8.1 is finally here and, though I hate to admit it, we are releasing it a lot later than we would have liked. We are, however, very happy with the results. With every release, we keep improving our usability and feature set as we strive to always put out nothing less than the best IT visualization product on the market today.

How do I get 8.1?
For starters, if you are under maintenance, just ask for it. No, we don’t charge for new versions (like other DCIM/network documentation software vendors do, cough, cough).

Upgrading is easy. Your download link is posted in our Zendesk support portal or you can simply shoot us an email (support @ graphicalnetworks dot com). Once you have the link, simply click on it and you’ll be prompted to fill out a brief form (we just need some basic information, such as your current netTerrain configuration) to start your upgrade.

Why should I upgrade?
8.1 is a bit more performant and has some interesting features around outside plant, so if that is what your project is about, we recommend you upgrade.

If you are an early collector adopter, you should upgrade. 8.1 added some major improvements around the collector.

If you are still on 7.1 or older, you should definitely upgrade. I mean c’mon, 8 is the key number!

Now, if you are already on 8.0 and your project is centered around network documentation without outside plant or DCIM it is up to you, but you may not necessarily notice anything new or that is groundbreaking. The upgrade process is super easy and safe, but some people like to stick with something if it does what they need.

Features, schmeatures
When it comes to actual features this release was heavily biased: virtually all of it relates to outside plant. This, by no means marks some sort of tendency in our product line. Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) as well as network mapping and documentation are alive and kicking. So much so that we are expanding our development team to specifically work on those two product lines (and have opened a new office in Buenos Aires!).

The feature improvements made since our last release 8.0.771.4114 include the following:

  • Ability to create outside plant circuit paths with intra-building hops.
    When netTerrain recommends a circuit path across your strand infrastructure you can now treat intra building nodes (like rooms) as additional hops along that path. This is useful because sometimes it gives you more flexibility in determining what an optimum path is.
  • Support for cable modes to prevent hybrid scenarios of circuits with single and multi-mode strands.
    Now you can force netTerrain to choose circuit paths using the same type of cables and strands (such as single mode).
  • TIA Standardized strand color coding available for strand creation and display.
    netTerrain now lets you automatically create cables with standardized TIA strand color codes so that you don’t have to edit the colors yourself. For instance if you create a 24 strand cable and it follows the TIA standard, netTerrain will create two sets of sequentially correct TIA color-coded strands.
  • Faster panning and zooming on dynamic maps.
    If your project contains some dense OSM maps with many hundreds of objects on one single diagram you will notice a considerable improvement in the performance of zooming and panning operations.
  • Overall collector improvements.
    The collector, which is our new incarnation of the discovery engine (and at some point the full replacement of our ITK) saw a ton of improvements in this release. They are, quite frankly, too many to mention.
  • API and documentation enhancements.
    Our REST API also got a ton of improvements including more calls, improved methods. Our documentation also underwent a major facelift — including a whole new section describing, in perfect detail, the dashboard designer.

In addition to these major enhancements we added some minor ones, which may sound a bit too geeky if you are not deep into fiber plant documentation already. These include:

  • Support for lists in strand custom field definitions
  • Better display of block CLR
  • Standard CLR can now be used for strands
  • Circuit label names can be edited
  • End equipment in a circuit path can connect two strands to one port
  • Ability to see strand information when connected to a port
  • Ability to go to the other endpoint for a strand connection
  • Support of list views for strands and circuits

What’s next?
Our next release is, you guessed it: 8.2. This upcoming release, which is already in development, will focus in a refactored rendering engine. What this really means is that we are doing some house cleaning. After a slew of feature-based releases, every once in a while we like to stop for a few months and just focus on doing some internal reorganization of the code. In and of itself this does not sound too exciting (and may not change much in your user experience) but it ensures that our tool remains extensible for years to come.

About Jan Durnhofer

As CEO / Product and Engineering Manager, Jan joined Graphical Networks with the purpose of creating the most advanced DCIM and IT visualization company in the market.