Dell PowerConnect 5324 – cable tips, basic setup and configuration via Putty

Dell PowerConnect 5324

     After realizing that I had out grown most common 4 or 8 port switches, and wanting more control over the switch itself, I decided that a 24 port-gigabit switch was what I wanted. Any higher end networking devices can easily add up VERY quickly, but that wasn’t in my budget for this one. Looking for older/refurbished equipment was something I am totally ok with and have done before with great results. A quick look around ebay turned up numerous Dell switches, when I didn’t even know they made them. Along with those results I found some Cisco, HP, Netgear and so on but they quickly became out of my range. I wanted something that was gigabit on all 24 ports, managed and couldn’t cost me more than $100. The Dell PowerConnect 5224 stood out to me as a cheap solid switch that had what I was looking for, then I seen I could opt for the slightly newer 5324 for just a few dollars more.

     Reading some of the reviews on the switch slightly deterred me, however my intent for this switch was solely for my home lab. Is it the best switch for enterprise databases and applications that need superior up time, maybe not, but for a home lab with a few ESXi servers and game consoles with it’s feature set the Dell is very hard to beat. I ended up with a 5324 used from ebay for around $90 with ears and the power cord.

Console Cable

     One things to note about connecting to a switch via console cable is that some of them use serial (DB9/RS232) ports, which aren’t that common anymore (Cisco seems to use a RJ-45 to serial). In addition to that some switches use a regular cable while others require a cross over/null modem cable. These are 2 very different cables, using the wrong one will leave you at a blank terminal screen.

     Now this switch will work as a unmanaged switch out of the box and the console cable is not needed to get the basic functionality, but to gain access to the web management, this is what you need to do.

I used the following parts for my cable:
(2) Female DB9 to RJ-45 Adapters
(1) Cisco RJ-45 Crossover Cable
(1) Cat 5e Cable
(1) DB9 to USB Cable

     With this setup I used a DB9-RJ45 to Cisco RJ-45 Crossover to Cat 5e to RJ45-DB9 for serial to serial connections. If I need to go serial to USB, I can then just add my DB9 to USB cable in addition to this setup, so one cable to cover it all.

Terminal Settings to Connect via Serial Port

These are the settings that you want to put in your terminal client (I’ve been using putty):

Connection Type: Serial
Speed (Baud): 9600
Data Bits: 8
Stop Bits: 1
Parity: None
Flow Control: None
Emulation: VT100

Configuring the User and IP settings

These are the commands to set the User Login, IP, Gateway and SNMP settings:

console> enable
console# configure
console(config)# username admin password dell level 15
console(config)# interface VLAN 1
console (config-if) # ip address /24
console (config-if) # exit
console (config) # ip default-gateway
console (config) # snmp-server community private rw
console(config)# exit
console# show ip interface vlan 1

     You should now be able to connect via Web Management. Make sure after you have verified the settings to save the configuration via the following command:

copy running-config startup-config

Resetting to Factory Defaults

To reset back to the factory defaults you can use the following commands:

console> enable
console# delete startup-config
console# reload

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