Remote Out of Band Access for DC Powered Network Equipment

The task of managing network devices can often be a real pain in the neck … especially if the network devices in question are located in a remote equipment rack rather than in the room next door. When vital network elements are located at distant, offsite facilities, network administrators are presented with an entirely different set of challenges than would normally be seen if those same devices were located within arm’s reach.

For one thing, DC power often provides the only option for powering network elements when the installation site is so far off the beaten path that it’s beyond the reach of existing AC power lines. Sometimes, DC power is also mandated by the very nature of the application, even in situations where AC power might be relatively close at hand. This is often the case in the power industry, the telecommunication industry and other high-power applications, because DC power creates less resistance and generally provides higher amperage than AC for running power-hungry devices.

Although DC obviously serves as a very workable solution for powering remote network equipment racks, it can also pose a bit of a problem when one needs to implement an out-of-band management solution in order to ensure remote access to console port command functions on distant network devices. Full-featured, DC powered out of band management solutions are often difficult to find; while there are plenty of basic DC powered console server products on the market, the selection narrows drastically if you need a DC powered out of band solution that also supports advanced functions such as monitoring and alarm functions, SNMP commands, direct connections and support for advanced authentication protocols.

TSM Series DC Powered Console Switch example

WTI’s TSM Series DC Powered Console Switch products provide a perfect solution for both securely managing remote network elements located in a DC powered environment and keeping track of conditions and events at the remote equipment site. When a TSM Series Remote DC Powered Console Switch is installed at the remote site, network administrators can safely access console port command functions on remote network elements, via in-band or out-of-band connection in order to change configuration parameters on remote devices, invoke troubleshooting and maintenance routines, downloaded logged data or perform any other function that can normally be accessed via the console port.

In addition to enabling safe, reliable in-band and out-of-band access to console port command functions on remote network devices, TSM Series DC Powered Console Switches also support a comprehensive assortment of monitoring and alarm functions, that can automatically notify administrators when high rack temperatures, power supply instability, excessive invalid access attempts and other potentially hazardous conditions and events are detected at the remote network equipment site. The TSM’s alarm functions are user configurable, and allow administrators to select threshold values that will trigger alarm notification, as well as select which tech support personnel will receive alarm notification via SNMP Trap, email or SYSLOG message when an alarm is generated.

The TSM DC Powered Console Server also includes a broad range of security and authentication features to help ensure that only authorized personnel are allowed to access remote console port command functions. In addition to standard password security, the TSM also includes an IP Address Filter that can be used to restrict command mode access to only specific IP addresses and a callback security function that essentially authenticates dial-up users by ensuring that each user is only allowed to access command mode via a specific phone number that has been predefined for their user account. The TSM also supports popular authentication protocols such as LDAP, Kerberos, TACACS+ and RADIUS to ensure user identity and provide easy compatibility with your existing system-wide authentication strategy.

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