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hot potato routing

(n.) A form of routing in which the nodes of a network have no buffer to store packets in before they are moved on to their final predetermined destination. In normal routing situations, when multiple packets contend for a single outgoing channel, packets that are not buffered are dropped to avoid congestion. But in hot potato routing, each packet that is routed is constantly transferred until it reaches its final destination because the individual communication links can not support more than one packet at a time. The packet is bounced around like a "hot potato," sometimes moving further away from its destination because it has to keep moving through the network. This technique allows multiple packets to reach their destinations without being dropped. This is in contrast to "store and forward" routing where the network allows temporary storage at intermediate locations. Hot potato routing has applications in optical networks where messages made from light can not be stored in any medium.

Also referred to as deflection routing.

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