Flow Control

(1) In communications, the process of adjusting the flow of data from one device to another to ensure that the receiving device can handle all of the incoming data. This is particularly important where the sending device is capable of sending data much faster than the receiving device can receive it.

There are many flow control mechanisms. One of the most common flow control protocols for asynchronous communication is called xon-xoff. In this case, the receiving device sends a an xoff message to the sending device when its buffer is full. The sending device then stops sending data. When the receiving device is ready to receive more data, it sends an xon signal.

Flow control can be implemented in hardware or software, or a combination of both.

(2) In programming, the statements and other constructs that control the order in which operations are executed. For example, common looping statements such as for next and while are known as flow control statements. Branching statements, such as if then are also part of a programming language’s flow control mechanism.

Webopedia Staff
Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Top Articles

List of Windows Operating System Versions & History [In Order]

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

What are the Five Generations of Computers? (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Each generation of computer has brought significant advances in speed and power to computing tasks. Learn about each of the...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

Launched in 1996, Hotmail was one of the first public webmail services that could be accessed from any web browser. At its peak in...

SHA-256

SHA-256 is an algorithm used for hash functions and is a vital component...

Document Management System

A document management system is an automated software solution businesses and organizations use...

Conti Ransomware

Conti ransomware first emerged in 2020. It uses a ransomware as a service...