Meaning – The term polling, refers to the process whereby data stations are invited, one at a time, to transmit.
This is sometimes used synonymously with ‘busy-wait’ polling. In this situation, when an I/Ooperation is required, the computer does nothing other than check the status of the I/Odevice until it is ready, at which point the device is accessed. In other words, the computer waits until the device is ready. Polling also refers to the situation where a device is repeatedly checked for readiness, and if it is not, the computer returns to a different task. Although not as wasteful of CPU cycles as busy waiting, this is generally not as efficient as the alternative to polling, interrupt-driven I/O.
Example of usage – “Polling a parallel printer port to check whether it is ready for another character involves examining as little as one bit of a byte. That bit represents, at the time of reading, whether a single wire in the printer cable is at low or high voltage.”