Plug and Play (PnP)

Definition - What does Plug and Play (PnP) mean?

Plug and Play (PnP) is a technology that allows the operating system to detect and configure internal and external peripherals as well as most adapters. It has the ability to find and configure hardware components without having to reset DIP switches and jumpers. PnP also refers to hot swapping, or hot plugging, structures such as Firewire or USB sticks and other devices.

When booting a PC, PnP identifies the attached peripheral devices and regulates the proper internal settings by configuring the direct memory access (DMA), interrupt requests (IRQ) and input/output (I/O) addresses.

Techopedia explains Plug and Play (PnP)

Most modern devices have a PnP compatible BIOS. Newer systems such as Firewire and USB are intentionally constructed to support changes in configuration settings.

For PnP to function it requires support from software and hardware. The hardware uses an ID code, allowing it to be identified by the software. The ID code consists of either a four-bit code or larger bits containing names and serial numbers. Before the industry standard architecture (ISA) was introduced, PnP did not have an ID code and was not very dependable. IRQ lines and I/O addresses would be often be set incorrectly, causing malfunction. When the peripheral component interconnect bus was introduced, PnP was finally became dependable.

Share this:

Connect with us

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter

The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems
The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems:
Learn the benefits and limitations of the 3 generations of IT infrastructure – siloed, converged and hyperconverged – and discover how the 4th...
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization:
Businesses today aspire to achieve a software-defined datacenter (SDDC) to enhance business agility and reduce operational complexity. However, the...
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide:
This white paper is for leaders of Operations, Engineering, or Infrastructure teams who are creating or executing an IT roadmap.
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor:
Virtual Health Monitor is a free virtualization monitoring and reporting tool for VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV, and XenServer environments.
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic:
Turbonomic delivers an autonomic platform where virtual and cloud environments self-manage in real-time to assure application performance.