How to Configure My 3Com 5012 Router Using a Console Cable

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How to Configure My 3Com 5012 Router Using a Console Cable
The DB-9 cable is the standard method of communicating with a router, prior to any other remote configuration. (serial connector image by Victor B from

3 Com Inc. is an international company that makes a variety of equipment for home and business networking needs. Appearing as far back as 2004, the 3 Com 5012 router provides a cost-effective solution for connecting to a Wide Area Network (WAN) or Internet Service Provider (ISP). Unlike small consumer routers, routers such as the 5012 are configured through a command-line interface that provides far more options for configuration. The command line interface can, and in the initial configuration, must be accessed through an DB-9 (serial) connection plugged into the "console" port of the unit.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • DB-9-to-RJ-45 cable
  • Computer with serial port
  • Telnet client

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  1. 1

    Connect the computer to the router using the DB-9-to-RJ-45 cable. Plug the d-shaped serial end with nine pins into the corresponding port on the computer and the phone-like RJ-45 plug into the port labelled "Console" on the back of the 3 Com 5012.

  2. 2

    Power on the 3 Com 5012 router.

  3. 3

    Open a telnet program on the PC. Most Windows-based PCs come with a version of Telnet, called Hyperterminal, which can be found under the start menu, "Programs"->"Accessories"->"Communication." There are also free telnet programs available online, such as "PUTTY."

  4. 4

    Enter the appropriate parameters into the Telnet session. The bits per second (bps) should be set "9600", the data bits set to "8", parity should be set to "none" or "false," stop bits should be set to "1" and flow control set to "none" or "false." You may need to click a command to start a new session in order to access these settings.

  5. 5

    Click "OK" or "Connect" to begin the session. After a few seconds, you should be able to press "Enter" on the keyboard, at which point you will be prompted with "<3com>" and a blinking cursor. This is the command-line configuration interfaces.

Tips and warnings

  • Windows 7, Vista and Server 2008 do not come with a Telnet program installed by default. You can install it by going to "Programs and Features" in the Control Panel and selecting "Telnet Client" under the "Turn Windows features on or off" list.
  • Though this article relates specifically to the 5012, the same console port can be found on the 5232, 5642, and 5682 models as well.
  • DB-9-to-RJ-45 cables are typically included with new routers.
  • If this is not the first time your 5012 has been configured, then the prompt notes in Step 5 may not be the same. It is likely the case that the router was renamed, in which case the prompt will display "" where [routername] is the name entered when the router was previously configured.

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