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I am trying to configure a Dell PowerConnect 6224 Switch managed switch.
The documentation for setup can be found here.

However I am unable to connect via serial port to the switch.

I do not have access to a laptop with a serial port and Windows 2000 as suggested in the documentation. However, I do have a normal laptop and a Dell PowerEdge 815 with a serial port (I think, the cable fits at least.) I have two cables that came with the switch one is a serial port to ethernet cable and the other is a serial port to serial port. I have tried using the serial to ether net cable with my laptop running Ubunutu and the serial to serial with the PowerEdge running CentOS 6.2. I tried the terminal emulators Minicom and Screen on both systems. For all of these cases when I restart the switch as listed in the documentation I get no response from the switch. Just a blank terminal screen.

I have checked the lights on the switch which seem to indicate it is running without errors. Also since this occurs with both cables I doubt this is a cable error.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to troubleshoot this connectivity problem?

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Some things to check:

  • There are two polarities for serial cables, 'null modem' and... not null modem. Null modem cables cross the TX and RX lines, somewhat like a crossover Ethernet cable. Make sure you've got the right type for the switch (if it came with it, this probably is okay, the PC side is always wired the same)
  • It's not going to work with the RJ45 cable, that's a Cisco-ism, and it's still just serial on the RJ45 connector, so you can't plug it into an Ethernet port and expect it to work
  • Are you sure the switch's serial interface itself actually works?
  • Are you sure your settings in minicom are correct? Servers sometimes have multiple serial ports, baud settings etc. and the minicom defaults aren't always sane (using linked devices like /dev/modem, for example) You can access this in minicom by Ctrl-A then O and going to serial port setup. Particularly make sure flow control is disabled.
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