Choosing a multiport serial board for serial communication

Serial communication has been used in Industrial Automation (IA) for many years notes this white paper from Moxa. Since computers come equipped with a limited number of serial ports, multiport serial boards (MSB) are needed to expand the number of ports to connect additional peripheral devices.

Although choosing an MSB may seem like a simple task at first, you may encounter problems if you fail to take the type of chip, driver, hardware and application used into consideration.

The Chip
The UART chip is the primary component used in serial communication. Although an independent 2- to 8-channel UART chip is usually sufficient, a UART integrated with PCI or PCI Express interface reduces the number of components onboard and translates into better MTBF, lower RMA, and lower power consumption, all of which go a long way in protecting your investment. Also make sure the UART of your MSB supports functions specific to industrial automation (IA), such as on-chip flow control, RS-485 ADDC, and linear baudrate. Without these UART functions, your serial transmission will be susceptible to poor reliability.

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