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The World Works Wirelessly

Make sure your building is future ready with wireless solutions provided by Graybar

Eighty percent of wireless data traffic originates or terminates within a building, and yet today’s typical building still experiences very poor wireless connectivity. This can result?in lower business productivity, decreased customer satisfaction, and?a major safety risk. That’s why the technological infrastructure to enable a variety of wireless applications in your building should be a priority. There are three core strategies to think about:

Eighty percent of wireless data traffic originates or terminates within a building, and yet today’s typical building still experiences very poor wireless connectivity. This can result?in lower business productivity, decreased customer satisfaction, and?a major safety risk. That’s why the technological infrastructure to enable a variety of wireless applications in your building should be a priority. There are three core strategies to think about:



Enabling people to operate their wireless voice and data devices seamlessly in your building.

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Public Safety

Ensuring anyone can call 911 from their cell phone, first responders can communicate anywhere in your building, and mass notifications can be received quickly

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Private Wireless Networks

Giving you the ability to control your building’s mission-critical functions using a secure network.

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There is a lot to think about, and it can be confusing.?Graybar makes it easy to implement a wireless solution for your building, facility or campus. We can provide a variety of solutions, including:

? ??? Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
? ??? Small Cells
? ??? Signal Boosters
? ??? Wi-Fi

We bring together the manufacturers, contractors, integrators and creative funding options to take your project from concept to completion. We’ll also help you make sure your building is following the nationwide guidelines put in place by the Safer Buildings Coalition, National Fire Protection Association and the International Fire Code, so that everyone can be connected and feel safe.

There is a lot to think about, and it can be confusing.?Graybar makes it easy to implement a wireless solution for your building, facility or campus. We can provide a variety of solutions, including:

? ??? Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
? ??? Small Cells
? ??? Signal Boosters
? ??? Wi-Fi

We bring together the manufacturers, contractors, integrators and creative funding options to take your project from concept to completion. We’ll also help you make sure your building is following the nationwide guidelines put in place by the Safer Buildings Coalition, National Fire Protection Association and the International Fire Code, so that everyone can be connected and feel safe.

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Want to Learn More?

We work with the Safer Buildings Coalition and HetNet Forum?membership section of the Wireless Infrastructure Association as well as manufacturers, integrators, third party operators and carriers to understand end user needs, technology choices, business drivers, building and fire codes and the challenges faced when implementing wireless solutions. Speak to one of our wireless specialists?today.

We Maintain Relationships With Our Industry's Top Manufacturers

Download the Wireless?line card PDF?here.?

Download the Wireless?line card PDF?here.?

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Wireless News

The CBRS Opportunity: Download the New White Paper from the Wireless Infrastructure Association

The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band includes 150 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band (3550 MHz-3700 MHz). Licensed and lightly licensed users will be able to take advantage of this spectrum to enable applications ranging from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to private LTE networks and beyond.?

Even as CBRS spectrum will help U.S. cellular carriers better manage traffic on their networks, it also will enable many new entrants as neutral-host providers, cable and internet providers and enterprises themselves seek to manage their own wireless devices and traffic.?

A newly released white paper from the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) explores the CBRS spectrum opportunity as well as the impact on existing and new networks.

Graybar’s Eric Toenjes, National Market Manager of Wireless Solutions, co-authored the report with Mark Gibson of CommScope and Dr. Rikin Thakker, Vice President of Telecommunications and Spectrum Policy at the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC).

Download White Paper

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Can Your Building’s Network Infrastructure Keep up With a Wireless World?

A 2020 survey of residential renters revealed that 44% won’t lease an apartment without reliable cell reception. When surveyed in 2017, they ranked high speed internet as the second most important feature of a property – just below air conditioning.

If they won’t put up with poor connectivity at home, why would they settle for it at work?

And while they want to be connected, they don’t want to be tied down. 86% of Americans now use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, with 32% of those users reporting that they go online “almost constantly.” Among 18-29 year olds, 58% mainly access the internet through their smartphone.?

