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J.P. Morgan banks on fiber.


J.P. Morgan-- the name conjures images of America's emerging industrial might in the 1800s.

The banking and financial enterprise founded by John Pierpoint Morgan backed the railroads, steel, and other bedrock industries of the young nation. Still as strong force in the business world today, J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc. now is participating in another technological revolution sweeping the nation: the fiber-optic revolution, an undertaking as bold as the transcontinental railroads Morgan championed one hundred years ago.

Completed this year, J.P. Morgan's new headquarters on 60 Wall Street in New York is an example of a leading financial company's strategic assessment that a state-of-the-art communications network is essential for the company's continued success.

The 47-story building includes a number of networks that employ optical fiber because of its high-band-width, low-loss performance.

Optical fiber supports a variety of networks and communications systems at 60 Wall Street.

Thousands of voice/data terminals and market data screens are linked by the cable plant.

On the trading floors, fiber use is especially prominent.

Each trading position is served by a 12-fiber cable leading to it from one of two data centers, where trading support equipment is located.

The cable, which contains Corning 62.5/125 multimode fiber, provides transmission for network quotation services, including Knight-Ridder, Trade Centers, Moneycenter, Telerate, Reuters, FBI, and Cantor.

The cable came from U.K.-based Pilkington Communications Systems Ltd., which also designed and manufactured the system electronics. "We designed the high-resolution information distribution system around Corning's 62.5/125 fiber," says Geoff N. Andrews, Pilkington's managing director. "The fiber quality, coupled with our transceiver equipment, allowed us to achieve the high-performance demanded by J.P. Morgan."

Berk-Tek Inc., New Holland, Pa., worked with Pilkington in the design and manufacture of the cable. According to engineers at Berk-Tek and Pilkington, the attenuation performance of the cable is unique for a tight-buffer design. About 90% of the cable shipped tested at or ounder 3dB/km at 850 nm, and 1dB/km at 1300 nm.

Fiber was installed for various purposes, including distribution of market data in video format.

Ready For Change

"There's enough fiber to handle emerging needs for several years," says John R. Anderson, Morgan's vice president in the computing and communications services department.

The advent of higher data rates, super-computing workstations and graphic chart services also was a factor. "We wanted to be sure that our cable plant could provide the level of service our traders would require in the near future," says Georege M. Liscinsky, assistant treasurer in the department.

"We went with a 12-strand fiber cable," says Anderson, "mainly so we could use proven technology. With analog transmission of color video services, multiplexing technology is not available, neccessitating the use of three strands for every color monitor. "Estimates by Morgan also showed that analog video muxing cost more than adding two extra fibers.

Second, officials at Morgan anticipate certain changes in securities laws that would allow the company to expand into major new business areas.

In the new occupancy, Morgan officials wanted to have the communications capacity availably for all expected new business.

Morgan was determined to avoid the cost and potential disruption of adding fiber later.

Planning a cable plant for a trading floor poses unique requirements--like stability. "If you learn anything about managing a trading floor environment, it's that there's never enough time to anticipate change in requirements," Anderson says.

Designing a cable plant that supports future requirements always has been a problem in trading floor environments. "Each type of network or quotation service may need a special type of copper calbe technology--different types of coaxial, twinax, or twisted-pair cable. Each cable type often has unique specifications and/or characteristics for electrical impedance. As a result, it has been impossible to have a single copper cable that would work with every possible hardware component," he says.

Many times new cables had to be installed alongside the old, which then were disconnected but left in place to avoid costs of removal and potential disruption to trading. This problme occurs even in new buildings.

"We traveled around the world to observe different trading floors under construction," Anderson says. "The biggest problem we saw was what we call 'choke points.'" Because the volume of copper cable often is not anticipated, flooring had to be raised further during the course of construction to prevent choke points. "Because of the small size of fiber-optic cables compared to copper cables, we did not have these types of concerns."

Morgan did not have to be concerned with EMI, which could be a problem with copper.

Specification of optical fiber for the system started with J.P. Morgan's three technology managers, wo are responsible for planning and implementing LANs, the Micrognosis system (an information distribution switching product), and other auxillary networks.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:fiber optics
Publication:Communications News
Date:Dec 1, 1990
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