APCON, Inc., a provider of intelligent crosspoint switches for the Fibre Channel and telecommunications markets, announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has awarded the company a patent (U.S. patent no. 6,243,510) for its fiber optic patch panel system, which enables users to wire once and then remotely re-configure network connections through control software.
APCON's patented IntellaPatch Panel technology enhances the operational functionality of the traditional patch panel, transforming it from a simple termination block to a smart network management tool ideally suited to the demands of testing and compatibility labs, Storage Area Networks (SANs), and high-value telecommunications management.
With the patented APCON IntellaPatch Panel solution, network administrators can remotely connect and disconnect the fiber lines of multiple devices from any other computer on the network, gaining centralized control of a widely distributed fiber optic network. Using the device's graphical user interface (GUI) software or command line utilities, administrators can remotely operate and control patch panel configurations, monitor network or device status, automate processes, and set parameters. Since all ports are labeled on screen, connections can be quickly and easily switched, routed and shared. The system supports Fibre Channel, Gigabit Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and OC-3/OC-12 applications.
The APCON IntellaPatch Panel solution supports point-to-point connections (both one-to-one and one-to-many) or connections in Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) mode. Point-to-point connectivity enables data and resources to be isolated and protected from other nodes on the networks. FC-AL mode is ideal for interconnecting peripheral devices and systems/subsystems in server storage connectivity in SAN environments. The patch panels can be used in configurations that mix both fabric switches and loop hubs in a single SAN. Using fabric switches for high-speed backbones with fan-out of Electronic Patch Panels in FC-AL mode allows hundreds of storage devices to be supported at a reasonable price.
Dual serial ports allow users to remotely control the Electronic Patch Panel from two independent computers. The serial ports can be configured to operate as separate communications channels or in a daisy chain configuration controlled from a single device connected to one of the patch panels. In this configuration, each patch panel is assigned a unique address. Instructions pass from one patch panel to another, but are ignored by all but the addressed patch panel. Consequently, multiple panels may be grouped and controlled together to provide interconnections for large numbers of fiber optic communications devices.
The patented APCON IntellaPatch Panel also maximizes network resources. Since it allows connections between network devices to be dynamically controlled, it reduces the number of signal routing devices needed in a network and prevents congestion. In addition, it increases the distance capability of each fiber optic connection by regenerating the optical signal through the patch panel. With the APCON IntellaPatch Panel, standard Fibre Channel connections can be extended up to 10 kilometers.
APCON is a manufacturer of products designed to enhance and increase the functionality of computer networks and interoperability labs. The company's solutions support Fibre Channel Storage Area Networks (SAN), Gigabit Ethernet Networks, Fast Ethernet Networks, iSCSI and SCSI switching and bus extension technologies. For more information, visit www.apcon.com.