Device Management System: The Little-Known Technology that Makes It Easier to Manage PoE+ Devices
While it’s safe to say that Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) was invented to support VoIP phones, I would argue that it has a bigger impact on network managers’ lives by making it much easier and more cost effective to connect multiple types of remote network devices to the network. The simplicity with which it’s possible to connect and power Wi-Fi access points, security cameras, biometric readers, and other remotely located devices is a huge advance.
However, these systems present management challenges as they are deployed in inconvenient remote locations that make access very difficult. But now network managers have a new tool to address this situation thanks to Device Management System (DMS) technology that is used to view and control the powered devices (PD) that are connected to these switches.
DMS is available in Transition Networks Smart Managed PoE+ switches, like the SM8TAT2SA, the SM16TAT2SA, and the SM24TAT2SA, for commercial networks, and the hardened SISPM1040-384-LRT-C and SISPM1040-362-LRT for industrial networks.
The DMS capabilities and diagnostics enable switches to provide valuable information for analyzing problems and resolving simple issues like resetting power to remote devices. DMS functionality is built into a PoE switch and is viewed via a web browser. There are no changes required for the PD.
The key features of DMS include:
Configuration and Device Management
Once installed, the DMS will automatically discover all IP addressable PDs attached to a switch and display these devices in either a topology view, an inside floor view or and outside geographic view using Google Maps.
Most DMS systems include the ability to configure a device, including specifying the device type, name and MAC and IP address and understanding how much power is being consumed. The network manager can easily log into the device management interface to access device-specific configuration functions. This enables the network manager to use a single tool to configure a wide range of powered devices. Some advanced features include setting operating hours, which turns off the PoE for equipment that doesn’t need to run during non-business hours.
With DMS, inconvenient and costly truck rolls, ladders and other equipment are no longer necessary to perform a simple reboot or power-cycle of the Wi-Fi AP that’s in the ceiling or other remote location. Standard diagnostic capabilities include Auto Power Reset, which enables the remote rebooting of a frozen or malfunctioning device. Other common troubleshooting features include cable diagnostics and length calculation and device alive or device connectivity status as well as automated alarms for critical outages. This last feature is critical in security camera applications because if a camera malfunctions, loses a connection or is without power, it’s crucial to know where the problem is located as soon as possible to mitigate safety and security risks.
Traffic monitoring adds value to network planning and provides another means of spotting abnormal traffic levels that could indicate a malware infection. Typical traffic monitoring features include tracking packet counts with analysis that can be performed by day and week as well as by port and device. Alarms can also be set to signify abnormal traffic levels.
With DMS features being enabled in an increasing number of Transition Networks Smart Managed PoE+ switches, like the SM8TAT2SA, the SM16TAT2SA, SM24TAT2SA, and hardened SISPM1040-384-LRT-C and SISPM1040-362-LRT this technology is more widely accessible and can make PD management significantly easier and more cost effective.
Dennis Troxel is the Principal Systems Engineer for Transition Networks working with companies in all aspects of network design, planning and analysis. He has been with Transition Networks for five years and previously held technical and training positions with DASAN Networks, Zhone Technologies, Paradyne Corp. and Ascom Timeplex.