Data Center Applications for Dual Ethernet Console Servers

The Challenge:

During network outages and emergencies, support technicians need a fast, reliable means to access console port command functions on vital network elements. The solution should provide maintenance engineers and technical personnel with secure, authenticated access to console port command functions on vital network elements via either cable or wireless connection. In addition, the solution should also allow network administrators to assign a unique IP address to each Ethernet Port in order to simplify the process of connecting via the primary and secondary network or production and maintenance network.

  • Support Techs Need Fast Access to Devices During Network Emergencies
  • Network Administrators Need Dual Ethernet Console Solution with Separate Routing Tables
  • Tech Support Department Needs Isolated Maintenance Network

The ability to respond quickly to network outages and restore communication in a timely manner is absolutely essential for any large, commercial network application. In order to maximize productivity and profitability and ensure access to customer services, network downtime must be kept to an absolute minimum. Without access to vital network services, work often comes to a standstill until network problems are resolved. When outages are not immediately remedied, potential customers can quickly tire of waiting to be served and take their business elsewhere. The longer the network stays down, the greater the losses in time, profit and productivity.

Speed is essential when dealing with network emergencies; both for the sake of profit and productivity and also because in some cases, there’s only a limited amount of time available in which to deal with the emergency. For example, in server room applications, each crash cart has only a limited amount of time available to deal with problems before onboard UPS power is exhausted and the crash cart is forced to return to a charging station.

The Solution:

WTI’s DSM-E Series Console Servers feature dual 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet ports, providing a perfect solution for network applications that require redundant access to remote console ports, communication via an isolated maintenance network or Wi-Fi communication with devices in inaccessible locations. In addition, the DSM-E also features separate routing tables for each Gigabit Ethernet port, allowing a unique IP address to be assigned to each available Ethernet port.

  • Dual 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet Ports
  • Separate Routing Table for Each Port – Assign a Unique IP Address to Each Ethernet Port
  • Fast, Secure, Trouble-free Access to Networked Elements in Locked Cabinets and Lights Out Data Centers

The combination of the presence of two Gigabit Ethernet ports plus separate routing tables for each Ethernet port enables the DSM-E to provide a perfect solution for data center applications that require quick access to console port command functions, network redundancy or communication with network elements via Wi-Fi or cellular broadband.

Although WTI’s DSM-E Series Dual Gigabit Ethernet Console Servers provide versatile out-of-band access capabilities that can be applied to a number of different data center applications, this white paper will focus on three of the most common implementations:

Network Redundancy Applications

dual Ethernet console server network redundancy application

In network redundancy applications, the dual Ethernet DSM-E is connected to both a primary network and a secondary (often outside) network to provide an alternate avenue for access to console port command functions on remote network elements. In the event of a network outage, this type of configuration ensures that support personnel are still able to communicate with vital network elements even when the primary network is down. When communication via the primary network is unavailable, a secondary network connected to the DSM-E provides access to configuration and troubleshooting functions which can be used to remedy problems that have disrupted communication via the primary network.

Maintenance Network Applications

dual Ethernet console server maintenance network application

In maintenance network applications, each of the DSM-E’s two available Gigabit Ethernet ports is connected to a separate network; a production network for general user access, plus an isolated maintenance network for exclusive use by support personnel. Unlike other dual Ethernet Console Server products, WTI’s DSM-E Series Dual Ethernet Console Server includes separate routing tables for each Ethernet port. This allows network administrators to assign a unique IP address to each DSM-E 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet port, rather than using the same IP address for both ports and essentially limiting the console server to fallback applications.

This type of network configuration provides end users with prompt access to various devices and services on the production network while simultaneously providing technicians and service personnel with an exclusive maintenance network, that can be used to upload firmware, diagnose problems with network elements and tweak configuration parameters without overburdening or slowing the production network or waiting for clearance to connect to malfunctioning network elements.

Wireless Network Applications

dual Ethernet console server wireless crash cart application

The presence of a second Ethernet port also provides network engineers with additional communication options that go beyond the limits of traditional cable networks and serial communication. Rather than connecting the second Ethernet port to a network cable, some users choose to connect a wireless router to the secondary Ethernet port. In other cases, the secondary Ethernet port can be connected to a small router and a 3G/4G modem to provide access via cellular broadband.

When a wireless router is installed at the secondary Ethernet port, this enables technical support personnel to communicate with connected elements via Wi-Fi connection. This approach lends itself particularly well to server room applications and lights out data centers that include crash carts that are used to deal with server outages and for performing routine maintenance tasks. Rather than spending valuable time unlocking closed equipment cabinets or dealing with interdepartmental red tape necessary to access locked cabinets, techs can use the Wi-Fi connection to instantly access any server or other networked element connected to the DSM-E; even if those devices are enclosed in a locked cage or cabinet.


WTI’s DSM-E Series Dual Ethernet Console Servers help to simplify management and troubleshooting tasks in the data center by cutting the time required to access console port command functions on remote or inaccessible devices and helping to ensure that support personnel have an alternative avenue for communication with vital network elements during network outages.

  • Fast, Reliable, Secure Access to Console Port Command Functions on Networked Devices
  • Access to Network Elements in Locked Equipment Enclosures via Wi-Fi
  • Primary and Secondary Network Access to Devices in Lights Out Data Centers
  • Quick Access for Crash Carts in Server Room Applications

Although the examples discussed here represent relatively common applications for the DSM-E Dual Gigabit Ethernet Console Server, there are also dozens of other possible applications that can benefit from the presence of a secondary network connection or Wi-Fi access. The versatility provided by a secondary 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet port allows the DSM-E Dual Gigabit Ethernet Console Server to serve as an ideal solution for almost any application that requires two Ethernet ports with separate, unique routing tables and IP addresses.