How to share UART over Ethernet – Software and Hardware methods
What is UART?
A UART (universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter) is a hardware device that provides computers with the serial interface so that they can communicate with modems and other serial devices. A UART usually comes as an integrated circuit or a part of it. The solution contains a receiver (serial-to-parallel converter) and a transmitter (parallel-to-serial converter) and serves for serial communications.
To transfer data between devices, UART utilizes only two cables. Here’s how a typical UART communication is done:
- UART1 converts parallel data from a controlling device (e.g.: CPU) into serial signals and sends them to UART2;
- UART2 transforms the serial data back into parallel format for the receiving device.
Therefore, serial data is forwarded from the transmit pin of UART1 to the receive pin of UART2 (Fig 1). UARTs need only two wires to “talk” to each other and exchange data.
UARTs transfer data asynchronously and do not use any clock signals. As a substitute for synchronization signals, the UART that sends data adds start and stop bits to the transferred data packet thus indicating the package’s beginning and end. This lets the receiving UART know when it can start processing the data.
Once a start bit is spotted, the receiving UART begins reading the incoming information at a particular frequency, known as baud rate. Baud rate refers to the number of signal or symbol changes that occur per second. Both the Transmitter and the Receiver should be on almost the same baud rate. The difference between baud rates of the receiving and transmitting UARTs shouldn't be more than 10 % before the timing of bits gets too far off.
What is nice about the UART communication is that it allows tracking all the passing streams and saving them into a file.
But what if you needed to connect to a remote UART located far away from your device? Is it ever possible? Obviously, you need to use some additional software or hardware solutions in order to be able to do this.
Software solution to share UART over Ethernet
FlexiHub is probably the most efficient software for connecting UART to LAN, Ethernet, WiFi, or the Internet. By simply installing this application on your network computers, you share UART over any distance and make the device plugged into a COM port accessible to multiple users, regardless of their physical location.