In most remote network management applications, the main purpose of a terminal switch is to provide an avenue for out of band management of important network elements located in off-site data centers and remote network equipment racks; when normal network access is not available or impractical, a terminal switch enables network administrators to communicate with remote network elements without the need to travel to the remote network equipment rack. But in addition to the vital out of band management capabilities provided by a terminal switch, a high quality terminal switch can also include monitoring and alarm features that help administrators to be better informed regarding environmental conditions and significant events at the remote network equipment site.
Archive for the ‘terminal switch’ Category
A Terminal Switch with a Multilevel User Directory Provides Different Capabilities to Different UsersFriday, August 12th, 2011
Sometimes, the out of band management capabilities provided by a terminal switch (http://www.wti.com/c-56-terminal-switch.aspx) are almost too useful for their own good. Often, the ability to access console port functions on remote network elements proves to be so handy, that the network administrator is faced with the challenge of providing terminal switch access to a variety of different users, while also restricting those users from devices and functions that are not related to their jobs. In cases like this, a terminal switch unit with a multilevel user directory provides a simple means for administrators to grant users with out of band access to the devices that they need, while preventing those users from accessing devices that may belong to other departments or functions.
When deploying a terminal switch product at a remote network equipment site, it usually pays to take an informed look at exactly what types of terminal switch features will prove useful for your specific application. Obviously, a terminal switch should provide out of band access capabilities for the other devices in the remote equipment rack, but there are also many other terminal switch features that can also come in very handy, depending on the nature of the type of network environment that you’re dealing with. If your network application involves communication with a number of different terminal switch units, spread across multiple remote equipment sites, then SNMP communication and MIB support can often be extremely helpful.
The out of band management capabilities provided by a terminal switch can be a real life saver for network administrators who are charged with the task of managing remote network equipment racks. Without a terminal switch, often the only way to deal with problems at remote equipment sites is a costly service call or truck roll to a remote equipment site that might take hours, or even days to reach. Obviously, the remote console port command access provided by a terminal switch can be a real life saver, but the remote monitoring and alarm notification capabilities provided by a full featured terminal switch can be equally helpful too.
A terminal switch provides secure out of band access to console port command functions on network devices located at remote network sites. In many cases, a terminal switch does this job so well, that a single network administrator might have access to dozens of different terminal switch units, located at dozens of different remote network equipment sites. This situation often creates a bit of a dilemma for the network administrator; the task of managing multiple terminal switch units, checking device status, and setting user passwords and access rights on several dozen terminal switch units can often grow to the point where it’s practically a part time job.
I don’t know what to think about this one; on one hand, third party add-ons for Windows always make me nervous … but on the other hand, I do have my gripes with the layout of the standard Windows taskbar.
You cannot make many changes to the Windows taskbar. Sure, you can move it around to place on another edge of the screen. You can also add some items to it and remove some others, but controls are still very limited, even in Windows 7 which offers more taskbar options than any other Windows operating system.
Since many different departments often share access to the various elements found in a network equipment rack, it makes sense that those departments will also need to share access to a terminal switch unit installed in that same equipment rack. It doesn’t really matter if a terminal switch is used to provide out of band access to console port command functions on network devices, or if it’s used to collect data from connected network devices; users in different departments will often have reason to use the secure access capabilities or data storage functions that are provided by a terminal switch unit.
Setting up a secure means to communicate with remote network elements can often be a complicated task; passwords and user accounts must be defined, authentication protocols must be configured, and domain name servers must be set up to recognize terminal switch units. But if the terminal switch unit supports “Self Signed” certificates, this can greatly simplify the process of creating a secure, HTTPS connection with remote network elements.
A full featured terminal switch unit (http://www.wti.com/c-56-terminal-switch.aspx) can often do a lot more than simply provide access to remote network elements when your main network is down. For example, if a terminal switch unit includes outbound SSH/Telnet capability, this allows administrators to create a dial-up connection with a remote terminal switch unit, and establish an SSH or Telnet connection with other devices that reside on the network at a remote site.
Given the powerful remote access capabilities that a terminal switch (http://www.wti.com/c-56-terminal-switch.aspx) provides in an out of band management application, it’s absolutely vital to ensure that a terminal switch includes adequate security features to protect critical console port command functions from unauthorized access. Almost all terminal switch units include basic security features such as password protection, but in many terminal switch applications, simple password security isn’t enough; that’s why it’s important to select a terminal server product that supports additional, advanced security functions functions such as authentication and encryption such as HTTPS and the ability to create SSL security certificates.