Advanced physical layer management may finally end the cabling nightmares that have sprung up through the merger of voice and data networks, according to the North American president of RiT Technologies.

The Tel Aviv, Israel-based

firm recently released version 3.0 of its PatchView System, which includes Web-based functionality, network visualization capabilities and multi-language support to assist in physical layer management. Managing the physical layer refers to the ability to manage the network’s cabling and connection infrastructure, as well as to track these resources in real time.

Motti Kleinmann, who heads RiT’s operation in Canada and the United Sates, says network managers are struggling with cabling and resource sharing within their systems’ infrastructure while ensuring the integrity and operation of the network. Physically locating workstations and IP phones can be a big help as they perform moves, adds, and changes, line provisioning services, and diagnostic testing, he says.

“”When it comes to troubleshooting and you don’t know where it is, it means that all of these technicians really need to spend a lot of time in the wiring closet trying to figure out what’s connected to what,”” he said. “”It’s just lost time.””

Paul Stapleton, vice-president of IT at Dundee Securities in Toronto agrees. Dundee started using the PatchView line of products two years ago, partly, Stapleton says, because the move to a new office allowed the firm a chance to start its network over from scratch.

“”We had a cabling issue, as probably most companies do,”” he says. “”We realized that we could manage the desktops and the servers quite effectively. We couldn’t manage the cabling side of our network.””

Kleinmann says previous versions of PatchView included a Web-based viewer with limited functionality, but customers asked the company to build on these features to make the product user-friendly. “”It just really makes the package much more accessible and less intimidating,”” he says, adding that 3.0 should get more people in the IT department involved.

“”Before we had maybe two, three guys within an organization using the database. Now it’s tripled itself, at least.””

PatchView 3.0 is designed to assist enterprises as they deploy phones based on Internet Protocol, which have sometimes made physical layer management difficult due to their real-time location and converged network capabilities. Stapleton says Dundee initially held back from the IP phone market after initially discussing plans to deploy them at its Calgary office.

“”At that point it wasn’t quite as mature as we would want it to be,”” he says. “”It’s the right direction to go; we just didn’t want to jump in, that’s all.””

PatchView 3.0 also supports fibre optic cable and includes

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