Remote serial port access over Ethernet - software alternative
Serial port is an interface for devices to connect to a computer and exchange information with the system and applications. In serial communication data is transferred one bit at a time, while in parallel communication multiple bits of data are sent simultaneously. For almost two decades serial ports were the most commonly used connections to a computer, and only recently they have been largely replaced by USB ports. However some devices, primarily industrial instruments and tools, still use serial ports for interacting with a computer. These devices are typically large and bulky, and it is not always feasible to move them around to connect to a computer, hence remote serial access over LAN or any other network becomes of critical importance. There are two ways to do it – either with the help of hardware, e.g. a cable, or FlexiHub software.
Using additional hardware to access serial port seems to be a simpler and more straightforward solution, however it is restricted by the length of a cable, while the software solution does not have such limitation. But let us have a closer look at both solutions so you can choose which one suits you best when you need a serial port remote access.
Hardware solution to access remote COM device
All you need here is an additional cable, now attach one end of it to a device and the other end to a computer and you can start using the device right away. The major drawback of this method is that the cable’s length is limited. It is unlikely that you can connect to a device located in a different building or even another floor in the same building – exporting your data or getting another serial device seem to be more feasible options here. Not only it is inconvenient, it also incurs additional expenses on purchasing hardware.
Software solution to access COM over network
The software enables you to access serial over network – be it Internet, Ethernet or LAN.
This is how it works:
- Before you start using FlexiHub, specify how many connections you need here. Register an account.
- Install FlexiHub on the server, i.e. the computer that has a serial device attached to it. Launch the application and log into your account.
- The app will display a list of available devices, choose the one you’d like to share and click ‘Unlock’ next to it. This makes it accessible to other network computers that have FlexiHub installed on them. ‘Lock’ option will make it invisible to others.
- Now, install FlexiHub on the client, i.e. the computer that needs remote access to the serial device. Launch the app and log in using the same credentials
- In the list of devices shared to the network, use ‘Connect’ to get access to the device you need. Its contents and functionality will be accessible to you as if it were connected to your local machine.
For FlexiHub physical distance is no issue at all, the software does not require any complicated configuration and setup and you can access serial over Ethernet or any other network. Working with serial devices is simple with FlexiHub.
Serial to Ethernet Connector is another great software solution to access remote serial port device over network. It allows to tune every connection setting before accessing serial over Ethernet, making the software more appealing to a more tech-savvy audience in comparison with FlexiHub. What is more, Serial to Ethernet Connector is capable of running on Windows and Linux operating systems, and it can share as many serial devices at a time as required for the implementation of the project.