Editor's Picks

April 1, 2015

From the April, 2015 Issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine

AFL lowers pricing for Fujikura 12S fusion splicer

As a direct result of new manufacturing and sourcing efficiencies, AFL says it now can offer "more attractive pricing" on the Fujikura 12S fusion splicer. Among the industry's smallest and lightest fusion splicers, the Fujikura 12S is now available to customers starting at less than $3,000 said AFL in a recent press release.

The Fujikura 12S weighs less than 2 pounds with a 6" x 5" footprint. The splicer's ruggedized chassis features shock, dust and moisture protection, while its two-camera observation system provides accurate fiber alignment and loss estimation calculations. The unit's transit case also serves as a workstation when needed. Software updates are accomplished via the Internet, allowing users to quickly and conveniently update their software as new splice programs become available.

"As the pioneer and world leader in fusion splicing technology, Fujikura splicers are well-known for superior quality and reliability," says Greg Pickeral, product manager for AFL's fusion splicing systems. "This announcement is exciting because it makes the proven quality of Fujikura available to a wider audience. Something that may not have been attainable in the past, is now."

AFL operates the only authorized repair facility for Fujikura splicing products in the U.S. Technical support is available 24/7. Complimentary on-site training is available with every splicer purchased.

CABLExpress launches H+ enhanced fiber enclosures at Gartner Data Center Conference

From the site of the Gartner Data Center Conference 2014 in Las Vegas (Dec. 2-5), CABLExpress announced the launch of its enhanced H+ fiber enclosures, designed to provide data center professionals with increased scalability in their Layer One infrastructures. The H+ enclosures feature among the highest port density in the industry, claims the company, enabling efficient usage of conditioned rack space.

IT research company Gartner emphasizes that the optimal efficiency of data center infrastructures is necessary to effectively manage the increased speed and capacity of data flow required in today's environments. "New dimensions in corporate and personal computing will demand more performance, more capacity and quick, seamless access to enormous databases in more cost-effective and efficient infrastructures that take up less space and consume less power," the company stated in a recent research note.

CABLExpress says its new enhanced H+ fiber enclosures feature sliding trays, each housing four separate modules with six LC duplex ports. This functionality allows users to customize their infrastructures to meet organizational needs and provides scalability for future growth. The enclosures are available in 1U, 2U and 4U configurations for 72, 144, and 288 duplex LC ports respectively. The H+ enclosures are part of the CABLExpress Skinny-Trunk Solution, the company's flagship high-density fiber-optic cabling system.

"The H+ enclosures enable data center managers to take a modular and scalable approach to designing their cabling infrastructures based on the specific needs of their organizations," commented Lisa Belodoff, vice president of CABLExpress. "The proper use of high-density data center solutions helps increase overall efficiency by maximizing space and resources."

Verizon Wireless taps SpiderCloud for 4G small cell systems

SpiderCloud Wireless, a provider of scalable small cell Enterprise Radio Access Network (E-RAN) systems, announced that it has begun working with Verizon Wireless, the largest 4G LTE mobile operator in the United States, to supply scalable small cell systems for its Verizon Wireless business customers.

SpiderCloud claims it is the first company to offer mobile operators a highly scalable small cell system for LAN deployment of reliable mobile services indoors for enterprise customers of any size. The company says its E-RAN 3G system has already been commercially proven for three years. Other SpiderCloud Wireless customers include Vodafone UK, Vodafone Netherlands and leading mobile operators across several continents.

The SpiderCloud E-RAN consists of a Services Node (SCSN) that can control up to 100 self-organizing, multi-access small cells, providing reliable coverage and capacity for enterprise and venues of up to 1.5 million square feet, requiring only one system. An E-RAN system can be installed in just days using an enterprise Ethernet local area network (LAN) as a managed service by a mobile operator's network, adds SpiderCloud. The company offers a portfolio of Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Radio Nodes operating in 3G (single band), and software upgradeable, dual-band 3G+4G and 4G+4G small cells as part of the system.

"Working with Verizon Wireless's key regions and partners, we will rapidly deploy scalable small cell systems to meet mobility needs for public access venues and enterprise customers," said Michael Gallagher, SpiderCloud Wireless CEO. "With Verizon Wireless, we will continue to innovate and demonstrate to customers what is truly possible with in-building mobility systems."

