Create Direct Connections to Console Server Serial Ports

In most network applications, a console server ( is used to provide out of band management access to console port command functions on remote network devices. But that said, there are also many other things that a console server can be used for. For example, in some applications, a console server is used in conjunction with a command script to allow a program to control port switching and connection functions, or to collect buffered data from connected devices.

In this type of application, a console server might be connected to several monitoring devices which feed data to the console server in order to provide a centralized point from which the data can be collected and temporarily stored while awaiting retrieval. Typically, this data might include experimental results generated by lab equipment or error and status messages generated by network equipment. In order to collect the data stored at the console server, the application might include a command script which regularly contacts the console switch, retrieves collected data from console server buffer mode ports and then forwards the data to either an end user or another program that sorts, graphs or analyzes the collected data.

Since the buffered data that is stored at the console switch is collected by a program rather than an individual, it’s often useful for the console server to include a direct connect feature, in order to allow the program to quickly create an SSH, Telnet or Raw Socket connection to a specific serial port on the console server, without the need to enter a username or password. The direct connect feature assigns a unique TCP port number to each serial port on the console sever, and then invokes a command to establish a direct connection to the desired port using the TCP port number.

Obviously though, since the direct connect feature essentially bypasses the password prompt, it’s important that the console server also supports other security protocols, such as an IP address filter or support for user authentication in order to ensure that access to buffered data is protected from unauthorized users.

This is just one example of the many alternative applications in which a console server can be employed. Although the vast majority of console server applications are focused on out of band management applications, there are also other console server features, such as direct connect capability, that can allow the console server to adapt to applications that most network professionals might never even imagine.

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