The above switch mockup shows all of the information presented in the probe
view, with tooltips that expand further: port number, duplex, speed, vlans,
pvid, jack id, and any comments out of the jack database. Port status is
reflected in color green (up) and orange (down), with an additional yellow
flag for "free" ports, those that have not seen packets since the switch was
last cycled. Non-standard port settings, such as those not set to
autonegotiate, are flagged in red text.
Most of our switches are 48 ports, and the tool scales appropriately. Clicking
on a port would normally lauch the switch port editor to allow for sandboxed
network management capabilities, exposing those fields available to the user's
Jack Mapper was born out of a longstanding desire for more network intelligence
beyond layer 2 out to the jack id at the edge. This was only possible after an
exhaustive jack audit by our infrastructure team. With that data in hand, the
tool took shape first to allow for managing the database of physical jack and
network port pairings, with display of the resulting info in a report format
useful for tracking issues in the network closet.
The tool also grew to become a sandox for network administration tasks,
allowing us to carefully expose functionality in a sensible manner to our
helpdesk and infrastructure teams, logged and controlled by ACI. This places
more power in their hands to track and fix problems, and to handle more routine
tasks without the involvement of the network team. It has been fitted into our
larger homegrown network intelligence platform.
This entire toolset has become more crucial as we roll out VOIP and expect to
track phone extensions out to the jack. It continues to be expanded.