66 Block

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A 66 block (also M-Block or B-Block) is a type of punchdown block used to connect sets of wires in a telephone system. 66 blocks are designed to terminate 22 through 26 AWG solid copper wire. The 66 series connecting block was the first IDC (Insulation Displacement Connector) type connecting block in the Bell System, introduced in 1962. The term "66 block" simply reflects its Western Electric model number.

The 25-pair standard non-split 66 Block contains 50 rows; each row has four columns of clips that are electrically bonded. The 25-pair "Split 50" 66 Block is the industry standard for easy termination of voice cabling, and is a standard network termination by telephone companies–generally on commercial properties. Each row contains four clips, but the left two clips are electrically isolated from the right two clips.

66 blocks are available pre-assembled with an RJ-21 female connector that accepts a quick connection to a 25-pair cable with a male end. These connections are typically made between the block and the CPE (customer premise equipment).

Use

Circuit pairs are connected to the block with a punch-down tool by terminating the tip wire on the leftmost slot of one row and ring wire on the leftmost slot of the row beneath the mating tip wire. Typically, a 25-pair cable coming from the phone company is punched down on the left side of the block in pairs. The right hand side of the block is wired to the customer premise equipment (CPE) with jumper wires. Bridging clips are used to connect the two center terminals, connecting the left-hand side of a split block with its right-hand side, thus completing the circuit. The clips form the point of interface between the subscriber and the provider. The bridging clips can be easily removed by either the subscriber or phone company personnel for trouble isolation, allowing the ability to split a circuit and determine in which direction trouble may exist. An orange insulating cover attached to a 66 block denotes its designation as a demarcation point by the local exchange carrier.

Modern 110 blocks largely supplanted 66 blocks for new commercial installations at the end of the 20th century, as the capability for a circuit to carry digital data overlaid its ability to carry analog voice conversations. 110 block termination is almost always Category 5 (or higher) compliant, and capable of supporting 100 MHz (or faster) signaling. Compared to 110 and higher-density wire terminating blocks, 66 blocks are physically large; and because of their maximum 16 MHz Category 3 signaling compatibility, they are ill-suited for high speed (faster than 10BASE-T) data circuits. However, special Category 5e Certified 66 blocks are available from manufacturers such as Siemon which meet all standards for Cat5e termination.[1]

"Split 50" 66 blocks are still used as network interface blocks in distribution frames to interconnect circuits with bridging clips, but are primarily limited to narrowband circuits such as POTS/DSL, DS0, or DS1 circuits.

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