852 management packets provide both device parameters and channel parameters. Device parameters include information such as: IP address, IP port, Name, and Address of configuration server. A channel is a logical grouping of 852 devices that all can send information to each other. The lines of communication are open in both directions and to all members—a complete mesh of connections.
Typically, channels are managed through the use of a configuration server. This is called Normal mode. The configuration server informs all members in the channel about the channel information, which includes the adding and removing of channel members. Configuration servers are capable of managing multiple channels, while 852 devices such as routers belong to only one channel at a time.
The other management mode for 852 channels is called Manual mode which does not use a configuration server. In a manual configuration, the channel members IP address information is manually entered into each device. Typically devices must have mutual membership in each other’s channel lists. That is if Device A is in Device B’s channel list then Device B must be in Device A’s channel list.
An 852 device may support one or both management methods. There are advantages and disadvantages to both management methods. Normal mode is more automatic and typically the configuration server can provide channel diagnostics. Manual mode has the advantage of being stand alone and can be useful for handing some difficult channel setups or for making a totally transparent CN bridge over IP.
Currently the Adept GR4 is the only one that supports both Normal and Manual modes.