Until recently the test equipment found in most laboratories, such as oscilloscopes and benchtop multimeters, would have an RS232 interface or maybe a GPIB (general purpose interface bus) port to allow communication with a computer, and possibly a “Centronics” parallel port for connection to a printer.
Nowadays of course computers comes with USB ports (Universal Serial Bus) instead of RS232 for local connections. Consequently manufacturers such as Keysight (formerly Agilent) are now introducing test instruments with USB ports instead of RS232. Replacing all the laboratory equipment is not always an option, so Amplicon can supply USB to RS232 or USB to GPIB converters that allow you to connect an existing instrument to your new PC.
The growth of the internet in homes, business and especially universities means it has become the connection method of choice for longer distances that USB allows. A local area network (LAN) will allow more than one person access to a device installed on the LAN. The worldwide web will enable those same people to view a device from home, or even the other side of the world. One particular area where this is beneficial is in a Dark Laboratory, where experiments are carried out in a sealed dark environment. Students can view results from a safe area, and discuss with colleagues in another university.
The latest test and measurement instruments feature Ethernet communications to allow remote viewing. Amplicon also offer a range of interface devices such as a GPIB to LAN gateway that allows up to 14 GPIB devices to be connected to a LAN or WAN.