Cisco unwraps new management tools

Cisco Systems released new tools with this week's Catalyst 6500 product push aimed at helping IT managers get a better handle on managing desktop links.

Along with Cisco's new high-density 10/100/1000M bit/sec Ethernet blades introduced this week, the company has also included cable management and physical layer fault detection into the modules.

Cisco says the new management features could help IT managers troubleshoot bad network connections by allowing them to view cable and connections from a console rather than running around checking to see if ports are physically plugged in, or to test cable integrity with a hand-held tester.

The new 48-port blades for the Catalyst 6500, aimed at high-density wiring closets, include technology Cisco calls Time Domain Reflectometer, which can be used to detect physical faults in a network link. When deployed with Cisco's new Supervisor 720 switch fabric module, each 10/100/100 port on the module can detect such faults patch cables unplugged from the Catalyst 6500, patch panels or even disconnected end stations, such as servers, PCs, WLAN endpoints or IP phones. Breaks in network cables can also be detected up to 180 feet.

Also for helping manage desktops, the Supervisor 720 module allows Ethernet ports to rate limit their connection speeds. This lets IT managers throttle how much bandwidth individual users on the LAN can receive. The bandwidth rate limiting can range from 1-1000M bit/sec, and can be used to control traffic such as peer-to-peer file sharing, online gaming, or streaming Internet radio.

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