When describing the connectivity of a system to a network, are there unambiguous terms for if a member of the network should/can communicate over the network?

Network Communicable Can Cannot
Should be Connected/Online Disconnected/Offline
Should not be ? Unconnected/Offline

I have tried combing through Google/Wiktionary as well as some collections of network terminology (e.g. liveaction and now the Internet Security Glossary as well) but the closest thing I've found was a discussion on a word reference forum.

Clarification on "should vs can": I realize "should" may imply some inherent security or authorization on the server's side. The specific context in which this question arose was trying to report a client's state to the user over a socket network. So "should" is defined by the user's intent and "can" is defined by the actual connectivity of the sockets. For example, if the user pressed a "disconnect" button and was still receiving messages over the network they would be in the quadrant marked by a "?".

  • 2
    You seek technical information that isn’t covered here. See if rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc4949 is the sort of thing you’re looking for.
    – Xanne
    Aug 11, 2022 at 3:43
  • 1
    You say “should/can” but don't say who decides. Do you need to distinguish between authorized, active, paired, connected?
    – djs
    Aug 11, 2022 at 8:36
  • It looks like you're asking for a term for where an item can communicate over the network but should not be able to. I suspect the term will actually depend on why that's happening. I also suspect that this is better asked on a specialist site: you want technical terms, not general words.
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 11, 2022 at 12:55
  • I will try investigating more specialist sites, it may be that there's no "on word" solution here. Thank you for the Internet Security Glossary, unfortunately, I have not found what I was looking for there. I have added a clarification that it is the user/client that defines "should" and not the server.
    – rcanty
    Aug 11, 2022 at 13:47
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because this question belongs on a technical site.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 11, 2022 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


While I do not believe there is a clear, unambiguous word for each for each quadrant you've identified, if a user were presented with "connected", "disconnected", "unconnected" and "misconnected" as their options, they may be able to figure out which applies to which scenario.

That said, if the purpose is to keep a client informed and avoid ambiguity, I suggest giving a descriptive, even if wordy, status report rather than going for a single (potentially ambiguous) word.

  • Detached also works in this context.
    – Eilia
    Aug 15, 2022 at 14:49

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