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Keepalive definition

Keepalive is a networking feature that keeps a connection between two devices open for an extended period of time, even if no data is transmitted. For example, it is commonly used to maintain open connections between web browsers and servers. When a user visits a website, the browser establishes a connection with the server to request the website’s content. By default, this connection is terminated after a short time if there is no communication between the client and server. However, by using Keepalive, the server can send a signal to the client at regular intervals to keep the connection alive, allowing for faster subsequent requests and responses.

See also: connection-oriented protocol, ping

Why are Keepalive signals useful?

  • Detecting network issues. Keepalive signals can be used to detect network issues like a connection failure or a device going offline. If one device fails to respond to the Keepalive packets sent by the other device, it indicates that there may be a problem with the network or the device itself.
  • Saving resources. By keeping connections open, Keepalive can help to save resources on both the client and server side. For example, when using HTTP Keepalive, the server doesn’t have to establish a new connection for each request, which can reduce the amount of time and resources required to serve web pages.
  • Improving performance. Keepalive can help improve the applications’ performance by reducing the latency when establishing and terminating connections. This can be especially important for video streaming or online gaming.

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