1.5. Advanced Virtual COM port
Advanced Virtual COM Port is a useful utility for serial communications across the network. The app offers powerful features to create virtual COM ports and share real ones for remote access. This serial to Ethernet software helps to establish connections via a virtual null-modem cable locally or through a TCP/IP network.
Here are the key advantages of this app:
- The option of hot virtual COM port creation and removal without rebooting the PC.
- The ability to create up to 255 Virtual COM Ports.
- Full emulation of Flow control.
The utility supports many Windows versions including WinXP, Win2000, Windows Vista Starter, Windows 8.1 (32 and 64-bit).
SerialToIP is a Terminal server software which allows you to establish a connection with a device attached to a serial port over LAN or the Internet using well-supported TCP socket communications. This project is designed as a free solution. The working code it offers is plain and clear to understand.
The reasons why you should try SerialToIP:
- It’s available as both the command line and GUI app.
- It can be developed further by anyone with reasonable SW development experience about C#.
- It provides a transparent channel either in the TCP-server or TCP-client socket mode from the TCP/IP network to a pre-configured COM port.
Complex RS232 over IP solutions: software+hardware
Today, it’s not an easy matter to find an RS232 port on modern PCs. However serial interfaces are still widely applied in industrial automation, security systems, and the IT industry.
Serial-over-TCP/IP converter by Tibbo seems to be an ideal solution for such a simple (in the age of innovative technology) operation as serial data transmission via TCP/IP protocol.
Tibbo has developed efficient external SoI-controllers (also known as “Device Servers”) as well as Serial-to-Ethernet modules designed specifically for SoI (serial over IP) firmware. Each hardware tool is delivered together with a special software toolkit for Windows which includes the Virtual COM Port over TCP Driver and a set of useful management utilities.
The controlling software allows you to work with the Device Server's serial ports as if they were real COM ports on your PC.
Here’s why Tibbo Serial-over-TCP/IP tools are that popular:
- It is possible to use the Virtual COM Port Driver for Linux.
- The Tibbo’s solutions make it possible to create direct TCP and UDP connections.
All of the Serial-over-IP devices offered by Tibbo support standard TCP and UDP protocols, so you can simply open a network socket and exchange data directly with the serial port of the Device Server. And you can do this without using the Driver.
- Connections between devices
A direct TCP or UDP connection can be created between two Tibbo Device Servers. Thanks to this outstanding feature you can create a virtual connection through serial channels within a single room, a building and even globally.
2.2. HW VSP - Virtual Serial Port
HW VSP is a dedicated serial over IP software driver used for providing an operating system with virtual serial interfaces. This solution can easily forward any data from a virtual COM port to a hardware serial port over IP. A user just needs to specify the IP address and port number in the software settings. HW VSP is able to run as an NT service suitable for servers.
Although this driver can be used as a stand-alone app, it often comes together with a hardware RS232 over IP converter (e.g. PortBox2). When used together with the hardware, HW VSP software allows changing the connection parameters like the speed and parity, controlling all digital outputs and inputs, and more.
Once you install HW VSP driver on your computer, you can turn the machine into a TCP server, which means you’ll be able to send data to remote ports and communicate with remote serial apps over a TCP channel.
The major benefits you get with HW VSP driver:
- HW VSP is a freeware and is available in a single-port and multi-port versions.
- The installation of this serial over Ethernet software is fairly straightforward.
- You can use the solution with Windows 2000, XP, Win 8, Win 8 NEW& (32-bit or 64 bit).
- It works over the RFC 2217 protocol.
- HW VSP can operate as a “TCP client” and a “TCP server”.
Hardware serial to Ethernet converters
A hardware RS232 to Ethernet converter (adapter) is a simple and cost-effective way to quickly connect RS-232/RS-422/RS485 equipment to a computer via Ethernet network. Serial to Ethernet adapters allow you to share COM ports over the network without using any programs for the computer, which saves the cost of software development. A Serial Device Server is an efficient solution for remote controlling and monitoring of the status of your RS-232/RS-422/RS-485 devices over Ethernet.
The problems that can be solved using Serial Servers can be divided into local and network ones. The first type covers issues related to connecting a certain device via a serial interface to a workstation not equipped with a COM port. The second type can be described as sharing serial interfaces or COM-based equipment over Ethernet network.
Hardware Serial to Ethernet converters is a wide class of devices which are included in the product range of many manufacturers of communication equipment. These solutions can be called RS485 to Ethernet adapters, consoles, or device servers and can fit a different number of serial ports depending on the model.
Some popular RS485 to Ethernet converters:
NetPort by L-com is a 1-port serial server. NetPort is capable of sharing any serial device over the TCP/IP network. The solution offers a built-in web server which allows any device to which it is connected to be assessed and monitored via a standard Internet browser. This converter easily connects RS232 interfaces and serial-based equipment to the Ethernet IP network
8-port Serial Device Server ESE-400D by B&B Electronics is another example of efficient Device Server hardware. The solution supports RS232, RS422, and RS485 interfaces and provides a range of powerful features which include serial tunneling, IP multicast, surge suppression, and +5V Out option.
Also, you can try to connect your serial devices to a wireless LAN. What will help you do this is a wireless RS485 to Ethernet converter NPort W2000A Series by MOXA. This 2-port adapter will help you interface serial equipment to an IEEE 802.11a/b/g network. This solution comes with a built-in WLAN site survey tool and supports offline port buffering and serial data logging. In addition, it offers secure data access with WEP, WPA, WPA2.
What is Serial-over-IP technology?
One of the first applications of serial communications was the sphere of industrial automation where various sensors and data loggers exchanged data with computers via RS232, RS422, and RS485 ports.
The direct serial connections, however, have some limitations like the speed of data transfer, distance, and accessibility. So users required an efficient alternative, a more flexible way to communicate data between serial equipment. What came to the rescue was Ethernet standard.
Ethernet technology is still going strong in industrial markets. It allows connecting wired local area networks (LANs), enabling devices to communicate with each other via a serial communications protocol. The low cost and ease of integration make this ‘legacy’ standard a frequently applied method in various areas of industry.
With the spread of Ethernet in the industrial sector, a tendency has emerged of unifying the network for managing not only workstations but also a wide variety of electronics. Ethernet has been gradually replacing specific industrial interfaces, including the very common RS232, RS422, RS485 ports. On the new models of industrial automation tools, you can often see the LAN port.
Nevertheless, many COM-based automation tools are still in use and continue to be mass-produced. So it is logical that the manufacturers of communication equipment have decided to "link" serial interfaces and Ethernet technology. Thus, hardware “gateways” called Serial Device Servers (or Serial to Ethernet Converters) were born.
The efforts of the developers did not stop there, however. And Serial to Ethernet technology is now delivered as a part of dedicated software apps. There are advanced software solutions for sharing devices over the TCP/IP network. With a dedicated app, you can turn your home computer into a serial device server with multiple remote clients.