5 Ways to Extend Your Data Communications Without Limits

Your network is only as effective as its reach – yet unbalanced signals such as USB and RS-232 can reliably transmit only up to 15 feet, and even balanced Ethernet signals are capped at 300 feet. With a growing range of connectivity platforms, modern data networks require not just compatibility and reliability but also flexibility and expandability. There are many ideal solutions to meet modern networks’ data distance needs such as converting unbalanced signals to balanced ones, deploying repeaters to boost signal strength, and implementing hubs for star-configured connections, while still taking full advantage of cost-effective and readily available copper wire. For large systems that go far beyond what copper wires can reach, fibre-optic converters can used to work in both conventional point-to-point and advanced daisy-chain / redundant-ring configurations, giving your data network a boost in distance, ranging from 3 miles to hundreds of miles, and additional flexibility, reliability, and expandability. The use of a Serial-TCP program is another ideal solution for merging serial communication protocols with modern TCP/IP communication, yielding benefits such as widely available infrastructures and greater distance, reliability, and speed.

Point to Point

Used mostly for one-to-one unbalanced signal (RS-232, TTL, and USB, etc.) extension, it can also be used for one-to-one optical fiber extension. Depends on the signal types, the extended distance ranges from 250 feet (70 m) to 4000 feet (1.2 km) on copper wire and 3 miles (5 km) to 40 miles (25 km) on optical fiber.

Daisy Chain (Multi-Drop)

Typically used for multi-drop RS-485 / RS-422 networks, addressable commands from the Master can be sent to all Slaves, and the addressed Slave can respond to the Master through the same wires, thus reducing the system’s costs. The typical distance for a daisy-chain RS-485 / RS-422 network is 4000 feet (1.2 km), and with the RS-485 / RS-422 repeater, this distance can be extended by another 4000 feet (1.2 km).

Star Wiring

Due to the nature of the signals and the requirements of impedance matching, the RS-485 / RS-422 network must run on a linear, daisy-chain (multi-drop) configuration; however, star-wiring is inevitable in many places. With very well-engineered hubs, the star-wiring configuration is more than just possible; it makes the system much more robust and reliable.

Redundant Ring

Data networks are critical for production, security, and information exchange, any system downtime is very costly – and even deadly in some situations. With an extra self-healing redundant link, a system will not break down even if there is a breaking point in the system, as these redundant-ring networks work both clockwise and counter-clockwise. If the clockwise link is down, the counter-clockwise link will recover the system instantly.


Legacy serial communication protocols such as Modbus have merged rapidly with modern TCP/IP communications, yielding benefits such as widely available infrastructures and greater distance, reliability, and speed. A suitable Serial-TCP program offers ideal solutions to bridge your existing Serial/COM port and TCP/IP without the need for changing protocol. It works seamlessly and transparently, just like a pair of passive repeaters; furthermore, instead of requiring installation of cables and converters with limited distance, it simply makes use of existing computers and networks with an unlimited transmission distance.