Serial server infrastructure becoming key to supporting mobile devices

Advanced serial server infrastructure is becoming key to supporting mobile device use in the manufacturing and research sectors.

By Donna Donnawitz
March 13, 2012
It is not uncommon to hear networking technicians discussing the role of serial connectivity options, as many argue that they are no longer relevant in an industry that focuses so heavily on Ethernet and TCP/IP options. However, a recent ManufacturingNet report said that experts claiming the demise of serial connections are not paying attention to the manufacturing and scientific research sectors, which are just two of the many areas where serial ports are still in mainstream use.

According to the news source, these industries have well established serial systems that are integral to their efficient operations. This makes the technology a key consideration for organizations in the M2M business world. The problem is that these specialized areas for serial port deployment have not been seeing the same advances that Ethernet and TCP/IP systems have. This has led to some major challenges when it comes to supporting mobile devices.

The report explained that the M2M sector is rapidly embracing smartphones and tablets, but struggling to implement them because they lack any kind of wired connection, making it difficult to integrate them with serial port connections. For basic use, this is not a major issue, as serial server systems can be established to support both wired and wireless connectivity options.

The issues arise when the system needs to support network connections that are outside of the core infrastructure. For example, connecting a smartphone to a Wi-Fi access point at a remote location that connects back to a serial port within the core network. This type of connections present complications that limit the ease of making smartphones and tablets work in settings where serial connections are prominent, the news source said.

One potential to this problem is to use embedded hotspot technology. Essentially, the technology creates a network that is so close to a classic Wi-Fi connection that a mobile device can connect to it, but does so through a remote serial device, allowing for streamlined connectivity, the report explained.

Serial to Ethernet converter technologies can also pay major dividends in extending networks that are heavily dependent on serial connectivity options. Media conversion allows organizations to seamlessly transition from one connection type to another, serial to either Ethernet or TCP/IP, without needing to make drastic changes to the network infrastructure. This can dramatically simplify making Ethernet or TCP/IP-based Wi-Fi connections available within most serial network setups.


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