Parallel Port


A parallel port is a type of interface found on computers for connecting peripherals. It was originally designed for use with a printer that in most cases, been replaced by USB. The parallel port can send multiple bits of data simultaneously, thereby transmitting data in parallel.


The phonetics of the keyword “Parallel Port” is: /ˈpærəˌlɛl pɔːrt/

Key Takeaways

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  1. The Parallel Port is a type of interface found on computers for connecting peripherals. It is widely known for its use to connect printers, but can connect other devices like scanners and network adapters as well.
  2. It works by transporting multiple bits of data simultaneously in parallel, which earned it its name “Parallel Port”. Its common types include Standard Parallel Port (SPP), Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) and Extended Capabilities Port (ECP).
  3. Despite its wide use in the past, the Parallel Port has largely been replaced by other types of connections that are much faster and more efficient, like USB and Ethernet, since it has restrictions in terms of cable length and speed.



The term “Parallel Port” is significant in the field of technology because it represents one of the earliest types of interfaces used for connecting external equipment to a computer. Established in the 1970s, parallel ports were commonly used to link peripherals like printers, allowing data to be transferred parallel to one another along multiple data lines. This means that several bits of data could be sent and received simultaneously, resulting in a faster communication speed compared to serial ports which transmit data one bit at a time. Although they have largely been eclipsed by newer interfaces like USB in today’s technology landscape, understanding parallel ports is essential to appreciating the history and evolution of computer hardware interfaces.


A Parallel Port is an interface commonly used in computers for communication with peripheral hardware devices. Its primary purpose, as its name suggests, is to perform parallel transmission of data, which means it can transmit multiple data bits at the same time. In theory, this attribute allows parallel ports to transfer data faster compared to other interfaces that transmit data serially. Therefore, it was traditionally used to connect devices such as printers, scanners, and external hard drives to computers, providing a faster communication line between the CPU and these attached peripheral devices.Significantly, with the advent of newer interfaces (like USB and FireWire) that offer higher transmission speeds, the use of parallel ports has gradually decreased. But they can still be found in many older devices, maintaining their relevance in many aspects. For example, they are used in certain embedded system applications and as a debugging tool in software development. In spite of diminished popularity, the contribution of parallel ports in the evolution of computing and peripheral device communication remains undeniable.


1. Printers: One of the most common devices to use a parallel port was a printer. Before the advent of USB, many older models of printers, particularly dot matrix and laser printers, used parallel ports to establish a direct and speedy connection between the computer and printer to transmit data.2. External Hard Drives: Some older models of external hard drives used parallel ports to connect to computers. This provided a quick and efficient way of transferring data between the computer’s internal storage and the external hard drive.3. Scanners: Similar to printers, older model scanners also used parallel ports. This allowed them to quickly and directly transmit analog to digital converted data to the computer for further processing or storage.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q: What is a Parallel Port?**A: A Parallel Port is a type of interface found on computers for connecting peripherals. It is particularly known for connecting printers, but it can also connect other devices such as scanners or external hard drives.**Q: How does a Parallel Port work?**A: A parallel port communicates with a device by sending multiple bits of data simultaneously down various parallel channels, speeding up the overall data transmission process.**Q: What devices commonly use a Parallel Port?**A: In the past, many devices like printers, scanners, zip drives, and external hard drives commonly used parallel ports. However, USB has largely replaced parallel ports for most peripherals.**Q: Is a Parallel Port faster than a Serial Port?**A: Yes, because a Parallel Port can transmit multiple bits of data simultaneously, it is typically faster than a Serial Port which can only send data one bit at a time.**Q: Are Parallel Ports still in use today?**A: Although not as common, some devices and systems still use Parallel Ports. They’ve mostly been replaced by more modern interfaces like USB, which can transfer data more efficiently.**Q: How many pins does a Parallel Port have?**A: A standard parallel port, also called a DB-25 connector, has 25 pins.**Q: How can I identify a Parallel Port on my computer?**A: A parallel port is usually a 25-pin female port, rectangular in shape, located at the back of your computer. However, it became a less common sight on newer computers.**Q: Can a Parallel Port and a USB be used interchangeably?**A: Not directly. However, there are special adapters available that can convert a USB signal into a parallel port signal, and vice versa.

Related Tech Terms

  • Data Transfer
  • Peripheral Devices
  • Parallel Communication
  • Centronics Interface
  • Printer Port

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