A time-out may refer to any of the following:
1. With data communications, a time-out (or timeout) is a disconnection that occurs because of the inactivity of data transmission. For example, a time-out may happen if a modem is connected to the Internet but is idle for too long. Many ISPs set a time-out if no data is communicated after a set time limit to help keep phone lines available for other users.
2. A time-out error occurs when a program does not receive a response from the computer, another program, or another computer. Depending on how the program is written, this error may cause the program to quit or send an error message. For example, when using the ping command to ping another computer, a time-out error is received if that computer never responds.