Packet and Circuit Switching

GCSE Networking Resources (14-16 years)

  • An editable PowerPoint lesson presentation
  • Editable revision handouts
  • A glossary which covers the key terminologies of the module
  • Topic mindmaps for visualising the key concepts
  • Printable flashcards to help students engage active recall and confidence-based repetition
  • A quiz with accompanying answer key to test knowledge and understanding of the module

A-Level Network Protocols and Layers (16-18 years)

  • An editable PowerPoint lesson presentation
  • Editable revision handouts
  • A glossary which covers the key terminologies of the module
  • Topic mindmaps for visualising the key concepts
  • Printable flashcards to help students engage active recall and confidence-based repetition
  • A quiz with accompanying answer key to test knowledge and understanding of the module

Network Switching

Switching is one of the most significant parameters of networking. At the same time, connection with the internet or with a network for sending the messages or transferring data files a medium is used for connection of systems. It is a process for sharing data among various systems, networks, and segments.  Network switching is a mechanism to channel the received data from a port from various ports to a destination port. The port where data enter is known as ingress, whereas the port from where data leaves is egress.

Packet and Circuit Switching Image 1
Figure 1: Switching Techniques

The switch is a kind of medium via data that is routed to reach the ultimate destination. In short, we can say that a digital signal directing towards a specific hardware address is said to be network switching. Data from a system to another system can be carried out by employing various OSI model layers based on hardware devices. For example, for transferring the data in a local area like a college lab or hospital, switches and hubs are used. However, exchanging the data at remote places requires routers and gateways. Network switching is broadly categorised into two main types.

1. Connection-Oriented Networking

The clients of the connection-oriented network observe a series of functions.

  1. Connection built
  2. Data sent
  3. Connection released

We must create a link in the connection-oriented service before then data correspondence. When the link is created, we submit the file or the message and then release the connection. It is a liable form of a network for data correspondence. Clients can send the data even if there exists any error at the receivers’ node. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is an example of connection-oriented networking.

2. Connectionless Networking

Connectionless networking resembles postal services that contain the delivery address. Data is routed independently. However, messaging order may vary as sent and received. In this kind of networking, data transmission is in a single direction, targeting the source’s destination. In this case the status of the destination, the node is not confirmed, like either this kind of node exists or not, and sometimes either the receiving node is in the reception condition or not. Authentication is not required in connectionless networking. User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is an example of connectionless networking.

A real-life example of network switching is placing a phone call where data is passed through various junctions. Another example of network switching is a gateway where Internet Service Providers (ISP) provides a signal for other ISPs. For transferring data between multiple sites, different kinds of switching techniques are employed in networking. Networking is further classified into two main categories.

1. Circuit Switching

There is a need for a dedicated circuit or a dedicated channel for establishing a connection before transferring data between the devices. Therefore, the channel is declared reserved for a long time once the communication process occurs between the two clients. This form of switching is also stated as a half-duplex or sometimes full duplex. Only one channel is allocated in the half-duplex. However, two channels are distributed in the case of a full duplex.  

Packet and Circuit Switching Image 2
Figure 2: Circuit Switching

Circuit switching is frequently employed to preserve telephone networks such that the call will resume once the handset is picked up. As it offers a physical route between the sender and receiver, circuit switching is distinctive from packet switching. Packet switching provides no such spatial direction for data packets that pass individually via a few diverse paths.

1.1. Space Division Switches:

Space Division Switching is a technique for circuit switching in which a single communication direction is reached by utilizing a functionally different series of Crosspoint in a loop. By employing the crossbar switch, Space Division Swapping may be accomplished. A metallic Crosspoint or semiconductor gate is a crossbar switch that can be activated or deactivated by an interface. The semiconductor is used to create the Crossbar turn. The Xilinx crossbar switch uses FPGAs, which is a kind of example. 

High speed, high power, and non-blocking switches are required for Space Division Switching. Space division switches are categorized into two main classes.

