> But if I hook one of these up to the RS232 serial terminal port of a system, can I set it up to host a telnet connection so that I can use my iPad with a telnet app to access the machine? It would allow me to have a consolidated "display" at home with my old 1st gen iPad and a keyboard as a terminal my growing collection.
That is how they work, and they do a good job of it. There are Digi
Portserver TS2 and TS4 units that have 2 and 4 ports, and there are
Lantronix models with 2 ports as I recall.
Serial terminal servers is what they are called. I've always used the MSS