November 14, 2011

Ubuntu Serial PowerConnect Setup

Starting to configure a new Dell PowerConnect 6248, I realized that my new laptop didn’t have a serial interface to configure the initial router setup (Dell, seriously, the VT-100 console mode is a tad 1978-ish).

There’s no fear, I have an old Ubuntu box that so happens to have a serial port free, but I did not have a clue what program would be easy to use like a Hyperterminal.

I stumbled on an article that good ol “Putty” can do serial connections AND is available on Ubuntu. A simple “apt-get putty” and few minutes later and we were off to the races.

(Quick note, make SURE that you have your serial ports enabled in the bios. Trust me.)

After plugging the serial connection into the PowerConnect 6248, the only problem was, trying to find the right serial port available.
A quick “dmesg | grep ‘tty'” showed that I had both TTYS0 and TTYS1 available. So we try them both!

Setup a new Putty Session and on the left hand-side underneath “Connection” click on the “Serial” label. Using Dell’s manual, I configured it to try /dev/TTYS0, 9600, 8, 1 None, XON/XOFF. Hit “Open” and voila..a blank screen.

You NEED to press the “Enter” key to get it to wake up. If you are talking to the PowerConnect you should be a “Console>” command prompt. Pick up the PowerConnect Manual, power off/on the switch and follow the manual to completion. Note, if /dev/TTYS0 doesn’t work, try the /dev/TTYS1

The old Ubuntu box is now dubbed the “Serial Box” in our office (I know..really..really bad).

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