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Serial communication

Serial communication

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In telecommunication
Telecommunication
Telecommunication is the transmission of information over significant distances to communicate. In earlier times, telecommunications involved the use of visual signals, such as beacons, smoke signals, semaphore telegraphs, signal flags, and optical heliographs, or audio messages via coded...

 and computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

, serial communication is the process of sending data
Data
The term data refers to qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables. Data are typically the results of measurements and can be the basis of graphs, images, or observations of a set of variables. Data are often viewed as the lowest level of abstraction from which...

 one bit
Bit
A bit is the basic unit of information in computing and telecommunications; it is the amount of information stored by a digital device or other physical system that exists in one of two possible distinct states...

 at a time, sequentially, over a communication channel or computer bus
Computer bus
In computer architecture, a bus is a subsystem that transfers data between components inside a computer, or between computers.Early computer buses were literally parallel electrical wires with multiple connections, but the term is now used for any physical arrangement that provides the same...

. This is in contrast to parallel communication, where several bits are sent as a whole, on a link with several parallel channels. Serial communication is used for all long-haul communication and most computer network
Computer network
A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information....

s, where the cost of cable
Cable
A cable is two or more wires running side by side and bonded, twisted or braided together to form a single assembly. In mechanics cables, otherwise known as wire ropes, are used for lifting, hauling and towing or conveying force through tension. In electrical engineering cables are used to carry...

 and synchronization
Synchronization
Synchronization is timekeeping which requires the coordination of events to operate a system in unison. The familiar conductor of an orchestra serves to keep the orchestra in time....

 difficulties make parallel communication impractical. Serial computer buses are becoming more common even at shorter distances, as improved signal integrity
Signal integrity
Signal integrity or SI is a set of measures of the quality of an electrical signal. In digital electronics, a stream of binary values is represented by a voltage waveform. However, digital signals are fundamentally analog in nature, and all signals are subject to effects such as noise,...

 and transmission speeds in newer serial technologies have begun to outweigh the parallel bus's advantage of simplicity (no need for serializer and deserializer, or SerDes
SerDes
A Serializer/Deserializer is a pair of functional blocks commonly used in high speed communications to compensate for limited input/output. These blocks convert data between serial data and parallel interfaces in each direction...

) and to outstrip its disadvantages (clock skew
Clock skew
-In circuit design:In circuit designs, clock skew is a phenomenon in synchronous circuits in which the clock signal arrives at different components at different times...

, interconnect density). The migration from PCI
Peripheral Component Interconnect
Conventional PCI is a computer bus for attaching hardware devices in a computer...

 to PCI Express
PCI Express
PCI Express , officially abbreviated as PCIe, is a computer expansion card standard designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X, and AGP bus standards...

 is an example.

Serial buses


Integrated circuit
Integrated circuit
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is an electronic circuit manufactured by the patterned diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material...

s are more expensive when they have more pins. To reduce the number of pins in a package, many ICs use a serial bus to transfer data when speed is not important. Some examples of such low-cost serial buses include SPI
Serial Peripheral Interface Bus
The Serial Peripheral Interface Bus or SPI bus is a synchronous serial data link standard named by Motorola that operates in full duplex mode. Devices communicate in master/slave mode where the master device initiates the data frame. Multiple slave devices are allowed with individual slave select ...

, I²C
I²C
I²C is a multi-master serial single-ended computer bus invented by Philips that is used to attach low-speed peripherals to a motherboard, embedded system, cellphone, or other electronic device. Since the mid 1990s, several competitors I²C ("i-squared cee" or "i-two cee"; Inter-Integrated Circuit;...

, UNI/O
UNI/O
The UNI/O bus is an asynchronous serial bus created by Microchip Technology for low speed communication in embedded systems. The bus uses a master/slave configuration, requiring one signal to pass data between devices...

, and 1-Wire
1-Wire
1-Wire is a device communications bus system designed by Dallas Semiconductor Corp. that provides low-speed data, signaling, and power over a single signal. 1-Wire is similar in concept to I²C, but with lower data rates and longer range. It is typically used to communicate with small inexpensive...

.

Serial versus parallel


The communication links across which computers—or parts of computers—talk to one another may be either serial or parallel. A parallel link transmits several streams of data simultaneously along multiple channels (e.g., wires, printed circuit tracks, or optical fibres); a serial link transmits a single stream of data.

