parallel communications - Computer Definition
The exchange of digital data between devices through the simultaneous transmission of multiple signal elements, e.g., bits, over separate channels or circuits. In microcomputers, parallel transmission refers to the simultaneous transfer of the eight (8) bits of a byte, each over a separate circuit. Parallel communications is much faster than serial communications, which transfers information one bit at a time over the same channel or circuit.The cost of provisioning multiple channels or circuits, however, limits parallel communications to very short distance applications, such as within a computer or between a computer and a local printer. Parallel communications is used in some wireless local area network (WLAN) technologies to improve signal quality, rather than increase raw transmission rate.A parallel-input, serial-output (PISO) shift register is used to interface a serial circuit to a parallel circuit. See also channel, circuit, serial, shift register, and transmission rate.