Glossary - Definitions You Can Use

We don't try to drown you in technical talk. We want to make sure every part of your job is exactly the way you want it. Bookmark this helpful glossary to get definitions for terms that may appear in our proposals or our project documentation.

You will also see the definition for these words or phrases display throughout our website wherever the words or phrases are used in context.

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Link An end-to-end transmission path provided by the cabling infrastructure. Cabling links include all cables and connecting hardware that comprise the horizontal or backbone subsystems. Equipment and work area cables are not included as part of a link.
Local Area Network (LAN) A geographically limited data communications system for a specific user group consisting of a group of interconnected computers, sharing applications, data and peripheral devices such as printers and CD-ROM drives intended for the local transport of data, video, and voice.
Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) The local regulated provider of public switched telecommunications services.
Longitudinal Conversion Loss (LCL) A measure (in dB) of the differential voltage induced on a conductor pair as a result of subjecting that pair to longitudinal voltage. LCL is considered to be a measure of circuit balance.
MAU (1) Multi-station Access Unit in reference to Token Ring.
MAU (2) Medium Attachment Unit in reference to Ethernet A wiring concentrator used in Local Area Networks. A device that allows terminals, PCs, printers, and other devices to be connected in a star-based configuration to Token Ring or Ethernet LANs. MAU hardware can be either active or passive and is not considered to be part of the cabling infrastructure.
Main Cross-connect (MC) A cross-connect for first level backbone cables, entrance cables, and equipment cables.
Modular Jack A telecommunications outlet/connector for wire or cords as defined in the FCC Part 68 Subpart F. Modular jacks can have 4, 6 or 8 contact positions, but not all the positions need be equipped with contacts.
Modular Plug A telecommunications connector for wire or cords as defined in the FCC Part 68 Subpart F. Modular plugs can have 4, 6 or 8 contact positions, but not all the positions need be equipped with contacts.
Multi-user Telecommunications Outlet Assembly (MuTOA) A grouping in one location of several telecommunications/outlet connectors.
Multimedia (1) An application that communicates to more than one of the human sensory receptors.
Multimedia (2) Applications that communicate information by more than one means or cabling media.
Multimode Optical Fiber An optical fiber that will allow many bound modes to propagate. The fiber may be either a graded-index or step-index fiber. Multimode optical fibers have a much larger core than singlemode fibers. See also Optical Fiber Cable.
Nanosecond (ns) One billionth of a second (10-9 seconds).
Near-end Crosstalk (NEXT Loss) The undesired coupling of a signal from one pair of wires to another. Signal distortion as a result of signal coupling from one pair to another at various frequencies.
Network Demarcation Point The point of interconnection between the local exchange carrier’s telecommunication facilities and the telecommunications systems wiring and equipment as the end user’s facility. This point shall be located on the subscriber side of the telephone company’s protector or the equivalent thereof in cases where a protector is not required.
Open Office Cabling The cabling that distributes from the telecommunications closet to the open office area utilizing a consolidation point or multi-user telecommunications outlet assembly.
Outlet Telecommunications A fixed connecting device where the horizontal cable terminates. The telecommunications outlet provides the interface to the work area cabling. Sometimes referred to as a telecommunications outlet/connector.
Outlet/Connector, Telecommunications A connecting device in the work area on which horizontal cable terminates.
Patch Cord A length of cable with connectors on one or both ends used to join telecommunications links at a cross-connect.
Patch Panel Connecting hardware that typically provides means to connect horizontal or backbone cables to an arrangement of fixed connectors that may be accessed using patch cords or equipment cords to form cross-connections or interconnections.
Pathway A facility (i.e., conduit) for the placement and protection of telecommunications cables. Same as raceway or ducting.
Plenum A compartment or chamber to which one or more air ducts are connected and that forms part of the air distribution system.
Private Branch Exchange (PBX) A private switching system usually serving an organization, such as a business, located on the customer’s premises. It switches calls both inside a building or premises and outside to the telephone network, and can sometimes provide access to a computer from a data terminal.
Propagation Delay The amount of time that passes between when a signal is transmitted and when it is received at the opposite end of a cable or cabling.
Punch Down A method for securing wire to a quick clip in which the insulated wire is placed in the terminal groove and pushed down with a special tool. As the wire is seated, the terminal displaces the wire insulation to make an electrical connection. The punch down operation may also trim the wire as it terminates. Also called cut down.
Quick Clip An electrical contact used to provide an insulation displacement connection to telecommunications cables.
Raceway See Pathway
Return Loss Noise or interference caused by impedance discontinuities along the transmission line at various frequencies. Return loss is expressed in decibels.
Ring Conductor A telephony term used to describe one of the two conductors in a cable pair used to provide telephone service. This term was originally coined from its position as the second (ring) conductor of a tip-ring-sleeve switchboard plug.
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