Software Handshaking

What Does Software Handshaking Mean?

Software handshaking is a type of protocol that controls data transmission between two systems or devices. Software handshaking is used to control data transmission and, in many cases, to improve the functionality of messaging between systems.


Techopedia Explains Software Handshaking

The most common type of software handshaking involves data elements known as XON and XOFF. Systems can use these characters, which correspond to keyboard control keys, in data streams in order to mark the beginning and end points of a data transmission.

Experts contrast software handshaking to another different kind of data control called hardware handshaking.

In hardware handshaking, physical systems are used to add protocols. For instance, additional wires can carry data transmission markers. In software handshaking, this is done by using additional digital elements such as XON and XOFF.

One of the downsides of using software handshaking is that these extra data bits require additional bandwith. Problems also can occur if the XON and XOFF data elements are not caught by the receiving system. On the other hand, software handshaking makes sense when hardware handshaking would be inconvenient for the physical setup involved in a project.


Related Terms

Latest Networking Terms

Related Reading

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…