Technical White Paper

Remote Power Rebooting

The following is a short article describing the concept of remote power control and rebooting techniques along with specific instances where such a solution would be a considerable help in terms of convenience and minimization of down-time for WAN environments and other communications applications.

When a piece of LAN/WAN, telecom, or other control equipment has "locked-up" and is no longer responding to normal methods of communication, it is often necessary to perform a cold boot of the equipment. After the power has been cycled on and off, normal communications via the network can resume. This is often difficult when the site in question is either an un-manned site, or when the problem occurs after normal business hours. Even if a reboot needs to take place while personnel are on site, one must still hope that the employee is savvy enough not to reboot the wrong device ...

For systems administrators, the ability to perform a power cycle or remote reboot is a means of avoiding potential communication disasters. The solution is a Remote Power Reboot Switch which can be controlled by your systems administrator to ensure correct booting sequences in the event of system failures.

The most convenient rebooting solution is one in which the reboot switch can be controlled via RS-232C commands, thus allowing for control of the reboot process by means of standard external async modems, over the TCP/IP network by using a terminal server or comm. server, or local with terminal software. ASCII commands sent to the reboot switch will either query the current status of all AC equipment attached to the switch, or turn on/off or cycle (reboot) the AC power. Since the reboot switch is controlled using ASCII commands and standard modems, only terminal emulation software is required to dial the site and switch the power. Also, real-time communication with the reboot switch provides responses from the reboot switch after each command has been accomplished.

Applications for these switches range from the most common scenarios, where WAN environments (Internet POPs, or corporate intranet) are centrally controlled, yet servers, routers, and dial-up equipment frequently lock-up and require a reboot. Other scenarios involve satellite control equipment at communication towers, cellular towers or radio equipment. And since the units can switch any AC powered device, air conditioners and heaters are also frequently turned on or off at un-manned stations for climate control, and there is also the option of Controlling DC Power at remote sites as well.

Power reboot units are available in a variety of different configurations. Units can be 19" Rack Mounted, to fit in the equipment rack along with the control hardware being rebooted, or units can be Modular / Expandable, to accommodate situations where the network control hardware is scattered throughout a facility or data center. As some AC equipment might also require a higher amperage rating than others, Heavy Duty / High-Amperage reboot units have also been developed. In all cases, the convenience of remote AC power control can be a welcome addition to your current network management strategy, and can also save time and expense of off-hours service calls.

About WTI

WTI is a California based company which designs and manufactures serial console servers and power reboot switches. WTI units are deployed in wide area networks in several industry sectors and serve multiple mission critical applications. WTI is committed to the continual technological evolution of remote power management tools to help the network administrator save time and money by keeping devices up and running 24/7/365.