Handshaking, in technology, refers to a process of establishing a connection or communication between two devices by exchanging predetermined signals. This exchange confirms that both devices are ready to interact and transfer data. Handshaking ensures successful communication and synchronization while also minimizing the risk of data loss or corruption.


The phonetics of the keyword “Handshaking” is: /ˈhændˌʃeɪkɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Handshaking is a crucial aspect of communication protocol as it aids the establishment of a connection between two devices or systems.
  2. During a handshake process, both systems exchange data to agree on important details such as transmission rate, protocol, and other requirements to maintain a stable and secure connection.
  3. Handshakes are commonly used in various communication technology areas, including networking and wireless communication, establishing secure connections (SSL/TLS), and human-computer interactions.


Handshaking is an essential concept in technology due to its role in establishing a connection and synchronizing communication between two devices.

By exchanging specific signals or messages, handshaking serves as an agreed-upon set of rules that both parties follow to determine the optimal parameters to maintain a stable, efficient, and secure connection.

The process enables devices to exchange their capabilities, specify data transfer speed, check for compatibility, and confirm a successful connection.

Handshaking reduces the risk of data corruption, ensures accuracy, and promotes seamless communication within the digital landscape.

As a result of its importance, handshaking has become a fundamental aspect of various communication protocols, such as networking, telecommunications and peripheral devices like keyboards and mice.


Handshaking is an essential process in establishing communication between two electronic devices, playing a vital role in ensuring that both devices are synchronized and ready to exchange data. The primary purpose of handshaking is to establish the parameters for communication, such as the speed of data transfer, the format of the data to be sent and received, and error-checking mechanisms.

It allows devices with varying configurations and capabilities to communicate effectively by finding common ground and agreeing on these parameters, which in turn enables the exchange of information in a systematic and reliable manner. In modern computer networks and telecommunication systems, handshaking is used to manage a wide variety of connections, from peripheral devices like printers and modems to complex server-client interactions on the internet.

The handshaking process typically involves a series of back-and-forth signals, or “handshakes,” exchanged between the two devices as they negotiate and agree on the communication parameters. This crucial process creates a stable foundation for data transmission, ensuring that both devices can understand and interpret the data being exchanged.

Additionally, handshaking contributes to the overall efficiency and reliability of communication systems, as it enables devices to recognize and handle potential connection issues, such as incompatibilities and transmission errors, effectively.

Examples of Handshaking

Handshaking is a process that establishes a connection between two devices or systems, allowing them to communicate and share information. Here are three real-world examples of handshaking in technology:

Computer Networking: When a user connects their device to the internet or a local network, the device performs a handshake with the router or network switch. This process generally involves the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) handshake, which consists of three steps: SYN, SYN-ACK, and ACK. The handshake allows the devices to establish the connection parameters and ensure that both devices are ready to exchange data.

Bluetooth Pairing: When a user pairs their smartphone with a Bluetooth device (e.g., wireless headphones, speaker, or smartwatch), the devices perform a handshake process to establish a secure connection. This includes confirming each device’s unique Bluetooth address, exchanging security keys, and establishing the features and communication protocols that will be used during the connection.

Secure Web Browsing: When a user accesses a secure website (i.e., one that uses HTTPS), the user’s browser and the web server perform an SSL/TLS handshake. This process establishes a secure, encrypted connection between the devices and involves the exchange of cryptographic keys and verification of digital certificates. The handshake ensures that communication between the user’s browser and the web server is protected from eavesdropping or tampering by third parties.

Handshaking FAQ

What is handshaking?

Handshaking is a process by which two devices or systems establish a connection and/or communication by exchanging predetermined signals or messages. It often initiates an agreement on communication parameters or the transfer of data between the two parties.

What is the purpose of handshaking in communication systems?

The primary purpose of handshaking in communication systems is to establish a reliable connection, synchronize the devices, and ensure that data transfer can happen without errors. The handshaking process allows both parties to agree upon various parameters, such as data transfer rate, error detection, and more, which ensures a smooth and successful communication.

What is a hardware handshaking?

Hardware handshaking is a method of controlling data flow between devices or systems, using physical signals, such as electrical voltages or distinct connector pins. It often involves the use of flow control signals, like “Request to Send” (RTS) and “Clear to Send” (CTS), to ensure devices are ready to communicate and can handle the data transfer rates.

What is a software handshaking?

Software handshaking refers to the process of managing data flow and controlling communication using software-implemented protocols and special characters. Instead of physical signals, it relies on in-band signaling by adding control characters within the data stream. A popular software handshaking method is XON/XOFF, which uses specific character codes to signal when to start or stop data transfer.

What are some common handshaking protocols?

There are a variety of handshaking protocols used in communications systems, some of the common ones include:

  • TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
  • RS-232 Serial Communication (using RTS/CTS)
  • XON/XOFF software handshaking
  • SSL/TLS Handshake for secure communication
  • Bluetooth device pairing

Related Technology Terms

  • Synchronization
  • Acknowledgement
  • Data Transfer
  • Communication Protocol
  • Error Detection

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents