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Serial communication

Serial communication

Serial communication definition

Serial communication is a method of sending and receiving data between devices one bit at a time and in a sequential order, over one communication channel. A data bit is the smallest data unit, meaning serial communication is like sending a word one letter at a time.

Serial communication typically involves using fewer wires and is efficient for tasks like connecting devices or sending data over distances. It is widely used across many technologies, from telecommunications to point-of-sale (POS) systems.

See also: communications system

Serial communication vs. parallel communication

  • Serial communication typically requires fewer wires and has only one data line. Generally, serial communication is slower than parallel communication — but requires simpler hardware and wiring. Serial communication is the more common choice for most modern applications because it is versatile and compatible with various devices and technologies.
  • Parallel communication involves sending multiple bits of data simultaneously over separate communication channels. Parallel communication needs more wires because each bit has a dedicated line. It can be faster than serial communication, but it is more complex to set up.

Examples of serial communication use

  • Connecting keyboards and mice to computers.
  • Sending data between microcontrollers and sensors.
  • Connecting devices (like modems) to computers.
  • Cash drawers, receipt printers, and barcode scanners.
  • Gathering data from remote sensors and weather stations.
  • Navigation and flight control systems in aircraft.

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