What are Ports in Computer Terminology?

Port is derived from a Dutch word “POORT ” which means gate or entrance
There are basically two types of ports in computer as follows:-
1) Hardware ports
2) Software ports

Hardware ports:- Hardware port is a physical medium which provides communication link between
computer and peripheral devices.
Example of hardware ports:- DB-25 (Serial) , USB, RJ45 {also known as Ethernet port(LAN)} , RJ11 (phone), PS/2, IEEE 1394, etc.
By electronic terminology port is a medium made up of several conductors making up an outlet which
provides signal transfer between devices.

Hardware ports are classified as: male or female ports
A male port has pins, onto which a unit, which has holes, fits. A female port is more common, where there holes into which pins are inserted, like the video port, keyboard port or mouse port on the back of your PC

The simple rule for male and female port is:-
“Male and Female must fit together “

Electrically, hardware ports are classified as:- Serial and Parallel
Serial port are one which send and receive one bit at a time via a single wire pair while Parallel ports send multiple bits at the same time over several sets of wires.

Software ports:- Software ports are application-specific or process-specific software which provides communications endpoint in a computer’s host operating system. A software port is associated with an IP address of the host, as well as the type of protocol used for communication. The protocols that primarily use the ports are the Transport Layer protocols, such as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) of the Internet Protocol Suite. A port is identified for each address and protocol by a 16-bit number, commonly known as the port number.
To view port and IP address we normally use netstat.
(Read my article for more info on netstat -IP and Port Info Using Netstat @ http://pu.blish.us/article/2278/ip-and-port-info-using-netstat )

Why do we need different Software ports:-
Well if anyone today wants to download a file from Internet and simultaneous suffer on Internet. How would its server identify the two different request and provide them simultaneously.
For solution of this problem ports were introduced.
We use FTP (File Transfer Protocol – port no 23) to upload or download files; port 80 for serving HTTP; similarly other ports are provided for some or the other work.

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