COM port redirector - software and hardware approaches

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  1. What is COM Port Redirector?
  2. How does serial redirector work?
  3. FlexiHub: the serial redirector tool.
  4. Serial to Ethernet Connector: redirect COM port over LAN
  5. Hardware tools to redirect COM port to TCP network

What is COM Port Redirector?

COM Port Redirector is an application that enables users to connect to serial devices remotely over an IP-based network. The software works by establishing virtual serial ports bound to a specific IP-address and TCP-port to which it forwards data from a physical serial interface.

How does serial redirector work?

The network redirector uses virtualization to give client machines the appearance of having a direct connection to resources physically located on a remote physical server. These resources may be files or peripheral devices such as printers or scanners. The COM redirector act as a bridge between the local and remote computer and redirects serial data transmission in both directions. Through the redirection of requests made from the remote client machine, it is provided with the same level of functionality achieved with a direct connection when accessing the resource on the server.

Network problems can get in the way of successfully transferring data remotely. Serial redirector software attempts to satisfy requests several times before generating an error message to provide transparency regarding the access to the remote resources. It will send an error message to the client if the connection cannot be established.

There are two options available when you need the ability to connect to devices remotely over the Internet, LAN or any IP-based network. You can choose between hardware and software solutions to create a connection. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of both solutions for you to consider as you make your choice.

FlexiHub: the serial redirector tool

General description: FlexiHub is a desktop app that holds a special place among software COM port redirectors available today. The program can easily connect your PC to a remote serial device no matter the distance between them. FlexiHub’s user base is largely made up of folks who need to redirect COM port over Ethernet, WIFI, or the Internet fast and securely. The nice thing about the app is that it protects all communications with advanced traffic encryption, so you don’t have to worry that your sensitive data will be lost or intercepted.


Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
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In addition to serial peripherals, FlexiHub can easily share USB devices as well. With the solution, you’ll have no problem redirecting your devices to a virtual environment.

FlexiHub is fully compatible with VMWare, ESX, Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft Hyper-V, Windows Virtual PC, and QEMU virtualization software.

How to redirect serial port over network:

  1. First of all, you'll need to register a FlexiHub account.
  2. After that, start a free trial to be able to connect to remote serial devices.
  3. Install the software on each of your computers that need access to the serial device.
  4. Next, start FlexiHub and enter your login credentials on the PC with the device physically attached.
  5. Do the same for a remote machine that needs shared access.
  6. After that, in the FlexiHub window on the remote computer you find the device, click “Connect”, and bam — the remote device is recognized like plugged in directly to your computer!

One more thing that makes FlexiHub a really great COM port redirector is the speed of connections. The app’s traffic compression feature allows transmitting serial data significantly faster. Users find this especially helpful when interacting with certain types of devices that originally communicate data in an uncompressed format.

On top of that, if two users are logged into the same account, they can start communicating with comments and reactions via a convenient FlexiChat - one of the latest improvements to the program. FlexiChat is available in the Windows version of the app.

Serial to Ethernet Connector: redirect COM port over LAN

Serial to Ethernet Connector is a software solution used to redirect traffic from serial ports over a network. It enables you to access the COM port along with its attached device from any remote computer on a TCP/IP, LAN, Wi-Fi or any other IP-based network. The full functionality of the attached device is obtained by the remote user when employing this communication utility.

The software features an intuitive user-interface that makes it easy to switch up to 500 virtual ports that the tool supports. Three types of connections can be established using this versatile program. A server connection is used to provide incoming requests to access a shared serial port. The software allows clients to connect to a shared COM port via a network. Data can also be exchanged between interfaces using UDP.

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Serial to Ethernet Connector

Connect serial ports over Ethernet
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Serial to Ethernet Connector

Serial over LAN software is the most efficient way to access serial ports remotely. Here are the simple steps required to use the tool.

  1. Download Serial to Ethernet Redirector (aka Serial to Ethernet Redirector) and install it on the computer that will share a COM port as well as any computer that needs to access the shared serial interface.

  2. Choose “Server connection” in the application on the computer that will share the port. Customize the connection settings and then click "Create connection" in the main window.

  3. Open local serial port.

  4. Create a “Client” connection on a computer that will access the shared local port. The remote hostname and port number must match what you have configured on the server that will share the interface.

  5. Click 'Connect' on the remote machine to establish a connection with the shared port. You now have access to the port and any attached devices as if they were directly attached to the remote computer.

That’s all there is to it. With those simple steps, you can remotely access serial devices over a network without any extra hardware or configuration. The remote connectivity allows you to manage the remote device as if it were locally attached. The application supports both the Windows and Linux operating systems.

Hardware tools to redirect COM port to TCP network

Description: A typical hardware serial redirector is a compact electronic device able to transform serial data signals (either RS232, RS485 or RS422) to Ethernet IP/TCP packets and backward. The hardware is most commonly referred to as “serial to Ethernet converter”.
This type of redirector is rather easy to use and set up.

The problem? Port limitation. The number of ports that a converter can share is fixed and often ranges from 1 to 20.

Serial Port Redirector

How it works: The inbuilt circuitry allows hardware redirectors to convert serial data into IP/TCP packets and vice versa.

How to set up: When you buy a hardware COM port redirector, it usually comes with a driver called virtual COM software. This software needs to be first installed on your PC.

  • Once installed, the program will be able to create a virtual COM port in the Device Manager of your computer when the serial redirector is connected to your machine.
  • Next logical step is to connect the hardware to your computer via a standard serial cable (normally included in the hardware box).
  • After that you link your converter to a power supply, type the IP of the hardware in the address bar of your browser, and click Enter.
  • To set up the converter you should use a static IP address assigned to your own computer.