Out of Band Management – Access Command Functions on Remote Network Devices

Out of band management provides a vital tool for network administrators by enabling secure, reliable communication with network devices even when the main network is down or not available. An intelligently planned out of band management solution helps to cut network maintenance costs by reducing costly service calls to remote equipment installations, and by providing administrators with a means to communicate with important devices without adding traffic to the main users network.

When used for communication with local network devices, an out of band management solution allows administrators to perform tests, update firmware and configure network devices with out adding to the traffic on the main user network. Administrators can communicate with an out of band management unit via secondary network, and then access command functions on local network devices without taking up bandwidth that network users need for communication and access purposes.

Although out of band communication for local devices is an extremely useful capability, the remote communication capabilities provided by an out of band management solution are much more important. When network communication with a remote network equipment site is down or unavailable, out of bad management allows administrators to communicate with remote network devices in order to fix problems, obtain device status data or change configuration parameters without the need to physically travel to the remote site in order to access command functions in person.

Typically, out of band management is either employed as a means of emergency, alternative communication when the main network is down, or used as the primary means of communication in applications where a normal network connection might be impractical or impossible.

Out of band management is an extremely helpful tool for dealing with network outages that have been caused by equipment failure at a remote network site. In cases like this, an out of band management solution often provides the only way to communicate with troublesome remote network devices without a visit to the remote site by IT support personnel. Ideally, a secondary network is used to establish a connection with an out of band management unit at a remote site, which then allows access to console port command functions on other devices at the remote site. In cases where a secondary network is not available, other out of band management solutions allow administrators to create an out of band connection to the remote site via either satellite modem or dial up modem. Once a connection to an out of band management unit at a remote site is established, administrators can then access console port functions on other connected network devices in order to determine unit status, invoke troubleshooting commands or change configuration parameters.

When planning a remote network application, it’s always a good idea to take out of band management into consideration. An intelligently deployed out of band management solution helps to cut costly service calls by providing an alternate means to communicate with remote equipment, and also helps to maximize network up-time by cutting the time required to respond to network disasters at remote equipment installations.

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