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Types of serial port connections

Olga Weis Olga Weis Dec 10, 2019


  1. What is a serial port connection?
  2. What is serial port communication?
  3. How to interact with a serial device - hardware and software solutions.
  4. Software to access and manage serial machines over Internet.

1. What is a serial port connection?

A serial port is an asynchronous communication interface that enables a serial device to be connected to a computer. In the early days of personal computers, serial connections were the primary method used to attach peripheral devices to the machine. The printers, scanners, modems, and other equipment you used with your computer most likely had a serial connection.

A serial port connection is completed by having a male 9-pin connector plugged into a female 9-pin receptacle. The serial port, or female component, usually resides on the computer with the male connector a part of the peripheral device.

Recently the USB port has replaced serial ports on most laptops, though desktop and tower machines are usually equipped with them. Serial connectors are still used on some specialized equipment and are often seen on legacy devices. Peripheral devices with serial connectors can also be used on computers with USB ports by employing a serial to USB connector.

2. What is serial port communication?

Serial port communication is the transmission of data between a host, such as a computer, and a peripheral device, like a modem. The main characteristic of serial communication is that it transmits data one bit at a time. The peripheral device sends one bit at a time through the serial port connector where it is then available for processing.

Serial communication is a two-way street, with data flowing from the device to the host and in the reverse direction. This makes this type of communication ideal for monitoring and controlling peripheral devices. There is a limitation on the length of serial cables, with 15 meters being the maximum to achieve a baud rate of 9600 bits per second.

3. Interacting with a serial device - hardware and software solutions.

Once you have connected a serial device to a serial port, there has to be a way to interact with that device. The most basic interaction is between the operating system and the device, as the OS needs to discover the peripheral and establish a link between it and the host. When this link is established the device’s functionality is available to users of the computer system.

Serial devices are used extensively in industrial and scientific applications. Sensors used in large-scale production facilities and installations such as power plants are often equipped with serial connectors. In some cases, these are simply monitored by a software application on the host machine. Control can also be exerted over the connected equipment via a software interface under the control of operators.

In a similar manner, many medical and scientific instruments use serial connectors. These are monitored and controlled by software packages running on locally attached computers. The limitations presented by the need to attach a cable to the host machine means that the host must be located close to the devices. There also must be a port available for each device that you want to control.

This poses problems in a number of ways. In a large installation or laboratory, you may have the need to monitor many devices at once and do not want to be constrained by the availability of physical ports on your computer. You may have to choose between devices when performing your monitoring operations.

Another major issue is the need to be located in close proximity to the serial devices that you are working with. You may want to share access or control of a device with co-workers across town or on the other side of the world. Perhaps your company would benefit from the ability to monitor and control all of their serial devices from a central location. For this purpose, there are dedicated hardware solutions called serial device servers, which you can use to plug all of your serial port devices and access them over the network. However, it may not be very convenient to use more additional hardware.

4. Software to access and manage serial machines over the Internet

What you really need is the capacity to access your serial devices over the network with the help of the software. Serial to Ethernet Connector is a software application developed by Electronic Team, Inc. that gives you that capability. This software utility allows you to share your serial ports and devices over a network utilizing either the TCP/IP or UDP/IP protocol, and monitor and control them as if they were locally attached.

Serial to Ethernet Connector

Serial to Ethernet Connector is a full-featured application that lets you share an unlimited number of serial ports remotely. You have the ability to create as many virtual serial ports or connections as your system’s resources will support. These ports can be named in a meaningful way since you are not restricted to names like COM1, COM2, etc.

Other features include the ability to send data based on certain events, such as a timeout or on receipt of special characters. High-speed data exchange is supported in both directions by the virtual serial ports. You can change the parameters of COM ports remotely, and the software runs as a Windows service to ensure connections are reconfigured after a reboot.

Serial to Ethernet Connector is your solution to the problem of sharing, monitoring, and controlling remotely located serial devices. It opens new possibilities in the way you manage your business and can help you streamline your operations and gain an advantage over your competitors.

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Olga Weis 28 May, 2018