Outbound SSH and Telnet: A Useful Feature for Linux Powered Console Servers

When managing remote network devices located in offsite equipment cabinets, it’s always best to have as many options for communication with those remote devices as possible; in fact, the more options the better. When normal network communication is either unavailable or impractical, a Linux powered console server should be able provide several different alternatives for communication with vital network elements at a remote site in order to ensure that administrators will always be able to access console port command functions on remote devices, without the need to either visit the remote network equipment site in person, or send out a service team on an expensive truck roll.

Although most Linux powered console servers will support dial-up communication with remote sites, there are limits to what one can do via a dial-up connection. When your network is down, a dial-up connection to a Linux powered console server can be used to access console port command functions on any device at the remote site that is cable connected to the Linux powered console server, but what about other devices at the remote site that might not be connected to the Linux powered console server? If the remote site includes a Linux powered console server with outbound SSH/Telnet capabilities, then the Linux powered console server can be used to establish a connection with any device on a local area network at the remote site; network administrators can first create a dial-up connection to the Linux powered console server, and then use the console server’s outbound SSH/Telnet capabilities to communicate with any other device on the LAN at the remote site.

In other applications, the remote network equipment site might be located so far off the beaten path, that it’s just not practical to run a network cable all the way out to the middle of nowhere. In cases like this, rather than serving as a means of emergency, out of band communication when in-band communication is not available, the outbound SSH/Telnet capabilities provided by a Linux powered console server can be employed as the principle means for communicating with devices at the remote site, providing administrators with remote access to the LAN at the remote site without the cost and inconvenience of running a cable to the site.

When a Linux powered console server supports outbound SSH and Telnet communication, network administrators and support personnel can connect to the Linux powered console server via dial-up or satellite modem, and then establish a secure, encrypted SSH or Telnet connection with any device on a local area network at a remote network equipment site. Outbound SSH/Telnet can prove extremely handy in any network network application that includes offsite facilities that are outside of the reach of normal network communication. When network equipment is located at faraway sites such as oil rigs or power transmission stations, a Linux powered console server with outbound SSH/Telnet capabilities often provides the only viable alternative for communicating with network elements on the LAN at the remote site.

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