A Good Serial Switch is the Heart of an Out of Band Management Solution

When setting up a remote network equipment site, it’s absolutely vital to include an out of band management solution that allows access to console port command functions on your remote network equipment. The reason for this is simple: no matter how well your remote network application has been planned, it’s inevitable that remote network devices will eventually crash or malfunction and require some sort of tweak or push to get them running again. In most cases, a serial switch provides the “heart” of this type of out of band management solution.

When a remote device crashes, often all that’s needed to correct the problem are a few commands entered at the device’s console port in order to restart the operating system or make changes to configuration parameters. While this is usually a pretty simple task when the network device is located in the next office or down the hall, it can often present a formidable challenge if the troublesome network device is located in far away installation site; perhaps hours away from your network support personnel. This is where a serial switch proves its worth by providing secure, remote access to command functions on remote network equipment.

A well conceived out of band management solution that includes a serial switch allows network administrators to easily deal with problems at remote sites, without the need to actually travel to the site in person. Typically, this includes a secondary, maintenance network that serves as a means of back-up communication in the event that the primary network fails. The serial switch is connected to the secondary network (in order to allow Ethernet access when the primary network is down,) and individual serial console ports on each network devices are then connected to the serial switch.

This allows network administrators to establish a secure Ethernet connection with the serial switch, and then use the serial switch to create a connection to the console port on a remote network device in order to invoke troubleshooting, configuration and system restart commands.

Without the presence of a functional out of band management solution, the only other alternative for remote network management is to either maintain support staff at the remote network site, or travel to the site in person whenever a network device needs a little help to get it running again. A serial switch based out of band management solution also simplifies co-location applications, by allowing multiple authorized users to access remote network devices without hopping into a car or plane and making the long trek to the remote site in person.

In addition to providing remote access to console port functions, a serial switch can also cut costs by reducing the need for constant service calls to remote sites, and by maximizing network up-time by cutting down-time by providing a secure, reliable way to address problems at remote sites. When properly deployed, a serial switch will quickly pay for itself by cutting network down-time (and resulting loss of revenue,) and reducing the need for truck rolls and service calls to remote network equipment sites.

For over 30 years, Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) has been an innovator in the field of remote management for IT facilities. Our comprehensive product line includes a wide range of Serial Console Server products, Switched PDU products and Remote Reboot Switch products to provide secure, remote management of servers, routers and other devices.

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