Smart Buildings

A Cross-Connect System Optimized for LAN Environments & MAC Work

Ron Tellas and Sandra Imrazene

When it comes to delivering point-to-point fiber cable links, there are different types of cross-connect and interconnect systems you can choose from. Although they differ in functionality and application, they all have one thing in common: Cross-connect systems allow separate entities or pieces of hardware to share data within a network through a direct wired connection while creating a separate patching area where any equipment port can be connected to any other equipment port.


We recently shared how Belden’s original cross-connect systems came to be—and how we continuously build on the success of those BIX and GigaBIX Systems to provide more cross-connect options for networks and data centers as cable signal frequencies increase.


The cross-connect or interconnect system you need depends on your building, network and application. To help you decide, we’re taking a close look at each cross-connect and interconnect system available from Belden. We started by talking about the FiberExpress Ultra-High-Density System (UHD), which provides vital port access and protection while supporting ultra-high-density connections.


Now it’s time to discuss the cross-connect innovation that came next: Belden’s FiberExpress (FX) ECX Enterprise Closet X (ECX).


Meet the FX ECX Cross-Connect System


As organizations transform, and moves, adds and changes (MACs) need to occur to keep up, making updates to the connections within cross-connects and interconnects can be major obstacles. As technicians or installers work in tight spaces to make improvements, they’re moving as fast as possible to get work done. There’s never enough time to troubleshoot something link an unexpected fiber link failure from damaged or pinched fibers in a cross-connect.


After the launch of FX UHD, Belden turned its focus toward a cross-connect system for LAN environments. The result was the FX ECX System. It simplifies splice cassette design and eliminates fiber pinch points by integrating slack management into the see-through cassette lid. It fits lots of connectivity into a small space, accommodating up to 288 fiber terminations without giving up performance or negatively impacting ease of use.


It was also designed to dramatically improve installation and maintenance efficiency, saving valuable time during MAC work through innovative features like front/rear removable cassettes on all housings (1U, 2U and 4U) that deliver unmatched installation flexibility and make it easier to work in tight spaces.


Understanding that space constraints are a significant challenge in legacy environments—especially when a small number of copper ports require a dedicated patch panel—Belden designed its FX ECX System to manage both copper and fiber. By using Belden KeyConnect Frames, these two media types can be deployed in the same FX ECX System at the same time to save rack space and eliminate the cost of purchasing and deploying additional patch panels that are dedicated to copper.


Easily installable by one person, FX ECX also saves time and labor in other ways:


  • Eliminating the need to manage extra rail components by molding cassette rails directly into the housing
  • Top cover and front/rear doors (in 4U housings) that are simple to detach and re-attach without tools
  • Slide-out trays to make access at the top of the rack easier (this feature can be disabled if you prefer that components remain in place)
  • Switching from a frame to a cassette without additional hardware
  • Integrating strain relief wherever you need it, depending on the type of deployment
  • Labeling at the front and the rear of the housing so you always know where cables are coming from and what they’re connected to
  • Cassettes that can be mounted to the wall to save space


The FX ECX System also supports any termination option, including pigtails with splice trays, splice cassettes, splice-on connectors and mechanical splices.


Learn more about the FX ECX System, and make sure you subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss what’s coming next month: a look at Belden’s DCX System.


Related Links:


FiberExpress ECX LAN Fiber System

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

A Cross-Connect for Static and Dynamic MAC Environments