With production automation gathering pace, it is now hard to imagine modern equipment without a built-in function of remote access to it. Today, a dedicated software lets you manage all production processes from a single point. With a specialized computer program, it’s possible to collect data to a single database over the network and provide all necessary devices with access to it. Notably, each type of equipment can require a different kind of software. Most often, such equipment is connected to the system through a serial port.
With that in mind, more and more developers of production lines tend to give preference to cloud operating systems. The programs for POS, LIMS, and cloud services are becoming more popular and widely applied.
In addition, serial communication ports can still be found on networking equipment – switches and routers in particular – internal modems, or test benches. These days, COM ports are widely used by computer technicians for diagnosing and configuring equipment.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article by Eltima Software.
COM port virtualization
The problem, however, is that connecting to serial devices from a modern computer that misses a native serial port is not an easy matter.
More than that, it might be needed to manage serial equipment remotely. In this situation, serial communication software seems to be the best solution. In case your computer lacks serial ports, a dedicated app will help you create as much virtual COM interfaces as you require on your machine to connect to all necessary devices.
Network engineers keep trying to create a network where each device will be able to both transmit and receive data. For this purpose, they use a variety of tools – from adapters with the built-in technology of converting serial data into network protocols to software containing remote access code or technology.
In view of that situation, virtual COM ports offer a big technological leap in the space of serial communications. Serial port virtualization is an effective alternative to using additional computers or expansion cards. Particularly useful in telecommunication and data transmission systems, virtual RS 232 interfaces provide the simplest way for remote device debugging and configuration.
Port virtualization technology
When working with an application installed on one computer, you may need to access a serial device plugged into another machine. All you need to do is redirect the data from the remote device to your computer. In fact, with the help of a third-party tool, Serial to Ethernet Connector, you virtualize the required serial device and access it over the network as though it was physically attached to your machine.
The serial port virtualization technology can be easily implemented into virtually any industry-specific product. Here is what Eltima Port Virtualization (EPV) Technology offers:
- Providing your system with an unlimited number of virtual serial ports;
- Accessing remote USB and COM port equipment over the network;
- Using the EPV technology as a part of your hardware product;
- Applying the software as an alternative to hardware solution;
- Redirecting devices to virtual machines and blade servers;
- Making USB and COM port devices available for access within the RDP session;
With this, the option of ‘custom development’ will reduce to a minimum the likelihood of costs increasing. Designed specifically for your product, the technology becomes an integral part of your solution.
Above that, Eltima Software provides a number of other versatile products based on the EPV technology. The solutions support all most popular operating systems.
For instance, an updated version of Virtual Serial Port Driver is capable of creating virtual COM port pairs connected with a virtual null modem cable. The software makes it possible to exchange serial data between the paired ports in such a way that all information written to one COM port immediately appears in the other one and vice versa.
When it comes to device interaction over network, there are two most popular Eltima products: Serial to Ethernet Connector and USB Network Gate. The first solution allows redirecting serial port data, while the second one works with USB ports. Each of the apps provides a simple way to access remote devices via IP. Plus, the solutions let a user interact with local COM and USB devices from a virtual machine and a cloud OS. In other words, all devices physically attached to a host machine can be easily recognized and accessed from a virtual OS, thanks to the apps’ outstanding capabilities.
FlexiHub is another software tool powered by the EPV technology. This subscription-based solution will be of use to those who need to work with both serial and USB devices over network protocols. The cross-platform app supports just about any device and allows you to invite other users to access your local devices remotely.
The serial port virtualization technology integrated into your software solution can greatly simplify the process of interaction with remote serial port devices over the network. Being basic in network computing as well as many other industrial spheres, the technology is able to significantly improve the efficiency of your product providing it with a competitive edge.