Doing things by hand is often the order of the day at locations where you might expect digitalization to be at its most advanced: in modern data centers. Those responsible for networks document lots of connections using hand-written notes and manually created tables. The typical error quota is around ten percent. There is often a blind spot in the crucial network segment between active devices and patch panels. Due to documentation errors, ports often get forgotten about over the course of time. This is something currently being pointed out by Reichle & De-Massari (R&M) the globally active developer and provider of cabling systems for high-quality network infrastructures, based in Wetzikon, Switzerland. 

R&M wants to free network administrators of this problem and is thus introducing Port Monitoring cables into the data center market. The innovation is making interconnect architectures fully transparent for the first time. The solution monitors all fiber optic connections of the switches, servers and storage devices, and enables digitalized management of the networks. The connections between active devices and patch panels can be documented, visualized and checked seamlessly in real-time. The solution displays the status, errors, and changes centrally at the administrators’ workplaces. They no longer have to walk through the rows of cabinets and monitor thousands of connections themselves. 

The new development consists of RFID miniature antennas (tags) and two-millimeter OM4 FO cables. The tags are fixed on the ports of the active devices. The cables establish the connection to the automated infrastructure management system R&MinteliPhy. There is no need for additional hardware in the patch panel or network cabinet. 

R&MinteliPhy identifies the connections using uniquely coded tags. It recognizes the status of active devices and free ports. R&MinteliPhy documents new connections and any exchanged devices in real-time. It knows immediately whether patch cords were plugged in or unplugged according to plan and, if necessary, emits an alarm. Sources of error can be localized precisely, and patching errors rectified faster than ever before. R&M estimates time savings of at least 30 percent in comparison to the standard administration processes to date. 

R&MinteliPhy can generate and standardize assignments for service technicians, display them in the sensor bar at the rack as well as monitor them. The system helps plan and control Moves, Adds & Changes (MAC). Administrators can detect risks and lack of resources at an earlier stage. It takes just a few clicks of the mouse to create a proof for audits. 

The port monitoring cables harmonize with FO connectors of the type R&M LC-QR. The solution is currently compatible with the Ultra-High-Density patch panel R&M Netscale.

Image source: Courtesy of R&M

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