Standard Parallel Port

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What Does Standard Parallel Port Mean?

A standard parallel port (SPP) is a port for connecting various relatively high bandwidth peripherals, most commonly printers, to a PC. Later versions of the SPP allow duplex communication. They use the DB-25 connector. The original SPP, by Centronics, was introduced in 1970 and soon became the de facto industry standard. However, a number of different manufacturers used the SPP with a variety of connectors, such as the DC-35, the DD50 and the M50.

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This term is also known as parallel port, printer port, Centronics port or Centronics interface.

Techopedia Explains Standard Parallel Port

Centronics was the company that designed the original standard for parallel communication between a computer and a printer. A newer design of the SPP, using the same DB-25 connector, is called the enhanced parallel port (EPP), or extended capabilities port (ECP). These newer ports were introduced by IBM in 1987 and had data transfer rates 10 times faster than the original SPP. In fact, only IBM logo printers, which were rebranded from Epson, could be used with IBM PCs. HP introduced its version of the EPP in 1992. But by 1994, all these interfaces were superseded by the IEEE 1284 standard.

Dongles, Zip drives and scanners were some of the early peripherals using the SPP. Other later uses included sound cards, webcams, joysticks, modems, hard drives and CD-ROM drives. Today, USB and Ethernet connections have effectively replaced the SPP and computer manufacturers consider it a legacy port.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.