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Synchronous messaging occurs when two systems or applications transmit continuous data streams spaced by fixed time intervals, via timing signals, for transmitter and receiver synchronization. Timing signals ensure that each message is placed in a queue (sometimes known as an event queue) in enterprise messaging systems, until a response is received, prior to continuing the synchronous messaging process.
Synchronous messaging is also known as synchronous communication.
Synchronous messaging transmissions are controlled by network protocols, such as Ethernet, Token Ring and Synchronous Optical Networking (SONET).
By contrast, asynchronous messaging transmission, commonly used in telecommunications, works in spurts and signals the receiver by inserting a start bit before each data character and a stop bit at the end. Email is the most common form of asynchronous messaging, where the interval between transmission and response is completely manual. If two people speak over a phone line simultaneously, or two email messages are sent simultaneously, there is no synchronization and messaging usually fails. Synchronous messaging prevents this from occurring, as one system waits for a response from the other system prior to continuing transmission or processing.
Protocols allowing communication between distributed software applications support synchronous and asynchronous messaging. An example is Java API for XML Messaging (JAXM).