console access via patch panel and terminal server possible?

Answered Question
May 16th, 2007

I am looking for a way to manage all of the switches in a building in an out of band manner. Since the console port on these switches (4500 series) is an RJ45 port, I was wondering if it is possible to connect this port to a patch panel and run it upstairs to our server room, whereby it would connect to a serial terminal server for accessing all the switches in one area.

Is this feasible? Are there distance restrictions for the length of the console cable?

I have this problem too.
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Correct Answer by Joe Clarke about 9 years 6 months ago

This is very feasible. We do this for all of our lab devices. The cable you must used is a rolled cable. Pinouts can be found at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/routers/ps133/products_tech_note09186a00801f5d9e.shtml#rolled . The RS232 spec says the cable should not exceed 50 feet or about 16 meters, but good-quality cables may be able to extend that significantly. See http://www.marcspages.co.uk/tech/long232.htm for hints.

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Correct Answer
Joe Clarke Wed, 05/16/2007 - 10:15

This is very feasible. We do this for all of our lab devices. The cable you must used is a rolled cable. Pinouts can be found at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/routers/ps133/products_tech_note09186a00801f5d9e.shtml#rolled . The RS232 spec says the cable should not exceed 50 feet or about 16 meters, but good-quality cables may be able to extend that significantly. See http://www.marcspages.co.uk/tech/long232.htm for hints.

ilnaiduccna Mon, 05/21/2007 - 21:59

Hi friend,

I don't know whether it is possible to access via terminal server or not, but as I know it is possible to access via patchpannel.

1. connect patch cable one end to switch console cable, other end to patch-pannel know come to ur server room here connect console cable one end (RJ45) in to I/O point the other end i.e., comport connect in to CPU it's enough know you can telnet to switch and access from the local system (where you connect comport to system CPU).

Please check in this way and give reply.

Regards,

Naidu

Joe Clarke Mon, 05/21/2007 - 22:19

We currently have it wired so that the consoles connect to a patch panel, and then into a terminal server. We then use reverse telnet to connect to the consoles via the terminal servers.

However, instead of a terminal server at the other end of the patch cable, you could easily make this a PC with a DB9-to-RJ45 connector. Then you could use a terminal emulation program like HyperTerm or tip/cu to connect to that serial port, and get console access.

They key to both setups is using a rolled cable in exactly one place. That is, a rolled cable out of the console port into the patch panel, then straight-through cables every where else.

romandas Wed, 05/30/2007 - 06:25

Do you know if the console port is standard RS232 or if there are any "Cisco proprietary" bits to it? I ask because I'm looking at possibly getting a RS232 to RS422 converter, since RS422 can go up to 4000 ft. compared to RS232's 50 ft.

I figured either I'll convert it Console-RS232-->RS422-->RS232-->Computer serial, or just convert it once and use a RS422-capable serial card. I'm just not sure if the conversion will work.

Example here: http://www.dcbnet.com/datasheet/422conds.html

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