Lab Terminal Server


The Avocent Cyclades TS-3000 GNU/Linux-based terminal server my wife purchased for me has made labbing with real equipment MUCH easier. Each port connects with a UTP cable to the console port on the equipment. The console server itself connects to the rest of the LAN. Each physical port on the terminal server is accessible via SSH on a port on its IP address. So, in its current configuration, I can access port 10 by establishing an SSH session to The Cyclades is extremely configurable, and can even be integrated into a full 802.1x environment, but for labbing, most of the default settings are just fine.

Before the terminal server, I had attempted to use a computer running Ubuntu with ten USB-to-RS232 adapters with console cables. I ran into two problems with this: the first was that the adapters were extremely unreliable. The second was that I found out that USB controllers only support so many devices. I thought I remembered reading somehwere years ago that you can connect 128 devices to a USB chain, but that is apparently not true. The controller in my computer wouldn’t allow more than 6 devices to connect simultaneously (even with a USB hub). With the terminal server, I don’t have this issue anymore.

The only downside to the terminal server is that even though you can use regular Ethernet cables, they must be wired differently. I spent some time with trial and error to figure it out. Hopefully the following information will save someone some time in the future when connecting the Avocent Cyclades TS to the console ports of Cisco equipment:

End 1: T568B > End 2: Cyclades ACS
Orange/White > Brown
Orange > Brown/White
Green/White > Green
Blue > Blue/White
Blue/White > Orange/White
Green > Green/White
Brown/White > Orange
Brown > Blue

End 1: T568A > End 2: Cyclades ACS
Green/White > Brown
Green > Brown/White
Orange/White > Orange
Blue > Blue
Blue/White > Green/White
Orange > Orange/White
Brown/White > Green
Brown > Blue/White

The T568A/B end of the cable connects to the console port of the Cisco equipment, while the other end connects to an available port on the Cyclades TS.