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    The following is a working list of common terms and phrases frequently used within the electrical industry.

    0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W





    An implementation of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Ethernet Standard on 24-AWG, unshielded, twisted-pair wiring, a baseband medium of 10Mb/s.


    Degrees Celsius.


    Official project name for 100 Mb/s Fast Ethernet on Class C.


    100 Mb/s Fast Ethernet using 2-pair Category 5 cable.


    A specification for Gigabit Ethernet over copper wire (IEEE Standard 802.3ab). The standard defines 1 Gb/s data transfer over distances of up to 100 metres using four pairs of Class D balanced copper cabling and a 5-level coding scheme.


    A specification for Gigabit Ethernet over copper wire (TIA/EIA). The standard defines 1 Gb/s data transfer over distances of up to 100 metres using four pairs of Category 6 balanced copper cabling.


    IEEE specification of 10 Gigabit Ethernet over optical fibre cabling, with specifications for Multi Mode and Single Mode fibre.


    Defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer (IEEE), these standards govern the use of the Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) network access method used by Ethernet networks.


    Defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer (IEEE), these standards govern the use of the token ring network access method.


    Defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer (IEEE), these standards govern the use of wireless LANs.


    Alternating Current (AC)

    The type of electricity supplied by the utility company. The unique characteristic of this form of electricity is that it reverses direction at regular intervals.

    Amp Hour (Ah)

    One amp of electrical current flowing for one hour. The unit Ah is an expression of the capacity (size) of a battery.

    Amps (A)

    A unit of measure of the flow of electrical current.


    The increase of signal strength. Amplification does not improve the signal quality received but can improve the picture quality viewed on TV due to low signal strength.


    The loss of signal strength. To Attenuate the signal strength is to decrease the level of the signal strength. Attenuation occurs naturally over a length of cable. Refer to cable losses on page 8 for values.


    see Ampere (A).


    A device that: (1) enables different sizes or types of plugs to mate with one another or to fit into an information outlet, (2) provides for the rearrangement of leads, (3) allows large cables with numerous wires to fan out into smaller groups of wires, or (4) makes interconnections between cables.

    American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

    ANSI is the principal group in the United States for defining standards. ANSI represents the U.S in the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

    American Wire Gauge (AWG)

    The standard gauge for measuring the diametre of copper, aluminium, and other conductors.

    Ampere (A)

    A standard unit of current. One ampere of current is produced by one coulomb of charge passing a point in one second.

    Analogue Transmission

    A method of signal transmission in which the shape of the signal is a continuously variable and directly measurable physical quantity.


    see American National Standards Institute (ANSI).


    North American Commercial Building Telecommunications Wiring Standard.

    Asynchronous Transfer mode (ATm)

    ATM is a high speed (155Mbps/622Mb/s) cell relay, switching and transport technology for either local or wide area environments.

    Attachment Unit Interface (AUI)

    Most commonly used with reference to the 15 pin D type connector and cables used to connect single and multiple channel equipment to an Ethernet transceiver.


    A device inserted into the electrical or optical path to lessen or weaken the signal.

    Australian Standard /New Zealand (AS/NZ)

    Joint Australian and New Zealand standards.

    AC Overcurrent Protection

    A control circuit designed to protect an inverter, load, or wiring against current exceeding its capacity. (A fuse, for example, is an AC overcurrent protection device.)



    The silver ring that encloses the switch.

    Blank End Kit

    The End Kit is used to terminate the skirting duct

    Button Cap

    The cap that fits over the switch mechanism.


    Bit Error Ratio is the number of errors in a Video Broadcast. Typically 2 errors in every 1,000,000 will be acceptable.

    Balanced Coupler

    A coupler having an even ratio of power splits i.e. 1X4- 25/25/25/25.


    The range of frequencies that can be used for transmitting information on a channel. It indicates the transmission – carrying capacity of a channel. Thus, the larger the bandwidth, the greater the amount of information that can pass through the circuit. Measured in Hertz MHz km (for fibre) or MHz.

    Bend Loss

    A form of increased attenuation caused by either having the fibre curved around a restrictive radius of curvature, or microbends caused by minute distortions in the fibre imposed by externally induced perturbations. Excessive bend loss may result from poor drawing or cable manufacturing techniques.

    Bend Radius

    The radius of curvature that fibre or copper can bend without breaking or causing excessive loss.


    The movement of signals in opposite directions through a common cable.


    Networks in which the bandwidth can be shared by multiple simultaneous signals that are encoded using modulation techniques.


    The plastic material that surrounds the core and cladding of an optical fibre strand. This coating adds strength and flexibility to the fibre strand. Typically 250μm in size.



