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electronics & telecom > Computer cables & adapters

Computer Cables & Adapters

Main computer cables include:

USB cable: the USB end of the cable is a flat, rectangular connector that fits inside of a corresponding rectangular port on your computer. The other end can be a wide variety of different connectors to fit individual devices. This cable is common with "plug and play" (PNP) devices. Many wireless routers, modems, cell phones, CD burners, mouse devices and keyboards work with USB cables. USB compatible cords usually come in two main varieties—1.1 or 2.0. The 2.0 cord is the fastest type.
An Ethernet cord is compatible with network interface cards (NICs), which are installed in most modern computers and laptops. This cable looks very similar to a phone cord but is flatter, longer and made specifically for communication between computer devices. The ethernet cord is most commonly used for networking—it allows to connect with other computers in the same network, as well as the Internet (when linked to a cable or DSL modem).
PS/2 is an acronym for "Personal System 2." It is a computer system that was developed by IBM in the 1980s. A PS/2 cable is commonly connected to a keyboard or mouse device. It contains a series of pins that correspond with holes on a PS/2 port at the back of the CPU. These cables are commonly used with standard desktop PCs that look like IBM clones.

A serial cable connects computer monitors and some modems to the CPU. It is a rectangular-shaped connection with a series of pins to line up with a corresponding serial port on the back of a computer. There are two screws on either side to secure the cable in place. A serial to USB cable allows you to connect certain PDAs, cameras and scanner equipment to the computer.

In computing, adapter is a hardware device or software component that converts transmitted data from one presentation form to another. The data presentation can be, for example, a message sent between objects in an application or a packet sent through a network.

In modern personal computer, almost every peripheral device uses an adapter to communicate with system bus, for example:

  • Display adapter used to transmit signal to monitor.
  • Universal Serial Bus (USB) adapters for printers, keyboards and mice, among others.
  • Network adapter required to attach to any network.
  • Host bus adapter to connect hard disks or other storage.

A concept of adapter should not be confused with an expansion card. Although every expansion card typically implements some kind of adapter, many other adapters in a modern PC are built into the motherboard itself.

A software component adapter is a type of software that is logically located between two software components and reconciles the differences between them.


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