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How to Access Remote PLC/HMI? — detailed explanation

Olga Weis Olga Weis Apr 4, 2024

Managing modern industrial facilities requires remote access to programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and human-machine interfaces (HMIs). Companies can control, monitor, and diagnose issues from any location with remote access, minimizing downtime and increasing productivity.

Serial to Ethernet Connector (SEC) is a software utility that can be incorporated into industrial HMIs to provide remote access over Ethernet connections. The solution eliminates distance limitations and provides engineers with a powerful tool for monitoring and controlling systems and equipment.

Let’s take at the functionality and benefits available with SEC.

Remote PLC access

Serial to Ethernet Connector for Remote PLC/HMI Access

PLCs are basic elements of industrial automation systems. A primary function of PLCs is to act as a stand-alone computer to control industrial equipment or processes. PLCs are often connected to a network as an integral part of a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The PLC is controlled through a combination of the infrastructure’s HMI and SCADA software.

An HMI is a software program that facilitates human interaction with PLCs. Human operators use an HMI to perform tasks such as monitoring, configuring, and controlling a PLC. An HMI can also provide alerts regarding system performance based on data generated by the PLC.

Some HMIs are simply a panel of lights and buttons that need to be operated manually when interacting with a PLC. More complex PLCs provide network connectivity and are typically attached to a computer running monitoring and programming capabilities. The majority of advanced PLCs have built-in communication ports and transfer data using the RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, or Ethernet protocols.

Configuring a PLC is done using its serial and USB port. The PLC is connected to a network hub via an Ethernet port. Operators access the PLC through the controlling servers and other network-connected equipment. Remote access to a PLC requires virtualized connections established through a software solution like Serial to Ethernet Connector.

Establishing Remote PLC Access with Serial to Ethernet Connector

PLC control software needs network access to provide any benefits. Serial to Ethernet Connector offers a streamlined method of furnishing this functionality. The software was originally developed to supply remote access to network-accessible RS 232/485/422 interfaces. The application makes it easy to share serial ports over any type of IP network including a LAN, WAN, or the Internet.

Use the following steps to enable remote PLC access.
Download Serial to Ethernet Connector and install it on all physical and virtual machines that require access to network-connected serial ports.
 Download and install Serial to Ethernet Connector
Select Create Server Connection in the app’s main panel on the machine that is connected to the PLC.
 Select Create Server Connection
Configure the connection settings for your requirements.
 Configure the connection settings
Use the software’s interface to create a client connection on a remote physical or virtual machine.
 create a client connection

That’s all you need to establish remote access and control over a network-connected PLC with SEC.

Benefits of Using SEC for Remote PLC Access

Establishing remote PLC access with SEC provides industrial facilitates with the following benefits.

  • Improved efficiency and productivity - Remote and real-time access to PLCs maximizes productivity by minimizing downtime. Issues can be promptly addressed without requiring expensive and time-consuming travel to service the equipment.

  • Enhanced security - SEC promotes strong security with encryption to protect data transmission between the HMI and PLC. Customizable access permissions enable administrators to control which users can use the PLC and the degree of functionality and activities they can perform.

  • Streamlined maintenance - Remote maintenance tasks can be scheduled to optimize system performance with minimal disruption to industrial operations. The ability to immediately access a PLC is crucial for performing proactive maintenance and addressing issues before they become system-impacting problems.

  • Cost savings - Remote access minimizes downtime for more efficient and profitable operations. Substantial savings are possible by eliminating travel expenses through the use of remote PLC access.

Alternate Solutions

Serial to Ethernet Connector is our top choice for remote PLC access. Several alternate solutions are available that may pose some challenges for establishing remote connectivity to PLCs.

Remote desktop software - With remote desktop software, operators can indirectly access a PLC interface by controlling a computer physically located near the device. This solution can involve troubleshooting compatibility issues with operating systems, screen resolution problems, and bandwidth requirements.

Virtual private networks (VPNs) - A VPN establishes a secure Internet connection over which operators can remotely access a PLC. Additional configuration and monitoring may be necessary to use the VPN effectively. Its performance can be limited by network latency or insufficient bandwidth.

Cloud-based solutions - Remote access to PLC data is possible using scalable and flexible cloud platforms. Drawbacks to this approach include relying on the vendor’s infrastructure and possible data privacy concerns.

Dedicated remote access hardware - Remote access devices designed for use with PLCs are available from some manufacturers of industrial equipment. These devices usually provide sufficient security but may have limited features and flexibility when compared to a software solution such as a Serial to Ethernet Connector.


Multiple solutions are available for providing remote access to PLCs. Serial to Ethernet Connector is the best choice because of its strong security, advanced functionality, and seamless integration with existing infrastructure components. SEC promotes enhanced productivity by providing engineers with remote access to PLCs from HMIs. Remote access improves operational efficiency, reduces costs, and minimizes downtime for critical industrial systems. SEC offers a streamlined and effective method of providing the remote connectivity companies need to thrive in today’s competitive industrial landscape.

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Serial to Ethernet Connector [Linux]

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