Different Types of Console Server Ports for Different Types of Users

In the early 2000s, when Console Server products first started to gain popularity, most console servers were used only by Network Administrators, who needed out of band management capabilities for remote network equipment sites. But as the capabilities of console servers grew, the need arose to dedicate specific console server ports to specific types of functions. One way to control the functions of console sever ports, was to assign specific “modes” to each available serial port.

Port Modes allow administrators to set aside specific console server serial ports for specific uses and functions. Some ports can be allowed to access command mode and create connections to other ports, other ports are only allowed connection to another port but do not allow access to command and configuration functions, other ports are dedicated to the sole purpose of collecting data from an attached device, and other ports are set-up specifically for connection to an external modem.

WTI console servers include four different port modes that are defined via the serial port configuration menu; port modes can only be assigned or changed by an Administrative level user. The available serial port modes are as follows: Any-to-Any Mode, Passive Mode, Buffer Mode and Modem Mode.

Any-to-Any mode ports are allowed to connect to any other serial port on the console server (unless restricted by the user’s account) and in addition, Any-to-Any mode ports are also allowed to access console server command and configuration functions (providing that the user account allows this.) The Any-to-Any Mode is available to all ports (except the Internal Modem Port) and
is the default Port Mode for Serial Port 1 (the System Set Up port.)

Passive Mode Ports allow communication between connected ports, but do not allow access to command functions, even by administrative level users. Passive Mode Ports can only be connected to other ports by accessing command mode from a free Any-to-Any or Modem Mode port and invoking the connect command. Passive Mode is not available at Serial Port 1, the Network Port or the Internal Modem Port, and is the default mode at Serial Ports 2 and above.

Buffer Mode ports are intended for the storage of data received from connected devices. Collected data can be retrieved by accessing command mode from a free Any-to-Any or
Modem Mode Port, and issuing the Read Buffer Command. Buffer Mode ports can also be configured to support the SNMP Traps in order to provide notification when the amount of collected data reaches a user defined threshold. The Buffer Mode is not available at Serial Port 1, the Network Port or the Internal Modem Port.

Modem Mode ports are specifically designed to for connection to an external modem, and allow the definition additional parameters that are specifically related to modem communication. In addition, Modem Mode ports can also perform all of the command and configuration functions that are normally available in Any-to-Any Mode. The Modem Mode is not available at the Network Port and is the default
mode for the Internal Modem Port.

When you combine the abilities of the various port modes with security and access features that are controlled by the user directory, this allows for extremely flexible configuration of both user access and port functions. As a result, WTI console servers can be configured to support a variety of different users with a variety of different job functions, while simultaneously protecting sensitive command and configuration functions from access by users who have no business using them.

Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures remote device management products for IT applications. WTI’s Serial Console Server products, Remote Reboot products, Switched PDU products and A/B Fallback products are engineered to allow you to securely manage and troubleshoot rack equipment in remote locations.

Link to Original Content

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.