Different Serial Port Modes for Different Remote Console Server Port Applications

In many applications, a remote console server needs to be able to perform other tasks besides providing out of band management access to console ports on remote network devices. In a remote network equipment rack, it’s pretty common to see a remote console server that’s not only being used for out of band access, but also to collect status and error messages from attached devices or to provide access to an external modem in the equipment rack. In situations like this, it’s extremely helpful to have a remote console server that includes the ability to redefine serial ports for specialized tasks.

For example, an application might employ one serial port on the remote console server for connection to an external modem, allowing other connected devices to share the modem when outbound communication is needed. In the same application, another port on the remote console server might be configured as a buffer port and used to collect error and status messages that a connected device sends out via console port, while other serial ports are used to provide out of band access to connected devices and still other serial ports are used to provide connections between various devices in the equipment rack.

In order to simplify the process of setting each serial port up for a specific function, it can be extremely helpful if the remote console server offers several different pre-defined port modes for each serial port. For example, each remote console server serial port should offer a “modem mode” which allows administrators to define modem related parameters such as a reset string and initialization string, as well as a “buffer mode” which allows the definition of buffer related parameters such as time stamping. In addition to buffer mode and modem mode, it’s also helpful if the remote console server provides a passive mode which allows communication between connected devices but does not allow access to command mode and a multipurpose or “any-to-any” mode which allows both communication between connected devices and access to console port command functions.

A remote console server in an out of band management application is often called on to perform a number of different functions; often, the remote console server is actually performing several functions at the same time. When selecting a remote console server product for your remote network equipment management application, it makes sense to carefully consider the requirements of your individual application and also consider future demands that might be put on the remote console server unit. The ideal console server for your application should include the ability to quickly select port modes for each RS232 serial port; this enables the remote console server to easily adapt to the various functions that it will serve in the remote equipment rack, and simplifies the task of setting up each serial port for the task that you need it to perform.

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