I have an old Cisco device that has one port for an octal-cable. This gives you 8 console ports to other routers.
Since I’ve been revamping my lab (AKA cleaning all the crap out of my room) I realized that I needed more console ports. I figured I would look on Ebay to see what I could find and low and behold, the ACS48 was a pretty good steal(I got mine for about $60 shipped).
It really looks like a 1U 48 port switch.
When I got the unit it had a config from the previous owner, so I set about correcting this. It turns out this little guy runs linux. One simply needs to boot the device in single user mode and issue the reset to default command. A fellow in the UK was nice enough to put up a tutorial!
Once that is complete you plug in it’s ethernet port, let it pull a DHCP address, then connect via a browser. You run through a quick setup wizard, then you can connect in earnest.
I chose to basically turn off all security since I’m just using it on my local LAN, but it has HTTP, HTTPS, Telnet, SSH, and direct console.
You can individually configure ports speed and settings, or just apply an across the board setting.
You also have the ability to select an individual port and connect via a java app to the terminal.
My favorite feature is the ability to telnet/ssh directly to a console port. You connect to the ACS’ IP address via port 7001 for port 1, 7002 for port 2, etc. You can even enable a login system for individual ports or as I did, have it just bridge you straight to the port. As far as security goes you can assign users/groups with varying login permissions per port. You have authentication via local, tacacs, radius, kerberos, ldap…virtually anything.
Cabling is a little odd. Everything I could find on the web said to just use a straight through cable when connecting to Cisco devices. That is exactly what I did…only it didn’t work. No matter what I did it wouldn’t work. I found that you have to swap pins 3 and 6 on one of the connectors. As soon as I changed alllll of the cable ends it worked fine. So if you use type B standard, on one of the connectors swap positions on the greenWhite and green wires. This is lame that you can’t just use regular cables, but it isn’t a deal breaker.
So far I love this device. It boots a little slow, but other than that it works exceedingly well and the price you can get these for is ridiculous.
If you pair this with an RB750 and an alternate internet connection you will have a killer OOB management solution for your network gear.