Q: Currently, we are using solid triangles for data and open triangles for voice outlets. I`ve been told that this is contrary to standards and that I have it in reverse order. Archibus/FM, a facility management computer-aided design program that integrates with Auto cad, uses the same solid triangles for data and open triangles for voice. What standard identifies icon specifics, and what is the correct notation for voice and data outlets?
Ottawa, ON, Canada
A: The standards of the Telecommunications Industry Association (tia-- Arlington, VA) do not differentiate between voice and data outlets. They are all called telecommunications outlets or connectors, are cabled with telecommunications cable, and are for use in telecommunications applications--and the symbols are all solid. ansi/tia/ eia-568a, the Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard, published in October 1995, addresses the use of "telecommunications outlets/connectors." ansi/TIA/EIA-606, the Administration Standard for the Telecommunications Infrastructure of Commercial Buildings, published in February 1993, suggests using common symbols to represent elements of the telecommunications infrastructure addressed in the family of ansi/TIA/EIA telecommunications building wiring standards.
As designers, installers, and end-users, we have seen an assortment of icons for various telecommunications components, and as long as they are on the list of symbols, we seem to decipher their intended purpose.
Donna Ballast is a communications analyst at The University of Texas at Austin and a BICSI registered communications distribution designer (RCDD). Questions can be sent to her at
Cabling Installation & Maintenance or at PO Drawer 7580,
The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78713;
tel: (512) 471-0112, fax: (512) 471-8883,