Cables, Null Modems, and Gender Changers

In a perfect world, all serial ports on every computer would be DTE devices with 25-pin male "D" connectors. All other devices to would be DCE devices with 25-pin female connectors. This would allow you to use a cable in which each pin on one end of the cable is connected to the same pin on the other end. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. Serial ports use both 9 and 25 pins, many devices can be configured as either DTE or DCE, and - as in the case of many data collection devices - may use completely non standard or proprietary pin-outs. Because of this lack of standardization, special cables called null modem cables, gender changers and custom made cables are often required.