Using a serial console on Mac OS X

As a network engineer, a fundamental task is putting a base configuration onto a device via a serial console. In Windows, there are several applications from Hyper Terminal to Putty. In Linux, there is minicom. I’ve never been a Microsoft fan, but have been a Linux user for many years. Over the last few years have been using Mac OS X full time for work and personal. Given this, I need the ability to access a network device via a serial connection. A quick Google was fruitful.

  1. Plug your USB to Serial device into the USB port.
  2. Open a command termal and execute: ls /dev/*usb*

If your Mac recognizes the USB device, it will display a USB device in /dev. If not, you may need to download and install a USB driver for your device. I used this article to assist me in determining which USB driver to download and install.

  1. My USB device showed up as /dev/tty.usbserial, thus I’ll use that for the remainder of this example.
  2. Connect the other end of your USB to Serial cable into your network device’s serial port.
  3. Execute: screen /dev/tty.usbserial 9600
    1. Screen is a UNIX utility that allows you to access your local computers VT100 terminal.
    2. /dev/tty.usbserial is the driver to access your USB serial device.
    3. 9600 is the baud rate.
  4. Press enter and you should be prompted with your network device prompt.
  5. To disconnect use the following key sequence: CTRL+A followed by CTRL+\

February 16, 2016

Posted In: Console, Mac OS X, Serial