Samsung sells fiber-optic business to Corning

Corning and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. have reached a definitive agreement through which Corning will acquire Samsung's optical fiber and fiber-optic cable business. The terms of the agreement were not released.

In addition to the various product lines, Corning also will buy Samsung's fiber-optic manufacturing facilities in Gumi, South Korea, and Hainan, China. The facilities will become part of the Corning Optical Communications business segment upon consummation of the deal.

Samsung supplies fiber and cable in South Korea, China, and Southeast Asia. Corning expects the acquisition will strengthen its hand in these markets. The acquisition was expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.

"We are very excited about the growth opportunities in Korea and the emerging economies in Southeast Asia," said Clark S. Kinlin, executive vice president, Corning Optical Communications. "Once we are joined by Samsung Electronics' experienced workforce, I look forward to the team building out Corning's global scale and scope to better meet customer needs for innovative fiber-optic solutions."

Israel-based millimeter wave expert Siklu pacts with Tessco, seeks to penetrate U.S. wireless market

Siklu, a specialist in millimeter wave radio technology, has signed an agreement with Tessco Technologies, a supplier of integrated products and supply chain solutions to the wireless communications industry. Tessco will now offer Siklu's full line of EtherHaul millimeter wave systems for high capacity rooftop and street level connectivity.

"Siklu's EtherHaul radios provide a unique solution for urban high capacity connectivity challenges," comments Scott McClure, Tessco's director of broadband product management. "It's the combination of high capacity, spectrum efficiency, and high reliability at a competitive price that makes Siklu a compelling value in the marketplace. The EtherHaul solution is a great addition to our broadband portfolio."

Siklu's EtherHaul line of gigabit-capacity millimeter wave radios operates over the 60, 70, and 80 GHz bands. Addressing both rooftop and street level high capacity connectivity challenges, the EtherHaul radios are especially designed for dense, capacity-hungry urban networks.

"Tessco is a market-leading solutions provider with unparalleled wireless industry knowledge and supply chain expertise. We're extremely pleased to add them to our portfolio and are confident they will further our penetration of the U.S. market," says Ilan Moshe, who heads Siklu's North American activities.

Among the most deployed millimeter wave radios in the world, thousands of Siklu's EtherHaul units are used globally to deliver carrier-grade performance in mobile backhaul, business broadband, wireless security, and residential broadband networks, notes the company.

Moshe added, "Millimeter wave is a rapidly growing segment of wireless connectivity in the U.S. Service providers of all kinds are recognizing the advantages of providing gigabit capacity over an interference-free band that is either low-cost or unlicensed. With Tessco, we will be able to improve our service, product availability, and delivery, enabling quicker deployment for our customers."

ETA recognizes Light Brigade fiber-optic technician

Cameron Karch, a fiber-optic technician with the Light Brigade, AFL's education and training division, is the recipient of the International ETA's Norris R. Browne Memorial Technician of the Year Award. ETA says the annual award "is presented to an individual for outstanding service to electronic technicians as a certification administrator, board of director's office, state representative or subject matter expert on the ETA advisory board for the past year."

Cameron Karch has been a part of the communications industry since 1983, specializing in voice and data protocols. His experience includes project management, quality control, splicing, testing and emergency restoration for broadband, telco, end users and the government.

ETA International has issued more than 150,000 professional certifications with all certifications accredited through the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC). The Technician of the Year award is named after Norris R. Browne, president of the National Electronic Association (NEA) and a service business owner. Browne was instrumental in founding ISCET, the predecessor to ETA. His goal was to promote electronics technicians to the best of his ability.

As this year's award recipient, Karch holds certifications from the White House and the Optical Society of America (OSA). Since 1987, he has held a variety of training and education roles at the Light Brigade.

Data center fiber cabling system enables easy scale-up, MACs

Panduit unveiled its HD Flex Fiber Cabling System at Cisco Live, from January 26-30 in Milan, Italy. The new data center fiber cabling system is "engineered to provide the highest levels of density and serviceability for high-performance data centers," says the company. Panduit adds that HD Flex is "purposely designed to enable organizations to easily scale up density and execute moves, adds and changes [MACs] quickly and safely, without disrupting adjacent circuits."

