I work in network infrastructure documentation at a public university. In discussions with coworkers, I frequently need to refer to devices that connect cables end-to-end. These devices are usually patch panels, so I typically call these devices simply "patch panels". However, I need a broader term that includes any device that connects cables in a similar way, such as fiber media converters. What is the standard term for devices that join cables in such a way?

  • I think you need to provide more context. For example, a media converter is typically an active piece of equipment, not part of the cabling plant. If you include the equipment, I don't believe you can have a single term. – Ron Maupin Jul 22 '18 at 2:47

The latest ANSI/TIA/EIA-569 Telecommunications Pathways and Spaces standard refers to a "connection facility." You have a connection facility at the WAO (Work Area Outlet), and in the distributor room (the other end of the horizontal cabling) where devices such as switches are cross-connected to the horizontal cabling (patch panel, 110-block, fiber panel, etc.).


As long as you stick to passive components, structured cabling is probably the only encompassing term (with its horizontal and vertical cabling components).

Media converters are active L1 components and are somewhat in between the cabling itself and more sophisticated equipment like switches (L2) and routers (L3).


In most organisations I've worked in 'cabling infrastructure' was understood as a quite-general term to mean all the fixed-down things which connect A to B, and would include things like trunking, media converters, patch panels, patch cables, vertical and horizontal cabling, all the way to the socket next to the computer.

"To get the benefit of the new servers, we need to invest £X in cabling infrastructure"


Would the term barrel be relevant. In the telecom industry BNC, Fiber, and RF barrels are used frequently to join cables end to end.

  • I'm admittedly not well-versed in the terminology, but it looks like barrels are a single way that cables can be connected end to end. I need a term generic enough to encompass every way that cables can be connected end to end. – Daniel O Jul 22 '18 at 4:04

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