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In telecommunication, a hop is a portion of a signal's journey from source to receiver. Examples include:
The excursion of a radio wave from the Earth to the ionosphere and back to the Earth. The number of hops indicates the number of reflections from the ionosphere.
A similar excursion from an earth station to a communications satellite to another station, counted similarly except that if the return trip is not by satellite, then it's only a half hop.
In routing, a hop is the step from one router to the next, on the path of a packet on any communications network. On the Internet the hops a packet takes may be discovered with pings or traceroutes. The hop count is the total number of steps along the path from source to sink. In this context, the term "hop" is sometimes said to be an acronym for "hand-over point".