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Mellon banks on its wiring system.

The demand for high-speed data to the desk is growing--and not just among traditionally intensive users of data.

More and more companies in financial services are providing their employees with data transmission rates of 16 Mb/s.

This is true for Mellon Bank Corp., based in Pittsburgh, Pa., one of the nation's largest bank holding companies. Mellon's Services Products area provides data processing for more than 700 customers located throughout the United States. Mellon's shopping basket of financial services is delivered to financial institutions and corporate customers over its 42-state private, T1 backbone network. High-speed internal communications links, which operate at 16 Mb/s, allow bank personnel to have immediate access to the many data intensive records needed to manage its financial portfolio.

Until recently, Mellon's traditional choice for data transmission service has been on shielded twisted pair wiring. However, for its Philadelphia headquarters, Mellon broke with tradition and chose a different technology for carrying high-speed data out to the desk-unshielded twisted pair.

According to Ken Windfelder, manager of data communications for Mellon PSFS, as the bank is known in Philadelphia, this technology provided the needed 16 Mb/s service and cost less to install than shielded twisted pair.

It also halved the square footage needed for equipment closets and required far less conduit space. Windfelder estimates space saving at 30 to 50 square feet per floor, which frees the space for other uses.

With the unshielded twisted pair wiring infrastructure, Mellon was able to install uniform cabling to every workstation, providing flexible network connectivity so that employees could use networks operating at different speeds. As an added benefits, the new wiring futureproofs the installation, because it can handle data at up to 100 Mb/s.

"We aren't quite ready for fiber to the desk," Windfelder says, "but this will give us comparable speeds when we need them and an easy migration to the 100 Mb/s world."

The philadelphia headquarters occupies eight floors of a new high-rise, the Mellon Bank Center. About 150 employees work on each floor, with each using one or more of a variety of networks: IBM token rings operating at 4 and 16 Mb/s; Wang, ArcNet and 10base-T networks operating at rates from 1 to 10 Mb/s; and 3270 links to the host computers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh operating at 2.3 Mb/s.

Windfelder and his group worked with AT&T to design the wiring system, which uses AT&T's Systimax Premises Distribution System 2061 unshielded twisted pair cabling, 110 cross-connect systems, riser cable systems and other equipment.

"To convince management that unshielded twisted pair would be just as reliable as shielded, we had AT&T's Bell Labs' folks put it through all sorts of tests that would prove its reliability. They demonstrated transmission rates at the speeds we needed at the distances we needed with cross-talk and loss levels that met our specifications. We were satisfied that the new cable would work for us," says Windfelder.

With that assurance, implementation began.

Intrigue with the possibility of even higher speeds is one of the factors that made Mellon comfortable with its choice.

Each workstation is served by a fourpair 2061 cable that supports all networks. Each employee can use one or more terminals designed for specific networks or a PC that can access all networks.

"The uniform wiring makes moves and changes much easier. We don't have to run new cable to support different networks; we just change connections in the equipment closets. We're now able to train our own MIS teams to do our own rewiring to accommodate moves and changes," says Windfelder. Cross-connections in the 110 system are made with a simple punch-down insulation-displacement technique that can join five pairs simultaneously, saving installation time and cost.

Since there's no shielding to be grounded at each termination or connection, overall installation is simplified and less costly. "The 110 cross-connect system is so compact that our equipment closets are about the size of a standard cost closet--much smaller than we'd planned," he says.

As a result of its experience with unshielded twisted pair in its Philadelphia headquarters, Mellon has since chosen this technology for three new buildings.

"Besides demonstrating to our corporation that unshielded twisted pair wiring was effective and reliable enough for widespread use throughout our bank, we also had the opportunity to demonstrate its capabilities for a prospective AT&T customer--the Lillehammer Olympic Organization.
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Title Annotation:Cable & Wiring; Mellon Bank Corp. uses unshielded twisted-pair wiring for high-speed data communications
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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