Serial vs Parallel Communication: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Serial communication transmits data one bit at a time sequentially, while parallel communication transmits multiple bits simultaneously.
  2. Serial communication requires fewer wires and connections than parallel communication, making it more suitable for long-distance data transmission.
  3. Parallel communication provides faster data transfer rates than serial communication, but it is more susceptible to interference and signal degradation.

What is Serial Communication?

Serial communication is a process in the field of telecommunication and data transmission. Here the data that is subjected to be transmitted goes sequentially, one bit at a time. This whole process happens over a channel of communication or a computer bus.


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To make it simpler to comprehend, we can take the help of an example. Let us say a 4 bits data sequence of 0001 needs to be transmitted, so serial communion will send the 0 first, then the other 0, then the next 0, and then will end with 1.

It can easily navigate long distances without bearing any noise problems in the traveled data. Another plus point of this communication is its low expenditure.

It uses a single line while transmitting data, and as a result, no crosstalk problems take place. However, as one bit of data travels through the communication channel simultaneously, the speed of this communication is comparatively slow, which is a disadvantage.

The bandwidth needs to be higher here, and it can work smoothly even in high frequencies. To give an example of this type of communication, one can name the communication between a computer and a modem.

What is Parallel Communication?

Parallel communication is another type of data transmission process. Unlike serial communication, it uses multiple links or communication channels at once to send a set of data as a whole. For example, the 4 bits data of 0001 will reach the receiver as a whole with the help of multiple transmission lines.

As an outcome, the speed of this transmission is high. Even low bandwidth is supported under this communication. However, the pocket pinch of parallel communication is on the higher side. The motherboard and hard disk are tied up in a computer with parallel communication.

A few shortcomings of this communication are present too. First of all, it can not travel data to extensive distances as it requires several wires. Consequently, it is suitable for short distances only.

It might also face issues such as noise and crosstalk problems. This is due to the usage of several channels at once. In addition to that, it might also encounter problems while working with high frequencies.

Difference Between Serial and Parallel Communication

  1. Serial communication is a method of transmitting data one bit at a time. Still, in the case of parallel communication, the data is transmitted simultaneously, and all the bits go at once.
  2. The serial communication method sends one bit of data simultaneously, but its speed is slow. This contrasts with parallel communication, where multiple data bits are transmitted simultaneously, so the speed is high.
  3. Serial communication can cover long distances quickly. However, parallel communication can not. It gets utilized for short distances only.
  4. Serial communication does not cost a fortune, but parallel communication is expensive.
  5. Noise problems are never a concern in the case of serial communication, but in parallel communication, noise problems are likely to transpire.

Comparison Between Serial and Parallel Communication

Parameter of ComparisonSerial CommunicationParallel Communication
SpeedIt has a low speed.The speed of this is high.
ExpenseThis communication is less expensive.This communication costs more.
BandwidthHere the bandwidth is higher.Here the bandwidth is lower.
DistanceIt is capable of covering long distances.It is unable to cover long distances. This is suitable to use for short distances.
NoiseThere are no noise problems faced in serial communication.Here noise problems might occur.

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