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punchdown block

(n.) A device that connects one group of wires to another group of wires through a system of metal pegs that the wires are attached to, often used in telecommunications closets that support local-area networks. Punchdown blocks are the predecessors to patch panels and were commonly used to support low-bandwidth Ethernet and token-ring networks. Punchdown blocks typically are not capable of supporting Cat-5 cabling, which is the common cable used in modern Ethernet designs.

Also referred to as a cross-connect block, terminating block, or a connecting block.

Applications: telecommunications, Internet telephony, networking.

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