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FTDI shows USB null modem cable

April 16, 2008 //

Future Technology Devices International Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) has developed a 2.5 meter USB-to-USB null modem cable (NMC) suitable for connecting to PCs together.


LONDON — Future Technology Devices International Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) has developed a 2.5 meter USB-to-USB null modem cable (NMC) suitable for connecting to PCs together.

The null modem is a method of communication originally developed to allow two pieces of data terminal equipment (DTE) to be connected closely together using RS232 serial cable. Null modems are commonly used for file transfers between computers and are allowed under Microsoft Windows operating system.

However, RS232 serial COM ports are disappearing from computers and so the USB NMC offers a method of inter-PC communication using USB ports.

The cable features a type 'A' USB plug at each end and both plugs contain a FT232RQ USB-UART converter IC together with supporting components on a small PCB. Data can be sent across the cross-connected transmit/receive cabling while the RTS/CTS signals provide handshaking. A common GND reference rail links the two converter PCBs.

The cable, used with FTDI's Virtual COM port (VCP) drivers, the USB NMC provides inter-PC communications at up to 3-Mbaud rates. The drivers, supporting all the popular operating systems such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS, were available for download for free at http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm when this story was first posted.

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