The difference between Cross Connect & Interconnect

There are two basic configurations when it comes to connections between the horizontal cabling and active equipment such as switches.

In a Cross Connect design the switch ports are replicated on to an Equipment patch panel and patching is carried out between the equipment patch panel(s) and the distribution patch panel(s). The Switch Links between the active equipment and the equipment patch panel can be either solid core or stranded cable, depending on any Channel length limitations or the suitability of the equipment patch panel terminations to accept stranded conductors.

Cross Connect graphic

The benefit of this design is that the expensive, active equipment can be mounted in a separate, secure cabinet away from the passive patch zone, thus preventing any tampering with the active equipment. The drawbacks are that this design requires more rack space and more cabling components, with more labour required for their installation, all of which adds up to higher costs.


In an Interconnect design patching is done directly between the active equipment and the distribution patch panel(s).

Interconnect Graphic

This design is quicker, easier and cheaper to deploy than a Cross Connect design and requires less rack space, something that may be a consideration in Comms Rooms with limited space. It is, however, less secure as patching technicians must have access to both the active equipment and passive patch zone.