Choosing between serial and Ethernet

About this topic

Some devices can be connected to the controlling computer by both serial and Ethernet connections. In most cases, whether you use serial or Ethernet to connect your device depends on the device.

However, if you do have a choice of connection type for your device, reading this topic can help you decide which to use.


Connection options

You can connect one or more devices to the controlling computer using either:


How to choose

Why serial might be better

Connecting the computer to devices using a serial cable is simpler than connecting with an Ethernet cable. With serial, there is no network card to install, no IP addressing to set up, and no software to install.

Serial connections have another advantage. If your controlling computer has an Ethernet network card, you do not have to use it for the lab automation network so you can use it to connect to your building’s general Ethernet network. If you want to set up an Ethernet network, you will have to install a second network card.

Why Ethernet might be better

Ethernet is a faster, more reliable, and more flexible communication technology than serial. Depending on the specifications of your computer, you may experience communication problems with a serial network, in which case you will have to use an Ethernet network.

Another advantage of Ethernet networking is that you can run many devices from a single network port on your computer. Serial connections require one port for every device. If you are planning to network multiple devices, your computer may not have enough serial ports so you will have to add more.


Related information

For information about...


The workflow that this procedure belongs to

"Workflow for installing VWorks"

VWorks User Guide, VWorks version 20.x

Published on September 30, 2005