If you are looking for a more advanced solution, which allows to customize every connection setting before sharing a device, then Serial to Ethernet Connector is definitely worth trying. It is a great software alternative to FlexiHub, as it works on multiple platforms as well: Windows and Linux. With Serial to Ethernet Connector, it is possible to share as many RS485 ports over Ethernet at a time as you wish.
Hardware RS485 to Ethernet converter solution
Hardware RS485 converter (server) is an efficient tool that is focused on sharing COM port devices across Ethernet.
One of the issues you might be concerned about using your hardware tool is that the number of devices it can share is much more limited if compared to the software solution. As a rule, hardware RS485 converters are able to work with no more than 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, or 32 serial ports. One other not less important thing you should remember is that not all converters of this kind are capable of supporting multiple protocols like RS422/485/232 at a time. Most of them are compatible with one type only. In addition, it won’t be possible to display a shared COM port on your PC unless you use some dedicated software.
Here’s how it works:
To set up your hardware RS485 to Ethernet converter, you have to first assign your computer its own static IP address. Next, install the dedicated virtual serial port emulator on your machine.
Provide connection between the converter and your PC with the help of a standard cable (Ethernet, crossover, or straight-through one). Once that’s done, make sure the hardware is connected to the power supply.
Then go to your browser and enter the IP address of your hardware tool to check whether the connection is established. After pressing “Enter” you should be redirected to the Admin page. If not, repeat the hardware setup steps again.
Now start the software, locate the converter with the help of the “Search” option and click ‘Create COM port’.
After a virtual COM port is created, it should be available in the Device Manager of your system. If it can’t be found there, try to repeat the setup procedure one more time.
Therefore, there are two main ways to share your remote RS485 devices over the network. Considering the pros and cons of each method, the hardware solution, as you can see, cannot overweigh the convenience of establishing wireless connections with dedicated software like FlexiHub. The app, designed to meet all your serial port sharing needs, will help you avoid the complications of running long cables and setting up distance-limited hardware.