How to share serial port over network
Electronic devices such as barcode scanners, surveillance cameras and various lab instruments typically use RS232 serial cable connection to interact with a computer. Most computers are equipped with at least one RS232 serial port, and getting a serial adapter for it is never a problem. Mac machines though do not have such ports.
RS232 serial communication protocol has a reputation of being flexible and it is well established. With the large number of affordable hardware and software solutions developed for it, RS232 protocol is here to stay.
It will most probably remain the most popular interface for electronic equipment for quite sometime. A new generation of devices that use USB ports to connect to a computer still have a driver that emulates RS232 COM ports, so that they can communicate with RS232 software.
Serial port communication typically requires a hard-wired, point-to-point cable connection, and it is limited by the length of the cable, i.e. it can only run as far as your cable allows you to. If you want to connect multiple devices to one computer, you will need a separate cable and a separate RS232 serial port to communicate to each of them. Apart from cable clutter, it will be almost impossible to make a device to talk to more than one PC.
Luckily apart from a physical serial device server, there is software that enables you access a serial device over a TCP/IP network. Let us see how it works.