Note: we have been revealing in recent blog posts the top 40 innovations made by CommScope (or one of its acquired companies) as part of our 40th anniversary celebration. We continue today by revealing an innovation from the final grouping of innovations—the top 10—which are being announced in alphabetical order. These are our all-time greatest product and technology innovations. You can also review the complete list of innovations we’ve revealed so far and read more about the overall program and selection process in this November 4 post.
CommScope’s Top 40 Innovations—Grouping 1-10
Structured Cabling Systems
cabling systems include all of the cables, wire, and associated equipment and
apparatus necessary to provide service from the network interface to the
information outlet at the work location, or to any communication device within
the customer premise.
Year of the
What is the innovation
that CommScope or one of its acquired companies was first in creating?
In 1983, Bell Laboratories developed the first structured
cabling system, which it called a Premises Distribution System (PDS) - an efficient,
controlled architecture providing
connectivity for voice, data, video and related applications. It included all
of the cables, wire, and associated equipment and apparatus necessary to
provide service from the network interface (where the local telephone company
facilities interconnect to the PDS) to the information outlet at the work
location or to communication devices within the customer premise. In the PDS’s
star-wired configuration, all cables ran back to a central point. The PDS
provided a structured, systematic way of doing things and established standards
for deploying cabling within a building, including cross-connects and outlet
terminations. The PDS typically serves a building or group of buildings, but does
not include the telephone company network facilities or the equipment connected
to the PDS.
As time progressed, the need for a unique marketing name for
the PDS became clear, and it was branded SYSTIMAX Structured Cabling System (“SYSTIMAX
SCS”) in 1989, and included a long-term system warranty that was far ahead of
all competition at the time. AT&T’s
SYSTIMAX SCS became known as a single, modular, integrated system that supports
data, voice, graphics, and video communications, as well as various types of LAN
(local area network) standards. It has been the industry’s top choice in
structured cabling for both copper and fiber since its creation. The SYSTIMAX division was divested by
AT&T into Lucent Technologies, then divested further into Avaya, and ultimately
acquired by CommScope in 2004.
What was happening in
the market that this innovation was needed?
Before the PDS, the Bell System was responsible for voice
infrastructure, and data was done via Ethernet coax cabling on a bus
architecture to which users would attach and share bandwidth. When the Bell
System broke up in 1983, individual enterprises became responsible for their
voice infrastructure, and therefore needed a systematic way to wire their
buildings to handle voice as well as higher data rates. At about the same time,
the introduction of digital transmission media, fiber cabling, and equipment
into the network created a need for new construction guidelines and a
systematic approach to infrastructure for an entire building or group of
buildings in a campus environment.
How did this
innovation benefit customers and the industry?
PDS and SYSTIMAX SCS were the first systematic approach to communications
cabling in a building, enabling the early Ethernet LANs with Category 3 cable
(Cat-3). Through many iterations, improvements, and
continued innovation, the system has evolved to support today’s ultra-high
speeds and complex network architectures for the intelligent building, the
campus, and the data center. The mission remains the same, however, helping our
customers to meet their bandwidth demands; to simplify the planning, design,
and construction of complex networks; and to stay ahead of their technology
needs. With PDS and SYSTIMAX SCS, customers enjoy a standardized way of
implementing a network that was application-independent and could scale with
Did this innovation
act as the springboard for other innovations, and if so, how do they all tie
While SYSTIMAX SCS started out using basic 25-count twisted
pair cable and 110 systems, it has evolved into a broad portfolio of copper and
fiber cable and connector products. Today the CommScope portfolio includes all
cable and apparatus associated with its PowerSUM (Cat-5e), GigaSPEED XL (Cat-6),
GigaSPEED X10D (Cat-6A), InstaPATCH 360, OptiSPEED, LazrSPEED (OM3, OM4, OM5),
and TeraSPEED products.
In a larger sense, PDS and SYSTIMAX SCS have evolved from a
group of parts that were brought together to form the first PDS network, into
today’s true network solution supporting complex network architectures and
applications for the intelligent building, the data center and a series of
other networks required by CommScope customers.
What is the
significance of the innovation for CommScope?
This was the first structured cabling system on the market
and the foundation on which the global structured cabling industry was built.
It enabled an entire industry, and CommScope is the clear market leader in the
Top 40 Innovations