Whilst established as a standard for serial communication, the RS-232 cable’s older technology has had to be updated to keep up with technological advancements, which has led to the development of the RS-485 cable. But what are the differences between the two cables? How do they serve different functions?
Firstly, the RS-232 was designed to transfer data between two devices, meaning that its design application is limited. However, with the introduction of the RS-485, transmitting data across multiple points is now an option. The RS-485 was specifically designed to transfer data across multiple points, meaning that this communication method now has a wider reach.
Unlike the RS-232 cable, the RS-485 cable can also transfer data across longer distances. The RS-485 has a much larger maximum cable length than the RS-232, and can also deliver a larger amount of data. Its maximum cable length is approximately 4000 ft and can transfer 100kbps of data. This differs from the RS-232, whose maximum cable length is 50ft, with a data transfer of 20kbs.
Even more so, the signalling is more unbalanced in an RS-232 cable, meaning that it is prone to more interruptions which could slow the speed of data transfer. This is different in an RS-485 cable, whereby the signalling system is more balanced, and therefore prone to fewer interruptions.
That being said, the more complex nature of the RS-485 cable makes it a more complicated and expensive installation. Where data needs to be sent to multiple points at a quicker rate, it is the better option. However, if you are wanting to send data between two devices, with ease and on budget, the RS-232 cable is probably the better choice. Plus, RS 232 to RS 485 converters are now available, allowing for more functionality in an RS-232 cable.