analyzer. This new portable analysis and troubleshooting tool offers
savings of up to 40% for service providers deploying carrier Ethernet
services. MetroScope’s cost savings are provided through a unique,
low-cost, gigabit Link Reflector that allows end-to-end RFC 2544, jitter, and
bit-error-rate (BERT) testing without a second MetroScope at the far end of the
far-end device offers testing alternatives
MetroScope includes a
first-to-market, low cost, gigabit LinkReflector remote tester that lets
carriers perform complete SLA testing with full control from one end of the
link. This offers carriers several testing alternatives. Carriers can
deploy multiple far-end devices on complex networks for a fraction of the cost
of existing solutions. They can leave reflectors at customer sites or
points-of-presence (POPs), ready for testing when needed. Alternatively,
carriers can use the MetroScope as a centralized tester, deploying technicians
with LinkReflectors. In addition to working with the MetroScope to qualify
links, the LinkReflector offers powerful troubleshooting functionality for
Ethernet links. All of these testing alternatives offer improved test
results while reducing costs.
Networks helps carriers achieve two critical business needs: migrating from
legacy to next generation services, and implementing process improvement
solutions that improve productivity and lower operating costs ”, said Ed
Sztuka, Vice President for Fluke Networks’ Communication Service Provider
business. “MetroScope helps with both.”
lets carriers define custom tests to demonstrate compliance with service level
agreements (SLAs) associated with new, differentiated service offerings.
MetroScope also conforms with testing standards, including RFC 2544. By
offering carriers a low-cost means of proving SLA and standards compliance,
MetroScope addresses two of the biggest hurdles carriers face with carrier
in network testing applied to carrier Ethernet
MetroScope takes advantage of more than a decade of Fluke Networks IP expertise
to a battery of in-depth IP tests including, traffic monitoring, VLAN discovery
and monitoring, SNMP monitoring, and TraceSwitch Route™. High-accuracy
jitter measurements let carriers certify Ethernet links for VoIP and IPTV
can easily be carried in one hand, but it is also designed with web-based
remote control. Used remotely, a technician at the customer site can
consult with remote experts within the organization and resolve complex
problems. This not only saves money by putting expert knowledge closer to the
source of the problem with less travel cost, but solves the customer’s problem
The new MetroScope Service Provider Assistant is available for immediate
delivery from Fluke Networks carrier sales channels worldwide. More
details can be found at www.flukenetworks.com/metroscope.
OptiView Integrated Network Analyzer
Fluke Networks, provider of
innovative Network SuperVision Solutions™ for the testing, monitoring and
analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, today announced major
new capabilities for its OptiView Series III Integrated Network Analyzer. This market leading, portable monitoring and
troubleshooting tool now offers network engineers a new application
troubleshooting expert option that dramatically reduces time to problem
Users can now see new views
of network traffic, including round trip network latency, plus the response
time of the far end server. Traffic data
is presented via a new graphical transactions chart, presenting results in an
intuitive, visual format. This makes
identifying the true nature of a problem much easier to see and
understand. The transactions chart
includes drill-down capability, providing the fastest, simplest means of
capturing packet level detail.
“Our customers tell us they
have to constantly prove that application problems are not network problems,”
said Dan Klimke, Fluke Networks Marketing Manager for Portable Network
Analysis. “They need to provide evidence
to other groups within IT showing where the real source of the problem resides.
The new Application Troubleshooting Expert gives them that proof.”
Network documentation without
manual labor Also new to the OptiView Series III Integrated Network Analyzer is
OptiView Reporter, which turns automated network discovery into complete
network documentation using Visio based mapping. This greatly simplifies and reduces the time
to complete documentation tasks, which used to take weeks of manual labor, to a
matter of minutes.
Increased VLAN visibility
The OptiView Series III
Integrated Network Analyzer can now see all VLANs on the network by analyzing
all VLAN tagged traffic. This helps in
identifying and resolving VLAN configuration questions, and balancing traffic
loads between VLANS. With the deployment of VoIP VLANs all the way to the
desktop, ensuring correct configurations is vital for voice quality. This increased VLAN visibility helps users
manage their network more efficiently, saving both money and time.
The OptiView Series III
Integrated Network Analyzer supports four primary IT initiatives:
• Deploying new technologies
• Managing and validating
• Solving network and
application performance issues
• Securing the network from internal threats
This is accomplished by using
extensive discovery capabilities and providing visibility into every piece of
hardware, application and connection on
The new application
troubleshooting expert option for the OptiView Series III Integrated Network
Analyzer is available for immediately from Fluke Networks channel partners
worldwide. Upgrade details for existing
Integrated Network Analyzer owners can be found at
Graybar Awarded New General Services Administration contract
Company will provide more than 28,000 products through MRO Schedule 51V
Graybar, a leading distributor
of communications and electrical products and related supply chain management
and logistics services, has been awarded a new, five-year General Services
Administration (GSA) contract.
The MRO Schedule 51V Hardware
Superstore Contract GS-21F-0003U opens the door for government buyers to
purchase from Graybar more than 28,000 products from 49 suppliers for their
electrical, lighting, power management, safety, plumbing and other MRO needs.
"Government customers face
the challenge of improving operational efficiencies and procuring more material
– all within compressed time frames and with limited resources,” commented
Graybar Senior Vice President – Sales and Distribution Dennis DeSousa. “This
contract win is the result of Graybar’s strategic investment in serving
government customers that includes specialized sales and service support, an
expanded product offering and advanced e-business tools.”
In combination with Graybar’s
communications and data products contract, GSA IT Schedule 70 Contract
GS-35F-0374M, this new agreement gives government organizations access to a
wide breadth and depth of products from Graybar’s 230 U.S. stocking locations.
The U.S. Department of Defense,
federal agencies such as FEMA, NASA, and the FBI, and authorized government
contractors are among the organizations that may purchase through the GSA
# # #
Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in
North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical,
telecommunications and networking products, and specializes in related supply
chain management and logistics services.
Through its network of more than 250 North American distribution
facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers,
serving as the vital link to hundreds of thousands of customers. For more information, visit http://graybar.com
or call 1-800-GRAYBAR.
Graybar Opens In Collinsville, Ill.
leader expands its presence in the bi-state area with 12th location
Graybar, a leading
distributor of electrical and communications products and related supply chain
management and logistics services, has opened a 10,000-sq.-ft. distribution
facility in Collinsville, Ill. An open
house featuring electrical, comm/data and security solutions will be held on
Wednesday, Oct. 3, to mark the official opening.
With the addition of this
facility, the company now has 12 locations throughout Missouri and Illinois,
including regional distribution centers in Joliet, Ill., and Springfield,
Located at 2800 Eastport
Plaza Drive near the intersection of Interstate 255 and Horseshoe Lake Road,
the branch inventory is backed by a $4.5 million inventory in the St. Louis
distribution center and a $10 million inventory in the Springfield, Mo.,
regional distribution center. Graybar
Collinsville features a counter operation and one-hour will-call service Monday
through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with after-normal-business-hours
emergency service as needed. The phone
number is (618) 343-1745.
Leading Graybar Collinsville
is Branch Manager Tim Schaeffer. He and
his staff have more than 37 combined years with the company and 61 years of
industry experience. Staff members
include John Biermann, supervisor counter sales, Amy Brooks, senior counter
sales representative, and Don Wessel, material handler.
“With the opening of our new
location, Graybar can better serve the growing Collinsville community,” said Branch
Manager Tim Schaeffer. “We are ready to
help our customers power and network their facilities, offices and housing with
speed, intelligence and efficiency.”
Harger’s Signal Reference Grids
Harger Lightning & Grounding proudly introduces
their Signal Reference Grids (SRG). Their SRG is a low impedance network of
conductors, which establish an equipotential plane for high frequency, low
voltage digital signals. Proper grounding and bonding of sensitive electronic
systems including computer installations require careful consideration of all
frequencies. Recommendations on Harger Signal Reference Grids are in full
agreement with IEEE Std. 1100-2005, IEEE
Recommended Practice for Powering and Grounding Sensitive Electronic Equipment.
The flat strip SRG is the highest performance and most economical solution to
high frequency grounding for a facility with a new raised floor installation.
For more information or to request your free copy of the SRG brochure, contact
our Sales Department at 800-842-7437 or email at email@example.com.
Harger Lightning & Grounding is a leading
manufacturer of lightning protection and grounding equipment, as well as
exothermic welding materials for the communications and electrical industries.
Harger also provides design and engineering services and specializes in
offering total systems solutions for their customers. Let Harger apply its
systemic approach to total system protection to provide you the most cost
effective solution to protect your personnel and equipment against the effects
of electrical transients. firstname.lastname@example.org
HellermannTyton Is Regonized As "Supplier Of The Year" By The Genie Group
HellermannTyton, a global manufacturer of cable
management, identification and network solutions, announces that the electronic
marketing organization Genie Group Inc. has acknowledged HellermannTyton as
"Supplier of the Year" at their annual conference August 26-28th in
This award recognizes outstanding customer service and
field support, innovative products, on-time delivery and exceptional
partnership policies. "We were very
pleased to acknowledge HellermannTyton's standards of excellence with the 2007
Supplier of the Year award", remarked Becky Max, President of the Genie
Group. "Since the beginning of our business partnership, they've been with
us every step of the way.
The award is voted on by the membership, so
HellermannTyton is held in high regard throughout our entire
organization." The Genie Group was
founded in 1984 and has 78 members with over 175 branch locations. Genie provides
independent distributors opportunities to enhance revenues and compete
successfully in the market place, while presenting premier suppliers with
additional distribution avenues and solutions.
Dan Martin, Vice President of Sales for
HellermannTyton, comments, "We are honored to receive this award. At HellermannTyton, we strive to provide
customers with excellent support and service, and we look forward to continuing
our relationship with the Genie Group." http://www.hellermanntyton.us/.
Light Brigade To Coordinate FTTx Resource Center At OFC/NFOEC 2008
The Light Brigade, Inc., the
world’s leading provider of fiber-optic training and training resources, has
announced that they will again coordinate the FTTx Resource and Demonstration
Center at the upcoming Optical Fiber Conference/National Fiber Optic Engineers
Conference. OFC/NFOEC 2008 will take place from February 24-28, 2008 at the San
Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.
The FTTx Resource Center will
feature live demonstrations, displays, and educational mini-sessions from a
wide variety of organizations and manufacturers involved with every aspect of
FTTx from components to systems. Visitors can meet with industry experts and
manufacturers, attend live demonstrations, view products, or browse through
The Light Brigade will be
on-site to demonstrate the company's world-class line of fiber optic training
options, FTTx/passive optical networks computer-based training (CBT) module and
training DVDs. Staff members will be available to discuss FTTx products,
applications, standards and technology.
In September 2007, The Light
Brigade partnered with Nexus Media Communications, Ltd. to provide the second
annual FTTx Resource Centre at the European Conference on Optical
Communications (ECOC), held in Berlin, Germany. The Centre featured 45
participating companies and nine live FTTx demonstrations.
Since 1987 The Light Brigade
has instructed over 30,000 attendees in its public and custom classes. The
company offers courses nationwide covering basic fiber optic design,
maintenance and testing plus advanced courses such as FTTx, DWDM, SONET/SDH,
and fiber characterization (PMD/CD), and ITS. The Light Brigade produces
educational DVDs, videos, CDs, and a self-paced FTTx computerized training
module. The Light Brigade's training materials are non-vendor specific. www.lightbrigade.com
McCormick’s New V9.0 Reveals A New Face
“If you haven’t seen
McCormick lately, you haven’t seen McCormick.” That’s the company’s new slogan
– and the new Version 9.0 of its estimating software delivers on the promise.
Among numerous upgrades and enhancements in V9.0 are:
- Modifications to the Proposal Sheet included in
the software enable contractors to take data directly from an estimate and
put it in a proposal to be sent to a client – along with job notes,
documents, photographs, and more.
- A unique capability on NetPricerTM and
McCormick. Estimators can see material prices – updated instantly – from
multiple vendors on one screen. McCormick offers this combination of the
ability to see real-time prices AND side-by-side comparison.
- Sharing information – McCormick’s new software
includes the capability to share information with increased number of
construction accounting programs, making the contractor’s job easier.
Those are only some of the V9.0 enhancements, all made
with McCormick’s usual focus on improving productivity. The goal: To help
electrical and automated building systems contractors produce faster estimates
with increased accuracy – allowing more time for estimator creativity.: www.mccormicksys.com
NAHB T Launch National Green Building Program At International Builder’s Show
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
announced that it will launch the much-anticipated NAHB National Green Building
Program Feb. 14 at the 2008 NAHB International Builders' Show in Orlando. The
program launch will be the highlight of a day of green-themed activities at the
convention, which last year attracted more than 100,000 building industry
The national initiative will link dozens of successful
state and local green building programs with a universal online certification
tool, national registry of green homes and green builders, and a wealth of
educational tools and resources for home builders and home buyers. To date,
about 100,000 green homes have been built through programs run or supported by
local building associations around the country.
"We are bringing green building into the
mainstream," said NAHB President Brian Catalde, a home builder in Southern
California. "The NAHB National Green Building Program isn't a new way to
build green. However, it's a low-cost administrative and certification system
that will help keep green affordable - and that's the key to market acceptance.
Where better to announce it than during the largest trade show of its kind in
In addition to the national program, NAHB's Certified
Green Professional designation will debut at the 2008 show as well as
significantly enhanced educational offerings for green builders, developers and
remodelers. The Certified Green
Professional designation is awarded after 24 hours of course work and requires
regular additional continuing education credits.
New survey data backs up the need for the new program.
The vast majority of Americans are willing to pay more for a green home - as
long as lawmakers are willing to offer incentives or rebates to help defray the
extra costs, said the results of a survey conducted last week by the firm
Public Opinion Strategies for the National Association of Home Builders.
The survey of registered voters showed that 78 percent
of respondents would be more inclined to purchase a green home "if the
government offered incentives or rebates," according to the results.
"In fact, 44 percent of respondents say they
would be much more inclined to buy a green home if incentives were
available," said Neil Newhouse, a partner at Public Opinion
Strategies. "That's a pretty strong
indication of the power of state and federal support for energy and resource
efficiency in new homes."
"This survey strengthens our resolve to continue
to work with environmental advocates and encourage Congress to extend the
Energy Efficiency Tax Credit," said Catalde.
Such findings also corresponded with the results from
another survey question asking how much respondents would be willing to pay for
a green home. Among those who said they'd be prepared to pay more for a home
with green features, fully 74 percent said they'd be willing to pay no more
than an additional 10 percent, highlighting the need to keep green building
"NAHB has been in the forefront of the green
building movement, ensuring that our customers, America's home buyers, have
choices. They prefer to spend money on green features, not excessive fees.
That's the home buyer that the NAHB National Green Building Program is designed
to benefit," Catalde said.
New Safety Feature in Coleman Cable Metal Halide Temporary Lighting Products
Coleman Cable, Inc. (Nasdaq: CCIX)
recently introduced added safety protection for its high-performance Luma-Site®
metal halide temporary lighting line used in commercial, industrial and large
residential construction projects. The new safety feature consists of a
completely enclosed 10” pyramid-shaped wire guard that protects job site
workers and the light’s high-powered 400W bulb from accidental contact. The
Luma-Site units, suitable for damp locations, are UL/cUL and CSA Listed, as
well as OSHA and NEC 2005 compliant.
The Luma-Site fixture installs quickly and easily with a spring-loaded hanger
and quick plug-in 6-ft 15 amp cord. Its 400W bulb lasts over 20,000 hours and
emits up to 36,000 initial lumens. These re-usable metal halide temporary
lights from Coleman Cable emit more light and use less energy than traditional
stringlights. In addition, the open-air, quad-tap ballast, with two knock-outs,
allows for hard-wiring applications.
“At Coleman Cable, we continue to drive product innovations that meet the
changing needs of the market for performance and safety,” said Tom McCollum
product manager at Coleman Cable, Inc. “The Luma-Site metal halide temporary
lighting fixture is no exception. Our aim is to protect workers and equipment
while providing the highest performance lighting products available.” www.colemancable.com
Scte Foundation Awards Two Major Grants
The SCTE Foundation is pleased to announce today that
it recently bestowed major grants upon a pair of Society of Cable
Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) members who are also Cox Communications
colleagues in support of each individual’s educational pursuits.
Chris Tate, a technical trainer for Cox in Oklahoma
City, has received a grant of approximately $12,000. The funds will enable Tate
to achieve his bachelor of science in organizational leadership from Southern
Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla., later this year.
Tate’s co-worker, Chris Gutel, who is also a
technical trainer with Cox in Oklahoma City, has received a grant of
approximately $3,500. With the help of this disbursement, Gutel is looking to
achieve a bachelor’s in networking management. Gutel, like Tate, is enrolled at
Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla.
The SCTE Foundation’s primary purpose is to provide
expanded educational opportunities for SCTE members to assist them in accomplishing
their professional development goals.
The SCTE Foundation Board of Directors recently
approved both Tate and Gutel’s applications for major grants following
preliminary approvals by the Foundation’s Major Grants Subcommittee and the
Foundation’s Awards Committee.
Complete details about the SCTE Foundation, including
the grant and scholarship application, are available at www.scte.org by clicking on the About Us section of the website.
Mike Holt's Code Forum
Top 30 New Topics - September 2007
Another great resource from Mike Holt Enterprises! The following is a list of
the top 30 topics discussed on our code forum in the past month. Simply click
on any topic that interests you to read or join in the discussion. If you’re
not already registered as a code forum member, click here to sign up now!
1: $500.00 ground rod with 133 replies in the Electrical
Contracting and Estimating/Management forum
2: Why ECs shouldn't do voice and data wiring.
with 116 replies in the Low Voltage and Limited Energy forum
3: Whats your Idea for Installing Under Cabinet Lighting?
with 95 replies in the NEC forum
4: Wiring recptcl & switch technique -- legal?
with 86 replies in the NEC forum
5: disconnect required?? with 83 replies in the
6: Spot the violation(s) with 79 replies in the
7: Are all Elctricians Insane? with 79 replies in
the Safety forum
8: amps on h2o line with 78 replies in the
Grounding versus Bonding forum
9: Working Clearance with 67 replies in the NEC
210.52 (f) with 61 replies in the NEC forum
red devil...? with 60 replies in the NEC forum
detached garage with 59 replies in the NEC
Spot the violation, Part III with 55 replies
in the NEC forum
Here's a New One on Me with 55 replies in the
Electrical Contracting and Estimating/Management forum
12 gauge to the room, 14 for lights and 3-way
with 52 replies in the NEC forum
Ceiling fan Down-rod with 51 replies in the
Why SABC in Dining Rooms? with 50 replies in
the NEC forum
Range/Microwave Circuit with 50 replies in the
pipe vs. romex??? with 49 replies in the
testing fuses with a wiggy with 48 replies in
the NEC forum
Taping Or Coloring White Wire with 48 replies
in the NEC forum
Using SER (Or a Pipe Guys Nightmare) with 48
replies in the NEC forum
Kidde i2060 and KN-COSM-IB with 45 replies in
the Electrical Contracting and Estimating/Management forum
Under cabinet lights with 44 replies in the
Electrical Contracting and Estimating/Management forum
Grounding with 43 replies in the Grounding
versus Bonding forum
Save me $0.40 (Code question) with 42 replies
in the NEC forum
Lets see... with 42 replies in the NEC forum
Inspector requires AFCI with 42 replies in the
‘Bid Chiseling’ and ‘Bid Shopping’ with 41
replies in the Electrical Contracting and Estimating/Management forum
Derating a B/C after a conduit run -- Necessary?
with 40 replies in the NEC forum
Nominations Open For NAED Annual Awards
Submission Deadline is
Dec. 10 for Recognition of Outstanding Companies, Individuals
Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces is inviting nominations
for the association's top honors, the NAED Annual Awards. The awards will be
presented at NAED's 2008 National Electrical Leadership Summit, May 17-21, 2008
in San Francisco.
The NAED Annual Awards recognize the companies and individuals who have made significant
contributions to the electrical industry and NAED. Submissions for the 2008
awards are due by Dec. 10, 2007. Nominations for the following awards will be
- Arthur W. Hooper Achievement Award—presented to an individual who has had an exceptional
career in distribution that covers the span of many years.
- Distributor Distinguished Service Award—recognizing a distributor for outstanding and
dedicated service to NAED and the electrical distribution industry.
- Associate Service Award—given to an individual associated with an
electrical manufacturing firm, who has consistently been active in
promoting and supporting the tenets and goals of NAED.
- Industry Award of Merit—honoring an associate company that has been
exceptionally active in promoting, supporting and/or improving the
electrical distribution channel.
To submit a nomination, go to www.naed.org and download the award
nomination form. NAED's Web site also lists additional award criteria as well.