Although a serial link may seem inferior to a parallel one, since it can transmit less data per clock cycle, it is often the case that serial links can be clocked considerably faster than parallel links in order to achieve a higher data rate. A number of factors allow serial to be clocked at a higher rate:
  • Clock skew
    Clock skew
    -In circuit design:In circuit designs, clock skew is a phenomenon in synchronous circuits in which the clock signal arrives at different components at different times...

     between different channels is not an issue (for unclocked asynchronous serial communication links).
  • A serial connection requires fewer interconnecting cables (e.g. wires/fibres) and hence occupies less space. The extra space allows for better isolation of the channel from its surroundings.
  • Crosstalk is less of an issue, because there are fewer conductors in proximity.


In many cases, serial is a better option because it is cheaper to implement. Many IC
Integrated circuit
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is an electronic circuit manufactured by the patterned diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material...

s have serial interfaces, as opposed to parallel ones, so that they have fewer pins and are therefore less expensive.

Examples of serial communication architectures

  • Morse code
    Morse code
    Morse code is a method of transmitting textual information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment...

     telegraphy
    Telegraphy
    Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages via some form of signalling technology. Telegraphy requires messages to be converted to a code which is known to both sender and receiver...

  • RS-232
    RS-232
    In telecommunications, RS-232 is the traditional name for a series of standards for serial binary single-ended data and control signals connecting between a DTE and a DCE . It is commonly used in computer serial ports...

     (low-speed, implemented by serial ports
    Serial port
    In computing, a serial port is a serial communication physical interface through which information transfers in or out one bit at a time...

    )
  • RS-422
  • RS-423
    RS-423
    RS/EIA/TIA-423 is a standard for serial communications. It defines an unbalanced interface , with a single, unidirectional sending driver, and allows for up to 10 receivers . It is normally implemented in integrated circuit technology and can also be employed for the interchange of serial binary...

  • RS-485
  • I²C
  • SPI
    Serial Peripheral Interface Bus
    The Serial Peripheral Interface Bus or SPI bus is a synchronous serial data link standard named by Motorola that operates in full duplex mode. Devices communicate in master/slave mode where the master device initiates the data frame. Multiple slave devices are allowed with individual slave select ...

  • ARINC 818
    ARINC 818
    ARINC 818: Avionics Digital Video Bus is a video interface and protocol standard developed for high bandwidth, low latency, uncompressed digital video transmission in avionics systems...

     Avionics Digital Video Bus
  • Universal Serial Bus
    Universal Serial Bus
    USB is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and protocols used in a bus for connection, communication and power supply between computers and electronic devices....

     (moderate-speed, for connecting peripherals to computers)
  • FireWire
  • Ethernet
    Ethernet
    Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies for local area networks commercially introduced in 1980. Standardized in IEEE 802.3, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies....

  • Fibre Channel
    Fibre Channel
    Fibre Channel, or FC, is a gigabit-speed network technology primarily used for storage networking. Fibre Channel is standardized in the T11 Technical Committee of the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards , an American National Standards Institute –accredited standards...

     (high-speed, for connecting computers to mass storage devices)
  • InfiniBand
    InfiniBand
    InfiniBand is a switched fabric communications link used in high-performance computing and enterprise data centers. Its features include high throughput, low latency, quality of service and failover, and it is designed to be scalable...

     (very high speed, broadly comparable in scope to PCI
    Peripheral Component Interconnect
    Conventional PCI is a computer bus for attaching hardware devices in a computer...

    )
  • MIDI control of electronic musical instruments
  • DMX512 control of theatrical lighting
  • SDI-12
    SDI-12
    SDI-12 is the acronym for "Serial Data Interface at 1200 Baud". SDI-12 is an asynchronous, ASCII, serial communications protocol that was developed for intelligent sensory instruments that typically monitor environmental data...

     industrial sensor protocol
  • Serial Attached SCSI
    Serial Attached SCSI
    Serial Attached SCSI is a computer bus used to move data to and from computer storage devices such as hard drives and tape drives. SAS depends on a point-to-point serial protocol that replaces the parallel SCSI bus technology that first appeared in the mid 1980s in data centers and workstations,...

