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Structuring mainstream biz

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DQW Bureau
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In a short span of three years, structured cabling emerged as one of the top

segments in the components space, continuously evolving itself amidst a wide

competitive market. However, the growth standards as were projected in the

industry did not fare well, owing primarily to the slowdown.

Admitting the same fact, Navin Jacob Mathew, National Sales

Director-Enterprise Networks (India & SAARC), ADC Krone said, "The structured

cabling market did face a slump globally due to the recession but the Indian

economy continues to offer lot of growth potential. As per our estimate the

market tanked at least 10-15 percent in value. However, because of the lower

operating prices the volumes were comparable to the year before."

"Structured cabling industry has grown marginally in the last two years. If

we consider the number of cable boxes shipped, the typical indicative product

growth is just three percent, as against the conventional 25 percent YoY. The

figures this year are encouraging," said Milind Tamhane, VP-ITS Manufacturing,

Digilink.

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Despite the slowdown, the structured cabling segment has made commendable

progress by entering the main gamut of networking infrastructure. "Structured

cabling constitutes only five percent of the total network infrastructure. It is

no longer considered a peripheral product, for the fact that very sophisticated

and technologically advanced active devices can be rendered useless, if the

structured cabling solution used is poor. It is considered to be the nerve

center of the network infrastructure and needs to be properly designed &

installed in order to get the maximum out of a network," said KK Shetty,

Director, Tyco Electronics Corporation.

With the evolution of broadband and the onset of the 3G technology in India,

the demand for bandwidth has grown greatly, resulting in an increased need for

high-speed switches and routers.

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New Technologies



With increasing network density, higher port counts on panels, better

vertical and horizontal cable management industry experts predict a considerable

drop in mid-span Power over Ethernet (PoE) technologies. Thus an end-span PoE

solution is predicted to take over the existing mid-span PoE .

"10G and Intelligent Physical-Layer Management have been the recent

developments in the technological space. After the release of 10 gig cabling

standard, IEEE started work on 40 gig and 100 gig," elucidated Mathew.

10G Ethernet is possible over single-mode and multi-mode fiber, and the Cat7

STP solution. But experts feel that since Cat7 STP is a fully-shielded solution,

its installation is difficult than a UTP solution. The difficulties that exist

in installation of Cat7 lead to the development of 10G Ethernet over UTP.

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Prasanna Kumar, Regional Director-India & SAARC, Leviton said, "Recent

ratification of the new OM4 fiber standard makes it the latest technology

available to us. This fiber cabling will allow an extended distance compared to

the previous standard of OM3. It will also support the new 40/100 gig standards

under study by IEEE 802."

"10G over Copper, use of newer single mode fiber in LAN, products and

technologies suitable for fiber to the home applications, entire range of

products specifically designed for datacenter applications, then there are

hybrid products for residential applications. With the advent of superior

technologies, obsolescence of older technologies like Cat5e UTP, coaxial cables,

low bandwidth MM fiber is bound to happen. However as ITS standards support

backward compatibility older installations will continue working, may be slower

in performance," Tamhane elaborated.

10G cabling systems are high-bandwidth, high-speed systems that are available

in both copper and fiber variants. Nowadays, structured cabling technologies are

designed to cater to all the demands of a typical datacenter, while future

proofing it for changing needs of the business. The 10G solutions that are

available on both twisted pair (Cat6A-shielded and unshielded) and fiber are

effective for bandwidth hungry applications. While twisted pair is the norm in

most Indian network infrastructures, technologically fiber is the more superior

solution and today's datacenters adopt both twisted pair and fiber, singly or in

combination to derive most effective solutions for their needs.

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The market segments



Any LAN or a datacenter environment are primary users of structured cabling

solutions. And organizations within few verticals have a consistent growth and

expansion plan, therefore become primary users of structures cabling. The key

verticals in this space are telecom, manufacturing, ITeS, government and PSUs

with a major chunk accounting for the airports and infrastructure development

companies.

IT and ITeS are the most active users of structured cabling solutions, as

there is highest network development in these verticals. This is closely

followed by telecom and finance, where the use of structured cabling solutions

is in development of datacenters, Internet datacenters and disaster recovery

centers.

Call for training needs



However, the real limitation to the industry comes from the actual skill set

available and planned implementation of the same at ground level.

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A network is as good as the quality of its installation. The best practices

used in the design and installation of cabling system will ensure a good quality

communication infrastructure. A proper training program is essential as the

partners are responsible for actual implementation.

Commenting on the training needs for SPs in India Matthew said, "Most network

problems result from faulty implementations, thus the partners need to be given

detailed training in this field.

ADC Krone conducts Integrator Training for copper, fiber optics and physical

layer management solutions. Also, we have actively been promoting BICSI, which

is an international organization promoting right installation methods and

developing standards promotion skills. The organization also offers accredited

training programs in India which are vendor neutral."

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Tyco Electronics is a company that recognized this gap in training early on.

"For the last 15 years we have devoted a lot of time and resources in educating

the Indian market. We undertake regular technology updates for our partners, and

have now extended to B and C-class cities as well. We offer a highly

professional, globally accredited training program called AMPACT. Our training

centers in Bengaluru, New Delhi and Pune, offer specialized modules. These

courses are completely standards-based and do not promote the Tyco Electronics

brand. An engineer attending this course must qualify with 72 percent marks in

order to get the certification for this course," Shetty said.

Future Predictions



The vendors have been pinning their hopes on the phase of recovery, but they

do not seem to be confident enough to expand at this moment. "The impact of the

slowdown on the industry led to shrinking of the market by almost 30 percent.

This was far worse in IT and ITeS sectors and all industries, except government

and infrastructure projects experienced it. The Indian economy has already

started to show signs of recovery. In our estimate the market will become stable

by the second quarter of 2010, but we expect to see real growth only in 2011,"

Shetty concluded.

Indian structured cabling market is at a growth phase unlike the mature

markets in the developed nations. However, some segments like IT, ITeS and BFSI

which contributed to higher growth did not have the same potential in 2009 due

to delayed projects and delayed expansion plans. However, it is projected that

government, education and telecom verticals continues to grow and will

compensate the slowdown in some segments.

Signing the same tone, Mathew also concluded, "It is too early to comment if

the phase of recovery has begun in India, but we do see few projects gaining

momentum".

Avishek Rakshit



avishekr@cybermedia.co.in

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