After the nominations are received, NAED's Awards Committee will review the
submissions and decide on the final award winners. For more information,
contact Sandy Hanebrink at 888-791-2512 or email@example.com.
NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution
industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps
electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED's
membership represents approximately 4,100 locations internationally.
Coleman Cable Converts All Its Road Power® Battery Cables to Maximum Energy™ Lead-Free Models
Coleman Cable, Inc. (Nasdaq:
CCIX) recently announced the complete removal of lead and other hazardous
materials from its Road Power line of universal battery cables. The lead-free,
RoHS Compliant battery cables, now sold under the Maximum Energy™ brand name,
also provide superior starting power for car, truck, or marine applications
when compared to leaded models.
Maximum Energy Battery Cables are constructed with tin-plated brass terminals
that supply the highest-level of corrosion protection and without the dangerous
threat of lead contamination. The cable jacket is manufactured from high
temperature PVC designed to resist water, oil, and chemicals. These cables
feature full gauge stranded copper that extends through the entire length of
the flattened lug insuring complete capacity conductivity.
David Smith, Coleman Cable National Sales Manager, commented about the line,
“These cables are a win-win-win situation for everyone. We’ve removed
lead from the product, improved its performance, and priced them very
Maximum Energy Battery Cables are available in 6, 4, or 2 gauges. Lengths vary
from 10 inches to 78 inches, jacket colors include black or red, and some
models feature a single or dual lead wire. These cables are available in top
post, side post, switch to starter, and lawn & garden models. www.colemancable
Entrust(tm) Line Interactive UPS Systems introduced Entrust UPS
Entrust(tm) Line Interactive UPS Systems introduced
Entrust UPS products are designed to support desktop/laptop workstations, small
business phone systems, VoIP handsets, DVRs, cameras and network devices
Cost-conscious users can now get the full features of
larger, more expensive uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) with the compact,
feature rich, Minuteman Entrust(tm) Line Interactive series. It has the
features necessary to fully protect valuable and power-sensitive equipment and
provides voltage regulation, spike and surge protection and battery backup.
Packed with features typically found only in
higher-priced UPS products, the Entrust Line Interactive UPS series is
available in four sizes:
UPS rated at 500VA/300W - 8A
UPS rated at 700VA/420W - 10A
UPS rated at 1000VA/600W - 12A
UPS rated at 1500VA/900W - 12A
Each unit has four outlets that provide backup battery
support along with spike and surge protection. There are an additional four
spike and surge protected outlets for accessory devices that don't require
In addition, two of the outlets are specifically
spaced to support equipment with transformer blocks.
The small, uniquely designed footprint of the Entrust
UPS is ideal for placement on or under a desk. All models in the series can
also be installed vertically on a shelf in a rack or cabinet.
Additionally, Entrust UPS products come with the
award-winning service and support capabilities offered by Para
Systems/Minuteman UPS. This includes a three-year limited warranty (two-years
on the battery), and a $75,000 Platinum Protection Plan (U.S.A. and Canada
Communications - HID compliant USB communication that is
automatically recognized by all Windows(r) software
versions and requires no special drivers.
Buck/Boost Voltage Regulation - Provides a stable AC source during
less than optimal power conditions without constant
use of internal batteries.
Slim-line Profile - Provides users with the ability to install the
Entrust UPS in a variety of settings (rack or floor,
Compliant - Compliant with European Union's directive on the
reduction of hazardous substances (RoHS) in electronic
SentryPlus(tm) Software - SentryPlus auto-shutdown and monitoring
software is included with every unit. No special
downloads or coupons are required.
Load Capacities - Para Systems has increased the capacities
of all models in the Entrust UPS line, allowing the
units to support larger power requirements.
Entrust Line Interactive UPS products have already started
shipping to customers and are priced to sell to end users in the $109 to $300
For over 25 years, Para Systems/Minuteman UPS has
provided quality power products and offers excellent personalized service and
direct human response to all service and support calls. Minuteman products pass extensive quality
control testing before being shipped to customers.
[Photos of the new Entrust Line Interactive UPS are
available at our
or contact Bob Martin at 972.446.7363 ext. 240 or firstname.lastname@example.org]
Background Para Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of power technologies
including the Minuteman® unninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) for
mission-critical equipment protection such as computers, telecommunications
systems, security systems and Internet devices.
Minuteman® UPS products range from 400VA standby units to true sine
wave, line interactive, and on-line models rated up to 10kVA.
Para Systems provides SentryPlus(tm) remote power and
network management controller software for all popular operating systems
including Microsoft® Windows®, Novell, Unix, and Linux. Para Systems also sells
power distribution units (PDU), power management software, keyboard-video-mouse
(KVM) systems and surge suppressors.
Additional corporate and product information is
available at the Company's website www.minutemanups.com.
A free UPS sizing and selection tool is available at www.sizemyups.com
that can determine which Minuteman® UPS units can best meet your application's
power protection needs. The website www.sizemypdu.com
can determine which PDU is the appropriate product and www.comparemyups.com
can compare UPS features to competitive products.
Minuteman® UPS and Minuteman Platinum Protection Plan
are registered trademarks and Entrust and SentryPlus are trademarks of Para
Other trademarks are registered by their respective
Punitive Phase Begins In DuPont Lawsuit
For decades DuPont
deliberately misled people in and around the small town of Spelter about
threats that a high-polluting zinc smelting plant posed to their health,
lawyers argued Tuesday in Harrison County Circuit Court.
In the final phase of a
liability and medical monitoring trial, plaintiff attorney Mike Papantonio said
the chemical giant showed "wanton, reckless disregard" for the safety
of its neighbors, who should now be awarded punitive damages.
"We're not talking about
something that might hurt you," he argued. "We're talking about
something they know will hurt you."
DuPont's own documents prove
it knew, since 1980 if not earlier, that it had a problem but chose to do
nothing. The plan, he argued, was to delay a cleanup for as long as possible to
But DuPont attorney Dave
Thomas said jurors have punished DuPont enough during earlier phases of the
trial, and the company's conduct does not warrant more.
"It's one thing to conclude
DuPont is responsible for these damages. It's another to determine they should
pay punitive damages," Thomas said. "DuPont does not deserve to be
Thomas argued DuPont did the
right thing by working with state regulators after 2001 to demolish factory
buildings and clean up a 115-acre waste pile by covering it with a plastic cap
and fresh soil.
"These kinds of
activities should be encouraged, not punished," Thomas said.
He pointed out that DuPont
operated the plant for less than 25 percent of its 90-year history yet is
responsible for 100 of the damage awards and other costs.
"DuPont stepped up and
took responsibility for the cost of remediating this site," he said.
"... DuPont didn't skip town."
Ten residents of Spelter
filed the class-action lawsuit against DuPont in 2004.
On Monday, the Harrison
County jury decided the Delaware-based chemical giant should pay about $55.5
million for property cleanup. That figure includes nearly $27.7 million for
houses, $2.8 million for mobile homes, slightly more than $1 million for
commercial property and $18.4 million for managing the cleanup. The soil
remediation cost was set at nearly $5.7 million.
Papantonio said Monday's
award is "not even a blip on their screen."
He urged jurors to send a
message to DuPont that its disregard for human safety will not be tolerated. He
also recommended the award be sizable, noting DuPont makes $300 million a month
Spelter residents won the
first phase of their case Oct. 1, when jurors found DuPont liable for and
negligent in creating the waste site. The 11-member jury also found that DuPont
created a public and private nuisance and that its pollution trespassed onto
In the second phase of the
lawsuit, the jury required DuPont to provide medical monitoring for 40 years
for about 7,000 people who were exposed to arsenic, cadmium and lead
contamination from the former smelter site. The medical monitoring is to
include voluntary testing for lung, skin, stomach, bladder and kidney cancer,
as well as for kidney function, cognitive problems and lead poisoning. Lead is
not a carcinogen but can cause such problems as spontaneous abortions, low
birth weight, memory and learning problems, fragile bones and cardiovascular
A Harrison Circuit Court
judge will determine how the plan will be set up.
The lawsuit was filed against
DuPont and New York-based T.L. Diamond & Co., which ran the plant from 1975
to 2001, when regulators recommended the site be declared an imminent and
substantial threat to public health.
DuPont has been involved with
the property since 1899 when it bought the land for a gunpowder mill. The
company reassumed ownership when the zinc plant closed.
While Diamond is a defendant,
the company isn't actively participating in the trial. The judge in the case
ruled previously that DuPont is responsible for Diamond's conduct because of
the 2001 sales agreement.
Wesco At Nine Months: $4.5 billion In Sales
International’s Q3 ended on Sept. 30 and, as the company reported last week,
it’s been a pretty good year. Sales at the nine-month period were $4.51
billion, up 14.4% over year-earlier results. Sales in the most recent quarter were
$1.55 billion, up 15.1% over 2006’s Q3.
improved our position as a low-cost operator,” said Stephen Van Oss, senior
vice president/CFO, “and recorded our best-ever SG&A expense ratio for our
Q3 gross margins
were 20.3%, vs. 20.5% one year ago. For the nine-month period, margins came in
at 20.4%, vs. 20.3% in the same period in 2006.
Note that the
sales increase from last year’s Q3 was $203 million. Of that, the company said,
sales from recent acquisitions contributed $183 million. Without the
contribution of those acquired companies, then, Wesco’s sales increase would
have been 1.5%. The same applied to the first three quarters: Sales increase
$569 million year over year, of which the company said $524 million was the result
of acquisitions added recently—without which Wesco’s nine-month increase would
have been 1.14%.
Wesco will buy back $400 million in stock, shrinking the number of shares
outstanding. That’s on top of what’s already happened in 2007—6.4 million
shares bought back.
From Roy Haley,
chairman/CEO: “We have added personnel to a variety of longer-term sales and
marketing initiatives, and these programs are beginning to yield positive
results. We are early in this cycle of investment in vertical market segment
initiatives, and we expect to see new opportunities being converted into higher
levels of sales performance over the next several quarters.”
From a “Wall
Street” point-of-view, Wesco’s diluted earnings per share are at $3.62 through
2007 thus far, vs. $3.04 in the same period last year. WCC stock closed trading
last week at $47.15, up almost 21% from the recent low of $38.98 hit at the
close of Sept. 27.
Other news—Wesco was one of three companies
identified in a Oct. 1 FORTUNE magazine article that advised readers to
“cash in on the rebuilding boom” (General Cable and Greenbrier were the other
two). According to the article, “Wesco and its top three competitors account
for only 20% of all sales, but Wesco’s aggressive acquisition strategy (29
deals since 1995) has made it the only national player.” That’s what it says.
Reason to buy: “The stock looks cheap, trading at just eight times next year’s
Up to Speed - Ethernet goes green
by Mike Bennett and Bruce
Network-capable IT electronic
equipment consumes at least 75 terawatt-hours per year in the United States alone,
producing roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions as 12 million
cars. In an attempt to reduce that energy consumption, the IEEE has formed a
study group to determine the need and feasibility of producing a standard for
energy-efficient Ethernet (EEE). The
study group envisions developing a protocol to rapidly change speeds
during periods of low link utilization in order to reduce energy use.
Lower-speed physical layer
devices (PHYs) use less energy than higher-speed PHYs. The group estimates that
approximately $300 million per year can be saved through the use of EEE in the
United States, assuming existing copper Ethernet devices were replaced with
Changing speeds is not new to
Ethernet. The existing Ethernet protocol for changing
speeds–auto-negotiation–selects the highest speed in common between link
partners. Once the speed has been determined, it cannot be changed without
dropping the link.
In contrast, dynamic EEE speed
changes should be transparent to upper layers and should happen quickly.
Additionally, for EEE to be successful, the frequency of changes and duration
at a particular speed must be controlled in such a way that it is
non-disruptive. The study group has been exploring mechanisms for speed changes, but the policies to control those changes will be developed by vendors
or other standards organizations.
study group examined developing energy-efficient versions of Ethernet that
operate on unshielded twisted-pair cabling and backplanes. The key question to
be answered is how fast does transition time (i.e., the transition between
speeds) need to be?
The group used one
millisecond as a starting point to study the problem. Initial tests, simulating
changes from a lower speed to 10GBASE-T as the worst case, suggested a
millisecond was too aggressive and the transition time would have to be in the
order of tens of milliseconds. Concern that the longer transition time would be
noticeable in latency-sensitive applications motivated more in-depth study of
There are two mechanisms
under consideration for EEE twisted-pair PHYs. The “fast start” mechanism is
based on existing PHYs and would require minimal changes. Reduction of
transition time would come from optimizing the training time–the period when
the master and slave link partners exchange information about their states and
link characteristics. Additional experiments simulating the low-to-high
worst-case speed change suggest transition times in the order of a few
milliseconds are feasible.
The second mechanism, known
as the “subset-PHY,” requires modification of an existing PHY to operate at a
lower speed. For example, a 10GBASE-T PHY would be adapted to operate in a
gigabit mode by changing the line code, reducing the number of channels and
using rate-matching techniques such as zero stuffing. The signaling would
remain the same to minimize changes in crosstalk characteristics.
Initial studies of this
mechanism suggest transition times in the order of microseconds are feasible;
however, more work would be required to produce the standard and new
components. The mechanisms under consideration for backplane Ethernet are
similar to their twisted-pair counterparts; however, the comprehensive work to
develop the standard is just beginning.
The study group has examined
the markets in which EEE could be used, as well as the economic and technical
feasibility of developing the protocol. In addition to studying the issues
related to transition time, the group studied the impact EEE might have on
If the IEEE standards
associate new standards committee approves the project, the first meeting of
the IEEE 802.3az task force will be in November. The focus of the work will
shift from feasibility study to determining the technical baseline proposal for
the standard. Once this proposal has been accepted by the task force, the
process of writing the standard will begin. The estimated completion date for
IEEE 802.3az is March 2010.
Bio: Mike Bennett is a senior
network engineer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the chairman of
the IEEE 802.3 energy-efficient Ethernet study group. Bruce Nordman is a
researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with more than 20 years of
experience in energy use and efficiency in electronics and buildings. For
additional information: http://efficientnetworks.lbl.gov/.
Reprinted with full
permission of Communication NEWS – October issue 2007 www.commnews.com
Network Monitoring - Performance Analysis ‘tapped’ In
by Robert Finlay
Effective IT security and
performance management relies on visibility. IT departments need visibility of production
network data to identify security vulnerabilities and violations, as well as
network and application performance. Often, this involves the deployment of
analysis devices capable of examining a vast quantity of data traversing
critical network links. Intrusion detection, intrusion protection, network
monitoring, application monitoring, Web monitoring and protocol analysis are
some of the solutions increasingly deployed on the network to ensure IT
compliance and performance.
When planning to deploy
analysis solutions on the network, two questions should be answered: How will
the network data be accessed, and where will the access points be placed? The
answer to these questions will often determine the effectiveness and value
these solutions provide to IT groups.
There are several techniques
that answer the question of network access. Typically, a network-security or
performance-analysis device utilizes an in-line hub, a plain switch port, a
mirror/SPAN port or an in-line tap. Not all of these techniques, however, are
The use of in-line hubs and
plain switch ports are the least-desirable access method for critical-link
security and performance analysis. This leaves mirror/SPAN ports or in-line
taps as the primary means of network access for IT analysis.
Where security and analysis
devices get deployed is the other significant question. There are three
locations at the center of performance and security analysis that require
planned network access–the network’s edge, the data center and the distribution
A common attribute of these
three critical locations is the use of redundant, high-availability network
architectures that rely on multiple paths and devices to ensure resiliency and
performance. With the need for 100 percent visibility across the multiple links
in a trunk, this architecture represents a challenge for security and
performance analysis. Deploying multiple security and network-analysis devices
on each route is one solution, but this is expensive and can involve complex,
or inaccurate synchronization between monitoring solutions.
In-line taps recommended
In-line taps connect between
two end-points on the network, typically a switch, router, firewall or server.
Once installed, taps provide instant plug-and-play access to the network, with
full visibility into link traffic, errors, security threats and applications.
Pre-installed taps on
critical network segments are one solution, giving engineers instant access to
data they need without configuration risks or contention issues for
switch/router resources. Traditional in-line taps are best suited for use with
dual-interface analysis devices.
Aggregating in-line taps
combine full duplex traffic, or multiple mirror/SPAN ports into a single data
stream for use with single interface security and performance-monitoring
equipment. Aggregating taps offer a viable new option for analysis solutions
originally intended for mirror/SPAN port deployment. Remember that full-duplex
Fast Ethernet and gigabit links have data rates of 200 Mbps or 2 Gbps,
Just like a mirror/SPAN port,
aggregation taps can become oversubscribed. While many organizations do not
encounter data rates that lead to oversubscription, it is still an issue to
consider when planning the use of aggregation taps or mirror/SPAN ports. (Note:
Fast Ethernet links are fully supported with an aggregation tap when a
gigabit-capable analysis device is monitoring.)
The extension of full-duplex
link-aggregation technology allows taps to combine data from multiple links. A dual-link, aggregation in-line tap
installs on two links and combines traffic into a single gigabit data stream.
For organizations utilizing redundant and asymmetrical network design, this tap
provides a single access point for security and performance-analysis visibility
across multiple network paths.
Instead of purchasing a
security or performance-analysis device for each link on a meshed trunk, an IT
department can now spend less on monitoring solutions, while still maintaining
full visibility across the critical network fabric. Packet timing issues are
also resolved with dual-link aggregation taps since tricky clock
synchronization between multiple monitoring devices does not skew packet
oversubscription a problem
Link aggregation extends the
ROI of network security and performance solutions, but also submits them to
greater data rates that can cause overloaded CPU processing. In addition, as a
greater number of links are aggregated, the chance of oversubscribing the
monitoring ports used by security and performance-analysis devices increases.
Filtering link-aggregation taps resolve these two issues. These
taps have line-rate filtering built into their architecture that offloads the
processing of extraneous data normally sent to analysis solutions. Filtering
aggregation taps allow the user to filter on specific traffic within the tap.
For instance, a tap can be
used to block all broadcast and multicast traffic before aggregation, employing
a second level of filters specific to each of the four analysis devices
attached to the tap. This technique has two major benefits: It eliminates the
chance of oversubscription during aggregation and frees up valuable processing
cycles with the elimination of irrelevant packets.
In-line models of filtering
link-aggregation taps can be used on up to two links, while mirror/SPAN models
can process up to four connections. Each model also allows for media conversion
and remote configuration within distributed analysis environments. With four
monitoring ports on each tap, there are plenty of access points for several IT
groups and users.
While modern network
architectures make analyzing critical traffic across meshed architectures
difficult, the latest generation of multilink aggregation taps eliminates this
complexity and reduces the cost of analysis-solution deployment. Data
regeneration offered by the latest generation of taps offers greater
connectivity options and reduces the contention for data access often found
with mirror/SPAN ports.
Finally, new filtering
aggregation taps improve the performance of network analysis devices by
limiting CPU processing spent on unnecessary packets. IT groups that spend
resources on security, application and network analysis will benefit by understanding
how the latest generation of taps provide greater visibility with lower overall
cost and less complexity.
Bio: Robert Finlay is product manager, network management,
for Fluke Networks, Everett, Wash.
Reprinted with full
permission of Communication NEWS – October issue 2007 www.commnews.com
Ready For Anything - Company Optimizes Its Future With 10-Gig Deployment
LBX Co., headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was moving into a new corporate
campus, John Chumney, LBX IT manager, faced the task of building a new data
center–with a completely new laundry list of communication and data center
needs to support the media selections and performance requirements needed for
the company’s future growth. High-performance connectivity solutions were at
the top of his agenda.
To accommodate its rapidly
growing business, LBX purchased nine acres to accommodate an office building,
as well as a separate distribution and training campus location. The challenge
posed with the construction was not limited to floor plan designs; LBX also had
to determine its communication equipment needs and design a data center to
support current and future company growth. LBX is a global provider of
Link-Belt earthmoving, forestry, scrap and material-handling equipment.
Chumney, who was responsible
for the planning and installation of the data center, worked with Bristol Group
Construction to design the building, including the size of the new computer
room, with computer, printer and telephone connection locations. Following
numerous blueprint revisions and internal meetings, LBX chose a final drawing
and utilized a bid process for its communication needs.
During this process, Chumney worked
with U.S. Voice and Data, and ultimately retained the company for its services.
U.S. Voice and Data’s Donnie Colvin, infrastructure division manager, was
assigned the project oversight and planning process. Colvin assisted with LBX’s
cabling design layout and blueprint creation, and enabled Chumney to ensure the
company would meet its communication and data center goals.
