Definition of segmentation in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is Segmentation (in computer networking)?

The process of dividing a large network into smaller, connected networks. Segmentation improves the performance of Ethernet networks by reducing the size of collision domains. Because stations on an Ethernet network use contention to try to use the networking media, fewer stations in a given network segment means less contention and better network performance. Bridges or routers are generally used to segment an Ethernet network into smaller collision domains.

The term “segmentation” also refers to the process by which routers break down oversized frames into smaller portions that are sequenced, forwarded, and then reassembled at the receiving station.

Segmentation is usually a sign that the network is misconfigured because segmentation eats valuable CPU cycles on routers and produces greater latency in network communication.