Serial Switch Features for a Comprehensive Out of Band Management Solution

A serial switch (http://www.wti.com/c-46-serial-switch.aspx) should be able to more than just provide access to console port command functions on remote network elements. Ideally, a serial switch should also be able to monitor conditions and events at remote network sites and notify network administrators when potential problems are detected. In addition, a serial switch should also be able to report its own status, network conditions and port conditions and log noteworthy events for later review.

The main purpose of a serial switch, is to allow network administrators to deal with problems at remote network sites without the need to travel to a remote site in person. The most common function associated with serial switch products, is the ability to establish and out of band connection with a remote device in order to invoke diagnostic, troubleshooting and configuration commands. These capabilities are vital when problems arise at a remote network site, but it’s also important that the serial switch allows network administrators to review environmental conditions, suspect events, device status and other important factors without traveling to the remote site.

A serial switch should include status displays which allow administrators to determine the condition of the serial switch itself, as well as the network status, status and configuration of the serial ports, user events, temperature trends and other relevant factors. It’s also very helpful if the serial switch can log and date stamp events such as alarm actions, temperature spikes, excessive invalid access attempts, user activity, power conditions, communication interruptions and other noteworthy developments. In the event of a network problem, event logs, alarm logs and temperature logs can be extremely useful in the diagnosis of the cause of the network problem, and can also help network administrators to develop plans to avoid future problems.

In order to allow network administrators to be better informed about conditions at remote network sites, a serial switch should also include alarm functions that allow the administrator to define specific conditions, such as high or low temperatures, power interruptions, loss of communication and invalid access attempts. These alarm functions should include the ability to notify administrators via SNMP trap, email, text message or other means when user-defined critical conditions are detected.

It’s pretty much common knowledge that serial switch products can be used for out of bad communication with remote network devices, but in order to provide a comprehensive out of band management solution, a serial switch should be able to go a step farther and also provide administrators with tools that can be used to track conditions at remote sites, log important events and display the status of the serial switch itself as well as configuration information and network status.

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