    Coronary Care Unit


    Compact Fluorescent Lighting


    Carbon Dioxide

    Corner Kit

    Available in Internal or External corner kits

    Correct Circuit Connections Test

    Tests Earth connection and potential.


    The rate of flow of electric charge, usually expressed in amps (or amperes)

    Cable Assembly

    Cable that has connectors installed on one or both ends. General use of these cable assemblies includes the interconnection of cable systems. If connectors are attached to only one end of the cable, it is known as a Pigtail. If connectors are attached to both ends, it is known as a jumper or patch cord.

    Cable Fill

    The ratio of cable installed into a conduit/trunking against the theoretical maximum capacity of the conduit/trunking.


    A physical enclosure for rack-mount equipment; standard cabinets have 19” wide horizontal spacing between mounting rails.


    A system of telecommunication cables, cords and connecting hardware that can support the connection of information technology equipment.


    The property in a system of conductors and dielectrics that permits the storage of electrically separated charges whenever a difference in potential exists between the conductors. Capacitance is undesirable in copper wire cable because it interferes with signals travelling on the wire by opposing the desired flow of current.

    Category 3

    For cable and connecting hardware products with transmission characteristics specified to 16 MHz, typically used to support digital transmission of 10Mb/s.

    Category 5e

    This is an enhanced version of Category 5, with additional parametres specified to enable parallel transmission with full duplex across the four pairs. Enhanced Category 5 specifications for cable and connecting hardware products with transmission characteristics specified to 100 MHz, intended to support digital transmission of 1000 Mb/s.

    Category 6

    For cable and connecting hardware products with transmission characteristics specified to 250 MHz, used to support digital transmission of 1 Gb/s and above.

    Category 6A

    For cable and connecting hardware products with transmission characteristics specified to 500 MHz, used to support digital transmission of 10 Gb/s.

    Category 7A

    For cable and connecting hardware products with transmission characteristics specified to 1200 MHz, used to support digital transmission of 40 Gb/s.


    An acronym for cable television, derived from Community Antenna Television.

    Central Processing Unit (CPU)

    The key component of a computer system, which contains the circuitry necessary to interpret and execute program instructions.

    Characteristic Impedance

    A frequency-dependant resistance that quantifies the complex opposition to current flow offered by a transmission line. (Expressed as 2° and typically 100 - 2).


    A two-way communication path between electronic devices.


    The low refractive index material that surrounds the core of an optical fibre, usually pure silica (typically 125μm).


    A technique by which processing can be distributed between nodes requesting information (clients) and those maintaining data (servers).


    A protective layer of material over the cladding of an optical fibre (typically 250μm).

    Coaxial Cable (Coax)

    A cable with a centre conductor surrounded by thick dielectric, surrounded by a conductor made of metal braid. An outer jacket insulation is optional.

    Composite Cable

    A cable construction technique that combines multiple cables or media in a single overjacket.


    A medium such as copper wire that can carry electrical current.


    A pipe, usually metal, that runs underground from floor to floor, or along a floor or ceiling, to protect cables. In Riser Backbone Subsystems, when riser telecommunication closets are not aligned, conduit is used to protect cable and provide the means for pulling cable from floor to floor. In the horizontal Subsystem, conduit may be used between a telecommunication closet and an information outlet in an office or other room . Conduit is also used for in-conduit campus distribution, where it is run underground between buildings and intermediate manholes and is made of plastic encased in concrete.

    Connecting Block

    A flame-retardant plastic block containing metal wiring terminal (IDC’s) that establishes an electrically tight connection between the cable and the cross-connect wire.


    A device that allows you physically to connect and disconnect copper wires or fibres to cable equipment or to other wires or fibres. Copper wire and fibre optic connectors must often join transmission media to equipment or cross-connects.


    The central transmission area of fibre. The core always has a refractive index higher than that of the cladding.


    A short length of copper wire or fibre optic cable with connectors on each end. Used to connect equipment to cabling, or to connect cabling segments (cross-connection).

    Coulomb (C)

    A quantity of electricity transferred by a current of one ampere in one second.


    Transfer of light into or out of an optical fibre. Note: that coupling does not require a coupler.


    A device that connects three or more fibre ends, dividing one input between two or more outputs or combining two or more inputs into one output.


    See Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC).

    Cross Connect

    A facility enabling the termination of cable elements and their interconnection, primarily by means of Patch Cords or jumpers.


    An electromagnetic coupling between two physically isolated circuits in a system. This coupling causes a signal on one circuit to induce a noise voltage on adjacent circuits, thereby causing signal interference.

    Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC)

    A coded sequence of information allowing error checking and correction.



