Continuing on with the “What’s in my toolbag” series ( Original Post – Update 1 – Update 2 ) this week we will discuss a handy tool called Airconsole from Get Console.
There are 3 models of the Airconsole 2.0 – Standard, Pro, and XL. The Standard and Pro (this is the one I own) are the same device except that the Pro comes with two Private Server licenses. The XL comes with all the same features as the Pro device but includes a larger battery. I have a license for the private server but have yet to play with that option, if you want to know more about the Private Server option you can find it at the Get-Console website here – Private Server.
The airconsole is made up of three parts – the airconsole device, a usb-RJ45 cable, and a Bluetooth USB dongle. The Bluetooth USB dongle connects to the cable ( that is the white bump in the picture below). In the box you also get a micro-USB charging cable, but that is not pictured here.
The first thing worth mentioning with the Airconsole is that fact that it has an Ethernet port on it. What is this good for? Well, the airconsole is also a WiFi and Bluetooth device that can come in handy for more than just console access.
So if you connect an Ethernet cable to the device, you can then either connect to the Airconsole via WiFi or Bluetooth and gain Ethernet LAN access. This is very handy if you are at a site that does not have WIFI capabiltiies and your laptop or tablet/phone does not have an Ethernet port on it. In my laptop bag used to be an Airport Express that I would normally use, but the AirConsole has now replaced that.
To connect to the WiFi on the Airconsole, just look for the SSID AirConsole and use the WPA2 password of 12345678. With that, you are on the network!
The next thing with mentioning is that the Airconsole can also charge your phone using the USB port on the device. To use the Airconsole as a USB charger, on the side of the Airconsole there is a selector switch.
When you look at the side of the Airconsole you can see the Off/Charge/Run slide as well as a button that is used to indicate the battery charge.
All that is nice, but the real reason I have this is that the airconsole can be used for console access over Bluetooth to your devices. The Airconsole seems to always be in discovery mode, so just launch your Bluetooth console and pair up.
Once you are paired up you can check your settings and find out what Com port it is on. For my laptop, that was Com6.
Now launch your terminal client of choice (for me that is SecureCRT) and connect to Com6.
And like that you are connected to a serial console over Bluetooth.
Now that covers a PC/Mac connections, since we are talking Bluetooth here that also implies that we can use our Android/iOS based device.
To use it on your iOS device, you will need to install Get Console – note that this application does have a cost of $9.99 associated with it. For an Android based device they have an application called SerialBot. There is also a cheaper alternative for iOS called Rapid SSH and you can find that in the iTunes store here for $5.99 (link). I will focus on the software that I am suing, Get Console.
Once installed you just have to launch the app, no need to connect to the Airconsole via Bluetooth as the Get Console application will find the device automagically.
Once the app is open, you just need to click on the little circle in the upper right hand corner and choose Connect.
…and like that you are connected to your device.
The battery is good for 4–5 hours of use, but I usually connect the the Airconsole to the USB port on the device that I am working on. The range of the device is great, I have been over 30 feel away with no problems. The only time that I have had problems is when there is a solid door on a closet and they close it.
There is a lot more that this device can do that I have not covered here. I do not use all the features at this time, but here is a quick video from Get Console that discusses some of the features of the Air Console.
This is a great device to have in your toolbag and well worth the investment.
Get Console has teased at some new features coming, cannot wait for them! There is a chance that this little device could easily replace most peoples home lab console servers pretty quick!
It could be the worlds smallest, low power & low cost serial term server? That clips on extras modules + does cloud pic.twitter.com/7QRTRaTL0S
— Simon Hope (@getconsole) February 12, 2015