The headquarters and remote
building floor plans determined the location of system components, including
telecommunication closets, spaces and pathways. A key element was the ability
to grow into multimedia streaming video capabilities. The final consideration
to meet communication and data center needs was the cable choice to support the
media selections and performance requirements.
With LBX’s technical
requirements identified, Colvin turned to strategic infrastructure partner
Mohawk for high-performance cable needs. Since the plans integrated future
bandwidth growth, cable choices reviewed included Mohawk’s 6LAN (Category 6
UTP), AdvanceNet (Category 6e UTP) and GigaLAN
10 (augmented Category 6 UTP) products.
10-Gigabit Ethernet selected
Although 6LAN and AdvanceNet
offered superior technical characteristics, Mohawk’s GigaLAN 10 was chosen. According to Chumney, “The main reason we chose
GigaLAN 10 was for future high-speed
(10-Gigabit Ethernet) requirements and to eliminate the need to replace cable
in the future.”
GigaLAN 10 provides
capacity for LBX’s demanding data center networks requirements–from voice
applications to network storage. The Category 6A UTP cable supports 10G BASE-T
applications over a full 100-meter channel and provides 750 MHz confirmed
stability. The cable’s FlexWeb, combined with a patented fluted jacket
construction, isolates cable pairs and offers pair-to-pair balance for superior
Designed specifically for 10G
BASE-T applications, GigaLAN 10 is
also fully backward compatible for 100 BASE-T (Fast Ethernet) and 1000 BASE-T
(Gigabit Ethernet) applications. The cable design exceeds the Category 6a
draft-specified component stipulations.
With the cabling selected,
U.S Voice and Data provided LBX with communication equipment and an Inter-Tel
5000 communication system. These offered LBX a configuration consisting of
tightly integrated presence management, collaboration and messaging tools to
enhance employee productivity and mobility.
Inter-Tel 5000 provides full
network support and feature transparency for LBX’s multiple locations via
existing WAN infrastructures. Inter-Tel’s Unified Communicator software was
chosen to provide voice and audio conferencing, Web conferencing, and desktop
videoconferencing. The software includes tools to assist LBX with
communications management and improve business processes with the LBX call
center. The software also allows users to manage the status and forwarding
information for their multiple devices, such as office phones, IP phones, SIP
devices, cellular phones and wireless devices, as well as personal computers
a detailed network layout
Upon selection of GigaLAN 10 and the Inter-Tel 5000
communication system, Chumney and Colvin established the data center layouts,
including required cabinets, drops, outlets and workstations. The backbone was
built once the preliminary construction was completed. To support the campus
applications to the remote building, details were included for routes, support
systems, conduits, duct banks and manholes.
The data center consisted of
GigaLAN 10 installed from the
distribution frame running vertically to the cable tray and then running
horizontally along the ceiling, and connected to conduits throughout the
building to each desktop location. The process ran into a hurdle with the
ladder trays constructed for the GigaLAN
10 product. Since the diameter size was larger than traditional Category 6
products, the original setup of 12-inch ladder trays resulted in a shortage of
conduits for fill space. Despite the unplanned delay, the team was able to
resolve the problem by reconstructing 20 four-inch trays and adding the
additional conduit required.
The primary change to the
company’s system was replacing all Dell 100-megabit Ethernet switches with
updated Dell 2724 and 5324 Gigabit Ethernet switches. LBX also installed
several fiber-optic modules in selected Dell power-connect 2724 switches in
order to connect the entire campus. The updated network server included Dell
2850 PowerEdge servers and Microsoft Windows Server 2003.
After construction was
completed on schedule, multimedia communication applications were available at
desktops and conference rooms. A state-of-the art presentation system was
installed in LBX’s training room with a high-definition television screen.
Employees were equipped with advanced communication tools, including
With its choice of cable and
communication equipment, Chumney says, LBX gained advanced communication
abilities and capacity for increased technological capabilities without
incurring future costs. “We are ready for anything that may come along,” he
claims. “It is much easier to install it initially than to have to replace
cabling in the future.”
Bio: For more information from Mohawk Cable, Leominster,
Reprinted with full permission
of Communication NEWS – October issue 2007 www.commnews.com
NECA 2007 San Francisco Wraps Up Successful Convention, Trade Show
Over 5,000 Participate in Event; New Focus on
For Immediate Release: BETHESDA,
MD -- NECA’s 2007 Convention and Trade Show recently wrapped up several
exciting days of education and exploration at San Francisco’s Moscone
Convention Center. Over 5,000 attendees enjoyed inspiring presentations from
record-setting 49ers quarterback Steve Young and reluctant hero and survivor
Nando Parrado, plus over 300 exhibitors from across the electrical construction
“I’m just amazed at the energy and
excitement everyone had this year in San Francisco,” said NECA executive
director for meetings/exhibition Beth Ellis. “We did a lot of new things this
year in order to reflect how electrical contractors’ businesses have changed
and what’s new in the electrical construction market.”
One new feature that Ellis
promises will return at NECA 2008 Chicago will be “Think Green Day” and the
“Green Alley” at the NECA Show. “These were great opportunities to showcase the
sustainable building electrical contractors are doing and let them connect with
alternative energy product manufacturers,” Ellis said.
“Green is the color of the
future," said Jan Carradine, director of engineering for Baker Electric,
Inc. Escondido, Ca., a long-time NECA member company. “This prepared me to
better communicate with my customers when it comes to design-build and green
The 2007 convention also featured
the first-ever Labor Relations Town Hall, an open panel discussion with NECA
and IBEW leaders sharing the stage and taking questions from the
audience. Moderator Mark Breslin – a well-known and candid arbitration
specialist who has worked with numerous trade associations and labor unions –
described the meeting as an "open and honest" forum for "truth
Town Hall participant Geary
Higgins, NECA vice president for labor relations, remarked, “While I found the
exchange to be encouraging and reflective of the cooperative feeling at the
core of the NECA-IBEW relationship, I think it showed that we still have a lot
to work out together.”
Comedian Dana Carvey closed out
NECA 2007 San Francisco with a special “Master of Disguise” show. Best known
for his appearances on Saturday Night Live, Carvey has recently limited his
public performances to focus on his role as husband and father, so NECA 2007
San Francisco attendees were especially appreciative of his appearance at their
NECA’s next Convention and Trade
Show will be held in Chicago, Oct. 5-7, 2008. Preliminary meeting information
for NECA 2008 Chicago attendees and exhibitors,
plus highlights from NECA 2007 San
Francisco, can be found on www.necaconvention.org
The National Electrical
Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible
for bringing power and communication systems to buildings and communities.
NECA’s national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical
contracting industry through advocacy, education, research and standards development.
NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. For more information,
** Event photos are available for
press use. Contact Beth Margulies, NECA, Director of Public Relations,
302-215-4526, email@example.com for
additional information. **
AVAYA Is Bought For $8.3 Billion By Silver Lake And TPG Capital
Silver Lake and TPG Capital today announced that Silver Lake and TPG Capital
have completed the acquisition of Avaya in a transaction valued at
approximately US$8.3 billion.
"Today marks the beginning of an exciting new era for Avaya," said
Lou D'Ambrosio, the firm’s president and CEO.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, which was adopted by Avaya's
stockholders at a special meeting held on Sept. 28, each is entitled to receive
US$17.50 in cash, without interest and less any applicable withholding taxes,
for each share of common stock they owned immediately prior to the effective
time of the merger.
Avaya common stock ceased trading on the NYSE before the commencement of
trading on today and will be delisted from the NYSE
Here’s To Change
Anumber of differences have
surfaced in the 10 companies that are listed in this month’s receivables table,
• Quanta Services has
completed its merger with Infrasource Services, another powerline contractor.
• AETI (American Electric
Technologies) was added to the list. AETI was formed by the merger of M & S
Industries and American Access Technologies.
• Belden has acquired more
small companies. One result of this has been higher sales, with the company’s
second-quarter revenues up 34%.
• Cooper spent $22 million to
buy io Lighting of Illinois and Powerline Communications of Vermont, which
together expect 2007 sales to total $17 million; io makes LED-based lighting
• Thomas & Betts
completed two acquisitions (including a $280 million buy of some electrical
operations from Danaher), and then announced that it would buy Lamson &
• Suppliers and distributors
are generating significant free cash flow. Many are using some of it to buy
back stock on the open market. Companies doing so of late include Belden ($100
million), Genlyte Group (1.4 million shares), and Grainger ($500 million).
• Grainger’s sales in the
second quarter increased 8%, the company boosted its guidance on end-of-year
earnings per share by a nickel (to $4.90/share on the high end), and trends
were encouraging. Grainger reports daily sales changes on a monthly basis, and
in the most recent four months available, was up 7% in April, 8% in May, 9% in
June, and 7% in July (the comparisons include 2006).
In other news, Grainger
reports that it has added 60,000 products to its mix in the plumbing, fastener,
material handling, and security product areas. Its sales in Mexico rose 26% in
the second quarter. In the quarter before the accelerated $500 million buy-back
was announced, the company bought back 562,300 shares of its stock at a cost of
• Wesco’s end-market activity
was slower during the second quarter, with core sales about equaling last
year’s second quarter, according to Stephen Van Oss, senior vice president and
chief financial and administrative officer. The company’s $182 million sales
gain in the quarter was due to its 2006 acquisition of Communications Supply
In other Wesco news, the
company purchased Cascade Controls, which reportedly had $11 million in sales
last year in automation and controls in the Northwest United States. The company
repurchased 5.2 million of its shares at $335 million between February and June
(and had $65 million of unused board-authorized repurchases as of June 30). The
stock market has punished Wesco for its flat sales, driving its stock price
down from a close above $66 on April 18 to less than $47 on Aug. 30.
• AETI’s Aug. 29 release
carried the headline, “American Electric Technologies Accelerates Penetration
of E&I Construction Market” (E&I being electric and instrumentation). As
of the end of its second quarter, the company was still at work integrating the
two companies that recently merged to create AETI.
• Belden’s adjusted operating
margins have expanded 350 basis points year over year and 150 basis points
sequentially, according to John Stroup, president and CEO.
The company also sold off a
copper telecom operation in the Czech Republic, completing its exit from the
copper telecom cable market. Still, Belden’s revenue rose roughly $140 million
compared with the year-earlier quarter—of which $149 million came from business
acquired during the quarter and another $8 million from favorable currency
translation. In other words, Belden’s pre-existing operations had a slightly
• Cooper’s second-quarter
revenues rose 14%, with four basis points of that coming from acquisitions and
currency translation adding almost 2%. The electrical products segment revenues
flew up 15% in the year’s first half thanks to continued strength in the
utility and industrial markets, strong international growth, and solid growth
in U.S. nonresidential construction markets, according to Cooper.
• Genlyte. In November,
Genlyte’s stock price soared above $86 at one point. Then the company hit a
bump in the road—the price on Aug. 30 was below $72. In the meantime,
first-half earnings per share in 2007 were $2.49, down from $2.94 one year
earlier. Essentially, Genlyte represents a minor case of a turnaround: The
year’s first half saw sales increase 15.5%, and first-half earnings per share (excluding
various items) actually increased by 29%.
Larry Powers, chairman,
president, and CEO, said, “Our focus on higher-margin product lines and the
price increases helped us achieve higher sales and gross margins for the second
quarter.” Gross margins in the second quarter came in at 40.6%, compared to
39.4% in the second quarter of 2006.
• Thomas & Betts’s
second-quarter results were fine, but it’s other recent company events that are
of real interest. Here’s what’s happened: In a July 25 release regarding the
buy from Danaher, T&B reported that it also had purchased Drilling
Technical Supply SA of France for $20 million. On July 26, the company filed an
SEC form declaring it had completed the buy of the Joslyn Hi-Voltage and Power
Solutions businesses from Danaher at a reported $280 million.
On Aug. 15, the company
reported that it would invest $450 million to acquire Lamson & Sessions,
and that it might sell the Lamson PVC pipe business. If that happens, the
acquisition might add $500 million to full-year results.
So where is T&B going? It
recently committed to invest $750 million to add three companies. First-half
sales came in near $982 million without these additions. In calendar year 2008,
T&B’s sales might well come in near $3 billion; as recently as 2003, they
were $1.32 billion.
Salimando is a contributing editor to TED. Reach him
Reprinted with full permission of TED Magazine –2007 www.tedmag.com
Companies everywhere are taking a closer look at the
safety and security of their facilities.
Just how safe are we? It’s a
question people are asking themselves more and more often. Forward-looking
suppliers and distributors will have a ready answer—in the form of product
lines that are able to provide increased physical safety, facility surveillance,
and improved communication.
Selling security products
requires not just a certain amount of technological savvy, but also an ability
to discuss potentially frightening topics in a reassuring, confidence-inspiring
way. The rewards here are twofold: the satisfaction of securing a long-time
customer while garnering a healthy profit margin.
Broadly defined, the security
market can include everything from the most common indoor/outdoor surveillance
cameras to simple card-based access systems to explosives detection systems and
But what’s really taking off?
Integrated systems that allow users to make better use of the products they
have, rather than just buying individual items that have to be installed and
“For us, integration is
critical,” said Bob Patnaude, director of marketing of industrial systems for
Federal Signal. “Systems should be designed so that they integrate things like
visual alarms, intercoms and voice messaging, outdoor warning, and even access
control and perimeter detection.
“The market is moving
increasingly toward anything that involves communicating with people in order
to keep them safe and secure,” he continued. “When one is designing a total
solution, all products can play a role, so it’s important that we don’t think
about just the singular products themselves.”
That viewpoint was echoed by
Keith Drummond, CEO of LenSec, a provider of custom software surveillance
solutions. “The foundation of video surveillance is the video management
system. Enterprise class video surveillance systems—Internet protocol [IP] or
network-based systems—are growing in popularity.”
Drummond explained that these
systems utilize the same equipment and IT standards as all other network
applications, such as the Internet and e-mail, and can be scaled to support
even the largest organizations.
“We are seeing strong growth
in the integration of other network applications with video surveillance like
access control, video analytics, and wireless network connectivity,” he said.
Helping to integrate safety
and security products into an existing facility is where electrical
distributors can make the biggest impact for their customers. “It’s very
important to think about the process one follows when designing a system solution
and the products that come into play. The products used and how they are used
will vary from system to system,” Patnaude said.
And it goes far beyond just
hanging up some cameras. For example, does the customer want the security
system to be unobtrusive and unseen by users—or is higher-visibility security
that acts as an additional deterrent desired?
In either case, security is
achieved by choosing the right security options and reconsidering related or
nearby electrical items. For example, lighting may need to be adjusted in
brightness, intensity, and/or location to get the best possible results from
new surveillance equipment, or to help direct people to and from secure entry
If the job is new
construction, the obvious advantage is that those adjustments can be taken into
account during the building process. In an old building, however, improved
security is still a relatively achievable goal.
“In new construction you have
the ability to eliminate some safety issues before they exist, such as columns
or pillars placed in poor locations that create potential blind spots for a
video surveillance system,” said Drummond. “However, a properly designed system
with the appropriate number and types of cameras can be just as effective when
dealing with a retrofit.”
“The key thing to do here is
to take the customer back to his or her fundamental interests and the purpose
of the security system,” said Patnaude. “What are the reasons behind the
methods to be employed? What are the objectives and how are desired results
going to be quantified?
“As an example, with a
notification system for employees to take cover in a life-threatening
disaster,” continued Patnaude, “It would be essential to know things like whom
to notify, where they’d be located, and what they are supposed to do.
“It has to be a consultative
process,” he added. “It is important that we understand the goals and needs
before we recommend any solution. If you approach it that way, the differences
between the two types of jobs are immaterial; they are just different
applications of the same kinds of products.”
Hard facts—soft touch
While no one can deny that
there’s definitely a need for increased security in almost any facility, this
certainly does not mean it’s something that people want to spend a lot of time
thinking about. At a time when many feel that people have become paranoid,
distributors can run the risk of seeming to overhype threats that are very
“Most everyone acknowledges
that safety is important and an issue that needs to be addressed,” said Ari
Tamman, vice president of channels for Promisec, a provider of security
solutions. “But at the same time, no one wants to admit what tragedies could
happen. It’s even harder when you’re selling additional or expanded security.
Companies know they have to have the basics, but for them to move to the next
level of security—it’s not always as obvious to them that there’s a definite
need to do so.”
This may be more common in
markets such as medical, educational, and residential, where more minimal
security measures used to be standard operating procedure.
To get a customer’s buy-in,
Tamman suggested doing a walk-through of the facility, pointing out potential weaknesses,
and recommending the types of products that could eliminate those weaknesses.
“You have to really show them the specific benefits,“ Tamman noted. “It’s most
effective if you can demonstrate the product in use.”
For those who are more aware
of the risks, it may be safer to take a more matter-of-fact approach. “We
rarely have to explain the risk to our customers,” said Drummond. “They already
know they have a risk—which is why they are talking to us.”
Patnaude agreed that the risk
of appearing to exaggerate the threat is minimal in at least some markets.
“When it comes to safety and security, we need to face the fact that they can
be compromised every day; it’s our job to deal with that,” he said. “When you
use products and know-how to explain this, it’s no longer about hype—it’s about
solving serious problems.” He also noted that existing relationships with
customers can go a long way in helping them trust the information given to them
about potential threats and potential solutions.
Be aware that the technology
in most security applications is changing rapidly. What was state of the art a
year ago may very well be old hat today. Keeping on top of those changes, and
supporting end-users as they adapt to them, will be an ongoing challenge for
salespeople need to know not only things about the products and technology
available, but also the resources that are available to them when they are in
the early-discussion stage with a customer,” advised Patnaude. “Be sure that
all of the right questions are asked before recommending a particular product
or type of product. This ensures that the products follow through on what is
really most important: the right systems solution.”
This constantly changing technology
poses another potential problem: a glut of products. “Overall, the budgets for
security tools are expanding,” Tamman said. “As such, there are so many
products available that end-users must pick their priorities and stick to them.
These will determine where, and on what, they spend their dollars.”
“In IP-based video
surveillance, technology is changing at the same high rate of speed at all
other processor- and storage-driven applications.” added Drummond. “Anyone who is
involved in this space should spend as much or more time on research and
development as any other area.”
Katarsky is a freelance
writer based in Philadelphia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with full
permission of TED Magazine –2007 www.tedmag.com
Offer Datacomm Cabling Support Options
Three ways to help communications cabling installers
save time and money.
1. Fasteners hold and guide
communications cable during installation. There are four common types:
J-hook fasteners are used to
suspend cables, can be added without disturbing an existing installation, can
maintain a 1˝ bend radius, and provide mounting options. Nonmetallic
J-hooks are suitable for use in air handling spaces, per applicable codes.
Cable pulley fasteners free
up a second pair of hands when pulling cable, maintain proper bend radius, and
protect cable during installation. Once the job is completed, the pulley and
pin assembly can be removed, leaving the J-hook as a cable support.
Bridle ring fasteners look
like metal hooks that screw into supports and are used to support cable and
increase installation convenience. Bridle rings can be easily attached to many
structures, speeding installation of communications cabling. Some bridle rings
come with plastic saddle inserts that provide a wider surface to support voice
and data cables running through the ring. The saddle edges can provide cable
protection during installation.
Cable tie fasteners are used
primarily for binding several cables together and organizing them. Generally
made of nylon, they come in different sizes and strengths and can be designed
for use within specific environments.
2. Cable trays and surface
raceway systems are designed to support, protect, and manage cable. Cable tray
is usually open, while raceway is closed. Cable tray options include:
Ladder cable trays offer the
ability to permit the maximum free flow of air across the cables and rungs that
serve as anchors for tying the cables down in a nonhorizontal tray. Cables can
exit or enter the ladder cable tray through the top or bottom of the cable
tray, and moisture can’t accumulate in ladder cable trays. There is also hand
access through the cable tray bottom to help with the installation of
Ventilated trough cable trays
provide more support for cables while keeping the drooping of small cables out
Solid bottom cable trays
provide some shielding if there are no breaks or holes in the completed
Three types of cable tray
systems sum up the advantages of using them:
Perimeter systems route
wiring and cabling securely along walls, are accessible at all times, and are
easy to expand or reconfigure.
Overhead systems are flexible
in their location and accessibility. The trays are available in a variety of
styles—including wire mesh, center spine, solid bottom, and ladder.
Vertical distribution units
can bring power and datacomm from the ceiling directly into workstations. These
units conceal wiring and cabling, as opposed to the earlier generation service
Surface raceway systems are
used for low-voltage cables. These have a sleek design and are labor saving
and durable. They are also tamper resistant—with self-locking covers and hidden
positive latches that permit quick re-entry and provide a secure installation
of premise wiring. They are designed to incorporate a minimum 1˝ bend
radius per TIA/EIA 568-B and TIA/EIA 569-A standards.
