Data Packet

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What Does Data Packet Mean?

A data packet is a unit of data made into a single package that travels along a given network path. Data packets are used in Internet Protocol (IP) transmissions for data that navigates the Web, and in other kinds of networks.

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Techopedia Explains Data Packet

A data packet has other parts besides the raw data it contains – often referred to as the payload. Data packets also have headers that carry certain types of metadata, along with routing information. For example, IP data packets have a header containing an IP address of origin and destination IP address. Data packets also may have trailers that help refine data transmission.

To provide more conventional data packet use for the Web and other networks, various groups have contributed to consistent standards for data packet transmission. For example, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) put together the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, which identifies certain data packet layers and maintains standards for each. All of this is the foundation of the modern makeup and use of data packets in diverse network scenarios.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

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.