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I'm working on reconstructing my Cisco lab for training/educational purposes and I found that the actual terminal server I have is dead. I have a couple of 8-port PCI serial cards which would be more than ample for my lab, but I don't want to leave my personal computer running to be able to access the console ports. Ideally I would access the terminal server remotely, either by SSH/RDP to the box (depending on what OS I go with) or by installing a software package that allows me to telnet directly to a serial port. I know I've found a program that does this under Linux in the past but its name escapes me at the moment.

I'm thinking about scavenging for some old hardware, on eBay or something, to put together a low-powered PC. Needs to be something that:

  • Has Low-power consumption
  • Has at least 2 PCI slots (though I certainly wouldn't complain about having more)
  • Has onboard Ethernet (or, if not, another PCI or ISA slot (not shared))
  • Can be headless once an OS installed (probably Linux)

I'm currently leaning towards an old fashioned Pentium (sub-133MHz era) but I am wondering if anybody else knows of another platform/mobo that would suit these needs. Alternatively, I've been considering buying a Raspberry Pi and a big USB hub along with a bunch of USB->Serial adapters but this sounds like it'd get messy quick with cables and adapters all over the place, and I may not even have the same ttyS#'s between boots.

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How long would you keep this setup? If only for a few weeks then use the old computer. Just buying new hardware for a once off short thing is more expensive and more polluting than using old stuff. Now if you are going to keep it up for years then this obviously changes. – Hennes Nov 15 '12 at 22:42
I don't see a question. If your looking for suggestions that is entirely not on topic for ANY Stack Exchange website. I would just go with an ATOM cpu, its low power, and several hundreds times faster then, a Pentium processor. – Ramhound Nov 15 '12 at 22:49
+1 to question as I think Ramhound's too tough on poor little Freddie. – Doc Nov 15 '12 at 22:52
Hennes, this is going to be used as my lab setup for my professional training and will be used for a while. Ramhound, I'm looking to see if anyone is aware of hardware that may be better suited to my needs than an old Pentium. I guess this is kind of looking for suggestions but I'm moreso looking for alternatives. An ATOM would be nice but I've had a hard time finding motherboards with more than 1 PCI slot. – Fred Nov 15 '12 at 22:52
Maybe a cheap used computer would hack it. – Doc Nov 15 '12 at 23:03

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