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Question about the terms IDF and MDF

Posted on 2009-07-09
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I'm having some confusion about what is an MDF and IDF. I have two buildings, one building has the high speed internet connection, all the servers, etc. The first building, the (MDF) then feeds another building that is connected to it by fiber. The second location, IDF only has a few switches in it. The second building get's internet, files, etc.. from the first building. I refer to this setup as an MDF at the first building and IDF in the second building. Others refer to them both as MDF.

Thank you!

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Question by:heydude
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lrmoore earned 175 total points
ID: 24822897
The terminology is really only relevant to you and how you personally distinguish one from the other.
I agree with you that the MDF is the MAIN and the IDF is the INTERMEDIATE Distribution Facility.
Others may refer to the MAIN distribution closet in each building as that building's MDF, but still, in a campus type environment it is really irrelevant because it serves the FUNCTION of an intermediate distribution point.
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by:bbao
bbao earned 175 total points
ID: 24824003
yes, MDF and IDF are concepts relevant to each other depending on their relationship. you really no need to worry about them academically. you may just name them as you like, according to the cabling hierarchy, not the network logic or structure.

if there is only one building, the frames/closets distributed on each floor (vertical distribution) or each zone (horizontal distribution) can be called IDF as they are hierarchically connected to a hub frame/closet, the MDF.

if there are two or more campus buildings arranged in a *mesh* structure using trunk connections, the hub frame for each building can be considered as a MDF as well, though probably only one of them, the logic center, has the connection to external network or the internet. these hub closets can be numbered as MDF1, MDF2, MDF3, and etc. for those distribution units under these MDFs, should be considered as IDFs as they are for second-level distribution.

again, they are concepts for cabling (physical distribution), not the network structure (logic distribution). a well-designed cabling system can support different network structures. of course, for a very basic network implementation (e.g.without switching, VLAN and PBX, the cabling structure can be the same as the network logic. but, in such a scenario, why do you need a decent cabling system? :-)

hope it helps,
bbao
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