A Console Server Allows You to Take Care of Problems at Remote Sites without a Service Call

Service calls to remote network equipment sites are both time consuming and expensive. When an Ethernet switch or other device at a remote equipment site crashes and takes down valuable network services with it, administrators can’t afford to wait for a tech team to arrive on site to correct the problem and restore communication. In order to minimize downtime and cut service costs, many network administrators rely on the out-of-band access capabilities that can be provided by a Console Server.

An intelligently deployed console server can simplify the process of dealing with problems at remote network equipment sites by providing a means to access console port command functions on network elements without the need to travel to the equipment site in person. When a console server supports out-of-band communication with remote network elements, this provides a means to remedy equipment problems at remote sites even when normal network communication is temporarily unavailable. In cases like this, remote administrators can communicate with the console server via a secondary maintenance network, broadband or dial-up and then access console port command functions on any device that is physically connected to the console server unit. Once connected to the console port on the remote network element, administrators can change configuration parameters or run diagnostic and troubleshooting programs in order to restore normal network communication.

In addition to providing out-of-band access to console port command functions on remote network elements, a modern console server often offers the ability to track conditions and events at remote network equipment sites. If the console server includes monitoring and alarm capabilities, this allows administrators to detect high temperatures, unresponsive devices, power supply instability and other potential signs of trouble, and address those problems before they result in network outages or equipment damage.

Since security is also important in this type of application, it’s extremely important to choose a console server solution that supports up-to-date security and authentication protocols. A multi-level subscriber directory is a good start, but in order to ensure that communication with the unit is protected from unauthorized access, a console server should also support authentication protocols such as Kerberos, TACACS+, RADIUS and LDAP plus provide encryption capabilities.

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