RFID Overlay Network for Automated Discovery at the Physical Network Layer
Fiber optic interconnections are currently invisible to network management systems and are difficult to manage and track. Today¿s network mapping tools do not provide visibility down to the level of individual physical network connections. This project will develop a radiofrequency identification (RFID) overlay network that will enable the automated discovery and configuration management of all physical fiber optic connections within a distributed communications network. The demonstration of this RFID overlay concept will require several technological developments: (1) the physical size of traditional passive RFID tags and the reader antenna must be reduced by an order of magnitude, in order to fit on connectors and connector receptacles; (2) the spatial discrimination for adjacent tags must be reduced to 5 mm to prevent readout ambiguity between closely spaced ports on networking equipment; and (3) the RFID reader system must be designed to interrogate tags automatically and remotely through composite fiber optic patchcords, eliminating the need for manual readout by technicians. This system will enable a new class of network management tools that automatically track and record the physical interconnect topology and alert administrators to unauthorized changes in the cabling configuration. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee The elevation of passive interconnects to manage network elements would reduce operating expenses and downtime by enabling massive numbers of distributed interconnections across federated networks to be monitored, discovered, and managed through software.
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