Carrying a portable storage device such as a USB flash drive from one machine to another to exchange information. The term was coined in the early days when local networks were not common, and the floppy disk was the transport medium. However, there are still occasions when files will not transfer over a network due to sharing restrictions or just plain software bugs. If USB drive copy restrictions are not in place, sneakernet may provide a solution because files copied to and from a USB drive are a local procedure at both ends.
Floppies were superseded by a raft of portable disk cartridges, all winding up as ancient history after the USB flash drive became popular (for earlier disk devices, see magnetic disk
Alan Freedman, author of this encyclopedia, uses Windows and Mac side by side day after day. For years, Alan transferred files between platforms over the local network. In 2016, after upgrading the Mac OS, all of a sudden, the Mac could not access the Windows machine, and worse yet, it was intermittent. Flash drive sneakernet was the solution. See USB drive
The only (almost) guaranteed method for transferring data between machines.