Surface raceway systems
conform to any surface with rubber-based foam tape adhesive with high ultimate
bond strength. They are flexible, allowing the raceway to have numerous
openings without creating discoloration or stress cracking, and are available
in different lengths and widths for varying cabling requirements. The raceway
can be one piece and nonmetallic, with an adhesive backing that aesthetically
organizes and routes communications wires from the telecommunications room to
the work area.
3. Support systems can hang
or suspend cables or certain equipment and offer a way to quickly suspend
static loads, some at an angle. There are two versions available:
A wire rope system that may
be used to support cable tray or conduit according to TIA-569-B
A system that is fire rated
(to an international DIN standard for building components vs. the NFPA 251 that
is for building construction and materials)
Advantages of support systems
include speedy installation (they install without drilling or tools); a small,
aesthetically pleasing locking device that completes the assembly; and the fact
that simple height adjustments can be made by releasing the clamp's adjustment
In addition, support systems
are able to accommodate sloped ceilings; can support loads at up to a 60° angle
from vertical; and can be used to support lighting fixtures, HVAC ducts, signs
and banners, wire basket cable tray, and air handling equipment.
Michelson is president of
Business Communication Services. She writes for major technical publications as
well as www.BCSReports.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Reprinted with full
permission of TED Magazine –2007 www.tedmag.com
Specialists, Samples, And Demos
Increasingly, specialists are expected to collect,
provide, and manage demos and samples.
When an important sale is
lurking on the horizon, often, getting a sample or demo into the customer’s
hands is crucial to closing the deal—and salespeople are increasingly turning
to sales specialists for help. Here are a few tips to help ensure that what is
needed is on hand when salespeople come knocking:
• Ensure a proper product
launch. For a low-cost product launch where samples are appropriate, the
message should be clear: no samples, no launch. (The same rule applies to
literature: No product launch should commence without at least five to 10
pieces of literature for every salesperson.)
These early samples can often
be had on a no-charge basis from the factory. Product specialists often enjoy a
unique relationship with factory-based marketing people, and oftentimes these
people operate under a different budget from the field sales force. Try
exchanging information about samples—marketing people are starved for
information for real-life distributor sales efforts. Also, they want
specialists to succeed—sell more and then tell them about it; rest assured
they’ll keep the demos coming.
(Tip: Keep track of the
sample products received via this method. A running tally of products brought
into the organization using personal clout comes in handy when sitting down
with a manager. And, more importantly, having a good record of free samples
acquired puts the specialist in good stead when the time comes that one must buy
one out of stock.)
• Carefully manage the
expensive stuff. When it comes to “try before you buy” samples, customers,
especially the good ones, expect to compensate for a product that is consumed
in an evaluation, if it’s a clear-cut case of consumption. Herein lies the
problem. Many times products aren’t consumed, but they are no longer new.
Case in point: A hardworking
distributor offers to let a customer try a variable frequency drive. The drive
is put into an application on the factory floor. Things work well, but after
several weeks the customer discovers that he can fix the problem very
inexpensively with a slightly different mechanical coupling. The drive is
returned for credit—but it’s caked with dust and dirt, holes are punched into
the enclosure, and the lugs are worn and discolored from the installation.
Consequently, the incident causes bad feelings on both the customer and the
distributor sides, and the distributor ends up eating the loss.
In order to avoid this kind
of problem, an agreement needs to be reached with all levels of the customer
prior to handing over the product.
Then, the order should be
placed with a special addendum defining all of the parameters—in detail and in
Avoid embarrassment for both
parties by building an official “try-before-you-
buy” checklist, and be sure
to sign it together. Some points to include on this checklist include:
Has a definitive time period
been discussed and established?
What is the ultimate sell
Is there a PO number so that the
product can be tracked?
Who owns the product while
it’s in the customer’s plant?
Does the order become final
at the end of the time period?
What is the definition of
What happens if the product
works but another solution is found?
Who will be held responsible
for ending the test?
• Take control of demo
dealings. A visit to the demo closet of most electrical distributors reveals a
disaster zone—a hodgepodge of twisted wires and unorganized piles of parts.
Salespeople borrow parts for customer emergencies. Specialists build special
demos. Both parties plan to return the borrowed items, but tomorrow rarely
The typical scenario often
begins with a salesperson grabbing a demo unit from the storage area and giving
it to his or her customer for a week. Upon returning, another salesperson sees
the first carrying the demo into the building and says, “Hey, let me save you
some steps, I wanted to show that to my customer next week.” Three weeks later,
a specialist tries to locate the demo. After hours of frustration, he or she
decides to just pull another unit out of stock. And so the cycle goes, until
thousands of dollars in product are lost.
Here are a few ideas to
improve the demo equipment process:
• Assign a price sheet for
every demo; be sure to let everyone know the replacement cost.
• Set a procedure for demo
• Establish a basic
configuration for each demo.
• Regularly review demo
equipment for future obsolescence—get rid of it before it becomes worthless.
• Build a spreadsheet with
all of the distributor-owned demo equipment; share it with vendors.
• Take advantage of any and
all vendor demo support programs.
• Treat it like cash.
Ultimately, the root cause of most loss issues comes from a lack of tracking.
So think of samples and demos in terms of money—most agree that it’s extremely
important to keep close track of cash and look for new ways to bring in more.
So why not do the same for samples and demos?
Begin by building two spreadsheets—one
for demo units and one for samples. Use these spreadsheets to track progress in
harvesting free samples and measure the cost of demos used in the business.
After all, measuring is half of knowing.
Hurtte is a consultant to distribution and the sales
channel at River Heights Consulting. Reach him at 563-514-1104 or via www.riverheightsconsulting.com.
Reprinted with full permission of TED Magazine –2007 www.tedmag.com
12 For Life Teaches “The sky’s the limit”
Initiated by Southwire and the Carroll County School
System, 12 For Life opens closed doors.
In the fall of 2006, Dustin
Todd began his third year in high school, and Joshua Thomas started his second.
Due to family obligations and challenges, both had earned fewer credits than
required to graduate on time.
“I just wanted to get my
diploma and start my life,” said Todd.
“I didn’t have any career in
mind after high school,” said Thomas. “I just knew I had to graduate.”
The young men’s lives changed
in January when they were selected as two of the first 71 participants in the
jointly sponsored 12 For Life program, initiated by Southwire and the Carroll
County, Ga., School System. With the program’s help, Todd and Thomas finished
the 2006 to 2007 school year and caught up on their credits—all while earning
paychecks and learning workplace skills that will serve them for the rest of
The 12 For Life partnership
ensures that participants receive a balanced education, work regular hours at a
specially designed manufacturing plant, receive both school credit and a
paycheck, and learn on-the-job skills—such as teamwork, workplace ethics,
tolerance of diversity, and workstation quality and productivity. Both
Southwire and the school system brainstormed the program to address a
significant drop-out rate in the region (30%). To participate, at-risk students
must be 16 years of age and must agree to stay in school until they receive
their academic diplomas.
“Anywhere you go, any job you
get, you have to have a good work ethic,” said Thomas. “If you have a positive
attitude, are on time, and are able to work with other people, you’ll be okay.
The 12 For Life program has taught me these things.”
“Most of what is taught is
common sense,” added Todd. “Simple stuff like dressing appropriately for work
and turning out good work is reinforced—all things that fit into a bigger picture
beyond what is typically taught in high school.”
The 12 For Life program opens
many doors for its participants. In addition to the benefits, Southwire offers
students who finish the program $1,000 signing bonuses if they move on to one
of the company’s regular manufacturing facilities after graduation. With the
regular employment benefits mentioned, Southwire offers tuition reimbursements
to qualifying employees.
“We let the students know
that the sky’s the limit,” said Gib Grooms, 12 For Life supervisor. “Having a
diploma, learning teamwork skills, and understanding the expectations of
today’s workforce—these qualities will serve our students well no matter what
their future career choices may be.”
Chichester can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with full
permission of TED Magazine –2007 www.tedmag.com
Hitachi Cable Manchester Announces Promotion
2007 has been a banner year
for Hitachi Cable Manchester (HCM). HCM
continues to exceeded sales goals and increase its market share in the copper
and fiber optic data communications industry.
The continued growth of the company has allowed HCM to increase its
sales force and promote a number of employees.
Brian Johnston was recently
promoted from Process Engineering Manager to Engineering Manager. Brian will now oversee engineering for
premise, fiber and electronic cable. Brian’s manufacturing experience in the
cable industry has and will continue to permit HCM to develop the highest
performing communication cables on the market.
For over 20 years, HCM has
been manufacturing high performance copper and fiber optic cables for the
communication industry. Located in
Manchester, New Hampshire, HCM manufacturers over 3,200 different cable
products at it 300,000 square foot facility.
To learn more about other HCM products, you can also visit the corporate
website at http://www.hcm.hitachi.com.
BICSI Establishes Affiliate Agreement
BICSI announces the establishment of its first affiliate agreement with the South Pacific district, now called BICSI South Pacific Ltd. The affiliation agreement recognizes that BICSI South Pacific Ltd. has met qualifying criteria to be a self supporting not-for-profit legal entity under Australian law.
BICSI South Pacific Ltd. operates from Melbourne, Australia with staff servicing the needs of over 300 members in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Guam, and Papua New Guinea as well as 11,000 Australian registered cablers.
Under the affiliation agreement, BICSI South Pacific Ltd. can make decisions that meet the needs of the local membership. "The need to localize BICSI and put its ownership and success into the members' hands is increasingly important in the global marketplace," said John Bakowski, RCDD®/NTS/OSP/WD Specialist, BICSI President. "Members in the South Pacific district will now have direct local representation through the election of their own leadership."
Until full and open election are held, Mr. Bakowski appointed the founding board from the ranks of the current steering committee including Colin Browitt, RCDD, David John Dormer, RCDD, Wayne Bogart, RCDD, Tony Luke Khoury, RCDD, Christopher John Molloy, RCDD, Peter Alan Hamilton, RCDD, Paul Stathis, Alex Salicrup, RCDD, and Margarite D'Cruz, Executive Director-BICSI South Pacific Ltd. Also, John Bakowski, RCDD®/NTS/OSP/WD Specialist was appointed to a term on the Board by the BICSI Board of Directors.
Members will find value in having a greater voice through their local leadership on issues that affect them whether it is partnerships with other local organizations, local legislative initiatives affecting the industry, and educational and networking opportunities such as conferences and regional events. BICSI South Pacific Ltd. members continue to receive essential services from BICSI Headquarters including credentialing management, database administration and forums, educational materials, member publications, annual conferences, BICSI Gear merchandise and BICSI Connect web-based training.
BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies. BICSI serves more than 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, BICSI membership spans nearly 100 countries. www.bicsi.org
International Fiber Systems Joins NetClear ESS Affiliate Program
New London, CT and New Holland,
PA (October 26, 2007)… Berk-Tek, a
Nexans Company, and Ortronics/Legrand are pleased to announce that the
International Fiber Systems (IFS) product line from GE has been added as an
approved affiliate vendor for the NetClear ESS (Electronic Safety and Security)
The rapid rate of IP
convergence, previously disparate disciplines, including data, video and power
for security installations, are now being connected together over one
standardized structured cabling network to allow the sharing of resources. This architecture provides a higher level of
network efficiency, while increasing the network’s return on investment. In response to this industry demand,
Ortronics/Legrand and Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, have expanded their NetClear
structured cabling solutions for enterprises to include security and surveillance
applications through the new NetClear ESS program. “The industry is demanding interoperability
and packaged solution sets, confirmed by the manufacturers that it all
works. As part of the NetClear ESS
program, Berk-Tek and Ortronics are teaming up with appropriate vendors in the
video surveillance business, such as camera manufacturers and active component
manufacturers to offer proven integrated solution sets for both I.T. managers
and security integrators,” notes Chris Adams, Marketing Manager for
Ortronics/Legrand. “The NetClear ESS
objective is to offer our customers a group of like-minded technology
affiliates that can bring solution sets, system experience and teams of
industry experts to those ready to embrace IP technology for security applications.”
IFS designs, manufactures and
markets active fiber optic video networking using IP and Ethernet
protocol. “Our association with
NetClear ESS as an affiliate vendor provides products, solutions and support to
Berk-Tek and Ortronics/Legrand to demonstrate the value of digital, optically
linked security devices as proprietary analog networks move from a coax-based
infrastructure,” states Skip Haight, Director of Marketing, IFS. “Our two
companies and product solution sets will allow integrators, installers and
end-users to benefit from the performance, simplicity, and single-team support
needed for deploying fiber-fed security networks,” he adds.
Through NetClear ESS,
Ortronics/Legrand and Berk-Tek provide industry leading copper and fiber optic
structured cabling systems to assure scalability and performance for all types
of networks and technologies. “NetClear ESS solutions demonstrate a progressive
path to security over IP, from analog to hybrid to total IP through a copper
and fiber structured cabling environment,” notes Carol Everett Oliver, RCDD,
Marketing Analyst for Berk-Tek. “The IFS
products allow copper media to be converted to fiber to use as either a
backbone between closets or even between cameras, which often involves long
runs. This way, both copper and fiber can reside on the same Ethernet switch to allow IP convergence,” she adds.
As part of the
NetClear ESS initiative, educational programs, such as full-day seminars,
on-site training classes and webinars will be created for both security
integrators and cable installers.
About the NetClear Alliance
NetClear is a Technology Alliance between Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, and Ortronics/Legrand to provide
advanced, end-to-end co-engineered solutions for enhanced Category 5e, Category
6, Augmented Category 6 – 10 Gigabit and optical fiber channels - all backed by
a 25-year warranty. For more information, visit www.netclear-channel.com
About Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company
For more than 45 years, Berk-Tek has been a leading manufacturer of more than 100 different network copper and
fiber optic cable products designed to transport high-speed voice, data and
video transmissions. For more information, visit www.berktek.com.
Ortronics/Legrand is a global leader in high performance structured cabling solutions, services, and support.
Ortronics offers a complete range of Category 5e, 6 and 10 Gig copper, fiber
optic, wireless and residential/MDU connectivity solutions. In addition,
Ortronics offers Cablofil® wire mesh cable tray and Wiremold® pathways. For
more information, visit www.ortronics.com.
Significant Changes for the 2008 NEC —Part 2
By Mark C. Ode, James G. Stallcup and James W. Stallcup
There were 3,688 proposals for changes to the National Electrical Code (NEC) and approximately 2,500 comments processed by National Fire Protection Association staff at NFPA
headquarters in Quincy, Mass. The following is part two in a series of
significant changes for the 2008 NEC. Part one appeared in the July issue of ELECTRICAL
CONTRACTOR. The 2008 NEC was formally adopted in August 2007, and new copies were available as of
The following are some of the most important changes.
text shows deletions, and underlined text shows additions. Commentary denoted by red text also
follows some changes for explanation.
Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets.
(E) Outdoor Outlets. Outdoor receptacle outlets shall be installed in
accordance with (E)(1) through (E)(3).
(1) One-Family and Two-Family Dwellings. For a one-family dwelling and each unit of a two-family dwelling that is at grade
level, at least one receptacle outlet accessible while standing at grade level
and located not more than 2.0 m (6½ ft) above grade shall be installed at the
front and back of the dwelling.
(2) Multi-Family Dwellings. For each dwelling unit of a multifamily dwelling where the dwelling unit is located at
grade level and provided with individual exterior entrance/egress, at least one
receptacle outlet accessible from grade level and not more than 2.0 m (6½ ft)
above grade shall be installed. See 210.8(A)(3).
(3) Balconies, Decks, and Porches. Balconies, decks, and porches that are accessible from inside the dwelling unit shall have at least one receptacle outlet installed
within the perimeter of the balcony, deck, or porch. The receptacle shall not
be located more than 2.0 m (6½ ft) above the balcony, deck, or porch surface.
Exception to (3): Balconies, decks, or
porches with a useable area of less than 1.86 m2 (20 ft2)
are not required to have a receptacle installed.
The new item (3) the panel added requires a receptacle be
installed on any porch, deck or balcony where the porch, deck or balcony is
accessible from inside the dwelling unit. The panel intends this receptacle to
be in addition to those that are installed to meet (1) or (2).
Comment 2-225 adds text to clarify that at least one
receptacle must be accessible while standing at grade level. The word “located”
was added to make the language more technically correct.
Comment 2-227 clarifies that porches, decks and balconies
accessible from inside the dwelling units must have at least one receptacle
outlet installed within the perimeter of the porch, deck or balcony. The
receptacle also must be located at not more than 6½ feet above the porch, deck
Comment 2-230 adds an exception to not require that a
receptacle be installed for a porch, deck or balcony that has a usable area of
less than 20 square feet, expecially if these areas are used for decorative or
Show Windows. At least one receptacle outlet shall be installed directly above a show window for each 3.7 linear m (12
linear ft) or major fraction thereof of show window area measured horizontally
at its maximum width.
Show Windows. At least one receptacle outlet shall be installed within
450 mm (18 in) of the top of a show window for each
3.7 linear m (12 linear ft) or major fraction thereof of show window area
measured horizontally at its maximum width.
Requiring show window receptacles to be placed at a height
of not greater than 18 inches above the show window will provide easy access to
the receptacles and will limit the use of extension cords in these
Identification for Feeders. (C) Ungrounded Conductors. Where the premises wiring system has feeders supplied from more than one nominal voltage system, each ungrounded conductor of a feeder, where accessible, shall be
identified by system. The means of identification shall be permitted to be by separate color
coding, marking tape, tagging, or other approved means and shall
be permanently posted at each feeder panelboard or similar feeder distribution
Identification for Feeders. (C) Ungrounded Conductors. Where the premises wiring system has feeders supplied from
more than one nominal voltage system, each ungrounded conductor of a feeder,
where accessible, shall be identified by phase or line and system. The method utilized for
conductors originating within each feeder panelboard or similar feeder
distribution equipment shall be documented in a manner that is readily
available or shall be permanently posted at each feeder panelboard
or similar feeder distribution equipment.
Requiring identification of each ungrounded conductor of
the feeder by phase or by line in a single-phase system and identification by
system will help electrical installation and maintenance personnel identify
each phase of the system. The last line in this section has been revised to
require the identification posted at the panelboard or be documented in a
manner that is readily available to identify the conductors that originate at
Rating of Disconnect. The feeder or branch-circuit disconnecting means shall have a rating of
not less than the calculated load to be
supplied, determined in accordance with Parts I and II of Article 220 for
branch circuits, Parts III or IV of Article 220 for feeders, or Part V of
Article 220 for farm loads. Where the branch circuit
or feeder disconnecting means consists of more than one switch or circuit
breaker, as permitted by 225.33, combining the ratings of all the switches or
circuit breakers for determining the rating of the disconnecting means shall be
permitted. In no case shall the rating be lower than specified in
225.39(A), (B), (C), or (D).
Adding the word “calculated” agrees with changes made
throughout the Code in 2005. The second change involves an added sentence for dealing with multiple disconnects.
Since a disconnecting means is a device or group of devices, permission is
inherent to add each device to reach a total rating in compliance with this
section. The new revised text will eliminate any confusion regarding the
inherent permission for breakers to be additive in calculating the rating of a
disconnecting means. For example, where the feeder or branch-circuit
disconnecting means is required to be not less than 60 amperes, the ratings of
each of the multiple disconnects can be combined. Two 30-ampere disconnects
would satisfy the minimum 60-ampere requirement.
Cable Trays. Cable tray systems shall be permitted to support service-entrance
conductors. Cable trays used to support service-entrance conductors shall
contain only service-entrance conductors.
Exception: Conductors, other than service-entrance
conductors, shall be permitted to be installed in a cable tray with
service-entrance conductors, provided a solid fixed barrier of a material
compatible with the cable tray is installed to separate the service-entrance
conductors from other conductors installed in the cable tray. Cable trays shall be identified with permanently affixed
labels with the wording “Service-Entrance Conductors.” The labels shall be
located so as to be visible after installation and placed so that the
service-entrance conductors may be readily traced through the entire length of
the cable tray.
Text has been added to the exception where conductors other
than service-entrance conductors are installed in cable trays with
service-entrance conductors. Where these other conductors are added, they must
be separated by a fixed solid barrier, but now, in addition, labels must be
installed with the wording “Service-Entrance Conductors” readily visible after
installation and placed so the service-entrance conductors can be easily traced
through the entire length of cable tray.
Location in or on Premises. (F) Not Located Over Steps. Overcurrent devices shall not be located over steps of a stairway.
New 240.24(F) does not permit overcurrent protection
devices to be located over the riser steps of a stairway since anyone trying to
work on the devices would not be able to have a level workplace, and it may be
dangerous. However, many stairways have horizontal landings that could prove
suitable for installations where appropriate working space exists, so this new
section applies only to the riser part of the stairs.
