How to share
RS-232 over Cat 5

Olga Weis

Say you have a device (printer, scanner, or any other gadget), communicating with your system over RS-232 port, and you want to share it with some other users over your local Ethernet CAT network so that they could make use of its functionality without being physically connected to the device. What is the best method to do this? Essentially, there are two main ways to share serial port devices over the network, you can use either software or hardware-based solution.

Сat5 cable

RS-232 extender over Cat 5 seems to be the simplest way to connect to the required devices, but if you happen to need remote access to serial devices located far away from your system, you might be interested in a software solution called Serial to Ethernet Connector.

Access remote RS-232 port devices regardless of their location

Serial to Ethernet Connector will be of use to you if you need to share RS-232 port devices over LAN, Ethernet, or Internet. The software supports Windows and Linux operating systems and, what’s more, it works perfectly with
Windows Mobile devices.

RS232 extender over CAT

The app 
makes it easy to share non-limited quantity of COM ports (real and virtual ones) on your computer, making them available for access from multiple remote client machines, no matter where they are located. All you need to do is install the program on the server computer, a machine where the RS-232 ports will be shared, and client computers, the ones that will access the remote serial devices. No additional hardware, like serial to Cat 5 adapter or any other converter, is needed to provide high-speed serial data exchange between COM port devices if they are shared over the network with the help of Serial to Ethernet Connector. If you do not like having your desk cluttered with cables and wires, this software solution will be ideal
for you.

Hardware method: pros and cons

Another way to share RS-232 port peripherals is serial extension hardware solution. The hardware-based RS-232 to Cat 5 extender usually consists of a transmitter and receiver set, linked with a single, standard Cat 5 cable. An active four port hub, built into the receiver, supplies 5 Volts, 500 mA to each port, powering attached devices, so that they can be connected and charged at the same time.

Serial to Cat5 converter

This kind of connection allows accessing keyboards, mice, interactive whiteboards, and many other remotely located serial peripherals. One of the main disadvantages of such serial to Cat 5 converter, however, is that it’s limited by the distance. That means, if a COM port device is located farther than 135 meters from the host computer, it becomes unavailable for access from a remote machine.

Serial to Ethernet Connector

Requirements for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/2003/2008/ Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2012
Requirements for Linux: Kubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”, openSUSE 11.2, 7.63MB free space , 4.66MB size , 4.66MB size
Version 7.1.876 () Release notes