  1. Crossbar switch
  2. Multistage switch

1.2. Time Division Switches:

The time-division switching techniques come under the umbrella of digital switching. In such cases, input and output ports contain Pulse Code Modulated signals. The digital switching system gives a facility to connect PCM highway input to any other PCM highway output for call connection. The reception and re-transmission of incoming, outgoing signals in various time slots are known as Time Division Switching. Here, the speech data is chunked into slot sequences. Therefore, through vocal slots and data streams, data transfer is carried out in time frames.

Sharing of Crosspoint is the significant difference among both types of circuit switching. In space division multiplexing, Crosspoint is not shared; however, it is shared in time-division switching for a short time. So, it is helpful to reassign the Crosspoint.

1.3. Circuit Switching Advantages:

Due to multiple reasons, the circuit switching model has become prevalent.

  1. One of the primary causes is that the client’s level of latency before and during a chat is reduced.
  2. Circuit switching is proficient at ensuring that the interval delay during phone calls is minimized so that callers can achieve the highest unified end-user experience.
  3. Packet switching across the call is unable to maintain the same standard of service for users.
  4. The call would be transmitted with apparent bandwidth, channels, and a constant spectral efficiency under circuit switching. As a result, without falling into any connectivity glitches, the client is willing to continue the phone for prolonged contact timeframes.
  5. Circuit switching often provides the effect of ensuring the data packets in their proper order are provided. The smaller latency amount means the data packets are transmitted in time to grasp all the details in the conversation (call).

1.4. Circuit Switching Disadvantages:

  1. Even circuit switching is optimal for vocal data exchange. It is not appropriate for any other link type. The explanation for this is because potential communications are intended for the channel.
  2. If you are trying to leverage your money wisely, circuit switching is not a smart idea.
  3. Dedicating one platform to a specific service makes most channels inaccessible for it.
  4. Besides, to make circuit switching more costly, this drawback often doubles. Providing a whole channel for one service and one-person routing route is costly.
  5. For calls, though, circuit switching also raises problems if successful clients surpass the number of networks open to you, so calls do not connect or are lost in the centre.
  6. To ensure the networks stay up, managers are under scrutiny. Moreover, establishing calls results in pause, so that before the communication can occur, the link must be thoroughly developed.

2. Packet Switching

Unlike circuit switching, there is no need to establish a dedicated channel for communication purposes in packet switching. The channel is accessible to clients all over the data network. Lengthy data signals are split down into segments and are moved to the network individually. Such segments are known as packets that are controlled by datagram or virtual circuits. Each packet of information is privately sent by datagram, and that can move on any path. Packets sometimes reach out of pattern or complete loss, the significant issues with packet switching technique. However, the virtual circuit creates a pre-set path before the transmission of data packets.

Packet and Circuit Switching Image 3
Figure 3: Packet Switching

As a result, routing choices for the packet route do not need to be taken as they are for a datagram. Each data packet retains a Virtual Circuit Identifier (VCI) so that these packets can approach their destination. To define the path until packets are in motion, call requests and approved messages are employed; for managing data voice programs that do not need a real-time operation, packet switching is applied.

2.1. Datagram:

Datagram packet-switching is a technique for packet switching where each packet is regarded as a single object, also considered a datagram. Each pack has the independence to move across the network. Therefore, the header of the packet consists of complete details about the final node. Intermediate nodes inspect the packet header and pick a convenient link to another node closer to the target. The packets do not adopt a pre-established path in this method, and the intermediate nodes do not need previous awareness of the routes to be used.

Various techniques are employed in datagram packet switching to forward the traffic. The datagram switching is categorized into three main types of switches.

  1. Store and Forward
  2. Fragment Free
  3. Cut-Through

It is one of the best approaches to networking; however, it is not as reliable as there is no delivery guarantee. 

