Access Server/Dual NIC Necessary?

Nafe92014Nafe92014 Posts: 276Member
Hello TE,

So I've been studying for my CCENT and the theory part was okay but now I'm starting to get some practice hands on. Now when I looked at my lab this morning (2x 2811 ISR and 2x 2960 switches) and at the cable clutter under my desk (4 serial to USB going into my PC), I began to wonder if having an access server for my connections would save me a headache with the cable clutter. Isn't it possible to manage my devices through the server?

I was also looking at a 4 port NIC to connect my devices to my PC (my onboard NIC has my NAS plugged into it). Has anyone used this method as well?

Feedback would be much appreciated. :)
Certification Goals 2017: Cisco CCENT, MCSA: Windows Server 2012

"You have enemies? Good, that means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." ~Winston S. Churchill

Comments

  • SWtacomaSWtacoma Posts: 37Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    When I labbed using real equipment I found the easiest method was having a single console cable from the lab pc to the equipment. The equipment sat on the desk an arm reach away and I had fairly easy access to plug into the console ports on the fly. Maybe just moving your equipment around may facilitate this easier. Also whenever possible I would throw management IPs on the devices to practice setting up SSH or Telnet access through Putty. I wouldn't recommend having a console cable for each device constantly plugged in as that would get confusing. Unplugging the cable and plugging it into another device will continue your console session in the Terminal Emulator with having to start a new session.

    I suppose setting up a Tacacs server may be possible. At the enterprise I worked at we had 1000s of devices that would authenticate to tacacs but I think for lab purposes doing the quick and dirty method of a single console cable will work fine. Other people may have better suggestions that I do though.
  • JeanMJeanM Posts: 1,117Member
    It really all depends on your topology. For the most part you only need 1 usb/serial console cable, and you can then connect to the rest via telnet/ssh (depends on your lab topology again).

    Popular solution would be to console (using serial/usb) into ONE router/console server which then connects to EACH one of your routers/switches. You then console into your dedicated console server (via a term or web) and from there you access each/any single one of your routers / switches.

    Seems like a waste to tie up a multi nic for console access imho.
    2015 goals - ccna voice / vmware vcp.
  • MTciscoguyMTciscoguy Posts: 552Member
    I just put an 8 port serial card in my computer and labeled the cables, so I know what they go to, works great for me.
    Current Lab: 4 C2950 WS, 1 C2950G EI, 3 1841, 2 2503, Various Modules, Parts and Pieces. Dell Power Edge 1850, Dell Power Edge 1950.
  • Nafe92014Nafe92014 Posts: 276Member
    I was looking at doing the serial card thing, but all of my PCI slots are takened up. I think I'll do what JeanM suggested. Just ordered a 2509 RJ Terminal server with 8 rollover cables. I'll console into the server from my PC and have the routers/switches connected to it then manage them that way.
    Certification Goals 2017: Cisco CCENT, MCSA: Windows Server 2012

    "You have enemies? Good, that means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." ~Winston S. Churchill
  • HAMPHAMP Posts: 163Member
    I was unplugging and plugging, and after awhile I gotten tired of it. I added an access server to my rack, and I'm really happy I did. If you have the funds, and its not to much trouble, then I say get one.
  • Nafe92014Nafe92014 Posts: 276Member
    @HAMP, just ordered a 2509-RJ tonight with 8 rollover cables. Was worth the $200 for me :)
    Certification Goals 2017: Cisco CCENT, MCSA: Windows Server 2012

    "You have enemies? Good, that means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." ~Winston S. Churchill
  • HAMPHAMP Posts: 163Member
    Nafe92014 wrote: »
    @HAMP, just ordered a 2509-RJ tonight with 8 rollover cables. Was worth the $200 for me :)
    That is the one I have. I gotten mine for $100 off of ebay, and I'm really glad I bought it.
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Posts: 1,602Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I bought an access server and I was very happy with it. For me I wanted my lab in another part of the house so switching cables was not convenient. I ran a console cable and several network cables to my basement and set up the rack where I didn't need to listen to it. Keep in mind this is about convenience and not saving money. If you can afford it then feel free to go for it.

    I have two nic cards on my motherboard and it was nice to be able to have one network on my lab rack and the other on my home network. It is not necessary but it worked well. I was able to cable my laptop and second nic card to the lab and use them for testing my configs.
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    I have a similar device in my rack, wouldn't be without it - very versatile.
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