Choosing Serial options for the future

Serial is here to stay - it is a robust and effective communication standard that forms the backbone of data transfer in many different industries. However, whilst the standards remain fixed the form factors have evolved.

PCs and Servers

Serial connectivity was originally on-board and fitted inside the PC. This remains a great way to achieve a serial connection. Consider if you:

  • Have a PC or server with available PCI/PCIe slots
  • Want a local connection, i.e. your Serial device and PC are next to each other

Our UC range of PCI cards and the newer PX range of PCIe Express are fitted directly into the PC or server. Reasons you might choose serial cards:

  • Need custom combinations from our extensive PX range
  • Need powered or ultra-baud rate cards like our CC Range
  • Need great value options like our IS and IX ranges


Of course, many of us now use laptops and there are very few on the market that come with the 9 pin D serial connection. We know of engineers who hoard old laptops and resist getting new equipment so they can hold on to their onboard Serial port. Some laptops provided additional connection options through an expansion slot and these are still how many people want to add Serial connectivity.

The first type of these was a PCMCIA slot, often called a PC card slot, and this was gradually replaced by ExpressCard slots. Brainboxes range of PM cards for PCMCIA slots have been superseded by the VX range of ExpressCards and XC range of PCIe ExpressCards. As the requirement for this format is declining Brainboxes currently make a limited selection of these cards, but there are alternatives that not only maintain the experience of a native Serial port but also are compatible will the latest laptop connections.

We’d strongly recommend you try our USB to Serial alternative. We write our own driver for our US range, which eliminates many of the issues that have put people off making the switch from the Express cards to USB. Consider a trial of our USB to Serial if:

  • You have a modern laptop
  • Can only guarantee availability of the ubiquitous USB slot, either type A or C (like the latest MacBooks)
  • Want a local connection, e.g. you want to perform diagnostics


Network and Cloud

Whether you have a PC or laptop if you want to connect to a serial device over a distance or need to eliminate the noise and latency of lengthy cabling you should consider Ethernet to Serial. Our range of ES devices will give you the same functionality of a native serial port over a network connection. If you have two ES devices you can ‘tunnel’ between them without a PC and connect two remote serial devices as if they were next to each other. Consider Ethernet to Serial if:

  • You need to connect over longer distances or can’t run cabling
  • The network is your best connection
  • Want to be able to get your serial device on to your network
  • Or even run your application without an additional PC or laptop

Our Ethernet to Serial provides a robust and future proof way to keep connected to your Serial devices. We have devices installed around the world in demanding applications where reliability and data integrity cannot be compromised, such as banking and the medical sector.

Put an ES device to the test today – talk to our sales team about evaluations.


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