How to connect many serial devices to one unix box

Hi everyone,

We have around 15 routers currently which we use a Cisco access server for console access. We are going to triple this number but the access servers are very expensive £1000's!! with only 16 ports. Can I use a unix box to provide the telnet access to the serial console ports on the routers?
If so what do I need for me to be able to do this. Ie. What hardware/software I need, web addresses for more info etc.

Thanks,

Erik
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erik_nodlandAsked:
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jlevieConnect With a Mentor Commented:
An intel box running Linux would work, but other solutions are possible.. One possibility would be to use a high-density code activated RS232 switch (perhaps like a BlackBox COS-16) connected to the existing Access server. That particular unit could have 64 nodes attached and accessible via a single serial port.

There are a number of multiport serial boards that are known to work with Linux. The Serial HowTo (http://www.redhat.com/mirrors/LDP/HOWTO/Serial-HOWTO.html) lists both ordinary and intelligent devices known to work with Linux. For that number of devices you'll want to look at the high density (16 or 32 port) units to avoid running out of IRQ's.

Other than possibly needing drivers (for an intelligent multiport board) you won't need any additional software. The telnet server is, of course, included and most Linux distros include minicom to handle the serial portion.
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jlevieCommented:
Yes you could do that. But saying that you'd like to use a Unix box for it covers a lot of ground. The hardware platform that you pick will determine what additional hardware (multi-port serial boards) will be required and how many ports you could have on one box.What hardware platform are you contemplating?
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erik_nodlandAuthor Commented:
Nothing special. Probably just a standard PC running Linux. Is it possible to do what I want with this.
I also have a Sun Sparc 5 which I could use at a push.
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yuzhCommented:
As jlevie mention above, you have to decide what hardware platform and wich favour of UNIX to be use first.

eg, if you use Linux, or SCO UNIX, you can use PC COM board, 16 port EasyConnetion card etc.
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