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Difference between Parallel and Serial Communication

May. 20, 2022

Communication between two machines requires the transfer of signals from the output to the input. There needs to be a sender and a receiver of the signal for the complete communication process to take place. Both serial and parallel communication are two ways of transmitting data over a network. Both systems have unique ways of operating, and the differences between the two range from the mode of relaying signals to the level of connectivity they require.

Data Transfer

Serial communication devices transfer data in the same direction. Parallel communication devices send data in multiple bits in the same direction. In serial communication, an 8-bit-long word is sent sequentially and received after all 8 bits have been sent, one at a time. The bits are then combined back into one byte, which is the initial communication. In parallel communication, 8 bits are transmitted in the corresponding 8 channels, with each channel transmitting one bit and receiving one byte of data at a time.


Difference between Parallel and Serial Communication

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Parallel communication devices are faster than serial communication devices. A serial communication device sends data in bits, and finally these bits are coordinated to form a data byte. Parallel communication devices send and receive the same amount of data at the same time, so they are faster. Parallel devices have eight wires connected to the port, which transmits all eight bits simultaneously through the eight-wire connector. This means that the parallel device transmits 8 bits of data at the same time as the serial device transmits a single bit.


Serial communication uses fewer connections and cables than parallel communication. Using fewer wires in serial communication makes its signal clearer, making it suitable for long distance communication. Parallel communication uses more lines to allow simultaneous transmission of data. The use of multiple lines causes signal distortion, making parallel communication unsuitable for long distance transmission.


Difference between Parallel and Serial Communication

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Cost and Space

Serial communication has one port with connectors, while parallel ports are usually connected to eight wires. Therefore, serial ports require less investment to purchase wires compared to parallel communication. In terms of space, parallel communication requires more space to accommodate its wires, while serial communication uses minimal space for its individual connectors.


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