Interconnect in data center is to use a patch panel on the active equipment to distribute links from device to other devices in the data center, commonly known as the distribution panel. In an interconnect system, patching is done directly between the active equipment and the distribution patch panel. More specifically, outlets are terminated to a patch panel, and the patch panel is then patched directly to a switch, as shown in the figure below.
A cross connect in data center is the use of additional patch panels to mirror the ports of the equipment being connected, essentially creating a separate patching zone that provides connection between different equipment by patch cords. In a cross-connect system, the switch ports are replicated on the additional patch panel, also called equipment patch panel, and patching is carried out between the equipment patch panel and the distribution patch panel. Basically, there are two types of cross-connects, which are three-connector cross-connect and four-connector cross connect.
The structure of a three-connector cross connect is similar to interconnect mentioned above, just adding a cross-connecting process at the switch end, as shown below.
Four-connector cross connect usually requires a patch field which is usually an individual cabinet. In this case, two copper trunk cables are working as permanent cables, making the cabling system easier to manage.