Remote access to serial port over Ethernet


  1. Remote COM port access scenarios
  2. How to access remote serial ports over the Ethernet
  3. Hardware solution to access remote COM device over the network

A quick glance at the peripheral interfaces on modern computers might lead you to believe that there are no longer any devices that make use of COM ports. The majority of the computers for sale these days come equipped with USB ports rather than serial interfaces. This can pose a problem if you need to interact with serial devices such as those used in industrial automation and production facilities. What can you do when faced with this type of situation?

Actually, you have two options when you need to connect to remote serial ports. You can make use of specialized software that directs serial traffic over the Ethernet. Another recourse is to employ hardware specifically designed to allow remote COM port access. We will take a look at an effective software solution as well as briefly discussing hardware that can be used to access serial ports from IP networks.

Remote COM port access scenarios

We will now look at a few common scenarios in which the ability remotely access serial ports via the Internet can prove beneficial. The application we will use to illustrate these situations is Serial to Ethernet Connector. It’s an excellent tool for creating remote serial port connections.

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Serial to Ethernet Connector

Access remote serial port over IP Network for Windows
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Serial over Network Connector

  1. Consider a case where there is a serial device, such as a POS scanner, that is directly connected to your network-attached computer. There may be a number of other computers on the network which would benefit from sharing this device. Perhaps coworkers in remote offices need to receive data from this device at the same time. You can use Serial to Ethernet Connector to accomplish this feat. By installing the software on each computer that requires access you can remotely access serial ports via the Internet or any other IP network. The machines can use the remote serial device as if they are directly connected.

  2. Sharing the serial ports of your local computer is not the only case where Serial to Ethernet Connector is useful. It makes sense that the reverse situation, where you need to remotely access a serial port or device, will occasionally arise. Serial to Ethernet Connector enables you to create a virtual serial connection on the remote machine and transmit data to and from the local machine’s physical port.

  3. Another way to make use of Serial to Ethernet Connector is when you need to establish null-modem serial connections. Some apps require this type of connection to function properly, but here again, serial ports are required as well as a null-modem cable. Serial to Ethernet Connector can create virtual serial ports on both computers and connect them over the network with no physical cable or serial interface. The application will recognize the virtual null-modem connection and use it in the same way that it would with a physical connection.

The software supports the Windows and Linux operating systems and can be used in cross-platform environments. You can also use the application to broadcast data via UDP. The Linux version uses a command-line interface.

How to access remote serial ports over the Ethernet

With a few simple steps, Serial to Ethernet Connector lets you remotely access serial ports over an IP network. Here’s how to access a serial port in Windows remotely.

  1. Download the application and install it on the computer that has the physical serial port or device that you will be sharing. This computer is considered the server.

  2. Start the program on the server and select New connection -> Server connection. A window will open which allows you to name the connection and specify the serial interface that will be shared and a TCP port on which to listen. Then, click “Create connection”.

  3. Now the app needs to be installed on the client machine that will be connected to the shared serial port over the network. Choose New connection -> Client connection and specify the server’s IP address as well as the TCP port you designated in step 2. Create a virtual COM port by selecting a port name and check the “Create as virtual port” option.

  4. Click “Create client connection”.

After the client connection is established the client machine will have the ability to send and receive data from the physical serial port on the server.

Hardware solution to access remote COM device over the network

At times, it is not feasible to use a direct serial connection to a server or computer. There are many compact hardware devices that can be used for connecting to a remote serial port over TCP/IP. A situation where this may be necessary is in a large installation where devices are widely distributed such as in an automated production plant. You could run Serial to Ethernet Connector on a client machine to create a virtual bridge to the hardware device. You could also connect two pieces of Serial-to-Ethernet hardware together to form a serial tunnel in such a way that each serial device can directly communicate with the other.

Using the converter allows a computer to communicate with numerous network-attached serial devices simultaneously. Connecting to serial interfaces which are embedded in networking equipment is possible through the use of these hardware devices. This enables you to provide remote serial port access to routers, switches, and other devices.

A hardware serial-to-Ethernet converter can connect signage equipment to adapters over the network. It can be used as a replacement for aging dial-up modem connections.

Simply connect the hardware to a COM port device and the network. After that, the device can be accessed remotely by any networked computer. Connecting to serial ports on remote computers located across the hall or on the other side of the world is possible using a hardware serial-to-Ethernet adapter.

Serial to Ethernet Connector

Requirements for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/2003/2008/ Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2012
Requirements for Linux: Kubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”, openSUSE 11.2 , 4.66MB size
Version 7.1.876 (27th Jan, 2017) Release notes
Category: Communication Application