During network communication at the physical layer, switching is an important process. Switching refers to the connection of multiple communicating devices with one another. Mainly there are two methods of switching are circuit switching and packet switching. Both techniques are useful for switching with some differences in working. The key difference between circuit switching and packet switching is based on the types of connection. As Packet Switching is connectionless, on the other hand, Circuit Switching is connection-oriented.
What is Circuit Switching?
Networks with circuit switching are connection-oriented networks. In this switching, a dedicated route is maintained between the source and the destination. Also, the complete message is transferred through this dedicated route. This switching involves sending of the messages from the destination source i.e. receiver to the source i.e. sender and back simultaneously. This physical connection established during the process with the receiver is responsible to handle the data transmissions.
What is Packet Switching?
These networks are connectionless. Therefore, this switching divides the message into groups of several units. These groups are termed as packets. These packets are individually routed from the source to the destination. This switching is useful as an alternative to circuit switching. Because in this packet-switched network, data is moving in the discrete units having variable lengths.
Difference between circuit switching and packet switching
The important difference between circuit switching and packet switching
|Parameter||Circuit Switching||Packet Switching|
|Number of connection||It has one single connection which leads to a single path connecting two points.||In this switching, the packet is simply data with many smaller units along with a header.|
|Nature of connection||Without a connection, this switching cannot work. So it is connection-oriented.||This switching can work without a dedicated connection.|
|A specific layer of the OSI model||It exists in the physical layer.||It exists at the network layer.|
|Nature of path||This follows a uniform path throughout the session.||It has no uniform path specified from end to end session.|
|Route||It has a circuit route needs to be established for the data transmission.||Each packet contains the information which needs to be processed through the dynamic route.|
|Application||Mostly this switching is ideal for voice communication.||Mostly this switching is useful for data transmission.|
|Delay||It may have a call setup delay.||It may have a Packet transmission delay.|
|Type of Bandwidth||It has fixed Bandwidth.||It has dynamic bandwidth.|
After the discussion about the difference between circuit switching and packet switching, let us know about their advantages and disadvantages.
The Advantages of Circuit Switching:
- It decreases the amount of delay before as well as during the call. Also, it ensures the minimized delay during phone calls.
- It provides the call with consistent bandwidth, channels, and hence data rate. So longer duration is not the issue for its performance.
- It gives the surety of the delivery of the data packets in their correct sequence.
The Disadvantages of Circuit Switching:
- It is not a suitable choice for any other type of connection. Also dedicating one channel to a single service will make it unavailable for other services.
- It is expensive due to the provision of the entire channel to one service.
- With an increased number of active users in comparison with the available number of channels, calls will fail or drop.
The Advantages of Packet Switching:
- Its main advantage is its efficiency. Because it finds its data paths towards the destination without the requirement of a dedicated channel.
- It is also reliable due to the minimum chance of packet loss. Also, data packets can be resent easily after failure.
- It reduces the costs incurred to run the network. This is because it does not need any dedicated channel for data transfer. Hence no need to pay for such a channel.
The Disadvantages of Packet Switching:
- It is unsuitable for the applications where minimal latency is permissible.
- It can only provide a voice call having choppy audio which may be difficult for the users to understand.
- With heavy traffic load, packets may be dropped during their transition. This risk is even more with the lack of security protocols
Therefore, we may conclude that for data transmission, Packet Switching is the more efficient comparatively than Circuit Switching. On the other hand for the voice transmission circuit switching technique is more efficient than packet switching.
FAQs about Circuit Switching and Packet Switching
Q.1: Explain time-division switching.
Solution: It is a method to allow several connections to travel along the specific trunk line with multiplexing based on time-division. This TDM splits up the stream into segments to be sent on regular intervals.
Q.2: Specify that which switching method controls the traffic congestion?
Solution: Congestion is the situation when the network is overloaded. Packet switching is more efficient because it ensures the maximum utilization of the bandwidth of all cables. Therefore with efficient use of resources, packet switching is more capable to reduce the congestion.