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/snee'ker-net/ Term used (generally with ironic intent) for transfer of electronic information by physically carrying tape, disks, or other media from one machine to another.

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon filled with magtape, or a 747 filled with CD-ROMs."

Also called tennis-net, armpit-net, floppy-net, shoe-net, walk-net, foot-net.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


Carrying a portable storage device such as a USB flash drive from one machine to another to exchange information. The term was coined in the early days when local networks were not common, and the floppy disk was the transport medium. However, there are still occasions when files will not transfer over a network due to sharing restrictions or just plain software bugs. If USB drive copy restrictions are not in place, sneakernet may provide a solution because files copied to and from a USB drive are a local procedure at both ends.

Floppies were superseded by a raft of portable disk cartridges, all winding up as ancient history after the USB flash drive became popular (for earlier disk devices, see magnetic disk).

Sneakernet Prevails
Alan Freedman, author of this encyclopedia, uses Windows and Mac side by side day after day. For years, Alan transferred files between platforms over the local network. In 2016, after upgrading the Mac OS, all of a sudden, the Mac could not access the Windows machine, and worse yet, it was intermittent. Flash drive sneakernet was the solution. See USB drive and SMB.

The only (almost) guaranteed method for transferring data between machines.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Electronic data vaulting is an area generating a surprising amount of interest among SMB organizations," according to Phil Goodwin, president of Diogenes Analytical Laborato-ries, one of a number of market observers who believe SneakerNets are on the decline.
"The best way to get rid of SneakerNets is to explain it to an IT manager as if it's just another data transport mechanism and let them make the choice for themselves," says Brad O'Neill, senior analyst with the Taneja Group.
"An appalling amount of what we do is 'sneakernet,'" said David Underhill, Tribune's vice president for intergroup development, using the term for physically carrying information from one point to another.
There will always be reading and writing, but today their networking system has replaced old "sneakernet" wiring with a new high-performance, high-capacity and high-bandwidth networking system to the horizons of advanced education.
Additionally, significant soft benefits in recovering lost staff time and eliminating courier services and the sneakernet have allowed us to improve quality and performance.
They ran VisiCalc, dBASE II, and a strange word processor from Australia called "Zardax." They were, of course, stand-alone units, and were not networked together, except via 5 1/4-inch floppies and sneakernet.
Data interchange is the whole reason for its longevity--we call it sneakernet.
Moore, supervisory computer specialist, says before ISDN the only way her staff could use the printer they wanted was via "Sneakernet,"--walking a disk over to fellow worker Penman's office and tying up his PC while the printer completed their jobs.
We could have opted for old-fashioned "sneakernet" in order to deliver reminders and relied on spreadsheets for our tracking.
For now, we have settled on using sneakernet and elaborate spreadsheets.
When one enters the network world, it is easy to get caught in the "jargon jungle." Fiber (single-mode and multimode), Ethernet, UHF, cheapernet, sneakernet, twisted pair (shielded and unshielded), coaxial, wireless, and thin ethernet are just some of the terms likely to be heard.