As these so-called “digital natives” take over the workforce, new, data-intensive applications like augmented and virtual reality are also poised to change the way we work.?

The next generations of wireless connectivity, 5G and Wi-Fi 6, will open up the pipeline to more data travelling at faster speeds, demanding more from in-building networks. But most 5G will also have a harder time penetrating walls, which could lead to weaker signal and poor service inside your building.

The Two Cs of Connectivity in Your Building


If you own or operate a commercial building, it’s important to make sure your network ensures adequate voice, data and public safety service across the entire facility. Everyone inside relies on access to wireless services to conduct their business, but building materials such as low-e glass can significantly block these signals. Even with a strong signal, overloaded cell towers can keep you from connecting.

While poor connectivity has a big impact on customer experience and employee productivity, it can have serious consequences during an emergency. 51% of 911 calls occur on a cell phone inside a building. If someone called for help in your building, are you sure it would connect??

First responders also need adequate radio and cellular signal to communicate, especially in difficult areas like basements and stairwells. In fact, 65% of first responders reported experiencing a communications failure inside a building. Any of these failures can cause a delay in response; according to the FCC, a one-minute improvement in response time could save 10,000 lives per year in the U.S.

Control Over Mission-Critical Functions

Mission-critical networks are unique in that they require secure and reliable connectivity. While traditional Wi-Fi networks have been deployed widely across enterprise networks and have significant security capabilities, they are inherently less stable because the technology shares spectrum with other users – which can affect uptime and endanger compliance with uptime guarantees. Additionally, even though enterprise Wi-Fi solutions have robust security, they are only as secure as their weakest link: human error. A poorly configured access point can create a point of entry for a hacker. Internet of Things (IoT) networks can be even more challenging, because of the lack of integrated security solutions.?

As more mission-critical business functions and facility operations get “smart”, building operators should be proactive about implementing secure and stable wireless networks.

Four Ways to Get Your Wireless Network Future-Ready

In the conceptual office building below, each floor shows a potential solution for delivering reliable wireless signal.?

Click here to download the full-size rendering.

If You Need To Increase Signal Coverage

DAS: A system of cabling that transports signal from a signal source to low-power antennas throughout a facility. Certain types of DAS can scale to cover large areas and multiple buildings.

Small Cell: A small low-power base station that can be used as a signal source on a DAS, or combined with other small cells and a controller to create a wireless network. Each carrier will require its own small cell.

Signal Booster: A system that amplifies available outside cellular or public safety signal and distributes it inside a facility. They are a cost-effective choice for small to medium buildings.

If You Need To Take Control of Your Network

Private Wireless Networks: One way to obtain control over your connectivity is to install a Private LTE network using CBRS spectrum. Essentially, you can create your own secure and stable voice and data network for your facility without having to work with the carriers. ?

What Do You Need?

We know wireless networks are complex, and many building managers only find out about gaps from word-of-mouth complaints about “dead zones”, slow data speeds or devices that won’t connect.?

Your building would likely benefit from one or more of the above solutions. Do customers complain about spots where calls with a particular carrier always drop? Are occupants relying on the wireless network to handle critical functions or sensitive information? Do you know whether or not first responders can communicate in your building when they come to help you in an emergency?

Graybar can conduct a comprehensive assessment of your facility, and connect you to a network of experts to make a building-wide plan that will prepare your network for the future.?

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How to Modernize Your Datacom Infrastructure

Data communications infrastructure is the heart of digital business transformation. Speedier connections, mesh computing and other advancements are critical for businesses to leverage cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), next-generation data analytics and more. ?

The frontier of connected and autonomous vehicles is illustrative of near-future transformations. It’s predicted that in just five years there will be 100 million connected vehicles across the globe, transmitting over 100 petabytes of data per month. In comparison, Facebook currently generates 4PB of data on an average day. By 2021 global IP traffic is expected to reach an annual run rate of 3.3 zettabytes, up from 1.2 zettabytes five years ago, according to Cisco’s forecast.?

