Circuit Switching

What is Circuit Switching?

Circuit switching is defined as

The switching technique is a connection-oriented network that is divided into pieces and has a dedicated path established between the sender and receiver providing a guaranteed data rate.

Circuit Switching Diagram

Circuit switching diagram

Circuit Switching Examples

Analog telephone network is an example of circuit switching.

Phases of Circuit Switching

Circuit Establishment

A dedicated circuit between the source and the destination is established with the help of numerous intermediate switching centres. The requesting and receiving of the communication signals are possible when the sender and receiver transmit signals across the circuit.

Data Transfer

The transfer of data and voice signals are possible between the source and the destination after the establishment of the circuit. The connection between both the end parties continues as long as they communicate.

Circuit Disconnection

The disconnection in the circuit happens when one of the users initiates to disconnect. When the disconnection takes place, all the intermediate links between the sender and receiver are removed.

Characteristics of Circuit Switched Network

  • It is also known as the public network.
  • Handling digital data and traffic is easy as the signals are voice signals.
  • The transfer of electric current along with the voice signal is possible.
  • The process is known as connection-oriented.
  • In a circuit switching network, the establishment of the path takes place first and then the data transmission takes place.
  • The amount of data transferred in the circuit switching is fixed.
  • The termination of the path is possible only when there is a termination of the connection.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Circuit Switching


  • This type of switching technique is suitable for the continuous transmission of data as the data remains in conservation.
  • The rate of communication is steady as a dedicated path for transmission.
  • With the establishment of the circuit, there are no intermediate delays that make it suitable for voice and data transmission.


  • As there is an establishment of a dedicated connection between both ends, the transmission of any other data is challenging.
  • Data with low volume demand high bandwidth.
  • The usage of system resources becomes underutilized as the repetition of resources for other connections are not possible.
  • The establishment time is high.

Types of Switches in Circuit Switching

There are two types of switches that are used in circuit switching, and they are:

  • Space division switches

In space division switching, the paths in the circuit are separated from each other. The main purpose of the space division was for the analog network, however, it is used for both analog and digital switching. A switch known as a crosspoint is used in space division switches. It finds applications in digital communication and uses semiconductor gates.

The advantage of a space-division switch is that it is instantaneous and the disadvantage is the number of crosspoints is dependent on the blocking.

  • Time-division switches

In the time-division switching method, the number of connections travels along the same trunk line. The breaking of the streams into segments takes place with the help of time-division multiplexing, making sure that the segments are sent at specific intervals. The detection of the elements happens with the help of a de-multiplexer.

Difference between Circuit and Packet Switching

The following is the list of difference between circuit and packet switching:

Circuit Switching Packet Switching
The transfer of data takes place after the establishment of the dedicated path The transfer of data takes place in the form of packets following dynamic routing
It is mainly preferred for voice transmission It is mainly preferred for data transmission
The implementation of this type of switching takes place at the physical layer The implementation of this type of switching takes place at the network layer

Read related articles:

Semiconductor Devices
Electronic Communication
Modulation and Demodulation

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about other concepts of Physics.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What are the methods to move data through a network of links and switches?

The two methods to move data through a network of links and switches are packet switching and circuit switching. Packet switching is used in conventional LAN systems and circuit switching is used in telephonic systems.

What is switching?

Switching is defined as the process of transferring data packets from the source to the destination by sending them from one port to another.

What are different types of switching techniques?

There are three different types of switching techniques:

  • Circuit switching
  • Message switching
  • Packet switching

Name the switches that are used in circuit switching.

The following are the switches that are used in circuit switching:

  • Space division switches
  • TDM bus
  • Time domain switches

What are the advantages and disadvantages of packet switching?

The following are the advantages of packet switching:

  • Packet switching does not require massive secondary storage which minimizes the cost. Therefore, it is cost-effective.
  • When the nodes are busy, the data packets can be rerouted which makes this switching technique reliable.
  • The same communication channel can be used by multiple users simultaneously, which makes this switching technique efficient.

The following are the disadvantages of packet switching:

  • Packet switching cannot be used in high-quality services.
  • The implementation cost of packet switching is expensive as it is a complex technique.
  • Losing packets has a high possibility due to the overloading of the packets. If this happens, then there will be a loss of critical information.

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