Series Ratings. (A) Selected Under Engineering Supervision in
Existing Installations. The series rated combination devices shall be
selected by a licensed professional engineer engaged primarily in the design or
maintenance of electrical installations. The selection shall be documented and
stamped by the professional engineer. This documentation shall be available to
those authorized to design, install, inspect, maintain, and operate the system.
This series combination rating, including identification of the upstream
device, shall be field marked on the end use equipment. The
marking shall be readily visible and state the following:
CAUTION – SERIES COMBINATION SYSTEM
REPLACE WITH: TYPE
For calculated applications, the
engineer shall ensure that the downstream circuit breaker(s) that are part of
the series combination remain passive during the interruption period of the
line side fully rated, current-limiting device.
new sentence that was added provides some clarification to the overall
application of calculations for existing installations. Devices that are part of
the series combination system must be passive downstream during the reaction
time of the upstream device, and the engineer must be able to ensure that the
downstream devices are passive as part of the overall calculation. The passive
downstream device ensures increased impedance will not occur due to arcing
between the contacts of the downstream device. EC
ODE is a staff
engineering associate at Underwriters Laboratories Inc., in Research Triangle
Park, N.C. He can be reached at 919.549.1726 or at email@example.com. James G. STALLCUP is the
CEO of Grayboy Inc., which develops and authors publications for the electrical
industry and specializes in classroom training on the NEC and OSHA, as well as
other standards. Contact him at 817.581.2206. JAMES W. STALLCUP is vice president and
senior editor at Grayboy.
Reprinted with full
permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine –
A Give and Take Proposition
Like many others involved in
technical education, I have been guilty of continually telling you
that you need to get more training. The best way to keep up with technology,
products or the industry; enhance skills; or network with peers is to attend
training seminars. Training seminars often allow you time to reflect on your
work and give you insight to new opportunities. Many are free, and some even
But training is a
“give and take” proposition. Not only should you look to acquire knowledge and
skills through training, but you also should share your knowledge and skills
with others. You may not think of yourself as a teacher, but you probably
Act as a tutor all the time. You assist less-experienced less-experienced coworkers to understand how a job should be done correctly and help them practice to develop the necessary
skills. You probably need to occasionally explain technical issues to people in
your company who are more business-oriented.
One area you might
not have considered, and one that could have a positive effect on your
business, is training your customers. Sure, I know the pressure is on you to
get the job done and move on to the next job. But some time spent with the
customer doing some low-key training can have big benefits. It can make your
relationship with the customer better, enhancing chances of future business. It
can make your customer more self-sufficient, reducing the need for service
calls. And it can reduce tension when the customer simply doesn’t have a clue
what you are doing and seeks clarification from other sources.
The last point is an
important one. Whenever you do VDV cabling work, fiber or copper, your customer
may have no clue what you are doing. IT managers often consider cabling a
necessary nuisance, a small part of their budget that causes many problems.
Even business owners and managers tend to see cabling as simply a connection to
their computers that they don’t need to understand. Plug and play is all they
care about. This can cause problems for the cabling contractor when things
don’t work exactly right.
For example, I have
had end-users contact me many times asking if their installer is doing the job
correctly or asking any of the following questions: What do they do now that
the installation is complete? Why is the installer leaving big loops of cable
behind racks? Shouldn’t the cables be routed more neatly? Why are they cutting
holes in my floor? What should I expect for test results on these cables? What
kinds of patchcords do I need with this cabling?
And, perhaps the
most important question: Can I upgrade my systems using this cable? This is an
invitation to educate your customer and perhaps get another big order.
I’m not advocating that
you create and present formal training programs. Customers would rarely be
interested in that, unless it is a large company with many employees involved
in or affected by the project. More appropriately, you can have discussions
with your customer in which you explain what you are doing and provide them
with reference materials, either printed or Web-based, where they can go for
should begin as soon as the sales process gets serious. It’s a good way to make
sure the customer understands what your company does or what is involved in the
project proposals you make. It also builds confidence in your work. During the
design and installation phase, involve the customer by explaining what you are
doing and when appropriate, why. Component selection is another opportunity, as
you can explain why particular components are used and manufacturers are
selected. Testing is a big issue for most users, as they want assurance they
are getting the cabling performance for which they paid. It’s an even bigger
issue if they are getting an upgrade from an earlier system, with a goal of
installation is complete, provide the customer with some training on how to use
the cabling with their equipment, such as how to connect hardware, choose the
proper patchcords to maintain cabling performance, document where patchcords
go, keep the telecom rooms neat (and remember that they are not janitor’s
Don’t make it seem
like training. It should be informal discussion, and the customer should feel
free to ask questions. If you have a big crew on a job, a designated contact
for the customer who provides the information and answers probably will keep
the user from interrupting your other workers, making them more productive.
Create some basic educational materials oriented toward your customers, using
some of your projects as examples. They can be printed and excerpts posted on
the company Web site for promoting your business. Provide links to relevant Web
sites where they can go for background information, such as “Uncle Ted’s Guide”
(www.vdvworks.com/UncleTed) and “Lennie Lightwave” (www.lennielightwave.com).
The goal of providing
this training is to enhance customer satisfaction. And satisfied customers are
the best referrals you can get for future business. EC
HAYES is a VDV writer and
trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.
Reprinted with full
permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine – 2007 www.ecmag.com
NEMA Publishes New Standards
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has
two new standards that concern electrical contractors. ANSI_ANSLG C78.380-2007
American National Standard for Electric Lamps—High-Intensity Discharge Lamps,
Method of Designation is a proposed revision of ANSI C78.380-2005. And
LSD2A-2007 is an application note in regards to T8 lamps.
ANSI_ANSLG C78.380-2007 describes a system for
the designation of high-intensity discharge lamps, including compact,
enclosed-arc discharge light sources such as mercury, metal halide,
high-pressure sodium and similar types of lamps. For convenience, low-pressure
sodium lamps are included.
The standard incorporates two significant changes. The first is a
proposed addendum to use the National
Electric Code as a normative annex to assign physical codes for lamp and luminaire
attributes. The second involves the administration of the lamp designation
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) also has
published LSD2A-2007 Application Note: Wiring Requirements for T-8 Fluorescent
Lamps with Instant-Start Ballasts. The NEMA Lighting Systems Division reminds original equipment manufacturers and
installers that adherence to wiring and other requirements contributes to the
safe operation and optimum performance of T8 lamps when used with instant-start
ballasts. Improper wiring may cause field problems related to installation and
retrofit of T8 lamps with instant-start ballasts. LSD2A-2007 includes examples
of correct and incorrect wiring.
available for download at www.nema.org. EC
Reprinted with full
permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine – 2007 www.ecmag.com
Using Copper for More Than Signals
By Jim Hayes
Copper communications cabling now is used for
transporting power as well as increasingly faster signals. Are you familiar with the options?
1. The IEEE 802.3af standard for Power over
Ethernet (PoE) was developed to power _______.
A. Voice over Internet Protocol
B. Security cameras
C. Wireless access
D. Any device that
operates over unshielded twisted
pair (UTP) structured cabling that meets PoE
2. The advantage of PoE is that it _______.
A. Allows connection of low-power
devices with only
B. Uses more efficient
C. Reduces power-supply
noise at remote devices
D. Allows use of
3. PoE provides about _______ watts of power
to remote devices.
4. In a PoE system, power is supplied over
the UTP cable.
A. Only pairs 1 and 4,
which are unused by 10/100
B. Only pairs 2 and 3,
which also carry signals for 10/100 Ethernet
C. Either pairs 1 and 4
or pairs 2 and 3
D. All four pairs
5. PoE supplies power at _______.
A. 5V DC
B. 12V DC
C. 48V DC
D. 115V AC
6. Non-PoE-compliant devices plugged into a
PoE system may be damaged by the PoE power supply.
7. PoE systems power supplies may be _______.
A. Incorporated in network
devices like hubs and switches
B. Included in
rack-mounted patch panels
C. External modules that
patch into individual cables
D. All of the above
8. When testing cables in PoE systems, it is
A. Turn off power to
prevent damage to expensive
network certification testers
B. Turn off power to
prevent damage to PoE
C. Turn off power to
prevent damage to PoE
D. Turn off power to
prevent interference with
network certification testers
9. Noncompliant PoE devices (not IEEE
802.3af-compliant) exist that use different power distribution schemes and
higher power over standard UTP cabling, requiring careful consideration of
10. What other device uses the signal cable to
to remote devices?
B. Satellite TV
C. Apple TV
D. None of the above
Answers: D, A, B, C, C, False, D, D,
Hayes is a VDV writer and
trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.
Reprinted with full
permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine –
LEEDing By The Hand
Contractors are the driving force in the green
by Chuck Ross
When the U.S. Green
Building Council (USGBC) was founded in 1993, its name sounded vaguely left-of-center. Few in the building industry
could have predicted just how mainstream the group would become. Its Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines, which were introduced in
2000, have helped quantify developers’ “green” construction claims. And
certification to one of the standards’ varying tiers has become a near-given in
some construction markets.
contractors, growing interest in achieving LEED certification in the
commercial, industrial and institutional markets poses both opportunities and
challenges. Adding LEED expertise and LEED-accredited staff has become a market
differentiator. Even contractors whose business is primarily residential can
find reason to pay greater attention to LEED-related guidelines. The USGBC
currently has a LEED for Homes program in testing. It expects to release a
final version in the fall of 2007.
“The tide has
definitely turned on this subject,” said Stuart Binstock, executive director of
NECA’s Management Education Institute (MEI), which is developing new, LEED-related
online coursework. “[Initially] people viewed it with a little bit of
skepticism. That has changed. The market is now driving this issue.”
San Jose, Calif.-based Rosendin Electric
Inc. has a long history of LEED involvement. The company has employed a
LEED-accredited staff—employees who have been tested and certified by the USGBC
to be familiar with both green building practices and the specifics of the LEED
process—for at least three years. Currently, between 30 and 50 Rosendin employees
are studying for the required exam, according to Erica Paul, a Rosendin
estimator as well as the company’s LEED trainer and sustainability team leader.
pursuing LEED-related projects is a natural outgrowth of the firm’s long-term
interest in sustainable design. The company has been recycling job-site scrap
for more than 20 years, Paul said, and pushes recycling within the company, as
well. The company also has a renewable-energy division, concentrating on wind
turbine installation projects. As a California-based company, Rosendin also has
to address the strict energy requirements called out in the state’s Title 24
“I still feel like
we’re able to specialize in this area,” Paul said of the marketing advantage
she thinks the company’s LEED expertise provides. However, as an instructor
working through the local USGBC chapter to teach other electrical contractors
in her area, she sees that advantage beginning to slip. “I think the
competition is starting to pick up. A lot of the other electrical contractors
have been in my classes.”
One of the biggest
lessons electrical contractors may need to learn when working on LEED projects,
beyond the specifics of individual credits and documentation requirements, is
how to work more closely with other building professionals. Reaching LEED’s
aggressive performance requirements forces professionals from various
disciplines to work together in ways they haven’t previously.
As an example, Paul
noted the interplay between electrical contractors and glazing specifiers that
results from LEED’s emphasis on daylight harvesting. To ensure illumination
goals are met without exceeding energy-use guidelines, electrical contractors
need to know just how much natural light will be available, which can vary
based on the glazing product specified.
“It all goes off of
their glazing factors,” Paul said. “We still need to be clear on how many
candelas they want.”
equally important information sources under the LEED scheme. For instance,
information on volatile organic chemical content (VOC) of sealants and
adhesives can play a role in meeting LEED credits related to indoor
“We really have to
dig deep down with our suppliers and get a lot more information than we’ve
gotten before,” Paul said.
One of the biggest
issues many building professionals have regarding LEED-project participation
relates to the level of documentation needed to ensure a building meets the performance
requirements in the certification guidelines. LEED officials note that the
guidelines and procedural requirements continue to evolve based, in part, on
the experiences reported by LEED-project team members working in the field.
“I think the response
from the general contracting community has been, ‘we need to know more,’” said
Brendan Owens, director of LEED technical development with the USGBC. “At the
same time, there’s starting to become a feedback loop from the contracting
community at large, [saying] ‘We’ve got a problem with this, and here’s a
So, when painting
contractors began reporting performance problems with paint that met LEED’s VOC
limits but required multiple coats, USGBC researchers began investigating options.
“It doesn’t make
sense to need three coats,” Owens said.
Owens said the USGBC
also is trying to address participants’ concerns about LEED documentation
requirements. The organization launched LEED-Online to enable electronic
document submittals and revisions and is working on second- and
third-generation versions to help address remaining questions.
This kind of feedback
loop between USGBC and building professionals in the field will become more
important as LEED continues to evolve. The USGBC recently announced it is
raising the bar on energy-performance targets, mandating that new-construction
projects now reduce energy costs by 14 percent below those projected by the
baseline ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1–2004 standard. And Owens predicts such efforts will
only increase over time.
“That’s what USGBC
exists to do—to transform the market,” he said. “As those transformations
happen, we need to either up the threshold or focus on things that aren’t
rising as quickly.”
organizations are beginning to show greater interest in increasing their
members’ awareness of LEED-related requirements. Many federal, state and local
government agencies now are mandating their new-construction projects achieve
at least base-level certification, and some are requiring even higher
performance levels. Corporate owners also are seeing marketing advantages in
the “green” seal that LEED certification conveys.
“It’s not really a
question of if. It’s a matter of how much of this market LEED will capture,”
Binstock said. “[Contractors] who are paying attention are recognizing that
this is more than a fad. We want to be on the front end of this trend.”
That desire to keep
contractors on top of LEED’s potential opportunities is why Binstock’s group is
launching its new online education program. MEI developed the classes based on
research conducted by Electri International.
“I like to call it
‘LEED 101,’” Binstock said. “It explains the nature of the market and what
contractors need to know to become leaders on a team, instead of just
USGBC offers online courses along with training at the national and locally
based chapter level. And the group is looking at less formal education efforts,
such as laminated, job site-based information sheets communicating the
importance of specific LEED-related construction practices. Such ongoing
efforts to reach out to all members of the building team are crucial to LEED’s
and subcontractors are the people on the ground,” Owens said. “It’s absolutely
essential that this community play a role in the development of this tool. It’s
the only way LEED gets better.” EC
Reprinted with full
permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine –
in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines are broken down into six
major categories: Sustainable Sites (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), Energy &
Atmosphere (EA), Materials & Resources (MR), Indoor Environmental Quality
(EQ) and Innovation & Design Process (ID). Within each of these categories,
some of the standards are prerequisites, and others are optional. Each adopted
optional guideline followed by the building team gains the project a specified
number of points, and the project’s final certification status—Certified,
Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum—is based on its final point total.
Rosendin Electric Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based company, suggests the
following individual credits toward which electrical contractors can
SS-8: Light Pollution
Reduction—The intent is to minimize night-time light pollution by minimizing
light trespass from the building and the site.
EA Pre. Req. 1:
Fundamental Commission of the Building Energy Systems—Verify that
energy-related systems meet the standards set by the owner, the design and
EA 1: Optimize Energy
Performance—Achieve energy performance levels above the minimum baseline; point
totals climb for this credit based on just how high performance levels reach.
EA 2: On-site
Renewable Energy—Incorporate on-site renewable technologies to offset
fossil-fuel demands. Technologies can include solar, wind, geothermal,
low-impact hydropower, biomass and bio-gas.
EA 5: Measurement
& Verification—Provide for the ongoing accountability of building
energy consumption over time, covering a period of no less than one year of
MR Pre. Req. 1:
Storage & Collection of Recyclables—Provide an easily accessible area serving
the entire building dedicated to storing nonhazardous materials for recycling.
MR 5: Regional
Materials—Use building materials or products that have been extracted, harvested
or recovered, as well as manufactured, within 500 miles of the project site.
(Note: Electrical equipment can be exempted from this calculation.)
EQ-4.1: Low Emitting
Materials: Adhesives & Sealants—All adhesives and sealants used on the
building’s interior shall comply with specified standards for volatile organic
Controllability of Systems: Lighting—Provide a high level of lighting-system
control by either individual occupants or specific groups within multioccupant
& Views—Achieve a minimum glazing factor of 2 percent in a minimum of 75
percent of all regularly occupied areas. (Note: According to Erica Paul, an
estimator with Rosendin Electric, glazing performance has a direct impact on
lighting requirements. Also, photocell-based lighting control is one of the
potential technologies associated with this standard.)
ID-2: LEED Accredited
At least one principal participant of the project team shall be a
Reprinted with full
permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine –
Whole-Building Automation—Opportunity or Not?
Planning –and education required for successful ventures
Electrical contractors constantly search
for a way to set themselves apart from the competition. Some contractors excel
in the installation of complex fire alarm and security systems. Others
specialize in the systems controls. Regardless of the area in which you
choose to expand your capabilities, change always will serve as the one
constant in the electrical business.
Building automation offers another area in which the professional
contractor can use his or her expertise to develop a specialty market.
Building automation does not really present a new concept. But, it
appears to have experienced difficulties in becoming the norm rather than the
exception. The building automation systems (BAS) idea appeals to building
owners because they can visualize the potential for the BAS to save money. BAS
can provide savings, both in the initial installation and in future updates. In
fact, the updates may become necessary to take advantage of future savings.
As with any specialty market, the many players involved must work
together to make sure the owner gets what he or she asked for. Suffice it to
say that any project that intends to use building automation will more likely
be a large project.
Traditionally, the construction process requires each of the specialized
construction trades to complete their tasks essentially independently.
However, to make certain the BAS will do what it is
supposed to do requires close coordination between the electrical and
mechanical engineers, as well as between the mechanical and electrical
Of course, the wiring backbone provides the key.
So you must truly understand the operational requirements of the BAS before you
pull in the first cable. As with any complicated wiring system, the devil is in
the details. You should not take an agreement to wire a BAS lightly.
First, be sure you understand how the engineers want the system to work,
and determine whether they have developed an operation matrix to aid in that
Secondly, research the specified products you must supply to ensure they
will actually perform as the marketing and sales people say they will.
Current practice involves the installation of
separate building systems for fire alarm, HVAC control, security, lighting
control and building process automation. The long-term goal of BAS will
seamlessly integrate all of these systems into one.
The major drawback to this concept comes from the fact that the
suppliers of these systems must maintain their own systems. In this scenario, someone
must have sole responsibility to ensure interoperability of all the systems.
Some suppliers have recognized the need for interoperability of their systems
and have developed software solutions. Electrical contractors with a strong
background in communications may hold an edge when installing building
automation systems. But inevitably, specific training for more efficient
installations will become imperative.
Installing building automation systems takes a
team effort. This effort requires the electrician to have some understanding
and knowledge of how the electrical work interfaces with the other trades. And,
the electrician must possess an understanding of the function and operational
design of the intelligent building system.
In addition to the technical knowledge necessary to install building
automation systems, a contractor must always keep code compliance in mind.
Unfortunately, conflicting requirements exist within the applicable codes.
Integration of fire alarm systems within the BAS framework offers one of the
potential nightmares. The National Fire Alarm Code and the authority having
jurisdiction work in concert to regulate the design, installation, maintenance,
testing and use of fire alarm systems. Many authorities do not want the fire alarm
system integrated with any other system. They do not want the non-fire alarm
systems to interfere with the proper operation of the fire alarm system.
Thus, the fire alarm system presents certain
inherent obstacles, and the contractor must deal with these. The National Fire
Alarm Code allows the fire alarm system to interface with other building
systems, as long as the integrated system meets certain requirements. These include ensuring when other
building systems share the fire alarm system signaling line circuits, the
integrated system meets the requirements established for combination systems.
Essentially, this means the fire alarm system operation takes precedence over
all other building automation systems. NFPA 72-2007 also requires the
... all signal control and transport
equipment (such as routers, servers) located in a critical fire alarm or fire
safety function signaling path shall be listed for fire alarm service unless
the following conditions are met:
equipment meets the performance requirements of 22.214.171.124. (Voltage, temperature
and humidity variation requirements) and
equipment is provided with primary and secondary power and monitored for
integrity as required in Section 4.4.1 (power supply requirements)
(3) All programming
and configuration ensure a fire alarm system actuation time as required in
126.96.36.199. (All alarm functions must actuate within 10 seconds after the
activation of an initiating device.)
bandwidth is monitored to confirm that all communications between equipment
that is critical to the operation of the fire alarm system or fire safety
functions take place within 10 seconds; failure shall be indicated within 200
(5) Failure of any equipment that is critical to the operation of the fire
alarm system or fire safety functions is indicated at the master fire alarm
control unit within 200 seconds.
In addition, the fire alarm system must have a
listed barrier gateway integral with or attached to each fire alarm control
unit or group of control units, as appropriate, to prevent the other interfaced
systems from interfering with or controlling the fire alarm system.
