Smart Buildings

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

Ron Tellas and Sandra Imrazene

Cross-connects are vital for performance and reliability, often the lifeblood of connectivity in networks and data centers.


Because they’re so versatile, cross-connects can be used for many purposes: to create a consolidation point, a small telecom room interconnect or a large data center cross-connect, for example.


Depending on the style you choose, a cross-connect can be mounted to a rack or a wall to help you take advantage of free real estate and potentially reduce the number of racks you need in a space. They’re also available to manage a variety of connectivity formats, including fiber, copper and coax.


These systems have come a long way since the 1970s, when they were first created.


Our Decades of Involvement in Cross-Connects


Belden’s experience in cross-connects goes back many years. To understand how long we’ve been designing cross-connects, it helps to understand a little about our history.


Our Canadian roots are in The Bell Telephone Company of Canada (Bell Canada), which is one of the country’s oldest technology companies and today is the country’s largest telecommunications company.


Years ago, Bell Canada purchased Bari Johnson and formed Imperial Wire and Cable, which later became Northern Electric and Manufacturing Company. Over the years, the company was also known as Northern Telecom and then changed its name to Nortel. Nortel was considered the flagship tech company of Canada.


In 1996, Nortel sold its cable and connectivity division to Cable Design Technologies, which created NORDX/CDT. In 2004, Belden merged with CDT. Together, the combined companies found synergies to expand the use of superior products and solutions.


Nortel created the original BIX (Building Industry Cross-Connect) Cross-Connect System, which was designed for voice communications but also capable of supporting installations up to Category 5e cable.


Using that same technology, NORDX/CDT later developed the GigaBIX Cross-Connect System in 2001, which built on the proven technology of BIX but provided data connectivity that aligned with Category 6 cable while providing high termination density and making moves, adds and changes easier. The system can be managed with cut-to-length cross-connect wire or patch cords.


Because of their reliability and unique design, everyone seemed to rely on GigaBIX Cross-Connects. In fact, GigaBIX Cross-Connect Systems are still in use today, offering the industry’s best performance-to-price ratio. That’s one of the reasons we’re considered No. 1 when it comes to cross-connects.


Innovation in Cross-Connects Continues


Even now, many years later, we’re still building on the success of BIX and GigaBIX to provide more reliable cross-connect options for networks and data centers.


As cable signal frequencies increase, the industry needs new cross-connect options. That’s why we created the FiberExpress Ultra-High Density System in 2008, which paved the way for Belden’s fiber connectivity solutions. The system is also referred to as our FX UHD solution. It supports cost-effective migration from 1G and 10G to 40G and 100G applications with a simple swap of a cassette or adapter frame.


From there, we created the FiberExpress Enterprise Closet X Patch Panel System in 2017—also called FX ECX. The ECX System is designed for enterprise networks. It dramatically improves efficiency, saving valuable time with patent-pending, innovative features like front/rear removable cassettes and delivering unmatched installation flexibility in tight spaces.


In 2019, we unveiled the DCX System for data centers. This system handles extremely high numbers of fiber connections and allows you to add density to fiber systems without compromising on ease of use. It optimizes the ROI of fiber infrastructure and lowers capital and operating expenses to reduce total cost of ownership.


And we didn’t forget about copper connectivity! The REVConnect® 10GX Wall-Mount Cross-Connect System uses “cut-to-length” management, which means no slack management, no patch cord inventory to manage and the ability to recycle leftover cable pieces to increase per-port cost savings.


To help you differentiate between these cross-connect systems and when to use them, we’ll take a closer look at each one in 2023. Make sure you’re subscribed to receive our blog updates so you don’t miss out!


Related Links:


4 Features to Look for in a Wall-Mount Cross Connect

6 Features to Look for in an Optical Distribution Frame

The Benefits of Using Your TR Wall for a Cross Connect