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Learning Network Manager Thread, Network infrastructure is a mess in Technical; I got promoted from tech to NM in July this year, as the old NM left. Now there is me ...
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    BassTech's Avatar
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    Network infrastructure is a mess

    I got promoted from tech to NM in July this year, as the old NM left. Now there is me and a new (apprentice) tech.

    We are having a new wireless system put in at the end of Feb (Ruckus), so I've been trying to set up a new VLAN on our switches ready for BYOD. The problem is that there are only about 5 out of 15 switches that have any sort of record...No IP addresses, no labels or any documentation on the switches at all, so I'm a little stumped.

    They are all HP ProCurve switches (8+ years old I'd say), so what's the best way to find their IP addresses? Not all of them have static IPs either which is fun! I've found a few by looking at DHCP but there seems to be a lot of them missing, I also ran IP sniffing software which didn't find much :/
    We don't have any old laptops with serial that we can connect directly to the switches.

    What makes it worse is that the cable tidying is atrocious in ALL of the cabinets - there are wires that lead no-where, cables that are about 5m long connecting two ports 20cm away...just a total mess! Like it got installed 20 years ago and never been touched since.

    What's the best way to approach this situation? The whole school could do with re-cabling from scratch, but that will never happen in reality, so I need to try and get things in some sort of order, somehow
    Last edited by BassTech; 17th December 2013 at 04:07 PM.

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Easiest method to ensure none are missed.... install a trial of procurve manager (unless there's a free version you can use) it'll pickup all the switches, IPs, models etc and allow you to document it all. I think you get either 30 or 60 days on a trial. Not really worth buying for only 15 switches though but the trial should still be useful.

    You could use various other software to do this, but PCM will give you lots more information alot quicker i think, which will be good if you want to get a one time full documentation sorted for the future.

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    foofighterjim's Avatar
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    To start with you need to know the IPs of the switches. If you have an XP laptop with a serial connector you are in luck as you can use Hyper Terminal with the following settings to connect to the switch directly:

    •Baud rate (or bits per second): 9600
    •Date bits: 8
    •Parity: None
    •Stop bits: 1
    •Flow Control: None

    The serial connection for the older HP switches is usually on the back so some may be awkward to get to. Once you have the connection you will have a CLI just type menu and press enter. Once you are in you should be able to find the IP and document it, personally I would have them all set to static IP's in a continuous range outside of the DHCP scope. Using this method you will know exactly what switch has what IP.

    Unfortunately inheriting messy cabs is nothing new and trying to justify the cost of a few hundred 0.5m patch cables can be difficult to those who do not have to deal with the consequences.
    Last edited by foofighterjim; 17th December 2013 at 04:43 PM.

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    We have been going through working out our infrastructure over the last year, we have made some strides forward but not 100% painless. I come from a software development role to Tech Support and like you trying to find all the hardware and how its connected / what its address is. Tools i've been using are nmap, The dude, ping, traceroute, putty. Probably the easiest way to find information on your switches is to plug directly into them via serial cable (or buy usb to serial) and learn the the switch commands.

    This summer we went through and re-addressed all of our devices. breaking them down by campus (3 main campus + 4 other buildings), while doing this we also cataloged all the devices and other useful information, ip, mac, printer names, printer server, wifi access point. We are still continuing to this day to catalog and fill in the blanks but have a pretty good spreadsheet of where everything is on network and login information (most of our kit still had default security logins :O )

    Second phase was to have the closets rewired, we had 10ft patch cables and virtually no cable management, so massive amounts of cable weight.

    We did all this with a third party contractor, and the decision was made before I got here to go that route, but there was nothing that they did that we couldn't have done ourselves. admittedly we may not have been able todo it in the same time frames but we would have had much better understanding doing it ourselves.

    My advice is to get a solid plan, and not worry too much with the things that are currently working, aim to make 1 change at a time and deal with any fall out before moving onto the next problem.

