Four great mysteries of the cabling industry

July 1, 1997
Sometimes I wake up at 2 AM wondering about some complicated question that just keeps running through my head, and I can`t get back to sleep until I get up and write it down. Crazy as it may sound, these questions are often puzzling mysteries that I come across at work. Here are some examples of the tossing-and-turning, cabling-related questions that are keeping me sleepless tonight:

Arlyn S. Powell, Jr.

Chief Editor

[email protected]

Sometimes I wake up at 2 AM wondering about some complicated question that just keeps running through my head, and I can`t get back to sleep until I get up and write it down. Crazy as it may sound, these questions are often puzzling mysteries that I come across at work. Here are some examples of the tossing-and-turning, cabling-related questions that are keeping me sleepless tonight:

Mystery No.1--Everyone talks about controlling electromagnetic emissions and staying under the 33-megahertz limit set by the Federal Communications Commission (fcc--Washington, DC), but no one seems to do much about it. Doesn`t the fcc enforce its own interference rules?

Mystery No. 2--A couple of years ago we heard a lot about low-cost fiber-optic transceivers that were being developed using the same inexpensive lasers found in compact-disc players. Whatever happened to those low-cost transceivers, and why hasn`t the cost of active fiber-optic electronics come down as was so optimistically promised?

Mystery No. 3--We all know from the market research firms that the premises and campus cabling market is already a multibillion-dollar business and that it continues to grow rapidly, both domestically and worldwide. However, despite being deluged with dollar figures about cabling and components, we never hear anything about the value of design, integration, installation, and maintenance services provided by systems integrators, engineering firms and cabling contractors. Just how big is our industry? How big is it going to be ten years from now? Who are the major players in it? And who has the purchasing influence: manufacturers, distributors, contractors, consultants, or end-users?

Mystery No. 4--And here`s the most puzzling question of all. We reported last fall in our Cabling News newsletter (November 15, 1996, Vol. 2, Issue 22) that the interNational Electrical Contractor`s Association had petitioned the American National Standards Institute (ansi--New York, NY) to be the body responsible for setting fiber-optic cabling installation standards. What do electricians have to do with fiber optics? And why haven`t the many fiber-optic cabling manufacturers, distributors, consultants, trainers, and contractors banded together to inform ansi that optical fiber doesn`t carry electricity, and so its installation should remain the province of fiber-optics specialists?

I hope that someone out there can shed some light on these mysteries for me, so I can start getting more rest. How about it? Any answers for "Sleepless in Nashua"?

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