    Lighting classification for separation of lights


    Direct Current

    Dichoric Lamps

    Filament lamp with a coating on the reflector


    A coating on the reflector that allows some of the infrared (heat) energy created by a Halogen lamp to pass through the back of the fitting instead of being reflected forward.

    Digital Dimming

    Microcontroller based universal dimming technology

    Direct Current (DC)

    The type of electricity stored in batteries and generated by solar electric devices. Current flows in a single direction.

    Double Gang/Switched Socket

    Double Socket Outlet.

    Data Communication Equipment (DCE)

    General terminology for data communication equipment such as modems. A device that terminated a data communication session and provides encoding or conversion if necessary. See also Data Terminating Equipment (DTE).

    Data Terminating Equipment (DTE)

    The term used to describe any type of computer or other equipment, when connected to a data communication network.

    Decibel (dB)

    A unit used to measure relative increase or decrease in power, voltage or current using a logarithmic scale.

    Delay Skew

    Delay skew is the difference in propagation delay between pairs within the same cable sheath.


    A non-conducting or insulating material that resists passage of electric current.

    Dielectric Cable

    A non-conducting cable, such as fibre optic cable, without metallic members.

    Dielectric Constant

    The ratio of the capacitance of the insulated wire to that of the same wire uninsulated in air.

    Dielectric Strength

    A measure of the maximum voltage that the insulation of a particular cable can withstand without breakdown.

    Digital Signal

    A signal that represents information by a series of fixed, encoded, rectangular pulses, usually consisting of two possible voltage levels. Each voltage level indicates one of two possible values or logic states, such as on or off, open or closed, true or false.

    Digital Transmission

    A technique in which all information is converted into binary digits for transmission.


    The tendency of light to spread out and lose its focus in fibre optic cables.


    The term used for the function of a collection of components (for example, patch panels, patch cords) used to connect cables.

    Drop cable

    The coaxial cable that connects the feeder portion of the distribution system to the subscriber’s premises.


    A duplex cable contains two fibres, a duplex connector links two pairs of fibres.


    Earth Continuity Test

    Tests Earth bonding to Neutral.


    A conductive medium in which the flow of electricity takes place; this is the liquid found inside storage batteries.




    Edison Screw.

    Extension Leads Test

    Tests integrity of extension leads, power boards and double adaptors.


    Electro Zinc.


    North American Standards organisation.

    EIA/TIA 568B

    North American Commercial Building Telecommunications Wiring Standard.


    North American commercial building standard for telecommunication pathways and spaces. Its purpose is to standardise specific cabling accommodation practices within and between buildings which are in support of telecommunication media and equipment.

    EIA/TIA 606A

    North American administration standard for the telecommunications infrastructure of commercial buildings. Its purpose is to provide guidelines for a uniform administration scheme for the cabling infrastructure.

    Electromagnetic Compatibility (EmC)

    The ability of a system, equipment or device to operate satisfactorily in its environment without introducing unacceptable electromagnetic disturbance, or being affected by that environment.

    Electronics Industries Association (EIA)

    North American Electronics Association.

    Electromagnetic Flux

    Electric and magnetic fields (commonly referred to as emission) generated by equipment or system.

    Electromagnetic Interference

    The interference in signal transmission or reception caused by the radiation of electric and magnetic fields (EMI).


    See Electromagnetic Compatibility.


    See Electromagnetic Interference.

    EN 50173

    The European standard for generic cabling for customer premises similar to ISO/IEC 11801.

    EN 50174

    A proposed European cabling system planning and installing standard developed by CENELEC similar to EIA/TIA 569A.

    Equal Level Far End Crosstalk (ELFExT)

    Is the same as FEXT, except that the coupled signal at the remote end is relative to the attenuated signal at the remote end.

    Equipment Cable

    A cable connecting equipment to a distributor.

    Equipment Room

    The room in which voice and data common equipment is housed, protected, and maintained and where circuit administration is done using distribution cross-connects.

    Equipment Subsystem

    The part of a premises distribution system that includes the cable and distribution components in an equipment room and that interconnects system-common equipment, other associated equipment, and cross-connects.


    The common name for the most widely used local area network (LAN), generally conforming to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 802.3 Standard.


    Electrical Testing Laboratory (US).



    Flex and Plug


    Foiled Unshielded Twisted Pai


    Flush Floor Box.


    Flush Floor Box CT version.


    The Flange does not provide entry points for electrical cable, they can be used when rear cable entry is required.


    Field of View

    Free Standing Cabinet

    A cabinet that is designed to stand on the floor.

    Forward Gain

    The amount an antenna increases the signal strength in the air.

