Don't miss an insight. Subscribe to Techopedia for free.



What Does Sneakernet Mean?

Sneakernet is a slang term that refers to the transfer of data and electronic files between computers through removable media (like hard drives, flash drives and optical disks), which are physically transported between computers and on foot. This method is used in lieu of a computer network file transfer.


The term sneakernet (meant to sound like Ethernet) refers to sneakers worn by the person carrying files between computers.

Techopedia Explains Sneakernet

The term sneakernet is a tongue-in-cheek way of saying there is no network. Oftentimes, simply plugging in a USB drive is the best way to get data from point A to point B. There are also genuine uses where networks may be cost prohibitive, as well as in environments where security is a top priority. This prevents outside access to files because the computers are not connected to a network (commonly known as an air gap). Thus, there is no network to hack or breach.

Sneakernets are ideal when high throughput, rather than low latency, is required. Although they suffer from high latency, sneakernets can achieve huge throughput directly proportional to transferred data file size, which means that hundreds of gigabytes of data may be transferred in a relatively short period by transferring storage devices, versus sending through a network.


Related Terms