What Is a Printer Cable?
For one reason or another, almost every business requires a dedicated printer, and most printers require a cable to interface with a single computer or the office network. A printer cable is just that: a cable that connects a computer or network hub to a printer. As printer cables, various types of cables are used.
Many older printers use the RS-232 serial connector, which is a serial input/output cable with 25 or 9 pins. Prior to the introduction of USB, these cables were the standard peripheral cable, but they have since become much less common. Some modern printers still use these cables, but most modern computers only support the 25-pin and 9-pin connectors to varying degrees, necessitating the use of an adapter in most cases.
Another type of connection found on older computers and printers is the parallel cable. Parallel cables typically have two connectors on either end: a DB-25 25-pin connector that connects to the computer in the same way that a serial cable does, and a 36-pin micro ribbon connector that connects to the printer. These cables, like serial cables, were extremely common prior to the release of USB, but they have gradually become obsolete. Parallel connections on modern printers are uncommon, and support for them on modern computers is minimal at best. Most of the time, an adapter will be required to connect it to your company’s computer or network.
Many modern printers include a FireWire connection. FireWire, also known as IEEE-1394, is a high-speed serial bus connection that provides faster data transfer speeds than traditional serial and parallel connections. The standard, developed by Apple, was released in 1995 but did not gain widespread acceptance until the 2000s. These cables are widely supported in many computer systems, though not as widely as USB.
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a serial bus connector that has widespread support and widespread adoption. USB devices are plug-and-play devices, which means that no additional driver software is typically required; drivers and device information are added to the computer upon cable connection. USB connections are widely used in modern computing. Most computers have several USB ports to accommodate a variety of peripherals. The most common ports are USB 2.0, though USB 3.0 is gaining market share since the technology’s release.
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