Geek Trivia

Before The USB Port, Computer Users Plugged Their Peripherals Into What?

VGA Ports
Ethernet Ports
Serial Ports
TRS Ports
What Does the Acronym "LCD" Stand For?

Answer: Serial Ports

Before the ubiquitous USB port–now used for everything from printers, to game pads, to smartphones and everything in between–computer users had to deal with much bulkier and less effective cabling and data ports.

The most widely used peripheral cable and port combination prior to the introduction of the USB standard was the serial cable and serial port. Parallel ports saw widespread use for printers and scanners but for everything else–including dial-up modems, communication with UPS systems, serial mice, and thousands of various specialized peripherals–serial ports did the heavy lifting.

Compared to USB connections, serial connections come off as severely under powered: USB 1.1 sported a 12 Mpbs bandwidth compared to serial’s 115 Kpbs, you could link multiple USB devices up to a single USB bus as oppose to serial’s one-connection-per-port limit, USB could provide power for the peripheral over the cable where as serial could not, and serial ports were neither plug’n’play friendly or hot swapable. Whatever grievances modern users might log against USB, the ease with which they can plug in a multitude of devices to their computer without having to add expansion cards, boot down, or otherwise inconvenience themselves should more than make up for them.