A switch with a combination of input and output ports, the connections between which can be remotely reconfigured by commands entered into a computer. Code-operated switches are useful in environments where remote switching is needed for file-sharing or monitoring purposes. For example, you could use an RS-232 serial code-operated switch to remotely switch between pieces of data terminal equipment (DTE), such as servers or routers for running diagnostics from a remote console.
Internal dual inline package (DIP) switches are usually used to configure the code-operated switch so that a different arming character can be used to trigger each connected device. The code-operated switch then examines the incoming data stream for these special text-string codes in order to determine to which device it should route data.
An example might be the remote switching between printers. A remote computer could send an embedded switching character to specify which printer connected to the code-operated switch should be used for printing the data.
A remote user can connect to the company network using a modem that interfaces with a code-operated switch, and then use the switch to control a variety of serial-controlled devices in an industrial environment, such as a group of laboratory instruments. Code-operated switches are available from different vendors in configurations supporting up to 64 different serial devices from one remote connection.
Besides embedding switching characters in the data stream, embedded control characters can also be used to directly control the code-operated switch.