Getting a printer cable

Connecting your computer to your printer primarily requires a printer cable. These come in four forms: serial cables, USB cables, FireWire and parallel cables.

Parallel Cables

Parallel cables are generally no longer used, though some printers still come with parallel ports. Before the advent of USB ports, it was the chief means of connecting printers, scanners, projectors and other peripherals to the computer. USB-to-parallel ports are available for connecting to devices with parallel ports. Many people today still use parallel cables to connect to the older generation of printers such as dot matrix and daisy wheel printers.

Serial Cables

Like the parallel cables, serial connectors are largely obsolete. Their slow transfer speeds have seen USB cables replace them as a means of connecting peripherals. The only place you may still find serial ports is on industrial devices such as heavy duty printers. These cables also required large ports to connect to devices, prompting companies to invest in the research for a more convenient, faster means of connecting to peripherals.

USB Cables

USB cables are the standard way of connecting devices to computers today. Their small ports and high speeds allow them to be used for a wider range of devices than their predecessors. Digital cameras and mobile phones are among the new generation of devices that use USB technology to transfer files to and from computers. Printers that use ink cartridges and laser printing technology, those used for home printing and those for commercial printing have USB ports. Therefore, if you need to buy a printer cable for your personal printer, make sure you look for a USB 3.0 cable.

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