    Front to Back ratio

    The difference in signal level received from the front of the antenna verses the back of the antenna. Antennas are designed to reject signals received from the back of the antenna. Good Front to Back ratio reduces the chance of ghosting.

    Far End Crosstalk (FExT)

    Refers to the undesired coupling of signals from the transmit pair onto (FEXT) the receive pair at the other (=far) end. FEXT loss is also expressed in dB. For some applications this is an important parameter; for most applications, however, the NEXT values are more important.

    Fast Ethernet

    Fast Ethernet A 100 Mb/s LAN Based On CSMA/CD Protocol. See 100BASE-T.

    Federal Communication Commission (FCC)

    A board of five commissioners, appointed by the president (U.S.), that regulates all electronic communications systems originating in the United States, including telephone systems.


    The alignment sleeve portion of an optical connector.


    Any filament or fibre that guides light. See also fibre optics.

    Fibre Channel

    This is an ANSI standard describing point and switched point to point physical interface, transmission protocol, signalling protocol, services and command set mapping of a high performance serial link for uses between mainframe computers and computer peripherals.

    Fibre Distributed Data Interface (FDDI)

    An American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard for a fibre-based token ring physical and data link protocol that operates at a 100 Mb/s data transfer rate.

    Fibre optic

    A fibre optic cable in which individual optical fibres are formed into a cable.

    Fibre optics

    A technique of conveying light or images through glass or plastic fibres.

    Fibre optic Cable

    A transmission medium consisting of a core of glass or plastic surrounded by a cladding, strengthening material and outer jacket. Signals are transmitted as light pulses, introduced into the fibre by a light transmitter either a laser or light-emitting diode (LED). Some of the advantages offered by fibre optic cable are low data loss, high speed transmission, large bandwidth, small physical size, light weight, and freedom from electromagnetic interference and grounding problems.

    Fibre optic Connectors

    Connectors designed to connect and disconnect either single or multiple optical fibres repeatedly. Fibre optic connectors are used to connect fibre cable to equipment and interconnect cables.

    Fibre optic Cross- Connection

    Fibre optic apparatus for terminating cable. Designed for highdensity cross-connection fields, the apparatus can terminate multiple fibres on each shelf. Single shelves can also be wall mounted. Cross-connections are handled with fibre optic Patch Cords. See also Patch Cords.

    Fibre optic Interconnect

    It provides interconnection for individual optical fibre but, unlike the fibre optic cross-connect panel, it does not use patch panel cords or jumpers. The fibre optic interconnect provides some capability for routing and re-routing circuits, but is usually used where circuit rearrangements are infrequent.

    Fibre optic Splice

    A fibre optic cable splice is used to join together two fibre optic cable ends permanently (mechanical or fusion).

    Foil Screened Twisted Pair Cable (FTP)

    A cable that uses a metallic foil to surround the conductors in a Twisted Pair Cable. FTP is used mostly by the ISO/IEC. USA uses 5cTP.


    A metallic structure for hanging switch hardware.


    The number of cycles completed by a signal in one second: measured in Hertz (Hz).


    See Foil Screened Twisted Pair Cable.

    Full Duplex

    In contrast to half-duplex devices, full duplex ones allow permanent, simultaneous two-way transmission of information, without interaction or interference of receive and transmit signals.


    The actual operation of joining fibres together by fusing or melting (e.g. fusion splicing).



    The number of switches on the product.


    A housing and light fixture that allows the light to swivel on one axis. It is used when the fitting location is not horizontal.


    General Purpose Outlet


    When used in reference to utility power, it refers to a system of electrical transmission and distribution lines.

    Grid Plate

    The plate that screws directly to the wall.

    Ground Fault Protection (GFP)

    A shock hazard protection device that limits the flow of electrical current to earth. Usually required in wet locations, e.g. for outdoor, kitchen, and bathroom circuits.


    Two images of the same source on the one TV Screen caused by two signals received by the same Antenna from two different directions. Often there is the main signal source and a secondary source reflected off a building or mountain.


    A measure of a conducting wire’s physical size; usually referred to as AWG (American Wire Gauge). See also American Wire Gauge (AWG).

    Graded-Index Fibre

    Fibre design in which the refractive index of the core is lower toward the outside of the fibre core and increases toward the center of the core allows light to travel faster in the lower index of refraction region. This type of fibre provides high bandwidth capabilities.


    Halogen Lamp

    A light where the filament is contained in a bulb that is filled with a gas mixture that includes a gas from the halogen 'family', for instance iodine or fluorine. A halogen light has a longer life than a normal filament light and does not lose brightness over its lifetime.


