Best Serial over
TCP IP software
and hardware guide


An IP network is a network of computers that use the Internet Protocol for their communications. In essence, this protocol can be utilized by any network including LAN and the Internet. You can even connect to remote serial ports over IP. To enable COM port connections to devices located at a distance from your PC, you just need to convert serial signals into IP data packets. The simplest way to do this is by using a dedicated serial over TCP/IP solution: software or hardware.

In this article, we’ll highlight several common ways to access an RS232 device over the IP network so that you can compare them and decide which method is better and more efficient for you.

Contents

  1. Best serial over TCP/IP software
  2. Alternative methods to convert serial port data to TCP IP
  3. What is a serial over IP technology?

Serial over TCP IP software


If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to connect to a remote COM-based device but cannot do this because it’s located at a long distance from you, the following recommendation is just for you.

Whether you work with POS equipment, serial port lab instruments, industrial control systems, etc., you can enable seamless serial communications between all of your devices over the IP network with the help of powerful software - Serial to Ethernet Connector. This app is designed to redirect RS232 data across the Internet in such a way that a remote serial device appears on your local computer as though it were inserted right into your machine.

You can use the specialized serial to TCP/IP converter software for:

  • creating multiple virtual serial ports that are recognized by your system as exact copies of real RS232, RS422, and RS485 interfaces.
  • accessing COM ports from a virtual environment (WMware, Virtual Box, Hyper-V, etc.);
  • redirecting incoming and outgoing data from local real or virtual serial ports over UDP/IP;
  • providing RAW data transmission;
  • sharing serial ports on Windows and Linux machines. ARM-based devices are also supported.
Serial to Ethernet Connector (SEC) works over any distance, so it doesn’t really matter where a COM port device is located physically. Once you install the app on the server, to which a required device is attached, and client computers, you can establish a COM over IP connection and communicate with the device remotely.
Sec logo

Serial to Ethernet Connector

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Serial to Ethernet Connector

How to set up a serial over IP connection


Below you’ll find the instruction on how to share a COM port device over the IP network with Serial to Ethernet Connector. But before you start, let’s see what is meant by “server” and “client”. “Server” is a computer that have a device, which you want to share, physically plugged in, while “client” means a remote PC from which you need to connect to this serial device over your IP network.

This is how it works:

  • You download the app and install it on the COM over IP server and all clients that need to get access to a remote serial device.
  • On the server, you launch the software, go to the “Server connection” tab and configure all the required parameters. Click “Create connection”.
  • On a client, you start the app and select “Client connection” in the main menu. In the window that will open, you configure the connection settings and hit “Create connection”.

This is it! Once done, you will get full access to the remote COM port and device inserted in it. The peripheral will appear in the Device Manager on your client computer like it were your local device.

Alternative methods to convert serial port data to TCP IP


Have you ever wondered why your computer comes without a single COM port? Probably “yes”, if you are reading this article now. If all you need is a couple of serial ports for connecting some valuable devices to your PC, then you may try one of the specialized hardware solutions called serial to IP device servers.

Hardware RS232 over IP connectors. What do serial over IP device servers do?


• COM over IP converter by Moxa


A serial over IP device server is a compact hardware tool that is aimed at receiving data from serial card readers, payment terminals, etc., converting it into IP data packets and redirecting it over the local network.

For example, you can try Moxa’s solution called NPort 5100. This device will let you access a required serial peripheral from any computer connected to
your LAN.

Moxa’s solution

The NPort 5100 hardware is fully compatible with Windows and Linux platforms and comes with a 5-year warranty. Today serial port over IP redirectors are considered cost-effective solutions that offer a wide range of useful features.

• RS232 to IP device server by Lantronix


Another tool that will let you enable serial connection over IP is the UDS1100 adapter created by Lantronix. This small single-port hardware makes it possible to provide remote control over serial equipment that is not connected to the network directly.

UDS1100 adapter

The UDS1100 device server supports serial tunneling. This feature allows encapsulating data of a serial device attached to this adapter and transmitting it over the local network to any remote computer. Also, you can set up two UDS1100 converters to automatically connect with each other over IP. This way you may increase the distance for your network connections.

Serial over IP software


What can you do when a COM port you need to access resides on a computer running Linux while you are working on a Windows machine? Probably the optimal solution is to use Serial to TCP/IP Connector, which will help you create a cross-platform connection over IP. This friendly app is an easy way to share any real or virtual COM port and make it accessible over LAN.

No COM ports on your machine? Serial to Ethernet Connector will create as many virtual serial interfaces as you need. No need to use any additional hardware. Your system will recognize and treat all virtual COM ports as though they were real ones.
Sec logo

Serial to Ethernet Connector

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Serial to Ethernet Connector


• Serial-TCP/IP app for Windows


Serial-TCP/IP app

For Windows users, there are even more solutions to share serial over the IP network. For example, Serial-TCP/IP will be a good choice for developers of serial hardware and software. The app can be a big help in debugging and testing of their solutions, as it allows serial communications with remote RS232 ports via TCP/IP. Also, the software offers such useful options as "Ping", "COM Port State LEDs", and "Data Logging".

• Sharing serial over IP on Linux


When it comes to working with remote serial ports on a Linux machine, you can rely on the native methods available in most modern distributions of Linux.

In order to redirect serial data over TCP/IP, you can use netcat. Note that you need to run a new instance of the app for every new connection. To have it persist between connections, just create a xinetd service using the configuration below:

{ port = 5900
socket_type = stream
protocol = tcp
wait = yes
user = root
server = /usr/bin/netcat
server_args = "-l 5900 < /dev/ttyS0" }


The /dev/ttyS0 should be changed to the name of the serial device you are trying to connect to. If you want to configure the COM port parameters (like baud rate, parity, etc.), use the stty or setserial commands.

What is serial over IP?


Serial over IP (SOI) is a technology that enables the transmission of data packets from a COM port (virtual or physical) to the network and vice versa, with the ability to remotely configure the port parameters, monitor their state, and manage signal lines DTR/RTS/CTS/DSR/DCD. Whether you want to flash LEDs or find out the status of a pair of buttons on a remote serial device, you can connect to the device, program it and monitor its activity over IP.

Conclusion


All of the serial over IP tools from our guide can be used for remote access to COM-based equipment over LAN or the Internet. However, the software Serial to Ethernet Connector seems to be more efficient than other RS232 to IP solutions. This feature-rich program is based on a powerful COM port virtualization technology, which lets you access any serial port regardless of its actual location (no matter if it’s in another building, city, or country). What’s especially important is that the app ensures the security of your network connections by encrypting data you transmit.