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Feature: A New Kind of Training

With its trainee-based learning approach, professional training courses and customized laboratory-tutoring programs, the International Institute of Telecommunications (IIT) in Montreal is a good place to receive structured cabling and telecommunications training.

November 1, 2001  

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In the May-June 1999 issue of Cabling Systems magazine, the creation of the International Institute of Telecommunications (IIT) in Montreal was announced. The Institute, which opened in the fall of 1999, has now been in existence for three years and is providing vital training to the structured cabling and telecommunications sector in Canada.

The IIT’s curriculum contains more than 70 professional training courses and some 30 customized laboratory-tutoring programs. The trainee, rather than the instructor, is at the centre of the learning dynamics, making the ITT a valuable education experience for the more than 3500 trainees who have visited the Institution since its inception.


The ITT originated as a coming together of interests. The Institute’s member companies and universities had a need for well-trained personnel, the Provincial Government had a strong desire to develop driving sectors, and there was a general need within the telecommunications industry itself. These factors merged to help in establishing the appropriate environment for an international telecommunications training centre.

Beginning with 22 members, the Institute added another 10 since its creation and welcomes new members from the telecommunications industry and universities or similar academic institutions. Although many of its members are competitive providers of products and services, as members of the Institute they engage in “coopetition” in establishing requirements for the trainees and providing direction to the Institute. Success can only be achieved if members work together towards common goals that transcend their individual corporate objectives.

The Institute remains impartial in its relations with members. With an objective to develop a greater pool of qualified workers to fulfill the requirements of a quickly growing market, the Institute strives to provide the training required by both the personnel of its member companies and the users of the equipment they sell and services they provide.

In order to comply with its member’s demands for new courses, the Institute relies on a pool of professionals to develop and provide new training on an ongoing basis. New courses are developed and existing courses are customized to fulfill the specific needs of members or specific groups. In short, the Institute is defined by and for its members, and it will grow with them.


The mission of the Institute is to be recognized as a catalyst in the world of training, a venue for bringing together important stakeholders and a global technological hub for telecommunications. With its industrial and academic focus, the Institute combines the cooperation of telecommunications companies, the industry and academic institutions in formulating the training requirements.

The ITT’s leading-edge laboratory accurately reproduces the “multiservice” networks used by its member companies. It is a typical centre that can be remotely accessed and enables users to assimilate the interoperability between the different networks, equipment and protocols. The Institute provides a unique environment for learning and simulating work environment situations without interrupting corporations’ networks.


The Institute courses are categorized into two groups — customized courses and public courses. Customized courses are those identified by member companies as being specific to their needs. The Institute applies its Learning System Engineering Method (LSE) to design and deliver the required solution to the client.

Public courses are open to everyone, including members and non-members. These are offered at various levels of instruction, and are classified according to the following categories:

Basic telecommunications concepts


Local Area Networks

ATM and Sonet/SDH Technologies

Internet Networks and IP Technology

Internet Security

Voice over IP

Private Networks


Network Management

Physical Plant


Two of the three courses that are on the program under the Physical Plant designation are oriented towards the cabling professional. The first, IIT-208, is a two-day course on Structured Cabling. The second IIT-211 addresses Bonding and Grounding for Telecommunications. The third, IIT-720, is called Fiber Optics and is targeted at engineers, professionals and others with a basic knowledge of photonics and waveguides.

Although structured cabling is one of the least expensive parts of a network, it is often the most neglected. Cabling is often the last thing planners think about and it ends up being the item that no budget was allotted for. Therefore, everyone tries to install the least expensive cabling system. The Structured Cabling course (IIT-208) explains how important the cabling is to a network. The two-day course requires that trainees have some basic knowledge of LANs. It consists mainly of classroom instruction and includes a laboratory activity that covers termination of structured cabling (copper and fiber), overhead and access floor pathways. The lab activity exposes students to the various pieces of equipment used in a network.

As part of this course, students learn how to plan and design the installation of a structured cabling system, based on the TIA/EIA standards. While many people have attended manufacturers’ courses on cabling, these courses are usually oriented towards the manufacturers’ products. The Institute’s course is not specific to any one manufacturer and covers the planning and design of standards-compliant cabling systems.

This course is recognized by BICSI for a value of 14 CECs towards RCDD renewal and 14 CECs towards RCDD/LAN renewal.


The Bonding and Grounding course (ITT-211) addresses the area of grounding — one of the most neglected items associated with telecommunications. Few people realize that approximately 60 per cent of damage to telecommunications equipment due to lightening strikes is caused by poor or no grounding. Each customer building should be provided with an appropriate bonding and grounding system that can assure good and safe grounding for telecommunications.

The two-day bonding and grounding course teaches students how to design a bonding and grounding system for customer buildings, based on the TIA/EIA Bonding and Grounding for Telecommunications standard. Students focus on personnel safety, in addition to the grounding required for the operation of telecommunications equipment and the reduction of noise. The course also covers isolated ground power outlets.

ITT-211 course is recognized by BICSI for a value of 14 CECs towards RCDD renewal.

The Fiber Optics course (IIT-720) covers propagation and components. The prerequisites for attending the course are basic knowledge of photonics and waveguides or relevant experience. Trainees will learn light propagation and dispersion in fiber optics. Various types of optical fiber are explored and the components associated with fiber optics operation are reviewed (i.e., filters, fused couplers, optical isolators, circulators and amplifiers).


The Institute, in collaboration with its industry partners and academic institutions, strives to further the training of future engineering graduates through its telecommunications concentration. The activities create an environment that promotes interaction and cooperation between member companies and students in their final year of academic training. Many of the courses provided by the Institute are part of the curriculum of Information Technology Engineering divisions of academic institutions.

Concerned with the quality of its services, the Institute has adopted strict selection criteria to ensure a qualified workforce with unique competencies. Evaluation of trainees, based on behaviours associated with work performance, assists partners in pre-selection of potential candidates. For companies, this identifies desired profiles in accordance with their working environments. For trainees, it provides performance prediction reports,
based on working environments. The result is the identification of the candidates most apt to perform in any given environment.

Dunn Harvey, RCDD, has been involved in the telecommunications industry for more than 44 years, and has long been associated with the provision of cabling for customer buildings. His career includes 32 years with Bell Canada, 10 years with Nortel and NORDX and two years as a consultant.

Industry Giants

The creation of this kind of training centre requires the support of industry giants. Among the members of the Board of Governors are Jean C. Monty, chairman; Charles Sirois, vice-chairman; Pierre Laferrire, chair of the Board of Directors; and Christine Gagnon, president.

Techno-Watch Conference Program

As part of its training program, the Institute organizes conferences that bring together recognized experts on topics that are of interest to its members. The courses are available in English or French and are generally given at the Institute’s own Training Centre.

Course information and schedules are available on the Institute’s web site at or by calling (514) 394-0022.

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