Buffers are a section of memory storage used to temporarily hold data as it transmits from one point to another, to ensure the data can be used without “skipping” if there is a temporary hiccup in the transmission of the data. Buffers are different from caches, which are usually used for data that will be read over and over, whereas a buffer usually operates on a first in, first out basis.
Buffering is used in many places, including optical drives, streaming music, and online video. For instance, if you are streaming a video without buffering, any small hiccup in the transmission will cause the video to temporarily stall, so all online video buffers a portion of the video to make sure that any delays won’t affect smooth playback. If your internet connection is too slow for online video, you will have to buffer the entire video before watching.
- By Lowell Heddings on 08/16/12