Frequently asked questions and "data slang" defined

Stand in the same room with our data communications team while they're talking shop and your head will spin from the jargon. So, what exactly IS data communications and what does all that "data slang" mean? Here's a few terms you might hear on the job and the definitions to keep you informed.

What is a DMARC?

DMARC stands for "demarcation point." It is the point at which the Service provider network ends and connects with the wiring. A demarcation point is also referred to as the minimum point of entry or main point of entry or MPOE.

What is an MDF and an IDF?

MDF stands for Main Distribution Frame and IDF stands for Independent Distribution Frame. An MDF is the main computer room for servers, hubs, routers, DSL's, etc. to reside. An IDF is a remote room or closet connected to the MDF, in which you can expect to find hubs and patch panels.

What is a cross-connect?

A cross-connect is a means to enable the termination of cables.

What is a Patch Panel?

A patch panel is the connecting hardware at the head-end of a cable located in a MDF or IDF.

What is a telecommunications outlet?

The connecting hardware on the far-end of the horizontal cable in the work area is referred to as a telecommunications outlet. 

What is horizontal cabling?

The cabling on each floor that connects the telecommunications outlets at the work area to a horizontal cross-connect located in the MDF or an IDF.

What is backbone cabling?

The cabling that connects the DMARC and each IDF back to the MDF.

When is plenum cable used?

Plenum cables are used in applications that require routing through above-ceiling air circulation spaces, they have a special coating, which doesn't emit toxic fumes when it burns.

What is a pathway?

A pathway is just as you might expect -- a vertical or horizontal path used to route and manage cables.

What is a J-Hook?

A J-hook is a support device that is attached to the building structure and used to create a pathway to support structured cabling . The device is shaped like the letter "J" and the cables are laid in the open section of the "J."