As with any complicated system, the BAS contractor
must recognize the inherent risks. First, you cannot bid these types of projects
without understanding the dependence you will have on your suppliers. The
suppliers must provide you with the necessary training and technical assistance
to ensure an efficient installation. These types of systems may require
negotiation, as most do. But, the wise electrician will realize that buying the
systems based only on price will be a mistake.
The contractor may experience additional costs due to delivery delays.
So, make sure you write your purchase order with specific guaranteed delivery
Early in the design and construction process, the contractor must
address the addition of the communication structure for the building automation
system. The contractor must address this issue from both a contractual and
operations point of view. Once again, the contractor cannot approach this kind
of project like just another electrical project.
Numerous challenges face the electrical contractor who intends to enter
this sophisticated market. These challenges include the understanding of the systems
interface with the common infrastructure, and the infrastructure testing,
acceptance and commissioning. After the contractor tests and commissions the
infrastructure, he or she must test and commission the individual systems. The
contractor also must verify these systems to be sure that all systems will
perform together as specified. To accomplish these goals, the contractor must
have clear responsibilities for the implementation, in order to avoid the
proverbial finger pointing for poor system performance.
With more parties involved in the construction
process, the building owner will find it more difficult to assign
responsibilities. Therefore, early in the process, the electrical contractor should
make sure that the building owner has clearly defined the contractor’s
responsibilities. This includes ensuring a definition for the requirements of
the communications infrastructure, including the planned or required testing
As with any specialty market, your profits will
depend on how well you understand the market and how well you plan the
installation process. Avoid a BAS nightmare by having a complete understanding
of what is expected of you and plan accordingly. EC
MOORE, a licensed fire protection engineer, frequent speaker and
an expert in the life safety field, is a co-editor of the current National Fire
Alarm Code Handbook. Moore is a principal with Hughes Associates Inc. at the
Warwick, R.I., office.
Reprinted with full permission
of Electrical Contractor Magazine – 2007
Timing Is Everything!
Training (or the lack thereof) affects your bottom line
By Wayne D. Moore
During a recent NFPA fire
alarm systems seminar, a gentleman introduced himself and his two
technicians. They had traveled quite a distance. Knowing NFPA planned a future seminar
in his state, I asked why he did not wait to attend the closer seminar.
“Well, we just signed
our first fire alarm project ever, and we have to install it next week,” he
said. “We already have the equipment, so we thought we would come to this seminar
to learn what to do.”
This man at least had
good intentions by trying to educate himself. However, he had chosen to cut his
timing pretty close to the limit.
As I listened to
this contractor talk about this new job, I wondered, “Who designed the fire
alarm system?” It was substandard. I was saddened to learn that he had. After
he completed the seminar program, I do not know if he went home and changed the
design or the bid, but I hope he did.
Although NFPA 72-2007 is
titled National Fire Alarm Code, it really serves as an installation and
application standard. Assuming he learned a great deal in class, maybe he will
get it right. I have a picture in my mind of this gentleman and his technicians
standing at the project with a detector in one hand and the code in the other
saying, “Are you sure we are supposed to install it that way?”
Obviously, he would
have been better off if he had attended the seminar program before he sold
his first project. At least then he would have known how many detectors he
needed and at what spacing he should install them. He also would have known to
ask the owner for his or her fire protection goals before moving forward with
Hopefully, as a
professional electrical contractor, you will never find yourself in this
position of putting the cart before the horse. But the story points out some
In a design/build
project, you know sometimes you have to make decisions in the field to adjust
the system installation to accommodate changes in the construction of the
building. Wouldn’t the timing of those decisions be better if you already had
the training and code background to ensure you did things right?
National Fire Alarm Code changes every three years just like the National Electrical Code. This fact alone requires
constant vigilance on your part to stay abreast of these changes. Understanding
the changes will help ensure that your electricians and your company do not
make a costly mistake. And, in the case of both of these codes, a costly
mistake could result in lost lives in addition to lost revenue.
It makes sense to
acknowledge that one person in your company should be in charge of ensuring the
codes in your library are up-to-date. It also makes sense to purchase the books
or magazines that will highlight the changes from edition to edition, so you
and your staff can stay on top of the changes.
I often preach in
these pages about the importance of training. In the area of keeping up with changes
to the codes, in-house training is an inexpensive way to keep your electricians
up-to-date. After all, shouldn’t they know changes to the codes that will
affect their daily work? Of course they should. And in-house training offers
the opportunity to review code issues that come up frequently in the field.
These include items such as the proper location of detection devices and
notification appliances. Such training also provides an opportunity to dispel
misinformation about code requirements and specific code issues that you find
your technicians have not understood or followed. Just informing your
electricians of the scope and purpose of NFPA 72-2007 will improve their basic
understanding of where to look when they have a question regarding fire alarm
As it states in the
code, “NFPA 72 covers the application, installation, location, performance,
inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire alarm systems, fire warning
equipment and emergency warning equipment, and their components.” It also states
that the “code defines the features associated with these systems and also
provides information necessary to modify or upgrade an existing system.”
As mentioned here a
number of times, training (or the lack thereof) affects your bottom line.
Imagine yourself in the predicament of the gentleman I told you about at the
beginning of this column. Imagine being the one who sold a life safety system
with no knowledge of the codes and standards you should follow. And then,
imagine trying to defend yourself in court when a fire alarm system does not
perform as expected. EC
MOORE, a licensed fire
protection engineer, frequent speaker and an expert in the life safety field,
is a co-editor of the current “National Fire Alarm Code Handbook.” Moore is a
principal with Hughes Associates Inc. at the Warwick, R.I., office.
Reprinted with full
permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine –
The Art Of Hiring Smart
New hires can strengthen your company — if they’re the right
By Mike Dandridge
Here’s the good news: The need for electricians is growing. In fact, the
demand will continue to increase across the next decade. “As the population and
economy grow,” a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states, “more
electricians will be needed to install and maintain electrical devices and
wiring in homes, factories, offices, and other structures. New technologies
also are expected to continue to stimulate the demand for these workers.”
Now for the bad
news: The work force of skilled electricians is shrinking. In order to take
advantage of this growing need and not become a victim of the shrinking talent
pool, it will be essential for even the smaller contracting firms to develop a
hiring strategy. The challenge is to never be in the position of having to
scramble for warm bodies just to fill positions.
A simple plan
A business is only as good as its employees, but every contractor knows finding
and hiring great electricians isn’t simply a matter of placing an ad in the
Help Wanted section of the local newspaper. Hiring great electricians requires
a well-thought out recruiting strategy. Here are four steps to follow in
developing such a strategy.
Step 1. Know why you’re hiring—Designing a strategy involves answering the question, “Why
am I hiring?” Perhaps the answer seems obvious, but it’s important to
acknowledge what you intend to accomplish. Determine how this new hire helps
you in your bigger plan. How will it bring you closer to achieving your
business goals? Your decision to hire could be based on current or future
growth. Or it could be to capture business from a competitor. Or you could be
broadening your service offerings by moving into another market, such as fiber
optics or security systems. Of course, you could simply be replacing a worker
who is no longer on the payroll. Knowing why you are hiring helps shape your
Step 2. Write a customer-centered
electrical contracting firms don’t bother writing a job description. “What’s to
describe? We’re hiring an electrician,” they say. And while it’s true you want
someone with those technical hands-on skills, your primary concern is the
quality of work delivered and how the individual interacts with customers. Most
customer-service problems aren’t the result of a lack of technical skills. They
are the result of a lack of communication skills between the employee and the
Don Andersson, author of “Hire to Fit,” advises owners and employers to
develop a customer-based job description. Obviously, the content will vary with
the markets you serve. For example, the expectations of a residential customer
are different from those of a factory owner. As Andersson writes, “Look at who
the customers are, then customize the job to those expected behaviors. Place
measures into the description.”
Next, it’s a matter of determining if a job applicant has the behavioral
characteristics to successfully meet the expectations of that customer. Those
traits may include verbal communication skills, high energy, enthusiasm and
work ethic. You may consider using a personality assessment survey or
developing interview questions that focus on uncovering behavioral traits. Finally,
make your job description all-inclusive. There are a growing number of women
electricians, and this is a rich source of talent often overlooked in a
Prioritize your hiring needs—Apprentice, journeyman, laborer, office
worker? Don’t assume if you hire enough people the job will get done. It has to
be the right people. Now that you have written a job description, you know what
performance level to target. Naturally, it would be ideal if you could always
hire top performers, but in the real world, that’s not going to happen.
Sometimes it is a matter of choosing from the best of available candidates.
Step 4. Identify
future hiring needs, when possible—For instance, when the firm wins a
project requiring a bigger work force, obviously more workers will be
necessary. Don’t wait until the job is about to start. Begin prescreening
applicants right away. Another example of planning for future needs is when
you’re having disciplinary problems with an employee indicating a potential
upcoming vacancy. Consider designing a service-level agreement for new hires to
sign. Base it on the job description, and then employees know exactly what is
expected of them.
Where to look
Don’t overlook the development of people who
already work for you. Do you have an apprentice who shows more promise than the
average worker? Invest in training, and develop your own talent pool. Offering
training to eager employees can help retain workers and improve morale. And it
serves as a barometer for workers, because most employees won’t take advantage
of training offerings. The ones that do will be your more ambitious workers.
An obvious place to look for skilled electricians is in the work force of
your competitors. But, keep in mind that a worker who will leave a current
employer, if given the right offer, likely will leave you, as well. Besides,
you don’t want someone else’s unhappy employee. So how do you know when it’s
worth taking a risk on an electrician from a competing firm? Ask your
employees. Chances are, they know who the best electricians are in your
community. If you’ve been in business for five years or more, you probably do,
too. Make a point of getting to know these top performers. Your employees can
be helpful in putting you into contact with the electricians in other firms.
And if you’re looking outside the company, job
fairs are still around for a reason. They’re an effective way to expose your
company to scores of job seekers in a condensed amount of time. Regardless of
whether you hire someone, it’s an opportunity to start some positive
word-of-mouth marketing. Before committing to a job fair, check the credentials
of the event planner.
“Ask for references of companies that attended in previous years,” said
Eileen Levitt, president of consulting firm The HR Team. “Ask the sponsors
about how they plan to promote the fair to candidates.” This will help
determine if the job seekers will be a good fit for your company. Remember, your
booth is a marketing tool and needs to be creatively designed to attract your
Of course, to plan for the future, become involved in the community, and
you’ll plug into a network of resources that could possibly help you find potential
workers. The Chamber of Commerce and service clubs are places where you can get
to know the business leaders of the community. You’ll learn how other owners
are dealing with hiring issues. You’ll learn about career day at high school or
the job fair at the junior college. Check into the work-placement program in
high schools. Though this often is only a “job shadowing” type program, it
could spark an interest and result in a future employee.
And along those lines, it’s important that you always stay in the
recruiting state of mind. As the talent pool of skilled workers continues to
recede, it will be unlikely that a firm will ever have too many electricians.
Dr. John Sullivan, a leader among human resources
advisers, designates this as an “evergreen job, a mission-critical job where
hiring is continuous,” regardless of whether an opening exists. By always
interviewing promising job prospects you can prequalify candidates for possible
future openings, thus speeding up the hiring process when the job becomes
available. Sullivan reminds owners to always be alert for good people. By
looking outside the industry, you can start fresh with someone who doesn’t have
preconceived ideas about the job requirements of an electrician.
“I hire based on work ethic, rather than skill level,” said Dwayne
Childer, an electrical contractor. “When we’re working against a deadline, I
need to know I can depend on someone to stay late on a Friday night until the
job is finished. To someone who’s willing to learn, I can teach the skills
needed to be an electrician. But, it’s almost impossible to teach a work ethic.
They’ve either got it or they don’t.”
Finally, enlist employees as job recruiters. Post a
referral program that rewards employees who bring in new hires.
the work force
Most contracting firms today operate lean and hungry, expecting more
from a slimmed-down work force. The need for efficiency has required a
re-evaluation of the journeyman’s job description. Routine and mundane tasks
have been removed and reassigned to assistants and apprentices, freeing the
journeyman to focus on the high-skill elements of the work at hand. Cross
training is encouraged among the apprentices and trainees to create a flexible
work force and provide built-in resources for backup accommodations when
workers take sick days or are on vacation.
Employment service providers, known in the past as
temp agencies, have evolved into a resource for recruiting skilled workers.
Most of these providers offer a flexible trial period allowing an employer time
to determine if a worker is a good fit for the needs of the company.
Flexibility is the key word. For example, you could hire several people for a
specific project with a clause for permanent employment based on job
performance. Supply a profile of your company and copies of job descriptions,
and the service provider can become a recruiting and training agency. With this
information on hand, the employment services specialist always is aware of the
contractor’s needs. Outsourcing your recruiting and hiring team allows you to
focus on the more pressing issues of the business, such as bidding jobs and
The future is
“As our field
is growing and changing, we need to grow and change with it,” said Kenneth C.
Zack, VP/PS IBEW Local 41. “The knowledge we had yesterday may not be good
enough for the task at hand tomorrow. We need to keep our skill levels up if we
hope to stay competitive. I urge all our members to take full advantage of any
and all of the journeyman education classes available to you.”
So there is some more good news: Your competitors aren’t going to take
the talent shortage seriously until it’s too late. It’s just easier to
procrastinate and scramble for warm bodies as needed. It’s much harder to focus
on skills development, strategic planning and constant flexibility. But,
developing strategies for hiring and keeping the best of the best can give you
the competitive edge in the war for talent.
contractor with the most talent wins. EC
DANDRIDGE is a professional speaker and writer with more than 20
years of experience in the electrical industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.highvoltageservice.com.
Reprinted with full
permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine –
Enclosures Play A Role In Thermal Management
Dealing with heat close to its source takes several
Patrick McLaughlin is chief
editor of Cabling Installation &
The vexing problem of heat
generation in the data center and, more specifically, within racks and
enclosures is top-of-mind and top-of-agenda for professionals who manage such
high-density computing environments. “The IT [information technology] world
knows the two critical concerns in the data center are power availability and
cooling capacity,” says Herb Villa, technical manager with Rittal Corp.
(www.rittal-corp.com). The two are interrelated in that the equipment required
to cool these spaces consume significant amounts of power.
Dense servers known as blades
are the primary sources of this concentrated heat. Quite often, these blade
servers are stored in structures known as enclosures or cabinets. Over the past
several years, and with increasing frequency more recently, enclosure
manufacturers are designing their wares to deal with concentrated heat loads in
some form or fashion.
Villa notes that Rittal
offers a full breadth of products with thermal-management capabilities. “You
have to be able to support customers who will put a few servers in a cabinet in
a data room, as well as high-end users.” The products and technologies designed
to support low and medium heat-load densities are pretty well established, he
says, and include server cabinets with characteristics including perforated
doors and mounting rails. Typically, enclosures of this sort can accommodate 8
to 10 kilowatts of heat per cabinet.
The technology that has
gotten Rittal the most press the past few years, however, has been its
closed-loop close-coupled solution. It is unique in that it is a liquid-cooled
solution, using water rather than air as the cooling agent. “Everyone
understands the physics of water versus air,” Villa states. “We know that refrigerants
such as water and gas have much greater heat-transfer and -carrying capacities
than traditional air.”
He further explains the
liquid cooling package’s characterization as a closed-loop, close-coupled
system. “‘Close-coupled means the heat transfer and removal process is adjacent
to the heat-producing component. ‘Closed-loop’ means air in the enclosure is
circulated through the enclosure,” via fans.
Four or five years ago, the
prospect of introducing chilled liquid so close to a data center’s central
nervous system made many feel, well, nervous. “Customers would say, ‘I’m not
bringing water into my data center,’ he recalls. Yet they already had water in
their data center in many other aspects,” including sprinkler systems, he says.
Happily, he reports, “We have
overcome the water bigotry. People realize they need to consider these
solutions for high-density cooling.” Whereas a half-decade ago his potential
customers would ask him why they’d ever put water into their enclosures, today
they’re asking other questions. Namely, he says, “How do we get it installed,
and what is the total cost of ownership/return on investment?” He reports that
Rittal has completed one study and is working on another that can in fact
quantify TCO and ROI. Savings can be realized, he explains, by reducing the
number of enclosures needed to house servers, thereby saving floorspace.
Additionally, the water-cooled system allows users to turn off and/or not have
to purchase computer room air conditioning units (CRACUs), which can, above and
beyond saving the costs of these units, entitle some data centers to rebates
from their electric utilities.
recently introduced the Net-Access Server Cabinet, adding it to a product line
that already included the Net-Access Switch Cabinet. While the two systems’
dimensions are the same, the components within them make them appropriate for
housing either switches or servers. Panduit’s business development manager
Charles Newcomb explains, “Thermal management is very different for each
application. In general, switches breathe side-to-side while servers breathe
front-to-back. Cable management is key in these environments, and it is
important to have a cabinet that allows you to properly route cables—to route
them away from switch exhaust and intake. Switches typically do not comply with
hot-aisle/cold-aisle designs, so the Net-Access Switch Cabinet was specifically
designed to provide large pathways for cable routing and airflow. To optimize
switch performance, exhaust ducting direct hot air from the switch out of the
cabinet to the hot aisle.
“A server application is very
different,” he continues. “It is important to block airflow between the cold aisle
and hot aisle. Blanking panels ensure air cannot pass from cold aisle to hot
aisle. Cable management is important here too, but it presents a different set
of challenges. A server cabinet contains lots of cables, but of different
types—power, as well as copper and fiber communications cables. It is critical
to provide cable pathways to route cables away from server fans and remove
airflow blockages behind servers. Those blockages trap air inside, and force
the server to operate at a higher temperature. A way to eliminate that is to
allow the flexibility to mount patch panels vertically. The width of the
Net-Access Server Cabinet allows patch panels to be mounted outside the
traditional 19-inch area.”
Marc Naese, solutions
development manager with Panduit, adds, “The lifecycle of equipment in a data
center can be two to three years; the lifecycle of a cabinet is much longer.
Users expect their cabinets to be able to grow with the infrastructure, and
serve them every time they change out equipment. Consequently, most data center
managers are moving away from 24-inch cabinets and going to a wider cabinet,
where they can efficiently manage more equipment.”
The merits of isolation
between hot air and cold air are also evident in the TeraFrame series of enclosures
from Chatsworth Products Inc. (www.chatsworth.com). Ian Seaton, technology
marketing manager with Chatsworth, reflects, “Everything that’s done in the
data center, when you follow industry understanding of best practices, is
really designed to separate the supply air from the return air as much as
possible. That’s why you want to seal off access cutouts, floor tiles, blanking
tiles, and locate your cooling units in hot aisles so you prevent your return
air path from migrating into the cold-aisle space. All those design
considerations and best practices that we define as ‘best practices’ are geared
to accomplish as much separation as possible to keep supply air, as delivered
to equipment, from exceeding the clinical definition of what a hotspot would be.”
continue on those best practices, he says, but take them to an extreme. The
company’s passive cooling system represents one of three approaches to hot
air/cold air isolation. “You can build a room around a cold aisle and keep it
separate from the rest of the data center so your return air is in free space
and returns to CRACU without mixing with the cold aisle. Or you can build a
room around a hot aisle, and duct the air out of the room directly back to the
CRACU, thereby keeping separation. Or you can use a solution like ours, taking
advantage of your suspended ceiling plenum space and accomplish the same
The CPI system employs
several accessories to accomplish hot-air/cold-air isolation, including
raised-floor grommets, snap-in filler panels, mounting rails to seal the front
of the cabinet from the back, and a vertical exhaust-duct system.
These three manufacturers
offer a sampling of the many enclosure products that are available with some
form of thermal management built into them. Importantly, each vendor commented
that their individual systems are not standalone solutions to the
heating/cooling issues affecting data centers. Next month, we will have further
commentary from these and other industry experts on the topic of taking a
holistic approach to thermal management.
Reprinted with full
permission of CI & M Magazine 2007 www.cablinginstall.com
LEED By Example
At the most recent BICSI
Conference, held the second week of September in Las Vegas, I enjoyed the
presentation delivered by Bill Weekes, a Registered Communications Distribution
Designer with Fancom Network Integrators (www.fancomni.com). He provided
firsthand, practical information on a topic that might not be extremely
familiar to many in the cabling industry: the United States Green Building
Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. In
brief, LEED is a rating system for buildings that measures their friendliness
to the environment in five categories: sustainable site development, water
savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental
Weekes was not familiar with
LEED when he first got involved in it, as he freely admitted during his
presentation. In fact, if I remember his story correctly, he was committed to
carrying out a certain project before learning it would be LEED certified, so
had to take a crash course in the topic to go along with on-the-job training.
