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An intermediate connection in a string of connections linking two network devices. On the Internet, for example, most data packets need to go through several routers before they reach their final destination. Each time the packet is forwarded to the next router, a hop occurs. The more hops, the longer it takes for data to go from source to destination. You can see how many hops it takes to get to another Internet host by using the PING or traceroute utilities.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) advertise how many hops away from Internet backbone they are. Theoretically, the fewer hops it takes to get your data onto the backbone, the faster your access will be.

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