Levels program covers entire channel

Anixter Inc. (Skokie, IL) recently announced the Anixter Levels Channel (alc) program, which is the latest phase of Anixter`s well-known and widely accepted levels program through which the company established and presently maintains product-quality requirements for structured cabling systems. The company`s purpose is to assure customers that the entire structured cabling infrastructure will run current and future applications trouble-free.

--Patrick McLaughlin

Anixter Inc. (Skokie, IL) recently announced the Anixter Levels Channel (alc) program, which is the latest phase of Anixter`s well-known and widely accepted levels program through which the company established and presently maintains product-quality requirements for structured cabling systems. The company`s purpose is to assure customers that the entire structured cabling infrastructure will run current and future applications trouble-free.

According to Anixter, alc applies the same standards to every component in an installed channel. These standards, established by a team from Anixter and what the distributor called "leading manufacturers," encompass connectors, patch panels, information outlets, patch cords, and cable. When announced in April 1997, Anixter`s Levels `97 program included only cable.

The first entire channels that meet Level 5, 6, and 7 specifications became available in the first quarter of this year.

In describing the rationale behind the alc program, Frank Coletto, Anixter`s vice president of marketing, says, "Our customers shouldn`t have to be concerned with problems occurring in their cabling infrastructure, or with the technical issues behind those problems. Plugging the patch cable from a computer into a wall outlet should be as foolproof as plugging the cord of a lamp into a wall socket. And we believe the results should be just as predictable--peak performance every time."

Anixter says that at its interoperability lab, the company tests channel components from various manufacturers in different combinations to determine which work well together and which do not. That lab features fiber- and copper-cabling systems, active network components, and network-management software. In the lab, Anixter personnel run actual applications on networking schemes, including Token Ring, Ethernet, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, and frame relay.

"We`ve found that just because a connector is rated Anixter Level 7 doesn`t mean that it`s the ideal connector for every channel that is alc 7," explains Pete Lockhart, Anixter`s director of marketing. "We custom-match every part of every alc solution we recommend, so that we know how each complete system is going to perform. The Anixter levels program doesn`t assume a customer can simply order any Level 7 cable and any Level 7 jack and create an alc 7 solution. Creating a bulletproof channel is not that simple."

Coletto says that the industry has probably not heard the last from Anixter and its levels program. "We will continue to...take whatever steps we can to help [our customers] achieve their business objectives."

For more information on Anixter and its levels programs, browse the company`s Web site at www. anixter.com.

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