Computer ports: Functions, Applications, and Types of Ports

Understanding computer ports and their functions are not easy as it seems. With multiple port numbers and port names, it can only get confusing as you move forward. But you need to get your basics right, and for that, here are some of the most common types of computer ports and their applications below. Read on to get a better insight into each one of them. 

What is a Port?

A port is a physical point on the computer that helps transfer data to and from peripheral devices. Your keyboards, mouse, and other external devices such as printers function with the help of ports.

To help you understand better, charging your smartphones is possible due to the USB-C port. The port acts as an interface between the devices. The USB-C port serves as an interface between your mobile phone and the charging cable. 

What Is The Most Common Type of Port?

USB Type-A is the most common type of computer port as it enables you to connect to multiple peripheral devices. It supports audio, video, printers, external storage devices such as hard drives and pen drives, and keyboards, Due to its wide range of functionality, it is the most popular type of port.

The Different Types of Computer Ports and their Applications

Apart from computer ports, there are network and logical ports too. But not to confuse or use them interchangeably. All three are distinct, and the terms are used under different circumstances. Here we are focusing more on computer ports and their applications. So, without further ado, let's dive right in to know more about them. 

  • Serial Port

Serial ports support serial communication and transfer one bit at a time. 

DE-9 and DB-25 are examples of a serial port. While in legacy systems, DB-25 is a serial port, in modern systems, they fall under the parallel ports category. DB-9 is a nine-pin D-shaped port that was the smallest port during the initial days. However, they have a low transmission rate compared to parallel ports. Serial ports are primarily used in Security cameras, modems, controllers, and mouse. 

  • Parallel Port

The transmission speed is higher in parallel ports as data is transferred 8 bits at a time. DB-25 is a parallel port that uses 25 pins to connect peripheral devices such as printers and hard drives. Unlike serial ports, here, the data is not transferred one at a time. It's fast due to the parallel interface. 

  • Video Port

Video ports serve as an interface between the computer and devices such as projectors. An example of a video port is the VGA port widely used previously, but the video quality was not how the videos are now. At present, HDMI and display ports are widely popular. 

  • Audio Port 

As the name suggests, audio ports act as an interface to connect audio devices such as speakers. If you have a home theatre, you might have noticed three cables having red, white, and yellow colors. These cables ensure better sound and video quality. Audio signals sent through the channel can be either digital or analog based on the type of ports. 

  • DVI 

DVI ports or Digital Video Interface is of two types: mini DVI and micro DVI. It has 24 pins and acts as an interface for both audio and video. They provide a high resolution and hence are used in modern computers and LCD monitors.  But the main drawback of this port is it doesn't support audio. However, since it is similar to VGA, you can connect this port to a VGA port and using a converter. It is also forward and backward compatible and is a popular video port at present.

  • Display Port

Display ports were designed to overcome the drawbacks of VGA and DVI ports. It is backward compatible, and data transfers happen in packets. You get high-quality images and videos with this.  You can choose to transfer both audio and video through this simultaneously.

Right now, most of the devices support HDMI, but display ports are popular too. There are two types of display ports: standard and mini, and it is one of the six types of video ports. It's almost similar to HDMI. Let's take a look at the HDMI below.

  • HDMI

HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface is one of the most popular computer ports that provide high-quality audio and video. It acts as an interface between the computer and devices such as projectors and DVD players, and two types of HDMI ports are mini and micro HDMI. Both have 19 pins and sends uncompressed video with a high resolution of 4096×2160. Micro HDMI is the most used as it helps function better. It is mainly used in cameras and other devices,

  • USB

You might have heard about USB cables and maybe using them too. The USB or Universal Serial Bus ports are an interface that connects the cable to the mobile or the computer. It is used to connect cameras, removable devices, keyboards, and more.

USB-A, USB-B, USB-C, USB-B mini, USB-B micro, and Lightning are different USB ports. The ones you use to charge your smartphones are through this port. It is multi-functional.

You can transfer data and charge devices along with acting as an interface between the computer/mobile. USB-C has 16 pins with a high transfer rate. It is one of the most popular connectors.

Concluding Thoughts

There are still plenty of computer ports to know, but the ones listed above are the main types of ports one should know. Though they have evolved with time, their purpose remains the same.

When you compare legacy and modern ports, you can notice minor differences, but with such changes, their functionality has improved greatly.

We get to watch high-quality videos with top-notch sound effects. The limitations of past technologies were implemented in the recent ones, and new features were added, making it fully functional with multiple uses. Even with all the latest advancements, we can only see it evolving with time.

Computer ports and their applicationsDisplay portDviHdmiMost common type of port?Parallel portPortsSerial portUsb

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