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Serial Port Basics

Serial Specifications

Serial data is any data that is sent one bit at a time using a single electrical signal. In contrast, parallel data is sent 8, 16, 32, or even 64 bits at a time using a signal line for each bit. Data that is sent without the use of a master clock is said to be asynchronous serial data.

Several communications standards exist for the transfer of asynchronous serial data. Common PC's transfer data using the EIA RS-232C (also known as V.28 or V.24). Updated versions of this standard include RS-232D and EIA/TIA-232E, but most literature still refers to the RS-232C or RS-232 standard.

Other asynchronous serial standards in common use include RS-422, RS-423, and RS-485. These standards allow higher data rates and longer cable lengths than RS-232 and are common in industrial settings.

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