NMEA Gateways & Multiplexers

NMEA 0183 devices can be connected to a computer via a USB gateway or multiplexer that has been designed for that purpose. A gateway provides a single input and output whereas a multiplexer provides several inputs and one or more outputs.

Although an NMEA 0183 device can be connected directly to a serial port, this is not recommended since the NMEA uses V.11 (RS-422) signals and serial ports use V.28 (RS-232) signals. The two can inter-work, but reliability cannot be guaranteed.

Most of these devices use serial-USB interface chips made by just two manufacturers: FTDI & Prolific. Both these chip makers provide Windows & Mac OS X device driver downloads on their web sites.
 
Model Vendor Type Linux Windows Mac OS X
MiniPlex-USB(-AIS) ShipModul  Mux Yes, FTDI driver  Yes, with driver Yes, with driver
USG-1 Actisense  GW     Yes, with driver
NM42U Noland  Mux  Yes    
NMEA,Seatalk,AIS,USB gadgetPool.de  Mux  Yes  Yes, with driver Yes, with driver
magicPlex8 www.nomatronics.com Mux Yes,Ethernet Yes, Ethernet Yes,Ethernet