Enhanced Parallel Port

Definition of Enhanced Parallel Port

The Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) is an advanced interface designed for bi-directional data transfer between computers and peripheral devices like printers or scanners. Introduced in the early 1990s, EPP improves upon the original parallel port standard by offering faster data transfer rates and supporting a wider range of devices. EPP achieves its enhanced performance by utilizing dedicated data lines and a handshaking protocol for efficient data exchange.


The phonetics of the keyword “Enhanced Parallel Port” are:Enhanced: /ɛnˈhanst/Parallel: /ˈpærəˌlɛl/Port: /pɔrt/

Key Takeaways

  1. Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) is an improved version of the standard parallel port that offers faster data transfer rates and bidirectional communication between devices like printers, scanners, or external storage devices.
  2. EPP was introduced as a part of the IEEE 1284 standard in 1994 and incorporates Direct Memory Access (DMA) for efficient data transfers without adding extra burden on the CPU.
  3. Despite its improvements, EPP has become less prevalent with the rise of USB, which offers even faster transfer speeds, plug-and-play capabilities, and greater compatibility with a wide range of devices.

Importance of Enhanced Parallel Port

The technology term “Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP)” is important because it refers to a significant advancement in parallel port technology designed to provide faster and more efficient communication between computers and peripheral devices, such as printers and scanners.

EPP emerged in the early 1990s as a response to the growing demand for improved data transfer rates and bidirectional communication, enabling the parallel port to achieve speeds up to 2 MB per second.

With this improved performance and reduced wait times, EPP contributed greatly to enhancing productivity and user experience for both personal and professional computing environments.

Though largely replaced by more advanced technologies like USB today, EPP was a crucial step towards the development of contemporary computer hardware interfaces.


Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) is a beneficial technology designed to overcome the limitations and shortcomings of the traditional parallel ports, which were commonly found in older computer systems. This advanced technology primarily focuses on improving the communication speed between a computer and peripheral devices, such as printers, scanners, and external storage devices.

As a bidirectional communication protocol, EPP facilitates swift data transfers to ensure efficient and effective performance between the computer and the connected devices. This ability to handle simultaneous information transfer in both directions adds value to the overall user experience.

Furthermore, EPP serves an essential role in enhancing compatibility with a diverse range of peripheral devices that was previously challenging to achieve with older parallel port models. The standardization of EPP technology allows for seamless integration with numerous hardware components and accessories.

As a result, both manufacturers and users can save on resources and time, previously invested in developing and utilizing device-specific parallel ports or drivers. In conclusion, Enhanced Parallel Port technology not only bridges the gap in communication speeds for data transfers but also fosters compatibility and user convenience by supporting a myriad of peripheral devices.

Examples of Enhanced Parallel Port

The Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) is a high-speed bidirectional parallel port designed to improve the performance of parallel communication for printers, scanners, and other peripheral devices. Below are three real-world examples of how EPP technology has been used in various devices:

Zip Drives: Iomega Zip drives were popular external storage devices in the 1990s and early 2000s that used EPP technology to connect to a computer. The EPP allowed for faster data transfer between the computer and the Zip drive, making it possible to store and retrieve large files quickly. Zip drives were commonly used for data backup and transferring files between computers.

Scanners: Many flatbed scanners from the 1990s and early 2000s used EPP technology to connect to computers. EPP enabled scanners to have higher data transfer rates and improved performance compared to traditional parallel port connections. This made scanning images at high resolutions (e.g., 1200 dpi or higher) faster and more efficient.

Printers: Some printers, particularly laser printers designed for office use in the 1990s and early 2000s, made use of EPP technology to improve printing speed and performance. The EPP-enabled printers could process print jobs more quickly and handle larger, more complex print files compared to printers running on the traditional parallel port connection.

Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) FAQ

1. What is Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP)?

Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) is an advanced parallel port interface designed for PCs which allows faster data transfer rates compared to the traditional parallel port. It is specifically designed to improve the communication speed between the computer and peripherals such as printers and external storage devices.

2. How is EPP different from the traditional parallel port?

EPP is different from the traditional parallel port in terms of its functionality and speed. EPP provides faster data transfer rates and bidirectional communication, supporting up to 2 Mbps. This makes it more efficient when connecting to high-speed peripherals, while the traditional parallel port operates at lower speeds and primarily supports unidirectional communication.

3. What are the advantages of using EPP?

The main advantages of using EPP include faster data transfer rates, bidirectional communication, and improved compatibility with modern peripherals. This allows for increased efficiency and performance when connecting to devices such as printers, scanners, and external storage devices, making it a more suitable interface for today’s computing needs.

4. How does EPP work?

EPP works by enabling faster and bidirectional communication between the computer and the connected peripheral devices. It uses a protocol that allows data transfer both to and from the device through the same set of parallel port pins. This is achieved by utilizing a handshaking mechanism that ensures efficient data transfer and error control between the devices.

5. Is EPP compatible with all peripherals?

While EPP is designed to be compatible with a wide range of modern peripherals, it is important to note that not all devices may support the EPP interface. It is essential to check the compatibility of your device with EPP before using it in order to ensure proper functioning and performance.

6. How do I set up EPP on my computer?

To set up EPP on your computer, first, make sure that your motherboard and BIOS support EPP. Access your computer’s BIOS settings and look for an option to enable or configure EPP. Once enabled, you may need to install the appropriate drivers for your devices to ensure smooth communication and functioning.

Related Technology Terms

  • Bi-directional communication
  • IEEE 1284 standard
  • Nibble mode
  • EPP mode
  • Centronics interface

Sources for More Information


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