BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Avaya Inc. (NYSE: AV) , a leading global provider of communications networks and services for businesses, today announced the company's own research shows 82 percent of enterprise network decision makers surveyed will specify Category 6 high-performance cabling in their next installation.

Ratified in June 2002 and September 2002 respectively, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and ISO/IEC Category 6/Class E cabling standards establish a benchmark for network performance in Local Area Networks (LANs).

The Avaya SYSTIMAX Structured Connectivity Solutions (SCS) research report, ""Cabling Infrastructure: Ready for Tomorrow's Network Traffic or Heading for Congestion,"" surveyed more than 2,000 organizations in 38 countries. The report also found that 28 percent of the complete sample have already installed high-performance Category 6 cabling.

Cabling that meets Category 6 standards gives businesses the infrastructure performance they need to increase productivity through greater use of networked systems. It enables the reliable, high-speed communication essential to handle the extra traffic generated by greater use of networked, productivity-enhancing software.

According to Avaya officials, the company's SYSTIMAX GigaSPEED XL Solution, available since April 2002, guarantees electrical performance that is 400 percent better than the Category 6 standards.

This extra performance is of particular value with applications such as video and Voice over IP (VoIP) that demand support of 1 gigabit, or 1 billion bits, per second (Gbps) transmission to meet their bandwidth and quality of service requirements. For example, the research shows that 19 percent of respondents were already using video conferencing and 27 percent intend to increase their use of multimedia video applications, including video conferencing.

Demand for quality and reliability on the rise

The research revealed that network downtime, together with moves, adds and changes, is costing businesses millions of dollars in lost productivity. From research data, it is estimated, for example, that downtime is costing companies with more than 7,500 network users an average $5.5 million annually in lost employee productivity alone.

The significance of these losses is widely recognized by respondents. Network downtime was cited as the issue of greatest concern more often than any other. Unprompted, 26 percent of respondents said downtime was the most likely network issue to keep them awake at night and a further 15 percent said degraded network performance was their biggest worry.

Network downtime experienced by users of Category 6 cabling was less than among users of Category 5 and 5e solutions. Among the global sample, only eight percent of Category 6 users experience more than five hours a month downtime compared with 11 percent among users of Category 5 and 5e.

""Respondents who said downtime had a major impact on productivity were the most likely to be deploying fast networking technology in the horizontal, but their deployment of Category 6 cabling was only marginally above the average for all respondents,"" said Dennis Curtis, vice president and general manager, Avaya Connectivity Solutions. ""As a result, when traffic levels grow, some of these organizations may find their cabling has too little headroom to avoid long wait times and poor streaming media quality when traffic peaks.""

The importance of quality in selecting a cabling infrastructure was, however, widely recognized. Thirty eight-percent put product quality at the top of their list of priorities, twice as many as the next most commonly named criterion, technical performance.

Faster networking drives backbone upgrades

Organizations worldwide have also been upgrading their networking technology at the same time as cabling. Gigabit Ethernet is now used by 31 percent of respondents in the Local Area Network (LAN) horizontal. Within five years, 73 percent anticipated using this 1 Gbps technology. Notably, 26 percent of respondents expected to adopt even faster 10 Gbps connections in horizontal applications, indicating a very high demand for speed and reliability in network infrastructures.

In the backbone, the shift to 10 Gbps technology has already begun. Currently 7.2 percent of the global sample said they were using 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 4.4 percent were using 10 Gbps laser optimized multimode fiber cabling in the backbone. Rapid acceleration in the use of 10 Gbps in the backbone is anticipated in the next 5 years with 59 percent of respondents expecting to deploy it in their backbone by then.

Despite this high proportion of the sample intending to adopt 10Gbps in the network backbone where traffic from horizontal connections is consolidated, only 21 per cent were aware that new standards for 10 Gbps laser optimized multimode fiber bad been ratified.

""Network and IT managers must soon make decisions on upgrading backbone applications and cabling to handle the extra traffic they have planned for in the horizontal,"" added Curtis. ""There are choices to be made between laser optimized multimode fiber which utilize less expensive electronics and singlemode fiber which requires more complex electronics, but low awareness of new fiber standards suggests some managers lack the information they need to make the right decisions in this area.""

Notes Research Methodology

IT professionals were invited to participate in the survey via an Internet Web portal during August and September 2002 using a questionnaire designed for clarity and simplicity. Its 22 questions were available in 12 languages, enabling network and IT managers to respond in the language they preferred.

The 2,047 IT professionals who took part in the research were from a representative sample of SYSTIMAX SCS and non-SYSTIMAX SCS customers in 38 countries worldwide. They spanned organizations with between 50 and 10,000+ network users across all industry sectors.

About Avaya

Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses around the world, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500. A world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP) telephony systems, communications software applications and services, Avaya is driving the convergence of voice and data applications across IT networks enabling businesses large and small to leverage existing and new networks to enhance value, improve productivity and gain competitive advantage. EC