  • Serial ATA
    Serial ATA
    Serial ATA is a computer bus interface for connecting host bus adapters to mass storage devices such as hard disk drives and optical drives...

  • SpaceWire
    SpaceWire
    SpaceWire is a spacecraft communication network based in part on the IEEE 1355 standard of communications. It is coordinated by the European Space Agency in collaboration with international space agencies including NASA, JAXA and RKA...

     Spacecraft communication network
  • HyperTransport
    HyperTransport
    HyperTransport , formerly known as Lightning Data Transport , is a technology for interconnection of computer processors. It is a bidirectional serial/parallel high-bandwidth, low-latency point-to-point link that was introduced on April 2, 2001...

  • PCI Express
    PCI Express
    PCI Express , officially abbreviated as PCIe, is a computer expansion card standard designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X, and AGP bus standards...

  • SONET
    Synchronous optical networking
    Synchronous Optical Networking and Synchronous Digital Hierarchy are standardized multiplexing protocols that transfer multiple digital bit streams over optical fiber using lasers or highly coherent light from light-emitting diodes . At low transmission rates data can also be transferred via an...

     and SDH
    Synchronous optical networking
    Synchronous Optical Networking and Synchronous Digital Hierarchy are standardized multiplexing protocols that transfer multiple digital bit streams over optical fiber using lasers or highly coherent light from light-emitting diodes . At low transmission rates data can also be transferred via an...

     (high speed telecommunication over optical fibers)
  • T-1
    T-carrier
    In telecommunications, T-carrier, sometimes abbreviated as T-CXR, is the generic designator for any of several digitally multiplexed telecommunications carrier systems originally developed by Bell Labs and used in North America, Japan, and South Korea....

    , E-1
    E-carrier
    In digital telecommunications, where a single physical wire pair can be used to carry many simultaneous voice conversations by time-division multiplexing, worldwide standards have been created and deployed...

     and variants (high speed telecommunication over copper pairs)
  • MIL-STD-1553A/B
    MIL-STD-1553
    MIL-STD-1553 is a military standard published by the United States Department of Defense that defines the mechanical, electrical, and functional characteristics of a serial data bus. It was originally designed for use with military avionics, but has also become commonly used in spacecraft on-board...


See also


  • Computer bus
    Computer bus
    In computer architecture, a bus is a subsystem that transfers data between components inside a computer, or between computers.Early computer buses were literally parallel electrical wires with multiple connections, but the term is now used for any physical arrangement that provides the same...

  • List of device bandwidths
  • Comparison of synchronous and asynchronous signalling
    Comparison of synchronous and asynchronous signalling
    Synchronous and asynchronous transmissions are two different methods of transmission synchronization. Synchronous transmissions are synchronized by an external clock, while asynchronous transmissions are synchronized by special signals along the transmission medium.-The need for...

  • Asynchronous serial communication
  • Synchronous serial communication
  • Universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter
    Universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter
    A universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter, abbreviated UART , is a type of "asynchronous receiver/transmitter", a piece of computer hardware that translates data between parallel and serial forms. UARTs are commonly used in conjunction with communication standards such as EIA RS-232, RS-422 or...

     (UART)
  • 8N1
  • Data transmission
    Data transmission
    Data transmission, digital transmission, or digital communications is the physical transfer of data over a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communication channel. Examples of such channels are copper wires, optical fibres, wireless communication channels, and storage media...

  • Federal Standard 1037C
    Federal Standard 1037C
    Federal Standard 1037C, titled Telecommunications: Glossary of Telecommunication Terms is a United States Federal Standard, issued by the General Services Administration pursuant to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended....

  • MIL-STD-188
    MIL-STD-188
    MIL-STD-188 is a series of U.S. military standards relating to telecommunications.-Purpose:Faced with “past technical deficiencies in telecommunications systems and equipment and software…that were traced to basic inadequacies in the application of telecommunication standards and to the lack of a...

  • Serial Peripheral Interface Bus
    Serial Peripheral Interface Bus
    The Serial Peripheral Interface Bus or SPI bus is a synchronous serial data link standard named by Motorola that operates in full duplex mode. Devices communicate in master/slave mode where the master device initiates the data frame. Multiple slave devices are allowed with individual slave select ...


External links