Cisco Cables

You will need to be familiar with the most common types of cable used to connect up your Cisco equipment as well as to connect your laptop for terminal sessions.

WAN Cables

Standard Serial Cable – for your home rack use a DCE to DTE cable and add a clockrate to the end with the DCE cable. Check carefully that you have the cable the right way up before plugging in! Use the ‘show controllers serial 0’ command to check what type of cable you have connected (to interface serial 0).

Smart Serial – the smart serial cable is on the left. We have connected it to a standard serial cable to connect to a standard DB60 interface on another router.

Ethernet Cables

Straight Through – the standard cable ending in a RJ45 connector used to connect your devices to a switch. You can use a crossover cable to connect your PC to your router if you wish. All available on eBay or your local PC store.

Management Cables

Console Cable – this is a standard Ethernet cable but is usually flat and the wires are crossed. One end is often has 8 holes to interface with older style laptops. For laptops with only USB ports you will need to buy a USB to console cable (eBay) and drivers. Check out the videos on the site for how this works.

Octal Cable – used to connect your Cisco access server to the console ports of your routers. Very useful for configuring multiple devices and used in almost every home lab and production network.

Check out the videos for more details of how access servers work.

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  1. steve pearson

    My lab consists of 5 routers and 2 switches, by using a 13 port USB hub and multiple usb to console cables I can access all devices via my laptop using Secure CRT or any other multi window terminal emulators.
    The OS allocates a com port for each USB port it sees, these com ports can be seen via device manager. By opening a serial connection to each com port via your terminal software you can open a window to each device.
    This is much cheaper than buying an access server if your on a budget. Also by utilising the remote desktop feature of Windows Vista remote access is straight forward (extra PC required).

    Pros. cheap, access all devices from one place local or remote.

    Cons. Lots of cables to keep tidy, USB to serial drivers can be a nightmare. COM port numbers somtimes reorganise themselves so forget lables.

  2. Neil Gouws

    My idea to keep plugging cables in and out is simple\
    I’m gonna take a patch panel and then connect all the console ports to the patch panel, that way I can just connect to the front of the patch panel when I want to connect to a specific device.

    It’s not good to plug in and out the whole time on any “RJ45” jack, most are rated for something like 1000 connections.

    So my way I only connect once, and then I can wear out the RJ45 jacks on the patch panel, they are cheap and easy to replace

    Anyway, one you have configured basic ip and connected the router to a switch you can telnet to it

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