In telecommunications, RS-232 (Recommended Standard 232) is a standard for serial binary data signals connecting between a DTE (Data Terminal Equipment) and a DCE (Data Circuit-terminating Equipment). It is commonly used in computer serial ports. A similar ITU-T standard is V.24.
Scope of the standard
The Electronics Industries Association (EIA) standard RS-232-C as of 1969 defines:
• Electrical signal characteristics such as voltage levels, signaling rate, timing and slew-rate of signals, voltage withstand level, short-circuit behavior, and maximum load capacitance.
• Interface mechanical characteristics, pluggable connectors and pin identification.
• Functions of each circuit in the interface connector.
• Standard subsets of interface circuits for selected telecom applications.
Limitations of the standard
Because the application of RS-232 has extended far beyond the original purpose of interconnecting a terminal with a modem, successor standards have been developed to address the limitations. Issues with the RS-232 standard include:
• The large voltage swings and requirement for positive and negative supplies increases power consumption of the interface and complicates power supply design. The voltage swing requirement also limits the upper speed of a compatible interface.
• Single-ended signaling referred to a common signal ground limits the noise immunity and transmission distance.
• Multi-drop connection among more than two devices is not defined. While multi-drop "work-arounds" have been devised, they have limitations in speed and compatibility.
• Asymmetrical definitions of the two ends of the link make the assignment of the role of a newly developed device problematic; the designer must decide on either a DTE-like or DCE-like interface and which connector pin assignments to use.
• The handshaking and control lines of the interface are intended for the setup and takedown of a dial-up communication...