Spine-Leaf cabling with CrossCon®

Spine-Leaf cabling with CrossCon® MTP®


Simplifies complex network architectures in modern Spine-Leaf

Providing future-proof Ethernet at continuously rising transmission speeds in data centers makes CrossCon® almost indispensable for the required high-performance fully meshed network infrastructures in modern data centers. CrossCon® logically and intelligently bundles all connections required due to the quadratic rise in the number of point-to-point connections in Spine-Leaf topologies with its patented redundant cross connection system. This not only makes data center planning easier and more structured in advance but also reduces by far subsequent installation requirements in materials, time and effort.

Standard-compliant, structured and high-performance data center cabling

The passive CrossCon® system accomplishes all this while complying with the latest norms DIN 50 600, ISO/IEC TS 22237 and Ansi/Tia-942 at high availability of 99,99 % (Availability Class 4) and at a speed of 1.6 Tbit/s. Thus, CrossCon® is the perfect infrastructure solution for a high-performance Gb/s Switch Fabric.


Advantages of spine-leaf cabling with CrossCon® MTP® at a glance


Redundant Ethernet cross connections


Easy expandability, planning and documentation


Saving of transceivers


Significantly less pollution during
installation by bundling of cables
within the CrossCon® system


Clear cabling layout with high operation
reliability and comprehensive documentation


ReDop Readiness: redundant Green-IT
at 25 % less energy consumption


Modern data center cabling based on the new Spine-Leaf architecture

Optimized and traceable connection paths completely without fiber optic crossings

As a purely passive system, the CrossCon® represents the main distributor of the Spine-Leaf network. The signals are crossed within the CrossCons® connection core and are only led to and from the CrossCon® with patch or trunk cables. This not only simplifies and structures the planning of data centers in advance, but above all reduces the later installation by a multiple of material, time, effort and energy.

 Spine-Leaf cabling with CrossCon®

Spine-Leaf cabling with CrossCon®

  • CrossCon® as purely passive system constitutes the main distributor of the Spine-Leaf network containing the complete switching scheme in its core. This makes it unnecessary to touch the complex scheme of the complete system after the initial installation.
  • New switches to expand the data center can be added easily at any time.
  • The DIN 50 600 bzw. ISO/IEC TS 22237 und Tia-942requirement for spatial separation of all components literally calls for CrossCon’s® cascadic modularity.
Spine-Leaf cabling without CrossCon®

Conventional realization of the Spine-Leaf connection scheme for high-performance routers

  • Connections for high-performance routers are realized in a so-called Spine-Leaf scheme
  • Every router of a specific layer is connected to the routers of the layer below
  • This eliminates latency times caused by waiting time-bottlenecks
  • The conventional Spine-Leaf scheme, however, requires a full cross connection scheme with N*M fiberoptic connections

Overcoming challenges for cabling in high-performance data centers

Which cabling concepts meet the requirements of a dynamic data center?

Read our white paper to find out how to make your data center performant, fail-safe and highly scalable. In focus:

  • Spine-Leaf Architecture
  • Overlay Networks
  • Spine-Leaf Fiber Optic Cabling

go to whitepaper


Examples of applications - CrossCon® MTP®

Considerable space saving through MTP®/MPO connectors

MTP®/MPO connectors can accommodate up to 72 fibers, making better use of conductor plate and rack space. Another advantage of the MTP®/MPO version of the CrossCon® system is its independence from manufacturers. This allows new configurations and extensions to be easily implemented in any data center environment. The development of this solution is a further step towards the dynamization of data centers.


CrossCon® MTP® for SR4/PSM4/DR4 Spine-Leaf cabling and SR8 Spine-Leaf cabling 

SR4/PSM4/DR4 Spine-Leaf cabling

  • meshing of each 4 duplex channels within the SR4/PSM4/DR4 MPO transceivers in Spine and Leaf among each other
  • capacity: 4 SR4/PSM4/DR4 Spine to 4 Leaf

SR8 Spine-Leaf cabling

  • meshing of each 8 duplex channels within the SR8 MPO transceivers in Spine and Leaf among each other
  • capacity: 8 SR8 Spine to 8 Leaf

Further strengths of spine-leaf cabling with the CrossCon® system

Reduction of plugging processes and easy scale-up of existing server structures

The CrossCon® currently offers a meshing capacity for trunk cables with 24 fibers. This is a reduction of plugging actions by factor 12. Single-fiber patch cables are no longer required with our module.

With this new signal channeling, cabling documentation can be improved dramatically. The system helps to avoid complex work processes during first installation or subsequent extension with additional routers, thus, reducing a statistical error source.  

The CrossCon® is extendable in cascades for larger data center structures. As part of a Multiblock-System, the CrossCon® enables a flawless Scale-Up of existing server structures. For simple cabling, you may choose hotspots within the data center, which serve as cabling nodes between the spine layer and the leaf layer. The inherent redundancy of the internal plugging scheme compensates the failure of individual cables without notable effects on the system as a whole. This is our contribution to a 100% MDA functionality. 


Any other questions?

Here you will find answers to various questions on the topic of spine leaf architecture. 

What is a hierarchical datacenter infrastructure and what are its disadvantages?

A hierarchical architecture generally adheres to the requirements of DIN EN 50173-5 and DIN EN 50600-2-4. It suffers from a number of disadvantages, including:

  • Long transmission paths, sometimes involving a large number of switches between servers, result in latencies and differences between latencies.
  • Bottlenecks built-in almost by design, i.e. limited transmission rates, lead to performance impairments even in highly prioritized data streams.
  • Extensions to the server landscape demand extensive additional cabling.
  • Despite redundant designs, the failure of central core switches can, at the very least, lead to considerable performance losses.
What is a spine-leaf architecture?

A spine-leaf architecture is a modern network architecture for datacenters. The spine-leaf architecture, which is already in widespread use, uses the idea of the non-blocking network. In such networks, every leaf switch is connected to every spine switch. This type of fully-meshed network between spine and leaf switches is often referred to as the fabric or mesh layer in the literature.

How is a fully-meshed network constructed?

In a meshed network, each node is connected to one or more other nodes. Information is passed on from network node to network node. If every node is connected to every subscriber, we speak of a fully-meshed network. This creates a very reliable topology because if a node or line fails, it is usually possible to reroute the data in order to continue communications.

What are the advantages of a fully-meshed spine-leaf topology?
  • The data path in a fully-meshed concept is chosen randomly.
  • The data traffic is evenly distributed through the fabric. If there is a risk of an overload at an existing link from a leaf switch to the spine switch, then another path to a different spine switch can be used quasi-automatically.
  • Extensibility by means of further leaf and, if necessary, also spine switches ensures the requirements-oriented maintenance of the non-blocking capability of the fabric network.
  • The data traffic between leaf switches always takes at most one hop (spine) and therefore ensures fast, and most importantly, predictable latencies.
The data traffic between leaf switches always takes at most one hop (spine) and therefore ensures fast, and most importantly, predictable latencies.

As a purely passive system, CrossCon® acts as the main distributor in the spine-leaf network. The signals are crossed in the CrossCons® connection core and and are simply led to and from CrossCon® using patchcords or trunk cable. In this way, it simplifies complex network architectures in modern spine-leaf networks. This is because thanks to its redundant cross-connection system, CrossCon® provides an extremely intelligent and logical way of bundling all the connections required due to the quadratic increase in point-to-point links in spine-leaf topologies.