    Hot dip galvanization

    Hertz (Hz)

    The frequency, or number of times per second, that the flow of AC electricity reverses itself.

    half Duplex

    A telecommunication device allowing two-way transmission of signals or other information, but only in one direction at a time. Thus, a half-duplex device cannot simultaneously transmit and receive, though interspersed burst in each direction are possible.


    The central facility where signals are combined and distributed in a cable television system.

    horizontal Cable

    A cable connecting the floor distributor to the telecommunications outlet(s).

    High Battery Voltage Protection

    A control circuit that disconnects charge current flowing to the battery before voltage reaches a dangerously high threshold. Prevents damage created by excess gassing (or boiling) of electrolyte.



    Intensive Care Unit.

    Idle Current

    The amount of electrical current required to keep an inverter ready to produce electricity on demand.

    Incandescent Lamp

    Filament wire lamp.

    Inrush Current

    The peak current an appliance or tool will draw at the instant it starts up.

    Insulation Resistance Test

    Test resistance between all live conductors and Earth.

    Internal Barrier

    "Also known as a Drop In Barrier, converts the standard 2 barrier skirting duct to a 3 barrier skirting duct"


    International Protection Rating 44.


    International Protection Rating 53.


    International Protection Rating 56.


    International Protection Rating 66.

    Insulation Displacement Contact (IDC)

    A type of wire terminating connection, in which the insulating jacket is cut by the connector when the wire is inserted.

    Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)

    This organisation is also involved in producing Local Area Network standards such as Ethernet and Token Ring.

    Insertion Loss

    The amount of signal loss (attenuation) as the signal passes through a connection, interface, or channel.


    A material having high resistance to flow of electric current. Thin conducting wires are covered with colour coded insulation for protection.

    Insulation Resistance

    The measure of ability of an insulation material to resist the flow of current through it; usually measured in Megohm.


    A circuit administration point, other than a cross-connect or information outlets, that provides capability for routing and re-routing circuits. It does not use patch cords or jumpers. Typically, it is a jack and plug device used in smaller distribution arrangements or to connect circuits in large cables to those in smaller cables.


    A signal impairment caused by the interaction of another unwanted signal.

    Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

    A CCITT standard providing switched end to end simultaneous handling of digitised voice and data traffic.

    International Standard organisation (ISo)

    The organisation responsible for the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) Standards.


    The ability to operate and exchange information in a heterogeneous network.

    ISo/IEC 11801

    An international standard for generic cabling for customer premises (AS/NZS 3080 is derived from this standard).

    ISo/IEC 14763-1

    The international standard for basic administration of generic cabling.



    A receptacle used with a plug to make electrical contact between communications circuits. Jacks and their associated plugs are used in a variety of connecting hardware applications including adaptor, information outlets, and equipment connections.


    The flexible covering of a cable, used to protect the colour coded conductors inside.


    A cable unit or cable element without connectors, used to make a connection on a cross-connect.

    Jumper Wire

    A short length of copper wire used to route a circuit by linking two cross-connect termination points.


    Kilowatt (kW)

    One thousand watts of electricity. Ten 100-watt light bulbs use one kW of electrical power.

    Kilowatt Hour (kWH)

    One kW of electrical power used for one hour. Most grid connected electrical meters measure kWh for billing purposes.


    An aramid yarn used to provide crush resistance and pulling strength in a fibre cable. Kevlar is a trademark of the Du Pont Company.



    Local Area Network.


    Liquid Crystal Display.


    Light Emitting Diode.


    Also known as a Diffuser. A polycarbonate resin, used in molded products, as a substitute for glass.

    Line Loss

    A voltage drop caused by resistance in wire during transmission of electrical power over distance.


    Line Isolation & Overload Monitor.


    Any device that consumes electricity to operate. Appliances, tools, and lights are examples of electrical loads.


    Line Protection Device.


    A Lumen is a measure of the power of light perceived by the human eye. Loosely speaking a lumen can be thought of a measure of total light. An average 50W halogen downlight has a lumen output of 740 lumens.


    The unit of illuminance and luminous emittance measuring luminous power per area.


    The signal strength is decreased over cable, splitters and connectors. Compensation for losses must be made when designing a MATV system.


    The transmission path between any two interfaces of generic cabling. It excludes equipment cable and work area cables.


    Live interface unit.


    A device that amplifies light waves and concentrates them in a narrow, very intense beam.

    Light Emitting Diode (LED)

    A device used in a transmitter to convert information from electric to optical form. It typically has a large spectral width.

    Local Area Network (LAN)

    A data communication network consisting of host computers or other equipment interconnected to terminal devices, such as personal computers, often via twisted-pair or coaxial cables. LANs allow users to share information and computer resources. Typically, a network is limited to a single premises.