Of course, there are less dramatic but no less important scenarios that lead companies to upgrade datacom infrastructures, such as running a more efficient wireless network.?

To adopt this new wave of technologies, businesses will require higher-bandwidth connectivity, driving significant changes to datacom infrastructure. Data centers will see a more condensed footprint and more high-power density equipment, such as multi-core high-end servers, demanding better cooling options.?

The bottom line: No business can risk that its own datacom infrastructure – on-premise at headquarters and spread across edge sites – will be unprepared for the big changes coming its way.

Trade Coax for Fiber and Category Cables to Enable 5G in Buildings


Wireless carriers and device manufacturers are setting the pace for 5G cellular capabilities, which promise to offer rapid download speeds (50 Mbps to 2 Gbps) and lower latency (1 to 30 ms) as their networks are upgraded over time. Carriers are rolling out these networks to more and more cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Washington are just some of the early locations. Mobile phones with 5G connections, including those from LG and Motorola, are hitting the market, too.?

Still, 5G is in an early phase, so expectations are tempered for enterprise adoption of fixed wireless for in-building coverage. But the future holds great possibilities for 5G and mobile wireless. Applications may run the gamut from enhanced enterprise collaboration capabilities, to virtual reality training apps, to innovative advancements in sectors like healthcare – such as streaming patient vital signs from an ambulance to a hospital ahead of arrival.?

It's never too early to get ready, though. Behind-the-scenes connection updates are required for 5G wireless mobile communication technology. Coaxial cables will give way to fiber optic connections and Cat6 and Cat6a cabling. Distributed antenna systems (DAS), which typically are installed by building owners – the business itself or the landlord from whom it rents space – bring 5G carrier signals into the building. A DAS can support multiple carriers over one antenna network distributed throughout the building.?

Use More Robust Cables for Faster Wi-Fi

A main issue that datacom professionals need to address is the evolution of Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) already has reached mass adoption, supporting more mobile devices per user and better download experiences for them with extended Wi-Fi networks. Companies had to change out Cat6 cables to more robust Cat6a cables to handle increased bandwidth across Power over Ethernet (PoE) wireless access points. ?

They should be pleased to hear that, as they begin the migration to Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) for purposes such as IoT deployments, they’ll be able to count on their Cat6a cables to support the standard’s theoretical 9.6 Gbps speed (up from 3.5 Gbps on Wi-Fi 5). To take full advantage of Wi-Fi 6 technology as it evolves, they will need two Cat6a connections. ?

“It takes a lot of cable to support a wireless system,” says Jim Tatum, a Senior Outside Sales Representative for Graybar. “The pathways out to workstations do have to consider the load, the outside diameter of the cable and the overall design of the data centers. You have to size the pathway appropriately based on the size and number of cables required.” ?

Prepare for IoT

As companies begin to use more interconnected, intelligent devices, such as security cameras or climate control systems, they’ll need to consider how they will best support these IoT connections. One answer is to use PoE cabling as a means of not only carrying power and data to a device, but also controlling the slew of intelligent devices connected to a business’ networks.?

To enable high-bandwidth applications, datacom pros can use twisted-pair copper cabling, such as a Cat6 or Cat6a cable, and run it from a device to a mid-span or endpoint, where the cable can be connectorized using standard RJ-45 or similar modular connectors.?

PoE’s ability to support both power and data transmission can optimize interoperability between intelligent devices. By enabling IoT systems to connect to a single IP network, PoE offers a more cost-efficient cabling solution – it reduces the amount of cable necessary to power and control networked IoT devices. Installation is improved, too, because there will be no need for multiple cable runs – one for power and another for communications.

Plan for Parallel Transmission Speed for Ethernet Advancements?


Meanwhile in the data center, in the last year or so the move away from 10 GbE and 40 GbE Ethernet switching accelerated to 100 GbE as equipment costs fell and the technology matured. But 100 GbE is not the capper by any means.?