That’s where much of the value in his BICSI presentation comes from. Here was
an RCDD speaking to other RCDDs about what it’s really going to mean to them
when they get involved in a project that is gunning for LEED certification.
It doesn’t really matter
where a project’s tradespeople stand on the sociopolitical spectrum when it
comes to environmental causes; if the project is aiming for LEED certification,
and these trades want to be paid, they’ll comply with the building owner’s demands
for enviro-friendly materials, processes, and systems. So while some who saw
Weekes present last month might scoff at LEED’s underlying intentions, it would
be in their best interest to pay attention and acquire the ability to bid on
and carry out LEED-based contracts.
Even so, I couldn’t shake the
irony of my own actions immediately following that presentation. I got out of
my chair, grabbed my empty water bottle, and looked for something I knew I
wouldn’t find—a recycle bin. So I threw the bottle in the trash barrel, on top
of paper products and aluminum cans that also occupied it. A few years ago, at
a different conference in Las Vegas, I wanted to deposit my empty aluminum can
into a recycle bin, so I asked a member of the convention center’s maintenance
staff where I could find one. Based on the look she gave me, I initially
believed she did not understand English. In fact, she spoke the language
fluently as far as I could tell; it was the notion of a recycle bin that put
such a perplexed look on her face. That’s when I realized the city’s punchline
of a motto was true on several levels, and in this case could be changed to,
“What happens here, gets landfilled here.”
I have to believe the
audience that attended Bill Weekes’s presentation included environmentalists,
those who refer to environmentalists as “tree huggers,” and many whose beliefs
are somewhere in between. Expecting a place known as Sin City to provide them
with a positive example of environmental stewardship is unrealistic. But, as Weekes’s
presentation pointed out, when those controlling the purse strings are thinking
primarily about environmentalism, the dynamic changes significantly. I’ll be
interested to hear more examples of how our industry handles LEED projects.
Reprinted with full
permission of CI & M Magazine 2007 www.cablinginstall.com
Using An OTDR: How To Keep It Simple
Not just for use in public networks, the optical
time-domain reflectometer no longer has to be an intimidating tool.
Christian Schillab is segment
product manager with Fluke Networks, Europe (www.flukenetworks.com).
Communications networks never
go slower, never get simpler, and never stay the same. Likewise, certification
testing for fiber-optic cabling has also changed. New test equipment and
enhanced testing regiments help ensure that cabling can support the new demands
placed on networks. Born from legacy test equipment for telecommunications
networks, some of these fiber testers were difficult to use. But a new
generation of fiber test equipment is designed to make it easy to certify fiber
to the latest standards.
Not long ago the
state-of-the-art for fiber-optic cabling was the 100Base-FX standard from the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE; www.ieee.org), which
supported a bit rate of 100 Mbits/sec over a channel with an attenuation of 11
decibels (dB). Today, in order for IEEE 10GBase-S to support a transmission
rate 100 times higher than 100Base-FX, the transmission channel must attenuate
the light by no more than 2.6 dB. It is this tightening of requirements for the
physical media that represents a challenge for all components used to build and
test a transmission path.
connector may contribute up to 0.75 dB (0.5 dB typical) to the total loss. This
would mean that if the user patches two fiber segments together, there would be
a total of four connectors, which could—even though each individual segment is
compliant—result in worst-case loss of 3 dB (4x0.75). This exceeds the loss
budget left for the entire link, and with a negative allowance left for the
More than a loss measurement
This is where new test
methods are required. Installers who work with optical fiber are no doubt
familiar with the optical loss test set (OLTS). Performing a loss-length test
with an OLTS is an essential part of fiber installation. Every link needs to be
tested to ensure it is within the loss limits.
But an OLTS will only show if
a link has passed or failed. If it fails, the OLTS will not show you why it
failed, or where. For these answers, an optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR)
comes into play. Using an OTDR need not be complicated or confusing.
Understanding a few basic concepts will make OTDR use as straightforward as
using a copper certification tool.
Testing fiber links as
defined by national and international standards such as the TIA/EIA-568-A and
ISO-11801 specifications, includes the use of an OLTS. Recently updated
standards that focus on test methods for installed fiber links, such as
ISO-14763-3 and TIA TSB-140 now recommend the complementary use of an OTDR. These
new standards add the use of an OTDR to verify not just that the link has
passed, but to ensure the quality of each installed component on the link. Two
levels of testing are defined in these updated standards: Basic (or Tier 1)
testing uses an OLTS. Extended (or Tier 2) testing involves the use of an OTDR
in addition to the OLTS.
The following example helps
demonstrate how an extended test regime can help to ensure consistent quality
during installation. Assume that the first connector in a two-connector,
100-meter fiber link performs extremely well while the second connector is
poorly installed or contaminated.
In such a circumstance, the
measurement with an OLTS may show that the link passed by a slim margin of 0.02
dB, but does not identify the second connector as a bottleneck. Identifying
bottlenecks is the strength of an OTDR, which sends a pulse of light into fiber
and measures the light reflected back at each component as the light lost at
that component. The same is true for backscattered light along the length of
the fiber itself.
Little setup required
An OTDR can produce accurate,
highly detailed measurements, if the correct setup and necessary accessories
are employed. Recent versions of standards like ISO-14763-3 make an attempt to
specify all necessary elements for a correct measurement with an OTDR, thus
eliminating common sources of measurement error. Those specifications include
Specifications for launch and
Correct use of launch and
Instructions detailing how to
position the cursor for the correct reading of link, component, and segment
List of conditions under
which it is vital to measure each fiber in both directions
Insert Figure 1
Users may view these setup
requirements as overly complex, which may explain why many view the OTDR as a
tool for experts only. This is also why installers and contractors may choose
not to bid on projects that require an OTDR, or subcontract this work to a
company specializing in fiber. Such thinking is in strong contrast to the
certification of twisted-pair copper cabling systems, where after setting the
correct standard, a single press of the autotest button does everything.
Fortunately, the actual use
of the OTDR is not as challenging as it appears. Making sure that test leads,
launch fibers, and receive fibers are in a crisp condition, clean, and
correctly connected will always be the responsibility of the user. But the
remainder of the setup steps can be taken care of by the instrument. Newer OTDRs
will create an image of the proper setup configuration. The user merely needs
to make connections and have the instrument “learn” the launch and receive
After this quick step, the tester
will be ready to certify links and all included components for their
compliance. Often a project-specific standard, which is derived from the
manufacturer’s data sheet or reference implementation, will be used to set
Pass, fail, or squeak by
When the tester is properly
configured, the tests are as simple as a common copper certification test. The
most common situation should be that the link passes, and a “pass” indication
on the summary screen is sufficient. The user knows that the tester evaluated
all elements of the link. Results are stored for later reporting. The
instrument also automatically subtracts the contribution of the launch and
receive fibers from the total link, showing only the total overall loss.
While this example is
sufficient information for a passing link, the user will need to dig deeper and
get more-detailed information if the link, or parts of it, failed the specified
The user could see, for
example, that the loss may be 1.07 dB and within the limits, but there is a
single bottleneck that contributes 0.92 dB to the overall loss.
A fully automatic OTDR
automates the test to the same level as a copper field tester, using internal
expert diagnostics to interpret all the information from the OTDR test, and presents
the results in a simple, easy-to-understand table.
Everyone’s an expert
Many installers react
negatively when they hear the term “OTDR.” But rather than thinking of words
such as “complicated” and “expensive,” they could think phrases including “just
like my copper tester,” and “a chance to grow my business.” Installing and
testing fiber may be new to some contractors, but the right equipment can make
the job easier.
An expert reader of this
article will recognize the trace shown in the final illustration. The launch
and receive events are clearly visible to the left and to the right of the
link. Also visible is the 0.92-dB receive event at 49.5 meters. But the key to
today’s OTDRs is that you don’t have to be an expert. If you are an installer of
copper cabling systems, an OTDR will offer you three qualities.
- Expert diagnostics that make the OTDR work much
like your familiar copper certification tool
- A means of bidding on more jobs, growing your
business and increasing profits
- The ability to move your knowledge of copper
systems into a new area and become a fiber expert
Reprinted with full
permission of CI & M Magazine 2007 www.cablinginstall.com
A Close Examination Of Unshielded Twisted-pair Cabling Performance
Answers to many of the “why” questions associated with
the installation and maintenance of UTP systems.
James Andress is an engineering
consultant for telecommunications at New Mexico State University’s Physical
Most or all of us are
familiar with the installation specifications that have been written for
unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cabling systems. These specifications include
such installation-and-maintenance topics as pair untwist, bend radius, and
pulling tension. And while we are familiar with these standard requirements,
many—including and especially those new to the trade—may wonder why such handling
restrictions exist. What happens if the specifications are not followed
exactly? And why are the specifications more critical, and more restrictive,
when transmitting higher data rates?
This article is intended for
professionals who are involved with the installation, troubleshooting, and/or
operation of UTP cabling including Category 5e, Category 6, and Category 6A.
In order to get started,
first consider that the twisted pair was designed several decades ago to
transmit a voice signal at 4,000 Hz. Over the past 15 to 20 years, in order to
accommodate computer and data networking traffic, this basic design has been
upgraded to allow the transmission rates to go from 4,000 bits/sec to millions
and potentially billions of bits/second. And, of course, installation methods
had to be upgraded accordingly.
Throughout this article, I
will use the terms “frequency,” “hertz,” “megahertz,” “megabits,” “gigabits,”
and others. Let’s ensure we know what they all mean.
The lexicon of data transmission
Hertz, or cycles per second,
is an analog term. A hertz is one electrical energy cycle, above and below the
center line, occurring in one second of time. In digital terminology, we use
the term “bit,” which is one electrical energy pulse, above or below the center
line or a combination of both, occurring in one second of time. Multiple hertz,
or bits, can occur—four, forty, thousands, even millions—in a single second.
Any information that is
transmitted involves the use of frequencies or bits, even including 60-hertz alternating
current (AC) power. Information includes voice, music, radio, data, video,
television, or even light, as in fiber optics. The more information we have to
transmit, the more hertz, or bits, it takes to do so, and the more complex the
technology required to transmit it.
In the computer and data
business, all of the information seen on the computer screen is converted to
electrical, or ones and zeros, a bit represented by a one and the absence of a
bit represented by a zero. But there are other types of information sources,
such as data transducers, industrial devices, cameras, and others that are
frequency-based. In most of these cases, the frequencies are converted to bits
before they are transmitted.
There are generally
significant differences between hertz and bits in regard to how they are
processed and convey information. However, considering our discussion here on
cabling-installation specifications and practices, we can deal with the two
Another term we will use when
talking about cable performance is signal-to-noise ratio, or SNR. This is
simply a number expressing the difference between the power level of the
information signal in a circuit, and the power level of the noise, hum, static,
crosstalk, or other undesired interfering signals that are also in the circuit.
It is expressed as a ratio. The larger the number, the better the circuit
quality. Directly related to the SNR is a term called bit error rate (BER). As
the bit power level gets down close to the noise level, the receiver may have
difficulty deciding if there is a one or a zero at a given period of time. If
the receiver makes a mistake and reads a one instead of a zero, or vice versa,
we have a bit error.
Twisted path of twisted pair
Let’s talk now about the
twisted pair, which is really a rather high-tech precision piece of hardware.
The whole business centers around two areas of concern and how they relate to
each other: 1) the physical construction of the cable, and 2) the electrical
characteristics of signal transmission.
The cable’s physical
construction incorporates four significant characteristics.
- The diameter of the conductor and conductor
- The type of insulating material along with its
density and thickness
- The spacing between the insulated conductors of
the pair as well as the spacing between the four pairs in the cable
- The twist rate, or number of twists per inch, of
the two conductors of a pair—but also the relative twist rate of each of
the four pairs in the cable, each pair in a given cable having a different
characteristics of signal transmission includes the following items, each of
which is considerably complex and requires detailed explanation.
is simply the resistance of the conductor to the passage of electric current.
Resistance is constant along the conductor and controlled primarily by the size
of the wire (the larger the wire, the less resistance it has) and the type of
material (copper being the almost universal choice). It is measured in ohms.
Another contributing factor to overall resistance is the type, thickness, and
density of the insulation. Collectively, these resistance factors result in
less signal received at the receiver, a poorer SNR, and a higher bit error
Leakage or conductance (G) is the conductance of the insulation on each
conductor to the passage of current leaking out to the adjacent conductor of
the pair, or to the other pairs, or to ground. It is almost negligible in its
electrical effect on the circuit, but it is there and needs to be mentioned.
Being very high in value, it is measured in megohms, or millions of ohms. It
combines with resistance to weaken the signal along the pair. It too is
constant along the conductor and is controlled by the type of insulating
material, its thickness, and its density.
and its current-flow-inhibiting effect, inductive resistance (XL)
also must be discussed. Inductance is the magnetic effect of alternating
current signal flow in a conductor. It opposes the applied signal voltage,
which in turn reduces the signal current flow, which then results in less
signal into the receiver, and then to a poor SNR and poorer BER. It too is
constant along the conductor, but in this case, the higher the signal frequency
or bit rate, the higher the current-inhibiting effect. Although inductance is
inherent in any conductor, it is significantly increased when the conductor is
curved or formed into a coil. The sharper the curve, or more rotations in a
coil, or the smaller the diameter of the coil, the greater the inductance.
These factors relate to the problems with tight bends or kinks in the cabling.
Next we will examine captacitance (C) and its signal
coupling effect, capacitive reactance (XC). Capacitance is the
coupling effect of alternating current signal flow between electrical
conductors and components. It allows signal coupling between the wires of a
pair and between pairs. The common effect is crosstalk. Capacitance is inherent
in a conductor or component. It is also increased by closer spacing or by a
larger-size conductor or component. These factors relate to the problem with
crushing, twisting, and bends that bring the conductors closer together.
Finally, impedance (Z) is a frequently discussed characteristic. Expressed
in ohms, it is a mathematical result of combining the values of resistance,
inductive reactance, and capacitive reactance. It is also a design value of all
major circuit components, such as transmitter, cable pair, and receiver. In
designing and installing a circuit, we try to keep all components and
connections as close as possible to the design impedance, which in the case of
network circuits is 100 ohms. In contrast, older data and telephone circuits
were 600 and 900 ohms, respectively. From a practical viewpoint, when
installation errors occur, such as tight bends and tie wraps, damaged cable or
components, and poor joints, the component and overall design impedance is
changed. And when all circuit components are not working at 100 ohms, we have
one or more impedance mismatches.
These cause, at the location
of the mismatch, signal reflections back toward the transmitter, and thereby a
reduction in signal power going to the receiver. The worse the cumulative
mismatches, the less the signal that is actually sent to the receiver—resulting
in poorer SNR or BER. The signal reflections are called return loss, and are
expressed in dB. The higher the dB number, the fewer installation problems and
the better the circuit.
All of these characteristics
working together, or in another sense, working against one another, determine
the electrical performance of the unshielded twisted-pair cable. They
collectively affect the smooth flow of current, which makes up the data signal,
through the cable.
Rubber meeting road
So what does all this have to
do with specifications for the installation of UTP cabling systems, and the
importance of following those specifications? The high-tech cables are designed
and constructed very precisely. The dimensions and composition of the
conductors and insulation are carefully controlled. We are speaking of
dimension tolerances of thousands-of-an-inch and material compositions in
parts-per-million. This also related to the relative placement of each
conductor and its placement in the cable.
So any physical factor that
distorts or affects these tolerances, even ever-so-slightly, changes the
inductive and capacitive design parameters, which in turn affect the electrical
reactive values, and this then affects the flow of signal current through the
cable. In these cases, we have impedance mismatches and reflections that cause
crosstalk, signal loss, noise, and then bit errors.
So here is the key point of
this entire discussion/article: installation quality and correctness. They are
vital, and they are entirely up to you.
Shortly we will get into more
detail about the technical parameters and high-bit-rate transmission problems.
But first, let’s look at some of the installation specifications and see how
even small mechanical distortions can affect transmission performance. As we
move forward, please be aware that the drawings are exaggerated to show effect.
Excess pulling tension—One action that can adversely affect signal
transmission is exerting too much pulling tension or, stated differently,
stretching the cable. The Telecommunications Industry Association specification
sets the maximum pulling tension at 25 pounds. When installers exceed that
limit, it results in elongation of conductors and insulation, which in turn
reduces the diameter and density of those components, the insulation moreso
than the conductor. Exerting too much pulling tension also lengthens the twist
rate of not only each individual pair, but also the relative rate between each
of the four pairs. In both cases it would likely occur in isolated sections,
not the total cable length, depending on the nature of the pull.
Bend-radius violations—Violating minimum bend-radius limits by bending the
cable too tightly or even kinking it also has deleterious effects on signal
transmission. Current specifications call for a minimum bend radius of four
times the cable diameter in horizontal applications. Often, you will see two
values: static and dynamic. The static value is the minimum bending radius of
the cable after it is positioned or placed in its permanent location, with no
further movement. The dynamic value is the minimum bend radius to be observed
when the cable is being pulled and placed into position. This is the larger of
the two numbers because of the added stress being placed on the cable as it is
Ignoring the bend-radius
specification results in stretching or elongating the pair twist on the outer
edge of the cable, and compression or buckling of the smooth lay and pair twist
on the inner edge. The normal concern is for cable in trays and raceways in
long horizontal runs. The worst problem exists when excess slack is pushed back
into a pullbox or outlet box, where very tight bends or even kinking could
occur. Kinking, which can occur even when pulling the cable out of its supply
box, is, of course, a severe case; once done, a kink really cannot be
completely undone. In any case, a kink produces a severe inductive-reactance
spike. It also likely will cause the conductors to be pushed closer together.
Cinching too tightly—Next, fastening cables too tightly with tie wraps,
clamps, or staples is a specification violation. Generally, specifications are
rather subjective about this matter, but the overall creed is not to cinch the
cables so tightly that the cable cannot be gently pulled under the fastener, or
so that the tie wrap cannot be slid along the bundle. Failing to adhere to this
guideline can result in crushing the cable, thereby increasing the density and
reducing the diameter of the insulation surrounding the conductor, as well as
the cable sheath. Additionally, it reduces the spacing between the conductors
of a pair and the spacing among the four pairs of the cable. Finally, in extreme
cases as with a staple, the conductors can be bent or kinked.
Insulation, jacket removal—Specifications also address the untwisting of the
twisted pairs prior to termination. Specifically, installers are told to
untwist as little as possible, but in no case exceed ½-inch or extend beyond
the rear of the connector. And although it is unavoidable at the point of
connectorization or punchdown, this action, even for a very short distance,
untwists the conductors of the pair and sometimes increases the spacing between
them. This concern is also true for the four pairs in the cable.
Depending on the type of
connector block, specifications vary concerning how much insulation may be
removed from the conductor, as well as how much sheath may be removed from the
cable. Generally specifications say to remove only as much as is absolutely
necessary. The ideal case is with punchdown blocks, where no insulation is cut
back at all. Disregarding the specifications about insulation removal will
cause a small change in the cable’s impedance at that point, because the
insulation on a conductor is one factor that determines impedance.
Additionally, the sheath is the key factor in holding the four pairs in place
and in relative position to one another. So removing the sheath also removes
this stabilizing factor.
Effects on delay skew—Even delay skew, an electrical characteristic most
closely associated with the material used to insulate conductors, is subject to
variation depending on installation technique. The workmanship involves
terminating the pairs of the cable in such a way that each pair is cut to
length in the connector or terminal block. Mechanically, this avoids having
extra-length pairs bunched up in the connecting area. In so doing, however,
each of the four pairs ends up having a slightly different length.
Specifications call for a
45-nanosecond maximum delay skew, among the four cable pairs, along a 100-meter
span. That is the difference in time, among the four pairs, one to another, for
the signals to propagate through the cable from the transmitter to the
receiver. The cable’s actual performance is, by and large, determined by
manufacturing processes. But again, erroneous installation methods can have a
Very high data-rate signals
that are divided into four parts must be recombined in the proper order, or
sequence, at the receiver so that the original signal can be properly detected
and decoded. If there is too much difference in the relative data length of
each of the four pairs, some bits will be delayed too much and get recombined
out of their roper order, with resultant bit errors.
The specification allows for
differences in propagation delays due to the different twist rates on each of
the four pairs. Having stated the case above, however, extra care must be taken
when cutting the four pairs to the same length, that the retained slack does
not become kinked nor violate the minimum bending radius specification. In
reality, there are usually some tradeoffs made in this situation.
the neatness of an installed cable plant may at the same time be aesthetically
appealing and electrically detrimental to performance. Combing the cable
installation—installing or laying the cables in a tray neatly side by side—is a
practice not addressed in specifications yet, but may soon be. It is, without
question, a technical-performance concern.