Khaled Nassoura, vice president of Panduit's data center business unit, commented, "We found existing high-density systems on the market today were simply unmanageable. They weren't designed for easy MACs, and as a result technicians were disrupting circuits, and experiencing very costly downtime. The inflexibility of traditional enclosures was also making it difficult to migrate to higher data speeds. In a high-performance data center, which is constantly evolving, that's just not practical, which is why we developed the new HD Flex Fiber Cabling System."

The company points out the data center fiber cabling system's following characteristics, which it says speed installation, testing, deployment and serviceability.

  • Innovative cable management that positions trunk cables away from the rear of the enclosure, providing enhanced access for MACs
  • Split trays inside the enclosure, which support safe MACs.
  • Cassette access from the front or back to streamline installation and migrations from 10G to 40G/100G Ethernet

Nassoura added, "Our customers are universally tasked with reducing cost-per-square-foot and maximizing use of active, revenue-generating equipment. The flexible design of the HD Flex Fiber Cabling System enables them to accomplish both."

Gov't IT solutions provider Alion appoints wireless spectrum guru

To support the ever-evolving demand for wireless spectrum expertise both in the U.S. and abroad, Alion Science and Technology has enhanced its long-standing capabilities in this area with the hiring of industry authority Karl Nebbia to support the company's spectrum-related services.

Alion is a provider of advanced engineering, IT and operational solutions to strengthen national security and drive business results for customers in defense, civilian government and commercial industries. The company notes that "wireless frequencies are limited resources, but are critical to everything from cell phones and broadcasting to military and first responder communications. Policies and procedures for managing the wireless spectrum are complex, requiring deep understanding of both technical and legislative realities."

"The use of the wireless spectrum is exploding, so managing the technical and regulatory factors becomes more difficult every day. Alion has decades of experience, having provided numerous agencies with our advanced technical and operational capabilities, such as our support of software-defined radios," explained Rob Hirt, Alion's sector senior vice president, who added that the future of spectrum development would require increased partnerships between government, industry and academia in order to develop both new technologies and policies surrounding their use.

Nebbia recently retired from the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), where he was associate administrator for the Office of Spectrum Management, a post he held since 2007. In his more than 30-year career with NTIA, Nebbia focused on developing policies and processes to manage the ever-growing issues surrounding the use of wireless frequencies by civilian government, the Department of Defense, commercial firms, municipalities and private users.

"Karl Nebbia is recognized as the key resource on spectrum-related matters," Hirt concluded. "His insights and expertise will be of tremendous value to domestic and international organizations as we help them improve the allocation and management of this essential asset."

Wilson Electronics' weBoost names new corporate development VP

weBoost, a maker and supplier of cellular signal boosters and a subsidiary of wireless communications expert Wilson Electronics LLC, announced that Jeffrey Gudewicz has been appointed as vice president of corporate development at weBoost, reporting to Robert Van Buskirk, Wilson's president and CEO.

Gudewicz most recently served as director of business development and business unit management at the company. Before joining Wilson Electronics in 2014, he served as senior strategic sales manager at RF Micro Devices, Inc. (now Qorvo), a specialist in high-performance semiconductor components for mobile device, customer premises and communications equipment providers. Prior experience for Gudewicz featured business development, marketing, sales, business unit and engineering management roles at RFMD, Sirenza Microdevices, Vari-L and JFW Industries.

"We are delighted to recognize the outstanding contributions made by Jeff with this appointment to vice president of corporate development, responsible for global corporate development and management of our recently formed consumer and commercial product solutions business units," commented weBoost's president and CEO, Van Buskirk. "Jeff has a proven track record in global business development, leading the successful launch of our ASEAN business in Malaysia in the fourth quarter of 2014, and in refining our product development process while driving our product development roadmaps since joining our team."

Gudewicz added, "I am tremendously excited to lead the company's corporate development global initiatives as we leverage our position as the market leader in cellular signal boosters and expand our industry-leading share of the accelerating domestic and global demand for consumer and commercial cellular boosters. I am also looking forward to directing the growth of our consumer and commercial business units as we dramatically increase the consumer awareness of our product solutions while we develop advanced, innovative signal booster product solutions."

