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The Major Functions of an I/O Module

I/O module stands for Input/Output module, which is a device that acts as the connective bridge between a computer system at one end and an I/O or peripheral device of some kind at the other, such as a printer, webcam or scanner. This enables a computer system to carry out its intended function, which is to communicate with the external world in whichever way it needs to.

The I/O Module’s Key Tasks

The I/O module carries out a number of important functions, which include:

  • Processor communication – This involves a number of tasks, primarily the transference of data between the processor and an I/O module, accepting and decoding commands sent by the processor, reporting of current status, and an ability for the I/O module to recognise its own unique address.
  • Device communication – It needs to be able to perform standard device communications, such as reporting of status.
  • Control and timing – An I/O module needs to be capable of managing data flow between a computer’s internal resources and any connected external devices.
  • Data buffering – A crucial function that manages the speed discrepancy that exists between the speed of transfer of data between the processor and memory and peripheral devices.
  • Error detection – Detecting errors, whether mechanical (such as a printer experiencing a paper jam) or data based, and reporting them to the processor is another vital function of an I/O module.

Without an I/O module the ability for the exchange of data between a processor and a peripheral device is non-existent, also making the ability to interpret data into information ready for communication and consumption impossible.

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