    Loose Tube

    A protective tube loosely surrounding a fibre is often filled with gel for external plant applications.

    Low Battery Protection

    A control circuit that stops the flow of electricity from batteries to loads when battery voltage drops to low levels.



    Miniature Circuit Breakers.


    Switch Mechanism.


    Multiple Earthed Neutral.


    Interchangeable components based around internal assembly

    Mounting Block

    The Mounting Block provides entry points for electrical cable.


    Excess bending in fibre.

    mechanical Splicing

    One of several available devices for splicing fibres in lieu of fusion splicing. Mechanical splices are primarily designed for any environment where a permanent, low loss joint is required.

    megabit (mb)

    One million binary bits.

    megabits per second (mbps)

    Rate of data transmission.

    megahertz (mhz)

    One million hertz (cycles per second).


    Bends in the fibre, usually of a radius less than 1mm, that cause a localised increase in the loss of the fibre due to the leaking of light through the core-cladding interface.

    micron (μm)

    A micrometre; one-millionth of a metre.


    A modulator / demodulator unit used for data transmission. It converts digital data into analogue tones when transmitting over standard voice-grade telephone lines and reverses this process when receiving.


    Coding of information onto the carrier frequency. This includes amplitude, frequency or phase modulation techniques.

    multifibre Cable

    An optical cable that contains two or more fibres, each of which provides a separate information channel.

    multi mode

    Many light rays (modes) propagating through the fibre core.

    multi mode Fibre

    Optical Fibres that have a large core and that permit non-axial rays or modes to propagate through the core. 62.5 or 50 micron are the common standard core sizes for premises cabling systems.


    The process of combining multiple signals, usually by timedivision multiplexing (TDM) on a high-frequency carrier, to optimise the use of available transmission media.

    Modified Sine Wave

    Also called a modified square wave, this type of waveform emulates a sine wave using a series of steps.



    National Electric Manufacturers Association


    Nickel-Metal Hydride.

    Nanometre (nm)

    A unit of length in the metric system denoting one-billionth of a metre (10nm). Measure of wavelength.


    National Association for Testing Authorities.

    Near End Crosstalk (NExT)

    Refers to the undesired coupling of signals from the transmit pair onto the receive pair on the same (near) end. NEXT isolation is expressed in dB and is a measure of how well the pairs in a cable are isolated from each other.


    The local and long-distance telecommunications capability provided by common carriers for switch and private line telecommunications services.

    Network Architecture

    Network topology and design.

    Network Interface

    The point of interconnection between building communications wiring and outside communications lines (telephone company facilities, e.g. MDF).

    Network Interface Card (NIC)

    The piece of equipment that is installed into the expansion port of a personal computer and allows communication between the PC and the network.


    A piece of communication equipment on the network.


    The term used for spurious signals produced in a conductor by sources other than the transmitter to which it is connected. Noise can affect a legitimate signal to the extent that it is inaccurate or indecipherable when it reaches the receiver. The higher the speed of data transmission, the worse the effects of noise become.

    Numerical Aperture

    The number that expresses the light gathering ability of a fibre.



    Original Equipment Manufacturer.


    An electrical system that is not connected to a utility distribution grid.


    The standard unit of electrical resistance .One volt will cause one ampere of current to flow through one ohm of resistance.

    open System Interconnection (oSI) (model)

    The model describes the seven layer process of communication between ‘co-operating’ computers. The model provides a standard for the development of communication protocols allowing for computers of different manufacturers to be interconnected.

    optical Connectors

    See Fibre Optic Connectors.

    optical Fibre

    A transmission medium consisting of a core of glass or plastic surrounded by a cladding. Signals are transmitted as light pulses, introduced into the fibre by a light transmitter i.e. Laser or an LED.

    optical Time-Domain Reflectometre (oTDR)

    An instrument that characterises cable loss by measuring the amount of injected light as a function of time. It is useful for estimating attenuation and for locating splices, connecting and break.


    A term used to describe the sockets provided in the work location of a Structured Cabling System. These are usually eight pin modular sockets which can support a variety of service e.g. voice, video and data (e.g. RJ45).


    Parallel Wiring

    Batteries or PV modules, wired together to increase ampacity, while voltage remains constant.

    Patch Cords

    A short length of copper wire or fibre optic cable with a connector on each end used to join communication circuits as a cross connect.

    Photovoltaic Array (PV)

    A group of solar (PV) panels connected together to convert energy from sunlight into DC electrical energy.


    Fibre optic cable that has connectors installed on one end


    Passive Infrared - Detecting the difference between heat emitted from the human body in motion and the background space.

