There are a lot of incredibly complex components in a computer. And all of these parts need to communicate with each other in a fast and efficient manner. Otherwise, the amazing speed and capabilities of each individual component is lost in the whole.

A typical PCI card

That's where the bus comes in. Essentially, a bus is the channel or path between the components in a computer. There are many different types of buses. In this edition of HowStuffWorks, you will learn about some of those buses. We will concentrate on the bus known as the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI). We'll talk about what PCI is, how it operates and how it is used, as well as about past and future bus technologies.