CLI (Command Line Interface) is an interface which is used to administer devices via text commands input.
Console is a physical interface on Cisco hardware which is served to provide a physical connection point for a cable. The type of the cable used to be RJ-45 – DB-9 (female) through which RS-232 standard data is transmitted. There’s a new console cable gaining popularity. It’s RJ-45 – Mini USB and it costs about 30$ GPL.
One of the most popular software to use to connect to CLI through the console cable (serial connection) is called PuTTy. It is free.
Here is the configuraion of the serial connection to match Cisco routers and switches:
Bits per second: 9600
Data bits: 8
Stop bits: 1
Flow control: no