Engineers in industrial environments probably have felt the need to connect some serial port device of interest to their Ethernet local-area network (LAN). Industrial devices still widely use RS-232 serial interfaces because of their robust nature. But making them accessible via your regular Ethernet LAN is tricky at best—at least, it used to be. The B&B Electronics Vlinx ESP211-232 mini serial server solves this problem (see the figure). Now, anything with a serial port can be connected to the network, whether it’s a scale, scanner, display, or whatever.
The B&B Vlinx serial-to-Ethernet converter is compatible with IEEE 803.3u 10/100BaseT Ethernet with auto detect. It supports TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) Server, TCP Client, or User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Its TCP probe automatically restores connections in Virtual COM mode. Support for direct IP, Paired, or Virtual COM modes is provided. The device’s Vlinx Manager software is compatible with Windows 2000, 2003 Server, XP, and Vista. RS-232 data rates to 230 kbits/s can be accommodated. Available now, the product costs $99.
LOUIS E. FRENZEL