The Brocade FCX Series offers enterprise class stackable L2/L3 edge switches with 24 or 48 GbE ports and optional 10 GbE uplinks providing new levels of performance, scalability, and flexibility required for today’s enterprise campus and data center networks.

High Performance Enterprise-Class Stackable Switches for the Network Edge

Brocade FCX Series

The Brocade® FCX series of switches provides new levels of performance, scalability, and flexibility required for today’s enterprise campus and data center networks. With advanced capabilities, these switches deliver performance and intelligence to the network edge in a flexible 1U form factor that helps reduce infrastructure and administrative costs.

Designed for wire-speed and non-blocking performance, FCX series switches include 24 and 48-port models, in both Power over Ethernet (PoE) and non-PoE versions. Utilizing Brocade IronStack technology, organizations can stack up to eight switches into a single logical switch with up to 384 ports simplifying management in the network access layer. PoE models support the emerging Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) standard to deliver up to 30 watts of power to edge devices, enabling next-generation enterprise applications.

The FCX series offers a comprehensive line of switches with specific models optimized for campus and for data center deployment.

Additional highlights include the following:

  • Enterprise class stackable L2/L3 edge switches with 24 or 48 10/100/1000 ports in compact 1U form factors
  • Brocade stacking technology delivers chassis like capabilities with fixed ports economics
  • Expandable up to 384 ports through vertical or horizontal stacking
  • High-availability stacking with hitless fail-over and hot insertion/removal of stacked units
  • L3 capabilities OSPF,RIP,VRRP, PIM come standard with all FCX series models
  • Modular design with internal redundant hot–swappable power supplies and fans
  • Hardware-based sFlow traffic monitoring
  • Protected by the Brocade Assurance Limited Lifetime Warranty


Plug-and-Play Operations for Powered Devices

FCX series switches support the IEEE 802.1AB Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) and ANSI TIA 1057 Link Layer Discovery Protocol-Media Endpoint Discovery (LLDP-MED) standards that enable organizations to deploy interoperable multivendor solutions for unified communications.

Configuring IP endpoints such as VoIP phones can be a complex task requiring manual and time-consuming configuration. LLDP and LLDP-MED address this challenge, providing a standard, open method for configuring, discovering, and managing network infrastructure. The LLDP protocols help reduce operational costs by simplifying and automating network operations. For example, LLDP-MED provides an open protocol for configuring Quality of Service (QoS), security policies, Virtual LAN (VLAN) assignments, PoE power levels, and service priorities.

Increased Flexibility and Scalability

FCX series switches provide a wide range of flexibility and scalability advantages for dynamic and growing enterprise networks.

Simplified, High-Performance, High Availability Stacking

Leveraging IronStack technology, up to eight FCX series switches can be stacked into a single logical switch providing simple and robust expandability for future growth at the network edge. This stacked switch has only a single IP address to simplify management. When new members are added to the stack, they automatically inherit the stack’s existing configuration file, enabling true plug-and-play network expansion. Brocade stacking technology delivers high availability, performing real-time state synchronization across the stack and enabling instantaneous hitless fail-over to a standby controller, should the master stack controller fails. Additionally, stack members can be hot inserted and hot removed with no interruption of service.

FCX-S models offer two dedicated full duplex 16 Gbps stacking ports providing 64 Gbps of stacking bandwidth, essentially eliminating the need to work around inter-switch bottlenecks (see Figure 2). These dedicated stacking ports free up the 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports for high-speed connectivity to the aggregation or core layers—providing maximum flexibility in a compact access switch. Additionally, all FCX series switches can be stacked through their optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports.

10 GbE ports can be trunked from different members of the stack to optimize performance and availability. For added flexibility, IronStack also supports the use of 10 GbE ports with fiber-optic cabling for stacking across racks, floors, and buildings.

Optional 10 GbE Module

FCX-S switches models accept an optional 10 GbE module containing two XFP ports, enabling high-bandwidth connectivity to the aggregation or core layers, or extended switch stacking across long distances. Up to eight 10 GbE links can be aggregated in a stack, providing 80 Gbps of bandwidth between the wiring closet and the aggregation layer.

FCX Models with 4 optional 10GbE uplinks

FCX624 and 648 models accept an optional 10 GbE module containing four SFP+ ports, enabling high-bandwidth connectivity to the aggregation or core layers, or creating a switch stack horizontally across a row of servers. Utilizing the SFP+ port form factor enables higher density, more flexible cabling options, and better energy efficiency. The ability to use short-range and long-range optics, along with copper Twinax cables, supports flexible and cost-effective network architectures.

Industry-leading 4-port 10 GbE density in a 1U switch provides up to 40 Gbps of uplink bandwidth to the aggregation or core layers of the network. Even with the high-density 48-port model, this bandwidth enables a near 1:1 subscription ratio throughout the network. As a result, organizations can deploy highly utilized networks to avoid congestion during peak hours.

Flexible Cooling Options

The Brocade FCX 624 and 648 are the first Brocade Ethernet switches with reversible front-to-back airflow options. This design improves mounting flexibility in a server rack, while adhering to the cooling guidelines of the data center. Organizations can specify airflow direction at the time of order and can reverse the direction after deployment by swapping the power supplies and the fan assembly.

High Reliability in a Compact Form Factor

In addition to stack level HA capabilities such as hitless failover and hot insertion and removal of stacked units, FCX series switches includes system level HA features such as optional dual hot-swappable, load-sharing, redundant power supplies (see Figure 3). The modular design also has a removable fan assembly. These features provide another level of availability for the campus wiring closet and the data center in a compact form factor.

