Cloud

(1) Also referred to as a network cloud. In telecommunications, a cloud refers to a public or semi-public space on transmission lines (such as T1 or T3) that exists between the end points of a transmission. Data that is transmitted across a WAN enters the network from one end point using a standard protocol suite such as Frame Relay and then enters the network cloud where it shares space with other data transmissions. The data emerges from the cloud — where it may be encapsulated, translated and transported in myriad ways — in the same format as when it entered the cloud. A network cloud exists because when data is transmitted across a packet-switched network in a packet, no two packets will necessarily follow the same physical path. The unpredictable area that the data enters before it is received is the cloud.

(2) See also cloud computing.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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