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cloud
Last modified: Friday, May 04, 2001 

Also referred to as a network cloud. In telecommunications, a cloud refers to a public or semi-public space on transmission lines (such as T1 or T3) that exists between the end points of a transmission. Data that is transmitted across a WAN enters the network from one end point using a standard protocol suite such as Frame Relay and then enters the network cloud where it shares space with other data transmissions. The data emerges from the cloud -- where it may be encapsulated, translated and transported in myriad ways -- in the same format as when it entered the cloud. A network cloud exists because when data is transmitted across a packet-switched network in a packet, no two packets will necessarily follow the same physical path. The unpredictable area that the data enters before it is received is the cloud.

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Related Links

related categories

Network Topologies

Networks

Telecommunications

related terms

choke packet

DLCI

Frame Relay

packet

packet switching

T-1 carrier

T-3 carrier

wide-area network

X.25


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