How to connect and access a Router or a switch using console connection

Every Cisco router or a switch has a console port (also known as the management port) on its back side.  Console port is used to connect a computer directly to a router or switch and manage the router or switch since there is no display device for a router or switch . The console port must be used to initially to install routers onto because there is no network connection initially to connect using SSH, HTTP or HTTPS. Normally router console port is a RJ45 port. The following picture shows a console port on a router.

A special type of cable, known as roll over cable is used to connect the Serial/COM port of the computer to the router or switch console port. One end of the cable is RJ49 type and a DB9 to RJ45 converter is molded on the other end. A picture of the console cable is shown below.


If you have a new computer or laptop, there is a chance that you may not have a serial port in your computer. The new computers or laptops sold today do not include serial or printer ports. The serial ports have been replaced by Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports.

If you want to connect to the console port of your router or switch, you will need to use a USB to Serial Adapter. The USB to Serial adapter may not be plug-and-play. You need to install the corresponding drivers also for these adapters. A typical USB to Serial adapter with console cable is shown below.


PUTTY is a 3rd party terminal emulator software used to access the Switch or Router.


connect the console cable with Cisco Router or Swtich, double click putty.exe to execute it. Expand Connection > Serial. Enter the port number inside “Serial line to connect to” text box. to check this go to device manager in your computer

The port number is COM1 in below example. The port number may be different in your computer. Enter the correct port number when you connect from your computer. Enter other values also as shown below.

• Bits per sec: 9600

• Data bits: 8

• Parity: none

• Stop bits: 1

• Flow control: none

Click Session and click “Serial” radio button. Verify whether you can see the port number and the baud rate (9600) you had selected before. Click “Open” to connect to Cisco Router or Switch IOS.

3) PuTTY is connected to Cisco IOS and now you can configure, monitor or manage a Cisco Router or Switch using putty.

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