Computer Ports - Computer Fundamentals

What is a port? What are the characteristics of ports?

A port is an interface between the computer and its peripheral devices .it is generally called as female part of the connection which sits on the mother board. It can also be programmatic docking point where information flows from a program to the computer or over the Internet.

Characteristics of Ports

A port has the following characteristics −

  • External devices or peripheral devices are connected to a computer using cables and ports.
  • Ports usually sit on the motherboard into which a cable of external device is plugged in.
  • Examples of external devices attached via ports are the mouse, keyboard, monitor, microphone, speakers, etc.


Ports are divided into two types serial port and parallel port −

Serial Port

  • Used for external modems and older computer mouse
  • Two versions: 9 pin, 25 pin model
  • Data travels at 115 kilobits per second

Parallel Port

  • Used for scanners and printers
  • Also called printer port
  • 25 pin model
  • IEEE 1284-compliant Centronics port

PS/2 Port

  • Used for old computer keyboard and mouse
  • Also called mouse port
  • Most of the old computers provide two PS/2 port, each for the mouse and keyboard
  • IEEE 1284-compliant Centronics port

Universal Serial Bus (or USB) Port

  • It can connect all kinds of external USB devices such as external hard disk, printer, scanner, mouse, keyboard, etc.
  • It was introduced in 1997.
  • Most of the computers provide two USB ports as minimum.
  • Data travels at 12 megabits per seconds.
  • USB compliant devices can get power from a USB port.

VGA Port

  • Connects monitor to a computer's video card.
  • It has 15 holes.
  • It is similar to the serial port connector. However, serial port connector has pins, VGA port has holes.
  • Power Connector
  • Three-pronged plug.
  • Connects to the computer's power cable that plugs into a power bar or wall socket.

Firewire Port

  • Transfers large amount of data at very high speed.
  • Connects camcorders and video equipment to the computer.
  • Data travels at 400 to 800 megabits per seconds.
  • Invented by Apple.
  • It has three variants: 4-Pin FireWire 400 connector, 6-Pin FireWire 400 connector, and 9-Pin FireWire 800 connector.

Modem Port

  • Connects a PC's modem to the telephone network.

Ethernet Port

  • Connects to a network and high speed Internet.
  • Connects the network cable to a computer.
  • This port resides on an Ethernet Card.
  • Data travels at 10 megabits to 1000 megabits per seconds depending upon the network bandwidth.

Game Port

  • Connect a joystick to a PC
  • Now replaced by USB
  • Digital Video Interface, DVI port
  • Connects Flat panel LCD monitor to the computer's high-end video graphic cards.
  • Very popular among video card manufacturers.


Sockets are used to connect the microphone and speakers to the sound card of the computer.

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