Network Visualization for a Large Food Manufacturer

Network Visualization

Overview
A large North American food manufacturer contacted Grantek after experiencing a 6-hour unplanned downtime period. After significant troubleshooting, it was discovered that poor cables were causing the problems. No information was known about the network connectivity; therefore, the troubleshooting exercise was time consuming and extended the unplanned downtime period. The facility primarily consists of NTron switches, it was discovered that the 7xx series switches had managed capabilities and Grantek recommended to use the existing technologies managed features for network visibility and advanced troubleshooting.

Challenges
With no known network architecture information, device connectivity troubleshooting became extremely challenging especially when trying to identify where devices are physically connected. Troubleshooting the network with no visibility becomes a time-consuming task, as electricians try and identify which switch and port the device is connected to. Other non-physical infrastructure network problems such as broadcast storms are impossible to monitor with no managed capabilities.

Solutions
Grantek coordinated with the client during a planned downtime event. During this time, Grantek configured the existing managed switches and installed new managed switches in strategic positions known to aggregate significant connections. Following the network configuration, Grantek used the IntraVUE tool from Panduit to begin visualizing the network. Grantek is a Panduit ONE Gold Partner; leveraging the best in class infrastructure products, subject matter expertise and Panduit’s vast installer network allows Grantek to offer a wide range of network infrastructure solutions and quality deployment of projects through this strategic partnership.

Grantek also used the advanced managed switch capabilities to identify network loops and removed them. This solution provided visibility to the customer, allowing for more complete knowledge of how the network is connected, thereby reducing troubleshooting time and saving costs. Managed network capabilities provide greater insight to any troubleshooting not pertaining to physical infrastructure such as broadcast storms. Grantek took a less traditional approach and tackled the problem head on. This included identifying the unmanaged devices first, then replacing them with managed switches and doing basic configurations. Through this approach, Grantek spent significantly less time and can now use an automated solution that will paint the network architecture in real time.