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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
inter-packet gap
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networking A time delay between successive data packets
mandated by the network standard for protocol reasons.
In Ethernet, the medium has to be "silent" (i.e., no data
transfer) for a few microseconds before a node can consider
the network idle and start to transmit. This is necessary for
fairness reasons. The delay time, which approximately equals
the signal propagation time on the cable, allows the "silence"
to reach the far end so that all nodes consider the net idle.