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Remote Management In-Reach

MRV Communications puts out more than a console server.

I connected several Cisco Systems routers and switches--a Catalyst 6500, a 2948G-L3 switch, a 7401ASR and a Catalyst 4500--to the LX-4048S before pulling up the Web console to begin configuration for each port. The Web console requires JRE (Java Runtime Environment) 1.3.0+ for unencrypted access and JRE 1.4.1 for encrypted access. A link on the main page connects you to Sun Microsystems' site, where you can download 1.4.0 JRE. I accessed the Web console using both Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and Netscape 7.02 without a problem.

Although you can name each of the ports to help manage which device is connected to which port, this data is not reflected in the port list; you must track port and device associations on your own. Aside from this small drawback, which MRV says will be addressed in a fourth-quarter release, the device offers options galore. From standard serial settings and telnet options to access modes, the LX-4048S covers nearly every scenario you'd find in your data center.

Sweet Setup

Setting up serial console access to the routers, including authentication options, was a breeze. RADIUS, TACACS+ and SecurID are offered, but I was unable to take advantage of these options because we don't use them in the lab. Once the port configuration was complete, I clicked a button in the Java administration console to connect to the LX-4048S.

Connecting to a device requires two authentication steps, however: one to the LX-4048S and another to the device. The Java applet providing access can use telnet or SSH (configurable on a per-connect basis) to connect to the LX-4048S, then it links to the device on your behalf. Each port can be configured with its own security features including multilevel passwords and access control lists, making it possible to limit access to individual ports by IP address.

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