Serial over LAN - Best serial over LAN apps

What is serial over LAN? It is a software solution that lets you communicate with a remote COM device as if was directly connected to your computer. These software tools enable you to share serial ports over LAN as well as use serial devices with computers that are not equipped with serial ports. In this article, we’ll tell you about the best software and hardware solutions to help you share your valuable serial devices over LAN easily and effortlessly.

1. Serial over LAN Connector

The simplest way to interface the required device to your PC without using a standard serial cable is the dedicated software program - COM over LAN software (Serial to Ethernet Connector).

What the app does is redirects serial data over TCP/IP network. Simply put, with the software you can share a COM port over LAN and access it remotely. The solution is easy to use and requires no programming skills to establish a wireless connection between serial devices.

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Serial to Ethernet Connector

Connect serial ports over Ethernet
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Serial to Ethernet Connector

Here's how you can connect to a serial port over LAN with this efficient app:

  1. Attach the device you'd like to share to a COM port of your computer.
  2. Download Serial over LAN Connector and install it on both the machine with the device attached (the device server) and a computer that will access the peripheral remotely.
  3. On the server machine, start the app and choose 'Server connection' on the toolbar. Configure the connection settings and click 'Create connection'.
  4. Create the 'Client' connection in the software interface on the remote PC. Make sure that the hostname of the server you are connecting to and COM port number are specified correctly.
  5. Click 'Connect' on the client computer.

That's it! Now you can enjoy full access the functionality of a remote serial device as though it were connected directly to your PC. No additional hardware or cables are required. Completely software serial to LAN solution lets share an unlimited number of COM ports between multiple computers at a time. In addition, you can create cross-platform connections between Windows and Linux platforms.

2. FlexiHub

If you need serial over LAN capabilities on the Windows OS another option is the application named FlexiHub.

Here is an overview of how to use this serial over network tool:

  • * Choose the number of connections you want here and launch FlexiHub.
  • * Сlick the ‘Sign up’ button in the top right corner to go to the Registration page.
  • * Register a free account by following the provided instructions.
  • * Open FlexiHub, and sign in with the login credentials you just created.
FlexiHub

You now need to download and install FlexiHub on another machine that is on the same network as the first computer. Start FlexiHub and login using the same login and password.

On the second computer, go to FlexiHub, locate the device you want to access and click Connect.

You now have serial over network communication as your serial device is connected to a remote machine that can access and manage it as though it were connected to locally. Using the free version of FlexiHub only lets you share your local devices with other users. You need to have the FlexiHub connections in your account to connect to remote devices.


3. TCP/Com


TCP/Com program is a basic solution suitable for accessing serial devices as well as RS232 to LAN conversion implementations. Some of the connectivity tasks it can resolve include: turning a computer into a Serial Device Server; communicate over the network with any serial device or application; enact remote control of Serial ports as if they were local; mapping of TCP/IP interfaces; split data from a single physical COM port and send it to multiple serial apps. It runs on versions of the Windows OS from 98 to Windows 10 (32- and 64-bit).

tcpcom

4. Network Serial Port Kit


Network Serial Port Kit is another software tool designed for COM port over LAN sharing. The serial over IP application makes a physical serial ports accessible to other network-attached computers. This lets you connect your machine to a remotely located COM device simply and easily. The program fully emulates serial port internals so that the virtual ports look and function as if they were physical ports.

Network Serial Port Kit is supported on the Windows 32- and 64-bit operating systems and lets you share and access any number of serial devices.

network serial kit

5. SERIAL-TCP/IP


Serial-TCP/IP is an application that enables serial on LAN transmission and makes your current TCP/IP control software available from remote locations. Its built-in "Ping", "Resolve IP Address / HostName", "COM Port State LEDs", and "Data Logging" options facilitate analysis of your TCP/IP network and COM devices. As with the other solutions discussed, this tool makes the testing and debugging work of serial software and hardware developers easier. A limitation of this software is that it only runs on Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP (32 and 64 bits).

serial tcp

6. Advanced Virtual COM port


Advanced Virtual COM Port is a communications application that offers COM port to LAN functionality as well as the ability to create virtual serial ports. Your apps will treat these ports as if they were physical interfaces as they are created with all parameters and functionality fully emulated. You can dynamically create, remove, and monitor up to 255 virtual ports with no need of rebooting your machine.

Advanced Virtual COM port supports Windows 2000 - Windows 8.1 (32 and 64-bit) and Windows Server 2012 R2. It also supports Windows CE versions: CE 5.0 (x86), CE 5.0 - 6.0 (arm), Mobile 2003 SE, and Mobile 5.0 - 6.5.

advanced virtual com port

Wired serial connection: pros and cons

A vast variety of modern day equipment is designed to connect to a PC with the help of a standard RS232 cable. This way of communication is typical for today’s POS hardware (barcode scanners, receipt printers, payment terminals), automated industrial lines, specialized laboratory equipment (electrochemistry meters, spectrometers, spectrophotometers) and many other universal devices and instruments.

For many years RS232 has remained a standard protocol for the data transmission. Being a cost-efficient and reliable solution, this port is used by a great number of current hardware and software products. It serves as a basic way of communication for hundreds of serial apps. Considering the ubiquity and flexibility of the interface, the need for this efficient solution is expected to continue well into the future.

On the other side, a typical RS232 connection is established via a regular cable that enables point-to-point communication. This method of linking devices is not always convenient given the distance limitations of the hardware cable. Besides that, connecting every new peripheral to a computer requires a separate cable to be run to a separate serial port of the machine. Therefore, your PC should fit as many COM interfaces as many devices you want to connect to. This not only leads to cable clutter hanging down from the back of your desk but also makes it difficult to attach the device to more than one PC.

Luckily, there are some dedicated hardware and software solutions designed to help you overcome all the abovementioned inconveniences.

About a serial port

A serial port is one of traditional I/O interfaces used by a computer to exchange data with another PC or a serial-based device one bit at a time. Back in the old days, serial ports served for connecting a computer with printers and external modems and nowadays the interface helps to establish a communication between scientific instruments, industrial applications, shop till systems, etc.

If compared with a parallel female interface, a serial port has a male connector. In the system, serial ports are represented as COM1, COM2, COM3, and so on. Each COM interface has its unique position in the technical scheme of a PC and represents an input/output (I/O) address as well as an interrupt request (IRQ) level. That means a printer or a keyboard can transport data to a computer by using the I/O address.

Serial interfaces are able to work in a full-duplex mode, that is transport data in both ways (incoming and outgoing) at a time.

The most common standard for a serial port is RS-232. The devices that communicate via this standard are usually referred to as the DCE (data communications equipment) and DTE (data terminal equipment). The DCE talks to the DTE via serial connectors of different types. The most widespread ones are DE-9 (9-pin) or DB-25 (25-pin) ports.

Conclusions

Based on your requirements, one of these COM to LAN applications or hardware will solve your problem. Some of them are free, and some carry a cost (if we talk about hardware connectors). Keep in mind, that the benefit of using paid software is that you will get program updates and technical support. The software is definitely easier to use and no need in long cords. This can be critical in helping you use the software if you run into any potential issues. So, the decision about the app choice totally depends on your particular situation, and the requirements you have for the software performance. All these apps are a good helper in solving serial over LAN issues.