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SPI vs I2C | Difference between SPI and I2C

This page compares SPI vs I2C and mentions difference between SPI and I2C in tabular format. It provides difference between based on various factors which include interface diagram, pin designations, data rate, distance, communication type, clock, hardware and software complexity, advantages, disadvanatages etc.

SPI Interface

SPI interface diagram

Following are the features of SPI Interface.
➨This serial bus standard is developed initially by Motorola. It has been later adopted by several silicon device manufacturers.
➨The figure-1 depicts SPI interface diagram. As shown there are four lines between master and slaves viz. MISO (Master In Slave Out), MOSI (Master Out Slave In), SCLK (Serial Clock), SS (Slave Select). Due to MISO and MOSI, communication is full-duplex and bi-directional between master and slave. SS (Slave Select) is used to select particular slave device before transmission begins. Moreover due to support of SCLK line, communication is synchronous in nature.
Refer SPI Interface>> for more detailed description.

I2C interface

I2C interface diagram

Following are the features of I2C Interface.
➨This bus standard is developed by Philips initially to provide more hardware circuit efficiency and simplicity.
➨The figure-2 depicts I2C interface diagram. As shown there are two lines between masters and slaves viz. SCL (Serial Clock) and SDA (Serial Data). Hence it is known as "Two Wire Interface".
➨The I2C protocol supports multiple masters but usually there will be one master and more than one slaves. The master controls the clock signal and device which is addressed by it, is known as slave. There is 7 bit address used for slave device.
➨The I2C communication protocol is defined in figure-3. As shown, the data transmission or reception is marked by START and STOP condition. Each byte is being ACKed. Initially slave device address is being used in the packet, next Read or Write operation is indicated and later data is padded.
➨The figure-3 also depicts levels of SDA and SCL lines during START and STOP conditions.
Refer I2C Interface>> for more detailed description.

I2C communication protocol

Following table summarizes difference between SPI and I2C interfaces.


Specifications SPI I2C
Number of Bus lines Four ( SCLK, CS, MISO, MOSI) Two ( SDA, SCL)
data rate Higher, about 10 MHz or more Lower, about 100 KHz or 400 KHz
Run current Lower, about 200 µA at 4 Mbps, hence less power consumption Higher, about 400 µA at 400 Kbps, hence more power consumption
Preferable application Perform well in single master and single slave configuration Perform well in multi-master and multi-slave configuration
Device addressing Does not support Support
Acknowledgement (ACK) mechanism Does not have mechanism to support receipt of the data It has mechanism to support receipt of the data using ACK
Overhead in point to point connection Less More
Application applications requiring continuous data stream transmission communication between devices which does not require continuous transmission i.e. requiring occasional communication

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