Difference Between Circuit Switching And Packet Switching

Circuit switching and packet switching are the two different methods of switching that are used to connect the multiple communicating devices with one another. The key difference between circuit switching and packet switching is that Packet Switching is connectionless, whereas circuit switching is connection-oriented.

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

What is Circuit Switching?

Circuit switching is defined as the method of switching which is used for establishing a dedicated communication path between the sender and the receiver. The link which is established between the sender and the receiver is in the physical form. Analog telephone network is a well-known example of circuit switching.

Advantages of Circuit Switching

  • The bandwidth used is fixed.
  • The quality of communication is increased as a dedicated communication channel is used.
  • The rate at which the data is transmitted is fixed.
  • While switching, no time is wasted in waiting.
  • It is preferred when the communication is long and continuous.

Disadvantages of Circuit Switching

  • Since dedicated channels are used, the bandwidth required is more.
  • The utilization of resources is not full.
  • Since a dedicated channel has been used, the transmission of other data becomes impossible.
  • The time taken by the two stations for the establishment of the physical link is too long.
  • Circuit switching is expensive because every connection uses a dedicated path establishment.
  • The link between the sender and the receiver will be maintained until and unless the user terminates the link. This will also continue if there is no transfer of data taking place.

What is Packet Switching?

Packet switching is defined as the connectionless network where the messages are divided and grouped together and, this is known as a packet. Each packet is routed from the source to the destination as individual packets. The actual data in these packets are carried by the payload. When the packet arrives at the destination, it is the responsibility of the destination to put these packets in the right order. 

Advantages of Packet Switching

  • There is no delay in the delivery of the packets as they are sent to the destination as soon as they are available.
  • There is no requirement for massive storage space as the information is passed on to the destination as soon as they are received.
  • Failure in the links does not stop the delivery of the data as these packets can be routed from other paths too.
  • Multiple users can use the same channel while transferring their packets.
  • The usage of bandwidth is better in case of packet switching as multiple sources can transfer packets from the same source link.

Disadvantages of Packet Switching

  • Installation costs of packet switching are expensive.
  • The delivery of these packets becomes easy when complicated protocols are used.
  • High-quality voice calls cannot use packet switching as there is a lot of delay in this type of communication.
  • Connectivity issues may lead to loss of information and delay in the delivery of the information.

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 Circuit Switching Vs Packet Switching

Circuit switching is referred to as the technology of data transfer that utilizes sending messages from one point to another. This involves sending messages from the receiver to the sender and back simultaneously. A physical connection gets established during this process along with the receiver; a dedicated circuit is always present to handle data transmissions, through which data is sent. Packet switching can be used as an alternative to circuit switching. In the packet-switched networks, data is sent in discrete units that have variable length.

Difference between Circuit Switching and Packet Switching

Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

A circuit needs to be established to make sure that data transmission takes place. Each packet containing the information that needs to be processed goes through the dynamic route.
A uniform path is followed throughout the session. There is no uniform path that is followed end to end through the session.
It is most ideal for voice communication, while also keeping the delay uniform. It is used mainly for data transmission as the delay is not uniform.
Without a connection, it cannot exist, as the connection needs to be present on a physical layer. A connection is not necessary, as it can exist without one too. It needs to be present on a network layer.
Data to be transmitted is processed at the source itself. Data is processed and transmitted at the source as well as at each switching station.

Thus, this explains the Circuit Switching and Packet Switching differences.

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