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Two days of lost productivity

Earlier this year, Microsoft Corp. released results of an online personal productivity survey which found that while the average work week of many is 45 hours, upwards of 17 hours or close to two full...


July 1, 2005  


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Earlier this year, Microsoft Corp. released results of an online personal productivity survey which found that while the average work week of many is 45 hours, upwards of 17 hours or close to two full days are considered totally unproductive.

Aside from putting in too many hours in the first place, which probably should be the subject of a follow-up survey, the 38,000 workers from 200 countries who responded blamed the downtime on everything from poor team communications to an inability to quickly access electronic documents.

Clearly something needs to change and since it is unlikely the workweek is going to be reduced any time soon, the next best thing is improved network communications.

High performance connectivity has a role to play in reclaiming those two days of lost productivity each week, according to a major new study by Systimax Solutions entitled Meeting the Network Connectivity Challenge.

As Finona Nolan, global marketing director at Systimax points out in a story that appears on p. 6, IT managers are willing to adopt new cabling technology at an early stage to ensure they have the bandwidth they need.

“Without reliable, high bandwidth connections, networks cannot channel the rising tide of data traffic or deliver information without delay,” the study says. “High quality network infrastructure is essential if new applications designed to improve productivity are to give a full return on investment.

Over the past few years, LAN connectivity has continued to advance rapidly in anticipation of growing demand for end-to-end network bandwidth, it states.

“For example, the standard for data transmission at 10 Gb/s over UTP copper is rapidly proceeding towards completion as network-intensive applications, such as voice- and video-over-IP, are reaching maturity. At the same time, new applications, such as grid computing, are emerging to make even greater demands on the physical layer of LAN infrastructures.”

Frank Murawski, president of FTM Consulting Inc. believes fiber, not copper, will rule. His report on the state of the structured cabling market, released in early July, concludes that renewed growth will be driven by the need for network relief in those networks experiencing bottlenecks.

“The need for higher speeds will primarily include Gigabit Ethernet speeds in excess of 1 Gbps,” Murawski says. “This will require fiber cabling, as copper cabling will not provide the performance required. Our analysis indicates that copper UTP cabling will under perform for speeds in excess of 1 Gbps over longer distances.

He is projecting a major shift in the market by 2008, when, for the first time, fiber cabling shipments will exceed copper UTP cabling shipments.

The cabling is expected to become the dominant media for applications such as data centres, campus and Fiber-to-the-Zone (FTTZ). In addition, fiber cabling will continue to be the dominant cabling used in riser cabling subsystems.

According to this study, fiber cabling shipments are forecast to grow from US$1.2 billion in 2005, at a growth rate of 26.3%, to US$4 billion by 2010. The highest growth application is expected to be data centres, which is something that should start to happen within the next 12 months.

Like Carleton University (see story p. 14), organizations need to start opening up their wallets.