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Switch Configuration Using Port Terminators Disclosure Number: IPCOM000175772D
Original Publication Date: 2008-Oct-24
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2008-Oct-24
Document File: 1 page(s) / 21K

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Switches are critical computing resources that typically require extensive configuration via management software on a remote client. Often there exists a catch-22 wherein you can't configure the switch without being on the network and you can't be on the network without configuring the switch. Additionally, in scenarios where switches are reachable out of the box, many customers are concerned that the switch is either too open, or too restrictive with its default configuration. Methods are needed for performing initial configuration of a switch via non-networked means. For example, the physical connectors of a switch can be used to encode a configuration selection upon application of AC power, such that the switch can be directed to select from one of hundreds of initial configuration profiles.

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Switch Configuration Using Port Terminators

In one example, a switch will ship with a number of loopback plugs, terminator plugs, or other physical connectors that are compatible with the switch. A user will be able to populate the physical ports of the switch with these plugs in order to encode a binary number. Thus, if a switch has 10 ports, the user would be able to encode 2^10, or 1024 different messages to the switch by populating/not populating the ports via this special plug, and then applying AC power. Depending on what is encoded using these physical connectors, the system can select a different base configuration, security model, etc. to use, and proceed with normal operation. The details of what plugs should be populated to enable what functions would be detailed in the product manual packaged with the switch.

It is envisioned that more simple encoding schemes could be also used, such as each physical port representing a function to be toggled on or off.

It should be noted that the system can differentiate between purposeful power cycles intended to default the switch to a configuration setting and accidental power cycles due to brownouts based on the presence or lack of these port terminators. That is, if a power cycle occurs and no port terminators are present, the system can elect to power on as is typical.