Packets are the unit of transmission for ethernets, AX.25, and many other networking protocols. Packet switching networks are much more efficient than circuit switching or message switching networks. TCP/IP Networks like the internet are packet switching.

A packet is, in a sense, a piece of data that has been encapsulated inside other data. This other data can be anything, but in networks, usually comprises of the source of the packet, its destination and a checksum.

The benefit of using packets is that they are discrete objects. Information can be split up into numerous packets which are sent out over a network. Each packet contains the information necessary to get it to its destination. The receiving end can reassemble the packets, and request that any lost packets be sent again. This is the basis behind TCP/IP and other wide area networks.

packet is an Australian colloquial term for a large sum of money.

Common usage would be "George lost a packet at the races on Saturday."

Pack"et (?), n. [F. paquet, dim. fr. LL. paccus, from the same source as E. pack. See Pack.]


A small pack or package; a little bundle or parcel; as, a packet of letters.



Originally, a vessel employed by government to convey dispatches or mails; hence, a vessel employed in conveying dispatches, mails, passengers, and goods, and having fixed days of sailing; a mail boat.

Packet boat, ship, ∨ vessel. See Packet, n., 2. -- Packet day, the day for mailing letters to go by packet; or the sailing day. -- Packet notepost. See under Paper.


© Webster 1913.

Pack"et, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Packeted; p. pr. & vb. n. Packeting.]


To make up into a packet or bundle.


To send in a packet or dispatch vessel.

Her husband Was packeted to France. Ford.


© Webster 1913.

Pack"et, v. i.

To ply with a packet or dispatch boat.


© Webster 1913.

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