RS232 Sniffer - Software and Hardware Solution
RS232, short for ‘recommended standard 232’, is a physical interface for connecting serial devices such as sources of UPS, data storage devices, scanners, printers, etc. RS232 exchanges data at a relatively slow speed, that is why in modern PCs it is often replaced by USB connection. However, in certain areas RS232 is still indispensable - for laboratory automation or surveying and industrial machines. It is widely used to communicate to networking equipment - servers have neither monitor nor keyboard, and at the time of boot there is no network connection.
From time to time we need to monitor activities of our serial ports, say, developers might have to sniff RS232 or RS485 port to code an application or create a driver for a serial device. Windows OS, however, does not have built-in COM monitor so you cannot really watch the data flow in and out of the port unless you employ one of these methods:
- Use COM Port Sniffer utility, this would be the easiest solution to the problem. Special applications are designed to listen to activities at both ends of the communication and display the data on a screen or record it on a disk.
- Hardware RS232 sniffer - although it has disadvantages, it is really handy in certain cases. For example, a full duplex communication on an RS232 channel does not allow one to tie both lines together, two serial ports are monitored separately.
Serial Port Sniffer software
The simplest way to sniff RS232 port is to install a special application capable of monitoring, displaying, recording logs and analyzing all activities of the serial port. Should a problem occur when you are developing a software app or a driver, it will be tracked and displayed immediately.