Industry Definitions

For your convenience, we have listed formal definitions for frequently used acronyms in the low voltage telecommunications field. In addition, our industry standard bodies as well as technical working groups are also referenced below.

ANSI/TIA/EIA Standards

TIA/EIA-568-B is a set of three telecommunications standards from the Telecommunications Industry Association, a 1988 offshoot of the EIA. The standards address commercial building cabling for telecom products and services. The three standards are formally titled ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.1-2001, -B.2-2001, and -B.3-2001.

The TIA/EIA-568-B standards were first published in 2001. They supersede the TIA/EIA-568-A standards set, which are now obsolete.

Perhaps the best known features of TIA/EIA-568-B.1-2001 are the pin/pair assignments for eight-conductor 100-ohm balanced twisted pair cabling. These assignments are named T568A and T568B, and are frequently referred to (erroneously) as TIA/EIA-568A and TIA/EIA-568B.

The intent of these standards is to provide recommended practices for the design and installation of cabling systems that will support a wide variety of existing and future services. Developers hope the standards will provide a life span for commercial cabling systems in excess of ten years.


Since the official break-up of AT&T in 1984 in the United States, BICSI (pr. "BIK SEE") (the "Building Industry Consulting Service International") has assumed the role that AT&T's free service, BICS, fulfilled in helping with the development and design for information transport systems (ITS) such as the ANSI/EIA/TIA 568B structured cabling system standard.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, the organization has membership in nearly 100 countries. This organization's certifications are considered the defacto certification for cable installers and designers who specialize in complex voice/data cable layouts.

Registered Communication Distribution Designer (RCDD)

The BICSI RCDD—A Professional Credential of Design Knowledge. The Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD�) credential is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated knowledge in the design, integration and implementation of telecommunications and data communications transport systems and related infrastructure. The RCDD credential is achieved by passing a comprehensive exam based on BICSI's world-renowned Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual (TDMM). RCDDs must meet stringent continuing education requirements and continually increase their knowledge through frequent interaction with others in the information transport systems (ITS) community. An RCDD is uniquely positioned to create the detailed design of new systems and/or the integration of a design into an existing system. The RCDD credential is globally recognized within the ITS industry.

Whether you are a contractor, an architect or a facility owner, having an RCDD on staff offers you professional advantages:

  1. RCDD staffing is required or requested by many private and governmental organizations as part of the bidding criteria.
  2. The RCDD is independently tested, demonstrating a thorough knowledge of codes and standards/best practices in the ITS industry. An uncertified designer may not possess this expertise.
  3. The RCDD has received instruction in both design and project management. You get a designer and a project manager in one employee.

Structured Cabling System (SCS)

A cabling infrastructure that is standards compliant consisting of minimum components that adhere to ANSI / EIA / TIA 568 B Commercial cabling systems. TIA/EIA-568-B defines a hierarchical cable system architecture, in which a main cross-connect (MCC) is connected via a star topology across backbone cabling to intermediate cross-connects (ICC) and horizontal cross-connects (HCC). Telecommunications design traditions utilized a similar topology, and many people refer to cross-connects by their older, nonstandard names: "distribution frames" (with the various hierarchies called MDFs, IDFs and wiring closets). Backbone cabling is also used to interconnect entrance facilities (such as Telco demarcation points) to the main cross-connect. Maximum allowable backbone cable distances vary between 300 m and 3000 m, depending upon the cable type and use.

Horizontal cross-connects provide a point for the consolidation of all horizontal cabling, which extends in a star topology to individual work areas such as cubicles and offices. Under TIA/EIA-568-B, maximum allowable horizontal cable distance varies between 70 m and 90 m for twisted-pair cable types, depending upon patch cord length and gauge. Fiber optic horizontal cabling is limited to 90 m. Optional consolidation points or transition points are allowable in horizontal cables, although many industry experts discourage their use.

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