A SerDes or serializer/deserializer is an integrated circuit (IC or chip) transceiver that converts parallel data to serial data and vice-versa. The transmitter section is a serial-to-parallel converter, and the receiver section is a parallel-to-serial converter. Multiple SerDes interfaces are often housed in a single package.
SerDes chips facilitate the transmission of parallel data between two points over serial streams, reducing the number of data paths and thus the number of connecting pins or wires required. Most SerDes devices are capable of full-duplex operation, meaning that data conversion can take place in both directions simultaneously. SerDes chips are used in Gigabit Ethernet systems, wireless network routers, fiber optic communications systems, and storage applications. Specifications and speeds vary depending on the needs of the user and on the application. Some SerDes devices are capable of operating at speeds in excess of 10 Gbps.