Substitute for protector panel

The University of Texas at Austin has been installing Lucent Technologies (previously AT&T) 188B1-100 multipair protector panels from 1988--until now. I am all for innovation but not to the point of total abandonment of the customers who require additional materials for expansion of existing cabling systems.

Nov 1st, 1999

Donna Ballast

Have you been looking for a substitute for a Lucent 188B1-100 protector panel?

The University of Texas at Austin has been installing Lucent Technologies (previously AT&T) 188B1-100 multipair protector panels from 1988--until now. I am all for innovation but not to the point of total abandonment of the customers who require additional materials for expansion of existing cabling systems.

When I contacted Ralph Pickwick, product manager of building entrance terminals at Lucent, he said the 188B1-100 has been discontinued and will not be resurrected. Pickwick explained, "It was Lucent`s decision to design a housing platform that could be used for many different applications. Specifically, it was our intent to support multimedia [copper, fiber, and coaxial cable] in a housing that could be easily modified for different customers in the United States and internationally."

I thanked Pickwick for his response. Then, because not all of us have been wall-mounting the 188B1-100s for all these years, I asked him, How does one attach these new little wonders to an existing Homaco frame? He suggested I contact Homaco.

I contacted David Coulombe, vice president of engineering at Homaco Inc. (Chicago), to see if it had any solutions. Coulombe said that while Homaco had designed a module to mount the Lucent 489 protectors to its 35-inch frame, the protectors were so space-inefficient that Homaco does not recommend its new module to customers. Coulombe also said, "We have had many customers with the same complaint."

Lucent`s previous client base is now left with one option: Find another manufacturer that either has a product currently equal (physically and electrically) to the 188B1-100 or is willing to make modifications to meet user needs.

My search led me to the Internet, where the only likely substitute I could find was the 1880B1-100 from CIRCA Telecommunications USA Inc. (Hudson, FL). We had previously ordered CIRCA 1880C110-100, which was when we discovered that we could not use our AT-8662 D test cords on the connecting blocks--the test cords would just fall into the floor.

Upon closer examination, I learned that the CIRCA 1880C110-100 used an AMP 110 block. AMP 110 C-5s do not have the protrusions on the top and bottom of the wire teeth on the connecting block that hold the test cords in place. Then I contacted AMP regarding its perspective on using test cords. AMP technical support said the company does not manufacture test cords---they tell people to use patch cords. In an attempt to further demonstrate my problem, I questioned how that would work with a jumper in place. The representative explained that when testing with a patch cord, you had to remove the jumper--not a good solution for telephone installers.

My search then led me to the exhibit aisles at the fall BICSI conference, where I met Dan Derasmo, vice president of North American sales with CIRCA Telecommunications USA Inc. We discussed the problem, and he agreed to create a new ordering number for the 1880B1-100 that mounts on Homaco frames and will accept an AT-8662 D test cord. The new ordering number is 326027C25. For more information see www.circatel.com.

Donna Ballast is a communications analyst at the University of Texas at Austin and a bicsi registered communications distribution designer (rcdd). Questions can be sent to her at Cabling Installation & Maintenance or at PO Drawer 7580, the University of Texas, Austin, TX 78713; tel: (512) 471-0112, fax: (512) 471-8883, e-mail: ballast@utexas.edu.

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