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The RS-422 Standard (ANSI/TIA/EIA-422-B) and its international equivalent ITU-T Recommendation V.11 (also known as X.27), specify the "electrical characteristics of the balanced voltage digital interface circuit" . It provides for data transmission, using balanced or differential signaling, with unidirectional/non-reversible, terminated or non-terminated transmission lines, point to point, or multi-drop. EIA-422/V.11 does not allow multiple drivers but only multiple receivers. Key advantage offered by this standard include the differential receiver, a differential driver and data rates as high as 10Mbps at 12 meters (40 ft). Standard only specifies the electrical signaling characteristics of a single balanced signal. Protocols and pin assignments are defined by the user.
As well as RS-422, the RS-485 specifies too only electrical characteristics of the driver and the receiver. It does not specify any data protocol. It enable configuration of inexpensive local networks and multidrop communications links. Data transmission speeds goes up in standard up to 35 Mbps up to 10 m. Since RS-485 use differential balanced line over twisted pair (like the RS-422 standard), it can span over large distances (up to 4000 feet/1200 meters).
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