As it relates to telecommunications, Demarc is the term designating the point at which the Local Exchange Carrier, or LEC, connects to your office or business. It is a shortened form of “Point of Demarcation,” and is a standard industry term. This is where the Local Carrier (AT&T in south Florida), terminates, or “drops” your phone and data services. This is also the point at which your local (or office) network begins.
There is another location, most often referred to as the Main Telephone Room. As the name implies, there is only one per building…usually. This is where the Local Exchange Carrier provides service via the Building Entrance Cable (BEC). These may consist of Twisted Pair Copper, Fiber-optic, or Coaxial cables.
Connecting these two essential elements, the Demarc and the Main Telephone room, is the Network Terminating Wire (NTW). This is a slight misnomer, as the NTW is a cable, not literally a single wire. Many times, it is the actual physical placement of the NTW that poses some of the greatest challenges.
In many states, the Demarc is in one central location, even in a multi-tenant or multi-floor building. In these states, it is the end-user’s (your) responsibility to extend the service into your space. This is called “Extending the Demarc,” and is a routine expense. In Florida, this phrase has a different meaning. It refers to extending the circuit further into a customer’s space, past the designated Point Of Demarcation. Into a Secure Server Facility, for example.
Here in Florida, the rule is MPE, or Minimum Point of Entry. This means that the Local Provider is responsible for bringing the NTW to your Demarc. This sounds clear-cut, but in practice it can be anything but. The LEC is responsible for installing this cable, but must be provided with “Ways and Means” to place the cable, or transport medium, between your Demarc and the Main Telephone Room. This is usually accomplished by placing a conduit (galvanized steel or PVC pipe) between the two points. The installation of this conduit is usually performed by a Communications or Electrical Contractor, not the LEC. Then the LEC technician uses this conduit to “pull” the NTW to your Demarc, connecting your business to the Central Office, via the Outside Physical Plant Network.
There is a difference to point out. Many smaller office buildings have no room designated for Building Entrance Cable location. In these cases, the service terminates in a steel cabinet, known as a NEMA box, mounted to the exterior of the building. These are many times exposed to the elements and are generally not climate-controlled. From a network reliability standpoint, this isn’t always the most effective option.
When it comes to proper installation and maintenance, including relocation, of your Demarc, experience is paramount. Almost no two Demarc locations are exactly the same. You need a technician with the know-how to adapt to all situations, and apply proven solutions to deliver the best and most cost-effective service.