A time-out may refer to any of the following:
1. When referring to data communications, time-out refers to a disconnect that occurs because no data is being communicated. For example, a time-out may happen if a modem is connected to the Internet but has been idle for too long. Many ISPs set a time-out to occur if no data is being communicated after a set period of time to help keep phone lines available for other users.
2. A time-out is an error that occurs when a program does not receive a response from the computer, another program, or another computer. Depending upon how the program is written, this error may cause the program to quit or an error message. For example, when using the ping command to ping another computer if that computer never responds a timeout error is received.