Wireless Out-of-Band Console Access with Opengear's ACM5000

By stretch | Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 2:27 a.m. UTC

A couple weeks ago, Opengear sent me one of their small new console servers to play with, specifically their ACM5000 series. My particular model is an ACM5003-W, which sports three RS-232 serial ports, two USB ports, a 10/100 Ethernet interface, and interestingly, an 802.11b/g wireless interface.

ACM5003-W.jpg

Although small, the ACM5000s run powerful firmware very similar to their larger relatives, like the CM4116 which powers the community lab.

What I really like about these boxes is that they're small, cheap, and bring a lot of flexibility to out-of-band management. They can be mounted along with gear in hard-to-reach places (access points, telecom closets to which no one ever has the key, etc.) to provide wireless console access from a much more comfortable location. The wireless adapter supports both infrastructure and ad-hoc mode with WPA2-PSK security.

opengear_wireless_tn.png

Opengear also offers models with a V.92 dial-up modem or a 3G cellular modem in place of an 802.11 adapter.

About the Author

Jeremy Stretch is a network engineer living in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area. He is known for his blog and cheat sheets here at Packet Life. You can reach him by email or follow him on Twitter.

Posted in Reviews

Comments


BCo
July 29, 2010 at 2:06 p.m. UTC

Very Cool! Wish I had this when I was managing a corp training center. It consisted of 7 classrooms, 7 large lab systems (telecomm & IT gear), and a semi-isolated network tying it all together. Problem was, IT controlled the IDF closets, so I had to beg and plead ever time I needed to change / fix anything...

I wonder how IT would have reacted if they found this hiding in the cieling tiles... ;-)


aconaway
July 29, 2010 at 4:59 p.m. UTC

If those were PoE, I'd be in love. :)


DanC
July 30, 2010 at 10:54 a.m. UTC

Like it!


a7ndrew
July 31, 2010 at 11:48 p.m. UTC

What are the USB ports intended for? Are they useful?


bart (guest)
August 3, 2010 at 8:27 a.m. UTC

interesting idea, though if you should count on the wireless network being fine when you need out of band access to devices ...


Patrick Debois (guest)
August 3, 2010 at 6:09 p.m. UTC

Wondering if you can connect to it with VNC and see the bios of the computer booting?


eddy
August 27, 2010 at 12:15 p.m. UTC

Cool thing. @patrick yah install a laptop with a webcam and watch how pc/device boots up.. though it would not be a bad idea to have someone press F1 when keyboard error isn't disabled :P

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