Connecting your classic computer’s serial port to the Internet #VintageComputing #RetroComputing

Some people have build dongles to hook their classic computers with RS-232 serial ports to WiFi. Fine, but how about a more polished solution?

Twitter user Kiwa bought an Moxa NPort 5110 (datasheet) at a flea market. The device has several modes for connecting a RS-232 port to a 10/100 Ethernet connection. The company apparently makes several models:

The NPort® 5100 device servers can be configured for TCP Server, TCP Client, UDP Server/Client, Pair Connection, or Ethernet Modem, mode, ensuring compatibility with software based on a standard
network API (e.g., Winsock or BSD Sockets).

Real COM/TTY drivers provided with the NPort 5100 device servers allow you to continue using software designed for communicating through COM/TTY ports. Installation and configuration
is painless, and allows your serial devices and PC to communicate seamlessly over a TCP/IP network. Using Moxa’s Real COM/TTY drivers is an excellent way to preserve your software investment,
while still allowing you to enjoy the benefits of networking your serial devices.

So Kiwa has tried several methods via a Linux laptop with Windows XP in a virtual machine:

Tunneling PPP with Netcat
Also works as a dial-in modem

Here’s the package. Look around for a deal if you can, I won’t print how much Kiwa said this was at the flea market (Ed: jealous?)

(Ed. note 2: As with all Internet of Things connection devices, even commercial ones, consider unplugging after use, if possible,. Keep your network safe, as old computers were not designed for Internet connections and who knows the security level of the interface boxes, even commercial devices.)


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