(countable and uncountable, plural sneakernets)
- (computing, informal, humorous) A method of transferring a computer file from one computer to another by copying it to a floppy disk or some other external storage, carrying the disk to the other computer and installing it there, in contrast with electronic methods used by networked computers to transfer data.
sneakernet - Computer Definition
Jargon term for the method of transmitting electronic information by personally carrying it from one place to another on floppy disk or on some other removable medium, such as tapes or memory sticks. The idea is that someone is using his or her shoes (possibly sneakers) rather than the telecommunications network to quickly move data around.
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 Floppies were superseded by a raft of portable disk cartridges, all winding up as ancient history after the USB flash drive became popular (for earlier disk devices, see magnetic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.