Now 200 GbE and 400 GbE are gaining traction in large data centers, helping organizations that are dependent on high-bandwidth applications keep pace with accelerating networked hardware storage speeds at scale. A good option to actually achieve all the potential of 200 or 400 GbE is to choose a multi-fiber optic cable plug-and-play solution that provides a flexible migration path based on your shifting compute and storage needs while managing the complexity of large patching fields. “These are factory pre-determined, pre-polished systems that are factory tested for absolute minimal loss,” says Russ Tomlin, Business Development Manager at Graybar Atlanta. Everything is hot-swappable, so customers can add Ethernet ports as they need them, he notes.?

Cool Down the Data Center for Edge Computing ?

In the near future, computing, storage power and data will be pushed out to the edge of the network, so that bandwidth-intensive and latency-sensitive apps and data don’t have to travel to the cloud or to a centralized data center for processing. Avoiding the extra stop overcomes the last hurdle to near-realtime processing. “Going back to the data center could introduce delays or downtime,” Tomlin says. “The theory is that the more you move the datacom infrastructure closer to the end user, the better bandwidth you’ll experience and the less risk of losing data in transmission.” In exchange for lower latency and network bandwidth conservation, companies have to address power, cooling and cable concerns, both in the main data center and at the edge. Of course, cooling is always an issue in a data center, but that looms larger as processing moves further out.?

In the main data center, server virtualization and server consolidation are increasing – which leads to increased data center equipment density from a square footage perspective. Fewer servers occupy fewer cabinets in a smaller space. With more power in a concentrated area, heat becomes a bigger issue. “The physical size of the data center hasn’t changed, but it is producing more heat in a small space so better cooling becomes critical,” says Tatum.?

Even when edge computing isn’t a factor, datacom pros have to deal with the fact that, generally speaking, older data centers aren’t designed for keeping new high-density and high-variable IT equipment at the right temperature. Their designs have to be rethought to protect against equipment damage.


These problems can be solved with plug-in, no-footprint power distribution systems that can centralize cable distribution, too. Hot aisle/cold aisle configurations separate cold air supply from hot return air. Configurations should be decided and deployed based on parameters such as data center size and dimensions, raised floor versus overhead cabling, ceiling clearances and cooling objectives, Tatum says. Cable management systems can help by reducing cable congestion and ensuring cables are not obstructing cool or hot airflow in floors, ceilings or cabinets. ? ?

In an edge data center, which may be just a small room or even a closet, companies need scalable technologies to avoid having to constantly make unit switch-outs across edge sites over the course of a couple of years as workload and backup demands change. A three-phase UPS power system, for instance, can be an efficient choice for reliable and redundant backup power in the mini data center. With it, businesses can ramp up from what they need to support their current load – say, 20kVa – to a future load – maybe 100 kVa.?

Clearly, there’s no such thing as a steady-state datacom infrastructure, and that’s a good thing.?
Without pushing the envelope on cellular, networking and computing infrastructures, businesses would stall when it comes to leveraging ever-increasing volumes of data and taking advantage of rich but bandwidth-sapping applications that will underpin the next wave of innovations. Planning today’s infrastructure builds with tomorrow’s technologies in mind will help retain the flexibility needed to adopt new solutions as they make sense.

A new report from Accenture makes the case that there’s work to be done: It notes that enterprises have embraced advanced digital technologies, such as IoT/edge computing (77 percent), big data/analytics (83 percent) and digital customer experience (78 percent), but only 36 percent are “very satisfied” that their network currently has the capabilities required to support their business needs.

The sooner businesses upgrade their datacom infrastructure for a rapidly changing world, the better.

? 2020 Graybar Services, Inc. ?All rights reserved.

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Enabling Always-On Connectivity for Nearly Two Million Mobile Users at One of the Largest State Fairs in the Country

The Minnesota State Fair, located between Minneapolis and St. Paul, has the largest average daily attendance of any state fair in the country.

An average of 166,000 people per day at the fairgrounds send and receive approximately 8 million texts and require capacity for data downloads, mobile streaming, mobile payments and cell phone calls.