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foofighterjim View Post
    To start with you need to know the IPs of the switches. If you have an XP laptop with a serial connector you are in luck as you can use Hyper Terminal with the following settings to connect to the switch directly:
    Or a serial to USB adapter, also doesn't need to be XP Newer switches often use an RJ45 > serial cable too for the console port. Some models are just web based though.

    Quote Originally Posted by foofighterjim View Post
    •Baud rate (or bits per second): 9600
    •Date bits: 8
    •Parity: None
    •Stop bits: 1
    •Flow Control: None
    Baud rate varies between models

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    I see a USB > serial converter and a stepladder in your future (or better yet, the apprentice for a "this is why you never do this" lesson).

    Log into a known good switch (ideally the core switch) at the command line and see what...

    Code:
    show cdp neighbours
    ..gives you.

    It'll look something like:

    cdp-brief.jpg

    If it looks useful, try:

    Code:
    show cdp neighbours detail
    which will look something like:

    cdp-detail.jpg

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    foofighterjim's Avatar
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    OP States that the switches appear to be old so was just covering COM, same senario with Baud Rate. XP was esier as Hyper Terminal was built in.

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    You can use HyperTerminal on Windows 7 if you copy the 2 necessry files, believe it's an exe and a dll to copy or just use something like TerraTerm or even Putty.

    If you have console ports on all the switches the job should be a lot easier as with some low end pro-curves there is only the Web Based GUI which if you don't know the IP you are pretty lost at the first hurdle unless you are confident and know there is no special networking setup and you can just reset the switch to defaults.

    Had the same issue before with switches with only web GUI, I got laptop and guessed that the default IP Addredd hadn't been changed, during really early morning before most people in and just went around the switches disconnecting the up links systematically using the default IP to get to the Web GUI and managed to sort them all out.

    As others have said you can buy a USB to Serial converter but look on the forums to check that it will work and no reported issues with HP's

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davit2005 View Post
    with some low end pro-curves there is only the Web Based GUI which if you don't know the IP you are pretty lost at the first hurdle unless you are confident and know there is no special networking setup and you can just reset the switch to defaults.
    Refer to my first post for the answer to that one. PCM will scan your network and find every procurve switch, new and old, and give you all the details on them.

    The only real hurdle is knowing the username and password to login to them all, so long as you know that it's easy peasy.

    Also if you want a bit of a laugh...if you're on a grid such as SWGfL like i was, and you don't have a firewall between you and the grid, PCM will pickup switches from all the other schools in the same situation....and if they haven't password protected them you can access their switches. Of course i don't encourage you to go any further than that by any means Found that one out 6 years ago though, so maybe (hopefully) the grids have prevented that.

  10. Thanks to mrbios from:

    BassTech (19th December 2013)

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Failing that, if the switches are flat (no special configs) just follow the procedure to reset them. If they're 1800's, they're done by powering off, connecting port 1 and 2 with a standard network cable then powering on. TBH though PCM is damn good so that should do what you need.
    PuTTY is your friend though

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    Some other options are if you have server (or machine with serial port) in/near the rack and serial cable from machine, remote desktop and putty to switch.

    putty is great because it gives you telnet,ssh and serial in 1 exe

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    At my last school we used a program that detected all of the managed switches and their IP addresses. Can't remember the name of it though

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    HP's management tool/scanner for switches is/was called TopTools iirc

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    I would recommend repatching to sort out the mess with each cabinet in the first instance. A good Networking company should be able to do this for you and even test and report each outlet - though this can be time consuming and expensive dependant on port location, quantity and labelling.

    With regard to your procurve switches - if you use an SNMP scanner like SNSCAN this will find the switches. By default they are not set with passwords however if they are hold the clear button down for 5s this will wipe the password. I would also recommend updating the firmware on these switches presuming you find them ok :-)

    We love Procurve due to life time warranty and free firmware upgrades :-)

    Good luck

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    LanTopolog was the software I was thinking of!

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