Netbooks & Serial Network device configuration

I recently bought some Cisco equiptment (a Catalyst 2924-XL-EN and a 2611 router ) to play around with in my spare time. In order to get the equiptment running for a test lab using telnet configuration, I had to connect via the serial console which can be a hassle due to the lack of serial rs232 ports on modern computer devices.

I bought a Serial USB adapter eager to find out if this will actually work (had some compatibility issues with other devices in the past)

So i got a cheap USB adapter from my local computer store (link on Amazon – this one definitely works with Cisco Catalyst Switches, I will test it on a 2600 router as soon as it gets delivered to me ) and plugged it into my Aspire One netbook running Ubuntu 8.10. After dmesg confirmed the device (in my case ttyUSB0) I needed to get a serial based terminal emulator for console configuration.

Minicom is the good old Linux serial terminal emulator, so a simple

sudo apt-get install minicom

will provide you with the required app on Ubuntu/Debian. If you are running Vista, I recommend tutty since HyperTerminal is no longer included.

The next step will be to set up the device parameters for minicom by running

minicom -s

Set your serial device to the equivalent (should be ttyUSBx) and set the following connection values:

  • Baud Rate: 9600
  • Data Bits: 8
  • Stop Bits: 1
  • Flow Control: none

Now save your config file (the default config is dfl) and launch the program. The values for any Windows software are the same.