Main distribution frame
(also MDF, mainframe)
Main distribution frame definition
A central point in a telecommunications system where the incoming lines are connected to an internal network through intermediate distribution frames (IDF). Cables that contain private or public communication lines enter the building and connect to the MDF before connecting to the individual IDFs, which are distributed in various locations within a building or campus. MDFs and IDFs are often used in large buildings and multi-tenant facilities such as office buildings, hospitals, and universities to manage the distribution of telephone and data signals.
The MDF is a critical component of a telecommunications system because it serves as the hub for all incoming and outgoing signals. It allows the signals to be distributed to the appropriate locations within the building, and it helps to ensure that the system is organized and efficient.
How do MDFs and IDFs work?
The MDF typically contains a series of patch panels and cross-connects, which allow the various cables and signals to be easily connected and reconfigured as needed.
If an organization is spread out across multiple floors of a building, the MDF is placed on the ground floor and connected to the public telecommunication lines coming into the building. It then connects these lines to IDFs that are placed on each floor, and IDFs connect them to individual users.