Console Servers Provide the Ideal Solution for Remote Network Equipment Management

The biggest problem with managing remote network equipment sites is fairly obvious; due to the “remote” nature of these sites, it’s usually pretty difficult for an administrator to know exactly what’s going on at a remote site and if anything does go wrong, then the only way to fix it is an expensive, time consuming service call to a site that might be located in a whole different time zone. Remote site management would be easy if you could permanently station a tech support team on-site 24-7, but who’s got the budget for that these days? In cases like this, a console server unit, intelligently deployed at a remote site can often accomplish the same thing as on-site personnel … at a fraction of the cost and also faster and more efficiently than a service call or truck roll.

In many applications, a console server unit provides almost the exact same remote network device management capabilities that could be provided by on-site personnel. In addition to providing secure, reliable access to console port command functions on remote network elements, a console server unit can also monitor environmental conditions, power supply stability, communication status and other critical factors at remote network equipment sites, allowing network administrators to know exactly what’s going on at a remote equipment site without even leaving their desks!

A console server unit is designed to provide secure, remote access to the same services and capabilities that would be provided by expensive service calls or on-site personnel. If your main network is down, the console server can provide out of band access to diagnostic and trouble shooting functions via secondary network, dial-up modem or satellite modem, allowing administrators to quickly deal with problems at remote sites without the expensive time consuming task of sending a tech team out to deal with the problem in person. Instead of waiting for your tech support team to get itself in gear and make a long journey to the remote equipment site, you can contact the console server immediately, pin-point the source of the problem, and gain immediate out of band access to the troublesome network device in order to get your network back up and running again in a fraction of the time that would be required for a service call.

Instead of just living with problems such as temperature spikes, dicey power supplies and excessive invalid access attempts and waiting for them to get to a point where they cause a major network interruption, you can rely on a console server to automatically notify you via email, text message, SNMP trap or SYSLOG message while these problems are still easily manageable. A console server allows network administrators to take a more proactive approach to network management by dealing with small problems before they grow to a point where they bring your network to its knees.

Why gamble on conditions at remote network equipment sites when a console server can tell you exactly what’s going on at that remote site? Even if rack temperature spikes and power outages are a rare event, you still definitely need to know about them. A console server can create logs of significant events at remote sites, and either report straight data about important events, or create graphic displays that allow you to accurately track temperature trends and other events, and implement strategies for dealing with these factors before they effect network communication.

Console server units are available with a variety of user-configurable alarm functions that allow them to automatically track noteworthy network factors such as power interruptions, lost communication, unresponsive network elements, port buffer status, excessive invalid access attempts and other events and promptly report when an event or condition is detected that exceeds user-defined trigger values. In applications that include multiple remote network equipment sites, console server units can actually provide a clearer picture of conditions at sites than an entire team of tech support personnel could ever dream of achieving, even if they were constantly on the road, traveling from site to site.

If you’re saddled with the task of maintaining and managing remote network equipment sites, there’s no need to be forced to choose between expensive service calls and just waiting for small problems to get big enough that they effect network communication. When a console server unit is installed at a remote site, it’s like having a tech support team on duty at the site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; the only difference is, a console server will never take a day off, fall asleep on the job, demand a raise or spill coffee all over your brand new router.

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