Devices like a serial printer, barcode scanners, scale, GPS, surveillance cameras, serial consumer/ industrial devices all have one thing in common and that is they all use RS232, RS485 or RS422 serial cable connection to interact with a computer. Having remote access to this kind of devices from a remote computer is a headache that I plan to show you how you can get rid of.
To access these devices via Ethernet or LAN or convert Serial Port to IP, we can use two solutions viz: Serial to Ethernet Converter (Software) and any Hardware with COM port to Ethernet converting capability.
Let's start with the software solution, as I already mentioned it is called Serial to Ethernet Converter and was developed by Eltima.
How to use Serial to Ethernet converter: You start with the installation of the software on all the computers that will use the serial device.
After installing and launching the app, the serial device will be made available over the Ethernet to you and every other person who is going to use the serial device.
Serial to Ethernet Converter enables conversion of COM port data to Ethernet. These converted data can in turn be shared and accessed over network. Here the remote computer will display a virtual serial connection that helps the software communicate with the port.
A noteworthy feature of Serial to network converter is that it runs as a Windows service. This guarantees that every single connection is automatically reconfigured on system reboot. This is a feature I found interesting because you don’t need to keep the interface constantly open, it will be running in the background. The other fantastic thing about Serial to Ethernet Converter is the ability to transfer a configuration to another computer in form of backup.
It is available for Windows and Linux platform. It is also interesting that you have the flexibility to decide which platform will be the server and which will be the client. However, the Linux version available now is a command-line solution. It can as well broadcast over UDP too.
Description: This is a small electronic device capable of converting either RS232, RS485 or RS422 serial data signals to Ethernet IP/TCP packets and vice versa. In other words serial to Network converter. The downsides of this type of devices include available port limitation. It can be 1 or 20 ports for instance and you can’t alter the numbers because they are fixed. Serial to Ethernet Converter is fairly easy to use and set up, although it’s an edge to have an idea of the computers and network settings.
How it works: All converters have an inbuilt circuitry capable of converting serial data to IP/TCP packets and back. It can convert to any direction.
Setup guide: The hardware comes with a driver (alias virtual COM software) that needs to be installed first into your computer. Once the installation is complete, the virtual COM software will now be able to create a virtual COM port in your computer's Device Manager when the hardware is connected to your computer.
At this point, you can now connect the hardware to your computer using the standard cable which is normally included in the hardware box. Next step is to connect your converter to a power supply, enter the IP of the hardware into your browser address bar and click enter. Now you can set up the converter by assigning a static IP to your own computer. This is important for communication between your computer and the converter. Now you are good to go.
I hope this article will help you choose the best solution for your usage Scenario.