Topics / Networks and Data Transmission / Serial and parallel data transmission

Serial and parallel data transmission

Data transmission can occur in two modes (methods), either serial or parallel.

Serial data transmission

In serial data transmission, bits are sent sequentially (one after the other) down the same wire (channel).

Using a single wire reduces costs but slows down the speed of transmission.

Sending data sequentially is perfect for transmitting over longer distances as there are no synchronisation issues.

Typical applications

  • Transmission to another computer or to external devices
  • Medium to long distances
  • Universal Serial Bus (USB)

Parallel data transmission

In parallel data transmission, multiple bits are sent simultaneously down different wires (channels) within the same cable.

Data is synchronised by a clock, however this becomes problematic over longer distances where synchronisation errors may start to occur.

Using parallel wires is more expensive but transmission is faster.

Typical applications

  • Fast transmission within a computer system
  • Short distances
  • Integrated Circuits (IC), Busses
Topics / Networks and Data Transmission / Serial and parallel data transmission