Smart Buildings

A Cross-Connect for Static and Dynamic MAC Environments

Ron Tellas and Sandra Imrazene

When you need to deliver a point-to-point fiber cable link, cross-connects are the way to make it happen. They allow separate entities to use a direct wired connection to share data within a network—without using the internet—and create a separate patching area where any equipment port can be connected to any other equipment port.


In a data center, for example, a cross-connect can connect colocation racks to a telecom carrier, cloud provider or internet service provider. Some companies use cross-connects to connect their business to global networks to gain advantages in redundancy and pricing.


A few months ago, we told the story of how Belden’s original cross-connect systems were designed—and how we continue to build on the success of those systems to provide more reliable cross-connect options for networks and data centers as cable signal frequencies increase. (If you missed it, you can read up on how BIX and GigaBIX Cross-Connects were developed decades ago, and why they’re still in use today.)


Your building, network and application will determine the type of fiber patch panel or cross-connect system you need. Over the next few months, we’ll compare each of these cross-connect offerings so you can make the right choice.


Meet the FX UHD Cross-Connect System


A few decades after BIX and GigaBIX Cross-Connect Systems were developed, along came the FiberExpress (FX) Ultra-High Density (UHD) System for data centers and network environments. It’s designed for fast, easy deployment of high-density cross-connects and interconnects by providing vital port access and protection while supporting ultra-high-density connections.


The FX UHD System can fit lots of connectivity into a very small space, accommodating high fiber counts without giving up performance or negatively impacting ease of use.


Its modular design means it can be used in a top-of-rack, end-of-row or centralized environment; the system works well in dynamic MAC environments as well as static environments where density is a critical factor, such as:


  • Main distribution areas to support large high-density core switches
  • Main distribution areas to support vertical patching and maximize rack space
  • Zone distribution area architecture to support future growth and capacity needs


Like every cross-connect system we create, it was conceived to address the specific challenges our customers—data center managers, engineers, installers and technicians— told us they face. (When they talk, we listen.) Here are just a few ways the FX UHD System makes their jobs easier:


  • Lightweight housings reduce installation fatigue
  • Cable trays easily slide in and out with no tools needed—and they tilt down, not up (so they’re easier to see and don’t hit the top of the cabinet)
  • The system supports legacy ST and SC applications, as well as modern LC and MPO applications, makes MAC work easier and allows simple migration from 1G and 10G to 40G and 100G applications with a swap of a cassette or adapter frame
  • Clear labeling reduces the opportunity for human error and accidental disconnection of live traffic
  • Fiber, copper and multimedia connectivity can be combined in the same RU to save space and time
  • Allows data centers to scale with minimal added cost by offering pigtailed cassettes


Installers can combine FX UHD Shelves and FX UHD Housings to create unique, half-pre-terminated solutions that support exact cable lengths, the ability to fit in smaller conduits and rapid installation of pre-terminated components.


Finally, this cross-connect supports whatever termination option the installer chooses (more about these termination options to come in a future blog):


Fusion splicing, which uses a fusion splicer to permanently join two fiber cables

Mass fusion splicing, which can fuse up to all 12 fibers in a ribbon fiber cable

Mechanical splicing, which “holds” two fibers together using clips or resin


Learn more about the FX UHD System and make sure you’re subscribed to our blog so you don’t miss information about the ECX (Enterprise Closet X) and DCX Systems.


Related Links:


FiberExpress UHD/Ultra Fiber System

To Splice or Not to Splice is Not the Only Question

Enabling Direct Connections: How Our Cross-Connect Solutions Have Evolved