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Input/output conduit for personal computers. The serial port was created as an interface between data terminal equipment and data-communications equipment. It processes data sequentially, as a series of bits, and is used to connect equipment (e.g., a modem or mouse) to the computer. The parallel port processes several data bits in parallel and is used to connect peripherals such as computer printers and optical scanners to the computer. The parallel port is faster, but the serial port is cheaper and requires less power. See alsoUSB.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on port, visit Britannica.com.