Overhead

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See also: Distribution | Economics

Overhead refers to the extra costs and expenses in addition to the barter exchange such as distribution expenses and fees, utility costs, rent, etc. With computers and networks, overhead refers to lag, metadata generation, error checking, addressing, idle, redundant or bloated code, or any other characters or bitsequences in a data transmission other than actual end-user data.

Ineffective data transfer can result in excess overhead, so distribution methods often improve when overhead is removed. Overhead is often targetted for optimization so unreliability and latency doesn't develop and so that bandwidth is used effectively.