Whilst looking into rollover cabling, I stumbled across this page - https://www.computercablestore.com/straight-through-crossover-and-rollover-wiring - which claims that:

Rollover cables are not intended to carry data but instead create an interface with the device.

What exactly is meant "create an interface with the device" in this context?

  • 1
    Those are console cables, connecting to a serial console port.
    – Zac67
    Nov 17, 2019 at 17:16
  • But surely they transmit data like any other networking cable? Nov 17, 2019 at 17:17
  • 1
    Of course they carry data, but not as network cables, only as serial cables. You can send terminal data back and forth on the cable, and even send files. That vendor statement is misleading.
    – Ron Maupin
    Nov 17, 2019 at 17:18
  • @RonMaupin would it generally be correct to say that the key difference between a network cable and a serial cable is that serial cables are not as sophisticated when it comes to handling and interpreting data? Nov 17, 2019 at 17:23
  • 3
    No. First, cables do not interpret data, they merely conduct electrical signals. The creation and interpretation of those signals is done by the transceivers to which the cables connect. There are many, many different ways of signalling on cables, from single wire, to multi-wire, and even paired-wire cables like UTP (often misnamed ethernet cables, but can be used for far more than ethernet). There are so many protocols as to be far too broad to discuss here. Even one protocol can fill an entire book.
    – Ron Maupin
    Nov 17, 2019 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


"Rollover" or console cables are rather simple, low-speed serial cables. The connection they carry isn't much more than a terminal connection that transmits keystrokes in one direction and characters to output on a screen in the other direction.

Ports for this kind of connection used to be common, with DE-9 or (earlier) DB-25 connectors, used for serial modems, printers, mice, even scanners. enter image description here

  • Many, if not most, serial connections are RJ45 these days. They're cheap and compact. (when building ethernet equipment, you'll have warehouses of RJ45 connectors.)
    – Ricky
    Nov 17, 2019 at 20:14

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