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Store-and-forward manager

(also SFM)

Store-and-forward manager definition

A store-and-forward manager is a system that receives, stores, and then forwards a message or data to its final destination. It’s set apart from other communication protocols by its ability to function in scenarios where real-time communication is not desirable or even possible.

See also: Secure File Transfer Protocol, communication protocol, communications system

The key elements of a SFM

  • Receiving. The manager receives data from a sender.
  • Storing. It temporarily stores the data. This storage might be necessary for various reasons like network congestion, the unavailability of the destination, or scheduling preferences.
  • Forwarding. Once the appropriate conditions are met, the manager forwards the stored data to its intended destination.

Where are SFMs used?

  • Email systems. Email servers use store-and-forward mechanisms to hold emails until the recipient's server is ready to receive them.
  • Satellite communications. Satellites collect and store data until they are in the right position to forward it to a ground station.
  • Messaging services. Messaging and chat applications use store-and-forward systems to manage messages.
  • Networking and routing. Certain routers and switches use store-and-forward techniques to manage data packets.
  • News and media. Media companies use store-and-forward methods to distribute digital media, such as news feeds or video content, to manage content delivery to various outlets or consumers, especially when dealing with large files or bandwidth limitations.
  • IoT and sensor networks. In IoT and sensor networks, data collected by sensors may be stored and then forwarded to a central server or cloud for processing and analysis.
  • Financial transactions. Banks and financial institutions use store-and-forward to process transactions (e.g., credit card payments).