Connecting host bus adapters to mass storage devices like optical and hard disk drives, Serial ATA or SATA is referred to as the computer bus interface that has succeeded the earlier Parallel ATA or PATA standard, furnishing several gains over its predecessors.
Replacing parallel ATA in various recently installed applications, consumer laptops and desktop computers SATA cables have created their niche in the market and are now in greater demand. The host adapters and devices supported by SATA, communicates through a high-speed serial cable joined over two pairs of conductors.
Serial ATA/ SATA cable makes use of the same fundamental ATA and ATAPI set of commands that come as a legacy for the ATA devices to make certain that the backward compatibility is maintained with legacy in ATA software and applications.
The Serial ATA/ SATA cable serves the following purposes:
- It has clipped the size of cables along with its cost
- Supports native hot swapping
- Improves speed of data transfer with the help of higher signalling rates using I/O queue protocol
This Serial ATA/ SATA cable hosts two essential features that increase its scope of usage in networking:
Hotplugging: The specifications for Serial ATA project the logic for SATA device enabling hotplugging. The systems and motherboards having specifications that support interoperability are capable of hotplugging.
Advanced Host Controller Interface: Published and operated by Intel, AHCI is an open interface which is the standard one in the market. If AHCI mode is not enabled in the chipset and motherboard, then SATA controllers run on the IDE emulation mode whereby it forbade access to devices that do not features ATA/ IDE standard.
Use of Protocol
The specification of SATA is exemplified by three definite protocol layers. They are as follows:
Physical Layer: it outlines SATA’s physical and electrical features including dimensions of the cable, voltage level of the driver and operation range of the receiver. It specifies the physical coding subsystem as well including encoding at bit level, detecting device on the wire and link initialization. It is used to establish the initial link.
Link Layer: post establishment of the PHY link, link layer is responsible for transmitting and receiving of Frame Information Structures over the SATA link. These are packets of payload data that also controls the flow over the link.
Transport Layer: this is the ultimate layer that is responsible for acting on the frames and transmission of frames in sequence.
Hence Serial ATA cables facilitate faster data transmission through structured layering.