Gudewicz holds a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University in Aviation Sciences and an MBA from Regis University with a concentration in Operations Management. He will lead corporate development and manage the two business units from the company's Denver, CO office.

weBoost, and its parent company, Wilson Electronics, LLC, have designed and manufactured cellular signal boosters, antennas and related components for the wireless communications industry for more than 20 years. "Jeff is a key member of our management team and will be instrumental as we introduce innovative new signal booster product solutions, expand globally by leveraging our exciting new weBoost consumer brand and accelerate the profitable growth of our business," concluded Wilson's Van Buskirk.

JDSU now offering virtualized network test capabilities

JDSU says it now offers RFC 6349 testing as a virtualized network function (VNF). RFC 6349 is an IETF standard set of tests that measure the end-to-end throughput of TCP transmissions. It also enables troubleshooting of underperforming links.

By supporting RFC 65349 testing, the company's new TrueSpeed VNF software package can reduce costs and truck rolls, says JDSU, and is interoperable with the company's hardware-based TrueSpeed capabilities, contained within StrataSync-enabled T-BERD/MTS handheld network test and measurement instruments.

"Offering the TrueSpeed VNF recognizes the fact that network performance that was once predictable in a dedicated, hardware-based network appliance may now be affected in new ways when a new virtual network element is installed," said a company product manager. "For example, physical links between network equipment that previously had been accessible for monitoring and troubleshooting are being replaced by virtual interfaces, with functional connections within software in the same or different physical servers. Therefore, test capabilities must be virtualized as well."

Use of the TrueSpeed VNF has three principal benefits, which JDSU asserts as follows.

  • It enables RFC 6349 compliance testing remotely, without the need to dispatch a field technician or dedicated test equipment.
  • It enables network technicians to ensure high-quality service delivery through automated evaluation of performance between various Internet points of presence, data centers, and network handoffs. Operators can leverage their installed base of server resources to evaluate customer experience and provide actionable information.
  • When field technicians need to be involved, these technicians can use TrueSpeed VNF as the far-end for their RFC 6349-compliant tests without a second device or technician.

"As networks move toward becoming virtualized, operators must access solutions that are standardized for what it takes to meet the high demands of ensuring service quality in complex virtual network settings; TrueSpeed VNF is a game changer," said Olga Shapiro, program manager for Measurement and Instrumentation at Frost & Sullivan, a global research group. "Impressively, JDSU has broken through with the first industry-compliant test software that serves the virtualized environment," added Shapiro. "An innovation perfectly timed while NFV [network functions virtualization] and SDN [software-defined networking] stay top of mind as both challenging and promising network architectures."

"Virtualized and software-defined networks are transforming the communications industry as new building blocks that help keep pace with technology change, unpredictable data traffic, the cloud and more. It's vital that test be virtualized, too," concludes Sue Spradley, senior vice president and general manager in JDSU's Network and Service Enablement business segment. Spradley adds, "TrueSpeed VNF is a test-industry first to ignite confidence among network operators and enterprises knowing that a dynamic solution developed in close collaboration with customers will ensure quality and reliability when deploying, installing and maintaining in a virtual world."

Cable installation tool provider Klein invests in UK, Ireland manufacturer Super Rod

Klein Tools recently announced it has expanded its initiatives in the United Kingdom and Ireland markets by making a financial investment in, and establishing a strategic partnership with, cable installation tool provider Super Rod.

"The partnership with Super Rod provides Klein Tools with access to a well-established distribution channel and sales network," Klein said when announcing the deal. Through the agreement, Klein's products will be available through City Electric, which Klein described as "the United Kingdom's leading electrical wholesale network." As of January 2, 2015, Klein products are available through 411 City Electric stores in the UK and Ireland.

Mark Klein, the company's vice president of sales, commented, "We are excited to bring the quality and legacy of Klein Tools from the US to the European market. Super Rod is a key partner and will introduce our products to more hard-working electricians who rely on professional tools that work as hard as they do."

