I occasionally have to use the console port on the back of various Cisco devices. What is a trivial task on Windows with TeraTerm or PuTTy, can be a bit more involved for Mac users. Today I wanted to walk through two methods I use to connect via console on a Macbook. First we’ll need to find a console cable with compatible Mac drivers. Most Prolific based Serial to USB adapters will work and the Mac has support for FTDI out of the box. Now that we have taken care of the equipment, lets look at two ways to get console access.
Cisco Console Access with Screen
This first method I’ll show is a tried and true way of getting things done. First, open up a terminal window, then type the following command:
This command displays a list of serial devices attached to the Mac. If nothing appears, try this set of commands:
cd /dev ls -ltr /dev/*usb*
From here you’ll want to note the tty device name. (It will look like this tty.usbmodem1a21 or PL2303-0000103D). Next type the following command to launch a screen session:
screen /dev/tty.usbmodem1a21 9600
Replace tty.usbmodem1a21 with the device you noted from the above commands. 9600 is the standard baud rate.
There you have it! You should now have a console session with your switch or router, but I have a feeling you are a bit annoyed by how cumbersome that process is. Enter Serial. Serial is an app available on the Mac AppStore (and also from the developer’s website), that automates all of this for you. Go ahead and check out how much easier Serial is –
Cisco Console Access with Serial
First, make sure you have downloaded the app from the Appstore, or grab the free trial from their website to start. Once installed, launch the app. First thing you should notice is an ‘Open Port’ window.
Click on your USB to Serial adapter and hit Open
And you are done! Much, much easier than trying to remember commands and using Screen. Serial has the ability to export your text output and can send files over the serial port if you ever find yourself in a recovery situation. The app is a bit on the pricey side ($29.99) but its convenience and utility cannot be overstated.