The State Fair needed a permanent, always-on, guaranteed mobile data delivery system – and that’s where Graybar and contractor MP Mobile Solutions stepped in.


The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world. In addition to the 12-day State Fair, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds hosts hundreds of additional events each year.


Minnesota State Fair leaders were looking for an alternative to importing multiple, bulky COWs (cells-on-wheels) to ensure mobility service for the annual Minnesota State Fair. They wanted an on-site, permanent, multi-carrier Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that could handle a huge influx of people – and connected devices – without issue. Such a system would need to support the diverse needs of both fairgoers and fair vendors.

Entrance Arch

Graybar joined with MP Mobile Solutions, a systems integrator, to design and specify a DAS solution before the 2017 State Fair. The team recommended a DAS system manufactured by SOLiD that was pre-loaded and pre-configured at the factory. Over the three-month installation period, the Graybar team provisioned and staged the sophisticated system at its Minneapolis Service Center. And Graybar’s Just In Time (JIT) delivery service made sure that the appropriate parts and materials reached the fairgrounds at the exact time they were needed.


The Minnesota State Fair now has permanent, reliable mobile connectivity that provides a more positive experience for fairgoers and also enhances the abilities of vendors for both the State Fair and the many other events held at the fairgrounds throughout the year.?

Furthermore, the State Fair was able to reclaim valuable square footage previously used for COWs for more productive uses and sell more fully integrated mobile marketing packages without worrying about overloading its mobile network.

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Approaching Deadlines in the Florida Fire Prevention Code: What Building Owners Need to Know

Several important deadlines written into the Florida Fire Prevention Code (NFPA 1) are approaching, and building owners may need to act sooner than they think. The deadlines are related to a serious safety issue: Walls and low-e glass windows can block radio waves, reducing signal strength for firefighters and first responders who desperately need open lines of communication during an emergency.?
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The Florida legislature responded to this safety challenge by establishing requirements for radio signal strength inside buildings. Section 11.10 of the Florida Fire Prevention Code states in part that “in all new and existing buildings, minimum radio signal strength for fire department communications shall be maintained at a level determined by the [authority having jurisdiction “AHJ”)].”

New construction must be compliant to receive a certificate of occupancy permit, and existing buildings are expected to be brought up to Code if they are not already in compliance.?

However, Section 633.202 of the Florida Statutes extends the deadline for existing high-rise buildings. According to § 718.1085 of the statutes, a “high rise” is any building that measures more than 75 feet between the lowest level the fire department is likely to access and the highest floor that can be occupied.

§ 633.202 gives owners of these buildings until January 1, 2022 to meet minimum radio strength requirements for fire department communications and two-way radio system enhancement communications.

However, the statute also contains several other important deadlines. Owners and managers of high-rise buildings in Florida should be aware of the following compliance dates:?

  • December 31, 2019: Existing buildings that do not comply with Section 633.202 have until this date to apply for an extension permit with the State. The extension expires January 1, 2022; as a condition of granting the permit, the State requires owners to explain the changes that they anticipate will bring the building into compliance by that date.
  • January 1, 2022: All high-rise buildings – with the exception of apartment buildings – must comply with radio strength requirements by this date, including buildings that were granted an extension permit.
  • December 31, 2022: Existing apartment complexes have longer than other high-rise buildings to ensure two-way radio communication is reliable within their walls, but owners must obtain a permit for the necessary communications installation by this date.?
  • January 25, 2025: All existing apartment complexes must meet § 633.202’s requirements by this date.?

There are two exceptions to the 2025 deadline, however. Any apartment buildings that include assisted living must follow the earlier timeline to become compliant by January 1, 2022. Mixed-use facilities must comply with the strictest standard for which there is some use – for example, a building with residential space above and commercial space below will also be held to the earlier timeline.

Public Safety 2

It’s important to remember that these extensions only apply to high-rises, and all other existing buildings could see the code enforced at any time.?

Enforcement is ultimately left up to the discretion of local AHJs, but delaying compliance isn’t worth the risk. While AHJs might prioritize inspecting high-value, high-occupancy locations, like schools and hospitals, ignoring the regulations could set up a building owner for a more expensive on-the-spot renovation or even potential legal liability in the event of an emergency.?