Malcolm Duncan is managing director of the cable installation tool provider Super Rod. He added, "Klein Tools has built a solid reputation on the quality of their tools and we look forward to bringing them into the electrical distribution channel exclusively at City Electric. Super Rod and City Electric have worked together to provide the industry's best electrical products and we are excited to expand that offering even further."

Klein's vice president of corporate development, Matthew Thomason, said, "As part of our ongoing international growth strategy, we have been expanding into new markets through acquisitions--including three in the past four years. As with Super Rod and the European market, we want to make sure we find the right partner where it will be beneficial and successful for everyone involved, especially our customers."

Cable labeling maker Epson acquires K-Sun

Seiko Epson Corporation announced it has acquired K-Sun Corporation; both companies produce label-manufacturing equipment including cable labeling devices and tools.

When announcing the deal, Epson said, "The acquisition of K-Sun, with its more than three decades of experience in the industrial identification solutions market, will provide Epson with broader access to labeling customers and influencers, as well as expand the company's presence in the industrial labeling market."

Epson also explained that it supplied K-Sun with label printers on an OEM basis for 20 years prior to the acquisition and that it believes "acquiring its partner will enable it to better serve industrial customers with the ever-expanding line of Epson label printing solutions."

Recently Epson introduced the LabelWorks LW-600P printer for the cable labeling and hardware labeling needs of IT managers, AV professionals and cabling installers. In fall 2014 Epson debuted a smartphone- and tablet-based datacom cable labeling solution that works in conjunction with the LW-600P.

Commenting on the acquisition of K-Sun, Epson's visual products operation division's chief operating officer, Junichi Watanabe, said, "We are delighted to take our partnership with K-Sun to the next stage. The acquisition will not only give us access to K-Sun's expertise in industrial label printing, but will help boost Epson brands and increase exposure of Epson's label printers in this important market."

K-Sun's founder and president Michael Kasun added, "K-Sun has enjoyed a strategic partnership with Epson since 1994. Now as a member of Epson's prestigious group of companies, we are very excited for our future and the new products and supplies that we can offer our customers, as well as the expanded opportunities for our employees."

Since January 2015, K-Sun has been selling the Epson-branded LabelWorks lineup of printers for industrial applications. Epson America will continue to focus its promotion of the LabelWorks products to consumer and office markets. Epson said product-line expansions will follow.

BICSI and workforce-management firm Field Nation form collaborative agreement

BICSI and Field Nation recently jointly announced a collaborative agreement through which the organizations intend to "promote interactivity and information-sharing among their respective members," they said.

"BICSI provides the industry knowledge, expertise, courses and credentials needed to design and install cable, security and alarm solutions," the announcement further explained. "Field Nation then puts those credentials, designs and skill sets to work by matching local talent with a business's contract labor needs and managing the entire project, from process through payment and reporting."

The two organizations will work to foster the growth of the information and communications technology (ICT) community, they said, especially as it relates to the professional growth and career advancement of both organizations' installers and technicians. "As an added benefit, Field Nation users will have access to BICSI's Cabling Installation Program credentials and courses at a discounted rate," they said.

Michael Collins, BICSI president, commented, "BICSI is thrilled to be working with Field Nation in this capacity. This relationship will allow for mutually beneficial interaction between BICSI credential holders, who have a highly specialized skill set, and Field Nation users, who are looking to work with those skilled individuals. It is truly a win-win situation, and BICSI is glad to be part of it."

Field Nation chief executive officer Mynul Khan added, "Our relationship with BICSI helps us serve the ICT community by combining our expertise to provide the actionable ICT industry analysis, trends and best practices to get great work done. By enabling independent contractors to obtain and promote their BICSI certification, they can more-quickly grow their business. And organizations can get more work done on time and on budget using skilled professionals."

IHS acquires Infonetics Research

Technology market research firm Infonetics Research announced that it has been acquired by IHS Inc., a primary global source of information and analytics. Infonetics will be integrated into the IHS Technology group, which includes 10 major market coverage areas, including Automotive and Transportation; Consumer Electronics; Displays; Industrial, Security and Medical Technology; Information Technology (IT); Materials and Cost Benchmarking; Media; Power and Energy; Semiconductor and Components; and Telecommunications.

