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Addressable Base Units discussed in this article are:
Servers, Routers, PCs, WiFi Access Points and more
Traditionally the reset has been accomplished by recycling the AC power. This traditional mindset is OK except that some hardware devices may have unique characteristics. As an example, PCs or servers with ATX motherboards may require the power button to be pushed after a power cycle or an inaccessible wireless AP with power over Ethernet (PoE) may only require a much simpler device, longer or shorter reset times as well as AC power stabilization times may also be desirable, etc.
Aside from these nuances, "yanking the power" was a relatively simple and inexpensive task when the hardware and a willing body were easily accessible. However, if this were not the case, long down times could be experienced. Some of more disbursed networks eventually evolved to remotely rebooting the network components, out of band, via the phone lines or over the network itself if it were available. This was normally a separate task, but could be integrated into a network management system.
Remote rebooting provided a vast improvement in up time and it saved a bundle in field trips to remote locations. However, there were still idiosyncrasies and gaps between a fault notification, network availability, the diagnostics and the "call to action". Ideally, when this need arises, you would like to have this all happen automatically, independent of the network and with very minimal down time (seconds or just a few minutes); rather than waiting for an e-mail, or your phone to ring, the network to come back up or the "guy who normally handles that" to be available.
All of the addressable base units have RS-232 serial ports which receive the automated commands from a "Control PC" or server (yours) that runs the automated software at the remote site, closer to the action and independent of the WAN. They also have the Control Ports that can receive remote commands through the controller if available. Note that if the network is available, the "Control PC" can also receive direct telnet ON/OFF serial port commands over the network using the "Serial Net" software utility. This could be used as a stand alone function, or integrated into network management software.
This provides several optional methods of controlling the Base Units. However, the two automatic software utilities that make the proactive automated approach feasible are the "Heartbeat" and the "Auto Ping Rebooter".
Normally the I-APB-H (internal Auto Push Board) base unit is used in this application. It will push the reset or power buttons or both depending on how it is installed; although the ARR or IPN (external AC power units) may also be used. However, the APB is less expensive and it will also push the power button again, if necessary, after power is restored and stabilized, if configured to do so.
Auto Ping Program
The addressable Base Units are "daisy chained" using standard phone cable and RJ-11 jacks. They could all be the same type of Base Units or mixed and matched to the types of network components to be reset. As an example, an IPN (Intelligent AC Power Node) could be used to reset power to a router or any type of device for that matter. The APB (Auto Push Board) is normally used on PC based equipment and the X2 version of the ABM switch is normally used to reset wireless access points that use PoE. All of these devices understand the same ON/OFF/RESET commands.
Adding a Remote Controller
The controllers also provide secure access and direct ON/OFF commands well as other programmable features. The Telco line controller can also share a phone line with other normal voice fax or modem activity thereby saving an extra phone line for what may be an infrequently used activity.
The controllers connect to the "Control Port" on each base unit with standard telephone cable and RJ-11 connections similar to the "daisy chain". Note that the Controllers can also be used with non addressable Base Units on a one-to-one port basis.