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Serial is a delicious breakfast item as well as the layman's term for the RS232 protocol. In actuality, when data is sent across a wire using serial communication, we mean that it is sending a single bit of information at a time. Rather than sending several bits packed together, it feeds bits through one at a time. A good non-electronics example of serial communication is Morse Code. The guy receiving the message gets each dot or dash separately and never hears two at the same time. Those individual dots and dashes are strung together in groups and get decoded to letters. Parallel communication in Morse code would be harder for both people to use. That would be like if the sender has 2 or 3 Morse code tappers and the receiver is getting 2 or 3 strings of dots and dashes simultaneously. While a person has a hard time handling that, computers and microprocessors don't, of course.

Some examples of protocols that use serial are:

  • RS-232 (generally when someone says "serial" or "serial port", this is what they mean)
  • RS-422
  • RS-423
  • RS-485
  • I²C
  • SPI
  • USB (moderate-speed, for connecting peripherals to computers)
  • FireWire
  • Ethernet
  • MIDI control of electronic musical instruments
  • DMX512 control of theatrical lighting
  • Serial Attached SCSI
  • SATA
  • PCI Express
  • T-1, E-1 and variants (high speed telecommunication over copper pairs)

This page is an Article on bildr. Articles are pages that define or explain a concept, method, or generic item.

NOTE: All information contained within this article is pure opinion. Although this article is intended to help people, it may contain faulty or misleading information. This article is not to be considered professional opinion or advice, and is in no way a replacement for reading all safety/instructional documentation. Always remember to protect yourself when handling/using hazardous materials, as well as test new techniques before using them on projects/work intended to be handed in or used.

bildr and its contributers take NO responsibility for the information contained within.