Dual WAN Management for Cisco ISR in Oil and Gas Pipeline Applications

A Dual WAN Console Server can provide tech support personnel with additional options for Out-of-Band Management that aren’t generally available on console server products that include only one Ethernet Port. In addition to allowing remote access to console ports on routers and switches via both a primary, production network and a secondary, maintenance network, a Dual WAN Console server also simplifies the challenge of adding 3G/4G LTE cellular broadband access and satellite broadband access to your out-of-band management solution.

An Out-of-Band Management solution provides IT personnel with an effective means to deal with problems at remote network equipment installations, even when normal network communication is down. By providing alternative channels for communication, an Out-of-Band Management solution allows NOC personnel to troubleshoot problems with remote devices in order to restore communication via the primary network without the costs and delays inevitably associated with a physical service call.

When your Out-of-Band Management solution includes a console server with two Ethernet Ports, (such as WTI’s DSM-E Series Dual WAN Console Servers,) a variety of different communication channels are available to access console port command functions on remote devices. For example, in addition single point of network access provided by conventional, single WAN console servers, a Dual WAN Console Server also allows out-of-band communication via secondary network or satellite broadband. In cases where the Dual WAN Console Server is equipped with a cellular communication solution (such as WTI's 4G LTE Cellular option,) the Dual WAN Console Server can also allow OOB connections via cellular broadband.


Challenge:

In LPG pipeline facilities such as Transfer Stations, Monitoring Stations and other pipeline support applications, network communication is often used to provide remote access to security cameras, gas analyzers, leak detectors and other devices. When problems with an on-site Cisco Integrated Services Router or a switch or peripheral device disrupt normal network communication, support personnel need an Out-of-Band Management solution to allow quick resolution of problems at the remote site, without the need for a truck roll or physical service call.

3G/4G/LTE Cellular Broadband Based Out-of-Band Management for Pipeline Transfer Stations and Monitoring Stations

Solution:

A WTI DSM-NM-E Series Dual WAN Console Server equipped with WTI's 4G LTE Cellular option is installed at the remote Transfer Station or Monitoring Station to allow out-of-band access via both secondary Ethernet connection and 4G LTE cellular broadband. In-band access to remote console ports is provided by a secondary Ethernet cable, connected to the DSM-NM-E’s other 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet Port.

Under normal conditions, remote support personnel can employ the primary, in-band network connection to access console ports on peripheral devices such as gas analyzers and leak detectors. In the event of troubles with the router or switch that disrupt primary network communication, IT personnel can then connect to the DSM-NM-E via secondary Ethernet connection or 4G LTE cellular broadband to access console port command functions on the malfunctioning router or switch, (such as Cisco’s ISR Series Integrated Service Router.) This allows support personnel to run troubleshooting routines, re-load routing tables or perform other console port functions in order to restore primary network communication without the need to actually travel to the site in person.


Results:

Remote support personnel are able to create a secure connection to console ports on routers, switches and other devices at the site in order to address problems without a truck roll or physical service call. When problems at a remote site disrupt primary network communication, support personnel are still able to access console port command functions via secondary Ethernet connection or 4G LTE Cellular Broadband.

In addition to providing two alternate channels for out-of-band access to console port command functions, the DSM-NM-E Dual WAN Console Server with 4G LTE Cellular option also includes monitoring and alarm functions that allow remote support personnel to keep tabs on factors such as rack temperature, power supply interruptions, unresponsive devices, loss of dial tone and other potential signs of trouble. When any of these factors exceed user-defined trigger levels, the DSM-NM-E can immediately notify support personnel via email, text message or SNMP trap. In order to assist IT personnel with the diagnosis of long term problems at remote sites, the DSM-NM-E Dual WAN Console Server can also create a log that lists significant events, conditions and user activity at the remote site.


Summary

WTI’s DSM-NM-E Series Dual WAN Console Servers provide the ideal out-of-band management solution for oil and gas industry applications and other network installations that demand high availability and minimal downtime. The presence of a second Ethernet Port increases available out-of-band communication options by allowing the connection to a secondary Ethernet cable. When the DSM-NM-E is equipped with the 4G LTE Cellular option, an OOB connection can also be established via cellular broadband.

In addition to providing two Ethernet Ports and support for 4G LTE Cellular communication, the DSM-NM-E Dual WAN Console Server also includes state-of-the art security and authentication features to ensure that access to sensitive console port functions is well protected from unauthorized access. The DSM-NM-E’s monitoring, alarm and event logging functions enable support personnel to track potentially significant events and conditions at remote sites, allowing your IT team to take a more proactive approach to management and anticipate future troubles rather than simply reacting to problems after they occur.



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