    Polarity Test

    Tests Active and Neutral wiring integrity.


    Two wires (usually twisted) together and marked with reciprocal colour coding. See also Twisted Pair.

    Passive Device

    A static device that requires no power for its intended function.

    Patch Cord(s)

    A short length of copper wire or fibre optic cable with a connector on each end used to join communication circuits as a cross-connect.

    Patch Panel(s)

    A cross-connect designed to accommodate the use of patch cords. It facilitates administration for moves and changes.


    Printed Circuit Board.

    Plenum Cable

    Cable specifically designed for use in a plenum, the space above a suspended ceiling used to circulate air back to the heating or cooling system in a building. Plenum cable has insulated conductors often jacketed with TEFLON or HALAR on the copper and low smoke PVC on fibre optics to give them low flame-producing and low smoke producing properties.

    Polyvinyl Chloride (PvC)

    A flame-retardant thermoplastic insulation material that is commonly used in jacks or building cables.


    The cable terminations in the equipment system at which various types of communication devices, switching equipment, and other devices are connected to the transmission network.

    Power Sum

    A method of testing and measuring crosstalk in multi-pair cables that accounts for the sum of crosstalk affecting a pair when all other pairs are active.

    Primary Rate Interface (PRI)

    ISDN standard interface comprising 23 B+1D Channel for North America, and 30B+1D Channel for Europe. See Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).

    Propagation Delay

    A signal travelling from end to end of a link is delayed in time by an amount equal to the length of cable divided by the velocity of propagation for that transmission medium. The delay is called Propagation Delay.


    A rule of procedure by which computer devices intercommunicate. Thus a protocol is the equivalent of a human language, with punctuation and grammatical rules.

    Pulling Tension

    The amount of pull placed on a cable during installation. Expressed in Newton-metres or foot-pounds.

    Photovoltaic (PV) Array

    A group of solar (PV) panels connected together to convert energy from sunlight into DC electrical energy.


    Quad Gang/Switched Socket

    Four Socket Outlet.


    Rack Unit

    Positioning in the cabinet for 45 patch panels.


    Electronic RCBO.


    Mechanical RCBO.


    Combination RCD/MCB.


    Residual Current Circuit Breaker. Same as an RCD.


    Residual Current Device.


    Radio Frequency.


    High Frequency Signal Injection

    Registered Jack (RJ)

    Acronym describing Modular Jacks in 4 (RJ11), 6 (RJ12) and 8 (RJ45) wire versions.

    Riser Backbone Subsystem

    The part of a premises distribution system that includes a main cable route and structure for supporting the cable from an equipment room (often in the building basement) to the upper floors, or along the same floor. It is terminated on a cross-connect in a telecommunications room, at the network interface, or at distribution components of the Campus Backbone Subsystem. The Riser Backbone Subsystem usually extends from an equipment room (often in a building’s basement) to the upper floors in a multistorey building, or along the same floor in a low-wide building. It is terminated on a cross-connect in a riser telecommunication room, at the network interface, or on the distribution components of the Campus Backbone Subsystem.

    Riser Cable

    Used in applications for indoor cables that pass between floors. It is normally used in a vertical shaft or space.


    A router can be used to connect networks with similar protocols (802.5 token ring local area network [LANs] or dissimilar Open System Interconnection (OSI) model protocols (802.5 token ring LANs and X.25 packet-switching networks). Routers are more sophisticated than bridges and can be used to prevent some of the speed mismatch, security and reliability problems that occur in large networks. An intermediate system between two or more networks capable of forwarding data packets at the network layer (layer three).


    Series Wiring

    Batteries or PV modules wired together to increase voltage, while ampacity remains constant.


    Used to install power, data or voice fittings to the skirting duct.

    Single Gang/Switched Socket

    Single Socket Outlet.

    Socket Outlet

    Also known as General Purpose Outlet, GPO, Power Point, or Power Outlet.


    Stainless steel.

    Surge Capacity

    The amount of current an inverter can deliver for short periods of time.


    Coloured Cover

    Skin effect

    TV frequencies travel around the circumference of the copper conductor in a coax cable. It is important to make sure that when terminating coax cable for MATV or Satellite TV applications that a properly designed stripping tool is used. Avoid scoring or ringing the copper conductor as TV frequencies travel on the outside circumference of the copper conductor.

    Serial Data Transmission

    Data transmission between computer devices using only a single circuit path. Whole bytes of information (eight bits) are sent in sequential pattern.

    Serial Port(s)/ Transmission

    Normally a DB 9 pin connector located on the motherboard of a PC. A technique in which each bit of information is sent sequentially on a single channel.


    Host computer(s).


    A common term for the jacket over twisted pairs of multi pair cables.


