What is a PCP? And other connectivity jargon busted

ethernet cable

What is a PCP? And other connectivity jargon busted

Posted on 15 November 2018 by Beaming Support

You may not think of it as being something a business internet service provider might offer, but here at Beaming we run a translation service.

Our work doesn’t call for us to speak Spanish, German or Mandarin, but one of the things many of our customers value is our ability to take something quite technically complicated and translate it into something they can easily understand.

If you’re not yet a Beaming customer and are investigating an upgrade to your connectivity or are having trouble understanding a telephone or internet fault you’re experiencing , you might feel you need a little bit of extra help in understanding the technical language used by engineers and technicians.

Here’s our guide to some of the techie jargon and acronyms you may come across.

DP – Distribution point

The distribution point receives and distributes a connection from the PCP (see below) .

The most likely external place to see a DP is on a telephone pole, where it may be referred to as an aerial DP. They can easily be identified as a (usually) white box at the top of the telephone pole with a lot of wires coming from it.

UG DP  – Underground Distribution Point

An underground distribution point is the same as an aerial DP but the cables will run underground for convenience.

There are advantages to running cables underground such as less likelihood of weather damage.

PCP – Primary Cross Connection Point

You probably go past multiple PCPs every day without realising it.

A PCP is one of the green cabinets you see on many street corners.  This is where the main lines from the telephone exchange stop and a PCP turns into a control panel for all the cables that then run on to the DP.  All the cables that reach the DP are controlled by the PCP.

The PCP may alternatively connect to a SCP (Secondary Cross Connection Point).

SCP – Secondary Cross Connection Point

A  SCP is designed to distribute signals over long distances (Very similar to a repeater), whilst a DP is only designed to distribute locally.

FTTP – Fibre to the premises

A  fibre connection from the exchange straight to your business or home, avoiding the PCP.

FTTC – Fibre to the cabinet

A fibre connection from the exchange straight to your local PCP. The cable running to your business/home is copper.

IX – Internet Exchange

The Exchange is the central point from which lines are distributed to the green cabinets (PCPs)

Inside the Exchange all the cables are mounted on a MDF (see below), serving many thousands of End users (EU).

MDF – Main Distribution Frame

A MDF connects all lines incoming to the exchange.

CA – Customer Apparatus.

When a fault appears on a line, CA indicates that this is a problem with the customer’s apparatus.

CE – Customer End.

When a fault is detected on a line, CE means that the fault is located in the customer’s site / location.


Latest tech support posts – shared monthly!

Get all the latest tech support answers drop straight in your inbox. Sign up to our email round up. Add your email address below

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.