Router Interfaces

Management Ports
Routers have physical connectors that are used to manage the router. These connectors are known as management ports. Unlike Ethernet and serial interfaces, management ports are not used for packet forwarding. The most common management port is the console port. The console port is used to connect a terminal, or most often a PC running terminal emulator software, to configure the router without the need for network access to that router. The console port must be used during initial configuration of the router.
Another management port is the auxiliary port. Not all routers have auxiliary ports. At times the auxiliary port can be used in ways similar to a console port. It can also be used to attach a modem. Auxiliary ports will not be used in this curriculum.
The figure shows the console and AUX ports on the router.

Router Interfaces
The term interface on Cisco routers refers to a physical connector on the router whose main purpose is to receive and forward packets. Routers have multiple interfaces that are used to connect to multiple networks. Typically, the interfaces connect to various types of networks, which means that different types of media and connectors are required. Often a router will need to have different types of interfaces. For example, a router usually has FastEthernet interfaces for connections to different LANs and various types of WAN interfaces to connect a variety of serial links including T1, DSL and ISDN. The figure shows the FastEthernet and serial interfaces on the router.
Like interfaces on a PC, the ports and interfaces on a router are located on the outside of the router. Their external location allows for convenient attachment to the appropriate network cables and connectors.


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