Printer cable refers to the cable that carries data between a computer and a printer.

There are many different types of cables, for example:


An RS-232 serial port was once a standard feature of a personal computer, used for connections to modems, printers, mice, data storage, uninterruptible power supplies, and other peripheral devices. However, RS-232, when compared to other serial interfaces such as RS-422, RS-485 and Ethernet, is hampered by low transmission speed, short maximum cable length, large voltage swing, large standard connectors, no multipoint capability and limited multidrop capability.

The most widespread use RS-422 was on the early Macintosh computers. This was implemented in a multi-pin connector that had enough pins to support the majority of the common RS-232 pins; the first models used a 9-pin D connector, but this was quickly replaced by a mini-DIN-8 connector. The ports could be put into either RS-232 or RS-422 mode, which changed the behavior of some of the pins while turning others on or off completely. These connectors were used both to support RS-232 devices like modems, as well as AppleTalk networking, RS-422 printers, and other peripherals. Two such ports were part of every Mac until they were replaced in 1998.

RS-422 is a common solution for RS-232 extenders. These consist of RS-232 ports on either end of an RS-422 connection.


A parallel port is a type of interface found on computers (personal and otherwise) for connecting peripherals. The name refers to the way the data is sent; parallel ports send multiple bits of data at once, in parallel communication, as opposed to serial interfaces that send bits one at a time. To do this, parallel ports require multiple data lines in their cables and port connectors, and tend to be larger than contemporary serial ports which only require one data line. There are many types of parallel ports, but the term has become most closely associated with the printer port or Centronics port found on most personal computers from the 1970s through the 2000s.

IEEE 1394 is an interface standard for a serial bus for high-speed communications and isochronous real-time data transfer. It was developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s by Apple, which called it FireWire. The 1394 interface is also known by the brand i.LINK (Sony), and Lynx (Texas Instruments).

The copper cable it uses in its most common implementation can be up to 4.5 metres (15 ft) long. Power is also carried over this cable allowing devices with moderate power requirements to operate without a separate power supply. FireWire is also available in wireless, Cat 5, fiber optic, and coaxial versions.


USB, short for Universal Serial Bus, is an industry standard that defines cables, connectors and communications protocols for connection, communication, and power supply between computers and devices.

USB was designed to standardize the connection of computer peripherals (including keyboards, pointing devices, digital cameras, printers, portable media players, disk drives and network adapters) to personal computers, both to communicate and to supply electric power. It has largely replaced a variety of earlier interfaces, such as serial ports and parallel ports, as well as separate power chargers for portable devices – and has become commonplace on a wide range of devices.

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