Combined with its other recent acquisitions, IHS says the addition of Infonetics will give it an end-to-end view of the telecom and IT supply chain, from semiconductors, components and digital displays to enterprise and service provider networking, to consumer electronics and mobile devices.

"The synergy between IHS and Infonetics is significant," says J'Amy Stewart, CEO and co-founder of Infonetics Research. "IHS has a global salesforce in 32 countries, very complementary technology coverage, and the majority of the Global Fortune 500 and U.S. Fortune 1000 companies as clients. Infonetics has a meticulous research methodology that can be scaled and market coverage that rounds out the IHS Technology portfolio. We couldn't have found a better partner and we couldn't be more thrilled."

IHS President and CEO Scott Key adds, "The acquisition of Infonetics presents a significant opportunity for IHS Technology to establish a strong presence in the information and communications technology (ICT) space, an arena with high strategic value for IHS. Infonetics' unique area of research represents non-overlapping growth potential for us. Its focus on telecom and IT is a good fit with other IHS Technology products and services. Importantly, Infonetics also has a proven, 25-year track record of strong revenue growth, with 80 percent of its revenue being recurring in nature. Clearly, Infonetics represents an excellent match for IHS as we advance our capabilities in the growing sector for ICT products and services."

Both Infonetics and IHS are ranked by Apollo Research as two of the top five most quoted analyst firms that cover the U.S. technology sector. Headquartered in Campbell, CA, Infonetics maintains an office in the Boston area as well as a presence in Europe and Asia. A total of 46 Infonetics employees will join IHS, including four members of the company's founding family. Marlin & Associates served as exclusive financial advisor to Infonetics in the acquisition.

Ventev Wireless, Venti Group partner on DAS antenna, wireless RF technologies

Ventev Wireless Infrastructure, a unit of Tessco Technologies, and the Venti Group, LLC have announced plans to collaborate and introduce high-performance distributed antenna systems (DAS) antennas and RF technologies that will meet carrier and enterprise demand for increased indoor 3G and LTE network coverage and capacity today and in the future.

"Venti Group chose to partner with Ventev and Tessco, because of their leading wireless position in North America, to exclusively bring to the North American market our DAS technology," comments Hank Adamany, managing director of Venti Group. "Our partnership enables Ventev to expand the use of Venti technology in additional products in the future."

With the ever increasing use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, network operators in colleges, stadiums, corporate office buildings and city centers are tasked with providing next-generation cellular coverage and capacity both indoors and outdoors, as well as minimizing the contribution to noise levels introduced into the system as bandwidth needs increase. The RF technologies for DAS developed by Venti and incorporated into Ventev's TerraWave antennas will solve these challenges, say the companies.

Ventev, a specialist in engineering-driven wireless products that support wireless radio deployments in enterprise environments, says it chose the Venti Group as a technology partner because of the company's proficiency in low-PIM technologies, as well as its patented horizontal polarization RF technologies. Ventev will market, sell, and distribute these innovative products through Tessco Technologies.

"We are very enthusiastic about the partnership with the Venti Group and the antenna products we are creating that incorporate Venti technologies to solve complicated RF challenges," concludes Jeff Lime, vice president of Ventev Wireless Infrastructure. "We look forward to sharing these exciting innovations with our customers in the near future."

28-AWG mini Category 6A patch cables

Quabbin Wire and Cable Company introduced its DataMax Mini-6a F/UTP patch cable at the BICSI Winter Conference. The new Category 6A patch cables from Quabbin include 28-AWG conductors and incorporate a spline-free design, which gives the cable a reduced diameter, the company explains. "Features include a 23-percent reduction in size, a 38-percent smaller cross-sectional area and a 33-percent difference in weight when compared to standard 26-AWG F/UTP patch cable," Quabbin said when announcing the cable.

"DataMax Mini-6a F/UTP will meet Category 6A plug-to-plug electrical and transmission parameters up to 56 meters, making it an excellent solution for data center patching solutions, top-of-rack applications and other temperature-sensitive spaces where patch-cable transmission-distance is secondary to maximizing airflow," Quabbin added.

