parallel port

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parallel port

[′par·ə‚lel ‚pȯrt]

parallel port

An interface from a computer system where data is transferred in or out in parallel, that is, on more than one wire. A parallel port carries one bit on each wire thus multiplying the transfer rate obtainable over a single wire. There will usually be some control signals on the port as well to say when data is ready to be sent or received.

The commonest kind of parallel port is a printer port, e.g. a Centronics port which transfers eight bits at a time. Disks are also connected via special parallel ports, e.g. SCSI or IDE.

parallel port

(1) A hardware interface that transfers one or more bytes simultaneously. See parallel interface.

(2) A socket on a computer used to connect a printer or other device via a parallel interface (eight data bits transferring simultaneously). In the past, the parallel port was widely used for printers and occasionally for connecting other devices externally, but was superseded by USB.

Although some business printers may still offer parallel ports, consumer-based printers and new computers have only USB. However, parallel port devices can be hooked up to new computers with a USB-to-parallel adapter cable.

It Goes Back to the 1970s
The Centronics Data Computer Corporation, a subsidiary of Wang Laboratories in the 1970s, introduced a parallel port for printers. It was adapted for the IBM PC in 1981 and enhanced and standardized by the IEEE in 1994 (see IEEE 1284). The port first appeared on plug-in cards, but was later built into the motherboard. See Centronics interface.

In Transition
As USB ports (left) began to proliferate, the parallel and serial ports (right) were included for a while, but eventually gave way entirely to USB.

In Transition
As USB ports (left) began to proliferate, the parallel and serial ports (right) were included for a while, but eventually gave way entirely to USB.
References in periodicals archive ?
This patent validates OnSpec Electronic's ability to establish new technology in the parallel port arena," said OnSpec OEM Business Partner Jon Scherrer.
The Eagle TR-3 Parallel Port is as easy to connect and use as a printer.
The 2MB/sec high-speed parallel ports are ideal for use in high performance peripheral connectivity applications including printers, tape backup systems, CD-ROM players, parallel to SCSI adapters and removable hard disk drives.
The company pioneered the use of the universal PC parallel port to connect PCs to a LAN and has sold more than 600,000 external LAN adapters to date.
The parallel port isn't gone yet," said Shane Rau, senior research analyst with IDC.
SoundXchange Model BX includes both sound digitizing and playback hardware and connects to the parallel port with the supplied cable.
The board comes with the host adapter and module for $1,095 and with a parallel port connector for $1,295.
The Parallel Port Multiplexor III offers users a quick, inexpensive means of connecting a portable or desktop PC to a network without sacrificing a link to a local printer," said Dirk Gates, president and CEO of Xircom.
By offering SecureTouch PC in both USB and Parallel Port models, we are providing greater flexibility to accommodate diverse network systems, computers and their peripheral devices.
It connects externally to the printer's parallel port.
PC-based instrumentation and data logging specialist Pico Technology has announced the immediate availability of a USB to Parallel Port Adapter for use with all of its popular low-cost, parallel port based, test and measurement products.
Xircom's Pocket LAN Adapters connect portable and desktop PCs to a network through the parallel port and incorporate Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) technology for improved performance and parallel port throughput.

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