Console Servers

James Bensley jwbensley at gmail.com
Wed Sep 19 08:40:45 UTC 2018


On Tue, 18 Sep 2018 at 14:38, Alan Hannan <alan at routingloop.com> wrote:
>
> I'd like your input on suggestions for an alternate serial port manager.
>
> Long ago I used Cisco 2511/2611 and was fairly happy.  A little later I used portmaster and was less so.  Recently I've been using Opengear and they work fairly well but the price is fairly high.   I use the CM7100 and IM7100.
>
> General specs I'm looking for are:
>
>  * 8 to 48 or more rs232 serial ports on rj45
>  * nice-to-have software selectable pinouts (cisco v. straight)
>  * gig-e ethernet port (100mbps ok)
>  * 1U form factor
>  * redundant AC power
>  * access physical serial connections via local port #
>  * access physical serial connections via local IP alias (nice to have)
>
> Can you recommend a serial port server/concentrator that I could use in place of opengear for a better value and/or lower cost?
>
> I'm just ignorant about the current market for serial port concentrators and so far web searches have not revealed ideas, so your input is appreciated!
>
> Thanks!
>
> -alan

Hi Alan,

Ah the trusty Cisco solution - yep, used the 2800 series quite a bit
for exactly this, just last year even I was deploying them. 16-32
serial connections for OOB console, an Ethernet port for an OOB IP
MGMT switch and VDSL for the WAN connection. You can also use low end
Juniper SRX devices for this (SRX200 series) and a cheap console
server, I've used SRX + OpenGear (not so cheap) console server just
fine. You just need a couple of central firewalls to terminate some
IPSEC tunnels (again, cheap SRXs have served fine as the crypto
throughput is typically low).

Some companies don't deploy anything into production which is not
vendor supported, so the 2800s wouldn't fly in that case. We used to
buy 2800s off ebay and 2nd hand tin sellers. However, for lab work
some companies are more relaxed, this is an example 2800 config that I
use for console access in the lab if you want:
https://null.53bits.co.uk/index.php?page=hwic-16a-terminal-server
I'd be reluctant to deploy Cisco 2800s (or similar) today unless there
is a newer variant, is there an ISGv2 variant with serial connectivity
that Cisco will be supporting for a few more years? I know OpenGrear
are expensive but in my current outfit, they do "just work" and the
few we had at my old place, again they did "just work".

Cheers,
James.


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