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computer ports and how they work

computer ports and how they work

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Published by Bobby
A Quick guide to computer ports and how they function.
A Quick guide to computer ports and how they function.

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Published by: Bobby on Apr 07, 2008
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05/08/2014

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A guide to PortsThis is a quick guide to computer ports and how they function.I/O PortsThe Input/Output (I/O) ports are used to connectvarious devices to the computer and hence enablecommunication between the device and thecomputer.These ports are typically present at thebackside of the computer.They are clearly marked.Example: External Modem is connected to serialports; Printers are connected to parallel ports.These ports help in transmitting the data fromthe device to the computer and vice versa.Each port has a specific way of communicatingand this depends upon the speed and size of theport. Example: Serial, Parallel and USB.In the following lesson, you will learn toidentify these ports and list theirfunctionality.Serial PortIn a serial port, the communication takes placethrough a single line or a circuit. The data istransferred one bit at a time from sender toreceiver. The serial port takes 8, 16, or 32parallel bits from the computer bus and convertsit as an 8, 16, or 32 bit serial stream. Thename serial communication comes from the factthat each bit of information is transferred inseries from one location to another.Serial communications are of two types:Synchronous and Asynchronous.Synchronous: In this type, the sending andreceiving ends of the communication aresynchronized using a clock that precisely timesthe period separating each bit. By checking theclock the receiving end can determine if a bitis missing or if an extra bit (usuallyelectrically induced) has been introduced in thestream.Asynchronous: In this type, the bit stream ismarked to help keep track of each bit. The startbit indicates the start of the data stream andthe timing of each bit helps in finding theposition of each bit. Here, timing is not animportant aspect but the speed of the portsshould be the same. Serial CableThere are different types of serial cables.However, we will discuss about the two mostcommon types for our purposes which are
 
null-modem cables and standard (straight)
RS-232 cables.Null Modem CablesA null-modem cable passes some signals, likesignal ground, straight through, but switches
other signals. For example, the send data pin
on one end goes to the receive data pin on the
other endRS-232 CableAll the RS-232C signals are passedstraight-through in a standard serial cablewhich means the send data in on one end of the
cable goes to the send data pin on the other
end. This is the type of cable that is used toconnect a modem to the system, and is alsosuitable for some terminals. It is an acceptedindustry standard for serial communicationconnections. Adopted by the Electric IndustriesAssociation, this Recommended Standard (RS)defines the specific lines and signalcharacteristics used by serial communicationcontrollers to standardize the transmission ofserial data between devices. The letter 'C' heresignifies the third in a series.DB-9A DB-9 connector is a 9 pin serial connectionwhich is mostly used on laptop and desktopcomputers, as well as token ring connections .The DB-9 connector is commonly used for the 1stserial port (COM1). The serial ports are called"COM ports" and are labeled as COM1, COM2, etc.The COM1 on a PC, is typically DB-9 typeconnector and is commonly connected to the mouse. DB 9 Female connectorThese connectors are used either with shieldedor un-shield cables with up to nine signalwires. However, all the pin positions may not beused. This is typically used for connection tonine-pin serial ports on PCs.DB-9 Male Connector:These connectors are used either with shieldedor un-shielded cables with up to nine signalwires. Here again, all pin positions may not beused. Its typical usage is for extension cables.DB-25Most of the Serial ports follow a standardcalled the RS-232 specification. RS-232 definesthe meaning of the different serial signals andtheir respective pin assignments on a standard25-pin (DB-25) serial connector.DB-25 connectors can either be male, with thepins sticking out, or female, with matchingholes. Often there is very small number markingfor the pins or holes 1 through 25. The femaleconnector is just a mirror image of the male, so
 
that pins and holes match.RJ-11The standard telephone line connector that isplugged into a jack in the wall to receive phoneservice uses RJ-11 connectors.This connector is also used to connect computersto internet or private networks. It is thestandard connector used on 2-pair (4-wire) UTP(Unshielded Twisted Pair) and flat-satinuntwisted cable. It is also the standardconnector used in telephone wiring.The RJ-11 connector actually has 6 connectorpositions. However, only 4 are normally wiredand in many cases only 2 are utilized. RJ-45RJ-45 (Registered Jack - Type 45) connectorslook almost like standard telephone connectors.They house eight wires as against four wires ina telephone connector. The actual concept wasthat the central two pins would be one pair, thenext two the second pair, and so on until theouter pins of an eight-pin connector would bethe fourth twisted pair.Also, signal shielding was optimised byalternating the "live" and "earthy" pins of eachpair. This pattern for the eight-pin connectorresulted in a pinout where the outermost pairare then too far apart to meet the electricalrequirements of high-speed LAN protocols. Parallel PortsParallel ports are probably the easiest to useand work with as they are fast and mostlyproblem free. Parallel ports have remainedunchanged for a long period of time but theyhave extended their capabilities to exchangedata faster and more reliably.The functioning of a parallel port takes placeby sending its information in parallel signalwires. By sending the signal through 8 separatewires faster communication can be achieved thanwith a serial port that send its informationthrough 2 wires. Theoretically, it looks likethe parallel port would be 8 times faster, butin practice, the increase in speed is muchgreater, since there is no wait times forencoding and decoding of the serial signal.Simple parallel ports typically send their dataat 115,200 bits per second and new enhancedparallel ports will go up to 100 times faster.DB-25 Connector:

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