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Circuit Switching Versus Packet Switching

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Computer Science
Wordcount: 2140 words Published: 21st Jun 2018

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  • Nurhazimah Binti Mohd Za’ba
  • Nursyafikah Binti Farakkasi 
  • Nursyahirah Binti Mohd Sanusi 
  • Nur Hidayu Binti Salleh
  • Nur Syafiqah Binti Zulkiflee
  • Nurul Ain Binti Mohd Nassir Adabi


The purpose of this study is to describe difference between packet switching and circuit switching. Circuit switching is dedicated communication between two stations that connected sequence of links between network nodes. It consist 3 phase communication which are establish, transfer and disconnect. Packet switching is data transmitted in small packets that each packet contains a portion of user data plus some control information. There are a few difference between packet switching and circuit switching include the bandwidth, dedicated path, call setup delay and so on.


In telecommunication networks they carried the information signals among an entity involved in the process of information transfer which may be in the form of a telephone conversation. In order to connect multiple devices, it must be point to point connection between pair of devices which we called as switches. Unfortunately, it will increase the number of connection. There are two types of switching techniques including circuit switching and packet switching. Switching is a collection of switching elements arranged and controlled to setup communication path between any distant points.

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Circuit switching is a network which allows the associated voice which it will followed between the two respective users refer in the Figure 1 is the circuit switching network.. The end to end communication was established during the duration of the call. It is a dedicated link or path which established between the sender and the receiver. It is maintained for the entire duration of the conversation.

Figure 1: Circuit SwitchingNetwork

Packet switching is a network which it does not requires establishing the connection in initially. Next, the connection or channel available usually used by many users. But, if the capacity of the users increases, it will lead to congestion in the network. This network mainly used for data and voice applications requiring non-real time scenarios. It also can handle in two ways which are datagram and virtual circuit refer Figure 2 is the Packet Switching network.

Figure 2: Packet Switching Network.


Data communications have been achieved by using a variety network such as PSTN, leased-lines and more recently ISDN and ATM/ Frame relay. These networks are partly or totally analogue or digital using technology such as circuit-switching, packet-switching etc. Main difference between Packet Switching and Circuit switching is that communication lines are not dedicated to passing massage from the sources to the destination. In Packet Switching, different message (and even different packet) can passed through the routes, and when there is a ‘dead time” in the communication between the source and the destination, the lines can be used by other sources. Oguntala George Adeyinka(2013) said that packet switching is an attempt to make a better utilization of the existing network by splitting the message to be sent to packets. Each packet contains information about the sender, the receiver, the position of the packet in the message as well as part of the actual massage. There are many protocols defining the ways packet can be sent from the sender to the receiver.

Then, Pablo Molinero-Fernandez & Nick McKeown (2004) said that Circuit Switching can be decomposed into a fast path without per-packet processing, and a slower path for establishing/releasing circuit, which is similar in complexity to forwarding a single packet in Packet Switching. However the slow path needs to be taken much less often (for example, the average TCP connection lasts more than 10 packets, which mean that connection are established at an average rate at least 1/10 that of packet processing in router ). For these, we argue that circuit switches can operate much faster than packet switches.

The concept of packet switching had two independent beginnings, with Paul Baran and Donald Davies [4]. Leonard Kleinrock [5] conducted early research and authored a book in 1961 in the related field of digital massage switching (without explicity using the concept of the packet), and also later a played a leading roles in building and management of the world’s first packet switched network, namely the ARPANET.

After that, K.Giridhar stated Packet switching is also called connectionless networking because no connections are established. The advantage of the connectionless packet model in that packets are forwarded independent of other packets. Packets are forwarded on the fly by routers based on the most current best path to a destination. If a link or routers fails, packets are quickly diverted along another path.

Dr.FaridFarahmand&DR.Qiong (Jo) Zhang stated the most common example of a circuit-switched network can be found in public telephone network (PTN) supporting services such as POTS (plain old telephone system) and long distances calls. Other examples of a circuit switched services are integrated service digital network (ISDN) and switched 56, 64, 384 (Kbps) services. The majority of wireless application protocols (WAP) enables phone also operate on top of circuit-switched networks. Furthermore, many public networks dedicated to data transport also use circuit-switching techniques; an example of a network in Europe is circuit-switched public data network (CSPDN), which transport data on circuit-switching networks using the X.21 protocol. Circuit-switching also has wide applications in optical networks including wavelength division multiplexed (WDM) systems and WDM SONET networks.


