A Linux Powered Console Server with Outbound SSH and Telnet Support

Network administrators who are charged with the task of managing off-site data centers and network elements in remote equipment racks know the value of an effective out of band management solution. When problems at remote network equipment sites disrupt normal network communication, an out of band management solution often provides the only means to remedy problems with remote network devices without physically traveling to the installation site and dealing with the problem in person. That’s why so many network administrators rely on a Linux powered console server to provide reliable, secure out of band communication with remote network equipment.

A Linux powered console server allows network administrators and support personnel to communicate with remote network devices even when normal network communication is not available. When a malfunctioning device at a remote equipment rack or data center makes normal network communication impossible, administrators and support personnel can still establish a secure, dial-up connection to the Linux powered console server, and then use that connection to communicate with any other device at the remote site.

If the Linux powered console server supports outbound SSH and Telnet connections, support personnel can connect to other devices at the remote site by establish an SSH or Telnet connection via the LAN at the remote site in order to check device status, change configuration parameters or invoke troubleshooting commands. In most cases, this allows support personnel and administrators to correct network communication problems at remote sites and restore local network communication without the need to travel to the site in order to gain access to console port command functions.

A Linux powered console server that supports SSH and Telnet connections can also come in very handy in cases where the off-site data center or remote network equipment rack is located so far off the beaten track, that a network cable connection is either impractical or simply unavailable. In these cases, an initial connection to the Linux powered console server is first established via dial-up modem or satellite modem, and then the Linux powered console server is used to create an SSH or Telnet connection to other network elements on the LAN at the remote site, allowing access to console port command functions on remote network elements that would otherwise be out of reach of network communication with the central office.

Although the out of band management capabilities and outbound SSH and Telnet functions provided by a Linux powered console server come in particularly handy in network management applications that include extremely remote network equipment, such as is often found on oil rigs and in remote network equipment closets associated with power transmission stations, these same capabilities can also prove extremely helpful in any network application that requires out of band communication with remote network equipment when communication via the main network has been interrupted.

Modern network administrators might find this hard to believe, but not so long ago there was a time when the only way to communicate with off-site network elements when the main network was down, was often to travel to the remote network equipment site, connect a laptop or other device to a console port on the remote device, and start issuing commands. A Linux powered console server eliminates the need for most road trips and service calls to remote network equipment sites, by providing a secure, reliable tool for establishing out of band connections with remote network devices, and also enabling network administrators to communicate with other devices on remote LANs using outbound SSH/Telnet communication.

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