Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In computing, a port (derived from seaport) is usually an interface through which data are sent and received. An exception is a software port (derived from transport), which is software that has been "transported" to another computer system (see below for details).
A hardware port is an outlet on a piece of equipment into which a plug or cable connects. For instance, most home computers have a keyboard port, into which the keyboard is connected. Hardware ports can almost always be divided into two groups: Those that send and receive one bit at a time via a single wire are called serial ports, and those that send multiple bits at the same time over a set of wires are called parallel ports.
Port trunking is a technology that allows multiple hardware ports to be aggregated into a single group, effectively creating a single connection with a higher bandwidth. This technology also provides a higher degree of fault tolerance.
A network port is an interface for communicating with a computer program over a network. Network ports are usually numbered and a network implementation like TCP or UDP will attach a port number to data it sends; the receiving implementation will use the attached port number to figure out which computer program to send the data to.
I/O or machine port - port-mapped I/O
Nearly all processor families use the same assembly instructions for both memory access and hardware I/O (see memory-mapped I/O for details). However, Intel microprocessors have assembly instructions (IN and OUT) that are used specifically for hardware I/O. These instructions figure out which hardware device to communicate with using the concept of an I/O port or machine port. These ports are numbered based on which hardware device they refer to.
Intel microprocessors generally allow one octet (byte) to be sent or received during each instruction. The hardware device decides how to interpret data sent to it and what data to send to the processor. For example, a common use is to ask a hardware device which byte (in a data transfer) it will be sending next.
- Parallel port
- Serial port
- List of well known I/O ports
- Growing list of port numbers
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