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What Should I Consider When Buying Serial Cable?

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  • Written By: Dulce Corazon
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2016
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A serial cable is generally used to connect two devices so data can be transferred through serial communication. Before buying one, it is important to determine first if your devices have ports that are compatible and can be connected through the same type of cable. The distance of the two devices should also be considered so you can determine the length of the cable. The structure of a serial cable should also be taken into consideration. Structure and length are important factors that frequently affect the performance of the cable in data transmission.

The recommended standard 232 (RS-232) is a standard for control signals and serial binary single-ended data. Computer serial ports generally use this standard. In purchasing a serial cable, it is often advisable to make sure that it supports RS-232. If the cable supports RS-232, it is most likely to work and be compatible with most computer units, old and new.

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A serial cable can work at 100 percent capacity only up to a certain length. This maximum working length often ensures that data is transferred without losing information or speed. Any length beyond this maximum working length may result in data loss or a slow connection. This is why it is necessary to consider the distance of the devices you are connecting, and the length of serial cable you need. If the distance of your devices exceeds this maximum working length, you can either find more specialized types of serial cable, or you can bring the two devices closer to each other.

RS-232 serial cables are usually produced with certain connectors that have varied numbers of wires depending on the required subset of RS-232 circuits. Your needs in serial cable structure will depend mostly on what type of devices you are connecting. A computer-to-computer connection requires a different type of cable than a connection between a computer and an external device such as a printer, a scanner, or a modem. Check out the different configurations of your devices before choosing a cable. It is also recommended that you choose a cable that is shielded so you can reduce electrical noise that radiates from the cable.

Your budget is another consideration in purchasing a serial cable. This is because in most computer setups with multiple accessory devices, multiple types of serial cables are frequently needed. Most standard serial cables come in affordable prices in most computer stores. There are some specialized cables, however, like the null modem cables that may be priced a little higher.

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