negative acknowledgement

Computing Dictionary

negative acknowledgement definition

1. (NAK) The mnemonic for ASCII character 21.
Sometimes used as the response to receipt of a corrupted packet of information.
Opposite of acknowledgement.
2. (NAK) Any message transmitted to indicate that some data has been received incorrectly, for example it may have a checksum or message length error. A NAK message allows the sender to distinguish a message which has been received in a corrupted state from one which is not received at all.
An alternative is to use only ACK messages, in which case the non-receipt of an ACK after a certain time is counted as a NAK but gives no information about the integrity of the communications channel.
See also ACK.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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