It is a term that is used for information that times out (goes away) unless refreshed, which allows protocols to recover from errors in certain services. The term was coined by David D. Clark in his description of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) internet protocols.
While in general less efficient than well-designed "hard state" protocols when tuned for a particular network regime, soft state protocols behave much better than hard state protocols in an unpredictable network environment such as the Internet.
- Ji, Ping (2003). "A Comparison of Hard-state and Soft-state Signaling Protocols". Computer Science Department Faculty Publication Series. University of Massachusetts - Amherst. Paper 199.
- "What is Soft State". IGI-Global.com. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- Lui, J. C. S.; Misra, V.; Rubenstein, D. (2004). "On the robustness of soft state protocols". Proceedings of the 12th IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols, 2004. ICNP 2004. p. 50. doi:10.1109/ICNP.2004.1348084. ISBN 0-7695-2161-4.