Newer Cisco switches and routers have the ability to connect to the console port with an USB cable. The RJ45 is still there, no need to worry about that yet. To connect you need a cable that has a male type A to a male mini B contact. See the picture below:
You can order a cable when you order your switch/router but unless you want to pay a lot more for it just buy it in a regular electronics store. I paid about 6$ for mine (converted from swedish currency) and Ciscos list price is 30$ for a 6 ft cable.
You need to download drivers from Ciscos website (requires a login). Go to the download software section and choose a device like a 3560 switch and then choose USB console driver:
The file is a zip, download it to somewhere and then unzip the file. You will have a few different folders depending on what operating system you run. I used the setup file from the Windows_32 folder. This will install the software. When you insert the USB cable into your computer Windows will detect it and install the driver. You will have a new COM port in device manager that looks like this:
Create a regular connection with your favourite terminal program and use the regular settings, 9600 bits, 8 data bits, no parity and 1 stop bit.
So what have gained from using the USB cable instead? Not that much, we don’t need the USB to serial converter any more and it’s cheaper to buy an USB cable instead of a converter. A cable we might already have if we have devices like a digital camera. As long as the regular console port is left we now have two options which is good.
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