Enterprise network decision-makers call for Category 6

Jan. 1, 2003
New research by Avaya Inc., (www.avaya.com), a provider of communications networks and services for businesses, shows that 82% of enterprise network decision-makers surveyed will specify Category 6 high-performance cabling in their next installation.

New research by Avaya Inc., (www.avaya.com), a provider of communications networks and services for businesses, shows that 82% of enterprise network decision-makers surveyed will specify Category 6 high-performance cabling in their next installation. The results are in the Avaya SYSTIMAX Structured Connectivity Solutions research report, Cabling Infrastructure: Ready for Tomorrow's Network Traffic or Heading for Congestion?

"This doesn't leave much room for the future of Category 5 or 5e," says Jim Hulsey, strategic marketing manager for SYSTIMAX, Avaya, Inc., based in Basking Ridge, NJ. "In all likelihood, a small portion of the market will go for Category 5e for moves, adds and changes (MACs). But the uptake of this is Category 6 installation will be rapid and dominant."

Avaya surveyed more than 2,000 organizations in 38 countries. The report also found that 28% of those surveyed have already installed Category 6. Cabling contractors concur with the Avaya the findings, and say they are seeing an accelerating demand for Category 6 products—particularly for new construction.

"I'd say at least 70% or our company's installations are touched by Category 6 in some form or fashion," says Rick Sousa, an RCDD and director of professional services for Network Communications Technologies (www.nct.com), based in Charlotte, NC. "This is going to bring more work for the contractor that can provide the installation of these products," Sousa continues. "But the end user is now more savvy, doing their homework, and asking the right questions. A new commitment is being formed between the end user and the contractor."

IT professionals were invited to participate in the survey via an Internet Web portal during August and September 2002. The survey's 22 questions were available in 12 languages. The 2,047 IT professionals who took part in the research were from a representative sample of SYSTIMAX SCS and non-SYSTIMAX SCS customers around the world. They spanned organizations with between 50 and 10,000 network users across all industry sectors, including education, finance/banking, government, medical facilities, and industrial facilities.

The research revealed that network downtime, together with MACs, is costing businesses millions of dollars in lost productivity. From research data, it is estimated, for example, that downtime is costing companies with more than 7,500 network users an average $5.5 million annually in lost employee productivity.

Network downtime was cited as the issue of greatest concern. Twenty-six percent of the survey respondents said downtime was the most likely network issue to keep them awake at night, and a further 15% said degraded network performance was their biggest worry.

Network downtime experienced by users of Category 6 cabling was less than among users of Category 5 and 5e solutions. Among Auaya's global sample, only 8% of Category 6 users experience more than five hours a month downtime, compared with 11% among users of Category 5 and 5e.

The importance of quality in selecting a cabling infrastructure was widely recognized in the survey. Thirty-eight percent put product quality at the top of their list of priorities, twice as many as the next most commonly named criterion (technical performance).

According to the Avaya findings, organizations worldwide have also been upgrading their networking technology. Gigabit Ethernet is now used by 31% of respondents in LAN horizontal. Within five years, 73% anticipated using it, and 26% of respondents expected to adopt 10 Gbit/sec connections in horizontal applications.

Sousa says he is not surprised by the popularity of copper cabling, as opposed to optical fiber. He says customers still see a sizable cost difference when it comes to installing copper cable. "We are squeezing more bandwidth out of copper today," says Sousa. "Every hurdle that is put in front of a copper manufacturer seems to be leaped and gone over."


Our October 2002 issue, page 17, listed an incorrect Web address for Oberon Wireless. For more information on the company, go to: www.oberonwireless.com

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