Look no further: Its happening in our front yard

Ferreting out stories on the design and setup of telecommunications networks requires the staff of Cabling Installation & Maintenance to keep its editorial eyes peeled.

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Mark A. DeSorbo

Ferreting out stories on the design and setup of telecommunications networks requires the staff of Cabling Installation & Maintenance to keep its editorial eyes peeled.

These days, however, we need only look in our front yard, where construction crews and installers from Connectivity Inc. (Hudson, NH) are adding a 40,000-square-foot expansion to a building that will house PennWell`s Advanced Technology Div., publishers of Cabling Installation & Maintenance and Cabling Product News.

The new facility at 98 Spit Brook Road, Nashua, NH, already contains some of PennWell`s offices and can be seen from several windows of the company`s other offices at 10 Tara Boulevard, Fifth Floor. Work on the four-floor structure began last spring, and to many PennWell employees, the structure quickly took shape. Constructing a building and installing a network, however, has been a long and carefully thought-out process. "Thousands of tasks have to be considered before we make a seamless move from one plateau to the other," says Bruce Demaine, computer information systems manager of the Communications and Optoelectronics Group. "All the bells and whistles in a telecommunications network would be cool, too, but what it all boils down to is our budget."

Demaine and his team--Jerry Holloway, Richard Long, Leigh McCullough, Kevin McLaughlin, and Bill MacRae--have been working with Connectivity`s Douglas Philipon, who hammered out a network proposal that has since been put into action. The plan calls for a "star topology" design with a main distribution frame (mdf) and three intermediate-distribution frames (idf) in telecommunications closets.

Demaine is considering two offers from cabling-hardware manufacturers. "One product vendor has proposed three cable runs--one of Category 3 for voice and two of Category 5E data," he says. "Another product vendor has proposed one run of Category 3 for voice and one run of Category 5E for data, duplexing the data connector off the same cable and eliminating one cable run." Either route will interconnect idfs with unshielded-twisted-pair cable, fiber, and voice riser cables to provide voice and data links to more than 1200 workstations as well as ensure support for future protocols, Demaine adds. "We have an Asynchronous Transfer Mode [atm] backbone that will be extended to each of the floors for future expansions for page layout, magazine, and Web site production," he says.

All cabling, according to Philipon`s plan, will run from the mdf to idfs to designated workstations. Cables will be routed in the most direct route possible, mostly through ceilings using cable trays from B-Line Telecom (Highland, IL). Each workstation will also have a single-gang faceplate with modular jacks rated for voice and data.

As for the consolidation of existing offices, the plan is to first move personnel from the second floor of 98 Spit Brook to a temporary space in the basement level of the building, Demaine explains. Employees from 10 Tara Boulevard will then move into the newly renovated space. The major move, however, will be the telecommunications switch, which will take place a few days after workstations have been set up.

The "Industry Spotlight" section of Cabling Installation & Maintenance will feature regular updates of PennWell`s network installation.

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Derik Comtois, a technician with Connectivity Inc. (Hudson, NH), runs Category 3 and Category 5 cable in a temporary office area that will soon be occupied by employees of PennWell (Nashua, NH).

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