2.2. Virtual Circuit Approach:

Virtual switching is a packet switching technique where a route is defined between source and destination where all the packets will be transferred during the session of call. Since the link tends to be a dedicated physical circuit for the consumer, this direction is considered a virtual circuit. Other messages, however, can often share the components of the same path. The source and destination declare an appropriate route for the simulated circuit before performing data transfer. During call initialization, decision compensation, like the packet’s overall size, is often shared between the source and the destination. As the data conversion is done, the virtual circuit is released.

2.3. Packet Switching Advantages:

Although packet switching might not be as appropriate as circuit switching for voice conversation, it has a range of benefits that are impossible to overlook.

  1. Without a separate channel requirement, packets may follow their respective data routes to their final address.
  2. The channel will not be utilized by the in-circuit network switching systems before voice contact has been discontinued.
  3. As it tends to avoid packet failure, packet switching is also efficient.
  4. With packet swapping, if they do not meet their endpoint, data packets will resend. For circuit switching, which has no means to send missing packets, this is not the case.
  5. Since it guarantees that packets enter their target, packet switching is a much efficient form of the two.
  6. The expenses involved with operating the network are often minimized by packet switching.
  7. Packet switching networks, without the requirement for a separate line, will move common internet usage and voice communication through the network. This minimizes the budget, and there is no need to spend to have one speech contact channel open.

2.4. Packet Switching Disadvantages:

  1. The most significant drawback of packet switching is that for programs needing minimum delay, it is inappropriate.
  2. Circuit switching is a must in a network that employs loads of vocal communication, and it is the only mechanism that ensures a better end connection.
  3. Only a voice exchange environment that leads to a rough voice that renders it impossible for clients to hear each other can be given by packet switching.
  4. Likewise, while packet switching can resend missing data packets, this is not the reality if the path overwhelms the network. If so, much traffic occurs, so packets are lost while traveling.
  5. The end effect is the lack of valuable knowledge.
  6. The absence of encryption protocols used to encrypt packets while information transfer further raises this threat.
  7. There is no IPsec that provides packets with that extra protection against risk. It is efficiently costly to introduce, while packet switching decreases expenses in various forms.
  8. The switching of packets depends on a variety of dynamic protocols that need to be handled from implementation onwards.

Circuit Switching Vs. Packet Switching:

Circuit switching and packet switching are two of the most prominent employed approaches for corporate network data communication. In advanced networking, these two strategies both have their area. Using circuit-switching enables you to maintain a channel configured for high-priority voice calls to offer consumers the most incredible opportunities to connect. Packet switching, on the other side, utilizes a more adaptable solution such that data can travel a various number of routes.

The significant differences between both the switching techniques are discussed in the below table 1.

Table 1: Circuit Switching Vs. Packet Switching

Circuit SwitchingPacket Switching
Circuit Switching is connection-orientedThe Packet Switching is connectionless
The type of switching is designed for vocal data exchangeThe type of switching is designed for the transmission of data
Kind of switching is inflexible. Once a path is established, all parts follow the same communication routeKind of switching is flexible; each packet travels on its designated path
The message pattern is followed the same as transmitted from the sourceOrder of packets received out of order; however, at the destination level, all the packets are assembled
The switching can be achieved by employing two kinds of approaches Division Switching Time Division SwitchingThe kind of switching employs two technologies that include Datagram Technique Virtual Circuit Technique
The physical layer is the layer of implementationThe network layer is the layer of implementation
There exist three different phases in circuit switching
1. Creating Connection
2. Transferring the Data
3. Release of Connection
Data communication takes place directly
Source gives the entire route address by using a data unitIn this case, the router provides an intermediate route. However, the data unit is just familiar with the destination address
The source system only carries out data processingThe data processing is carried out by both source system as well as by intermediate nodes
Data units delay is uniqueThe delay between the data units is not unique
As the route is fixed for data communication, therefore, resource reservation is a critical feature in circuit switchingAs the bandwidth is shared among all the clients, therefore, no resource reservation occurs
Reliability of circuit switching is higherReliability of packet switching is not as much higher
More resources are consumed as well as waste in this caseFewer resources are consumed and wasted in packet switching
The charge is dependent on two primary attributes that are:
1. Time
2. Distance
The charge is dependent on two primary characteristics that are:
1. Number of Bytes
2. Connection Time
No store and forward approach resideStore and forward approach reside
The source carries out data transmissionData transmission is carried out by source as well as by intermediate routers
During the creation of the connection, congestion may happen.During transferring of data, congestion may happen
Impossible to perform the recording of dataPossible to perform the recording of data
Not suitable to tackle bilateral trafficThis approach is convenient for tackling bilateral traffic

