Hot Potato Routing

What Does Hot Potato Routing Mean?

Hot potato routing is a routing technique enabling packet routing without storing them in buffers. Instead, this technique continuously transfers data packets until they reach their destination without the packets having to wait or be stored in a buffer.


Any router configured for hot potato will immediately route the packet upon receiving it. Unlike other routing techniques, where the packets compete for the best path to the destination node and have to wait if it’s not available, hot potato routes packets whenever they are received, regardless of whether the primary and optimal transmission route is available. This technique is most commonly used in optical networks where messages cannot be stored in any medium.

Hot potato routing is also known as deflection routing.

Techopedia Explains Hot Potato Routing

Routing of data packets over an internetworked environment can take place using many different techniques and scenarios. Hot potato routing is used when individual communication links cannot support more than one packet at a time. The downside is that because the packet is bounced around (like a hot potato), it sometimes ends up further away from its destination because it has to keep moving. Even so, this technique does allow multiple packets to reach their destinations without being dropped.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…