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In the context of computer networking, a “hop” refers to the journey that data packets make as they travel from one intermediary device (like a router) to another on their way from the source to the destination. Each of these intermediary devices (routers, switches, gateways, etc.) that a packet must pass through represents one “hop” in the network.

For example, if you send a piece of data from your computer to a server and it passes through three routers along the way, we would say that data made three “hops” to get to its destination.

The number of hops can be an important factor in network performance. More hops can potentially mean more latency, as each hop introduces a bit of delay. However, modern networking protocols are designed to find the most efficient path through the network, reducing the number of hops and minimizing delay wherever possible.

The “traceroute” command is a common network diagnostic tool that can be used to display the route (path) and measure transit delays of packets across the Internet. It provides a list of all hops a packet has passed through until it reached its destination.

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