Volume 8 | Issue 5 | Year 2005

It was a different world of communications ADC was born into in 1935: fiber optics were viewed as being over-imaginative science fiction and bundling meant tying together wires so no one would trip over them.
A company called ADC (which initially stood for Audio Development Company) arrived on the scene by advancing the audiometer, invented by Alexander Graham Bell as an instrument for the deaf. The company holds thousands of patents and developed the original bantam jack technology still used in networks. In 70 years ADC has grown to become a world leader in providing global network infrastructure products and services that enable the efficient and continuous delivery of high-speed Internet, data, video, and voice services to consumers and businesses worldwide.

In today’s marketplace, in which events are occurring as rapidly as the speed of transmission, ADC is once again ahead of the curve in responding to major trends, one of which involves what is known as fiber to the premises or fiber-to-the-x (FTTX), including fiber to node, or fiber to curb technologies. ADC has developed fiber equipment and optical components designed for the central office, the outside plant fiber and the fiber distribution terminal; this includes fiber frames, fiber routing systems, test and system control products and components.

The company has also devised the industry’s first FTTP platform designed from the ground up, knowing that new fiber-to-the-premises technologies require a new approach to the outside plant. Because there is more fiber to manage, there is greater need for physical layer access; it becomes critical to design the network for future expansion and upgrades. ADC guarantees at least 57 dB return loss on all of its connectorized fiber jumpers, with typical values averaging 60 dB. In addition, ADC’s fiber termination frames overcome cable management problems associated with isolated fiber panels scattered throughout a central office by offering organized systems. In designing fiber frames, ADC focuses on modularity and flexibility. ADC, notes President and CEO Bob Switz, works with thousands of fibers that are split in different configurations to reach their designated locations. The company does an extensive amount of work with some of the world’s largest service providers including Verizon and BellSouth, as well as independent operating companies.

For the innovative carriers and municipalities now building fiber networks, ADC offers its OmniReach(tm) FTTX equipment. As fiber is being deployed deeper into the network, OmniReach solutions enable efficient delivery of broadband services. ADC’s OmniReach(tm) FTTX infrastructure solutions meet the unique requirements of FTTX networks. By building network infrastructures upon ADC’s OmniReach, service providers maximize operational efficiency from the central office to the outside plant. A market leader for FTTX solutions, ADC offers wavelength division multiplexers, fiber distribution terminals and fiber access terminals, including the new OmniReach Multi-Fiber Service Terminal (MST).

The newly released MST is designed for optical access networks, featuring OptiTap(tm) ruggedized connector housings that are manufactured and integrated at ADC. Available in 2-, 4-, 6-, 8- and 12-port options, the MST is designed to withstand a wide variety of outside plant conditions.

One company that has come on board with this technology is Alltel Communications Products, which recently announced that it will lead with ADC’s OmniReach product line as its premium FTTX solution. The combination of passive and active components in the Alltel product portfolio will provide telecommunications providers access to a complete end-to-end solution. “The MST is yet another example of ADC’s innovation and responsiveness to customer requirements in the FTTX marketplace,” notes Scott Evans, director of marketing for Alltel Communications Products. “ADC is a market leader when it comes to FTTX solutions and a strategic partner we value to provide our customers with reliable and cost-effective connectivity solutions for their FTTX networks.” “Alltel Communications Products selected ADC because OmniReach solutions are the right choice for their customers,” said Tom Kampf, director of FTTX Solutions product management for ADC. “This line is designed from the ground-up to meet the unique requirements of FTTX networks. By building network infrastructures upon ADC’s OmniReach solutions, service providers accelerate deployment, maximize operational efficiency and make their FTTX plans a reality.”

Other areas in which ADC is supplying a critical demand include wireless applications, in which capacities are becoming more strained because of the higher bandwidths needed to sustain the increased use of gadgets such as mobile video phones. Because of this, wireless carriers are looking to expand their coverage needs so that they can easily handle the daytime capacity while providing coverage in areas such as traffic management without the added cost of erecting costly base stations and cellular towers. “There are many areas in which there are high demands on cellular networks and wireless operators continue to seek low-cost methods to meet coverage and capacity demands,” says Switz. “As mobile use continues to increase, it’s critical for these networks to be highly reliable and always available.”

That’s where ADC’s Digivance(r) solution enters the picture. Digivance is the only all-digital RF transport solution available today. The solution uses ADC’s patented digital radio frequency (RF) transport technology to boost the performance and signal quality of wireless coverage. It virtually eliminates signal degradation and noise encountered with analog transport systems and amplifiers. The result is clearer reception and higher data throughput that wireless providers can deploy wherever added capacity and coverage is needed.

True solutions
In still another highly visible area, network infrastructure for large enterprise organizations, ADC is currently in the midst of a campaign to bolster recognition for its TrueNet(r) offering, a high-performance structured cabling solution that offers the industry’s first “zero bit error” warranty that guarantees signal integrity and throughput.

In tandem with TrueNet, ADC offers the CopperTen(tm) system, billed as “the world’s first UTP structured cabling system with the necessary characteristics to enable 10 Gbps Ethernet transmission over a full 100 meters.” The end-to-end system features patent-pending design elements that minimize alien crosstalk and insertion loss. CopperTen meets the industry’s most stringent standards including IEEE 802.3an and TIA 568 B.2 CopperTen(tm) 10-Gigabit Ethernet over UTP solutions are an integral part of TrueNet(r). Another core component of the TrueNet solution includes ADC’s Midspan Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Controller. The PoE Controller provides a flexible way to power IP devices over a local area network. The IEEE 802.3af-compliant midspan controller reliably powers VoIP telephones, WiFi access points, security cameras, and other Ethernet devices. Delivering up to 15.4 Watts of power per port, ADC’s midspan controllers feature 24 ports in a compact one rack-unit panel. Up to five panels can be daisy-chained and controlled via one CPU card and a single IP address. The Power-over-Ethernet Midspan Controllers are an integral part of ADC’s TrueNet(r) Structured Cabling System.

Growing beyond
To further enhance its proven line of products ADC acquired the KRONE Group, in 2004. This acquisition enabled ADC to expand its global presence and enter new markets, serving public and private networks around the world with global copper- and fiber-based connectivity solutions and cabling products. “This was a strategic acquisition for us and helped ADC to become a company committed to serve our global customer base,” Switz says. “We have emerged from a three-plus-year industry-wide downturn and ADC is back in a growth mode, focused on profitably growing the business while providing the innovative technologies our customers require to advance their networks.””We have a unique value proposition,” Switz adds. “We are one of only a few manufacturers to focus on infrastructure, the physical layer that all networks need.

As electronics get upgraded and network managers need the latest equipment, our solutions allow quick and easy upgrades, which means services can be added without shutting down a network. We chose to focus specifically on the infrastructure layer. Other competitors may offer products across the whole gamut of passive and active technologies but we have basically carved a niche that is critical to every network.”

In doing so, the company has been able to weather some tough times. ADC’s FY 2004 revenues of $784 million are reflective of the burst in the telecom bubble that worsened with 9/11 but in the last 12 months, Switz maintains that the industry is stabilizing, and ADC is growing once again, precipitating a prediction of $1.17 billion in revenue at the end of the company’s fiscal year 2005. This figure is being enhanced in large part to the decision by senior management to focus on infrastructure products and services.

With 8,600 employees globally, ADC has manufacturing facilities in Minneapolis, Vermont and Nebraska, Germany, U.K., Australia and China as well as distribution centers in Santa Teresa, N.M. and Juarez, Mexico. Through this extensive and capable network the company is poised to produce and supply communication needs across a broad market base.