Computer Port

Table of Contents


A computer is a device that takes data and turns it into meaningful information. It processes the input based on the instructions given by the user and provides the desired output. We are aware that we can connect multiple external devices to a computer system. These devices are connected to the computer using ports, which are physical docking points on the computer where cables are used for connection. In simpler terms, a port acts as an interface between the motherboard and an external device of the computer.

Computer Port

In computer terminology, a port typically refers to a part of a computing device that allows connection to peripherals like input and output devices. Computer ports serve various purposes, such as connecting monitors, webcams, speakers or other peripheral devices.
A port acts as a virtual point where network connections begin and end. Ports exist in software form and are managed by the operating system of a computer. Each port is associated with a specific process or service.
Computers use ports to distinguish between various types of data traffic. For example, emails and webpages are directed to different ports, even though they both arrive at a computer through the same Internet connection.

Types of Computer Ports

There are different types of ports available:
  1. Serial port
  2. Parallel port
  3. USB port
  4. PS/2 port
  5. VGA port
  6. Modem port 
  7. FireWire Port 
  8. Sockets
  9. Infrared Port 
  10. Game Port 
  11. Digital Video Interface(DVI) Port
  12. Ethernet Port
1.Serial port(COM Port):
Serial ports, also known as communication ports, are used to connect external devices such as modems, mice or keyboards in older PCs. Serial cables are cost effective to produce and offer better shielding against interference compared to parallel cables. These ports come in two versions; a 9 pin model and a 25 pin model. They transmit data at a speed of 115 KB/sec.


2.Parallel ports :
 Parallel ports (LPT ports) are commonly used for connecting scanners and printers. They enable the simultaneous transmission of multiple bits through parallel communication. The data transfer speed of parallel ports is significantly higher than that of serial ports. They typically use a 25 pin model and are also referred to as Printer Ports or Line Printer Ports.
Computer Port
Computer Port
3.USB (Universal Serial Bus):
 Introduced in 1997, USB (Universal Serial Bus) is capable of connecting various external devices such as external hard disks, printers, scanners, mice, keyboards and more. Most computer systems provide a minimum of two USB ports.
This is a new type of serial connection port that is faster than the older serial ports. These USB ports are more intelligent and versatile, as they allow the connection of up to 127 USB peripherals to one port through “daisy chaining”. The data transfer rate for this port is 12 megabits per second and it also supports plug and play communication.
4.PS/2 Port:
As for the PS/2 port, it is a special port used for connecting older computer keyboards and mice.
The invention of the PS/2 ports by IBM allowed for the connection of keyboards and mice to old computers. Each port, which is a 6 pin mini Din connector, served a specific purpose.
5.VGA ports
The VGA ports, also known as Video Graphic Array connectors, were used to connect the computer’s video card to the monitor. These ports have 15 holes and are similar in appearance to serial port connectors. However, VGA ports have holes while serial port connectors have pins.
To connect microphones and speakers to the sound card of a computer, sockets were used.
6.FireWire port :
The FireWire port, developed by Apple as IEEE 1394 interface in the late 1980s and early 1990s, enabled high speed data transfer between camcorders and video equipment and computers. There are three variants; the 4 Pin FireWire 400 connector, the 6 Pin FireWire 400 connector and the 9 Pin FireWire 800 connector.
7.Infrared :
An Infrared (IR) port was utilized for sending and receiving infrared signals from other devices wirelessly. It has a limited range of approximately 5 10 feet.
Game Port;
8.Modem Port;
As the name implies, a Modem port is used for connecting a PC’s modem to the telephone network.
9.The Digital Video Interface (DVI) Port;
The DVI Port is utilized to connect a computer’s high end video graphic cards to an LCD (flat panel) monitor and it has gained significant popularity among video card manufacturers.
DVI Port
10.The Ethernet Port;
The Ethernet Port facilitates network connectivity and high speed internet access, typically provided by LAN or other sources. It allows for the connection of a network cable to a computer and is integrated into an Ethernet card. It enables data transmission speeds ranging from 10 Mb to 1000 Mb (megabits) per second.

Characteristics of Ports;

Ports serve as slots on the motherboard where external devices are connected using cables.
Examples of external devices that can be attached via ports include the mouse, keyboard, monitor, microphone, speakers, etc.

What is a computer network port?

In computer networking, a port enables a computer to utilize a single physical network connection for handling multiple incoming and outgoing requests by assigning each request a unique port number. These port numbers range from 0 to 65535, encompassing a 16 bit number range.
Certain port numbers are designated and consistently linked to particular types of services. For instance, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is always associated with port number 21, while Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) web traffic is always connected to port 80. These ports are commonly referred to as well known ports and their assigned numbers range from 0 to 1023.
On the other hand, the range of port numbers from 1024 to 49151 is known as registered ports. These ports can be officially registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority for specific purposes.

What does it mean to “port” computer software?

In the realm of computer software, porting refers to the process of modifying or adapting software so that it can be used on different types of hardware or operating systems than those it was initially developed for. The outcome of this process is often referred to as a software port.
Here are a few examples illustrating this concept;
  1. Originally designed for x86 processors, Microsoft is now working on making Windows 10 compatible with Arm processors as well.
  2. Even though Office was initially developed for Windows operating systems, a ported version of Office is also available for macOS.
  3. It’s quite common to see games originally created for one gaming console being adapted and made compatible with another type of console.
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