Modular data center installed base forecast to grow at 30 percent annually

The new report "Containerized and Modular Data Centers – 2015" available from IHS estimates that nearly 200 Megawatts (MW) of IT load capacity is currently housed in containerized or modular data centers around the world. "With growth of new shipments estimated at roughly 20 percent for 2015, the installed base figure will grow to between 250 and 300 MW by the end of the year," IHS said, "making containerized and modular data centers account for 1 percent of the total data center IT load estimated."

Report author Liz Cruz commented, "While 1 percent may seem like a small number to some, it should be remembered that containerized data centers have only been commercially offered for a few years, and we're looking at penetration of all data center IT load globally, which IHS currently estimates to be nearing 30,000 MW. So a measly 1 percent ends up being an annual market worth almost three-quarters of a billion dollars."

The installed base of containerized and modular data centers--as measured in IT load capacity--is projected to grow at a nearly 30-percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years, according to IHS. "A wider swath of customers has become aware of the benefits of containerized and modular data centers," the research firm said, "leading to increased adoption in recent years. The appeal of these units includes speed of deployment, outsourced data center design, mobility, offsite manufacturing, a single point of control for all systems, and potential tax and real estate cost reductions. In addition to the hyperscale customers who helped to popularize the idea of putting thousands of servers in one mobile enclosure, the market now includes an increasing number of innovative and niche uses for these products. One recent example is a project by a Phoenix-area public utility which plans to deploy a containerized data center near one of its generation plants in order to provide power directly from a bulk transmission line, thereby negating the need for a backup generator."

Cruz provided some perspective on the entire data center landscape, and modular data centers' place in that landscape, with the observation: "It will likely be 2025 or later before containerized data centers will account for as much as 5 percent of the total IT load capacity, and it is not expected that penetration will ever move much beyond that mark. So while containerized data centers are currently growing at a much faster rate than traditional ones, they will always remain a comparatively small portion of the market. But a niche in a very large market can be significant all on its own and worth billions of dollars to data center infrastructure suppliers."

900-micron outside-plant fiber-optic drop cable

Clearfield Inc. recently announced FieldShield StrongFiber--an outside-plant (OSP)-rated ready-for-in-duct-placement 900-micron optical fiber that the company says "delivers exceptional pull strength in a small form factor. Teamed with other elements within the FieldShield product line, StrongFiber reduces the cost of fiber deployment with reduced installation time, material weight and slack-storage requirement," Clearfield continues.

Matt Brigham, product marketing manager for Clearfield, adds, "To reduce the cost of broadband deployment, we need to reduce not only the skill and time required for site installation, but also the extent of the pre-engineering required. The size and strength of StrongFiber allow for the product to be deployed in any environment without concern for drop lengths chosen. Teamed with other elements of the FieldShield product line, StrongFiber can be used in most environments in place of flat drop optical cable, where conduit or microduct is being used."

Clearfield says StrongFiber is the first 900-micron OSP drop cable, explaining the "user may specify standard connectors or FieldShield Pushable Connectors that enable FieldShield StrongFiber to be easily pulled through FieldShield Ruggedized Microduct. Teamed with spooling technology incorporated into Clearfield's SmartRoute Deploy Reel, StrongFiber drop cables of up to 300 feet are shipped in a 4.5x1-inch reel with integrated bulkhead and premated adapter that can be easily mounted into a small-form-factor fiber management element of choice--from customer wall boxes, demarcation points, pedestals and cabinets in SFU/MDU environments."

The company adds that StrongFiber can be used as an inside-plant (ISP) cable as well and when deployed in the ISP, it "reduces pre-engineering and on-site installation time for MDU [multiple-dwelling unit] and riser deployments.

"The high variability of MDU architectures has made FTTP [fiber-to-the-premises] deployments within those structures a challenge," Clearfield explains. "Extensive engineering has been required to ensure proper cable lengths. With StrongFiber, pre-engineering is minimal because the 4.5-inch SmartRoute Deploy Reel, upon which StrongFiber is shipped, can be mounted at the destination site and the desired length simply pulled from the wheel to the access point. The small form factor of the 900-micron fiber makes slack storage minimal and easy to accommodate. The exceptional pull strength of StrongFiber makes it craft-friendly and easy for the technician to handle without fear of fiber damage."

