Cabling databases and wireless networks


The institution that I work for is rolling out wireless services on our
campus which spans about a 10x10 block area. We currently have a pretty
robust cable management database for tracking and relating our wired runs,
switch ports, subnets, and physical rooms. We're trying now to figure out
how to handle and document our wireless deployments with the same type
of information and relationships.

The problem that I see is that our database is structured around a
relationship hierarchy of Campus -> Building -> Floor -> Room, where each
item is a sub category of the one before it with no knowledge of adjacencies.
For example, the database might know that room 300 and room 301 are both on
the 3rd floor, but it doesn't understand if they are next to each other
nor if room 401 is above 301. This seems like it will become more and
more important since, with wireless gear, we're looking at coverage
areas instead of lit wall outlets.

Has anyone else tackled this yet or is there any good software out
there to track this?


Eric :slight_smile:

curious ... how did you implement this database ? Was it a commercial offering
or is it a 'robust' home grown solution?

Today, its just a home-grown Oracle database with a web front-end for
searches. My impression (though I'm not the DBA who built it / maintains
it) is that there are tables for equipment with attributes like
hostname, IP, subnet that it drives, physical location, # ports, etc.,
as well as location tables for each of our core wiring closets that
contain patch panel informaiton, drop numbers, locations, etc.
If you are looking for details, drop me a note offline and I'll forward
it to our DBA.

Having said all that, we are thinking about moving to a more
commercial system so that we can tie the information into a ticket
system, asset tracking system, etc. (i.e. Pinnacle, Remedy, etc). But,
as with all things in todays market, "thinking" means "sitting
around the lunch table and saying "that would be neat" and not "I
have a budget". [Translation: sales droids, do NOT send inquiries because
we have no money to spend on this nor am I authorized to approve any
spending for this.]

Eric :slight_smile:

Though I do not have a specific solution for you, your Campus -> Building
-> Floor -> Room hierarchiy will work for managing the actual equipment.

If you want to deal with layer2 and up, (channel, segment, subnet)
I would recommend listing Switch -> VLAN ->Port, and make it
compatible with Router -> Subnet, and for the actual wireless segments,
use GIS information, whereby you enumerate the wireless networks by
B/SSID (if they are wavelans), link that information with your switching
information, and then walk around with a laptop, wireless card, and
a GPS and calculate the range of each access point, and put the
results on a map using GRASS, or HUGO .

Hello Eric -

I answered a question the other day about radius servers (Radiator), but you
may be interested to know that we also offer a solution in this area called
"Nets" (commercial source code product).

Many readers of this list kindly assisted us with beta-testing of Nets about
a year ago, prior to release.

Please contact me directly if interested.