Guides And Tips

Bridging the Gap Between Legacy Systems & Modern Technology

3 minute read

RS232 Systems:

In the ever evolving world of technology, the role of RS232 cables might seem like a thing of the past.

However, these type of cables play a vital role in bridging the gap between legacy systems and today’s cutting-edge technologies.

Understanding RS232 Cables:

RS232 cables, also known as serial cables, have been used for communication protocols since the early days of computing.

They are designed to transfer and receive data between devices, using a series of electrical pulses through a serial port.

The RS232 standard defines the voltage levels, signalling, and pin configurations for these cables, making them compatible with various data communication equipment.

The Role of RS232 Cables in Legacy Systems:

RS232 cables served as a lifeline for legacy systems, enabling communication between devices that lacked modern interfaces such as USB or Ethernet.

They found extensive use in connecting computers to peripherals like modems, printers, and serial devices.

Many industrial systems and scientific instruments also relied on RS232 connections to transmit data.

Integration and Adaptation – RS232 to USB:RS232 Adapter

As technology progressed, new interfaces such as USB and Ethernet began to dominate the scene, rendering RS232 seemingly outdated.

However, rather than fading away, RS232 cables adapted to the changing environment. One significant adaptation is the introduction of RS232 to USB converters or adapters.

RS232 to USB adapters offer a bridge between legacy devices with RS232 ports and modern computers with USB interfaces.

These adapters convert the RS232 signal to USB, allowing older devices to seamlessly communicate with the latest technology.

This integration has proven crucial for electronic industries that continue to use legacy systems, as it prevents costs & disruption.

Modern Applications of RS232 Cables:

RS232 cables have found a place in a range of modern applications, proving their versatility and reliability within advancing technology.

Some modern applications of RS232 cables include:

  • Networking Equipment Configuration – Many networking devices, such as routers and switches, feature RS232 ports for configuration and management purposes. Network administrators use RS232 cables to send data for setting up and troubleshooting these devices.
  • Industrial Automation – Industries with established processes often operate on legacy systems that rely on RS232 communication. RS232 cables are used to interface with programmable logic controllers (PLCs), human-machine interfaces (HMIs), and other industrial equipment.
  • Serial Communication for Specialised Devices – Some devices and instruments require serial communication due to their specific data transfer needs. RS232 cables remain a preferred choice for such applications, where a simple, robust connection is essential.

RS232 Connectors in Modern Devices:

Despite more advanced communication interfaces, RS232 ports can still be found in some modern devices.

While they may not be as common as USB or Ethernet ports, certain industries and devices prefer RS232 connectors for their distinct advantages, such as immunity to electromagnetic interference and reliability over long distances.


RS232 cables have shown adaptability, to remain relevant in today’s technology landscape.

From playing a critical role in legacy systems, to seamlessly integrating with modern devices through RS232 to USB adapters, these cables continue to be a reliable bridge between the past and the future of data communication.

Their application in networking equipment configuration, industrial automation, and specialised devices outlines their continued importance in various sectors.

As technology continues to evolve, RS232 cables will likely persist as an enduring and essential component of data communication solutions for years to come.

Securi-Flex® stock a range of Belden Equivalents which are suitable for RS232 Applications.

If you have any questions that weren’t answered in this article, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.

We’re always happy to help!

Cables mentioned in this article

Belden Equivalent Cable OSC10 10 Cores 24AWG Overall Foil Screen Multicore 600V LSZH (9540) – Grey 100m


Related articles

RS485 Cable vs Other Communication Standards – What’s the Difference?

RS485, RS232, and Ethernet are different communication standards used in various applications. In this guide, we will compare them in…

Exploring Different Types of Multicore Cable

A multicore cable, also known as multi-pair cable, is used for transmitting multiple signals or data streams within a single…

Data Cable Types

Data cables are used to transmit electronic data from one location to another. Data cabling is either copper or fibre…