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heterogeneous

Heterogeneous (pronounced HEH-tuh-roh-DJEEN-ee-uhs, from the Greek heteros or "other" and genos or "kind") is the characteristic of containing dissimilar constituents. A common use of this word in information technology is to describe a product as able to contain or be part of a "heterogeneous network," consisting of different manufacturers' products that can "interoperate." Heterogeneous networks are made possible by standards-conforming hardware and software interfaces used in common by different products, thus allowing them to communicate with each other. The Internet itself is an example of a heterogeneous network.

A similar word is heterogenous, which means "originating elsewhere."

This was last updated in September 2005

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