Packet switching is a form of transmission technology that allows the transmission of data in small separate groupings or blocks basically known as packets (Rosner, 1982). Each packet contains the destination address, therefore seeking its own path. Circuit switching on the other part employs a technology whereby a destination path (dedicated path) has to be established in order for data to be transmitted. The dedicated path remains in use for the entire period of transmission and is only released after completion of transmission (Dhotre, 2006). It differs from packet switching in that, in circuit switching the whole message/data is send through a dedicated channel while in packet switching, data is divided into packets with each packet finding its own way to the destination where they are later reassembled to make sense.
Packet switching is the commonly used technology due to its many advantages that it brings to the table. Circuit switching is expensive as compared to packet switching; it needs a lot of resources dedicated for a single transmission (Dhotre, 2006). There is no sharing of resources and no proper mechanisms for data transmission control. Packet switching how ever introduces a positive side to the disadvantages of circuit switching. Packet switching allows resource sharing. Since there is no dedication of resource to particular data transmission, a single resource like bandwidth can be shared by many packets of different messages (Rosner, 1982). This makes this form of communication cheaper and efficient. It is also faster to transmit data in packet switching.
Though the advantages introduced by packet switched networks are many, the negative side also exist. There has to be a proper mechanism to re arrange the packets in to a meaningful message at the destination node. An error checking mechanism (CRC), has to be implemented in order to ascertain that the information received at the destination was not altered during transit. This introduces complexity to the implementation of the technology.
Dhotre, I. A. (2006). Data Communication and Networking. California: CA. Technical
Rosner, R. D. (1982). Packet switching, tomorrow's communications today. New York: NY
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