Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm looking for a way to tone and map the connections of my patch cables running from the patch panel to the switch. Disconnecting cables is not an option for me since the network is live 24/7 and downtime would be cost prohibitive.

If it's not possible to do this while the network is up and running, what tools can be used on the physical lines if I'm able to schedule an outage?

share|improve this question

If it is such a Gordian knot that you can't follow the cables by hand/eye I found that the quickest way of doing it is the following:

  • Make sure you've got approval for downtime.
  • Take a laptop to the patchpanel.
  • Unplug the first cable from the patchpanel and put it in the laptop.
  • Plug/unplug it a couple of times and keep an eye on the switch which port goes up/down.
    Use 30 second intervals. Some switches take a few seconds to react to plug/unplug.
  • After you identified which port has this cable label both ends with the same number (so you know which ends belong together in the future). Just use numbers. Don't try to put anything meaningful on the labels. You are bound to hook up something else to that cable in the future, necessitating re-labeling which is a nuisance.
  • Repeat with the next cable until done.

This way you limit the downtime per device to just a few minutes.
If the patchpanel and the switches are not in visible view from each other get a co-worker to do the other end and keep synchronized by phone, walkie-talkie or just shouting if you are close enough.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .