In a typical network, administrators often have no visibility into switch port utilization or status information. This data is either manually maintained or not available at all. Manual documentation of course has its drawbacks like being incomplete, inaccurate, and obsolete. Now, consider a situation where the administrator needs to get a new application server running when he discovers that there are no free switch ports to use. Switch port mapping is essential as it helps easily discover switches operating at near capacity, as well as switches where unused ports are available. Administrators can proactively plan for replacements or reclaim unused ports to facilitate intelligent capacity planning and purchase decisions.
Another huge advantage is the ability to quickly and easily locate a device on the network. This is done by searching for a device with its IP address, hostname, and MAC address to obtain port details of the switch that it is connected to. In case of a rogue device, you can resolve network issues simply by disconnecting the device from its switch port.
Device information like port details are stored in a database called Management Information Base (MIB). Tools like SolarWinds User Device Tracker poll the network for device details to fetch specific port data from devices like routers and switches. This information is very useful to visualize switch port utilization and status for capacity planning and troubleshooting to locate a problematic device on the network.
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