Keeping Better Track of Conditions at Remote Network Equipment Sites

When managing network devices located at off-site data centers or in remote equipment cabinets, it isn’t always easy to tell when power to the remote network equipment has been interrupted and restored. Sure, you could always wait for users to complain that a server or router at the remote site didn’t recover correctly, but in a busy corporate network environment a network administrator often needs to be more proactive when it comes to dealing with power interruptions and disrupted network service. It’s pretty easy to tell when power at the remote network equipment site is out completely, but how does one recognize a situation where power momentarily blinks off and then back on again?

In most remote network equipment management applications, a console switch is often used to provide out of band management access to devices at the remote site in the event that primary network communication becomes unavailable or unstable. In addition to providing out of band access to console port command functions, a full-featured console switch can sometimes monitor power conditions at the remote site and then provide notification when power is interrupted and then restored. In many cases, this can allow administrators to detect power supplies on the verge of failure, or situations where the existing power supply might not be completely adequate to support the current load at the site.

Typically, a console switch that includes a power cycle alarm have the ability to detect power supply interruptions, and then automatically notify support personnel whenever the power supply is lost and then restored. In order to meet the needs of a wide variety of potential support personnel, the power cycle alarm should support several different popular communication protocols, including email, text messages, SNMP traps and SYSLOG messages. Although the presence of a power cycle alarm doesn’t give the console switch the ability to address the problem that caused the momentary power outage, it does provide administrators and support personnel with notification when the power supply at a remote site might be in need of attention.

Often, the toughest part of managing network devices located away from the central office is the fact that it’s difficult to know exactly what’s going on at the remote site until the problem becomes so bad that it effects network traffic. Although it’s widely recognized that a console switch can provide valuable out of band access to console port command functions on remote devices, many network support personnel often overlook the fact that a good, well-designed console switch can also help administrators to be kept better informed regarding important events and conditions at the remote site. When the console switch units at your off-site network equipment racks includes a power cycle alarm, this provides administrators and support personnel with a clearer view of power conditions at the remote site, and simplifies the task of recognizing problems at remote sites before they affect network communication.

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