A Network Power Switch Simplifies Power Management at Remote Network Equipment Racks

In remote network equipment management applications, a network power switch can quickly prove itself to be an extremely valuable tool. In addition to providing network administrators with a simple, secure means to reboot malfunctioning network devices at remote equipment racks and off-site data centers, a network power switch also enables network administrators to cut power costs by switching off nonessential network devices during periods of the day/week when those devices are less likely to be needed.

If high power costs are a concern for your network application, a network power switch can often provide valuable assistance in reducing power consumption. In most network applications, there are always specific times during the day or week when certain network elements are either not needed or less likely to be used. Often, administrators can cut hundreds of dollars from their expenses by merely shutting these devices Off during periods of low use and then switching the devices back on during periods when they are more likely to be needed. A network power switch provides a convenient tool for switching power to nonessential devices On or Off according to a user-defined schedule. For example, if a device such as a back-up server or router is generally not needed during the evenings, a network power switch allows administrators to schedule that device to be automatically switched off during evenings and then automatically switched back on in the morning.

Although the power scheduling capabilities provided by a network power switch are an extremely valuable tool for cutting energy consumption, the most common use of a network power switch is to initiate a power reboot cycle at a remote equipment rack or off-site data center when a network element ceases to respond or crashes completely. In this case, administrators can use the network power switch to reboot any attached device without the need to actually travel to the remote site in person. The task of rebooting remote devices using a network power switch is extremely simple; after first establishing a secure connection with the network power switch, the administrator can then reboot the device of their choosing by clicking on appropriate options in a web-based menu, or by invoking simple ASCII commands at the network power switch’s command interface.

In some cases, higher end network power switch products often include the ability to automatically reboot network elements whenever they cease to respond. Network power switch features such as a ping response monitor or “ping-no-answer alarm” can continually ping a remote device, checking for a response. If the target device ceases to respond to ping commands, the network power switch can either automatically reboot the effected device, or notify support personnel via email, text message, SNMP trap or SYSLOG message in order to allow further investigation of the unresponsive device.

Obviously, given the power control capabilities supplied by a network power switch, it’s important to make certain to choose a network power switch that provides adequate security and authentication features to protect power control capabilities from unauthorized access. In addition to standard security features such as password protection, a good network power switch should also support additional security features such as an IP address filter and invalid access alarm, as well as popular authentication protocols such as TACACS+, RADIUS, LDAP and Kerberos. This provides a multi-layered approach to system security, and helps to ensure that even a determined hacker will not be able to gain unauthorized access to power switching and reboot functions.

A full featured network power switch provides administrators with an extremely convenient tool to reboot devices at remote sites, schedule power on/off switching and cut power costs at remote network equipment racks without the need for constant trips to the remote equipment rack and the costs associated with these service calls and road trips. When properly deployed, a network power switch essentially provides remote, automated access to all of the same power control and reboot functions that would be available if one were to either travel to the site in person, or station support personnel at the remote site, without the additional costs of service calls and on-site personnel.

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