Installers urged to acquire diverse skills

June 1, 2002
An industry forecaster is urging installers to pursue broad knowledge of all cable types and to be ready for anything

Compiled by Brian Milligan

An industry forecaster is urging installers to pursue broad knowledge of all cable types and to be ready for anything. "Be diversified," says Leviton's ( Ian Hendler. "The fact is, no one technology is the answer."

Hendler, corporate channel development manager with Leviton's Little neck NY facility, will present details of his recommendations in a talk, "The Structured Cabling Forecast," that will be presented at the IEC 2002 Tampa Convention ( on Sept. 11.

Hendler's structured cabling forecast is based on his observations on market intelligence and survey results. Cabling skills, he says, should include multimedia knowledge. "Are you targeting residential?" asks Hendler. "Residential retrofit? Wireless? Commercial? Com mercial retrofit? Those are topics, no matter what market you look at, the future is tied to multimedia content and its availability."

He also describes optical fiber as the ultimate "future proofing" media. Hendler says installers can count on multimode fiber coming "out of the closet" and getting to more desktops. The fiber, he says, will be used to deliver increased Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop, where large operations like medical or governmental institutions will need it for its increased bandwidth. "For new construction, this is cheap," he says. "It ensures some future-proofing of technology, and gets a good return on investment."

Hendler says installers must be able to install a wired backbone and expand it where needed with a wireless-WiFi-setup. He notes that the use of WiFi 802.11, both B and A, is going through a "revolution."

But Hendler says installers can count on unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cabling being here to stay. Installers can also count on a mix of telecom technologies prevailing in the future, but the majority of digital communications will remain mostly on UTP. He says UTP will always be economical, easy to install, and have a good bandwidth-to-cost ratio.

Hendler sees a definite transition from Category 5 use to Category 5e cable, with Category 6 installations increasing. Hendler's predictions looked at new commercial construction structured wiring technologies and trends. In his medium to long-term forecast, Hendler says Category 7 cabling is OK for Europe, "but in our view, it is not appropriate for this country," he says.

"Category 7 is tough to find, and it's tough to find a laborer who can install it," he says.

Structured Cabling Forecast

  • Unshielded twisted pair is here to stay;
  • Multimode fiber will come "out of the closet";
  • WiFi 802.11, both A and B, will expand and complement a wired backbone;
  • A mix of cabling technologies will prevail;
  • Category 7 will stay primarily in Europe.
Source: Ian Hendler

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