Outbound SSH and Telnet Allows a Terminal Switch to Go Where a Network Cable Can’t Go

A full featured terminal switch unit (http://www.wti.com/c-56-terminal-switch.aspx) can often do a lot more than simply provide access to remote network elements when your main network is down. For example, if a terminal switch unit includes outbound SSH/Telnet capability, this allows administrators to create a dial-up connection with a remote terminal switch unit, and establish an SSH or Telnet connection with other devices that reside on the network at a remote site.

The ability to use a terminal server to create outbound SSH/Telnet connections can prove especially handy in network applications that don’t include a secondary/maintenance network. Normally a secondary network is used to provide access to remote network devices when the main network is down. Although a secondary network is probably the ideal out of band management solution, the cost of installing a secondary network often makes it impractical for many network applications. In cases like this, a terminal switch with outbound SSH/Telnet capabilities can be installed at a remote site and then used to provide dial-up out of band access to other devices at that site when the main network is not available. When the main network is down, this allows network administrators to dial into the terminal switch, then create a secure outbound SSH or Telnet connection to any other device that’s located on the same remote network segment as the terminal switch.

In other cases, a terminal switch with outbound SSH/Telnet capability can be used to provide a primary means of access to network devices that are so remote, that they are beyond the reach of a normal network cable. An example of this type of application would be network equipment that’s located in an equipment closet on an oil rig. In this application, the terminal switch is used to provide secure, remote access to network devices located on the LAN at the oil rig. When network administrators need to access devices at the oil rig, they can first contact the terminal switch via satellite modem, and then use outbound SSH/Telnet to create a connection with the device of their choice. This type of application is often used to retrieve data from remote sensing devices, reset/reboot troublesome equipment at the remote site or to perform routine diagnostic checks on network devices that can’t be reached via normal cable connection.

When equipped with the right features, a terminal switch unit can provide a veritable “Swiss Army Knife” for network administrators who are responsible for managing and maintaining network devices; whether that network device is located in the data center right down the hall, or in a tightly locked equipment cabinet, thousands of miles away from the office. When choosing an out of band management solution for a remote network application, it pays to consider the wide range of communication, security and alarm capabilities that can be provided by a terminal switch product.

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