Letters to the Editor

As usual, I find your editorial interesting and stimulating reading. Your four mysteries are indeed thought-provoking. I can solve one of them, perhaps.

Jim Hayes, President

Fotec Inc.

Medford, MA

As usual, I find your editorial interesting and stimulating reading. Your four mysteries are indeed thought-provoking. I can solve one of them, perhaps.

Mystery No. 4 asks why the National Electrical Contractors Association (neca), an electrical contractors` association, should write standards for installing fiber optics. I have two answers, one flip and one serious.

I start my seminars and classes for contractors today with the following quip: "When I started in fiber optics almost 20 years ago, electricians installed wire and the Ph.D.s from Bell Labs came in to install the fiber. Today, all the fiber is installed by electricians, and it takes a Ph.D. from Bell Labs to get the wire installed properly!"

My serious answer is that neca has a history of developing standards for cabling installation. These are not "performance standards" for networks, but are "workmanship standards" for installations. For the fiber-optic installation standard, the co-developer with neca is the Fiber Optic Association, and the standard is being developed by a number of highly experienced fiber-optic installers.

Why doesn`t one of the groups already involved in fiber-optic standards do this? Well, most are composed of manufacturers of products, who are interested in developing interoperability standards for their products, so the lowest level that they address is network-cabling design.

Because the cabling installers install fiber optics along with copper wire--both low-voltage communications wiring and electrical-power wiring, although it is rare that any individual installer does both--they seem to be the logical group to develop the installation standards.

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