Additional design features include intake and exhaust temperature sensors and fan spin detection to aid in fast identification of abnormal or failed operating conditions to help minimize mean time to repair.

Brocade FCX Series switches can be stacked into a single logical switch and then redundantly connected to the aggregation layer using aggregated 10 GbE ports

Comprehensive Enterprise-Class Security

FCX series switches utilize the Brocade IronWare® operating system, providing a rich security suite for Layer 2 and Layer 3 services, Network Access Control (NAC), and Denial of Service (DoS) protection. IronWare security features include protection against TCP SYN and ICMP DoS attacks, Spanning Tree Root Guard and BPDU Guard to protect network spanning tree operations, and broadcast and multicast packet rate limiting. Additional security features including dynamic ARP inspection, DHCP snooping and IP source guard to protect against address spoofing and man-in-the middle attacks.

Network Access Control (NAC)

Organizations can rely on key features such as multi-device port authentication and 802.1X authentication with dynamic policy assignment to control network access and perform targeted authorization on a per-user level. In addition, FCX series switches support enhanced Media Access Control (MAC) policies with the ability to deny traffic to and from MAC addresses on a per-VLAN basis. This powerful tool helps organizations control access policies per endpoint device.

Standards-based NAC also facilitates best-in-class solutions for authenticating network users and validating the security posture of connecting devices. Support for policy-controlled MAC-based VLANs provides additional control of network access, enabling policy-controlled assignments of devices to Layer 2 VLANs

Advanced Multicast Features

FCX series switches support a rich set of Layer 2 multicast snooping features that enable advanced multicast services delivery. Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) snooping for IGMP version 1, 2, and 3 is supported. Support for IGMPv3 source-based multicast snooping improves bandwidth utilization and security for multicast services. To enable multicast service delivery in IPv6 networks, FCX series switches support Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) version 1 and 2 snooping, the multicast protocols used in IPv6 environments.

Network Resiliency through Fault Detection

Software features such as Virtual Switch Redundancy Protocol (VSRP), Brocade Metro-Ring Protocol (MRP) v1 and v2, Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP), protected link groups, 802.3ad Link Aggregation, and trunk groups provide alternate paths for traffic in the event of a link failure. Sub-second fault detection utilizing Link Fault Signaling (LFS) and Remote Fault Notification (RFN) helps ensure fast fault detection and recovery.

Enhanced spanning tree features such as Root Guard and BPDU Guard prevent rogue hijacking of a spanning tree root and maintain a contention- and loop-free environment, especially during dynamic network deployments. In addition, FCX series switches support port loop detection on edge ports that do not have spanning tree enabled. This capability protects the network from broadcast storms and other anomalies that can result from Layer 1 or Layer 2 loopbacks on Ethernet cables or endpoints.

Protected link groups minimize disruption to the network by protecting critical links from loss of data and power. In a protected link group, one port in the group acts as the primary or active link, and the other ports act as secondary or standby links. The active link carries the traffic and, if it goes down, one of the standby links takes over.

UniDirectional Link Detection (UDLD) monitors a link between two FCX series switches and brings down the ports on both ends of the link if the link fails at any point between the two devices.

FCX series switches also support stability features such as port flap dampening, single-link Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP), and port loop detection.

Advanced Capabilities

To meet a wide range of requirements, FCX series switches provide full Layer 3 capabilities, along with metro features for connecting buildings and campuses.

Full Layer 3 Capabilities

All FCX series switch models come standard with powerful Layer 3 switching capabilities. Organizations can use Layer 3 features such as IPv4 OSPF and RIP routing, policy-based routing, Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP), and PIM (Protocol-Independent Multicast). Remove complexity and enhance reliability of large enterprise networks by bringing Layer 3 to the edge, utilizing Layer 3 capabilities built into every FCX switch.

Advanced (-ADV) models include BGP routing capabilities, enabling remote offices to connect FCX series switches to service provider networks. BGP routing can also be added to any FCX series model through software key based activation.

Metro Features Connecting Buildings and Campuses

Because FCX series switches contain Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) features, organizations can use them to connect a distributed enterprise. In this type of environment, FCX series switches provide rich services using MRP (v1 and v2) for building resilient ring-based topologies, VLAN stacking, (Q-in-Q), and advanced multicast capabilities—including IGMP v1/v2/v3 and Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) v1/v2 snooping for controlling multicast traffic for high-bandwidth content delivery.

Simplified, Secure Management Based On Open Standards

FCX series switches provide simplified, standards-based management capabilities that help organizations reduce administrative time and effort while securing their networks.

Simplified Deployment with Auto-Configuration

FCX series switches support auto-configuration, simplifying deployment with a truly plug-and-play experience. Organizations can use this feature to automate IP address and feature configuration of the switches without requiring a highly trained network engineer onsite. When the switches power up, they automatically receive an IP address and configuration from DHCP and Trivial File Transport Protocol (TFTP) servers. At this time, the switches can also automatically receive a software update to be at the same code revision as already installed switches.

Open Standard Management

FCX series switches include an industry-standard Command Line Interface (CLI) and support Secure Shell (SSHv2), Secure Copy (SCP), and SNMPv3 to restrict and encrypt management communications to the system. In addition, support for Terminal Access Controller Access Control System (TACACS/TACACS+) and RADIUS authentication helps ensure secure operator access.

Out-of-Band Management

FCX series switches include an RJ-45 Ethernet port dedicated to out-of-band management, providing a remote path to manage the switches, regardless of the status or configuration of the data ports.

System Summary


Brocade FCX Series Feature Comparison


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