Serial Port Tunnelling - how to work with serial port over Network

Olga Weis

What is serial tunneling?


Serial tunneling is a technique that is used to connect two or more serial devices over a network. It allows you to escape the constraints of physical cable length and connect serial devices through the Ethernet no matter where in the world they are located. By using the tunneling method of serial connectivity the devices perform as if they were in close proximity without the need for any intermediary device such as a computer or tablet.

Multiple benefits can be gained by employing tunneling to connect your serial devices. It removes all limitations related to location, site restrictions or physical cable length, allowing expanded use of your current array of devices. It is an economical method of connectivity since you do not need to supply any additional control equipment such as a computer or PLC.

The way that serial tunneling works is by packing and then unpacking serial data that is converted to or from Ethernet packets by the serial devices at either end of the connection. Basically, you are creating a link between two network-attached serial interfaces. Before signal transmission between the devices occurs, the data is converted into TCP/IP packets that are sent across the network. The procedure is reversed at the receiving end, with the TCP/IP packets translated back into serial signals. The use of packets enables you network applications to remain viable with no configuration changes required.

Serial tunneling

Here is an illustrative example of serial tunneling over IP in action. Let’s say you have a computer that is located in your central data center that runs an application that is critical to the success of your business. You have a serial device server attached to a COM port on that machine. A second serial device server might be connected to the serial interface of a data acquisition device located in a remote facility. By using serial tunneling communication among the device servers begins automatically when they are powered up and have a network connection.

Software solution to setup serial tunneling


Serial tunneling can be accomplished without the use of hardware connectors by using a software tunneling tool. Serial to Ethernet Connector by Eltima Software might be just the solution that you need. It is a serial tunneling tool that enables you to connect serial devices and interfaces over the Ethernet.

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Serial to Ethernet Connector


Requirements: Requirements for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/2003/2008/ Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2016. 4.66MB free space. Version 7.1.876. (28th Jan, 2017). 4.9 Rank based on 52+ users, Reviews(86)
Category: Serial Port Software
Connectivity is easily achieved by downloading the software application and installing it on the computer that will be sharing a local serial device. The software sees this computer as the server. Now install Serial to Ethernet Connector on each of the client computers that will be accessing the device over the network.

Serial to Ethernet Connector

After installation, simply launch the application on the server and ‘Share’ the device that your clients will be accessing. On these clients, run the app and ‘Connect’ to the device that was previously shared by the server. At this point, all of the client machines have access to the full functionality of the device. It is treated as if it was connected directly to the client computers.

Serial to Ethernet Connector is the perfect solution when you need to enact remote serial port communication over a TCP/IP network. It creates a virtual serial connection that facilitates communication with the serial interface.

In addition to its ability to use the TCP/IP protocol, Serial to Ethernet Connector can also be used on a UDP network. The application runs on either the Windows or Linux operating system, though at this time the Linux version is strictly a command-line tool. Both operating systems can play either the server or client role in a mixed-platform configuration.