Smart Building

The Time-Saving Benefits of Zone Distribution

Denis Blouin

As digital buildings become more prevalent, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) and wireless are relied on more and more, zone distribution is no longer limited to open-office space.

Delivering network connections out across different environments – from manufacturing floors to hotel rooms – supports Internet of Things and allows for easy movement and repositioning of connected devices without reconfiguration or long cable runs back to the telecommunications room.


Zone Distribution Defined

Zone distribution supports rapid deployment and reorganization of connected devices that reside in plenum spaces or raised floors. Horizontal cables run from telecommunications room patch panels to logically placed zone distribution box connections mounted in plenum spaces or raised floors as part of the horizontal cabling system. Copper or fiber cables then run from zone distribution boxes to specific zones or outlets, using patch cords to connect. Specified and defined by ANSI/TIA and BICSI standards, zone distribution is an acceptable option for network cabling.


By making connected devices easier to move, zone distribution provides a way to keep the majority of your network cabling in place and undisturbed. For example: To accommodate more connected devices, and bring the network out into the environment, outlets can be relocated – but the cable coming from the wiring closet to the zone distribution point can remain untouched. The only cable that needs to be rerouted is the one located at the zone distribution point.


Zone Distribution Requirements

Zone distribution can be deployed in a number of ways: through the use of a consolidation point, a multi-user telecommunications outlet assembly (MuTOA) or a telecommunications enclosure.


An important component of a successful zone distribution model is the zone distribution box (also considered a consolidation point) – it’s the heart of the zone distribution model. These boxes serve as conversion points between hard wiring and the zone distribution cabling system. They house a certain number of cable connections that allow devices – from cameras and LED lighting fixtures to HVAC controls and AV screens – to connect in plenum spaces or raised floors.


Following this model, work areas can be pre-wired so that network connections are closer to users and devices. When the time comes, only the cables inside the zone distribution box need to be reconfigured. To make deployment even faster, pre-terminated cables can be installed from the telecommunications room to the zone distribution box. 


Tips for Selecting Zone Distribution Boxes

There are certain features to keep in mind that will support fast deployment and maintain uptime as floorplans and devices are reorganized and reconfigured. We recommend that you look for zone distribution boxes that can:

  • Support simple front or back routing with edge-protected cable entry ports  
  • Prevent fire spread with fire-rated foam sealing kits
  • Install flush with the floor or ceiling for a seamless, low-profile look
  • Offer easy access for technicians by mounting to the door
  • Zone enclosures with options to use passive-only gears or passive and active gears

Zone Distribution Boxes from Belden allow enterprises to take full advantage of zone distribution to support smart buildings, wireless and PoE while supporting fast deployment and quick MAC work through easy cable and connection changes that cause little to no disruption.


Available in raised-floor and ceiling units with standard or large cable access ports, there are a wide variety of options for different applications. Learn more about our full range of solutions for enterprise networks including our new REVConnect connectivity system, which installs faster by using one termination style for all RJ45 shielded and unshielded connections.