The top five solutions to share serial port over Ethernet

avatar logo 18 Sept at 14:05
There are certain operational scenarios that may require you to convert back and forth between Ethernet IP/TCP packets and serial transmissions from devices using the RS232/RS422/RS485 protocols. To accomplish this feat you will often use a piece of hardware called a serial to Ethernet converter. This small device is also known as a serial device server and models are available in various sizes.


Serial to Ethernet converters usage

A Serial to Ethernet converter is usually used to enable a device with a serial interface to connect to a remote computer over a network. Many industrial and consumer devices are equipped with RS232/RS422/RS485 ports. By using an RS232 to Ethernet converter you can access and control remote printers, barcode scanners, industrial monitoring sensors, and any other network-attached serial device from one central location. This saves time and increases your efficiency.

The COM to Ethernet connector works in either direction. The unit’s circuitry converts TCP/IP signals into serial data and serial transmissions into TCP/IP signals based on the input it receives.

Prior to using a Serial to Ethernet hardware solution, you will be required to install a software driver on your computer. This driver software, which is often referred to as virtual COM software, is commonly included with your converter purchase. The software creates a virtual serial port that is visible in Device Manager when the converter is connected to the machine.

If you are going to work with serial ports over network protocols, there’s a good chance that you’ll need a special tool called serial to Ethernet adapter (known alternatively as serial over Ethernet connector or device server). This solution is designed to convert data received from a serial port into TCP/IP data. The tool provides users with the ability to fully interact with remote COM ports without having them physically present on their local machines. Any remote serial port can be shared and accessed over the network with the help of COM to Ethernet solution.



Choosing a decent network adapter from a wide variety of brands and configurations available today can be rather challenging, so we prepared a list of five most popular serial to Ethernet converters which stand out for their efficiency and ease of use.

Eltima’s Serial to Ethernet Connector

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Requirements: 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
When it's not possible to physically connect a COM port peripheral to a hardware serial over Ethernet adapter, you can share the device using a serial over Ethernet software. The application, Serial to Ethernet Connector, is not limited by the distance. It lets you connect to any number of remote COM ports from your computer regardless of their physical location. To access a serial device over the network, you only need to install the program on the server client sides, and configure connections.

Eltima’s Serial to Ethernet Connector

Serial to Ethernet Server by NetBurner

NetBurner Serial to Ethernet Server is a popular hardware solution for converting serial data to Ethernet. The device comes with a virtual COM port utility that requires no programming experience to use. Designed for Windows OS, the program will help you access remote serial peripherals over the network. Inserted into a remote NetBurner server, a COM port device will appear in the Device Manager of your machine like it was connected to the PC physically. The pre-programmed hardware offers data converting functionality out of the box.
Serial to Ethernet Server by NetBurner

RS232 to Ethernet converter by Perle

RS232 to Ethernet converter by Perle is another hardware adapter widely used for sharing COM ports over IP network. Perle’s Terminal Server will be a good choice for those working with RS-232 ports. The efficient Perle IOLAN converters are available in different cable connector types and offer customizable baud rates.
RS232 to Ethernet converter by Perle

SerialLynx solution

To share serial device over Ethernet, you can also use Serial-to-Ethernet adapter by SerialLynx. The hardware unit of this solution converts serial data going through its COM ports into TCP/IP data, so that the data can be transmitted across wired or wireless Ethernet and received by a remote computer. With SerialLynx solution you can share up to two wired COM port peripherals. Serial communication is possible if a device is physically connected to a serial port of the hardware unit.
SerialLynx solution

Lantronix UDS1100 external device server

UDS1100 is a single-port device server that lets access and control serial equipment over LAN or the Internet. This compact solution can support RS232, RS-422, or RS-485 interfaces and provides fast and reliable connection over Ethernet. Thanks to a built-in web server, the hardware can be configured right from your web-browser.
UDS1100 external device server

Conclusions

Any of the adapters we have discussed will perform the task of conversion between serial and TCP/IP signals. The choice that offers the simplest solution is Eltima’s Serial to Ethernet Connector software. Most COM to Ethernet converters are hardware devices that also require you to install software drivers, complicating your setup. Serial to Ethernet Connector converts your transmission without the need for any additional hardware. Simply install the software and adjust a few settings and you are ready to go. Using this application from Eltima lets you see and access your remote devices as if they were physically connected to your computer.
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