Introduction of Serial to Ethernet Technology

Serial-to-Ethernet technology is a process used in bridging of the serial and Ethernet interfaces. The technology is a crucial place between a management office and the industrial operation, since there are still millions of legacy serial devices in the factory and industrial fields commonly used today. It allows companies to connect legacy serial devices to an Ethernet LAN/WAN commonly used in the office environement, which in turn, provides many more access options for data acquisition, device management, and industrial controls. Here are the three major topics covered in the section:

  • History of Serial to Ethernet Technology
  • Benefit and usage of Serial to Ethernet Technology
  • Common Serial to Ethernet application in industrial environment

Brief History

When the first serial communication standard, RS-232, came out in the early 1960s, many IT and automation communities quickly adapted this safe and quick way to connect their mainframe PC and its terminals. For IT companies, computers with a serial RS-232 port is a norm. And many of the industrial equipment, such as sensors, scanners, meters, RTUs, PLCs, and diagnosis devices are built with serial communications in order for engineers and technicians to remotely control their equipment from computers.


For years, serial communication evolved to advance RS-422 and RS-485 to resolve transmission distance and multiple connections issues. During the same period, a new technology to transmit data, Ethernet, had gained steam in popularity in the IT arena. A shift of focus on data communication began to take place. In the middle 1990s, almost all computer manufactures equipped their computers with both external Ethernet and serial ports while most of the industrial communities still rely on serial communication.


Nowadays, most computers have eliminated external serial ports as it was deemed slow and inefficient by the IT community. Wire and Wireless Ethernet. or TCP/IP. has become the norm for data transmission. Although serial communication still seems a safe way to transmit data in the industrial environment, the equipment with serial ports today require a new way to be connected to Ethernet. Therefore, serial to Ethernet technology is born to resolve the issue.

Benefit and Usage

There are two major benefits to using the Serial to Ethernet Technology.

1. Streamline business management and operation:
As mentioned from the brief history above, it is not hard to understand that there are two major different communications methods in a typical manufacturing company. The management office usually uses Ethernet communication and factory operation that take advantage of the old serial communication. Serial device servers are beneficial to bridge the two environments. As serial communication is converted to Ethernet, thw management office can easily monitor and control the operation in the office; Of course they can also give the commands to the operation from remote locationsad the serial device server converts Ethernet to serial.


2. Cutting cost by remotely controling and monitoring:

  • It is always expensive to switch the equipment in the industrial environment. As the industrial community follows the motto of ‘if it ain’t break, don’t fix it,’ changing from a Serial-ready equipment to Ethernet-ready is not as easy as in the commercial or residential environment. Using Serial to Ethernet technology cuts the cost to avoid making the changes in the ‘already running’ serial equipment to Ethernet.
  • As Ethernet has reached to the global level, Serial to Ethernet also permits monitoring serial device to the next level over the Internet from a far remote location. The remote monitoring cut cost to have the needs for technician and engineers to go to the operating site to troubleshoot or fix the problems.

Common Serial to Ethernet Indutrial Applications
The following are some common applications which utilitze Serial to Ethernet technology:

  • Mobile Medical Equipment Data Acquisition
  • Remote Environmental Data Monitoring System
  • Data Center Rack Server Remote Managment
  • Power Distribution Management System
  • Campus Security Access Control System

The products that are based on the Serial to Ethernet technology are called serial device server, also known as terminal server, serial server, port re-director, or just simply Serial-to-Ethernet device, The transformation between the Serial and Ethernet interfaces takes place at the electronic signal and network protocol levels.

There are many ways to use Serial device server between Serial device and Ethernet network .Here are the device servers with the above mentioned functions for your serial to Ethernet application.

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