Orchaidman: FYI, (DevMike if stepping on toes, please advise) LOR uses the RS-485 Serial protocol system, they opted for Cat5 cable and ends because they where 1) easy for the user to get parts for custom cables, and 2) the board connectors are "off the shelf". 3) the twisted pair in cat5 is the perfect mate to RS485. RS-485, like I said, is a Serial communication system HOWEVER, it is very different from the common RS-232 (On most older computers). RS-232 uses a multi wire control system to deliver and receive data, Tx/Rx CTS, RTS, Ground, and V+ (5v) many people discard the CTS and RTS, and use only the basic 4 wires, BUT, RS-232 has a limit of cable length of a mere 150 feet (thereabouts), where as RS-485 (with correct cable termination resistors (120 ohm, each end) can EASILY do 4000 feet ! on twisted pair !!! There in lies the HUGE difference in the two RS standards. RS-485 uses common mode "DIFFERENTIAL PAIR" (2 wires), it can be used on normal 4 wire telephone cord, BUT, if it is NOT twisted pair, (the silver cord with the wires side by side is a good example of NOT twisted pair) it gets "spastic" around 200 feet, the twisted pair in Cat5 cable is the other half of the robust and very reliable communication system of RS-485. Rather than using the 232 standard of dots and dashes on a 5 volt signal level, 485 uses 12 volt differential signalling BETWEEN the pair (the out/in of the system uses a floating reference and the two wires swap voltages to indicate digital data. because the twisted pair acts as a common mode filter system, the entire cable "ACTS" as if it was a shielded cable (when you twist the wires, they form a pseudo-shield for the opposite wire in the pair)
RS-485 is used in Industry for huge machine sensors and control, for data loggers & time keeping system. In cars the "CANABUS" data system is a 2 wire RS-485 system (even though the industry does NOT want people to know that).
RS-485 is one of the most robust signal transfer methods I have seen or dealt with in my 50+ years in electronics.