Mark A. DeSorbo
Electrical power: It might be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Southwire Co. (Carrollton, GA).
Industrial power and utility cable have been mainstays for Southwire since the 1950s, but now, like many of its customers, the company is casting its eye on the data-communications and telecommunications markets. That`s why Southwire is focusing marketing efforts on its Cyberlan line of voice and data-communications cable, and it also plans to introduce a line of fiber-optic cable.
"More and more electricians are branching out to voice and data cabling," said William Slater, Southwire`s business-development manager, during a visit with the editors of Cabling Installation & Maintenance. "They are now looking at the whole building as an opportunity."
Buildings are not the only places where Southwire wants its cable pulled. In fact, the emphasis of marketing efforts is focused on residential cabling. "I have four children and they each have a PC," says Slater. "Why should I go out and buy each of them a printer when it would be more cost-effective to build a small network? Households are moving in that direction."
Available in Category 3, Category 5, and Enhanced Category 5 (5E) unshielded twisted-pair (utp) in plenum and nonplenum jackets, Cyberlan cables come in 1000-foot reels or box packages in a variety of jacket colors. The Category 5 cable is certified by the Wideband Gigabit Networking Alliance (wgna) and can be used in numerous applications such as Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Token Ring, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, and wideband networking.
Southwire has also introduced Cyberlan-5e, a Category 5E cable that meets the proposed changes to the tia/eia-568a standard, which would include adding performance parameters such as power sum, near-end crosstalk, equal-level far-end crosstalk, and return loss.
Tests conducted on 50 cable samples by wgna indicate that Cyberlan-5 and 5E cables performed above 300 megahertz. "In these tests, Cyberlan-5 cables outperformed many of the so-called 300-MHz-plus products touted on the market as enhanced but that held no particular defining specification," says Allen Turner, Southwire`s application engineer.
Southwire also offers a cable to meet the proposed Category 6 standard. The cable uses a plastic pair separator to ensure high-bandwidth performance.
Slater says Southwire has the newest utp manufacturing plant in the industry. "We have all new equipment, and we could double the output of the facility just by plugging in a few more machines," he adds.
UTP is not the only arena in which Southwire is getting involved. Jerry W. Long, marketing-communications manager, says the company will begin outsourcing fiber-optic cable production before year-end. "Down the road we will buy optical fiber and manufacture the fiber-optic cable ourselves," he adds.