A port is an interface or point of attachment. It is used to connect peripheral devices with computer such as printers, keyboards or mouse. Ports have different types of connectors. A connector joins a cable to a device. One end of the cable is attached to the connector on the system unit and the other end is attached to the connector on the peripheral device. Different genders of connectors are as follows:
Male Connectors: It has one or more exposed pins like the end of an electrical cord.
Female Connector: It has matching holes to accept the pins on a male connector like an electrical wall outlet.
Gender changer is a device that is used to join two connectors of same gender i.e. two male connectors or two female connectors.
Different types of ports are as follows:
1. Serial Ports
A serial port is used to connect devices to the system unit. A serial port transmits data one bit at a time. It is usually used to connect devices that do not require fast data transmission like mouse and keyboard etc.
2. Parallel Ports
Parallel port is used to connect devices that transfer many bits at a time. Printers connect to computer using a parallel port.
3. Universal Serial Bus Port
Universal serial bus port (USB) can connect up to 127 different peripheral devices with a single connector type. Many computers have one or two USB ports. Multiple devices can be attached to USB port through daisy chain. It means that the first device is attached to the USB port of the computer, second USB device connects to the first USB device, the third USB device connects to the second USB device and so on.
An alternate to daisy chain is USB hub. USB hub plugs into the USB port on the system unit. It contains multiple USB ports used to connect many USB devices.
4. Special-Purpose Ports
Some special-purpose ports are as follows:
1. 1394 Port
This port is also called FireWire port. It can connect multiple types of devices that require faster data transmission speeds like digital video cameras, digital VCR, color printers, scanners etc. It can connect up to 63 devices together.
2. MIDI Port
MIDI stands for musical instrument digital interface. MIDI port connects the system unit to a musical instrument like an electronic keyboard. A system unit with MIDI port can record sounds created by a synthesizer and then process these sounds. Synthesizer is peripheral or chip that creates sound from digital instructions.
3. SCSI Port
SCSI stands for small computer system interface. It is a special high-speed parallel port to attach SCSI peripheral devices like disk drives and printers. It can connect up to 15 devices using a daisy chain.
4. IrDA Port
IrDA stands for Infrared Data Association. It is also called Fast Infrared (FIR). A wireless device can transmit signals to a computer with IrDA port. Different devices use IrDA port like keyboard, mouse, printers, digital cameras etc. These devices use a high-speed IrDA port.
5. Bluetooth Port
Bluetooth port is an alternative of IrDA port. It uses radio waves to transmit data between two devices. Bluetooth-enabled devices can communicate with one another without aligned to one another. The USB port or serial port can be converted into Bluetooth port by using Bluetooth wireless port adapter.