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11.2. Cable from console port to modem

The RS-232 standard defines the interconnection of computers and modems, so there is little to go wrong here by simply purchasing a pre-assembled cable. There are two types of cable: cables with connectors for a standard 25-pin D connector on the computer; and cables with connectors for a proprietary 9-pin D connector used on the IBM PC/AT and many other computers. The cables have titles like RS-232 25-pin computer (DTE) to 25-pin modem (DCE) or RS-232 9-pin IBM PC/AT computer (DTE) to 25-pin modem (DCE). Most modems are packaged with a suitable cable.

If you need to manufacture your own cables, see the Serial-HOWTO for the RS-232 pinout for your computer. Connect Transmit Data on the computer to Transmit Data on the modem, Receive Data on the computer to Receive Data on the modem, and so on for Signal Ground, Clear to Send, Ready to Send, Data Set Ready, Data Terminal Ready and Data Carrier Detect.

For professional computer room installations consider routing the serial cable through an RJ-45 patch panel. There are two common pinouts on used on the RJ-45 connector: Yost and Cisco 2500-series.

If you create your own pinout for unshielded twisted pair cable then be sure that your pinout twists a Signal Ground wire with the Transmit Data wire and another Signal Ground wire with the Receive Data wire. Although the RS-232 signals are not balanced, this twist will result in the least amount of signal degradation and noise pickup.