Voice and Data Network Terminology

Some of the specialized terminology used by the VDN group as well as in our documentation is described here. Additionally, searching the Internet for references and complete descriptions may be useful.

AP - Access Point; wireless network distribution device. APs are radio frequency transceivers that also have data network connections and provide mobile connectivity to the data network.

Cat 5 - Category 5, Unshielded Twisted Pair cable. An industry standard 4-pair UTP system. Supports signaling in the range of 100-150 MHz; recommended for data applications up to 100 Mb/s at a distance of <= 100 m.

Cat 5E - Enhanced Category 5, Unshielded Twisted Pair cable. An industry standard 4-pair UTP system. When installed to TIA-568-A standard and tested to TSB-95, it will support applications up to 1 Gb/s at a distance of <= 100 m.

Cat 6 - Category 6, Unshielded Twisted Pair cable. An industry standard 4-pair UTP system. Backward compatible with Cat 5 and Cat 5E. Supports signaling up to 250 MHz. Recommended for 1 Gb/s application at a distance of <= 100 m.

Cat 6A - Augmented Category6, Unshielded Twisted Pair cable. An industry standard 4-pair UTP system. Backwards compatible with Cat 6, Cat 5E and Cat 5. Supports signaling from 1 to 500 MHz. Recommended for 1 Gb/s applications at a distance <= 100m. Recommended for 10 Gb/s applications at a distance <= 100m. The Cat 6A Small Diameter for <=70m using smaller diameter cable is not used at Caltech.

Cat 7 - Category 7, Unshielded Twisted Pair cable. An industry standard 4-pair UTP system. Backwards compatible with Cat 6A, Cat 6, Cat 5E and Cat 5. Supports signaling from 1 to 600 MHz. Designed to support speeds up to 10 Gb/s. Not utilized at Caltech at this time.

Cat 7A - Augmented Category 7, Unshielded Twisted Pair cable. An industry standard 4-pair UTP system. Backwards compatible with Cat 7, Cat 6A, Cat 6, Cat 5E and Cat 5. Supports signaling from 1 to 1000 MHz. Designed to support speeds up to 10 Gb/s. Not utilized at Caltech at this time.

BICSI - Building Industry Consulting Service International, Inc. An industry association providing support and technical information to the Telecommunications Industry.

Ethernet - A local area networking system originally developed at Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Ethernet has been standardized by the IEEE in the 802.3 series of standards.

Gigabit - 1,000,000,000 bits; may be used to refer to a network or network interface capable of exchanging data at Gigabits per second (e.g., 1 Gb/s, 10 Gb/s, etc. ).

HVAC - Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning; shorthand for these facilities.

IDF - Historical Term. Intermediate Distribution Frame. See Telecommunications Room, Secondary

IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. A professional organization dedicated to advancing technological innovation.

MDF - Historical Term. Main Distribution Frame. See Telecommunications Room, Primary.

NFPA - National Fire Protection Association, an international non-profit dedicated to fire prevention and safety.

NOC - Network Operations Center; organization providing management and operations of the network. The VDN group is the NOC for Caltech.

PBX - Private Branch eXchange; telephone switch operated by a customer (Caltech) on their own facility. The Caltech PBX provides voice services to the campus as well as local and long distance phone service.

Single mode Fiber - SM, sometimes called monomode. A fiber optic cable with superior transmission properties (as compared to multi-mode fiber). Generally driven by a laser, it can be used over long distances at high data rates. Typical diameter is 8-12μ. The nominal velocity of signal propagation is typically around 0.69c.

TBD - To Be Determined or supplied; a placeholder for information that is not yet available or supplied.

TIA/EIA - Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), an offshoot of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA).These organization bodies provide standards to address cabling telecommunications products and infrastructure.

TR - Telecommunications Room; synonymous with "wiring closet" or "hub room", TR is the industry-recognized term. Buildings should have one TR on every floor.

TR, Primary - The Primary Telecommunications Room for a building. This closet will typically contain the cable entrance facilities, the primary switch or router for the building, and all vertical cable distribution to other TRs will terminate here. There is normally only one Primary Telecommunication Room in a building.

TR, Secondary - Secondary Telecommunications Room for a building, commonly refered to as a TR. Buildings should have one TR on every floor except for the floor with the Primary TR. TRs provide cable distribution for the floor they are on as well as active electronics for those ports and fiber connectivity to the Primary TR. Multiple TRs on a floor may be required to meet cable length requirements.

UTP - Unshielded Twisted Pair cable; a cable comprised of 100 twisted pairs without any shielding built into the jacket. Generally composed of 4 pairs of 22 or 24 AWG solid or stranded copper wire. The nominal velocity of signal propagation is typically around 0.77c.

VDN - Voice and Data Networks; the group within IMSS responsible for the Institute's voice and data networks.

WAP - Wireless Access Point - See Access Point

Work Area - A building space where the occupants interact with telecommunications terminal equipment.