A hop happens when a packet is transferred from one network segment to the next in wired computer networking, which includes the Internet. When a data packet moves from a source to a destination, routers are involved. The number of network devices that data passes through on its way from source to destination is referred to as the hop count. Depending on the routing protocol, this may include the source and destination, so the first hop is either counted as hop 0 or hop 1.
Since each hop results in store and forward latencies as well as other latencies, a high number of hops between source and destination indicates poor real-time performance.