Serial Port Modes Simplify the Task of Installing a Serial Console Server

In out of band management applications, it’s not surprising to see a serial console server connected to a wide variety of different devices that are accessible to a wide variety of different users and functions. Some ports on the serial console server might be used for modem communication, other ports might be used for data collection, others might need to allow access to serial console server command mode functions and others might need to deny access to command mode functions. For this reason, a well-designed serial console server will often include the ability to assign each serial port to a specific port mode in order to simplify the process of configuring ports for different functions and needs.

The ability to assign a port mode to each port on the serial console server can prove to be a tremendous help when setting up each serial port for a specific device of application. In a best case scenario, a serial console server should include a modem port mode to simplify connection to external modems, a buffer port mode for data collection applications, a general access mode which allows both connection to other ports and access to serial console server command and configuration functions and a passive move which which allows the port to be connected to other serial console server ports, but does not provide access to command and configuration functions on the serial console server.

Ideally, each port mode should allow access to additional configuration functions that allow administrators to custom tailor each serial console server port for a specific device and application. The modem port mode should support the ability to define a modem initialization string, reset string, hang-up string and periodic reset value; this drastically simplifies the task of connecting modems that don’t include these functions. It can also come in handy if the general access mode (often referred to as “any-to-any mode”) includes the ability to configure DTR output characteristics. If the serial console server port will be used for data collection and buffering, then the ability to enable time stamping and select buffer connect behavior can also prove to be very useful.

When selecting a serial console server for your out of band management application, it’s wise to first consider the requirements of your application and the types of devices and users who will employ the serial console server. Once you’ve figured out the specific needs of your serial console server application and compared those needs to the capabilities provided by various models and brands of serial console servers on the market, it often becomes quite clear that one model or brand fits your application the best and makes the choice of model or brand quite simple. The best serial console server product for your application is always the one that most closely matches the needs of your remote network devices, applications and users.

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