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Using Courier Modems for Out-of-Band Connection to a Cisco Network

The Scenario

A customer deploys various Cisco Routers in their network infrastructure. Day to day management is done over the existing network (In-Band), however the Managed Services Partner needs a secure and reliable way to remotely diagnose problems even when there are network outages (in the example below Node 2 is offline).


The Solution

USRobotics Courier modems provide an ideal solution for Out-of-Band network management providing:

  • A secure path to manage a remote network, without interfering with normal traffic
  • An alternative route into equipment for maintenance, management and trouble diagnosis
  • An extremely cost effective way to perform contracted network management or support managed services networks

Cisco Specific Considerations

Various Cisco routers have different capabilities for attaching a Serial Port modem, such as the Courier. Some to be aware of:

  • Cisco 2800 Family (2801, 2811, 2821, etc.) have an RS232 option for connecting the Courier to the router
  • Cisco 3800 and 7600 Families have an RJ45 Serial Port option
    • This would also require an RJ45 to DB25 cable to connect the Courier modem (appx $10)

Key Applicable Courier Features

Other Applications of Out-of-Band Connectivity

  • Any network infrastructure with remotely managed nodes that support Serial connection (RS232 or RJ45). The same key criteria would apply: Security, reliability, remote manageability, performance
  • Many PBX equipment and VoIP systems fit this category

The bottom line is if you need an ability to remotely maintain, diagnose or even upgrade network equipment, an Out-of-Band solution should be part of the network plan.