Packet Switching: Definition, How it Works and the Types

Packet Switching

Maybe if you have been and are often involved in data transfer processes, you will know what packet switching is. Perhaps the most concise understanding is how to transfer data to one or more using the internet network. Maybe that’s more or less is a brief understanding.

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But, did you know that actually how it works is not just that easy? And of course, what is the explanation of each type? Let’s find out more!

Explanation of Packet Switching

Is a network switching technique without a connection. Here, messages are divided and grouped into a number of units called packets which are individually routed from source to destination. There is no need to create a special circuit for communication.

However, at the destination where the data is sent, all these small parts (packets) must be reassembled, belonging to the same file. A packet consists of a payload and various control information. No pre-setup or resource reservation is required.

Techniques in Packet Switching

It can be divided into two techniques, namely diagram or datagram techniques and also virtually. The following is an explanation of the two techniques:

Diagramming Technique

Unlike Connection oriented packet switching, In Connectionless Packet Switching each packet contains all the necessary addressing information like source address, destination address and port number etc. In Datagram Packet Switching, each packet is treated independently.

Packets belonging to one stream may take different routes because routing decisions are made dynamically, so packets arriving at their destination may be corrupted. It does not have connection settings and teardown phases, like Virtual Circuits.

Packet delivery is not guaranteed in connectionless packet switching, so reliable delivery must be provided by the end system using additional protocols.

Virtual Circuit Engineering

The next is the virtual circuit technique. Before starting transmission it establishes a logical path or virtual connection using signaling protocol, between sender and receiver and all packets belonging to this flow will follow this predefined route.

Virtual Circuit ID is provided by the switch/router to uniquely identify this virtual connection. The data is divided into diminutive units and all these diminutive units are added with the help of an ordinal number. Altogether, three phases take place here- Setup, data transfer, and offload phases.

Packet Switching Vs Circuit Switching

The question is, when viewed from the two techniques, which one is better between packet switching and circuit switching?

Are two different switching methods used to connect multiple communication devices to each other. The main difference between circuit switching and packet switching is that it is connectionless, whereas circuit switching is connection oriented.

These are the two most common switching methods. We will understand how these processes affect the transfer of data from sender to receiver and differ from one another.

Advantages of Packet Switching

There are several advantages that you need to know, including:

  1. There is no delay in parcel delivery as parcels are sent to their destination as soon as they are available.
  2. There is no requirement for large storage space as the information is passed to the destination as soon as it is received.
  3. Failure in the link does not stop data transmission because these packets can also be routed from other paths.
  4. Multiple users can use the same channel while transferring their packages.
  5. Better bandwidth usage, because multiple sources can transfer packets from the same source link.

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