Friday, August 01, 2008

Tunneling Serial Data over Cellular

Tunneling Serial Data over Cellular

Question: you have a Windows-based application which expects to talk over normal serial ports - how can you connect to a remote serial device over a cellular-IP link?

Products: works with Digi Connect WAN, WANIA or WANVPN, Digi ConnectPort VPN, X4 or X8

Answer: Our Digi RealPort driver for Windows 2000/XP/Vista dated Nov 2008 now supports a nice low-overhead "UDP: Serial Data Only" mode. This will cost a fraction of what normal TCP-mode Realport or competitors TCP redirectors will cost.

Here is a web page explaining how to install RealPort for UDP mode (DDNS names can be used!)

Here is a web page explaining how to set the WANIA to UDP Sockets.

I set this up yesterday and have been polling a Modbus/ASCII serial slave on my CPX4 using RealPort and UDP mode. Responses take from 2 to 3 seconds to return … in part because I am polling so slowly that the modem PARKS in between every poll and I wait 30 seconds for a response timeout. I see perhaps 0.25% error / no response timeout but then my SIM doesn’t have the best signal where my product sits.

However, I still believe people need to be realistic – even in the situations where the slave response times out I’d suggest NOT retrying immediately since the retries have a higher than normal probability of failing as well. Missing a few polls a day is better than needlessly paying more for data plans.

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