A computer peripheral is defined as, “[a]n auxiliary device, such as a printer, modem, or storage system, that works in conjunction with a computer.” Computer peripherals allow computers to accomplish several tasks at once, such as downloading software updates while simultaneously printing a document.
Thousands of computer peripherals have been produced over the years; however, each computer peripheral’s primary function falls into one of several categories.
Computer systems are capable of handling thousands of calculations per second. However, in order for a computer to have something to process, the computer must receive instructions from an input device.
Some examples of input peripheral devices are keyboards, computer mice, touchscreens, and bar-code readers.
Once a computer has processed information, the information must be sent to an output device. Some examples of output devices are computer monitors, printers, plotters, and computer speakers.
Computers are capable of communicating with each other, and with other devices (such as PDAs and cell phones). In order to communicate with these devices, a computer must have a compatible communication peripheral to transmit and receive data.
Some examples of communication peripherals are computer modems, network adapters, infrared adapter ports, and wireless (radio frequency) adapters.
Data Storage Peripherals
A computer requires space to store files, programs, and other data. Besides the internal hard disk drive, storage peripherals also provide places for the computer to store data to and access data from.
Some examples of data storage peripherals are external CD-ROM drives, flash memory drives, tape drives, and network-attached storage (NAS) drives.