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When you buy a Dell PowerConnect (In my case it's a 5548) you are given a console cable that is serial to ethernet. Let's say you don't have a serial port on your laptop and but you still want to run the setup wizard via the terminal. Is there settings to connect to the console port using an ethernet cable to run that wizard? I've tried to look at Dell's documentation but all I could find was an option to connect using the provided serial cable. Thanks!

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Do yourself a favor and purchase a USB to serial adapter. You never know when you may need it in addition to connecting to your Dell switch.

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guess this will be the best option. thanks! – skinneejoe Aug 6 '12 at 14:29
Glad to help... – joeqwerty Aug 6 '12 at 15:10

I just looked at the manual for Dell PowerConnect 5548 systems. The console port on the front accepts RJ45 connectors (same as Ethernet), but it is a serial connection.

The cable you got with it is not 'serial to ethernet'.
It is serial (std serial connector) to serial (RJ45 plug).

The non standard plug is often used so you can connect a serial console with patch cables. Allowing you to sit comfortably in the IT office while still maintaining a serial link to a switch.

Images of serial over cables with RJ45

See also page 6 on the 'getting started guide'. Unpacking paragraph. 3rd line: RS-323 cable with male 8-pin RJ-45 connector

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ok so joeqwerty's comment about getting a USB to serial adapter would be the best bet for using my laptop directly. thanks for the explanation. – skinneejoe Aug 6 '12 at 14:29
Assuming your laptop does not have serial anymore: Yes. But I thought it was important to explain the background. Both for you and for future readers of this site. – Hennes Aug 6 '12 at 18:29
Agreed, I can only give the green check to one answer, but yours certainly is very helpful in understanding the situation. Thanks!!! – skinneejoe Aug 6 '12 at 22:05

The included cable is likely DB9 to RJ45. While most Ethernet uses some variant of the RJ45 not everything that uses RJ45 is Ethernet (older digital PBX phones come to mind). Make sure of what you are plugging into - damage can occur (although it is uncommon).

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