Both the switching networks within companies have historically filled diverse spaces. The principal aim of circuit switching, and packet switching was to handle the phone calls and manage the data. But the two systems have been exchanging activities for years because of the distance of phone lines and the reliability and low cost of data networks.

Summary and Facts:

Networking is the process of interconnection between various devices like computers, printers, etc. They can share the data with others (or can talk to one another). Whereas switches are a kind of hardware device that are used to manage the interconnected devices. Network switching is the mechanism of managing the data packets from the source to the destination.

What is the difference between ingress and egress?

The port where data enter is known as ingress, whereas the port from where data leaves is egress.

Give an example of network switching?

Transferring the data in a local area like a college lab or hospital, switches and hubs are used. However, exchanging the data at remote places requires routers and gateways.

Name the two major types of network switching?

  1. Circuit Switching
  2. Packet Switching

When does circuit switching use?

There is a need for a dedicated circuit or a dedicated channel for establishing a connection before transferring data between the devices.

What are the other names of circuit switching?

This form of switching is also stated as a half-duplex or sometimes a full duplex. Only one channel is allocated in the half-duplex. However, two channels are allocated in the case of a full duplex.

Enlist the types of circuit switching?

  1. Space division switching
  2. Time-division switching

What are the two types of space division switching?

  1. Crossbar switch
  2. Multistage switch

What does “packet switching” mean?

Unlike circuit switching, there is no need to establish a dedicated channel for communication purposes in packet switching. The channel is accessible to clients all over the data network. Lengthy data signals are split down into segments and are moved to the network individually.

List down the types of “packet switching”?

1.      Datagram

2.      Virtual Circuit Approach

What are the three different kinds of Datagram switching?

  1. Store and Forward
  2. Fragment Free
  3. Cut-Through

It is one of the best approaches to networking; however, it is not as reliable as there is no delivery guarantee.

References:

  1. https://ecomputernotes.com/computernetworkingnotes/computer-network/what-is-switching
  2. https://study.com/academy/lesson/network-switching-definition-types.html
  3. https://www.tutorialspoint.com/data_communication_computer_network/physical_layer_switching.htm
  4. https://www.studytonight.com/computer-networks/connection-oriented-and-connectionless-service#
  5. https://study.com/cimages/multimages/16/circuit_switching.png
  6. https://study.com/cimages/multimages/16/packet_switching.png
  7. https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/difference-between-circuit-switching-and-packet-switching/
  8. https://www.computerworld.com/article/2593382/networking-packet-switched-vs-circuit-switched-networks.html#:~:text=Definitions%3A%20Packet%2Dswitched%20networks%20move,to%2Dpoint%20connections%20during%20calls.
  9. https://www.tutorialspoint.com/telecommunication_switching_systems_and_networks/telecommunication_switching_systems_and_networks_time_division_switching.htm
  10. https://www.javatpoint.com/computer-network-switching-techniques
  11. https://static.javatpoint.com/tutorial/computer-network/images/switching-techniques-classification.png
  12. http://www.telecomabc.com/d/datagram-switching.html
  13. http://www.telecomabc.com/v/virtual-circuit.html#:~:text=Virtual%20circuit%20switching%20is%20a,be%20a%20dedicated%20physical%20circuit.