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The start and stop bits are used in asynchronous communication as a means of timing or synchronizing the data characters being transmitted. Without the use of these bits, the sending and receiving systems will not know where one character ends and another begins.
In this diagram, two bytes are sent, each consisting of a start bit, followed by eight data bits (bits 0-7), and one stop bit, for a 10-bit character frame. The last data bit is sometimes used as a parity bit.