PATCH FIELD DOCUMENTATION AND
The present application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/711,960, filed Aug. 26, 2005, entitled "PATCH FIELD DOCUMENTATION AND REVISION SYSTEMS," which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. The present application also incorporates by reference in their entireties U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/265,316, filed Nov. 2, 2005, which claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/624,753, filed Nov. 3, 2004, both of which are entitled "Method and Apparatus for Patch Panel Patch Cord Documentation and Revision."
The present invention relates to documentation systems and more particularly relates to a system for documenting and revising patch cord connections in a communications network patch field.
Patch panels are used in communications networks as intermediate elements between horizontal cabling (to which endpoint devices such as computers and telephones are connected) and network switches. When physical connections between endpoint devices and network switches are moved, added, or changed, patch panels are the points at which technicians complete the required moves, additions, or changes of cabling within patch fields. It is important to keep track of changes that are made to patch cord connections within the patch field. Proper documentation of changes in the patch field assures that the routing of patch cords is always known and further assures that any future changes are completed correctly.
In interconnect network configurations, one patch panel is placed between the horizontal cabling and the network switch. In an interconnect configuration, the documentation of patch cord connections between the patch panel and the switch will provide the necessary documentation of connections between the switch and the horizontal cabling. In cross-connect network configurations, two patch panels are placed between the horizontal cabling and the network switch. In a cross-connect configuration, the documentation of patch cord connections between the two patch panels will provide the necessary documentation of connections between the switch and the horizontal cabling. It is desirable to have a patch cord management system that will support both interconnect and cross-connect configurations. It is also desirable for a patch cord management system to have a minimal impact on existing networks.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
According to one embodiment of the present invention, a patch cord management system supports patch cord management in communications networks having an interconnect configuration. In one embodiment, appliques are applied to network switches—such as Ethernet switches—to provide for the management of patch cord connections between an intelligent patch panel and the network switch.
In one embodiment, indicator lights are provided to guide the installation and management of patch cord connections.
Each network switch port that is connected to an intelligent patch panel is uniquely identifiable by the intelligent patch panel.
According to another embodiment of the present inven5 tion, a patch cord management system supports patch cord management in communications networks having a crossconnect configuration.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an intelligent patch panel and a network switch in a network having an interconnect configuration;
FIG. 2 is an upper left side view of a plug for a 10-wire 15 patch cord with two pogo pins;
FIG. 3 is block diagram of a patch cord connection in a patch cord management system according to one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a switch port module with 20 an applique;
FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of a switch port module with an applique;
FIG. 6 is a front view of a switch port module with an applique;
25 FIG. 7 is a detail view of the detail "A" of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view along the line "B—B" of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view along the line "C—C" of FIG. 7;
30 FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view along the line "D—D" of FIG. 7;
FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram of a port identification circuit;
FIG. 12 is a block diagram showing multiple port iden35 tification circuits for an Ethernet switch;
FIG. 13 is a schematic diagram of a patch cord system pair connection in a patch field documentation and revision system; and
FIG. 14 is a block diagram of intelligent patch panels and 40 a network switch in a network having a cross-connect configuration.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED
The present invention is directed to methods and systems for documenting and guiding patch cord changes in a patch field of a communications network. FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment, in which an intelligent patch panel 10 and a
50 network switch 12 in a communications network are connected in an interconnect configuration. This embodiment provides real-time documentation which is reliable under all conditions and it provides an efficient indicator light system on all patch panel and switch ports (jacks) to guide techni
55 cians when installing or removing patch cords. In the embodiments shown and described herein, the network switch is an Ethernet switch, but it is to be understood that the present invention can be applied to other types of networks.
60 A patch cord 14 connects a port on the switch 12 to a port on the intelligent patch panel 10. Horizontal cabling 16 connects the intelligent patch panel 10 to endpoint devices, such as computers and telephones.
In a preferred embodiment as illustrated in FIG. 2, the
65 patch cord 14 is a ten-wire patch cord. Eight of the wires comprise a standard four-pair Ethernet channel corresponding to the standard plug contacts 18 on the plug 20. The ninth