Console servers as SSH access appliances for router management

With the increasing need for remote management, console servers have frequently been used as a SSH access appliance to manage routers and other network equipment.

To configure low-level parameters in routers, a system administrator needs to interact with the embedded networking Operating System using a command line interface.

The problem is that many routers do not support SSHv2 for secure remote sessions. That is the case with Cisco routers. They only support SSHv1 and even that feature is only available in some models with an expensive package upgrade.

Using Telnet or SSHv1 over the network is not a secure way to manage the infrastructure. One solution is to disable network-based Telnet access and use a console server to provide total or partial out-of-band access to the routers' console port.

This offers the following benefits:

- Management access is more secure, using a robust SSHv2 implementation instead of weak Telnet or SSHv1.

- There is only one SSHv2 access point to maintain and update, minimizing patch management and reducing vulnerabilities.

Deployment costs are low, since a console server is less expensive than the upgrade packages to support SSH on most routers.