Flow-control meaning

(1) The management of transmission between two devices such as nodes in a network or between the CPU and peripheral devices. It provides notification to the sending device to slow down or speed up data transmission or data transfer due to the receiving device's current ability to keep up with it. Flow control also enables slower-speed devices to communicate with higher-speed ones and vice versa. See xon-xoff.
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The process of controlling the rate of data transfer in order to prevent data loss due to congestion, flow control is an element of many data communications protocols. Between a PC and a local printer, for example, there is a simple flow control mechanism that throttles back the data transfer rate from the PC to ensure that the printer is not overwhelmed and that the printer buffer memory is not exceeded. ATM, frame relay IPv6, and TCP include more complex flow control mechanisms to ensure that switches and routers are not overwhelmed. A rate-based mechanism is an end-to-end flow-control scheme that considers resources edge to edge, communicating the level of available resources through a feedback loop. This approach requires that the transmitting end-user device adjust its rate of transmission downward in consideration of congestion. A credit-based approach either allows or disallows the end-user device to transmit data, based on end-to-end consideration of whether sufficient buffer space is available on each link of the network. See also ATM, buffer, frame relay, IPv6, and TCP.
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(networking) A process of managing the rate of data transmission between two nodes to prevent a fast sender from outrunning a slow receiver.
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(environmental engineering, US) Laws, regulations, and economic incentives or disincentives used by waste managers to direct waste generated in a specific geographic area to a designated landfill, recycling, or waste-to-energy facility.
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(aviation, US) A practice of holding aircraft on the ground in anticipation of congestion at destination airspace and airports.
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