Most importantly, building owners have a responsibility to keep their facilities safe for occupants. Anything that gets in the way of first responders doing their jobs could have tragic consequences.?

To determine whether or not they are compliant, building owners in Florida should schedule a test of the radio strength within their facilities. Graybar can coordinate this testing and provide proof that a building satisfies Code requirements.?

If a building doesn’t meet radio strength requirements, the owner may install in-building radio enhancement systems that can boost signal strength to ensure first responders maintain radio contact everywhere in the building. A Graybar representative can help identify the right telecommunications installation for a particular building.

Click here to schedule a test and determine if your building is in compliance with the latest regulations.

Just-In-Time Delivery Saves Time and Money for Systems Integrator

Headquartered in Albany, New York, Advanced Network Services (ANS) is a turnkey engineering, furnishing and installation (EF&I) provider of telecommunication solutions. In today’s fast-paced work environments, flawless connectivity and mobile coverage is an essential component of doing business. “Distributed antenna systems (DAS) allow enterprise customers to build out infrastructure inside their facilities that take carrier signal from wireless providers through a series of conversions and transfers them back to phones, devices and large automation in inside environments,” explains ANS Program Manager Brendan Delaney.?

To improve its coverage, a large governmental agency with facilities located nationally contracted with ANS for DAS installation at two initial locations in Wichita, Kansas and Greensboro, NC.

The government agency’s facilities execute complex operations on a large scale. Many are operational on a 24/7 basis. In addition to fast and cost-effective installation, it was important that the installation process not interfere with customer operations. Storing large amounts of equipment, product and parts at the facility was impractical. Shipping as needed or through a third party would lead to delays and add extra expense.?

“For efficient, cost-effective deployment of these systems, it was important to ANS to find a distribution partner with local warehouses that we could trust to store, ship and manage materials,” says Brendan.?


With 290 locations across the U.S. and a complete selection of data communication products including everything needed for DAS installation, working with Graybar made sense for ANS and for their customer.?

Graybar supplied ANS with all of the DAS materials including co-ax, radio frequency systems, antennas, connectors and more.?

“Graybar’s service stood out with consistent communications and the ability to have Danielle as the single point of contact on these projects,” says Brendan.

“Once a PO was issued, Inside Sales Representative Danielle Pustolka from our Albany office, got everything rolling. She created a spreadsheet and sent it out once a week with quantities that had shipped. She communicated proactively with Brendan and our local team near the installations. Everyone was in the loop,” explains Graybar Comm/Data Business Manager James Sweet.

“We didn’t deliver $300,000 of material, set it in front of the facility and say, ‘Have at it.’ We released as the project needed,” adds Danielle. “There was no foreman or project manager wandering around a giant facility looking for material.”?

In addition to preventing loss or damage to materials, hold and release gave ANS more flexibility to schedule deliveries at a time that worked for the job and the facility.

“In one location, there were concerns about too much noise in a call center area. Another facility was operational 24/7. If there was downtime at either, it would result in a huge monetary impact on the end users,” says Brendan. “Having materials stored locally at Graybar gave us more flexibility to schedule deliveries at a time that didn’t interrupt their business.”

There were also consumables and items that couldn’t be forecast: conduit fittings, j-hooks, fire rated penetrations and more. Once ANS installers were on site, they had a better idea of what was needed. ?With Graybar close by, ANS could send someone to the counter for pick up rather than over ordering or waiting for delivery.?


“Without Graybar’s staging and delivery, our logistics costs would have been higher and our response times reduced. We look forward to continuing to work with Graybar on these kinds of projects,” says Brendan.

ANS’ customer was satisfied with both the process and the results of their DAS installation. ?Negotiations are underway to do more installations.

For both locations together, three weeks of end-to-end time to market was saved getting the projects scheduled and installed and more than $1,000 was saved in third party logistics and shipping costs.

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