Topic for our assignment is packet switching. We make a research to get the information about this topic in library and also internet. There’s a lot information we get from internet that give information about definition, benefit and function. The definition of packet switching give us simple introduction to us to understand the concept of packet switching. After we understand the concept, we find out the article or journal from internet that can give us a more information about packet switching. The article must be from year 2012 to make sure that information are relevant with our topic and current study. This article can be found from OPAC system that can used in library website. Every article has their own writer and bibliographic databases that make us easier to find the reference if there’s a question refer to packet switching if we are not understand to topic. In internet, we find extra information by inserting the term of packet switching in key words in Google to get more explanation about function of packet switching. The bibliographies are used for us for further study and this way give us more information packet switching. The journal is created by other university and this journal help us to understand the topic. The history about packet switching also found in internet and the technology in packet switching also change and it make data can be transfer in good ways even though the data is large. Based from the information get from internet will make us more understand about the topic and help us to success give simple explanation about the topic of packet switching in report.

After make research in internet, we go to library to find information regarding our topic which is packet switching. There’s some book that have some explanation about the benefit of packet switching. We also know about the main concept of packet switching from the book in library. The main concepts give more information about how the packet switching work in real situation. After that, we know the weakness and benefit of packet switching in transfer data in computer or cellphone. Even this packet switching have a disadvantage when transferring the data and it still can function more efficient after they develop a new technology this make sure the data can send to location. We also can refer from our senior journal in library after they done their final year project which related with topic packet switching. This information can help us to know the function packet switching with a technology that still use the concept during transferring data in destination address in packet. We also make a small interview with a friend who already work in IT department but the information that we get from him are not related to our topic. So, we are not use that information to be write in this report.

Lastly, we combine all the information about packet switching that we found from internet, journal and book to be write in this report. Before we write this report, we already discuss and make some explanations in this report to make sure this report are occupy our objective to understand the topic of packet switching. We try to help each other understand the topic based from information we get from internet , journal , article and book. Everyone have knowledge and information after done this project that can be used in career life. We take about more than one month to finish this research and this report can be use as reference for our junior if they want to continue this research in their present time in future.


At the end of this article, we present the two switching techniques used in networks: circuit switching and packet switching; whereas datagram packet switching and virtual circuit packet switching. Then, we also are able to compare a difference between circuit switching and packet switching.

Circuit Switching

Datagram Packet Switching

Virtual Circuit Packet Switching

Fixed bandwidth

Dynamic bandwidth

Dynamic bandwidth

Overload can block packet delay

Overload increases packet delay

Both; can block and increases packet delay

A dedicated path

Not a dedicated path

Not a dedicated path

Path is established before data transmission begins

Route is established before any packets sent

Route is established before any packets sent

Call setup delay

Packet transmission delay

Both; call setup and packet transmission delay

No speed or node conversion

Speed and node conversion

Speed and node conversion


[1] Oguntala George Adeyinka, “Network Solution, Applications and challenges of Mobile Computing In Africa,” International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, volume 4, issues 10, pp. 884-889, October 2013.

[3] Pablo Molinero-Fernandez & Nick McKeown, The Performances of Circuit Switching in the Internet, Computer System Laboratory, Stanford University (2004).

[4] Roberts L.G (1978). The Evolution of Packet Switching, Proceedings of the IEEE, vol.66, no11, pp.1307-1313. 1978.

[5] Kleinrock L. (1961), Information Flow in Large Communication Nets, RLE Quarterly Progress Report, July 1961.

[6] K.Giridhar, “Packet Switched Data Network and Its Evolution”, Information Technology and Communications Resources for development, Telecommunications and Computer Networks (Tenet) Group, Department Of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute Of Technology Madras, Chennai-600036, India (2007).

[7] Dr.Farid Farahmand & DR.Qiong (Jo) Zhang, Circuit Switching, Central Connecticut State University & Arizona State University at West Campus (2007).

[8] http://www.slideshare.net/sdsnehaldalvi/circuit-switching-packet-switching

[9] Telecommunication System Engineering, Technical University of Malaysia Malacca, chapter 5.


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