Isolated LANs are often found in applications where either the remote nature of the site makes contact via outside network impractical and in applications where an outside network connection to the LAN might jeopardize network security. In cases like this, one of the few options for outside maintenance access to devices on the isolated LAN is often a console server that supports both dial-up access and the ability to create reverse SSH connections.
Posts Tagged ‘console port’
When a vital network element at a remote equipment site crashes or refuses to respond, network administrators are often left without a means to communicate with the remote site. In many cases, the problem at the remote site could easily be remedied if administrators could just gain access to the console port on the failed device, but with network communication down, the only alternative is a costly, time consuming service call. But it doesn’t have to be this way; an intelligently deployed Console Server can eliminate situations like this, by providing an avenue for out-of-band communication with devices at the remote site.
When you need to communicate with an unresponsive network element at a remote equipment site, there are basically two choices: you can either travel to the remote site in person, or you can use a console sever to establish an out-of-band connection to the problematic network device. When direct communication with a malfunctioning device is not possible, a console server provides a secondary, out-of-band means to access console port command functions on a remote device.
The main purpose of a console server management unit is to provide network administrators with tools for managing remote network equipment sites without the need to constantly travel to those remote sites in person. In order to fulfill this role, obviously the console server management unit needs to support out of band management communication to allow remote access to console port command functions on offsite network elements. Although, out of band management capabilities are extremely important, it’s also useful if the console server management unit is to perform other tasks, such as rack temperature monitoring and alarm functions that help to provide administrators with a clearer picture of exactly what is going on at the remote site.
In addition to providing out of band access to console port command functions on remote network elements, a full-featured out of band management (http://www.wti.com/c-45-out-of-band-management.aspx) unit should also include functions that allow the unit to easily adapt to the requirements of a wide range of different network based applications. For example, if the out of band management unit will be deployed in a remote network management application that requires automated access to console ports on various network elements, then direct connect capability can often prove to be very useful.
Console Access Server units can perform a number of valuable tasks in a remote network equipment installation. In addition to providing secure, reliable out of band access to console port command functions when the main network is not available, console access servers can also be used to collect error messages and other data, generated by connected network devices.
The task of keeping remote network equipment up and running at all times can sometimes prove to be quite a challenge. When a firewall or a server at a remote network equipment site decides to crash, right when you need it the most, network administrators need to have a back-up plan to get those troublesome devices back on line again, without waiting for a service team to travel to the remote site. In cases like this, a server console switch provides the quickest and most economical means for out of band management; allowing administrators to diagnose and troubleshoot remote network devices without the need for a long, expensive service call to a network equipment rack located two states away.
The Buffer Threshold Alarm – A Handy Feature for Serial Switches Used in Data Collection ApplicationsThursday, May 5th, 2011
It’s not uncommon to find serial switch units used for other purposes, besides out of band management applications. For example, serial switch units are often used to collect error messages, status reports and other data that network devices generate and then send out via console port. In data collection applications like this, it’s helpful if the serial switch includes a buffer threshold alarm, to notify network administrators when data has accumulated in a serial port buffer.
When connecting a server console switch to a Sun server, it’s important to make sure that break commands generated by another attached device are not passed on to the Sun server. The reason for this is simple: a break command sent to the console port on a Sun server will cause the server to enter a reboot cycle, resulting in an unnecessary delay while users wait for the Sun serer to come back on line again. A server console switch that includes a break command blocking feature provides a simple yet effective means to prevent Sun servers from being accidentally rebooted in response break commands or electronic noise.
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.