What is Store and Forward?

Store and Forward is a telecommunications technique that stores a message or transmission for later playback or transmission. As opposed to real time communication, store and forward is the basis for all messaging systems including email, fax-on-demand, unified messaging, etc. In data communications, store and forward applies to momentary buffering of packets or other data strings.

Store and forward is primarily implemented in telecommunication networks where remote subscribers lack direct or dedicated connections. The store and forward technique works by storing the message transmitted by the source device on an intermediary device, generally a server. The server then locates the destination device from its database of subscribers, initiates a connection and transmits the data packet that was originally sent by the source device.

Store and forward is implemented in scenarios where the subscribing devices are geographically distant, lack direct connectivity and where the network is experiencing high error rates.