What is a serial to Ethernet converter and why do we need it?

Serial to Ethernet converter


  1. What is the use of the serial server?
  2. How does a serial to Ethernet converter work?
  3. Types of serial servers

A serial to Ethernet converter is an electronic appliance that is capable of converting data packets received over the TCP/IP network into serial data signals and back. The converter redirects a serial device across the network, thus eliminating the need for its physical connection to a computer. Since there is no need to install additional serial communication line, with RS-485 to Ethernet converter you can rely on the existing structure of your LAN.

What is the use of the serial server?

The main purpose of this tool is to provide communication between serial devices and a computer via its COM ports that recognize the signals sent by a converter over Ethernet. In practice, this means that using hardware RS-232 to Ethernet converter, you can access any serial device located within Ethernet (LAN) network from your machine, or manage a remote COM port peripheral over the Internet in case you use a Virtual Personal Network (VPN) or DNS.

The use of an RS-485 to Ethernet serial server can simplify the work of both a regular customer and the whole enterprise. The device can be applied in dispatching systems, commercial or technological automated metering systems, serial to IP communications and many other areas.

A great alternative to hardware serial to Ethernet converter would be Serial to Ethernet Connector. A dedicated software can provide your machine with remote access to any COM port peripheral over Ethernet, WAN, WLAN, VPN, or the Internet. The software lets you create an unlimited number of virtual COM ports in a system. No additional hardware, cables, or wires are required to connect to any remote serial device with this software tool.
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How does a serial to Ethernet converter work?

  1. First of all, when you buy RS-232 Ethernet converter, together with the hardware you get a driver software that needs to be installed on your PC. The program serves for creating virtual COM ports in the system when the converter is connected to your machine.

  2. All virtual serial ports created with the help of the converter’s software appear in your computer’s Device Manager as local ones.

  3. This way, any COM port embedded in a serial to Ethernet converter can be displayed in a remote computer as though it was its own physical port.

  4. Now, any time you attach a serial device to a COM port of your RS-232 Ethernet converter, the peripheral is redirected to the virtual serial port of your computer and recognized by your PC as a local device.

Types of serial servers:

The device can in fact be called a serial to Ethernet converter, adapter, console, or device server and come in various models, depending on the number of fitted serial ports. Here are some examples of serial to Ethernet adapters:

serial to Ethernet adapters

1-port model, multiport model, wireless model

NetPort by L-com is one of the most popular implementations of a single port serial server. This RS232-to-Ethernet cable adapter with a built-in web server lets any peripheral inserted into it be shared over the TCP/IP protocol stack. The solution is designed to connect an RS-232 serial port to an Ethernet IP network and costs $143.25.

Serial to Ethernet converters

Serial to Ethernet converters usually fit from 1 to 48 COM ports. However, the number of ports can vary depending on the manufacturer. Serial servers that have from 1 to 8 COM ports are known as multi-port models.

8-port Serial Device Server ESE-400D by B&B Electronics is a good example of such multi-port device. The server supports RS-232, RS-422 and 485 standard on all serial ports. Featured with a built-in web server the device can be easily configured through a web browser. The solution supports serial tunneling, IP multicast, surge suppression, and +5V Out option. The server can be purchased for $875.00.

2-port RS-232/422/485 converter

In case you need to connect your serial or Ethernet devices to a wireless LAN, a good idea will be to try a wireless device server like NPort W2000A Series by MOXA. This 2-port RS-232/422/485 converter is able to link a serial device to an IEEE 802.11a/b/g network. The solution features a built-in WLAN site survey tool and supports off-line port buffering and serial data log. What’s more, the server provides secure data access with WEP, WPA, WPA2. The price for this hardware device starts from $305.

Serial over Ethernet