Let’s say that you have a Cisco router that you use as console server to connect to your devices in the CCIE testing rack. If you want to allow other people to access your rack for training and don’t want to mess explaining how to connect to different device from the console router, then you need a menu for easy access.

We will define a menu on your console server. We’ll start by going to configure terminal mode and hit the command menu ?:

Looks like we need to define a name for your menu, so I’ll name it “CS” menu and hit another ? mark:

This command will output your options for the menu configuration. I will start by cleaning the screen after entering the menu CS:

Next, I want to know where people are connecting and what’s the purpose of this console server, so I will add a title to my menu:

We have now a menu with a title, but let’s tell users how to use this menu:

To really need your user to press Enter, you need to specify this option in your menu:

If you don’t add the above option, the picked options from menu it’s automatically run without waiting for the key Enter.
We have the menu defined and the necessary information in place. Let’s add some functionality to this menu.
First I want to give user the option to see the IP address where he’s connected:

What I did above? Well, I added the necessary command to check the IP Address. This command can be modified to meet your requirements. For me this is enough since I have only one interface with IP address. This command is invisible to the connected user. I mean if you press the key 1 and then Enter, you get the output. Still, we don’t want our users to guess what they have to do, so we’ll add some text.

The visibile choice for your user is added with the “text” option and my phrase is “Check the Console Sever IP Address”. Of course this can be customized as you need.

Last option is the “pause” option. If you don’t add the “pause” then your user will see no output,as the command will be run in the background and will return to prompt.

You have to notice that the item 1 (in my case) is the parameter that bound together all options for this specific part of the menu. It will be display of course for key 1 on your keyboard.

Next, we’ll give the user the option to disconnect from the console server:

Let’s add some connections to our Cisco devices in the rack. I will add only a couple of connection, as an example. You can extended and customize this commands as you want:

We have the menu configured now. To check what we did configure, I usually do:

The menu section is completed, but we need to add this menu to a user and force this user to use our menu. I will create a user which will run the menu CS as soon as he or she is connected to the console router. My user has a privilege 15 level. If you are concerned with security, you can set another privilege level, but be sure to configure that level to support the commands that you have in your menu. Also I will configure another user, for my usage, or in case that something goes wrong to be able to connect remotely and fix the issue. This “Admin” user will not run automatically the menu we just create.

I will simulate a remote connection to check if everything is working fine:

The menu is there. I will try some options to see if it’s working properly:

I recommend that you verify the menu functionality before you go “live”. You can check the menu directly on the Console Server:

I hope this short tutorial will help you. If you have questions or something is not clear from my explanation please use the comments and I will try to help you.

Cisco Menu for Console Server

3 thoughts on “Cisco Menu for Console Server

  • April 23, 2012 at 15:43

    Thanks, this is really useful!

  • April 24, 2012 at 11:16

    Is it possible to exit the menu and go back to the normal priv EXEC mode?

    • April 24, 2012 at 12:23

       Hello Alex,

      Yes you can. Here is an example:

      Console-Server(config)#menu CS command 6 menu-exit
      Console-Server(config)#menu CS text 6 Exit to CLI

      Let me know it this is working fine!

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