Differences with In-Band vs. Out-of-Band Management

Differences with In-Band vs. Out-of-Band Management

Network management is a critical aspect of managing an organization. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how network management works. Most organizations manage their networks in two common ways: In-band and out-of-band network management. But, what’s the difference between the two ways of network management?

In-band network management is used to manage devices through the devices’ available communication channels like telnet/SSH and its network as the media. Out-of-band management uses an external terminal connected to a controlled device. 

While both ways are effective in network management, they differ in many ways. They also have their advantages and disadvantages. This article explains the differences between in-band and out-of-band networks and how organizations use both methods to manage their network. 

How Network Management Works?

In-band network management utilizes the communication channels already available in the device. It uses protocols like Telnet/SSH or SNMP to connect to networking equipment like routers and switches. In this method of network management, data traffic and control may follow the same channel for communication. 

Devices that support in-band network management are designed to support SNMP protocols V1 or V2c. In addition, modern devices have Telnet/SSH protocols for network connection. 

Out-of-band network management is used to access remote devices and acts as a backup, for instance, when in-band communication is down. It uses a terminal server with asynchronous ports like a Console which connects and communicates with other devices. 

When working with out-of-band management, the controller can communicate with the device without the data since the data traffic and control flow in different paths. This method comes in handy when an organization is getting network management services from an external firm. 

Examples of devices that support out-of-band network management include Linux, most UNIX devices, OpenVMS, and Routers and networking hardware with RS232/serial ports. 

Differences between In-Band and Out-of-Band Network Management

  • Communication Channels

In-band network management accesses the device through communication channels that the device supports. For example, SNMP-supported devices use SNMP protocols for communication connections. 

On the other hand, out-of-band management uses external communication channels like Console to connect with devices remotely. 

  • Connection Speed

In-band management works at a higher speed compared to out-of-band management because of the inbuilt communication channels. The only challenge comes when the linking network is down and may require backup from the out-of-band management. 

External connectivity in out-of-band management may slow down the connection speed. However, advanced out-of-band tools have increased efficiency with the ability to control many devices remotely.

  • Physical Access

In-band network management does not require any physical access as the communication connection channels are within the device. However, out-of-band network management may require physical access in cases where the dial line is unavailable. 

Where there is a dial line, out-of-band network management may not require any form of physical access. Newer out-of-band control devices can manage devices from thousands of miles without being present on-sit. 

  • Usability

In-band management is easy to use and reliable, especially when the linking network is vital. On the other hand, out-of-band management provides an alternative network management path when the linking network goes down. 

You can use out-of-band network management to access remote devices. This makes it a solution for instances when remote connections are needed and when the in-band network is down. 

  • Communication

In in-band network management, the communication between the device and the protocols is synchronous. This means that the transmission of communication signals between them is consistent and continuous. 

An out-of-band network management, the communication is asynchronous. The communication signals are transmitted in bits through a start and stop pattern. 

Advantages of In-band Network Management

  1. In-band management is simpler to implement because you use the available channels in the device. In addition, you won’t need to install any software into the device’s servers to make it work. 
  2. In-band management is economical since you don’t need additional equipment to manage the network. 
  3. It can quickly offload data and controls from the host device as the communication channels are within the device. 
  4. It provides advanced functions and performance optimizations within the network. This increases the performance of the network management systems. 
  5. In-band network management offers excellent scalability. It can grow and manage more networks as the demand continues to grow. 

Advantages of Out-of-Band Network Management

  1. It offers a solution when the network is down, or the device is inaccessible. You can recover from downtime easily and also prevent future downtimes. 
  2. It manages devices with no power and remotely reboots devices that have been crashed, turned off, hibernating, or in sleep mode. So you can troubleshoot your devices without being on the site, even from thousands of miles away. 
  3. It unifies control for your networks, especially if you are working with many infrastructures. With out-of-band management, you can manage everything remotely using one tool. 
  4. Out-of-band management helps you manage more functions like routing, switching, serving, etc., and in return, boost your network’s efficiency. 
  5. It is highly scalable and can grow to manage many devices, whether on-site or remotely, as the organization grows and the demand increases. 

Can You Combine In-Band and Out-of-Band Network Management?

Most organizations are turning to combine in-band network management and out-of-band network management to increase the security, availability, and quality of the services a business offers. Combining the two network management methods allows you to monitor the devices across networks locally and remotely comprehensively.

If you’re looking to scale up the performance of your business, a combination of the two would be excellent. In addition, you can easily continue working with the out-of-band management in case of downtime when using the in-band network. 


Network management allows you to detect faults in the system, improve device performance, and boost the quality of service. The method of network management you choose will determine how well your device works. Both in-band and out-of-band network management are efficient and reliable network management methods.

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