Packet and Circuit Switching

Circuit switching differs from packet switching in various ways. One such difference is that whereas packet switching requires no dedicated path for switching to take place, circuit switching requires a dedicated path (Kamath, 1991). Thus in packet switching data come in and is accumulated before execution of the switching process. On the other hand, in circuit switching the incoming analog data is digitized and encoded before being switched from the incoming path to outgoing path. This implies that circuit switching accords a system dedicated synchronization whereas packet switching accords a system elasticity and flexibility.

In addition, circuit switching involves path establishment for entire conversation whereas packet switching entails establishment of the route for entire conversation. This implies that communication channel can be shared by many users in packet switching but not in circuit switching where each circuit is dedicated to a specified number of users. The increased ability of packet switching results from increased data rate of packet switching. Thus   circuit switching is prone to routing problems that are not seen in packet switching.

Moreover, the entire communication may breakdown when one tandem connected element fails in circuit switching as opposed to packet switching. This is because in circuit switching elements are connected in a series and an increase in elements result in reduced reliability. On the other hand, packet switching entails parallel reliability and as consequence an increase in elements results in increased reliability. This implies that packets can be re-routed to different paths when one path breaks down and hence preventing communication breakdown that may occur in case of circuit switching.

Baran, (2001) argues that conventional switching requires sending of long strings of bytes with no information. On the other hand, packet switching does not require packets to be sent without information. This implies that packet switching s more economical as opposed to circuit switching.

The only similarity between circuit and packet switching is that they enable data to be transmitted from the sender to the recipient. This is usually carried in form data stream.

The modern computing requires networks which are cost effective and which can be operated easily. This allows construction of integrated networks that can transmit both data and voice. In addition, modern computing requires a network that can afford synchronization, elasticity and flexibility. Today a circuit/packet integrated switching is predominant because it is cost effective, can be easily operated, allows synchronization, offers elasticity and is flexible.

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