In long runs of several
cables, it is customary to install the runs in an orderly, straight, and
side-by-side manner. This technique provides a very neat and professional
appearance. However, particularly at very high data rates, this technique also
allows the inductive reactance coupling of electric fields surrounding the
conductors to more easily combine and build up, and the capacitive reactance
coupling between the conductors to further minimize. The main concern is not
totally between the four pairs in a given cable, but the cable-to-cable
coupling directly affecting alien crosstalk.
By using a random lay, the cables
are constantly changing their relative spacing and crossover position. This
reduces the chances for a long exposure to inductive and capacitive coupling.
In fact, coupling fields can actually experience some cancellation as they
wander in a random fashion along the cable tray or rack.
Even if you have followed the
installation specifications perfectly, it is more difficult to get good BERs at
high data rates than at lower rates. Please note, however, that the formulas
used herein only illustrate relationships, and should not be used for actual
The critical factors are
inductive and capacitive reactance. In regard to inductance, again, it is
constant along the conductor. However, the higher the signal data rate, or
frequency, the greater the reactance, or current-inhibiting effect, or
inductive reactance XL. As the data rate, frequency, or inductance
increases, XL also increases. This can be expressed mathematically
with the following formula: XL=2ΠfL. 2Π is a constant with
a value of 6.28; f is the data rate or frequency; and L is the inductance of
the pair or other component at a given point in the circuit.
XL exists even in all good
circuits, but its effect is made worse by problems with too-tight bends, kinks,
and to some extent with staples and tie wraps.
In regard to capacitance, it
too is constant along the conductors. But in this case, the capacitive
resistance, XC, in contrast to XL, decreases as the
signal data rate increases. So with a smaller XC, or opposing effect
to signal coupling, crosstalk can increase as the data rate, or frequency,
increases. This also can be expressed mathematically: XC =
1/2ΠfC. 2Π is the constant 6.28; f is the data rate or frequency; and
C is the capacitance between the pairs or other components at a given point in
Like XL, XC
is a factor in well-established circuits, but its effect can easily be made
worse by problems with crushing, twisting, bends that bring the conductors
closer together, and long installation runs of combed cable.
The resistance effect also
increases with higher data rates, although it is not quite as contributory as
is inductive reactance. The increasing effect is due to the way the
higher-frequency energy propagates along a conductor—a condition called skin
effect. Also of importance is the chemical composition of the insulating
materials, which affects the impedance characteristic of an insulated
conductor, and the higher frequencies are attenuated moreso than the lower
ones. This effect is related to the insulation dielectric constant. Please note
that when discussing signal transmission, most specifications and other
literature refer to resistance factor as attenuation.
Installation quality and
correctness lead directly to maximum signal-to-noise ratios and minimum bit
errors. In that sense, system performance is up to you—the installers and
operators of cabling systems.
Compiled by Steve Smith
Reprinted with full
permission of CI & M Magazine 2007 www.cablinginstall.com
Hybrid Connector Solution Developed For Harsh Environments
Systems (AOS; appliedopticalsystems.com) has developed a long-distance hybrid
cabling system designed to carry both electrical and multi-channel fiber optics
for LAN and wireless LAN (WLAN) applications in harsh environments.
The F-Link family
of products is equipped with up to 34 fiber-optic channels and a fiber-optic backshell,
plus plug-and-play connectors and terminals. While comparable opto-electrical
systems have connectors that can withstand 20 to 30 pounds of strain, the
F-Link connectors are designed with a strain resistance of 250 to 400 pounds
(depending on quality of fiber or composite cable), making it suitable where
high winds or rough handling may occur.
In addition to
many industrial applications, F-Link is also being used in portable classrooms
for school districts, where frequent handling and vandalism are issues. The
Albuquerque, NM Public School District, for example, owns more than 1,300
portable buildings, and each year, 150 or more of them are relocated.
Substantial costs result from hiring a contractor to disconnect and re-connect
the data communication lines that integrate the classroom with the school.
tens of thousands of dollars every time we have to cable a group of
portables," explains Doug Ahlgrim,
RCDD/NTS, of Albuquerque-based Sound & Signal Systems. "That was much
too wasteful, so we developed a 'quick disconnect' plug-and-play design that
would facilitate hooking up or unhooking a hybrid plug-and-play design that
would facilitate connection or disconnecting all low-voltage systems.”
To ensure lasting
performance and durability, Ahlgrim's team had to address New Mexico's seasonal
temperature extremes, rough treatment of the connections, and vandalism.
Researching a supplier of plug-and-play opto-electrical technology led Ahlgrim
to AOS, whose products include 'tactical' fiber-optic connectors conforming to
tailored their F-Link platform to keep the cost down while also providing a
system that is robust and rugged enough for the environments we're putting it
in," Ahlgrim says. "Continuous vandalism of the previous 'quick
disconnect' product led the school district to resolve the issue with the first
installation of the F-Link interconnect system. When used with Optical Cable
Corp.'s (www.occ.com) MX-Series Messenger Cable, the pull strength on the F-Link
solution exceeds 250 pounds, and functions well in an outdoor environment.
Signal Systems replaced the previous broken connections with F-Link products on
approximately 40 portable buildings and, according to Ahlgrim, there has not
been a single breakage problem since. He adds that the system has reduced
overall costs from tens of thousands of dollars to just hundreds of dollars per
"We now have
about 400 to 500 F-Link systems deployed within the district, and it's growing
every day," says Ahlgrim. "Though the district is not really seeing
the huge savings yet, they'll start seeing it as they move from area to area
and experience the savings based on the ease and simplicity of un-plug and
re-plug, saving on labor, repair, and replacement costs. Plus, connector
inventory is greatly simplified, and maintenance personnel can be trained on a
single, easy system.”
As a result of
the success of the F-Link connector in the portable classrooms, the Albuquerque
school district has decided to use it for its intercom, fire alarm, security,
and phone systems throughout all of its facilities.
(Freelance technical writer Ed Sullivan of
Hermosa Beach, CA contributed to this
Reprinted with full
permission of CI & M Magazine 2007 www.cablinginstall.com
Structured Cabling System Aimed At Home, Small Office Markets
managing high-bandwidth content within a small office or home network, Telect's
(www.telect.com) Media Gateway system addresses the need to distribute, manage,
and deliver ever-increasing data rates throughout a small network.
Featuring a flexible
design and a color-coding system to simplify connectivity, Media Gateway
includes central distribution panels, wall outlets, cabling, and accessories to
enable triple-play (voice, video, data) distribution throughout an office or
home installation. The color-coded connectivity system helps users match
numerical and color-corresponding wall outlets with ports in the panel, while
clearly labeled connectivity modules, splitters, and other devices in the panel
are designed for simplified structured cabling management.
well-designed home network is absolutely crucial in successfully delivering
high-bandwidth content," says Mark Hawley, Telect's broadband solutions
program manager. "The Media Gateway will appeal to everyone, from service
providers to developers, home builders, installers, and end users.”
patent-pending system features Category 5e and RF video connectivity and
distribution components, along with wall outlets for each office or home
location. It supports distribution of video-on-demand, high-speed data, IP
video, and VoIP applications. Enhanced cable management in the panel includes
cable tie-downs to keep installations clean, and ample space for jumpers and
systems support applications ranging from new housing/greenfield developments
to retrofits in existing homes and office spaces.
Reprinted with full
permission of CI & M Magazine 2007 www.cablinginstall.com
Check out what’s new for Cabling Business Magazine’s December 2007 Special Green Issue!
Packed full of hot new
products, timely industry columns and of course, the latest technology news
you’ve come to expect every month!
End of Year Wrap-Up – Go Green!
By Lee Badman
Planning, Designing and installing the Green Data Center
By Christine Pietryla
Projects in the Telecom World
By Eric A. Woodroof, Ph.D, CEM
Tips and Techniques for Maximizing Space and Keeping
By Leeza Hoyt
Newest Printers, Labels and Software for the Coming
By Marilyn McGair
A Static Infrastructure for Moves, Adds
By Ed Cronin, RCDD
Industry Expert Columns:
- The Leadership Link-Changing to a Green Company
Reel Time-Special Column
Testing the Experts
Published TIA Standards
Programmable Power Supply, environmentally-friendly cable lubricant, Green Training Programs for installers, WiMax
solutions, Server Console Switches, Network Analyzers, Newest Bandwidth
Capabilities, Antimicrobial coatings for KVM,
Safety Lanterns, Plug and Play Fiber Optic MPO Cassettes, Green
Powering Solutions and
much, much more!
As always readers can log on
to the magazine Web site at www.cablingbusiness.com and download the latest
issue online! Don’t miss out!
NECA, IBEW Named Winners In 2007 Webawards Competition
The National Electrical
Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers (IBEW) today announced that their media ventures received top honors in
this year’s Web Marketing Association WebAwards competition.
ElectricTV.net, a joint Web
site of NECA and IBEW featuring streaming video stories covering a range of
issues affecting the electrical and information systems industries, and
IBEWHourPower.com, a video-rich site aimed at keeping union members abreast of
current events and best practices, were each recognized for Outstanding
Achievement in Web Site Development. Both sites were created by Golden, Colorado-based Oswego Creative.
Now in its eleventh year,
the WebAwards competition (www.webawards.com) has become the premier award
event for Web developers and marketers worldwide. More than 2,400 sites from 40 countries were
judged in 96 industry categories during the competition. Entries were evaluated
on design, copywriting, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation and use
Says IBEW President Edwin
D. Hill, “People today receive their news from a variety of sources, whether
print, broadcast or online. These Web sites provide additional ways that we reach consumers, contractors and workers
with critical information. Being recognized by a prestigious institution like the Web Marketing Association is a great
acknowledgement of how effective we are in using the latest technology to help
everyone stay knowledgeable about our industries.”
ABOUT IBEW AND NECA
Through their joint marketing organization – the National
Labor-Management Cooperation Committee (NLMCC) of the organized electrical
construction industry – NECA and IBEW together work to:
• Reach customers with accurate information
about the industry; and
• Achieve better internal communication
between labor and management.
With 725,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields –
including construction, utilities, telecommunications and manufacturing – the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers is among the largest member unions in the AFL-CIO. The IBEW was founded in 1891. For more information, visit www.ibew.org.
Voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for bringing
lighting, power and communications to buildings and communities across the
United States, the National Electrical Contractors Association was founded in
1901. NECA’s national office and 120 local chapters advance the industry through advocacy, education, research and
standards development. www.necanet.org
OLTS and OTDR: A Complete Testing Strategy
Harley Lang, III, RCDD
Fiber is playing an increasing role in the majority
of network installation contracts. The result is that more attention is being
focused on the primary tools for certifying fiber optical cable, Optical Loss
Test Sets (OLTS) and Optical Time Domain Reflectometers (OTDR). While the
measurements taken by these instruments are similar, they typically perform
different roles in the certification process. Rather than being competitive,
OLTS and OTDR are actually complementary tools that both play a role in the
majority of fiber installation projects. This article will explain how each
method works, describe its advantages, and provide some suggestions for
contractors on how to develop a testing strategy to maximize customer
in Fiber Cabling
The increasing role
played by high bandwidth
applications is driving growth in the deployment of fiber optic cabling
systems. According to a report entitled
“Structured Cabling Systems” by FTM Consulting, fiber-cabling revenues will
exceed Unshielded Twisted
Pair (UTP) revenues for the first time in 2008. While copper has
dominated the market up to now, fiber will establish a larger market share in
structured cabling system applications such as data centers, campuses and Fiber-to-the- Zone.
In addition, fiber will continue to be the dominant cabling used in riser
cabling systems. On the other hand, study predicts that copper will continue to
dominate the horizontal subsystem market.
Operation and Benefits
The increasing role
by fiber means that it is becoming more
important than ever to understand and take advantage of the primary methods
used to test and certify fiber-cabling systems. OLTS has long been the primary
method of testing premises fiber optic cabling. The test is designed to
determine the total amount of light loss over the fiber link. Other terms used to refer to this technology
are Loss/ Length
and power meter/light source (PMLS). The test is performed with a stable light
source that produces a continuous wave at specific wavelengths. The light
source is connected to one end of the fiber. A power meter with a photo
detector is installed at the opposite end of the fiber link. The detector measures optical power at the
same wavelengths as the light source. These two devices determine the total
amount of light loss. This loss/length certification is described in
certification standards such as Telecommunications Industry Association’s
(TIA’s) TSB140 bulletin entitled
“Additional Guidelines for Field-Testing Length, Loss and Polarity of Optical
Fiber Cabling Systems” as basic or Tier 1certification
that is required for all fiber optic cabling links. The Tier 1 tests are
attenuation (insertion loss), length and polarity.
A key innovation in recent years is the
availability of fiber loss/length modules that can be attached to copper test
sets to make them function as an OLTS. Some of these instruments can test two
fibers at a time in order to verify polarity, certify the actual length of the
fiber being tested and reduce the time required for certification. The copper
tester mainframe with fiber loss/length module is used at one of the fiber and
the remote at the other end. A reference power level is set using test
reference cords before separating the two instruments and plugging each end of
the fiber to be tested into them. Then with the press of a single button, both
fibers are tested at two wavelengths to measure their length and loss and
determine a pass or fail status in less than 12 seconds. The polarity can be
quickly reversed to provide bi-directional results. The approach provides an
efficient and accurate method to certify that the fiber link meets the loss
budget for a specific application such as 10 Gb/s Ethernet.
Operation and Benefits
With tighter loss budgets and less room for
error in high bandwidth fiber backbones, network owners and designers are now
setting specifications not only for overall loss budgets but also all for
individual splices and connectors. Because light sources and power meters are
not able to perform this type of test so many standards organizations
such as TIA and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
are recommending Extended or Tier 2 certification. This involves
the acquisition of a trace from an OTDR. An OTDR can pinpoint the location of
faults on a fiber link and certify the workmanship involved in an installation.
OTDRs find and characterize both reflective and non-reflective events in
optical fiber runs. The result is that the OTDR is able to certify every fiber
optic connector and splice and ensure that there are no unplanned loss events
due to poor cable management or installation. OTDRs are also very powerful
OTDRs use specialized pulsed laser diodes to
transmit a series of very short high-power light pulses into a fiber. As the
pulse of the OTDR travels down the fiber, most of the light travels in the
direction of the fiber. High-gain light detectors measure the light that is
reflected or backscattered as each pulse travels down the fiber. The OTDR uses
these measurements to detect events in the fiber that reduce or reflect the
power in the source pulse.
For example, a small fraction of the light is
scattered in a different direction due to the normal structure of and small
defects in the glass that makes up the fiber. The phenomenon of light being
scattered by impurities in the fiber is called Rayleigh
scattering. A certain amount of backscatter is
expected for a specific length of fiber based on the fiber’s attenuation
When a pulse of light meets connections,
breaks, cracks, splices, sharp bends or the end of the fiber, it reflects due
to the sudden change in the refractive index. These reflections are called Fresnel
(pronounced frA-NEL) reflections. The amount of light reflected, not including
the backscatter from the fiber itself, relative to the source pulse is the
called reflectance. It is expressed in units of dB and is usually expressed as
a negative value for passive optics with values closer to 0 representing larger
reflectance that indicates poorer connections with greater losses.
OTDRs display results using a plot or trace
of reflected and backscattered light power versus distance along the fiber as
shown in Figure 4. The Y-axis displays the power level and the X-axis shows
distance. When you read the plot from left to right, the backscatter values
decrease because the loss increases as the distance increases. OTDR traces have
several common characteristics. Most traces begin with an initial input pulse
that is a result of Fresnel reflection occurring at the connection to the OTDR.
Following this pulse, the OTDR trace is a gradual curve sloping downward and
interrupted by gradual shifts. The gradual decline results from Rayleigh
scattering as light travels along each fiber section. This decline is
interrupted by sharp shifts that represent a local deviation of the trace in
the upward or downward direction. Loss events appear as a step down on the
plot. Connectors, splices or breaks cause these shifts, or point defects. The
end of the fiber can be identified by a large spike, after which the trace
drops dramatically down the Y-axis. Finally, the output pulse, at the end of
the OTDR trace, results from Fresnel reflection occurring at the output of the
An OTDR trace makes it possible to certify
that the workmanship and quality of the installation meets the design and
warranty specifications for current and future applications. For example, a
common requirement is that the loss associated with a splice should be no
larger than 0.3 dB and that associated with a connector should be no more than
0.75 dB. The losses associated with individual events are invisible to an
OLTS. If an individual splice or
connector does not meet the design spec, the installer can correct it while
This explains why Tier 2 testing is becoming
a requirement of many installation projects. A complete Tier 1 and Tier 2 fiber
certification provides the most comprehensive picture of the fiber installation
and proof of a quality installation. Even where Tier 2 testing is not required,
many contractors prefer to perform it because it documents the workmanship of
the complete installation process. Tier 2 testing demonstrates that every
connector was left in good condition. If
there are any problems later the contractor normally will not be obligated to
fix them without charge.
Since an OTDR plot or trace can also be used
to measure the attenuation and transmission loss between any two points on the
cable plant, it is possible to compare Tier 1 test results with Tier 2. In the past, there was significant
inconsistency between the test results of OLTS and OTDRs. This has been eliminated with improvements in
controlling launch conditions. The term
“launch condition” refers to the way the light source is actually propagated to
the fiber, Even though they use completely different technologies, with
consistent launch conditions, the latest generation of OLTS and OTDR
instruments show only a difference of 0.1 dB average for a single connector
loss. This close correlation can be attributed to the work that test equipment
manufacturers have done in conjunction with TIA, ISO and the International
Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to develop instrumentation standards that
help ensure consistent results.
both OLTS and OTDR Tests Needed?
This raises the question: if an OTDR is used
is an OLTS still necessary? The answer is that an OLTS measurement is still required
in nearly every application because it provides a direct measurement of the
fiber plant losses and length while these values can only be
inferred from an OTDR measurement.
Traditionally, OTDR testing has been
performed with stand-alone instruments that cost a significant amount of money
and have their own unique and often complex user interface. These stand-alone
instruments provide obstacles to equipping technicians to perform Tier 2 fiber
New OTDR modules are available that enable
complete Tier 2 testing of fiber links using the same instrument and interface
normally used for copper testing. These
greatly simplify the task of providing Tier 1 and Tier 2 testing of fiber
links. The new generation of OTDR modules enables contractors who are familiar
with copper certification to perform
Extended fiber certification. Users see the familiar copper tester
interface, test command, stored setup values and expert diagnostics. With the
OTDR module, a single test from one end of the fiber checks every connector and
splice on a link to be sure the fiber cabling meets the defined specification.
This shortens the learning curve and extends the value of the existing copper
a Fiber Certification Strategy
Datacom contractors should develop a testing
strategy based upon the requirements set by the consultant, system designer or
network owner and the contractor’s available resources, equipment and tolerance
for risk. Some system designers or end users will require only basic testing
and others will require both basic and extended testing.
Inspection and verification tools should be
used during installation to minimize simple problems, such as
dirty or poorly terminated connectors that slow down certification testing. Secondly,
technicians should systematically perform certification testing with tools that
are easy to use and capable of delivering the needed information including test
results and reports in an easy to understand format. Performing basic Tier 1 certification with a light source and power
meter ensures that the system meets the loss budget for the immediate
applications. Extended Tier 2 certification proves that the cabling and
connections were done correctly. It is a good practice to perform both of these
tests in both directions and at multiple wavelengths on the fiber.
The increasing volume of fiber installation
as well as the higher margins usually associated with fiber installation
provides a tremendous opportunity to contractors. Contractors now have the
opportunity to generate additional revenues by equipping the same technicians
that are now performing copper certification to perform fiber certification
as well. Technicians can leverage their existing knowledge of the instrument so
relatively little training is required to certify the fiber plant. Reporting is
delivered in the same format as the other reports so the expense of
reformatting to match the copper test reports is eliminated. The cost of the
new modules is also considerably lower than a stand-alone instrument and they
are also much more compact.
The increasing proportions of network
installation jobs involving fiber make it critical for contractors to
understand the technologies involved in fiber testing and develop an
appropriate certification strategy. Contractors, network owners and fiber
system designers need to understand the difference between OLTS and OTDR
testing and what benefits each provides. These technologies serve different
purposes and perform a complementary rather
than mutually exclusive role in the fiber certification
Lang, III, RCDD, is Fluke Networks Product Manager for Fiber Optic Tools.
Harley combines a strong industry and technical background with broad
management experience. Lang’s experience encompasses product management roles
in the Fiber Optic group, Enterprise Networks group as well as in the Access
Networks group. Lang received his bachelor's degree in business administration
from University of Washington in Bothell, WA.
He is a BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) and
a former U.S. Marine Corps Reservist.
Reprinted with full permission of CBM –2007
REMEMBER TO RECYCLE, REDUCE AND REUSE