What Does Queue Mean?

A queue, in computer networking, is a collection of data packets collectively waiting to be transmitted by a network device using a per-defined structure methodology.


Techopedia Explains Queue

A queue consists of a number of packets. These packets are bound to be routed over the network, lined up in a sequential way with a changing header and trailer and taken out of the queue for transmission by a network device using some defined packet processing algorithm like first in first out (FIFO), last in last out (LIFO), etc. The queue dequeues, or takes out a data packet from the head, when it needs to transfer and trailer by adding new data packets to the queue, which is known as enqueuing.

A queue works almost on the same methodology used at banks or supermarkets, where the customer is treated according to its arrival. An example would be FIFO or some other priority if they are a privileged customer. Similarly, a network queue processes data packets based on their arrival, priority, smallest task first and multitasking, FIFO, LIFO, emption and pre-emption.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.