Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter

What Does Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter Mean?

A universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART) is a microchip that performs serial-to-parallel conversion of data received from peripheral devices and parallel-to-serial conversion of data coming from the CPU for transmission to peripheral devices. The UART chip has control capabilities and the ability to send an interrupt request to the processor that can be tailored in a way that minimizes the software management of the communication link between a computer and a peripheral device.

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Techopedia Explains Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter

The UART controller handles the asynchronous serial communication between a computer and a peripheral device connected to the serial port of the computer and converts data from serial to parallel and vice-versa. This allows the computer to talk to modems and other serial devices. A UART is essentially a microchip that conditions the data coming in and out of serial ports such as the computer’s RS232 serial port terminal.

Functions of the UART:

  • Converts parallel data into serial data for outbound communications
  • Converts serial data into parallel data for inbound communications
  • Adds a parity checking bit on outbound transmissions and checks the parity bit for inbound transmissions
  • Handles interrupt requests and device management, which may require the computer and the device to coordinate the speed of operation
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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.