Serial server - an extended how-to guide

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Contents

  1. What is serial server?
  2. Serial server software
  3. How does serial server work?
  4. How to use serial server software
  5. What are the types of serial servers?

What is serial server?


A serial server is a networking hardware device that gives you a way to use any COM-enabled device across Ethernet. The serial server’s main purpose is to allow various serial devices (that can only interface via the serial port) to be used in the network without being connected to a computer’s serial port. Serial device servers are efficient in connecting your serial interface devices to the network, which means you can monitor and control them from any convenient location.

Serial server software


Serial server software is a specialized software that allows transferring data from a serial device connected to a computer to another computer’s serial port. If for any reason you find a hardware solution not efficient enough for your scenario, you can try a software alternative.

FlexiHub

Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
4.8 Rank based on 78+ users
Dedicated software like FlexiHub can share any serial device without any additional hardware.
FlexiHub

FlexiHub is based on a unique port virtualization technology that allows creating virtual copies of real serial interfaces in nearly any system.

This wireless serial device server is extremely simple to set up, after what you’ll be able to share your local COM-based devices and connect to remote ones using an intuitive FlexiHub’s GUI.

How does serial server work?


A serial port server converts serial interface data into the standard TCP/IP packets and transmits them to a remote computer over the Ethernet channel. What makes this possible is the technology of creating virtual serial ports which work and behave exactly like real RS232 interfaces. When you connect your serial device to a physical COM port residing on a serial device server, the device “thinks” that it is actually connected to a PC. It’s because the RS232 server mimics the serial port of the PС and offers its virtual copy to the device. As a result, you can communicate with a remote serial device just from your computer (or any other device) that doesn’t have a single serial port.

How to use serial server software


To share a serial port device over the network with FlexiHub, you need to:

  1. Create a free FlexiHub account.

  2. Choose the desired number of connections, start FlexiHub trial.

  3. Install and launch the program on all machines participating in the connection (including the one where the device is plugged physically and the remote PC that needs to access it wirelessly). Log into your account on both computers using the same credentials.

  4. In FlexiHub interface on the remote machine, find the peripheral you need and hit "Connect".

This is it! Now, control and manage the remote device like it was plugged into your machine directly!

What are the types of serial servers?


RS232 server

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that serial to Ethernet servers may differ in the functionality they offer and are available in various models. For example, some RS232 device servers do not provide any authentication options while others can be rather complex devices offering full encryption and multiple authentications. Of course, if your goal is to just connect an ordinary serial device to your office network, you are likely to opt for a simple and not expensive serial device server that won’t care about the security of your data. But when it comes to sensitive situations where security is important, for example, working with environmental control systems, industrial control programs, etc., it will be wise to choose a more sophisticated serial to Ethernet device server which will reliably protect your network connections.

Hardware serial servers are typically divided into serial terminal servers and serial console servers.

A serial terminal server is designed to connect serial-based equipment to Ethernet local area networks and devices that come without COM ports (e.g. modern computers, laptops, etc.). The most significant features of RS232 terminal servers are the ability to receive and convert data from several COM ports, the ability to create virtual COM ports, configuration via a regular web browser, as well as the ease of use and the possibility to be used in the field of IoT.

Some serial port terminal servers are limited to one or two COM ports, others may have up to 32 RS232, RS422, or RS485 interfaces. If you need to communicate with a COM port device from a serial application running on a computer with no serial port, this solution will be a perfect choice.

With the terminal server, you’ll be able to easily redirect RS232, RS422, or RS485 device data to Ethernet. In case you need to create fast connections over your local network without any sophisticated data protection mechanisms, this type of network serial servers is just what you’re looking for. Terminal servers usually help users create connections between serial devices and server applications.

A console server is a hardware tool used to consolidate console access to as many servers as many ports the device has. The solution will let you connect to network devices such as Unix, Linux, and Windows Servers via a standard console port. The console server is one of the most secure ways to control data and IT assets in remote data centers that is why it’s often used by the specialists of network operations centers (NOC). Serial servers of this type usually support traffic encryption and reliably protect traffic transmitted over a local network.

A serial console server is an ideal solution for making a wide variety of serial devices available for connection over TCP/IP Ethernet.

FlexiHub

Requirements: Windows XP/2003/2008/Vista/7/8/10/Server 2012
Size: 6.93MB
Version: 3.6.12038 ()
User rating: (4.8 based on 78+ users )