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Method and Apparatus for End-of-Life Prediction or Threshold-Tracking of Copper-Cables Disclosure Number: IPCOM000196477D
Publication Date: 2010-Jun-02
Document File: 3 page(s) / 45K

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The Prior Art Database


Today's customer environments and networks are undergoing a transformation. With recent FCoE deployments, 10Gb SFP+ Copper cable solutions (1m, 3m, 5m) are being widely deployed in glass-houses and other installations worldwide. These cables, also known as Twinax cables, are used for in-rack connections between servers (blades and stand-alone) and top-of-rack FCoE Fibre Channel Forwarder Switches. Currently the SFP+ copper-cable solutions (active and passive) are limited by the fact that they have a finite number of insertions (vendor specific) and no way of warning the user when that number is being approached or exceeded. In other words, users are currently not able to predict when their copper-cable solutions are more probable to fail and when it is time to replace them. Further, when this failure occurs it can be either 1) total cable failure or 2) partial failure which can cause havoc in the IT (information technology) environment and be very difficult to diagnose and root cause. The drawbacks of the current copper cable solution is that the user does not have a method to track insertion counts and know when cables are approaching or past the guidelines for supported insertion rates.

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Method and Apparatus for End-of-Life Prediction or Threshold-Tracking of Copper-Cables

Figure 1 shows exemplary cable 100, comprising the cable itself 101, end-connectors 102A and 102B, RFID chips 103A and 103B, and in the case of an Ethernet cable used for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) eight copper wires 104A and 104B on each respective end-connector 102A and 102B. In an alternate embodiment, exemplary cable 100 could be a SCSI cable, a Fibre Channel Cable, a USB cable, and the like.

Figure 1. Copper Cable with RFID chip

Figure 2 describes essential detail of an RFID chip 103, including memory 112 and antenna 114. Memory 112 is chosen from the group of nonvolatile memory, which includes EEPROM (electrically erasable read-only-memory), NAND, NOR, flash, and phase-change memory.

Memory 112 may additionally comprise a permanent memory portion 116 of PROM (programmable read-only memory) for the storage of key information and VPD (Vital Product Data), such as (a) the Worldwide Cable Name (WWCN) of cable 100, and (b) a value of N, the maximum number of insertions each cable connector can tolerate.

Memory 112 may additionally comprise a FLCD memory 118 which is a bistable permanent display, and thus is rewritable and human readable, but not electrically readable. FLCD memory 118 may display the number of cable insertions remaining before the cable is EOL (end of life).

In one embodiment, antenna 114 comprises a LC circuit of an inductor and a capacitor. RFID chip 103 receives power from the wireless unit accessing it, so RFID chip 103 does not need an internal battery.


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Figure 2. RFID chip with memory and antenna

Figure 3 shows process 300, which starts at step 302 and proceeds to step 304 where a SAN switch, or other entity, checks for the new insertion of a cable. If the answer is no new cable inserted, process 300 cycles back to its beginning. If a new cable insertion is detected in step 304, process 300 flows to step 306, so that SAN switch (or other entity) wirelessly accesses RFID chip 103 to determine the previous number of insertions, and increments the n...