StrongFiber is now shipping, alongside the other elements of the FieldShield fiber-delivery system.

As a technical primer about the deployment of StrongFiber, Clearfield offers the following: One or both ends of the StrongFiber Cable are terminated with a FieldShield Pushable Connector for transport through FieldShield Ruggedized Microduct. Once the pushable connector has reached its destination, the connector assembly is completed with the supplied connector housings and the connector is mated to the adapter. The remaining slack on the reel is pre-stored with no further slack management required. The terminated end on the reel is pre-tested, cleaned, and mated in a Clearfield factory environment, leaving the technician to simply mate the patch cord to the adapter on the wheel. The small form factor of the cable assembly and deploy reel allows the StrongFiber to be pulled, and slack stored, from the customer demarcation point if the service provider chooses. This reduces the size requirements of the access point (above or below grade), providing for a more aesthetically pleasing solution in the neighborhood. With less cable weight and, therefore, less coefficient of friction, installations are more timely and with minimal friction as the cable is pulled through bends and turns throughout the route path.

TIA developing TSB to test installed copper cabling for 2.5G, 5G capability

At its February meeting, the Telecommunications Industry Association's (TIA) TR-42.7 Subcommittee issued a Project Authorization Request (PAR) to develop a telecommunications systems bulletin (TSB) for the purpose of evaluating installed twisted-pair cabling systems for their ability to support 2.5- and 5-Gbit/sec.

As we have reported, the IEEE is in the early stages of developing 2.5GBase-T and 5GBase-T specifications and the IEEE is targeting the installed base of Category 5e and Category 6 cabling to support 2.5 and 5GBase-T. The application driving these standards-group activities is Wave 2 of 802.11ac wireless LAN, which has theoretical throughput of multiple gigabits.

In its PAR, TR-42.7 said the TSB it intends to publish will include test requirements needed to qualify installed cabling to support 2.5 and 5GBase-T. The TSB may also recommend mitigation procedures that could be used on installed systems.

No definite timetable has been set for the publication of any of these specifications--2.5GBase-T, 5GBase-T, or this TSB. We will continue to report on the potential approval of this PAR and a corresponding TSB number.

HP acquiring Aruba Networks

Wireless LAN technology provider Aruba Networks is being acquired by HP in a deal the companies say has an "equity value" of $3 billion and "net of cash and debt approximately $2.7 billion." The deal was announced by both companies March 2.

Aruba, with approximately 1,800 employees, had revenues of $729 million in its fiscal year 2014, the companies' announcement said, adding that Aruba has enjoyed a compound-annual growth rate of 30 percent for the past five years.

"Aruba boasts a highly regarded innovation engine and specialized sales, marketing and channel model, complementing HP's leading networking business and go-to-market breadth," the announcement added. "Together, HP and Aruba will deliver next-generation converged campus solutions, leveraging the strong Aruba brand."

The announcement further observed, "With the shift to mobile, enterprise networking needs are exceeding the capabilities of legacy infrastructure. At the same time, organizations are shifting rapidly to mobility-centric workplaces for their employees, guests, customers and students. The next-generation 802.11ac WiFi standard is critical in enabling this trend. This new technology will support the faster speeds and access to cloud applications that end-users expect. Enterprises need comprehensive, integrated and secure networking solutions to help them transition legacy systems to the wireless age. Today's announcement directly addresses these market trends."

HP's chairman, president and chief executive officer, Meg Whitman, commented, "By combining Aruba's world-class wireless mobility solutions with HP's leading switching portfolio, HP will offer the simplest, most-secure networking solutions to help enterprises easily deploy next-generation mobile networks."

Aruba's chief executive officer, Dominic Orr, will lead the combined organization along with Aruba's chief strategy and technology officer Keerti Melkote; both will report to HP enterprise group leader Antonio Neri. Orr said, "This transaction brings together Aruba's best-of-breed mobility hardware and software solutions with HP's leading switching portfolio. In addition, Aruba's channel partners will have the opportunity to expand their business with HP offerings."

The companies said they expect the transaction to close in the second half of HP's fiscal year 2015.

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