    The metallic layer that surrounds insulated conductors in shielded cable. The shield may be the metallic sheath of the cable or the metallic layer inside a non-metallic sheath.

    Shielded Twisted Pair Cable (STP)

    A cable comprising of one or more elements each of which is individually shielded. There may be an overall shield in which case the cable is referred to as a shielded twisted pair cable with an overall shield.


    A transmission means allowing only one direction of transmission.

    Single mode

    Optical fibre with a small core diametre in which only single mode is capable of propagation. 8.3 micron is the common standard core size.


    Short length of rigid metal pipe, approximately four inches (10.0cm) in diameter, located in riser telecommunication rooms that allows cables to pass from floor to floor when rooms are vertically aligned. Sleeves also provide for easy pulling of cable.


    Opening in the floor of riser telecommunications closets that allow cables to pass through from floor to floor when rooms are vertically aligned. A slot accommodates more cable than an individual sleeve.


    The physical joining of two or more copper wire or optical fibres.

    Splice Closure

    A container used to organise and protect splice trays.


    Another name for coupler. See also coupler.

    Splitting Ratio

    The ratio of power emerging from multiple output ports of a coupler.

    Straight-Tip (ST) Connector

    A fibre optic connector.

    Stranded Cable

    A strong, woven copper wire used to support cable in aerial distribution systems. The cable is lashed to the stranded cable during installation.

    Structured Cabling

    Cabling scheme which allows rapid reconfiguration for office moves through patching.


    A sudden voltage rise and fall in an electrical circuit.

    Sine Wave

    The type of AC waveform produced by the utility or by most generators.



    Trade Product Guide

    Transfer Switch

    A switch designed to transfer electricity being supplied to loads from one source of power to another

    Telecommunication Closet/Room

    An enclosed space for housing telecommunication equipment, cable terminations, and cross-connect cabling. The telecommunications closet is a recognised cross-connect point between the backbone and horizontal cabling subsystems.

    Telecommunication outlet

    A connector where the horizontal cables terminate in the work area.

    Thick coax

    The transmission medium used for Ethernet or IEEE 802.3 10Base5 LANs. It is a 50 ohm thick coax cable (commonly referred to as the thick yellow cable).

    Thin coax

    The transmission medium used for IEEE 802.3 10Base2 LANs (sometimes referred to as CheaperNet). It is a 50 ohm thin coax cable.


    North American Standards Organisation.


    Twisted Pair Physical medium dependent. A twisted pair version of the FDDI standard that allows 100Mb/s transmission over Category 5 copper.

    Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

    A common network layer and transport layer data networking protocol.

    Transport Layer

    Layer four of the OSI model. The transport layer provides for end-to-end data relaying services across any type of data network and is responsible for end-to-end reliability.

    Twisted Pair(s)

    Two insulated copper wires twisted together. The twists, or lays, are varied in length to reduce the potential for signal interference between pairs. In cables greater than 25 pairs, the twisted pairs are grouped and bound together in a common sheath. Twisted pair is the most common type of transmission media. Often refered to as balanced twisted pairs.



    Under Floor Box.


    Unshielded Twisted Pair.


    Ultra Violet.


    Ultra High Frequency. UHF channels are broadcast from channel 21-69. Digital and analogue frequencies.


    Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.


    The variation of power level between the optical outputs of a splitter.

    Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable

    Normal copper building cable, capable of high-speed data transmission.


    Volts (V)

    A unit of measure of voltage, which is the electromotive force or electric potential difference between two points in a circuit.


    Very High Frequency. VHF Low are channels 0-5A. analogue frequencies. VHF High are channels 6-12. Digital and Analogue frequencies. Digital TV will only be broadcast on VHF channels 6 and above as well as all UHF channels.

    volt (v)

    The standard unit of electromotive force or electrical pressure. One volt is the amount of pressure that will cause one ampere of current to flow through one ohm of resistance.


    Wall Cabinet

    A cabinet that is designed to be mounted on a wall.

    Watt (W)

    A unit of measure of the amount of electrical power consumed by a load or supplied by a source.

    Watt Hour (Wh)

    Electrical energy consumption or capacity measured in terms of time.


    Weatherproof Neon Kit.


    The physical distance of one electromagnetic wave cycle.

    Wavelength Division multiplexer (WDm)

    A passive device that transmits signals at different wavelength through the same fibre.

    Wide Area Network (WAN)

    Any physical network topology that spans large geographic distances. WANs usually operate at lower speeds and have higher delays than local area networks (LANs).

    Wireless LANs

    Local area network that communicates using radio technology.

    Wiring Closet

    See Telecommunication Closet/Room.