Don’t Rely on Cable Labels

Say you need to go and investigate a switch port with a connection issue in a Telecommunications Room and you are told the cable is labelled with far-end termination details.  (Yeah, right.) When you arrive at the switch, it’s no surprise that the label has slipped into the veritable rats nest of cables, or even worse, it has fallen off and is sitting on the floor with at least a dozen other homeless cable labels. You start thumbing through the cables trying to identify its correct path and follow the cable all the way down the line to determine where it terminates.  Success!  You eventually get to the other end of the cable and notice it has a loose connection.  You reseat the connection and “Voila!” the problem is fixed. Or so you think. Continue reading

Tracking Passive IT Infrastructure

Are you tracking your passive IT infrastructure assets?

Comprehensive IT infrastructure management includes tracking both the active and passive* components.

Active equipment, from a documentation standpoint, is much more likely to already be tracked within an organization’s property system.  Active devices are typically much more expensive, and as such are afforded a spotlight in most IT asset management planning scenarios.  For the purpose of thorough infrastructure documentation, however, passive equipment shouldn’t be left behind.

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Network Management Software Isn’t Enough

It’s been documented that “…nearly 70 percent of all network-related problems can be traced to either poor cabling installation or problems with the cabling components.” 1  The likelihood for live cabling and components to sustain damage is high as cable technicians gradually enforce the National Electric Code’s declaration to have abandoned cables removed.  And even in daily operational activities within telecom closets and computer rooms, it’s possible to damage cables and terminations as equipment and connections are moved.

When damage is sustained, an organization cannot solely rely on Network Management Systems (NMS) to manage the network and troubleshoot problems.  Here’s a possible scenario:

  • An NMS signals an alert or a user calls the Service Desk complaining of connectivity issues.
  • The service desk checks the local switch to see if it is down or if a port has been disabled - everything is working.
  • Next they check the user’s station device to try to ping the switch –  no response.

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