Different Serial Port Modes for Different Remote Console Server Applications

In many out of band management applications, a remote console server is often called upon to serve a wide variety of different types of applications with different access requirements and port connection needs. One application might require the connection of an external modem to a console server port, another application might require the ability to buffer data received at a console server port and yet another application might simply require the ability to create connections between various console server serial ports. In cases like this, network administrators are sometimes faced with a difficult challenge: how can the remote console server satisfy the different needs of these diverse applications while still providing the basic out of band management functions that are generally expected from a remote console server?

The most practical solution to a situation like this, is to choose a remote console server product that provides the ability to select a different operating mode for each serial port on the remote console server unit. Ideally, the remote console server should support the ability to assign each serial port to a separate operating mode, each of which provides separate user-selected parameters to further adapt the serial port to your specific application.

For example, the remote console server might offer a “modem mode” which simplifies connection to an external modem by allowing administrators to define parameters such as reset and initialization strings, a buffer mode which supports the ability to time and date stamp each data item received, a passive mode that allows communication between connected ports but does not allow access to command functions, plus an all purpose or “any-to-any” mode that provides access to both port connection and configuration functions.

When the remote console server supports a variety of different port modes this allows administrators to use some ports for external modem access, some ports for data buffering and still other ports for general communication functions. Of course, not all network applications will need all of these different port modes, but it’s rare to encounter a network application that couldn’t benefit from the presence of at least two different available port modes.

Obviously, almost every out of band management application will have different requirements for serial port functionality, but in order to allow easy adaptability to a wide variety of different applications, a remote console server that offers several different modes for each serial port provides much greater flexibility than a remote console server that only provides one operating mode for each serial port.

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