What is a Console Cable? What Is It Used For?
Console cables, which are also referred to as rollover cables, management cables, or Cisco cables, are intended for a specific use, which involves linking Cisco networking equipment to PCs or terminals for configuration. The Cisco end of the cable is typically linked via RJ45, while the terminal end connects through a serial connection.
What’s most significant about console cables is the precise type of connection they offer. It’s not an Ethernet or networking connection but instead a terminal connection that allows the linked computer to set up the networking device. This applies to both older and newer Cisco devices, and the serial connection is utilized to execute the configuration.
Why Do We Need Console Cables?
A Cisco console cable serves the purpose of directly connecting a computer system to a networking device, such as a router or a switch.
Upon connecting with a new Cisco router, switch, or firewall, it won’t function immediately like a Linksys or Netgear router, as it doesn’t come with DHCP or other such features. It has to be configured first. The configuration process involves connecting to the console port, such as the one found on a Cisco 1800 series router shown below:
But what should be connected to it? Using an Ethernet cable won’t work, as this is a SERIAL port that must be connected to the serial/COM port on your PC or laptop (assuming you still have one). To accomplish this, you’ll require a ROLLED cable.
But how do you connect that rolled cable to your PC? Don’t plug it into the Ethernet port! Remember, it’s a Serial Cable. Instead, connect it to the 9 PIN serial port on your PC. You’ll need to use an adapter to convert the RJ45 end to Serial for connection.
Often, these converters were included with routers or sold separately in a package with the rolled cable. Nowadays, the DB9 to RJ45 converter is molded onto the console cable. After physically linking the router, switch, or firewall using the correct cable and adapter, you must employ your terminal emulator to establish communication with the console port.
What Do Console Cables Look Like?
Console Cables may vary in color at different price points depending on their quality. They are about 4 to 6 feet in length and come with a standard Micro USB male connector.
Here is what a console cable looks like:
On the other hand, an RJ45 Console Cable looks like this:
What Are the Different Types of Console Cables?
Console cables are available in numerous shapes and sizes, with various connector types. However, three connectors are more commonly used than the others, primarily due to their higher frequency of usage.
- RJ45 to DB9 Console Cables
The RJ45 to DB9 console cable is probably the most familiar type of console cable used today. In the past, console cables were connected using improvised “kits” that were essentially just a series of adapters attached to a serial cable. However, nowadays, you can obtain an RJ45 to DB9 cable that replaces the “kit” with a single cord. This cable has an RJ45 connector on one end and a DB9 connector on the other.
This is the most straightforward serial connection available, and it is included with a broad range of Cisco devices. Although it is a type of standard, it is intended to communicate with terminals that have a DB9 port. If you want to connect it to a PC or laptop, you will likely require an additional adapter between the DB9 end and your USB port.
- USB A to Mini-B Console Cables
The CAB-CONSOLE-USB is another frequently used console cable that links the USB on a terminal to a mini-B port on the Cisco device. This cable does not feature RJ45 connectors, as it is designed specifically for smaller, often portable devices. Despite the connector types, this is still a “serial” cable that enables terminal communication.
- USB to RJ45 Console Cables
The CAB-CONSOLE-USB-RJ45 is perhaps the most contemporary console cable available. It eliminates the less commonly used DB9 connector, simplifying your communication setup. It allows you to connect through a Cisco device’s console port to a standard USB port on a PC. This is the most straightforward method to establish a terminal connection with up-to-date equipment, and it is not always included as a standard component in Cisco hardware packages. The use of a few of these cables can greatly enhance network management efficiency.
That concludes the important information about console cables. In the past, network personnel had to spend valuable time devising innovative methods to bridge connections and set up devices. With modern console cables, this time is saved, and networking becomes considerably more straightforward.
Which Console Cables Are Used for TP-Link?
The Console Cable establishes a serial connection between your computer’s serial port and the console port of your TP-Link switch or router, enabling access to the device’s CLI (Command Line Interface). There are various types of Console cables available in the market, but TP-Link primarily employs two types. The first type is that contains RS232 DB9 Male Head and RS232 DB9 Female Head, while the second type of console cable includes RS232 DB9 Female Head and RJ45 connector.
If you are looking for affordable and quality console cables to connect routers, switches, and other devices, please get in touch with us via WhatsApp at +971585811786.